Local News

Morning News Briefing

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul – in Batavia – saying, she can feel the energy. Houchul, along with numerous dignitaries were on hand Wednesday for the groundbreaking for a $1.1 million redevelopment project in the City of Batavia. This project will rehabilitate a three-story, 7,500 sq. ft. building built in 1865, in the downtown area. Lt. Gov. Hochul. Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Jr said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative award is critically important in our efforts to revitalize downtown Batavia. It’s vital that we continue working with our partners at the state and local level to continue the momentum of the private and public sector investment in the county’s urban core.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post left the door open for a downward adjustment of a proposed $2 million tax levy in 2021, a dollar amount that would nearly double the property tax rate charged to homeowners in the municipality. He addressed the Board and community at a special meeting to release the tentative budget. Post emphasized that “this is a starting point.” Post’s tentative general budget for the 2021 fiscal year calls for $2 million to be raised by property taxes, while using $135,899 from the town’s unexpended fund balance.

Judge Road between Crosby Road and Griffen Road in the Town of Alabama will be closed Oct. 12th through approximately Dec. 31st for a bridge replacement project. The road will NOT be passable to regular traffic or emergency vehicles. A detour will be posted. The public will be notified when the road reopens.

A woman from Alexander can forget shopping at any Tops Market for the foreseeable future. Wyoming County deputies say 41-year-old Leah McCabe was caught on a Tops store camera in Warsaw pushing a fully loaded shopping cart out of the store…without offering a dime. Authorities said the cart was loaded with $338 in merchandise. She was located at her home and charged with the theft. McCabe was issued a trespass notice banning her from all Tops Friendly Markets locations. She’ll chat with a judge in Warsaw on Monday.

Congressman Chris Jacobs signed a discharge petition this week to force a vote on a bill that would release the over $130 billion in unspent Paycheck Protection Program funds currently available. In a press statement, Jacobs said “American small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges, and we have an excellent opportunity to deliver them critical aid now.” Jacobs said. The congressman said he was proud to cosponsor the bill.

Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron Jr. says he is pleased to announce that the Sheriff’s Office has completed the reaccreditation audit of its law enforcement bureau. An accredited law enforcement agency is reassessed every five years and must show they have been in compliance with the 133 standards during that time period. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office received its initial accreditation in year 2000.

A 14-member Village of Le Roy Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative advisory group will conduct its first meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Le Roy Village Hall. Police Chief Chris Hayward says the mandate requires municipal police departments to adopt a plan and submit it to the state by April 1 to avoid risking future state funding. Hayward said he is finalizing the agenda for the meeting, adding that the public is welcome but due to COVID-19 restrictions, seating is limited. The City of Batavia Police Advisory Stakeholder Group, which has 20 members, held its first meeting on Sept. 24 and has scheduled its next meeting for Oct. 8.

Women of the Moose in LeRoy Buy Winter Clothing for Students

PHOTO: From Left: Catherine Campbell, Martha Bailey, Assistant Principal Jamie Clark and Shelley Nichols

The women of the Moose in LeRoy, held their pig roast and chicken event in August. The proceeds were used to buy new outerwear for K-6 at the Leroy Wolcott Street School. Today we delivered the items. The Women of the Moose are proud to make a difference and help our children. We would like to extend our thanks to the community for coming out and supporting our event.

Due to Covid, it was a drive thru event, but we made the best of it. We would also like to recognize the Men of the Moose for their help and support as well. The outerwear will be distributed to those in need by the school counselors and nurse. If a family is struggling and could use some help with winter wear, they should contact the school.

Genesee County Isssues Voter Information

News Release

Absentee Voting Options & Drop-Box Information
Requests for absentee ballots for the General Election can be processed over the phone at 585 815-7804, besides mailing, emailing us at election@co.genesee.ny.us or faxing your application to 585 344-8562.

You have many choices as to how you wish to return your ballot after it is completed.

  • You may mail your ballot — don’t forget to sign the ballot envelope and put a stamp on the outside.
  • You may hand deliver your ballot to our office at County Building 1, 15 Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.
  • There will be a designated Board of Elections drop box installed on the south side of County Building 1 (Ellicott St. side), until installation is complete, you may use the secure DMV drop-box on Court St.
  • You may bring your ballot any day of Early Voting where you can drop off your ballot into a designated absentee drop-box. A poll worker will assist you. See the dates and times below.
  • You can bring your absentee ballot to any polling place on Election Day where you can drop off your ballot into a designated absentee ballot drop-box. A poll worker will assist you.

Early Voting
The General Election Early Voting begins on Saturday, October 24th and will run for nine days prior to the General Election. The Early Voting location is at County Building 2, 3837 West Main St. Rd. Batavia NY 14020. The schedule for Early Voting is as follows;

Oct. 24th 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Oct. 25th 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Oct. 26th   9:00am – 5:00pm
Oct. 27th 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Oct. 28th 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Oct. 29th   9:00am – 5:00pm
Oct. 30th   9:00am – 5:00pm
Oct. 31st 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Nov.1st 12:00pm – 5:00 pm

Registration and Absentee Application Deadlines
The last day to register in-person at the Board of Elections is Oct. 9th. The last day to post mark a registration form is Oct. 9th and must be received by Oct. 14th. The last day to postmark an application for an absentee ballot is Oct. 27th and the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is Nov. 3rd (Election Day).

Orleans County Sheriff Looks for Missing Boy


The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance with locating a missing 15 year old male, Dakarai Hilliard.  Dakarai was last seen on today’s date at 0530 hours at his home on Bills Road in the Town of Carlton. Dakarai is a black male approximately 5’6”, 130 lbs. and was last seen wearing a green hoody and blue jeans.  Dakarai has a birth mark on his forehead.  Dakarai could possibly be with friends in the City of Rochester.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Orleans County Sheriff’s Office at 585-589-5527.

Afternoon News Brief

Starting today New York State is banning the so called pink tax on consumer goods and services.  A Pink tax is a disparity in price for something marketed to women or girls that is the same as a good or service marketed to boys or men.  An example of this is if an item is pink or blue and the price is higher for the pink item.  Experts say that the pink tax costs women over 2 thousand dollars more than men every year.  This does not include changes in price due to amount of time or cost of materials it takes to manufacture items or increases in labor for some things over others.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in Batavia this morning.  The state’s number two executive was here for the formal start of construction on a 1.2-million dollar project to renovate 99 Main Street.  That 150 year old building was purchased by Dr. Kumar Neppalli.   He will located his dental practice on the first floor, general offices on the second and two residential apartments on the third floor.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 5 new cases in Alabama Elba and Oakfield and 14 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has no new cases and 9 new people on travel quarantine.  There are 10 active cases in Genesee county and 11 in Orleans.

The village of Leroy has its own police advisory group now and it is called the police reform and reinvention collaborative advisory group.  It is made up of 14 people including the mayor and chief of police as well as lawyers, clergy and citizen representatives.  Their first meeting will be held October 7th.

Governor Cuomo is set to tour the buffalo bills stadium to determine if the fans can come back into the stands.  Cuomo said in a conference call what he is eager to work out the situation.  A major concern is getting fans into and out of the stadium while social distancing.  Other teams such as the Miami Dolphins have begun letting fans back in.

The Toronto Blue Jays lost their game against the Tampa Bay Rays 3 to 1 at Tropicana field.  If they lose the next game they will be out of the post season.  Game starts tonight at 4:07.

Morning News Briefing

National Grid has filed a customer assistance proposal with its New York regulator that would provide up to $50 million in financial assistance to support its most economically vulnerable residential customers as well as businesses that are struggling because of the pandemic’s financial impact. John Bruckner is National Grid’s New York president and says…National Grid’s relief package offers an important opportunity to provide customers with financial assistance to lessen their hardship. Bruckner noted that funding for the programs will be targeted to customers who are in arrears and/or unable to pay their energy bills due to financial hardship stemming from the pandemic.

Five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Genesee County. New infections involve residents from Alabama, Elba and Oakfield. Two are under the age of 20, one is in their 20’s, another in their 30’s and the fifth person is in their 60’s. Fourteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. One of the positive individuals is hospitalized.

Federal investigators have found that the 2018 limo crash in upstate New York that killed 20 people was likely caused by poor maintenance that resulted in brake failure. The crash was the deadliest transportation disaster in the United States in a decade. The stretch limousine careened through an intersection in the town of Schoharie and crashed into a parked SUV, killing a group of people out celebrating a birthday, along with the driver and two bystanders. The NTSB found that ineffective state oversight also contributed to the deadly crash.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 36-year-old Kamie Marie Sedore of Rochester. She was charged with felony counts to include second-degree forgery and falsifying business records in the first degree. Sedore was arrested following a complaint at the Genesee County Jail in Batavia. She allegedly identified herself as another person and signed paperwork stating that the fingerprints she provided were for the false identity provided. She was issued an appearance ticket for Nov. 10 in Batavia City Court.

Although the City of Batavia’s general fund ended with a deficit for the 2019-20 fiscal year, the municipality is in good shape when it comes to fund balances – not only for the general fund, but for the water and sewer funds as well. That is the assessment of Laura Landers, a certified public accountant who conducted an audit of the city’s basic financial statements for the year ending March 31. Landers gave her final audit report to City Council earlier this week.

One state has been added and two states have been removed from New York’s travel advisory…that word from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Tuesday, Colorado was the state added to the list. Virginia and Arizona were removed.

The Bills have played two home games in a mostly empty Bills Stadium this season due to the pandemic. There was hope that could change before the team’s next home game on Oct. 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Monday that conversations were happening, and continuing Tuesday, to try and get some fans in the stands. But the Bills said, for now, fans will not be able to watch the team play in person at the Bills Stadium, per current state regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Chief Deputy Endorses Sheron

News Release

Dear Genesee County Registered Voters:

As a recently retired Chief Deputy from the Genesee County Sheriff ‘s Office, I formally endorse William A. Sheron, Jr., for the position of Sheriff of Genesee County for the next term of office.  After 43 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office, starting as a civilian Dispatcher and ending as Chief Deputy overseeing the Criminal Investigation Division, I have first-hand knowledge and experience about the operations of the Office and feel confident endorsing candidate William A. Sheron, Jr.

Throughout his career, Bill has constantly strived to better himself and the Sheriff’s Office through promotional exams, training, securing grants and networking for much-needed equipment.  Being Sheriff requires one to be a master of police work and criminal law, get your personnel the very best equipment/training, and hire the very best people to work for the Office.  It also requires one to be thoroughly versed in Correctional best practices, Correction Law and Civil Law.  To be an effective Sheriff, one must possess all of these things.  This is not a job that most can “learn on the go” as the consequences can literally be life or death.  In this litigious era, a simple mistake can cost the County (and taxpayers) millions of dollars in a lawsuit.  It is critical that a seasoned employee with years of experience lead the Office in these difficult times.

I have known Bill Sheron longer than anyone currently at the Sheriff’s Office, and I have worked side-by-side with him throughout a multitude of crime scenes including homicides, fatal car crashes, bank robberies, sex crimes, drug investigations, and search warrant executions.  Specifically, I would like to highlight our first officer-involved shooting in the Town of Pembroke a few years ago as a prime example of Bill’s commitment to the citizens of Genesee County.

While Sheriff Sheron was attending the National Sheriffs’ Institute’s “training for new Sheriffs” in Colorado, he was the second person I spoke with while responding to the scene.  I had several more conversations with him from the scene, whereupon, he caught the first flight home the next day, was back in Genesee County that afternoon, and was briefed by me (as Chief Deputy of CID, I was tasked with the oversight of all officer-involved shootings).  I know Sheriff Sheron, how he reasons, and where his priorities lay.  They have ALWAYS been to make the best decisions on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, Genesee County, and its citizens.

Genesee County requires such a person for Sheriff, and I sincerely endorse William A. Sheron, Jr., for that position.  It’s the right decision for the citizens of Genesee County, members of the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies dealt with on a daily basis.

Morning News Briefing

A four-member search committee has been appointed to execute the initial tasks necessary to find the next permanent manager of the City of Batavia. City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. announced that the committee would include two council members, the Public Works Director and a Human Resources Specialist. The committee will begin its work in the next couple weeks. Martin Moore left the position in June.

The Batavia City Council is on board with a plan to convert the community-owned street lighting system to LED technology and potentially cut costs substantially in the process. Public Works Director Matt Worth presented the plan last night to contract with the New York Power Authority to purchase new street light fixtures for all 772 city-owned lights on the four arterial routes. The city could realize annual savings of more than $42,000 after paying off a 14-year loan. The arterial roads are Routes 5 (Main Street), 33 (Pearl Street), 63 (Ellicott Street) and 98 (Oak Street). The city is expected to give final approval when it meets October 13th.

Batavia city lawmakers have agreed to offer a resolution next month to transfer a foreclosed residence at 50 Oak St, to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation. The organization plans to invest between $58,000 and $62,000 to renovate the one-family house, which is assessed at $62,000. Council members praised Habitat for Humanity for its continuing efforts to provide affordable housing in the city.

The Genesee County Health Department has received 3 positive cases of COVID-19 from students in the Elba Central School District. There is one case at the Elementary School and two cases in the High School. The individuals have been placed under mandatory isolation where they will remain until they are fully recovered. One individual was last present in the building on September 15th and two individuals were last present in the building on September 17th. The Genesee County Department of Health is conducting contact tracing that is in process. Students and/or staff will be notified and placed under quarantine if they were identified as a close contact. Ned Dale, Superintendent of Elba Central School District stated that…due to the number of contacts out of abundance of caution the school will be going remote though Friday, October 2. In person learning is planned to resume on Monday, October 5.

No injuries were reported when a vehicle struck a house on North Street in Batavia early Monday. Police identified the driver as 39-year-old Patrick Spikes. The impact dislodged a National Fuel line from the residence and damaged the chimney. The home was evacuated. Spikes was issued several tickets.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region has announced the promotion of Kristen Lazarony to Independent Living Specialist in the RapidRehousing Program, where she will be helping individuals with disabilities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties to obtain housing in the homes and communities of their choice. Prior to joining Independent living, she served in varied positions in the medical field with several local companies including United Memorial Medical Center, WellNow Urgent Care, and Pembroke Family Medicine.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the State’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act will be expanded until January 1st to protect additional residential tenants from eviction if they are suffering financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Executive Order extends the protections of the Act to eviction warrants that existed prior to the start of the pandemic. Cuomo said “As New York continues to fight the pandemic, we want to make sure New Yorkers who are still struggling financially will not be forced from their homes as a result of COVID.” Governor Cuomo first announced a State moratorium on residential and commercial evictions on March 20 to ensure no tenant was evicted during the height of the public health emergency. The Governor signed the Tenant Safe Harbor Act on June 30 which became effective immediately as well as additional legislation providing financial assistance to residential renters and landlords.

Elba Schools Go To All Remote Learning

News Release

The Genesee County Health Department has received 3 positive cases of COVID-19 from students at Elba Central School District.There is one case at the Elementary School and two cases in the High School.The individuals have been placed under mandatory isolation where they will remain until they are fully recovered.

One individual was last present in the building on September 15th and two individuals were last present in the building on September 17th. The Genesee County Department of Health is conducting contact tracing that is in process. Students and/or staff will be notified and placed under quarantine if they were identified as a close contact.

“Individuals identified by the health department as being close contacts will be expected to follow the New York State Department of Health quarantine guidelines,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County.

Ned Dale, Superintendent of Elba Central School District stated that “Due to the number of contacts out of abundance of caution the school will be going remote though Friday, October 2,2020. In person learning is planned to resume on Monday, October 5, 2020.

“Please continue to monitor your child for symptoms and keep children home if they are sick,” Pettit said. “If your child does develop symptoms, please contact your child’s healthcare provider immediately.”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 information on school statistics, please visit the New York State COVID-19 Report Card

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia City Council meets tonight and the Council President will provide an update on the City Manager position. The Council will also consider transferring a foreclosure property at 50 Oak Street to Habitat for Humanity. The organization says it will invest about $60,000 to renovate the single-family home which was built in 1924. The parcel is located on a main thoroughfare and identified in the Comprehensive Plan as a target area for improvement. Habitat for Humanity has rehabilitated numerous foreclosed properties in the city. The Interim City Manager supports the measure and will encourage the Council to make the transfer. If approved, the property could be rehabilitated within 18 months. Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Fourteen more people were hospitalized Sunday in New York State for COVID-19. Right now, 541 people statewide are waking up today in a hospital room. 155 people are in the Intensive Care Unit…that number is down by nine patients. Six more deaths were also reported yesterday. The Finger Lakes Region, which includes Genesee County had an infection rate of 0.7% – slightly higher than previous days. Of the nearly 85,000 test results reported to New York State over the weekend, 866, or 1.02 percent, were positive. Genesee County reported two new cases, Orleans had three and Wyoming County had one additional case.

Police reform, across the country, with new action announced over the weekend. In Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren naming a new interim police chief following protests over the death of a Black man who died after a controversial arrest earlier this year. Mayor Warren says former Rochester police officer Cynthia Harriet Sullivan will be the first woman to head their police department.

The Buffalo Bills remain undefeated. They beat the Rams Sunday 35-32.

The M&T Bank branch at 1 E. Main St., in the Village of Corfu, is closing its lobby and offices but keeping its ATM… according to a spokeswoman for the company. Customers were just informed. The spokesperson said they have no plans to close any other branches in Genesee, Orleans or Wyoming County. The decision to close the branch was difficult, however officials said the closure will help improve efficiency and help the bank serve customers where they are located.

American Red Cross blood donors have a new opportunity to help patients battling this coronavirus. The plasma from whole blood donations made at any Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusion. Previously, convalescent plasma could only be obtained through a special donation at one of more than 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country, but recently, the Red Cross began secondary testing of all donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies to confirm test results for donors. This means the COVID-19 antibody-positive plasma from whole blood donations may now be used for coronavirus patients.

Genesee County deputies last night arrested 29-year-old Leanne Lathrop of Wyoming, NY. She was charged with criminal possession of stolen property and unlicensed operation. Deputies said Lathrop had property stolen from Target. She’ll appear in Batavia Town Court next month.

Weekend News Brief

Monday nights city council meeting will include a plan to fill the vacant city manager position.  The choices before the council are to use the NOVAK consulting group which would be free as city manager martin Moore was not in the position for more than 2 years.  There are expenses to do with advertising and other minutiae that could total over 20 thousand dollars.  The other option is to promote interim city manager Rachel Tabelski into the role.  Other topics to be taken up at the meeting include giving a house to habitat to humanity for a dollar, approving Christmas in the city including the parade, and a n audit presentation.

Over 130 billion dollars of coronavirus relief money is unallocated and Congressman Chris Jacobs is demanding it be released for a second round of paycheck protection programs.  Jacobs says that the PPP saved over 50 thousand jobs in Western NY and 50 million jobs in the whole US and more could be helped if the money was released.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 2 new cases and 3 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 3 new cases and 4 new people are on travel quarantine.  6 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county.  There are 3 active cases in Genesee county and 9 in Orleans.

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants in the southeast quadrant of the city on Monday. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. This can cause discoloration of water in that area.  Please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If your water is discolored, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear.

The police stakeholders had their first meeting on Thursday night and the majority of the time was given to Police Chief Shawn Heubusch as he gave a history of policing and an overview of the policies of the police department.  Members of the group asked questions about bodycam use by officers, the hiring process, and use of force policy.  One member of the group raised the issue of holding officers accountable for bad behaviors.  There is a comprehensive write up and videos of interviews with Police Chief Heubusch and representative from the Just Kings Victor Thomas over at our news partner the Batavian.

Police in Buffalo are now allowed to cover their nametags as they are dealing with a criminal activity where their identities are at stake.  At demonstrations people are video taping and taking pictures of officers and then using their nametags to find out where they live or where their families and children work and go to school and harassing them and threatening them.  This doxxing and harassment is illegal and prosecutable.  Officers are now putting tape over their nametags.

Afternoon News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has weighed in on the case of Breanna Taylor in Louisville Kentucky who died in a police raid on her home back in March.  Cuomo called it a murder and said that that makes the police murderers and saying he understands the outrage.  Demonstrators took to the streets once again in Rochester and Buffalo and most other cities across the united states to demand charges against the police involved in the raid and also say that if they don’t get what they want they will take it by force.  The attorney general of Kentucky Daniel Cameron defended the actions of the officers who were returning fire after being shot at and wounded by Taylor’s boyfriend when she was killed.

Governor Cuomo also says he doesn’t trust the federal governments decisions about the vaccine coming out for COVID and is appointing a commission to test its safety and effectiveness.  Dr. Anthony Fauci and Assistant secretary for heath administration Brett Giroir both said they would take it and have their families take it with no hesitation.  The FDA has said that they are putting the vaccine through every scientific test and will not release a faulty vaccine.  At the same time Cuomo and Michigan Governor Whitmer are calling for an investigation into President Trumps handling of the coronavirus.

Buffalo native Michael Caputo who took a leave of absence from the position of Health and Human services director for the Trump administration has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a metastatic head and neck cancer.  “He is now home in Western New York, resting in the loving arms of his family, under the watchful eye of Jesus Christ,” said New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro on behalf of the Caputo family.

Genesee county sheriff William Sheron has announced that 4 officers have graduated from corrections training.  These Correction Officers recently graduated in a class of 18 from the Livingston County Basic Corrections Academy. Correction Officer Davis was one of two team leaders of the class. The six-week training included instruction in the care and custody of inmates, inmate supervision, defensive tactics, firearms training, and other topics pertaining to corrections.

COVID update:  Genesee county has 0 new cases ad 2 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 1 person has recovered.  9 new people in Genesee county are on travel quarantine and 5 new people in Orleans county are on travel quarantine.  There are 4 active cases in Genesee county and 6 in Orleans.

Batavia 1st Presbyterian church is helping out local schools with a bit of music.  The church worked with Home Depot, Valu center and Walmart to donate bags full of instruments to elementary students at Jackson school.  Each bag contained a drum, rhythm sticks, maracas and a tambourine.  These instruments will be used for music class.

Morning News Briefing

Twenty-two local governments were designated in fiscal stress for 2019, according to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. The scores were based on financial information reported by local governments operating on a calendar year basis for 2019 (pre-pandemic). Designated in “moderate stress” was Oakfield in Genesee County and Yates in Orleans County.

Despite attendance limits at Batavia Downs Gaming and fewer dates on the horse racing schedule, wagering through services provided by the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation is way up. And officials of the public benefit company say they are amazed. Officials said in gaming, they’re at 25-percent occupancy rate (due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by New York State) and they’re achieving 90 percent of last year’s numbers.” The Chief Financial Officer reported a “net win” of $2.2 million since the gaming site reopened on Sept. 9.

Health officials in Genesee County reported no new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation. Nine new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants in the southeast quadrant of the city, that’s south of East Main, east of Jackson Street today and Monday. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in 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.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that New York will create an independent clinical advisory task force as the state looks ahead to a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The governor says he is concerned about potential politicization surrounding the vaccine. He says the state will put together a task force related to effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. In addition to reviewing the safety of the vaccine, Cuomo also announced Thursday he is appointing a committee to help handle logistics of vaccine distribution. With talk of each person potentially needing two doses to be fully vaccinated, that means New York would need 40 million doses.

One Southern Tier county continues to be ravaged by COVID-19. 32 new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday in Steuben County. It includes a student at Campbell-Savona school, which is closed today for cleaning.

LeRoy Central To Vote on Capital Projects

On Wednesday, October 28, residents of the LeRoy Central School District will be asked to participate in a
capital project referendum. Two separate capital project propositions will be offered on the ballot for your
consideration and vote.

A complete explanation of the two propositions can be accessed HERE from the LeRoy Central School Website

Morning News Briefing

A Corfu woman employed as a mail carrier has been charged with acting as a money mule for internet scammers and sending thousands of dollars to Africa. U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. announced that 55-year-old Julie Keller was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A cursory look into Keller’s banking history revealed that she had a pattern of suspicious cash, check, money order and wire activity totaling in excess of $150,000.00 dating back to 2014. Her activities included the use of national and local banks, as well as Western Union and MoneyGram. Keller made an initial appearance in federal court and was released on conditions.

A Grand Jury has indicted Stephen Esposito on the charges of felony aggravated vehicular assault and driving while ability impaired by drugs. The charge dates back to an incident February 7 on Route 98 in the Town of Batavia. Esposito allegedly engaged in reckless driving and caused serious physical injury to another person.

Derrick R. Kio has been indicted for first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 21 in the Village of Le Roy, Kio intentionally disobeyed or resisted a stay away order of protection. In count two, he is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree. It is alleged that day Kio operated a vehicle in the Village of Le Roy while his driver’s license was suspended or revoked by authorities.

The Genesee County Legislature Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing changes to a pair of projects designed to increase the county’s water supply capacity under Phase 2 of the Countywide Water Supply Program. The first adds $125,000 to a contract with Randsco Pipeline for the installation of reinforcing sleeves on five connections along the transmission main on North Road in the Town of Le Roy. The second, which has no financial impact, allows Villager Construction to take up to 90 more days to perform installation work, primarily at the Chestnut Ridge water transmission main in the Town of Chili and the pump station offsite water mains in Mumford and Churchville.

Genesee County health officials say there were no new reported COVID-19 cases in the county Wednesday. However, six new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. In Orleans County, two new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Batavia Cemetery Association Board of Directors has decided to cancel the annual Halloween Candlelight Ghostwalk for October 24. After much discussion, the board felt the safety of the participants and the public could not be guaranteed when people must stand so closely together to hear the presentations. The Association says this is a financial blow, as the ghost walk is a major yearly fundraiser for the upkeep of the cemetery. One of the oldest maple trees in the cemetery was brought down by winds in January. During the same storm, a large branch came down from another maple in front of the Ellicott monument and that tree needs to be removed. Several stones were damaged and need repairing.

Ghostwalk Cancelled

News Release

With heavy hearts and out of an abundance of caution, the Batavia Cemetery Association Board of Directors decided to cancel the annual Halloween Candlelight Ghostwalk for October 24, 2020. After much discussion, the board felt the safety of the re-enactors and the public could not be guaranteed when people must stand so closely together to hear the presentations.

This is a financial blow, as the ghost walk is a major yearly fundraiser for the upkeep of the cemetery. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, and the cemetery has suffered great losses as well. One of the oldest maple trees in the cemetery, and probably in Batavia, was felled by winds in January. It is reckoned to have been approximately 200 years old. During the same storm, a large branch came down from another maple in front of the Ellicott monument and that tree needs to be removed. Several stones were damaged and need repairing.

In September, a large maple along the driveway was split in half by high winds and took down two new maple trees on the other side of the driveway that were planted several years ago. It has cost several thousand dollars so far to remove three large trees. Three other maples that have reached the end of their lives and three ash trees that have been killed by ash bore must be removed to prevent further stone damage.

The board hopes to remove the dead trees this fall and begin a project next summer to grind out the stumps and replace the stately maples along the driveway. To accomplish this will require community help. Any donations would be gratefully accepted, and may be made to Batavia Cemetery Association, 22 Fisher Park, Batavia, NY 14020.

Please come and have some spooky fun in October, 2021 at the next Halloween Candlelight Ghostwalk!

Afternoon News Brief

Are your kids doing virtual learning only?  They still have to have their shots.  Parents are being caught off guard as schools are telling them their kids aren’t allowed to join virtual classrooms if they aren’t vaccinated.  Many parents did not keep up with their children’s regular checkups as dr’s offices switched to virtual checkups or suspended all visits unless the patient was deathly ill.  The New York State Department of Health law requires all students to be caught up with their vaccinations in order to attend school both in person and using a virtual classroom.

Your COVID update:  Genesee county has 1 new case and 2 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 5 new people are on travel quarantine.  Albion Central School District has 1 positive student who has been put on isolation at home.  There are 6 active cases in Genesee county and 4 in Orleans county.

The interpretive center at the Genesee County park and forest is offering science experiences for kids 3 years old through 12th grade.   Students explore the natural world and discover the fascinating lives of forest animals and plants at the Interpretive Nature Center. Hikes, outdoor scavenger hunts, and handmade crafts are all part of this adventure.  The classes are on Wednesdays and Thursdays and go from today through December 9th.  Preregistration is required and students are 5 dollars a class or there is a discount for taking the whole series of classes.  Call (585) 344-1122 for details.

Sheron endorsed by Retired Chief Deputy

Former Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble endorses Sheron for re-election

“Over my 43-year career at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, I had the privilege of working under four different Sheriffs, including current Sheriff Sheron, each a good man in his own right.  This fall, Sheriff Sheron is running for a second term.  In today’s world, many great police agency leaders are leaving the profession, feeling frustrated and unsupported.  In my opinion, we are fortunate that Sheriff Sheron is willing to take on another term.

In these times when law enforcement is under such intense scrutiny and criticism, experienced, educated, and proven leadership is extremely vital.  I watched Bill Sheron work his way up within the Sheriff’s Office, having held many key positions:

  • Dispatcher
  • Deputy assigned to the Genesee County Jail
  • Deputy assigned to Road Patrol
  • Sergeant – Road Patrol
  • Sergeant – Drug Task Force
  • Investigator
  • Chief Deputy of Road Patrol
  • Undersheriff
  • Sheriff

As illustrated, he has a wide variety of law enforcement knowledge and experience.  He has faced many challenges during his career and honorably acquitted himself through them all.

I support William A. Sheron, Jr.  He has done a great job.  I urge you to vote to re-elect him to office so that he may continue to provide the consistent leadership that Genesee County needs during these uncertain times.”


Master Gardeners Post Fall Programs

News Release

Join the Genesee County Master Gardeners as we “Catch the Gardening Bug” this fall.  We will be offering a series of noon time, gardening themed programs via Zoom.  If you are looking for garden inspiration and know-how, check out these classes.

On October 1 join us for Garden Talk ‘Easy Preserving.’  Catherine, our CCE Master Food Preserver volunteer, will show us some quick and easy ways to preserve fall bounty from the garden.  Catherine will demonstrate how to safely prepare infused flavored oils and flavored vinegars.  She will also demonstrate how to make sauerkraut at home!

Got Dahlias?  Not sure what to do with them at the end of the season?  Join Master Gardener Brandie on October 15 as we explore “What to do with those Dahlias.”  Brandie will explain how she manages her dahlia collection.  She will cover when to dig them up, how she overwinters her dahlias and how to divide them.  Get your dahlia questions answered!

October 28 finds us exploring “A Witches Garden” with Master Gardener Connie.  Witches were once considered wise women and healers.  They used plants they grew or found in their environment to cure ills as well as cast spells.  You too may have your very own witch’s garden…come explore the folklore and plants of the witch.

This series is free and open to all.  Pre-registration is required.  You can register at our website http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/events.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to join the program.

Future topics and other Master Gardener events will be posted on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/ and also on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CCEofGenesee.  Contact 585-343-3040 x101 for more information about this or other CCE programs.


Morning News Briefing

Former Genesee County Emergency Dispatcher James Tripp has been sentenced to 90 days behind bars for possessing more than 70 sexually explicit images of girls under the age of 16. Tripp reported to the County Jail on Tuesday afternoon after he was allowed to drive his wife home from his sentencing earlier in the day. The county’s probation department recommended a sentencing of probation with no jail time. The prosecutor demanded three-months, which Judge Charles Zambito ultimately handed down. Tripp was arrested by State Police in December 2017 after investigators traced one of images back to his home computer.

New York State Police will be hosting a child passenger safety seat event by appointment only at Troop A Headquarters in Batavia on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Highway safety and motorcycle detail will be at this event to answer questions. Child safety seat technicians will be on hand to assist with the installation of your child’s safety seat and answer any questions. To make an appointment for this event, contact the State Police Traffic Division at 344-6228 or Atraffic@troopers.ny.gov.

A group of citizens gathered on the steps of the Old County Courthouse in Batavia to honor the memory and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Among the speakers last night was the Executive-Director of the Genesee County YWCA – Millie Tomidy-Pepper. Justice Ginsberg passed away Friday evening. She was 87 years old.

The United States Department of Agriculture USDA is investing $268 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across 28 states, and the funds include local projects. The expenditure includes $13.5 million in loans and grants to three Genesee County towns: Byron, Pavilion and Stafford. In Byron, the project will extend public water service to 608 people in the town who currently do not have safe potable water; In Pavilion, the loan will be used to build a new 300,000-gallon water storage tank and over one mile of water supply pipeline. The new water storage tank and pipeline will serve 2,495 people. And in Stafford, the mix of loan and grant funds will be used to create Water District #12 in the Town of Stafford. This project will extend public water service to 185 residents in the town who currently do not have safe potable water. Water quality testing indicates a significant portion of residents’ individual wells have coliform and E. coli contamination, which the health department indicates do not meet standards and are a threat to the health of the residents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that five states—Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming—have been added to New York State’s COVID-19 travel advisory. No areas have been removed. The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days. The governor also announced that New York State has now conducted 10 million COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The new infection rate currently stands at 0.89%.

Genesee County reports one new COVID-19 case. The person infected in in their 50’s and lives in Bethany. Meanwhile, two new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Afternoon News Brief

President Trumps administration announced that the USDA is investing 268 million dollars into infrastructure related to drinking water and waste water across 28 states.  This includes over 13 and a half million dollars in grants and loans for Byron, Pavilion and Stafford.  In Byron it will reportedly be used to get safe water to 608 people who don’t have potable drinking water.  In Pavilion the money will go towards a300 thousand gallon water storage tank and supply pipeline.  And in Stafford the money will be used to get water to 185 people who’s wells have tested positive for e. coli and coliform.

5 more states have been added to the list for travelers having to quarantine if they come to New York State.  Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming were added today, no states were removed leaving 34 states and one territory on the list.  Of the 5 states Arizona and Minnesota averaged more positive cases that New York over the last week.

Your COVID Update: Genesee county has 5 new cases and one person has recovered.  Orleans county has 2 new cases and 3 people have recovered.  22 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 9 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are 5 active cases in Genesee county and 3 in Orleans.

32 year old Cody Bohn who is homeless has been arrested by Orleans county sheriffs deputies after a string of larcenies.  Police were notified of a theft from a cash box stand on Ogden rd. in Holley on Monday, and 5 minutes later they received a call about a man going through vehicles at the Holley cold storage.  Deputies arrived and arrested Bohn.  Bohn has been charged with burglary, criminal mischief, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and harassment. Other charges are said to be pending.

The group free the people roc which has been responsible for many protests in the last three weeks and a sit in in front of the Rochester city hall has announced that they will be ending the occupy city hall protest which has been going on for almost a week.  They say they will plan different protests in coming weeks.

Check Your School for COVID Infections

New York State is making it easier for parents to keep track of the number of COVID-19 cases in their child’s school.
A database is now online that will reveal if students or staff members at a particular private, charter or public school have tested positive for the illness.
The information can be found by searching for a school’s name, zip code or address.
If you’d like to check the website out for yourself, visit this site

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County has received five new positive cases of COVID-19. The new cases involve people living in Alexander, Batavia, Byron and Oakfield. One of the new positive cases is a resident at the NYS Veterans Home. One of the positive individuals is less than 20 years old, one is in their 30s, two are in their 50s and one is in their 80s. Twenty-two new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Orleans County received two new positive cases of COVID-19. The COVID stats were released Monday afternoon.

Congressman Chris Jacobs encourages area residents to participate in Small Business Week, which runs through Saturday. Jacobs said…small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and cornerstones of the Western New York communities. National Small Business Week was started in 1963 by President Kennedy to highlight the outstanding contributions of small businesses to America. The week seeks to promote shopping and spending in local economies, and honor American innovation. As of 2019, the 13,227 small businesses in the 27th congressional district accounted for 95.6% of employers.

The Genesee County 4-H Program is now accepting new youth members for the upcoming 4-H year that begins Oct. 1. 4-H is a nationwide youth program that connects youth age 5-18 to a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. There are many different clubs and programs offered by the Genesee County 4-H Program. Project areas include animal sciences, sewing, leadership, community service, gardening, public speaking and more. Enrollment fees for Genesee County residents are $25 per youth or $50 per family of two or more youth. For more information about joining the Genesee County 4-H Program, please contact the 4-H Office.

The deadline for completing the 2020 Census form is September 30, and state officials warn that New York’s population is in danger of being undercounted. The U.S. census is mandated in the Constitution and has been conducted every ten years since 1790. Census data is used to decide how many members of Congress each state can have and to allocate federal funding for education, infrastructure and more.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order extending the state’s moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures an additional month, until October 20th. This measure extends protections already in place for commercial tenants and mortgagors in recognition of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on business owners, including retail establishments and restaurants. The extension of this protection gives commercial tenants and mortgagors additional time to get back on their feet and catch up on rent or their mortgage, or to renegotiate their lease terms to avoid foreclosure moving forward.

Afternoon New Brief

Police continue to search for several gunmen who shot over 40-rounds into a crowd of partygoers after an argument broke out killing Two teenagers, both 19-years old early Saturday morning.  Police say they were not the intended targets. 14 more people – ranging in age from 17 to 23 – were injured.  This is the 4th largest mass shooting this year in the United States.  Police Captain Umbrino said that He’s not surprised that violence is on the rise because of violent criminals being released back onto the streets and laws not being enforced because police are either afraid or politicians tell them not to enforce the law.

The woman who attempted to mail the poison Ricin to President Trump and several locations in Texas has been arrested attempting to come into the US from Canada over the peace bridge.  She is being held in Buffalo and Canadian Royal Mounted police are conducting an operation in St Hubert linked to the mailings.

Gas Prices are still way down from where they were last year and a little down from last week.  Last year the New York State average was 2.67 and this week it is 2.27.  Gas in most areas including Batavia is down 1 penny from last week.

The Toronto Blue Jays are looking to inch closer to the playoffs as they host the New York Yankees at Sahlen Field in Buffalo for a four-game series. The two teams are currently locked in a battle for second place in the American League East. During their series in the Bronx last week, the Yankees hit 19 home runs off Blue Jays pitchers on their way to sweep. New York has already clinched a spot in the postseason. First pitch tonight is set for six-37 p-m.

Call for Chamber Awards Nominations

The Genesee County Chamber’s Annual Awards Committee has announced the “2020” Annual Award Ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at The Quality Inn & Suites, Park Road, Batavia. This 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

Alexander Central School officials aren’t really disputing the findings in a state audit of the district’s financial management. Auditors determined that while the board and district officials used $3.1 million in excess reserve funds as a financing source for a capital project, they did not do so in accordance with applicable statutes. Appropriations were overestimated by a total of $7 million from 2015-16 through 2018-19. An average of $500,000 of fund balance was appropriated each year, but was not used to finance operations. In addition, when unused appropriated fund balance is added back, surplus fund balance exceeded the limit each year by 2 to 3 percentage points. The Comptroller’s office said district officials generally agreed with the findings and recommendations and indicated they have initiated or planned to initiate corrective action.

A vehicle crash in Pembroke resulted in charges filed against a teenager. It happened on Alleghany Road. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said 18-year-old Jacob William Cobti wasn’t injured, but was issued tickets for leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving while ability impaired by alcohol and refusal to take a breath test. He’ll appear in town court October 21st for arraignment.

The Batavia Central School District, out with an important reminder for school families – On all days when your children are schooling from home, they are still eligible for school meals (breakfast and lunch). Meal pick-up takes place Monday through Friday any time between 9 -11:30 a.m. at both Jackson Primary (Hutchins Street bus loop only) and John Kennedy Intermediate (Vine Street/main office entrance). It doesn’t matter what school your child attends; choose whichever location is most convenient. If the time frame poses a hardship for your family, just call your child’s school principal.

Police in Rochester – a city rocked by protests over the death of Daniel Prude’s police suffocation death – continue to search for several gunmen who shot over 40-rounds into a crowd of partygoers after an argument broke out. Two teenagers, both 19-years old – died. Police say they were not the intended targets. 14 more people – ranging in age from 17 to 23 – were injured.

The Buffalo Bills, now at 2-0 on the season, on Sunday defeated the Miami Dolphins 31-28. Bills QB Josh Allen had multiple career highs, include touchdowns and yards passing. The game had some struggles…in the first half a power outage caused the TV feed to be lost. Then, in the second half play was halted due to a lightning delay.

Nobody was hurt but charges were filed following a vehicle crash on Jerico Road in Bergen. The Sheriff’s Office said 31-year-old Andrew Pape was behind the wheel at the time late Friday night. He was charged with felony DWI, refusal to submit to a breath test, suspended registration and more. He’ll appear in court November 4th.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is expanding online services, making it easier, he says, for New Yorkers to do business with the DMV from the comfort of their homes, and allowing the DMV to serve more customers in person who cannot complete their transactions online. The DMV has initiated a pilot program to offer the written learner permit tests for passenger cars (Class D) and motorcycles (Class M) online. It is also piloting a process to allow customers who reside in counties served by the state DMV to register their vehicles online.

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that several small game hunting seasons open Oct. 1 across New York State, including special youth hunts and new hunting opportunities for active-duty military members and veterans. Several special youth-only hunting seasons for pheasants and waterfowl occur prior to the start of the regular season. Season dates, bag limits, and other hunting regulations for New York’s small game species are available in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which can be obtained from a license-issuing agent or on DEC’s website.

Weekend News Brief

Both Congressman Chris Jacobs and his democrat opponent released statements after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was announced late Friday.  Jacobs praised her strength and how she had broken barriers for women and raised the standard for debate and discourse.  MacMurray said “There is nothing I can say that you don’t already know” and challenged voters to get 3 more people to register and vote for and donate to his campaign.

Your COVID Update:  Genesee county has 2 new cases breaking their almost week long streak of no new cases.  Orleans county has no new cases.  6 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 10 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans.  There are 2 active cases in Genesee county and 4 in Orleans.

Police are investigating after a party in Rochester ended in gunfire and death.  Early Saturday morning gunfire broke out at a party on Pennsylvania Ave leaving 2 dead and 14 injured.  Those killed were an man and woman near 20 years old.

Governor Cuomo is fighting a lawsuit over Coronavirus Nursing Home deaths.  The empire center submitted a request for accurate information about nursing home deaths due to COVID 19 through the freedom of information act.  Albany says that it lost the information after Dr. Howard Zucker director of the state department of health said he had the information available and ready to be put out.  The request turned into a lawsuit in August seeking the release of Health Emergency Response System Data.  The empire Center alleges that the department of health has been undercounting COVID-19’s impact on New York’s nursing home residents by excluding those who succumbed to the virus outside the facilities, including after being admitted to a hospital.

Congressman Chris Jacobs praised President Trump for the 14 Billion dollars the Department of Agriculture has just released for assistance to farmers Friday.  “With this additional $14 billion in coronavirus aid, farmers will be better equipped to weather the effects of the coronavirus and to continue to feed American families,” Jacobs said. “While this aid has helped the agriculture industry, more assistance is needed.” The $14 billion will support the second version of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, CFAP 2. The program was created to support growers and producers of agricultural commodities.

Afternoon News Briefing

NYS DEC logo – NYSFOLAThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that the ban on single use plastic bags is coming back.  On October 19th the DEC will start enforcing the march 1st ban which was suspended over concerns that reusable bags would expose workers to Covid 19.  Calling it “BYO bag NY” shoppers are encouraged to buy and use reusable bags when shopping.

The Batavia City Council has called a special meeting for this Tuesday night. Speculation is that the discussion will focus on the permanent selection of a city manager. The meeting will be in executive session. The public will be unable to attend.

Your Covid Update:  Still no new cases in Genesee or Orleans counties.  4 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 2 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans.  There are 0 active cases in Genesee county and 4 in Orleans.

Are you worried about how you will get to the voting booth this November?  The Independence express is providing free van service to early voting places or polling sites to disabled voters.  They have wheelchair accessible vehicles if needed.  This is a branch of independent living of western NY.  The dates they are offering services are October 24th-November 1st for early voting and on November 3rd to vote on election day.  They are also offering to hand deliver mail in ballots for anyone, with or without a disability to their board of elections.  To get a ride email transportation @wnyil.org with election day in the subject line or call Christian at 716 836 0822 extension 108.

Fall is coming in just a couple of days and the effects are already being felt.  A frost advisory is in effect tonight starting at midnight.  The National Weather Service issued a warning to safeguard plants that could be hurt by the low temperatures.  Frost is possible again late tomorrow night and could extend through Thursday (Sept. 24) for portions of Western, including Genesee County, and North Central New York.

The City of Batavia police department is warning of a scam involving someone calling from a Batavia number and claiming to be from the city.  They will call and say they need the person’s banking information in order to reimburse them for an overcharge on a utility.  Never give out your information over the phone and no utility company will call you demanding information.  The city only provides refunds in the form of a check.

Social Workers in Erie County are balking at the plan to put them on a team with police as part of the buffalo police departments behavioral health team.  More than 150 social workers and mental health professionals say that they can’t work with police because the ethics of the two groups do not align.  They demand a separate independent team to respond to mental health calls.  The program manager for the police team says that after a year of the pilot program in Cheektowaga the program has been successful and has not experienced any difficulties.

Morning News Briefing

Town of Batavia board members are facing a potential $1 million budget shortfall as they work to develop a spending plan for fiscal year 2021 that begins in January. Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post telling The Batavian ““Genesee County has allocated $8 million for revenue sharing next year, of which the Town of Batavia would get $1.3 million. That’s a million dollars less than what we budgeted to receive from the county in 2020.” Post said a substantial tax rate increase from the current $2.42 per thousand of assessed valuation is a distinct possibility.

Orleans County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating after two people were found dead in a home Thursday in the town of Ridgeway. James Payne, 60, and Shari Payne, 56, were found deceased in a home on North Gravel Road around 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Deputies say the couple was found by their son, who climbed through a window and found them. Deputies say there were gunshot wounds to both victims. One also had a knife wound. An AK-47 and a knife were reportedly found at the scene. They believe the deaths happened sometime between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday. The remains were sent to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, where autopsies will be performed. The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by the New York State Police in their investigation.

Nate McMurray, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 27th District, in a press release praised the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement that Western New York native, conspiracy theorist, fear monger, and embattled HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo would step aside from his role at HHS on a 60-day leave that extends through the November 3rd election. The Department also advised that Caputo’s aide, Paul Alexander, will leave his post at HHS permanently. McMurray said the President was beyond reckless to install Michael Caputo.

Genesee County health officials report they have received zero new positive cases of COVID-19. As of Thursday afternoon, four new individuals were on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Orleans County also received zero new positive cases of COVID-19. Two new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

The Castile man who pleaded guilty to attacking the Wyoming County sheriff in 2018 has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Lynn Hall appeared in court Thursday. In June, he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted murder for trying to kill Sheriff Greg Rudolph in December 2018.

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, representing New York and Massachusetts, want to cancel student loan debt for federal borrowers. On Thursday, they introduced a resolution that calls on the president to cancel up to $50,000 of student loan debt in an effort to heal the pandemic economy. The senate resolution outlines how the president can use executive authority to stimulate the economy through canceling these debts. The move would aid a labor force that is vulnerable to layoffs and furloughs, lift stalling real estate markets, increase graduation rates, and make it easier to take out a loan for a car, a piece of property, or starting a small business.

Afternoon News Brief

The Ellicot station housing development project has received 5.7 million dollars in incentives and low income tax credits and Buffalo developer Savarino says they are vital to moving the project forward.  Savarino tells WBTA there was stiff competition for the state Housing and Community Renewal Award.  The Ellicott Station project was first proposed four years ago and has already received grants and tax breaks of nearly six-million dollars.To date, nothing has been done on the site.

Your COVID update: Genesee and Orleans counties both had 0 new cases.  2 people have recovered in Genesee county and 1 person has recovered in Orleans.  20 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 7 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are now 0 active cases in Genesee county and 4 in Orleans.

The Buffalo Sabres are sending away Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild.  In his place they are receiving Eric Staal.  Staal currently ranks in the top 10 among active NHL players in career regular-season games played, goals, and points.  He was part of the Stanley Cup winning Carolina hurricanes in 2006.  Last season Staal made 47 points in 66 games compared to Johansson’s 9 points in 60 games.

Low risk sports have been approved for section 6. The Section’s Athletic Council voted Wednesday to move forward with fall sports after accepting the results of a post-card ballot.  These sports would include Cross County, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, girls swimming and girls tennis.  Many districts have decided to push back fall sports until the spring or just not have them this school year.

Morning News Briefing

The are no current COVID-19 cases impacting staff or students in the Batavia City School District. The state school tracker, updated daily, shows that among the total school population of 1,500 in four schools, zero have tested positive. The tracker however does show one positive this week in the LeRoy Central School District. That district has two schools with 736 total students and staff. Meanwhile, there are zero cases reporting in the Oakfield-Alabama, Pembroke and Byron-Bergen districts.

A couple from Rochester is facing multiple felony counts after deputies say they allegedly committed crime in Le Roy and Batavia. 29-year-old Jennifer Abrams and 47-year-old Tarus Fluitt have been charged with burglary, two counts of criminal mischief, attempted burglary and two counts of conspiracy…they’re all felony charges. The sheriff’s office said in a press release that early Wednesday the pair attempted to break-in to the Kwik Fill on West Main in Le Roy. They weren’t successful. They were, however, successful at forcibly entering Crosby’s gas station on Clinton Street Road in Batavia. A sheriff’s deputy caught the pair inside the store in the process of stealing $3,500 in cigarettes. They had also caused more than $1,500 in damaged. The pair was apprehended in a wooded area after they fled. Abrams was jailed on $10,000 cash bail. Fluitt also remains in custody. The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate this and similar incidents within recent weeks.

The Pavilion Central School District’s Board of Education has named three finalists for the district’s next superintendent. The school board president said she is pleased with the high-quality candidate pool and enthused about the potential the three finalists have to offer. The three finalists are Mary Kate Hoffman, Timothy McArdle and Paul Kesler. Hoffman is the principal of York Elementary School; McArdle currently serves as the principal of Le Roy Junior Senior High School and Kesler is the principal of Batavia High School. Stakeholder groups and the BOE will conduct the final round of interviews with the three candidates on Sept. 29 and 30 at the Pavilion Central School District. The BOE hopes to appoint the final candidate by early November.

Movie theaters are still waiting on reopening guidelines from New York State. Theaters have been closed since March and were expected by many to be part of phase four of reopening in late June. During a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state’s COVID-19 infection rate is still close to 1% to continue reopening more businesses. The governor says he understands the frustration.

A Rochester man has pleaded guilty in federal court to sex trafficking minors for cash. 26-year-old Quondall Davis entered his plea and now faces ten years to life in prison when he is sentenced November 18th. Prosecutors said the man, who is known as Hotdog, recruited two minor children to engage in commercial sex acts. The kids each engaged in commercial sex acts and gave a portion of the profits the defendant. Davis knew that both victims were under the age of 18.

New York State United Teachers – announcing – it has filed a lawsuit against the state over reductions in state school aid for districts across New York, seeking the release of money withheld in July, August and September and an injunction against future withholding of or delayed school funding payments. The lawsuit filed in Albany County Supreme Court challenges the constitutionality of the unilateral executive budgetary powers provided for the state Division of Budget as part of this year’s state budget process.

Contracts for school resource officers at the Byron-Bergen Central School District and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (BOCES) were approved this week by the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee. The committee endorsed memorandums of understanding that place county sheriff’s deputies in the schools. During its meeting, the committee also approved allocating $28,900 from the 1 percent sales tax fund to advance a capital project for improvements at the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Afternoon News Brief

Although Cuomo is not canceling Halloween this year the city of Batavia has some reminders for your spooky holiday.  No gatherings of over 50 people, masks that filter out droplets are still required if you are not keeping more than 6 feet distance, limit the number of hands that touch candy and other treats, and don’t go out if anyone in the family is experiencing symptoms.  All Halloween activities must be over by 9 o’clock on Halloween night.  The police department will be putting out specific guidelines.

The Batavia Town Planning Board has approved the plans for additions to the Imagination Station Child Care Center on Clinton rd and the HP Hood building on East Main Street.  The Day Care Center will be adding 2 classrooms, a 2800 square foot addition.  The HP Hood building is adding a 7200 square foot commercial grade cooler.

Your COVID update: Genesee county has no new cases and 1 person has recovered.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 1 person has recovered.  7 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 12 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are 2 active cases in Genesee county and 5 in Orleans.

Protesters in Rochester have set up camp, literally, outside city hall and are saying they won’t move until Mayor Lovely Warren resigns or is removed.  Police pushed people back but allowed them to remain on the sidewalks and a police spokesperson said that as long as they let people pass they are allowed to remain there.

Several hundred students gathered outside the Williamsville central school district office on Tuesday to protest the 100 percent online education model.  They chanted we want school and held signs.  The media was not allowed on school grounds to cover the protest so the students moved to the curb to talk to reporters and show the signs they carried.  Superintendent McKenna says they need to provide fair and equitable education for all 1400 students and they had to make an immediate decision.  Full online education was the only could they could make quickly.

Morning News Briefing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t ban trick-or-treating this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic). Many speculated that New York State may ban the annual Halloween tradition after officials in Los Angeles banned trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. Gov. Cuomo says that he doesn’t think banning trick-or-treating is appropriate.

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined Republican House members to unveil the Republican “Commitment to America” plan. The plan places emphasis on building small businesses and unleashing the American economy, returning safety to the streets and supporting law enforcement, strengthening educational opportunities, and investment in critical infrastructure, such as rural broadband. Jacobs says that throughout his public service career, he fully believes in the potential of Western New York.

The FBI academy says it is endorsing Bill Sheron for Genesee County Sheriff. As a law enforcement leader, the academy says Sheron has exemplified the motto of the FBI National Academy, “Knowledge, Courage, & Integrity”.
New York leaders say that six states have been removed from the State’s COVID-19 travel advisory. The states include California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio. Gov. Cuomo, while pleased…also says “Make no mistake: We must continue to be New York Tough and stay smart. Wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing is what tamed this beast in New York and we must keep it up.”

Court action is pending for a Churchville man who faces felony and other counts following his arrest by Genesee County sheriff’s deputies. 30-year-old Kyle Allen Hawley is charged with felony second-degree burglary along with lesser counts of criminal tampering and criminal mischief. In a press release, the sheriff’s department said members of the Probation Department took Hawley into custody on an active bench warrant. The investigation also found he had other active arrest warrants. He was arraigned and jailed without bail.

The Rochester City Council took action Tuesday night in the death of Daniel Prude last March in police custody. Council members voted unanimously to spend 100-thousand dollars on an independent investigation to find out what led to Prude’s death and how much city leaders, including the mayor, knew – before video of Prude’s arrest was released by a newspaper two weeks ago. That video has sparked daily protests since then – and the dismissal of city leaders, including the police chief.

Morning News Briefing

The recently formed Batavia Police advisory committee is set to meet for the first time September 24th. A quarter of the membership are members of ethnic minorities. The city was criticized for a lack of minority representation in the original make-up of the group. Brandon Armstrong, owner of Royals Barber Shop on Harvester Avenue, and one of four persons of color on the committee, says he wants to make a positive impact. The formal title of the group is the Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group. In June, Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order mandating statewide police reform. The advisory group has 20 members.

A healthcare facility in Batavia is one of 66 businesses, schools, and community-based organizations across the state to have been awarded nearly $9 million as part of the State’s historic Workforce Development Initiative. United Memorial Medical Center will be receiving needed funds. The grants are federally funded and will support job training opportunities across the State for more than 3,600 New Yorkers adapting to the post-COVID economy. There are over 100,000 job openings across the state from businesses looking to hire immediately. These workforce development grants will help provide workers training who want to gain the skills for new, fulfilling jobs.

The path to passing a City of Batavia Deer Management Plant plan – full of controversy, some changes and a bit of confusion – has become much clearer after the City Council approved a proposal giving its police department oversight of the operation. By a 5-2 vote, the Council endorsed an archery-only plan that puts management in the hands of police – understanding there will be overtime costs involved – and also allows only city employees to hunt on two parcels of city property and restricts hunting to antlerless-only deer in those two zones.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday announced that New York State’s COVID-19 infection rate has been below 1 percent for 38 straight days. As of Sunday afternoon, 0.92% of test results reported to New York State were positive. Cuomo said “New York’s government sets the tone for the state’s response to COVID-19, but New Yorkers drive it home. The positive test results for the Finger Lakes region, which includes Genesee County, stands at 0.8%…a slight uptick from Saturday’s numbers.
(as a follow-up)…The latest COVID-19 numbers for Genesee County: There were no new positive cases of the virus in the past 24 hours and four new individuals were placed on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. In Orleans County, one new positive case was reported– a person in their 50’s from Albion – 17 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel. Wyoming County reports two new positive cases.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding 18 varied properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. On the list for consideration… George and Addison Wheeler House, East Bloomfield in Ontario County – First listed on the National and State Register of Historic Places in 2005, the listing for this early 19th century residence and farm property is being expanded to include a historic barn that was recently acquired. Once the recommendations are approved, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

Darien Lake To Remain Closed, Bergen C-Store Robbed Again

Six Flags has announced that its parks in New York which include Darien Lake and Great Escape will not open any time in the 2020 season.  The announcement was made earlier today and a new banner is on the Six Flags Darien Lake and Great Escape websites explaining what this will mean for season ticket holders and members.  Darien Lake is one of the major employers in Genesee county making jobs for approximately a thousand people during the spring summer and fall.

Once again the C-Store in Bergen on rt 33 and 19 has been robbed.  Early this morning 2 people engaged in shoplifting at the store.  Police report that they are looking for a blue or black Hyundai or kia and two dark skinned males.  The C store previously had a rack of cigarettes stolen in a brazen smash and grab at 2am on September 2nd

Midday News Briefing

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch

The Batavia City Council tonight votes on a measure putting the police department in charge of culling the city’s deer population.
That plan was crafted by a citizen committee archers who spent several months drafting the rules for the hunt.
That citizen committee abruptly resigned en-masse in August citing a breakdown in communications with the city.
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch admits the department is still putting together procedures for enforcing the hunt:

Applications and selection for the hunt will be up to the police department.
There are five zones where hunting will be permitted, two of them are on city owned property and will be open only to city employees.


Genesee Community College says it currently has one student under COVID-19 precautionary isolation.
The college this morning clarified the student’s status.
The precautionary isolation applies to any students arriving from a foreign country and does not mean the student has or is suspected of having COVID-19.

New York State’s COVID-19 positive infection rate continues to remain below 1%, although barely. Gov. Cuomo says the rate currently stands at 0.99%…that’s the 37th straight day the rate has below 1%.

Batavia’s Board of Education meets tonight.
Superintendent Annibal  Soler  will provide members with a critique of today’s first day of class.
The meeting, held at the Batavia High School Library, begins at 6:30 p.m.

Drivers in Western New York are seeing a bit of savings at the pumps these days. The average cost for a gallon of regular in Batavia is now two-22. That’s down a penny from last week but is five cents more than this time a month ago.

Morning News Briefing

Genesee Community College says it currently has one student under COVID-19 precautionary isolation, which is routine for a student arriving from a foreign country.  The state SUNY tracker reports an estimated two positive cases in recent weeks. The college said it has eight rooms available for on-campus quarantine and one room is currently in use. Meanwhile, The Livingston County Department of Health and SUNY Geneseo reported a small cluster of positive COVID-19 cases among the student population on Sunday. Four female SUNY Geneseo students in their 20s who reside off-campus in the same house have tested positive for the virus.

An 88-year-old woman was rescued from flames that extensively damaged her Hartshorn Road home in the town of Batavia. The Saturday night blaze was discovered by East Pembroke Fire Chief Don Newton. Newton immediately called for a second alarm which brought firefighters from the Town of Batavia, Corfu, Darien and Alexander. The unidentified woman was rushed to ECMC in Buffalo…her condition this morning is unknown. Investigators have not ruled a cause of the blaze but they said they are suspicious of an electrical outlet on the porch. Genesee County Fire Coordinator Tim Yeager credited a swift, team response, for the successful outcome.

New York State’s COVID-19 positive infection rate continues to remain below 1%, although barely. Gov. Cuomo says the rate currently stands at 0.99%…that’s the 37th straight day the rate has below 1%. According to the governor, the numbers continue to reflect the work of New Yorkers, who ultimately flattened the curve. Genesee is in the Finger lakes region, which has a positive rate of 0.60%. However, the Western New York has a rate that has climbed to 2%.

Accepting a federal grant is on the agenda when the Batavia City Council business meeting gavels into session at 7 p.m. tonight. The Council will be asked to approve a resolution to amend the fire department budget to acknowledge a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant of nearly $69,000. Lawmakers will also vote on three other measures involving the fire department and the receipt of various grants.

Police in schools will be one of the topics discussed this afternoon when the Genesee County Public Service Committee meets at 4:30 p.m. The session will lead off with a discussion of revised Memorandum of Understandings involving School Resource Officers for Byron-Bergen and Genesee Valley Educational partnership. The meeting will also include a potential amendment to the Public Safety Radio System maintenance agreement.

The investigation continues after four people were hurt when two vehicles collided Saturday night on Bliss Road in the Town of Oakfield. Deputies identified the drivers as 32-year-old Jason Klinkbeil of Alabama and 20-year-old Triston Guthrie of Wilson. Deputies said Klinkbeil was detained for suspected impaired operation by drugs. Charges are pending a blood test.

Batavia’s Board of Education meets tonight and the Superintendent will provide members with an opening day presentation. According to the agenda, the Board will accept the resignation of a long-term substitute 5th grade teacher and well as leave of absence requests from eight staffers. The meeting, held at the Batavia High School Library, begins at 6:30 p.m.

Genesee Community College Associate Professor of History, Derek D. Maxfield appeared on C-SPAN Saturday sharing what his research uncovered about the excruciating conditions at a POW camp in Elmira, NY. Maxfield became an expert on the subject while writing his first book, “HELLMIRA: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp – Elmira, NY” which explores this notorious time period in the history of Elmira.

Weekend News Brief

The members of the Batavia city police advisory group have been announced.  This 18 member group was mandated by an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of his police reform initiatives.  The group includes the interim city manager and members of the city council as well as representatives from community groups, churches, legal representatives and police.  The goal of the group is to open dialogue about how the police can be made more effective and work more closely with and develop better ties with the community.  Leroy and Corfu police departments are set to discuss creating an advisory group in upcoming board meetings.

Covid update: Genesee county had no new cases and 3 people recovered.  Orleans County has no new cases.  There are 12 new people on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 6 in Orleans.  There are 4 active cases in Genesee county and 6 in Orleans.

With mask mandates across all of New York state for entering buildings and going to work one area was apparently exempt, New York City mass transit.  The area of the state that had the most cases of COVID 19 and the most deaths was allowing riders on subways, trains and busses to go unmasked but that is going to change on Monday.  There will now be a 50 dollar fine if riders refuse to mask up on the MTA.  Governor Cuomo has said that the MTA is very safe, most people were masking anyway and they are disinfecting the vehicles and cars once a day.

With Williamsville central school district suffering a mass resignation of teachers and staff over coronavirus fears the school district decided to move to a 100 percent online educating format for grades 5-12. This move did not sit well with parents and dozens gathered outside the office of the school to protest on Thursday and Friday.  They want the schools to at least allow students in class two days a week. Superintendent John Mckenna says that they just don’t have the staff right now and that the current plan is for 5 and 6th graders to be back in school in November and 7-12th graders to be back in January.

State health department commissioner Howard Zucker has said that the state is considering making getting a flu shot mandatory for all students to help make the flu season smaller especially with COVID 19 still going around.  Massachusetts already requires all students to roll up their sleeves for the shot.  Zucker says they are trying to make sure they don’t disenfranchise anyone who doesn’t want to get a flu shot.

Afternoon News Brief

With the deer management committee gone the Batavia city police department will be put in charge of handling the overgrown population of pests in the city of Batavia.  The police will select an officer to take point on the management and will handle applications, qualify participants, and schedule when they can cull the herd.  There are a couple of changes to the plan that was formulated by a group of 5 and submitted on August 3rd.  That group abruptly resigned august 13th after having reportedly grown frustrated with a lack of communication from the city council after the resignation of the city manager.  Some changes include hunters needing to reside within the city of Batavia or be a member of the federation of sportsmen or be a city employee and any language .about the deer management committee being changed.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has released the results of his annual survey of residents in his district and it shows that western NY and Albany don’t agree about several things. 93 percent of those surveyed were against the new bail reforms which have released criminals back onto the streets sometimes to go on and recommit those crimes within hours of being arrested, 88 percent were against the green light laws which made it so illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants could get drivers licenses, 97 percent did not want those same people to be able to vote and 87 percent did not want felons to be able to vote.  The “Two New York’s solution” which would presumably split NYC off from New York State had support of 81 percent or western New Yorkers.

Northgate Free Methodist Church is starting up its small group programs once again.  The church on Bank St has many help groups for those dealing with grief, divorce, addiction and also has mothers of preschoolers.  Check their website or The Batavian for details about these groups.  Whatever life throws at you, there is no reason you have to go it alone

Morning News Briefing

Starting next week, many jobless New Yorkers are going to get some extra cash in their wallets.
That’s because the state is going to be paying out a new 300 dollar weekly federal unemployment benefit.
The state Labor Department says the additional funds will be paid in addition to regular jobless benefits.

Deputies arrest a Batavia man for allegedly stealing from various stores along Veteran’s Memorial Drive.
36 year old Joseph Freeman of East Main Street in the city was charged with possession of stolen property and falsifying business records.
Freeman was issued court appearance tickets and released.

On the campaign trail: Sheriff Bill Sheron picks up the endorsement of LeRoy Police Chief Chris Hayward.
Hayward calls Sheron a strong advocate for school safety and maintaining constitutional rights including the right to bear arms.

The LeRoy Village Green nursing home has started in-person visits by families and friends.
The in-person visits started a month ago and are allowed on Tuesday’s and Thursdays. Appointments are needed and each appointment can last 30-minutes and are limited to two visitors at a time.
The state banned outside visitors last March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the latest report from the county health department: there were no new cases of coronavirus in Genesee County.
25 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from a restricted state.
Two individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19.

After a concerning spike in infections, the coronavirus positivity rate is starting to trend downwards in Western New York.
The latest numbers from state health officials show only one-point-three percent of people screened for the illness on Wednesday received a positive result.
Recently that number was around two-percent which made it the highest in New York State.
In Genesee County, part of the Finger Lakes region, the positivity rate has been below one-half of one percent.

The Buffalo Bills will be taking the field for the first time in the 2020 season this weekend.
They’ll be clashing with their longtime AFC East rivals the New York Jets at Bills Stadium.
Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is set for one p-m, but due to concerns over the coronavirus, no fans will be in the stands.

Morning News Briefing

The start of the high school football is being pushed back.
The State Public High School Athletic Association says that football can begin March 1st.
The decision was made due to ongoing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
The push back of football also applies to volleyball and cheer leading.
As a result of fall high-risk sports being moved, the start date for the spring sports season has been adjusted to April 19, 2021.
The revised season for football, volleyball and fall competitive cheer will be known as “Fall Sports Season II”

A crowd of a couple hundred has taken to Rochester’s streets once again to march for the eighth night in a demand for justice for Daniel Prude.
The president of the Rochester police union is calling for Mayor Lovely Warren to step down amid the turmoil of the last week that culminated in the entire command staff of the Rochester Police Department retiring or reducing their rank, including the chief.

Erie County health officials say they’ve been able to pinpoint the age group mostly responsible for an increase in coronavirus cases. Among people tested last week, 42 percent of those who received a positive result were between the ages of 18 and 22. The Erie County Executive says that’s concerning considering how many college-aged people there are in the region right now.

Two new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County over the past 24 hours.
Both cases come from Batavia, one individual is in their 50s and one is in their 90s.
One of the positive individuals is hospitalized.

A $1.5-million development of an old Downtown Batavia building gets approved for tax incentives.
Dr. Kumar Neppalli has proposed renovation a three story building at 99 Main Street.
The renovation and redevelopment of the 7,500-square-foot building, which was built in 1865, includes a new storefront, façade, and reconstruction of the existing three floors.
The 150 year old building most recently housed the Main Attraction beauty Shop.
The project will receive tax breaks of about $63,000.

National Grid is going to have to answer some questions about its proposed electric rate increases.
The state Public Service Commission is planning on holding a series of hearings about the plan that would raise the average customer’s bill by eight dollars a month.
National Grid says the hike is needed to offset losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hearings will be streamed online, the first one is scheduled for September 30th,
More information is available on the PSC website.

Morning News Briefing

They are letting the slot reels spin at Batavia Downs.
Doors are scheduled to open at 8 this morning following six months of a state ordered shut down.
All patrons will undergo temperature checks and must be wearing face coverings.
There will be markings on the floor to help maintain social distancing. Certain restaurants and bars will be open but must be consumed inside the restaurant.
There will be more than 120 hand sanitizing stations throughout the gaming floor. The Downs must operate within a 25 percent capacity limit.

UPDATE:  Del Lago casino in Waterloo has announced it will re-open at 2p.m. today.
Indian run casinos have been open for several weeks,  with similar safety protocols.

COVID-19 positive cases in Genesee County increase by four. The cases come from Batavia, Byron, Elba and Pembroke.
One of the positive cases is hospitalized.
In Orleans County, there were 10 new positive cases of the virus reported.

Gasoline prices drop just a bit in Batavia. The latest Triple-A report shows the average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia is $2.22 a gallon – down two cents since last week.

Protests over the death of Daniel Prude continued for a seventh straight night in Rochester.
At one point, demonstrators painted the word “murderer” outside the Public Safety Building and the word “resign” near City Hall.
Prude died back in March several days after being involved in an incident with police.

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has announced he’s retiring.
Singletary has been under fire lately for how the department has handled the aftermath of Daniel Prude’s death.
In a statement, Singletary, who has been chief since 2019, says the actions of some people over the last few days have been aimed at ruining his reputation.

Batavia Downs to Re-open This Morning

News Release

Officials at Batavia Downs Gaming today announced that in accordance with the state’s guidelines for reopening, Batavia Downs Gaming will once again be open beginning at 8am on Wednesday, September 9th.

Upon arrival, all guests of Batavia Downs will undergo a temperature checks and must have on a face covering.  Clear markings on the floor will indicate where patrons may go in order to maintain safe social distancing.  Select Restaurants and Bars will be open and patrons may enjoy food and drink inside those restaurants.

Batavia Downs will be increasing the rigor of cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the facility.  They will also be increasing the number of shifts and hours of their environmental service team to maintain the desired level of cleanliness upon reopening.  There will be over 120 hand sanitizing stations located on the gaming floor, event spaces and in all the restaurants.

Batavia Downs asks that guests looking to visit wash or sanitize their hands frequently and always after visiting the restroom. They should wipe down frequently used personal items such as their phone and glasses.  If someone is feeling ill or has felt ill recently, they ask that you remain home until you are feeling better.

“We are so looking forward to welcoming back our guests,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs. “Our staff is working diligently on providing a safe, secure entertainment environment for everyone to return to and enjoy.”

Updates on the reopening can be found on their Facebook page or on www.bataviadownsgaming.com

Morning News Briefing

Night six of racial unrest in Rochester.
The crowd may have been slightly smaller than this past weekend but the message was clear, justice for Daniel Prude
Rochester Police made no arrests, despite a few tense moments between protesters and officers dressed in riot gear.
The protests have garnered national attention, including from President Donald Trump, who tweeted that Rochester was one of three cities to have a “bad night.”
Mayor Lovely Warren said the president was trying to “bait people to act with hate and incite violence.”

The numbers are in, and Western New York continues to have the highest coronavirus positivity rate in New York State.
Of the people who were screened for the illness Sunday, just under two-percent of them received a positive result.
Remember, for these purposes, Genesee and Orleans counties are in the Finger Lakes Region where the positivity rate has been below a half of a percent.
Meanwhile, the statewide positivity rate has been under one-percent for 31 consecutive days.

Governor Cuomo has signed off on a bill aimed at protecting workers during future health emergencies. The legislation requires all public employers to come up with proposals that address certain criteria such as a list of positions considered essential, PPE protocols and what happens if an employee is exposed to disease.
The plans must be submitted within 150 days and have to be finalized by April 1st, 2021.

It was a natural gas leak that caused Oak Street to close for about a half hour on Labor Day.
City Fire and Police responded to Los Compardres Mexican Tacqueria at 40 Oak Street last night.
Police closed the area of all Oak Street to all traffic and minutes later closed it to just tractor trailer trucks.
The building was ventilated and the street was reopened just before 9p.m.

Casinos across New York have one just more day to prepare for the return of gamblers.
Starting tomorrow, state-operated casinos will welcome visitors back for the first time in months. This includes Batavia Downs Gaming.
Casinos were shut down earlier this year in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. As you’d expect, there will be health and safety precautions in effect such as capacity limits and masks will be mandatory.

Morning News Briefing


Top 3 Stories

Rochester Mayor and Police Chief refuse to resign

Protests continue in Rochester

Batavia Man Arrested for Rape


At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief La’Ron Singletary doubled down on their intention to stay in office and commit to making changes, despite growing calls for them to resign.

People at the helm of the protests in Rochester and other community leaders have expressed their desire to see the mayor and police chief resign immediately following the death of Daniel Prude, who died after an encounter with Rochester Police officers on March 23. The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office later ruled his death a homicide.


People are continuing to make their voices heard and demanding justice for Daniel Prude.  Folks spent their Labor Day weekend marching through Rochester, and they gathered on Jefferson Avenue where the incident with Prude and the police began.  Officials say that 11 people were arrested and three officers were injured in gatherings on Friday night.  Prude died after being physically restrained and injured by Rochester Police officers back in March.


Batavia Police arrested 31 year old Justin Gladney of North Spruce street after an investigation of an incident that occurred in June at a home at 10 Lehigh avenue.  Gladney was charged with Rape in the 2nd degree and possessing a sexual performance by a child.  Gladney was held on 20k bail and 80k Bond and will be back in BCC on 10/1.


  • Genesee County received one new positive case of COVID-19.
    • The new positive case resides in Batavia.
    • The positive individual is in their 40s.
    • The individual was not on quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Twelve new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. 
  • Orleans County received two new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The two positive individuals are located at the Albion Correctional Facility.
    • One of the positive individuals is in their 30s and one is in their 50s.
    • Four new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.


On Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Genesee County 4-H Program announced that 13 local youths completed their National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Certification on Saturday, Aug. 22nd.

The NSTMOP Tractor Safety Certification allows youth age 14 and 15 years of age to legally operate farm equipment for hire.

The program includes training on farm safety, tractor safety, tractor operation and other related topics. After completing the training course, youth are required to pass a written knowledge test and driving test to receive the certification.

Two Die in Thruway Crash

Two people have died as a result of a collision early this morning on the state thruway between Henrietta and LeRoy.

The crash occurred in the westbound lane of the I-90 when a tractor trailer suddenly made a U-turn,over multiple lanes. A westbound vehicle traveling behind the big rig then crashed into of back of the trailer tearing the roof off the vehicle.

The man driving that vehicle was killed instantly, a female passenger was taken to Strong Hospital where she later died.
Troopers said the tractor trailer driver then left the scene and later stopped at a hotel parking lot on Jefferson Road in Henrietta where he apparently pulled a piece of wreckage off the truck. That debris was later found by lawmen.

The crash closed the thruway for several hours this morning between Henrietta and Leroy.

The names of the dead have not been released.

Morning News Briefing

Breaking News: A multi-vehicle crash has closed the state Thruway this morning between Henrietta and LeRoy. The closure affects the westbound lane between exists 47 and 46. There are injuries…first responders at the scene right now. Updates on WBTA 100.1 or  1490

Let the slots spin at Batavia Downs Gaming – the Downs will reopen on Wednesday. The official word came down from Albany mid-day yesterday.
There will be restrictions. The Downs will be limited to operating at 25 percent capacity. Patrons and staff must wear face coverings and be socially distanced at all times.
Working slot machines will be placed at least six feet apart.
No food or beverages will be allowed on the gaming floor.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office looking for a suspect jonsing for a smoke who entered the Bergen C Store.
Deputies described the heist early Wednesday morning as a smash and grab. The store was closed at the time.
Deputies said all that was taken were cigarettes.
Deputies asking for help from the public to solve the case.

One new positive case of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County….a person in their 20s living in Batavia.
14 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from a restricted state.

Eight protesters were arrested and two Rochester Police officers were injured after demonstration in downtown Rochester.
Demonstrators gathered last night in memory of Daniel Prude who died March 30 a week after an encounter with Rochester police.
The officers were injured last night when rocks and bottles were thrown at them. Those officers needed medical attention and were hospitalized but have since been treated and released.

Towns and villages across Genesee County are running out of cash. They have been waiting for their annual share of county revenues.
A county legislature committee has proposed a 44-percent decrease in the share the county had originally planned to distribute before the pandemic hit.
The original allocation was about $14-million, the recommended share has been reduced to $8-million. The full legislature needs to act on the measure..

Casinos Can Reopen Next Week, Rochester in Turmoil

Governor Cuomo announced earlier today that casinos across New York may reopen on Wednesday September 9th.  Attendance will be limited to 25 percent capacity and there will be no table games unless there are partitions between players.  Social distancing will be expected between players at the slots.  Batavia downs has a maximum capacity of 3000 people so 750 will be allowed in the building at one time.  The president of Batavia downs gaming Henry Wojtaszek, says that new air filters, plastic barriers and arrows on the floor have all already been installed.

Rochester is in the national news today after video showing the arrest of Daniel Prude, a man who was restrained during his arrest by an officer putting his knee on his back and neck and passing out during the arrest went viral.  Prude died a week later.  Community leaders in Rochester are calling for the resignation of the mayor, the chief of police and the firing and arrest of the officers involved.  Reverend Lewis Stewart of First Church of God in Rochester said that if they don’t get the justice they demand then they will impose their own justice, the peoples justice.  State Attorney General Letitia James says her office is taking over the case.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia Town Board OK’s an application for two $750,000 state grants that if approved, will give a boost to the new occupants of the town’s former yogurt makers.
The Community Renewal Block Grant will benefit Upstate Niagara Cooperative which has taken over the former Alpina Foods facility in the Agribusiness Park on East Main Street.
Another $750,000 application would benefit a multi-million dollar project at the H P Hood company plant, the former location of the Quaker-Mueller plant.
The Alpina building has been vacant for 18 months. The Hood project and the Alpina project are expected to create about 50 new jobs each.

New York is recording its 26th day straight of COVID-19 infection rates below one percent.
The Western New York region is the only region in the state to report positive test results above one percent. The western region includes Erie and Niagara counties.
Genesee and Orleans Counties are part of the Finger Lakes Region which has had a positive COVID-19 rate below a half-percent.

Genesee County has posted no new positive cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours.
Same is true for Orleans County.
A total of 10 new individuals from the two counties are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Customs and Border Protection officers are announcing a major counterfeit money bust. Officers stopped a vehicle at the Peace Bridge earlier this week for making a wrong turn.
The driver did not provide a proper ID, and his vehicle was searched. Officers found $4,700 in counterfeit $100 bills stashed in the door. The case was turned over to Homeland Security investigations.

Afternoon News Brief

If you are voting by absentee ballot you can now ask for a ballot online through a state website.  If you are a registered voter you can request a ballot by going to absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov.  This is part of Governor Cuomo’s reform which had 5 sections, including changing the envelopes and election boards sending out more information about deadlines and instructions.  A person is allowed to vote both in person and by absentee and the boards of elections are supposed to set aside the mail in ballot if a person votes in person.

There is a new phone scam to be on guard against.  Scammers call people and claim to be covid contact tracers.  They say the person was exposed and that they need to pay for a testing kit and if you don’t then you could be fined.  They may also send you a text with a link to follow.  Real contact tracers will only ask your name and date of birth for identification purposes and will never ask for bank information or credit card numbers or your social security number.  There are no fees for tracing or testing.

A 6 year old girl, Talia Jones, has been found safe in Buffalo after being abducted from California last June by her mother who did not have legal custody and the national center for missing and exploited children say the A and E program Live PD is to thank for it.  A viewer recognized the pair after an episode in may and called authorities.  Live PD was canceled after protests against police in June but the show host and crew say it will be coming back perhaps on another channel.  The mother was arrested and Talia is in the care of Erie county department of social services.

New Lighting Complete at Old County Courthouse

Representatives of Lighting Design Innovations and Cedar Street Sales and Rentals are pleased to announce the completion of the third phase of the feature lighting at the Old Genesee County Courthouse site in Batavia.

The firms sponsored the donation of lighting design activities and lighting system luminaires, components, and advanced control system to accentuate the building façade and its location in the cityscape by lighting the courthouse corners with RGBW color changing LED luminaires. The advanced lighting control system allows the County to program coordinated colored light displays for the new courthouse corner lights and the cupola, which received its color changing light as the first phase of the project. Initial system programming and controller training was sponsored by Vertex Lighting Solutions.

The illuminated façade of the Old Genesee County Courthouse is the backdrop for the new white LED lighting that was provided for the Soldiers’, Sailors’, and Marines’ Monument as the second phase of this project. The monument lighting was unveiled Memorial Day 2019 in time for the monument’s centennial, celebrated in August of 2019.

Although the final phase implementation was temporarily delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, County personnel worked with the consultants to complete the work in time to be shared with the community for Labor Day 2020.

Morning News Briefing

Library directors from across Genesee County say a pandemic is no time to cut their finding.
Directors of the six public libraries in the county made their case before a county legislature committee yesterday to maintain the county’s financial contribution.
The libraries together received $42,000 in county funding this year.
The usage of public libraries increase substantially during an economic downturn.


99 Main St., Batavia

An investment of $1.2-million is planned to breathe new life into a 150 year old downtown Batavia building.
Dr. Kumar Neppali, a buffalo dentist with an office on Jackson Street in Batavia, is planning to completely rehab a building at 99 Main Street that last housed the Mane Attraction Beauty Shop.
Neppali’s plan calls for a whole new façade on the , a first floor space for his own practice, commercial space on the second floor and two residential units on the third floor.
The roof of the three story building will feature outdoor living space, a first for the city.
Officials expect construction to begin before the end of the year.

A note for motorists on Oak St. near Prospect Ave:
Expect traffic to be slowed during water main repairs today.
There will be lane restrictions and alternate traffic patterns. Work is slated to begin this morning at 8 and should be completed by late this afternoon.

New York has added travelers from two states back to the list of people who must quarantine after arriving in the State.
Travelers coming from Alaska and Montana will again need to quarantine themselves for two weeks so they don’t potentially infect people with coronavirus.

The latest COVID numbers for Genesee County:
There have been two new positive cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours….one from Batavia, one from Byron.
Eight new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

There is a Salvation Army food distribution this morning.
It will be held at City Church St. Anthony’s site on Liberty Street beginning at 9 this morning

President Trump says he has his eye on winning his native New York in the upcoming presidential election.
During an interview with Fox News, Mister Trump expressed confidence he could pick up the state’s 29 Electoral College votes in November.
Back in 2016, the president won 45 of New York’s 62 counties, but was still beaten by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

GCEDC to take Up New Dental Office

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) board of directors will consider final approval for a building renovation project in the city of Batavia at its September 3, 2020 board meeting.

Neppalli Holdings, LLC is proposing to invest approximately $1.165 million to renovate a three-story building at 99 Main Street in downtown Batavia. The renovation and redevelopment of the 7,500 sq. ft. building, which was built in 1865, would include a new storefront, façade and reconstruction of the existing three floors.
A dental practice will reside on the first floor with the second floor being developed for commercial office space. The third floor will include 2 two-bedroom market-rate apartments.

Neppalli Holdings, LLC is the latest transformation building renovation project to proceed in downtown Batavia through Governor Cuomo’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

The project is requesting sales and mortgage tax benefits totaling $63,500.
The GCEDC Board meeting will take place on Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 4 p.m. Because of the COVID19 pandemic the meeting will be conducted via conference and on-line at www.gcedc.com.

Morning News Briefing

Human remains discovered in Geneseo earlier this year have been identified as missing fugitive David Clyde Morgan.
The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says his body was found in a wooded area near Cuylerville Road back on February 23rd.
Police had been searching for Morgan after he threatened an officer during a 2018 traffic stop and ran away. An autopsy revealed Morgan took his own life.

Two more people have been charged in the prostitution case involving Suzanne Corona. 28 year old Paula Pierce of State St and 26 year old David Schmieder of Silver Rd in Bethany were arrested in connection with the case.
Pierce is charged with prostitution and Schmieder is charged with patronizing a prostitute. Police say the encounter occurred at Corona’s home on Osterhaut Avenue.
Corona is charged with arranging the meeting between Pierce and Schmeider and setting the fee for services rendered.

National Grid customers could be digging deeper into their wallets to pay their electric bills next year. The utility company is considering a rate hike that would add an average of eight-dollars to a person’s monthly bill. National Grid had planned to increase rates earlier, but held off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest proposed increase would likely go into effect in July of next year.

While the statewide COVID-19 infection rate continues to hover around one-percent, that might not be the case much longer.
State health officials say there will likely be an increase in cases as kids return to school in the coming days.
That will put each district’s coronavirus response plan to the test and if there are enough infections at a school, it could be shut down.

Genesee County’s COVID-19 numbers: Three new positive cases in the past 24 hours. The new positive cases are from Batavia and Bergen.

Games haven’t even started yet but some changes are already being made to high school sports.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced the start of winter sports will be pushed back two weeks to November 30th. The hope is that will give the fall sports season enough time to finish up. Meanwhile, sports with a low risk of coronavirus transmission such as soccer, cross-country and field hockey can start practice September 21st.

Afternoon News Brief

A large solar farm to be built in Byron is drawing the ire of several members of the community.  The 280 megawatt 1600 acre solar farm is meeting opposition in the form of petitions and surveys saying it will destroy the community.  Byron Resident Jim Lamkin has organized the Byron Association against solar and explained to Our new partner the Batavian that “It will change our town forever by wasting valuable farmland. Solar panels will be put adjacent to their properties and those homeowners won’t receive any tangible benefits.”  Responding to these points Former Genesee county legislator Craig Lunker says that the solar farm is a great benefit for the town and will create a revenue source where Byron has very little.

2 more people have been charged in the prostitution case involving Suzanne Corona of Osterhout ave.  28 year old Paula pierce of state st and 26 year old David Schmieder of silver rd in Bethany were arrested in connection to the case.  Pierce is charged with prostitution and Schmieder is charged with patronizing a prostitute and criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Police were alerted by a member of Corona’s household to a possible trespassing incident on August 19th and began the investigation.

September 1st is national poll worker recruitment day and the new York state board of elections is looking for workers.  A Poll workers job description now includes enforcing social distancing and sanitizing voting equipment.  They anticipate a shortage of workers and are asking for people to step up and help with the voting process.

The deadline is midnight for prospective students to apply for the Excelsior Scholarship to receive no-cost tuition to SUNY and CUNY colleges and universities.  State officials say that anyone with a household income under 125 thousand can be eligible for the scholarships but the pandemic may effect how much money they have to give out.  This means scholarship awards may have to be reduced and would likely not cover the full cost of tuition.

Morning News Briefing

Suzanne Corona (2010 Photo)

Suzanne Corona, the notorious Batavia woman who made international headlines a decade ago when arrested for adultery, has just been arrested for promoting prostitution at her home.
Suzanne is now 51 and has been charged for allowing prostitution at her Ousterhout home on August 19th.
Suzanne made international news 10 years ago when she was arrested by Batavia Police on a rarely used charge of adultery.
At the time Corona was accused of having sex with a man on a picnic table in Farrell Park. The man was not her husband.
It was in broad daylight and children were nearby.
The charge was eventually dropped when Suzanne pled guilty to a charge of public lewdness.
She was later accused of trashing a buffet table at a downtown restaurant, a pair of shoplifting arrests and a felony drug conviction in 2015 that earned her a year and a half in jail.

A Bergen man tries to outrun a train, and losses the race.
Deputies say Timothy Brady of Bergen drove around an activated railroad barrier late Friday night, then the train came, smashed into the car and burst into flame.
When first responders arrived, they couldn’t find Brady.
He survived the crash and fled the scene on foot. He was arrested a short time later and charged driving without a license, leaving the scene and drunk driving.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputy and K-9 handler Chris Erion is retiring.
Erion has served for 20 years and says it’s time for what comes next in his life. He leaves behind his K-9 partner Frankie who will be paired with a new partner in the coming weeks.
Chris Erion is 45 and was not only recognized for his work in law enforcement but as a goodwill ambassador for the sheriff’s office. He made hundreds of appearances with his K-9s for school children, civic groups and events throughout the county.

New data shows New York State still has the upper hand in the battle against coronavirus.
100,000 test results were received on Saturday, and showed infection rate once again remained below one percent.
In the Finger Lakes region, which includes Genesee County, the average positivity rate from Thursday until Saturday was around half a percent.

Casino operators across the state are expected to find out soon when they’ll be able to reopen their doors. Governor Cuomo says an update will come sometime this week. State-operated casinos were shut down in March as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Casinos run by Native Americans have reopened, but with several health and safety guidelines in place.

Drivers in Western New York are dealing with a significant jump in gas prices as of late. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular is $2.33. That’s an eight-cent increase in the past week.
Batavia’s average is about $2.28 a gallon.

Afternoon News Brief

With the declaration by President Trump of the FDA approving the emergency use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID 19 doctors are urging all eligible donors to give.  Eligible donors are people who have contracted and recovered from the coronavirus.  The plasma has antibodies that help the body fight off the coronavirus.  Although there are some who doubt its effectiveness, especially with the president touting it as an effective treatment, the FDA and Mayo clinic say it is safe and helps most patients with the recovery.

Governor Cuomo has announced new guidelines for colleges. Very much like his announcement about public schools, Cuomo said if any college confirms 100 positive cases or a number of cases equal to 5% or more of the campus population, they will be required to switch to remote learning for two weeks.

Your COVID 19 update:  Genesee county has no new cases and one person has recovered.  Orleans county has 1 new case.  3 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county.  There are now 2 active cases in Genesee and 3 active cases in Orleans counties.

Erie County is in the spotlight for having a positivity rate of over 1 percent with 4200 tests taken and 45 positive results yesterday.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the caution flag in Western New York will be raised a little higher and that he is sending in the state department of health swat team and open up 8 new testing sites including 3 in the city of buffalo.  A food manufacturing plant in Chautauqua county is thought to be a center for many of the cases.

Superintendents across New York state called on the governors office to delay the start of school sports with a letter from the New York State council of Superintendents.  They would like school sports delayed until January 1st 2021.  Governor Cuomo responded yesterday with a rare move of putting the ball back in their court by saying the decision was up to the schools.  “If a school superintendent doesn’t want to do it, then don’t do it,” said Cuomo. “We won’t mandate them to play.”

New York State Fair may not be happening this year but there is a virtual option.  The American Dairy Association North East will still be making the butter sculpture and will release a time lapse video of its creation September 1st.  The New York Animal Agricultural Coalition will be visiting farms and live streaming cow births.  Several fair food options are available for drive thorough at the fairgrounds orange lot in Syracuse.  Although none of this is on the Fair’s website, check their social media page for contests and events.

Morning News Briefing

National Fuel,  the natural gas utility for most of us, is warning customers of a new telephone scam.
Seems someone is calling local customers saying they must pay their gas bill, over the phone within 45 minutes or their gas will be shut off.
The company says it is all a scam. Just hang up.

New York State is changing the requirements for a school district to be closed – once they reopen.
One thing changing is the threshold for positivity rates in the region. Schools were mandated to close if the positivity rate of COVID-19 went above 9 percent. The new threshold now it is 5 percent.

Genesee County’s coronavirus report for the past 24 hours:
No new positive cases. Three new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from a restricted state.

Unemployment in Genesee County reaches 10.6 percent this July…up from just 3.5 percent a year ago. Major factor: the closing of Batavia Downs and Darien Lake Theme Park. The park alone employs over a thousand people each summer.

Authorities in Livingston County are investigating a stolen school bus.
Earlier this week deputies responded to a location on East Avon – Lima Road where they found an empty school bus with Pennsylvania license plates.
Turns out it was stolen from a bus company in Sarver, P-A.
Further investigation led to the arrest of 30 year old Justin Preedom. He’s been charged with a felony count of possession of stolen property.
Deputies said Preedom told them he took the bus to drive back to his home in Avon.

Keep an eye out for a free ice cream sandwich…courtesy of the Census.
The ice Cream bus – belonging to Community Action of Genesee and Orleans – will be driving through various neighborhoods to encourage residents to fill out their census forms if they haven’t done so already.
If you do – you get an ice cream sandwich.
The bus is equipped with Chromebooks and free WiFi so you can fill out the census form online.
The ice cream bus will be out two days a week through September.
Just over a third of Genesee County households have yet to respond to the census.

Scams and Schools

If you get a call from national Fuel saying they are about to disconnect your gas, hang up.  The gas company is warning customers that there is a new scam going around where people are called by someone saying they are a representative of National Fuel and threatening to shut off their gas within 45 minutes if they don’t pay over the phone.  A press release from National Fuel says “Customers are reminded that National Fuel DOES NOT disconnect gas service without following its proper collections procedures, including multiple attempts to contact customers via the mail, phone, or in the field. National Fuel DOES NOT force phone payments as the only payment option and DOES NOT request bill payment by prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.”  If you get this scam call please phone 18003653234 and report it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he is changing the requirements for a school district to be re closed in the empire state.  One thing changing is the threshold for positivity rates in the region.  Schools were mandated to close if the positivity rate of covid 19 went above 9 percent, now it is 5 percent.  In New York City it is 3 percent.  He also said if there are 100 cases in one day in a region that schools would have to go to mandatory 2 week online only learning.

Morning News Briefing

A federal judge has sentenced a Rochester man to 20 years in prison for three bank robberies in 2016.
One of those robberies occurred at the M & T Bank branch in Elba.
35 year old Terrance Rainey and an accomplice walked into the bank on Oak Orchard Road, point handguns at the bank employee, and demanded they fill a bag with cash.
No was injured. The two other robberies occurred in Macedon and Henrietta.

Genesee County records no new positive coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours. One person is hospitalized and 11 are now on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Genesee County is concerned that fitness centers and gyms do not completely understand the rules that allowed them to re-open on Monday.
County Manager Matt Landers told the legislature yesterday that the health department found only about half the gyms understood the process going forward.
He said the rules require that the gyms be inspected for compliance within two weeks of opening. It is up to the businesses to make the inspection appointment with the local health department.
Landers said they found many of the facilities do not have follow-up guidelines.

Governor Cuomo and the state health commissioner are blasting the Centers for Disease Control for its new COVID-19 testing guidance.
The CDC now says that if someone is in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus do not have to be tested themselves if they are asymptomatic.
Dr. Howard Zucker calls these changes “indefensible actions.”
Cuomo says New York will not be following the new guidance, calling it “political propaganda.”

New York is among a group of states being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes.
Letters were sent to governors in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania requesting COVID-19 data.
In the New York case, the issue stems from a controversial health department directive, which prohibited a nursing home from denying admission based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of the coronavirus.

The number eleven jersey worn by Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood when he missed a game-winning kick in Super Bowl 25 is up for auction.
Norwood wore the jersey in 1991 when he barely missed a 47-yard field goal that would have given the Bills a Super Bowl victory over the New York Giants. The jersey will be up for auction online at Heritage Auctions website until 11 p.m. Saturday.
Experts have labeled the bad kick one of the top two or three moments in Super Bowl history.

Afternoon Brief

Batavia Police are looking for information about a hit and run that took place on August 13th one East Main street.  70 year old sue reed of Batavia was riding her bike across the entrance to Vine street when she says a large pickup truck that may have had lifts and a chrome grill turned left from East main street and hit her.  The driver stopped, got out and said something to her and then got back in the truck and drove away.  Reed suffered a concussion, a broken right arm, cuts to her left arm that were too large to be stitched and she needed stiches for cuts on her lips and mouth.  She also had an air pocket in her lungs.  The driver of the truck is described as tall and skinny, with blonde hair and under the age of 40.  If you have any information call Officer Peter Post at 585 345-6350 or the tip line at 585 345 6370

Your COVID 19 update:  Genesee county has 1 new case.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 1 person has recovered.  1 new person is on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 14 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are now 3 active cases in Genesee and 2 active cases in Orleans counties.

Bowlers who participate in leagues got a little good news Tuesday.  Leagues can use two lanes with appropriate barriers.  Bowlers including league players were complaining about having every other lane closed making bowlers unable to alternate lanes and creating a backup on play times.  Governor Cuomo’s office says that leagues can play as normal as long as the lanes are separated with appropriate barriers.  Bowling alleys are rushing to buy and set up plastic sheeting, shower curtains and other makeshift barriers.

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County’s July unemployment rate is three times what is was just a year ago.
Of course the reason is, the coronavirus pandemic.
The jobless rate for Genesee County in July was 10.6 percent. A year ago it was 3.5 percent, near a record low.

There are improving numbers for coronavirus statistics across New York State. Officials have reported that for the past 18 days the state’s positive rate of COVID-19 infections has been below one-percent.

The local COVID-19 numbers from the past 24 hours:
Genesee County has reported one new positive case, an individual in their 30s living in Pavilion.
One person is hospitalized locally with coronavirus and only one new person has been added to the precautionary quarantine due to travel from a restricted state.

The Genesee County health department is looking for the owner of a dog that bit someone along the new Ellicott Trail.
It happened last Friday on the trail near the Batavia Gardens Apartments.
The victim of the bite did not get any information from the dog owner.
The suspect canine is a Jack Russell Terrier mix with a red and brindle-white coat.
The dog was wearing a black collar with a blue leash.
His presumed owner is described as a slender white man in his 40s with short brown hair.
If you have information, you are asked to call the county health department (344-2580 ex 5555).

The once powerful New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is scheduled to report to prison today. Silver was convicted and sentenced to six and a half years in prison for taking part in a multi-million dollar bribery scheme. He had battled the charges and dodged prison time for years which included two successful appeals, but the third time he was found guilty. A judge recently sentenced him to prison despite his defense trying to keep him out, arguing his old age of 76 combined with coronavirus concerns.

The Salvation Army is holding a drive-through food distribution today.
Food will be distributed beginning at 9 this morning at Northgate Church on Bank Street Road.
Make sure your vehicle is ready to accept 3 to 4 boxes of food. If your are picking up food for a friend or neighbor, be sure to their photo ID showing a separate address.

Health Department Seeks Dog Owner

On Friday, August 21, 2020 between 3:00 –3:30 p.m. an individual was bitten by an unfamiliar dog that was with its assumed owner.

The incident occurred on the Ellicott Trail in front of the Batavia Gardens Apartment complex located on 679 East Main Street, Batavia. The assumed owner of the dog is described as a slender white male in his 40’s with short brown hair.

The dog that bit the individual was a Jack Russell Terrier mix with a red and brindle white coat. The dog was wearing a black collar with a blue leash. The individual who was bitten did not obtain any information from the man with the dog and has not seen the man since the incident.

“The purpose in locating the owner of the dog is to make sure the dog is up-to-date on its anti-rabies vaccine,”stated Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health Director of Genesee and Orleans Counties.“ If the owner cannot be located,the individual will have to go through unnecessary treatment.”

Anyone with information on the dog and/or dog owner is asked to contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext.5555

Afternoon News Brief

State police are looking for a man whose wife was found dead in Larksville Pennsylvania and they say he may be in our area.  46 year old Richard Walski and his chocolate Labrador have been missing since his wife Patricia was found shot in the head at their home on August 13th.  Walski is an avid fisherman and has spent time on Lake Ontario and fishing the Genesee River.  He has also traveled up towards Watertown in the past.  If you believe you have information you can contact the Pennsylvania state police at 570 697 2000.

Governor Cuomo announced today that the 2 week quarantine list is now 5 states shorter, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland and Montana have been removed and the territory Guam has been added.  There are now 31 states on the list.  Travelers from these states or territories must provide their travel plans to the state authorities and quarantine for 2 weeks or face a hefty fine of up to $2,000.

Your COVID 19 update:  Genesee county has no new cases and 3 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 2 people have recovered.  13 people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 33 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are now 2 active cases in Genesee and 2 active cases in Orleans counties.

Livingston County sheriffs office is investigating a fire set in a church.  The minister of Lima Presbyterian Church came in Sunday morning to find the sanctuary full of smoke, apparently from a bible that had been set on fire in the front pew.  Someone had broken in in the night and lit the fire.  The fire was contained to the area of that pew and the bible, a lot of smoke damage according to the minister but little fire damage.  Anybody with information about the incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 585-243-7100 or the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 1-844-LCSO-TIP

Morning News Briefing

Governor Cuomo gives some high school sports the go ahead for next month, while keeping other sports as “practice-only.”
Cuomo said lower-risk sports such as tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey, and swimming can begin competing on September 21 in all regions of the state.
Teams will not be allowed to travel, practice, or play outside of their region or contiguous counties until October.
Higher-risk sports, including football, wrestling, rugby, and ice hockey, will be allowed to practice, but are not yet authorized to play.

State health officials are raising concerns about a rise in COVID-19 cases in the Western New York region. Governor Cuomo said the region is raising a “caution flag” after the five-day average of new cases almost doubled. Genesee County is in the Finger Lakes Region where new infections rates have been below .4 percent.

Over the past 24 hours there have been no new positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Genesee County. Only one person is hospitalized with the virus. 13 new individuals have been placed on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

On the heels of the news for high school sports, gyms and fitness centers across the state have re-opened.
Jessica Pratt owns Whole Life Fitness on East Main Street in Batavia.
She said her gym is ready to deal with the state mandated health guidelines:

Also in Batavia, Mancuso Bowling Center has opened its doors.
Precautions include sanitizing stations throughout the building, use of face masks and six feet of social distance. League meetings will be held this week.


PHOTO Courtesy:  TheBatavian.com

Those Civil War era cannons that guarded the entrance of the Holland Land Office museum for over a hundred years look like new. That’s because they have been completely refurbished. The cannons were returned to Batavia yesterday following a nine month log restoration.

Afternoon Brief

Governor Cuomo says that lower-risk sports such as tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey, and swimming can begin competing on September 21 in all regions. Teams will not be allowed to travel, practice, or play outside of their region or contiguous counties until October.  Higher-risk sports, including football, wrestling, rugby, and ice hockey, will be allowed to practice, but are not yet authorized to play.

Areas of Western NY are being monitored closely as they are testing higher than 1 percent in COVID testing.  Officials point to a steel plant in Erie County and a food processing plant in Chautauqua County as clusters of cases.  Higher numbers of seasonal laborers are also apparently testing more positively.

With gyms, restaurants, churches and soon to be schools opened up several amusement park owners are questioning why they haven’t been allowed to open yet.  Six flags and other amusement park chains including Disney World and Hershey Park have had parks open in many other states with social distancing and mask wearing as well as constant sanitizing of rides without any outbreaks being linked to the parks.  Park owners in New York state say that they have put in place every precaution that New York State authorities said needed to be done before they could reopen, spending tens of thousands of dollars, and still the parks are dark and empty.  No information or announcements have come from Albany.

Morning News Briefing

The lights are back on now across the City and Town of Batavia.
That was not the case late last night. A power outage affected about 2,300 National Grid customers around 10 p.m. last night.

The trouble appeared to have been traced to a utility pole on State Street.

Construction has begun on a 12-million dollar four story apartment building on East Main Street. There will be 55 apartments, 28 of them set aside for homeless veterans. The remainder are intended for low income residents.
The project will be known as Liberty Square.
It is being developed by Home Leasing of Rochester, which specializes in providing low-income housing in the Finger Lakes region. They have partnered with Eagle Star housing.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved New York for a grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program
The funding will allow the state to provide $300/week to unemployed New Yorkers on top of their regular state unemployment benefit.
In March, Congress approved an extra federally funded $600 a week unemployment benefit for those out of work due to COVID-19. The benefit expired at the end of July.

Governor Cuomo is praising the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. On Saturday, the governor said New Yorkers did not just flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, they bent it. The state posted a new record low positivity rate of zero-point-six-nine-percent, and hospitalizations are down to 472. Cuomo urged residents to keep wearing masks, continue to socially distance and stay disciplined.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous Weather Outlook for portions of Western New York.
For today and tonight: isolated strong thunderstorms are possible over the Niagara Frontier closer to Lake Ontario this afternoon.
A complex of thunderstorms may track across the region late tonight.

Gyms can begin reopening today – with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Capacity will be capped at 33 percent, masks are mandatory, and there will be social distancing at workout stations.
People will be required to wipe machines down after use.
Inspectors will be out to make sure safety measures are in place.

Weekend Update

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo backtracks and makes deals on unemployment.  Although Governor Cuomo said he would never work with FEMA get help for New York State to provide unemployment benefits saying he would rather deal with a bookie on the corner than with the federal agency the state’s budget director says New York is applying for the Lost Wages Assistance Program, handled by FEMA.  This change of heart came when President Trump announced that the federal government would not require states to pay for 100 dollars of the weekly unemployment benefit so with the FEMA money people would only receive 300 dollars instead of 400.

Demolition work began Friday on several homes on East Main Street to pave the way for a new, 55 unit, 4 story apartment building that will be used for low income housing.  28 of the units will be reserved to house homeless veterans.  The new building will be christened liberty square and is being built by Home Leasing LLC of Rochester.  It is being partly funded by a group called Eagle Star Homes.

Afternoon News Brief

The Genesee Orleans county health departments announced that all gyms in the counties will be allowed to reopen on Monday August 24th with a couple restrictions.  Gyms must have a written safety plan, have their HVAC inspected by an approved professional, and complete a form saying that they have read and understand the state guidelines and will do what they say.  Within 2 weeks of reopening the county health departments will inspect gyms in Genesee and Orleans counties.

Your Coronavirus update:  there is 1 new case in Genesee and no new cases in Orleans counties.  9 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 3 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are 6 active cases in Genesee county and 3 in Orleans.

Bad worms are jumping into the ground near you.  The University at buffalo  earthworm expert Nick Henshue says an invasive species called Amynthas or the jumping earthworm are popping up in soil samples across western NY.  These worms eat fallen leaves and can disrupt the ecosystem of forests which depend on downed leaves for protection of young plants and insects.  How to tell if you have jumping earthworms?  Check your soil, if it has a coffee grounds like consistency then you have them.

Malls in New York can reopen food court seating says the governor’s office.  However, the seating areas and food court restaurants must operate under the Department of Health’s guidelines for food services.  Those guidelines include required separation between tables and seating, social distancing between parties of customers, and occupancy limits.

The statewide STOP DWI crackdown is in full effect until September 7th.  State and local Police in Genesee county are out in full force to catch people driving under the influence.  Don’t drive drunk, have a plan for how you will get home if you are planning to drink.

Morning News Briefing – August 21, 2020

The person who hit a motorcyclist last week and left the scene has turned themselves in.

Yesterday on WBTA’s Main and Center, Genesee County Sheriffs said they were ready to make an arrest, but last night Alexander Wuerch, 21, Alden, said he was the driver of the car that hit the motorcyclist on Route 77 in Pembroke and fled.

The motorcycle rider is still in critical condition.

Wuerch was issued an appearance ticket and will be in Pembroke town court September 9.


Town of Batavia Supervisor Gregory Post describes the financial situation the town is in as the worst in his 47 years in government. In an interview with WBTA’s news partner, The Batavian, Post lays the blame on what he calls ‘tax and spend’ policies from Albany, and not the coronavirus pandemic.

The town is putting together its 2021 budget, and Post says with the state staring at a $10 billion dollar deficit, a likely reduction in revenue from Genesee County, and probably no life raft coming from the federal government, town of Batavia residents may see a significant tax increase.

Post says, the state’s deficit will affect the whole county, not just the town of Batavia, and that the state’s fiscal situation may make people think twice about being involved in government in the future.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed off on new legislation aimed at making it easier for New Yorkers to vote using absentee ballots. One bill allows all New Yorkers to get an absentee ballot if they’re concerned about being exposed to coronavirus. A second measure allows folks to apply for those ballots now instead of having to wait until 30 days before Election Day. The final law also means absentees with a postmark before or on November 3 or that arrive at a Board of Elections without a postmark on November 4 will be counted.


With bowling alleys open and gyms set to follow suit Monday, casino workers say they feel left out. They held a rally in Albany yesterday, urging state health officials to release guidelines that would allow casinos to reopen. All state-operated casinos were closed down back in March as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. A state official says casinos likely won’t reopen soon since there are still too many concerns surrounding the virus.


The latest COVID-19 update shows one new positive case in Genesee County, a resident of Batavia in their 30s.

The person was not in mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive, but nine new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states, with one hospitalized.


Today is the day you can start getting your Pok-A-Dot fix. The iconic corner restaurant is reopening today at 9 a.m, taking advantage of a coronavirus-induced hibernation to spruce up and upgrade the eatery.

There are new, more socially-distanced tables, a dining counter outside, and there will soon be a walk-up window for take-out orders. The big upgrade, you can now order your food online at their new website, pokadotbatavia.com, and, you can also pay for your food with a credit card.

Morning News Briefing

The Holland Land Office Museum is bringing its two cannons back and will welcome them back to the museum’s front porch with a celebration Monday at 10 a.m.
The restoration work was done by Seed Artillery in Altoona, Pennsylvania, restoring the cannons to what they would’ve looked like in the early 19th century.
The work included the rebuilding of the carriage with all new metalwork and refurbishing the cannon barrels.
The cannons will be welcomed home in style with the help of a gunnery crew of the Genesee County Militia re-enactor group. The public is invited to Monday’s event, with social distancing and facial coverings required.

Pavilion Town Supervisor Robert LaPoint spoke to the Genesee County Legislature Wednesday about traffic issues on Route 63 near Pavilion Central School.
According to our news partner, The Batavian, LaPoint came with a petition signed by over a thousand residents complaining about speeders and commercial truck traffic that zips by the school.
LaPointe says he would like to have a flashing light put in at the intersection of Route 63 and York Road that would only be activated when students are coming and leaving the school, and also have the speed limit reduced.

High school athletes statewide won’t have to wait much longer to find out if they’ll be playing this Fall. A decision on the upcoming season is expected to be announced in the next week. Games were scrapped at schools across New York back in the Spring to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The earliest the season would be allowed to start is September 21, about a week after most schools begin classes.

It doesn’t start for a few weeks, but county health departments are already being questioned about their preparedness for flu season. The state says each county must be able to perform tests for both the flu and COVID-19. State labs have already been pushed to their limit and turnaround times for results have been longer than usual in some cases. Counties are already receiving money to help track coronavirus cases and make sure they have enough vaccines for flu season.

A Blasdell woman is in trouble for impersonating another person from Genesee County. Donna Hartman, 57, was pulled over by police in Livingston County and used the identity of someone in Genesee county. She continued to use that identity when she was taken to Noyes Hospital in Dansville, running up a $1,500 bill in the other person’s name. Hartman faces second-degree identity theft charges and will be in Stafford Town Court in October.

The latest update from the county health department shows no new positive cases of COVID-19, although fifteen people are in precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
In Monroe County, the number of coronavirus cases in have surpassed another milestone — with 29 new infections yesterday, the total number of cases in Monroe County since the start of the pandemic is now over 5,000. But, there have been no deaths connected to the illness in Monroe County for eight days.

Today at noon is the first online public information meeting to help develop the Genesee Transportation Council’s long range transportation plan. The public input will help the council establish priorities and strategic direction for the plan that will guide the council over the next quarter century. You can access the meeting at www.publicinput.com/LongRangeTransportationPlan or call 855-925-2801 and enter code 9000.

Morning News Briefing

New York has added travelers from two more areas to the list of people who must quarantine after arriving in the State.
People coming from Delaware and Alaska now need to isolate themselves for two weeks so they don’t potentially infect people with coronavirus. Overall, there are more than 30 locations affected by the quarantine order. Visitors must reveal information about their trips to health officials and if they don’t, they could be fined two-thousand dollars.

The city of Batavia is adding four more community members to its Police Advisory Stakeholder Group.
City Hall says that, where possible, these additional citizen members will be persons of color. The committee was formed under an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo. It originally consisted of 15 members, now it will have 19.

Batavia Police are trying to track down the driver of a vehicle that slammed into house on East Avenue.
That crash on Monday evening left a gaping hole in the basement of the house and caused a natural gas leak. The driver fled the scene.
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is asking the public with  information about the case to contact the dispatch center at 345-6350, and ask to speak with a supervisor

A new book by Governor Cuomo will be popping up on store shelves in the coming months. It’s called “American Crisis” and will give the governor’s account of how he handled the coronavirus pandemic. It’ll also go into detail about Cuomo’s clashes with the federal government, whose response to the outbreak he has constantly criticized. Right now, the Empire State has one of the lowest COVID-19 infections rates in the country just months after having one of the highest. The governor’s new book is scheduled to be released October 13th.

27th District Congressman Chris Jacobs has finally earned the support of the Conservative Party ahead of Election Day.
Jacobs will be the party’s nominee after Beth Parlato removed her name from the ballot.
Instead, she decided to pursue a spot on the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

The Salvation Army is holding their weekly food distribution later today in Bergen.
The distribution begins at 3 this afternoon at Byron-Bergen High School.
Organizers ask that you have the trunk of your car cleared out and ready to receive 3 to 4 boxes of food.
If picking up food for a friend have a photo ID ready showing a separate address.

Afternoon News Briefing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo announced in today’s press briefing that Alaska and Delaware are back on the list of states requiring a travel quarantine in New York State.  There are now 35 states on the list.  Travelers from these states must provide a travel plan to state officials and quarantine for 2 weeks when entering New York State.

Gyms may be reopening in a week but there is confusion as to exactly how that will work.  Governor Cuomo did not give details about exactly how county health officials will inspect gyms before they reopen.  Large gyms such as Planet Fitness in Batavia say nothing about the reopening on their website and did not answer the phone when called.  Questions about classes and people doing cardio with masks on have not been answered.  13 wham talked to the owner of MBody on university ave molly Flaherty who said that if spin class members have to wear masks then they will be outside till December.

The city of Batavia is adding four more community members to its Police Advisory Stakeholder Group.  City Hall says that, where possible, these additional citizen members will be persons of color.  According to Interim City Manager Rachel Tabelski the advisory group will open dialogue and add value to the relationships between city employees, the police department and community residents.  The committee was formed under an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo. It originally consisted of 15 members, now it will have 19.

Construction work has started to finish a major water line project to the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park known as STAMP.  The job will make the South Campus of STAMP 100 percent ready for development.  This latest project will cost 2-million dollars and should be done by the end of the year. The project is funded mostly by federal and state tax dollars.

Police Advisory Committee to be Expanded

After previously announcing membership categories of the City of Batavia Police Advisory Stakeholder Group, the City will add four additional community members to solicit further insight from the community.  To the extent possible, these citizens will be chosen from a cross section of wards and community groups serving “people of color,” as referenced in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203.  The City will strive to ensure proper representation for all.

“The advisory group will open dialogue and add value to the relationships between City government employees, the police department and community residents,” said Rachael Tabelski, Interim City Manager.   “As we move forward, the stakeholder meetings will be open for the public to attend, while adhering to COVID-19 protocols.”

Interim City Manager Rachel Tabelski

“We look forward to beginning this process and engaging with citizens in the community,” said Shawn Heubusch, City of Batavia Police Department.  “The City Police Department is comprised of men and women who take the job of protecting and serving our community very seriously.  We all look forward to working with the stakeholder group to improve our already robust service and training.”

“All individuals should be held to the same standard.  No one is above the law; whether civilian, law enforcement or government official and those that break the law should be held accountable.” added Heubusch.

With this expansion, the Police Advisory Stakeholder Group will now consist of 19 members, including:


  • City Manager;
  • Police Chief;
  • Assistant Police Chief;
  • City Attorney;
  • One City Council member;
  • Six citizen representatives;
  • Batavia Housing Authority Director;
  • Director of a not-for-profit that serves human interests (e.g. YWCA);
  • District Attorney representative;
  • Public Defender representative;
  • Batavia Police Benevolent Association representative;
  • Batavia City School District Superintendent;
  • Community religious leader;
  • Business leader representative.

The Stakeholder Group will help identify recommendations for more effective strategies, policies, and procedures to better serve all residents within the City of Batavia.  This plan will be developed over the fall and winter, and must be adopted by the City of Batavia by April 1, 2021, per Executive Order No. 203.

Citizens interested in being a member of the Police Advisory Stakeholder Group should send their name, phone number, address and email address to the office of the Interim City Manager, Rachael Tabelski.  Address:  City of Batavia, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or via email rtabelski@batavianewyork.com

Work Begins on Final Leg of Stamp Water Line

BATAVIA, NY – Construction work has commenced to finish a major water line project to the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) and bring the STAMP South Campus to 100 % shovel-readiness for development.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced today that the $2 million active infrastructure project enables over one million gallons per day of water capacity to STAMP. This project is supported by Genesee County to support Phase I development of the STAMP site.

The 1,250-acre STAMP site, through the 850-acre STAMP North Campus and the 400-acre STAMP South Campus, is designed and permitted for over six million sq. ft. of new construction supported by low-cost hydropower.

“There is a tremendous amount of momentum for STAMP right now and not just from an infrastructure investment and construction standpoint, but in interest among site selectors and representatives from advanced manufacturing companies, including semiconductor companies from across the world,” said Steve Hyde, President and CEO, GCEDC.

The start of the construction on the latest STAMP water line comes after US Senator Charles Schumer was in Batavia on July 31st to announce among other things, his support for a $1 million grant through the Northern Border Regional Commission for the construction of a new forcemain to serve the entire STAMP site.

STAMP infrastructure design, engineering and construction launched in 2014 with the allocation of $33 million by New York State.

“With federal, state and local funding enabling STAMP’s infrastructure delivery, our 1,250-acre mega site will provide a significant return on investment and can be a model for economic recovery as New York State emerges from the pandemic,” Hyde said.

The infrastructure work includes the completion of the construction of a water line that was started from a connection from the Erie County Water Authority in Pembroke near the New York State Thruway.  The second leg included construction of the line at a connection near the Veteran’s Cemetery and now from cemetery to the STAMP South Campus.

The work is anticipated being completed by the end of 2020.  The design and engineering work was performed by Clark Patterson & Lee.


Morning News Briefing

With classes starting in a few weeks, New York State has announced how a coronavirus spread inside a school will be handled.
Officials say an individual school will be closed down if it has a concerning amount of COVID-19 cases. However, there’s not an exact infection rate that would have to be reached for kids to be sent home.
In the past, the state has said all schools in an area will be shut down if a region’s coronavirus positivity rate goes above nine percent.

Two new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County over the past 24 hours. One person resides in Alexander, the other in Stafford. One is in their 20s the other person is in their 30s.
27 people are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

A car strikes a house at East Avenue and Hull Parkway smashing a hole in the foundation and causing a gas leak.
No one was hurt. Everyone in the house got out safely.
An upstairs resident said it sounded like a bomb went off. East Avenue between Ross and Vine was shut down until the gas was turned off.

A Byron man is facing a burglary charge for allegedly breaking into a home on Sautell Road in Bergen. Deputies say 49 year old Paul Tuttle also damaged property and took some items from the house. He was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies now say they are looking for the driver of a light colored 2012 or 2013 Hyundai Tuscon.
That vehicle is believed to have struck a motorcyclist Friday night on Route 77. Travis Harloff had been knocked off his bike and landed in the middle of highway when the Hyundai struck him as he lie in the road. The driver of the Hyundai then fled the scene. Harloff suffered serious injuries.
Deputies are asking anyone with information to call.

Gyms Can Reopen on Monday the 24th

Governor Cuomo announced today that Gyms across NY state can reopen starting on Monday August 24th.  Gyms can have up to 33 % capacity, all employees and participants must wear masks at all times,  and must have updated ventilation.  State Department of Health guidelines will be released later today.  Cuomo said that local officials will have to inspect the gyms.  Officials have until September 2nd to inspect gyms if they can’t do so by next Monday.

Morning News Briefing

An investigation continues this morning into a three vehicle crash involving a hit and run and serious injuries to a motorcyclist.
Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies tell WBTA the crash occurred Friday night on Route 77 in Pembroke.
A Honda Pilot was southbound on Route 77 and a Yamaha motorcycle was behind it.
The motorcycle rear ended the Pilot as it was making a turn throwing the operator into the middle of the road. Then a third vehicle struck the motorcyclist and fled the scene.
Deputies are asking for any information about that third vehicle believed to be Hyundai sedan.
The operator of the motorcycle was identified as 26 year old Travis Harloff of Attica. He was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC with serious injuries.

Gym owners will be paying very close attention today to an announcement by state health department officials.
That’s because they’ll find out the guidelines that will need to be followed so fitness centers can reopen.
They were shut down months ago in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
There’s no official word yet when people can return to the gym.
Meanwhile, starting today bowling alleys will be able to welcome customers back so long as businesses follow the proper safety protocols.

New York State has reached a milestone when it comes to the number of people tested for coronavirus.  Officials said yesterday seven-million State residents have been screened for COVID-19 in recent months.
The number of people who received a positive result has also been lower than one percent statewide for the last nine days.

Positive business news for Batavia’s Graham Corporation.
The company has announced $11-million in orders for three oil refining projects in Asia. Two are in Southeast Asia and third, the first large order for Graham in India.

Drivers across Western New York are finding consistent prices at the pump these days. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia is $2.20. That’s the same as last week and is a penny less than this time a month ago.

Bowling Alleys Allowed to Reopen and The Border Remains Closed

Shine up your ball and put some fresh spray in your shoes, Governor Cuomo announced in today’s press briefing that bowling alleys across New York state may reopen on Monday the 17th.  Bowling alley owners had been petitioning Cuomo’s office for the last month to reopen some even sending the petitions written on bowling pins and balls.  August according to Rick Mancuso owner of Mancuso’s Bowling Center is the month when league sign ups happen and bowling centers set their schedules for the rest of the year.  Along with the reopening Governor Cuomo said that bowling alleys would be restricted to 50% capacity and would be allowed to serve food and alcohol but staff would have to deliver it to the bowlers at their lanes.  Cuomo also said an announcement on gyms reopening would be coming Monday.

The border between Canada and the United States will remain closed for at least another month.  Chad wolf secretary of department of homeland security has extended the limitation of non essential travel through September 21st.

Morning News Briefing

The citizen committee assembled by city hall to draft a plan to control the city’s deer population, has suddenly quit.
In a meeting yesterday that lasted about 30-seconds, the Deer Management Committee claimed that they were quote, “disrespected, lied to and lied about” by City Hall. Interim City Manager Rachel Tabelski, in a statement issued later, said the deer plan drafted by the committee was a “good start” and thanked committee members.
All this came as city council as late as last month praised the deer committee for the time and effort they put into the plan.
The plan was set for a final vote next month.
The flap is reminiscent of the dust up and confusion earlier this year when an ad-hoc group tried to use a city park for a rally promoting social justice.
The snafu eventually led to the ouster of the last city manager.


Two new positive cases of coronavirus have turned up in LeRoy.
The health department says one of the individuals is under 20, the other in in their 20s. Fourteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

The Batavia Police department is looking for anyone with information about a reported collision between a pick-up truck and a bicycle.
That happened yesterday morning between 8 and 8:30a.m. at the intersection of East Main and Vine.
The bicyclist was taken to UMMC for treatment of his injuries.
If you saw the mishap, or have any information about it, BPD wants to hear from you.

A location in Orleans County is reportedly under consideration for an Amazon distribution center.
A representative for the Village of Medina and the Orleans County Economic Development Agency tells our news partner 13-WHAM the Medina Business Park is under consideration for the $300 million project.
The representative says, after a deal involving a potential location on Grand Island fell through, the county was notified it was being considered.


Republican lawmakers in the State Senate and Assembly are planning to hold more hearings on the impact COVID-19 had on nursing homes.
The first of several virtual hearings will be held on Monday morning.
Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker testified in front of lawmakers earlier this month, but would not reveal exactly how many nursing home residents died after getting the COVID-19.
The death toll is believed to be over six-thousand.

After a day off, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be back in action at Sahlen Field tonight.
They’ll be hosting the Tampa Bay Rays, who are going to be spending the weekend in Buffalo. This will be the third game the Blue Jays have played at the home of the Buffalo Bisons.
First pitch for tonight’s contest is set for 6:37p.m.

Deer Management Committee Quits

The city of Batavia’s highly praised Deer Management committee resigned in mass this morning following a 30-second meeting.
Committee members claimed to have suddenly been left of the loop and lied to by city hall just as the deer management plan approached a final vote.

Deer Committee Chair Russ Nephew read a brief statement…

That terse thank-you came from Interim City Manager Rachel Tabelski
She and Police Chief Shawn Heubusch later offered a brief statement of their own calling the Deer Management Plan a “good start.”
They said the city would move forward to assess the draft of the plan and make recommendations to the full council.

Last month the committee was praised by Councilman John Canale and Bob Bialkowski for their thorough job in crafting the plan.
The plan was an attempt to safely cull the deer population by allowing a highly restricted season for bow hunters.

Morning News Briefing

Police raid an apartment at 22 Hutchins Place in the city and round-up three drug suspects.
50 year old Ronnie Johnson is charged with two felony counts of drug possession, and 34 year old Madalyn Muntz facing misdemeanor drug charges.
Also collared in the same raid, 46 year old Donald Brown of Rochester. He is facing a slew of charges including felony counts of drug possession and use of drug paraphernalia.
Brown and Johnson are being held without bail. Muntz was released on city court appearance tickets.

An eye in the sky leads to the arrest of a Pavilion man for allegedly growing his own pot. 62 year old Brian Dutton has been charged with unlawfully growing cannabis inside a building in the Wyoming County Town of Covington. A border patrol helicopter spotted the weed from the air.

One new positive case of coronavirus….a person in their 20’s from Batavia.
The individual was on mandatory quarantine before testing positive.

State Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker says hospitals had plenty of personal protective equipment available during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zucker says there were 24 million pieces of PPE like masks and gowns available, but some doctors and nurses claim they had to provide their own.
Hospitals are now required to have a 90-day stockpile of PPE.

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott is going to be on the team’s sideline for the foreseeable future. The franchise has signed him to a multi-year contract extension that will keep him with the Bills through the 2025 season. McDermott’s new deal will also make him one of the higher-paid coaches in the National Football League. McDermott has been with the Bills for three seasons, guiding the team to the playoffs twice.

Morning News Briefing

Governor Cuomo has signed off on a change to New York State’s seat belt law.
Beginning in November, all passengers 16 or older must wear a safety belt no matter where they’re seated in the vehicle.
Under the current law, those individuals are only required to wear a seat belt if they’re in the front passenger seat.
Violators of the new law could face a fine of up to $50.
Back in 1984, New York became the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law.

It appeared to be a hit and run car- bicycle accident, but maybe not.
Deputies said a car struck a bicyclist yesterday afternoon on Veteran’s memorial Drive. They said the driver of the car got out, the bicyclist said he was fine and the driver handed him  a wad of cash that totaled $200, and said, ” this is for your bike” and left.

Two new positive cases of coronavirus reported in Genesee County.
One of the individuals was in their 50’s, the other in their 80’s, both are from Batavia.
As of late yesterday, 15 new individuals are under precautionary quarantine due to traveling from a restricted state.

New York State has added travelers from three more areas to the list of people who must quarantine after arriving here.
Travelers coming from South Dakota, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands now need to isolate themselves for two weeks. New York has removed New Mexico, Alaska, Rhode Island, Washington and Ohio from the list.
If visitors don’t reveal information about their trips to health officials, they face a $2,000 fine.

The Toronto Blue Jays make their Sahlen Field debut with a big win in their final at-bat.
Travis Shaw had an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning as the Blue Jays beat the Miami Marlins five-to-four last night.
It was the first Major League Baseball game to take place in Buffalo in over a century.
They’ll continue their series with the Marlins tonight.

Morning News Briefing

City Council President Gene Jankowski

The Batavia City Council has created a Police and Community advisory group.
The group was formed, by order of the governor, to review police department policies, procedures and training.
It originally consisted of 15 members…two were community members. That has now been increased to four with an eye toward greater inclusion of minorities.
City Council President Gene Jankowski says he’s all for diversity

The creation of the advisory group, with added citizen members, was passed unanimously.

Some big federal cash for GCASA.
Congressman Chris Jacobs is announcing a $1,000,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. The dollars are directed at helping people suffering from Alcoholism and substance abuse.

The Genesee County’s coronavirus count over the past 24 hours: no new positive cases reported.
Three previously reported cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.

Governor Cuomo believes an independent investigation into nursing home deaths during the coronavirus crisis isn’t necessary.
State Lawmakers say they want to know the factors involved in the deaths of more than six-thousand New Yorkers at long-term care facilities since the pandemic started in March.
The governor says criticism of how the state handled nursing home residents is political.

The Buffalo Sabres are going to have a bit of a different look when they hit the ice next season. The team is expected to unveil new royal blue jerseys today.
The Sabres previously wore royal blue between 1970 and 1996 before switching to black and red for several years.
Blue, white and gold returned as the franchise’s primary colors in 2006.

Morning News Briefing

An Oakfield man is facing charges following a neighbor on neighbor fracas in Oakfield.
Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies say 22 year old Edward Allis of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, threatened his neighbor with a homemade pitch fork.
He has been charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon,
Allis was released on his own recognizance.

New York State is winning the battle against coronavirus. As of Saturday, the number of people statewide who have tested positive for the virus was at its lowest level since the pandemic began.
In Western New York, the infection rate has been hovering above the one-percent mark in recent days.

Batavia Assemblyman Steve Hawley weighs in on the New York State Attorney General’s lawsuit against the NRA.
Hawley calls the move a “callous and politically charged attempt to sow dissent” in an election year.
Hawley called the NRA a valuable ally in preserving the second amendment.
State A-G Letitia James charges that NRA leaders illegally diverted millions of dollars in donations to for own personal use.

A $765-million deal to allow Rochester’s Eastman Kodak Company to make generic drugs is now on hold.
There have been allegations of insider trading. Now the federal agency that initiated the loan to Kodak wants a full investigation before allowing the deal to proceed.

The cost of gasoline has slipped slightly across Western New York.
According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas $2.19 That’s down a penny from last week. and is the same price drivers were paying a month ago. The average price in Batavia is also $2.19. A gallon of gas on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation is $1.94.

Final preparations will be underway at Sahlen Field today as the Toronto Blue Jays get ready to make their Buffalo debut.
The Major League Baseball franchise will be hosting the Miami Marlins tomorrow.
The Blue Jays are set to play 25 games at the home of the Buffalo Bisons after being told they couldn’t be in Canada due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Cuomo says schools can reopen

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo is giving the green light for schools in New York state to reopen this fall.

He said school districts need to have discussions with parents and post information for them online.

Cuomo said the state’s COVID-19 infection rate is very low, but they will continue to monitor it, leading up to the first day of school. In addition, other state guidelines include wearing face masks inside, when social distancing isn’t possible, and regular cleaning of classrooms, COVID-19 screenings and contact tracing for anyone who gets infected.

Morning News Briefing

The coronavirus pandemic has brought on tough economic times for nearly all types of businesses. Batavia Downs is no exception.
Batavia Downs Gaming has been closed since last March, the track just resumed limited operations last week.
Western Region OTB owns the Downs. Its president, Henry Wojtaszek says the company has lost $30-million in revenue and had to furlough 300 employees.

Forget about going back to your favorite gym anytime soon.
Governor Cuomo says finesses Centers have been identified as a source of COVID-19 infections across the country. Gyms have been shut down since March.

The Genesee County health department reports no new positive cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours.
A dozen people are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Schools across New York could find out today if kids will be heading back to class this fall. Governor Cuomo notes any reopening plan needs the support of teachers and parents.
Districts have already created their own reopening proposals and sent them into the state for approval. Many of them opted for a hybrid model that would have kids in school a couple of days a week, with the other days on-line.

It’s always been illegal to park your car on a Batavia city street during the overnight hours – specifically between 2am and 6am.
But since the pandemic, city police has not been issuing tickets to violators.
That will change on September 1st.
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said officers will issue warnings for the rest of this month, but starting the first of September, overnight night parking violators will be ticketed.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit in an effort to dissolve the National Rifle Association.
James says leaders of the gun rights group diverted millions of dollars in donations for their own use.
They’re also accused of giving contracts to close friends and family members.
James says the alleged actions of top NRA officials caused the organization to lose millions of dollars.
The NRA President called the lawsuit politically motivated

Buffalo Bills All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White says he’ll be taking part in the 2020 season. White had been deciding whether he would opt out of playing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The 25-year-old expressed concern about the safety of his two children and their mother who would be quarantined in Buffalo without any family nearby to help

Morning News Briefing

Daryl Sumeriski

A 52-year old Batavia man gets five years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.
Daryl Sumeriski was convicted of having more than 3-thousand images of kiddie porn on his phone.
The U S Attorney’s office said Sumeriski was living in a half-way house in bath when fellow residents turned him in.
U S Attorney James Kennedy said some of the images on Sumeriski’s phone depicted the violent abuse of infants and toddlers.

Deputies in Orleans County are looking into the death of a 16-month-old child.
They say the toddler fell into a pool yesterday at a home in Barre.
The child was taken from the water and rushed to a nearby hospital but later pronounced dead.
Police say they don’t suspect any foul play and what happened is a tragic accident.

Parents, students and teachers won’t have to wait much longer to find out if schools will reopen this fall.
Governor Cuomo has promised to make the official announcement by the end of this week.
Districts have already put together their own reopening proposals and sent them into the state for approval. Students have been out of classrooms since March due to the coronavirus.
The governor has said parents will be making the final decision on whether their children go back to school.


Members of two of New York’s teachers unions are calling for schools to be closed if there’s a confirmed coronavirus case in their building.
New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers say kids should be sent home for two weeks and return once schools are disinfected and cleaned.
They say students would have to learn remotely if they’re taken out of the classroom.

On this morning’s Police Blotter:
37 year old David Grossman of Maple Street, Batavia: he is facing a slew of charges including burglary and endangering the welfare of a child.
Batavia Police say Grossman broke into a house eon Highland Park, and threatened a resident inside. When arrested, police said he continued the fracas by damaging a police patrol car.
He’s being held without bail.


58 year old Robin Brooks of Hutchins Place: He’s charged with assault for allegedly slamming a door on a woman’s hand…it broke bones.
Brooks is in county jail on $2,500 bail.

Morning News Briefing

 Chris Collins

Ex-Congressman Chris Collins has asked for the start of his prison sentence to be delayed.
Back in January, the former 27th District representative was ordered to spend 26 months behind bars after pleading guilty to federal insider trading charges.
His sentence was supposed to start August 18th, but his attorneys now want it to begin in October.
They’re citing the spread of COVID-19 in prisons as the reason for their request.
Collins also wants to spend his sentence in Florida not far from a home he owns there.

More parents across Western New York are saying they won’t send their kids back to class in September.
In some Western New York districts, roughly one-third of students will be staying home due to concerns over the coronavirus.
In Batavia, the district has reported that 315 students have chosen 100 percent virtual learning.

New York has added travelers from another area to the list of people who must quarantine after arriving in the Empire State. Folks coming from Rhode Island now need to isolate themselves for two weeks to make sure they’re not infecting people with coronavirus.

The latest COVID-19 report for Genesee County:
There has been one new positive case in the past 24 hours –
A person in their 50s living in Batavia.
13 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from a restricted state.

A Batavia bowling center proprietor is concerned for the future of his business and his sport if New York State doesn’t allow bowling alleys to re-open now.
Rick Mancuso, owner of a bowling center bearing his name, says the month of August sets the stage for his business for the coming months. Mancuso says this is the time leagues are formed and bowlers commit to the season.

There is a Salvation Army food distribution today.
It will be held at City Church, St. Anthony’s site on Liberty Street starting at 9 this morning.

Afternoon Briefing:

There have been several protests in Rochester and buffalo about school reopening with many people weighing in on both sides.  Proponents of school reopening want the option to return their children to school and use information from the cdc, pediatricians and various studies to back up their claims that the kids will be safe and anyone who is at risk should have the choice to stay home and learn online.  Those on the opposite side say that opening schools will lead to increased cases and make the whole community unsafe.  They demand that schools remain closed and that the government pay parents to stay home and teach their children instead of having to go back to work.  Governor Cuomo is expected to release the sates guidance on school reopening later this week.

The quarantine list has changed again.  This time travelers from Delaware and Washington DC no longer have to quarantine for 2 weeks when entering New York state but Rhode Island has been added to the list joining 34 other states.

The Rochester Red Wings have announced a way you can be in the stands for upcoming games, sort of.  By paying for 4 tickets to any home game next season fans can get a 24 by 17 inch cutout of themselves to be placed in the stands.  The Red Wings will take a picture of the cutout and send it to you and use it in a social media post.  At the end of the season, you get to keep yourself.  The bundle of tickets and cutout costs 60 dollars and additional cutouts cost 35 bucks each.

Morning News Briefing

Over the past 24 hours there have been five new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County. Those cases have come from Batavia, Elba and Pembroke. These individuals ranged in age from their 20s through their 70s.
One person has been hospitalized.

It could be a while before the state reveals the number nursing home residents who got sick and later died of the coronavirus. Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker told members of the Legislature he wants to review that data before releasing it so he can make sure its accurate.
There were five coronavirus deaths in Genesee County – none of them in nursing homes.
But in Orleans County, a very different story.
54 people died in either one of two nursing private nursing homes, one in Albion and one in Medina.
Right now, the nursing home death toll across the state stands at roughly 64-hundred, but some believe the number is much higher.
That’s because the state is only counting people who died of the illness at their facilities and not ones who were hospitalized before passing away.

This week, New York state officials are reviewing reopening plans for schools submitted from across the state.
Districts had until last Friday to turn in those plans. As members of the State Education Department and other officials review them, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is stressing the importance of districts creating an ongoing dialogue with parents and families.
Cuomo said a district can have a plan, but it won’t do any good if parents don’t feel safe bringing their children to school.

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline locally remains unchanged.
Triple-A reports a gallon of regular in Batavia at $2.23…the same as last week.

When the Buffalo Bills take the field this season, they’ll have quarterback Josh Allen under center.
Allen says he will not opt out of the 2020 campaign, saying he thinks the game of football, “gives people hope.”

GOW Opioid Task Force keeps public informed

COVID-19 may have temporarily put a stop to large gatherings, but the coronavirus pandemic is no match for the GOW Opioid Task Force’s commitment to informing the public of the dangers of opioid drug use and ways to prevent potentially deadly overdoses.

“Our Overdose Awareness Day is not able to be held this summer due to social distancing guidelines and restrictions on the use of parks, so we will be transitioning to an online event,” said Christen Ferraro, task force coordinator. “All the information that would have been shared at Austin Park in Batavia will be put on our Facebook page.”

Ferraro added that the task force plans to post – on a regular basis throughout August — articles, videos, local data and stories from individuals that have been affected by an overdose.

Genesee/Orleans Public Health Director Paul Pettit, a member of the task force, said he is well aware of the widespread impact of the opioid epidemic.

“Any loss of life is devastating to a community,” he said. “The effect is far-reaching as it devastates the family system – economically as a number of financially productive years are lost and emotionally as no dollar amounts can equal the loss of a life due to addiction.”

Pettit said that setting aside a period of time, be it a month or a day, to remind people of the various issues surrounding opioid use is important.

“There are so many services available for those experiencing addictive behaviors or are experimenting with various substances, and we encourage people to use those services before it is too late,” he said.

Ferraro also advised that another virtual opioid overdose prevention and Narcan training is scheduled for Aug. 26, with sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The training will cover the disease of addiction, a brief history of the opioid crisis, signs and symptoms of opioid use and overdose, the overdose reversal drug Narcan and the administration of Narcan.

Attendance is required at just one of the sessions for the participant to receive credit for the course.

 “Those completing the training will learn more about how to prevent an opioid overdose and will receive a free Narcan nasal spray kit,” Ferraro said. “It is important to bring awareness to this day and the impact an overdose can have on an individual, their families and the community.”

The registration deadline is Aug. 24. To register, contact Ferraro at cferraro@gcasa.org. See the flyer for more details.

For more information, go to Facebook.com/gowopioidtaskforce.

Governor Cuomo Legislates Liquor Ice Cream

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo today signed legislation that would allow the manufacture and sale of ice cream and other frozen desserts made with liquor in New York.  Cuomo cited that the craft brewery business had experienced a huge boom in the last several years and that adding to the things they could make with those products would only help the industry.  The legislation does limit the amount of alcohol in the frozen confections 5 percent or less.  State Senator Rachel May says she is looking forward to Maple Bourbon Ice Cream next New York State Fair.

Gas prices remain steady for Batavia drivers.  In western NY the average price of a regular unleaded gallon is 2.20 down 1 penny from last week.  In Batavia it remains at 2.23 the same as last week.  The national average is 2.18.

Morning News Briefing

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decrease in New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo said there are 556 patients in the hospital with the virus, the lowest number since March 17th. The governor reminded residents to stay diligent and to stick to the safety protocols.

The Genesee County Republican Committee has picked their candidate for this fall’s election for County Court Judge.
Batavia Attorney Thomas Williams has won the county GOP endorsement.
Williams has practiced law for 35 years. He has served for 12 years as Batavia Town Court Justice. The election for family Court Judge will be held on November 3rd.

Rainbow Pre-school, operated by the Arc of Genesee Orleans, will permanently close on August 14.
The program has locations in Batavia and Albion and has served hundreds of children with and without disabilities for more than 40 years.
The closing will mean that parents of children in the 2 and half to 5 year old age group will have to find specialized services elsewhere.
The Arc of Genesee-Orleans vows to help parents find alternative services.

Who doesn’t have old electronic equipment lying around the house…those old CD players and VHS video recorders?
Well, hundreds of people were able to dispose of them on Saturday thanks to an Electronic Recycling Event.
It was sponsored again this year by State Assemblyman Steve Hawley:


PHOTO: Assemblyman Steve Hawley directs traffic at Recycling event Saturday

Courtesy: The Batavian

The electronic trash was packaged up and hauled away by a private firm for recycling.

National Grid is proposing up to $50 million in COVID-19 relief to support the company’s economically vulnerable customers, commercial and residential.
The company says it will work with the Public Service Commission staff, customer advocates and other stakeholders to determine how best to allocate the help to those most in need across its upstate New York service area.

Weekend News Brief:

Schools in Genesee county have released their plans for the 2020-2021 school year which are being sent to the governor’s office.  Batavia, Alexander, Byron Bergen, Elba, Leroy, and Pembroke Schools have opted for a hybrid model with kids selected by last name attending school on alternating days and doing virtual learning on the days they are not physically in school.  Several of the school districts have set aside one day a week where the building will be cleaned and no students will be in attendance.  Oakfield-Alabama says it is able to socially distance and will have a full, regular schedule for students and will start late on September 11th in order to provide additional training for staff.  Pembroke is doing an either/or plan with parents choosing to either fully distance learn their children or do in person school.  Batavia has also said that there will be a group of students, those with special needs or with targeted learning, who will be in person on a regular schedule.  Pavilion does not have a plan ready at this time.  The schedules are not set in stone as Governor Cuomo will make final decisions about all NY State schools later this week and has said that schools will be able to reopen ad long as COVID 19 does not spike.

The Genesee Orleans county health department released Friday that there is 1 new case of COVID 19 in both Genesee and Orleans counties.  23 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 12 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans.  1 person is hospitalized with COVID 19 in both counties.  There are a total of 6 active cases in Genesee county and 3 in Orleans.

The races may have gotten underway but gambling at Batavia Downs may still be a long way off according to Governor Cuomo.  Speaking on Thursday about Del Lago and 3 other Casino’s across New York Governor Cuomo said that because of the nature of the business and the likelihood of people not socially distancing or following guidelines casinos should not be allowed to reopen.  Native American owned casinos in New York have been open since June with no outbreaks reported but Cuomo says “people need food, people need clothes, people need home goods, You don’t need a casino to maintain survival.”

Newly Minted Congressman Chris Jacobs has been appointed to the House Agriculture committee.  In a press release Jacobs said that Agriculture is immensely important to Western NY and the first thing he is working on will be better access to broadband services in rural areas.

Rainbow Pre-school to close next month

Rainbow Pre-school, operated by the Arc of Genesee Orleans, will permanently close on August 14.

The program has locations in Batavia and Albion and has served hundreds of children with and without disabilities.

But enrollment has declined in recent years to a point where only 26 children are currently receiving services.
Arc officials say it was not only declining enrollment that led to the closing but also the challenges of operating through the pandemic and the perennial uncertainty over New York State funding.

“This decision was made with heavy hearts,” said Donna Saskowski, executive director of the Arc of Genesee Orleans. “For any children who are enrolled with Rainbow for the 2020-21 school year, we will work directly with parents and with school district representatives to secure appropriate placements and ensure continuity of services.”

The closing will mean that parents of children in the 2 and half to 5 year old age group will have to find specialized services elsewhere. That process begins with parents and their local school districts.
Rainbow Pre-school provided special education, physical, occupational and speech therapy and other services to children with developmental disabilities.

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County will be getting nearly a quarter-million dollars to enhance coronavirus contact tracing and flu prevention ahead of the fall flu season.
That money is part of the more than $30 million dollars the state will distribute to the counties to beef up staffing in local health departments

Two new positive cases of COVID-19 detected in Genesee County over the past 24 hours.
These two individuals, one in their 40s and one in their 50s, live in Batavia and LeRoy.
One of the individuals is hospitalized.

If Monroe County lawmakers get their way, Greater Rochester International Airport will have a new name.
They’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to rename it the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.
Supporters say Douglass is Rochester’s most notable citizen and one of history’s most notable abolitionists.

It was becoming more obvious by the day but Seabreeze amusement park will not open this year.
It’s the first time in 140 years the park will miss an entire season.
The owners of Seabreeze say they ran out of time waiting for the state to provide the guidelines for them to open.
They are making plans for next year.

The 2020 racing season resumes tonight at Batavia Downs.
The season opened on Wednesday without anyone in the stands.
The only ones watching the action were horse owners, and it will stay that way until the state changes its COVID protocols.

The Buffalo Bills have sent their rookie players home due to five positive coronavirus tests.
The team says it expected some players to get infected as they prepare for the upcoming season.
The Bills also said they have taken the necessary steps to keep more people from getting sick.

Alabama woman charged with attempted murder

A Town of Alabama woman has been charged with attempted murder following a knifing at Oliver’s Candies in Elba.

Collen L. Nelson, 49, Alabama, was arrested by State Police Wednesday afternoon for allegedly attacking a 59-year-old man with what was described as a large knife.

Both were employees of the candy store. Nelson worked at Oliver’s for 15 years; the victim suffered only minor injuries.

The owner of Oliver’s, Jeremy Liles,  was not on-site at the time, but said it is not known what precipitated the attack. He said the incident was over very quickly.

In addition to attempted murder, Nelson was also charged with attempted assault and criminal possession of a weapon. She’s being held without bail.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia man sentenced to serve 15 years in federal prison for taking a Bergen teenager across state lines will serve another three years.
24 year old Guillermo Torres-Acevedo learned yesterday that his state sentence will be added to his federal term. His lawyer wanted the state penalty to run concurrently.
Torres-Acevedo was charged in 2018 for enticing the Bergen girl to travel with him across state lines for sex.
An amber alert had been posted for his victim. Torres-Acevedo and the girl were eventually located in Pennsylvania.

PHOTO: Guillermo Torres Acevedo

A Swan Street man collared after being located in a home he had been ordered to stay away from.
34 year old Jose Rivera of Swan was charged with criminal contempt and burglary.
He was jailed on $2,000 dollars cash bail.

The efforts of Western New York residents to slow the spread of coronavirus appear to be working.
The number of people across the region who are hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment is at its lowest level since March.
For the second day in a row there have been no new positive cases of COVID-19 in either Genesee or Orleans County.

Governor Cuomo says taxing the wealthiest New Yorkers will not help in efforts to close a massive budget gap.
Right now, the state is facing a 30-billion dollar revenue shortfall over the next two years. New York has run deeper into the red over the last few months due to costs associated with the coronavirus crisis. New York already has the second-highest tax on the wealthy in the nation.

Driving schools have been given the green light by the state DMV to offer pre-licensing classes remotely.
Officials say the five-hour course can be conducted by using distance learning technology such as Zoom.
That means first-time drivers will be able to take a needed step towards getting a license, all without having to leave home.

Morning News Briefing

A retired emergency dispatcher for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office pleads guilty to one count of possessing child pornography.
58 year old James Tripp of Batavia was arrested by State Police after a two year investigation. Under terms of a plea deal, Tripp will become a registered sex offender,
Get 90 days in jail and 10 years’ probation.
Tripp worked for the sheriff’s office for 22 years. Five years ago he was named New York State’s top dispatcher.

A Bethany woman has been charged with leaving her dog locked inside a hot car while she went shopping at Walmart.
Deputies arrested 52 year old Catherine Klinkbeil on a charge of Confinement of a companion animal in extreme heat.
The temperature outside yesterday reached 84 degrees.
The dog was taken to the animal shelter. Klinkbeil has a date in court.

Over 300 local families have opted to keep their kids home and have them taught virtually. The Batavia City School District revealed 315 students will not return to class this fall – even if the state allows the re-opening of school.
School officials yesterday released a 60 page plan on how the district will attempt to educate the districts 22-hundred students.
Details of the plan are on the district’s website.

Finally some good news for Rochester’s Kodak Corporation.
Kodak has struck a 765-million dollar deal with the federal government to make components for generic drugs.
The company says they will hire 300 local people. A new division of the company will be created called Kodak Pharmaceuticals.

New York has added travelers from five more areas to the list of people who must quarantine after arriving in the Empire State.
People coming from places like Kentucky, Washington, DC, Illinois, Minnesota and Puerto Rico need to isolate themselves for two weeks to make sure they’re not infecting people with coronavirus.
Overall, there are more than 30 locations affected by the quarantine order.

COVID-19 makes no progress in Genesee County. Over the past 24 hours there were no new positive cases of the virus. There were no new cases in Orleans County either.

Couple speaks out over uncertainty of their daughter’s remains

Danielle and Zachariah Young filled with uncertainty over the remains of their daughter  PHOTO Courtesy:  The Batavian

A Darien center couple speaks out for the first time about the tragedy of baby daughter’s death and the uncertainty over her remains placed in the care of Batavia Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski
Zach and Danielle Young were expecting the birth of their third child in February of 2019. But before little Eva Young was to be delivered her heart stopped and after hours of arduous labor, Eva was stillborn.
They turned to Michael Tomaszewski to make arrangements for cremation. But following an autopsy, Zach Young told Tomaszewski to wait:

Tomaszewski placed the baby in a prep room cooler.
Months later, Tomaszewski told the Young’s that the baby had already cremated, contrary to their wishes:

The couple has been left to wonder what really happened to their baby. They accuse Tomaszewski of callous disregard for their daughter:

Last week Tomaszewski was arrested on 200 felony counts of grand larceny for allegedly failing to properly deposit funds for pre-paid funeral services. The sheriff’s office said they are also looking into allegations that he mishandled human remains.
The entire video interview with Zach and Danielle Young is available from on our news partner The Batavian

Morning News Briefing

As Genesee County prepares to promote Matt Landers to the post of County Manager, Landers replacement has been named.
The changes at the top due to the retirement of long time County Manager Jay Gsell. His last ay on the job will be August 14th.
Replacing Landers in the assistant’s post is Tammi Ferringer, 14 year veteran of county government. Ferringer started as a clerk typist and moved up through the ranks. Her latest assignments was as director of Fiscal Operations for the Social Services Department.

Not exactly a spike in cases but Genesee County has recorded four new positive cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. The four individuals reside in Batavia and LeRoy; two are in their 20’s, one in their 40’s and one in their 80’s.

Authorities believe the driver of a truck that ran off of Main Road in Stafford, slamming in to a tree, may have suffered some kind of medical emergency.
The crash occurred late yesterday afternoon.
The driver was taken to Strong Hospital by Mercy Flight. His condition this morning is unknown

State officials say efforts are underway to prevent a future shortage of personal protective equipment.
There was a scramble for things like masks and gowns when the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March.
Now, the state is teaming up with 20 companies to make sure there are enough supplies should there be a second coronavirus wave this Fall. Before the pandemic the state could buy face masks for 70 cents each, but that cost went to seven dollars per mask in just a matter of weeks.

The New York State Thruway Authority says the ongoing cashless tolling project is on schedule.
That means the switch to cashless tolling should be complete by the end of the year.
Drivers will still have to pay to travel the Thruway, but their trips will be tracked by sensors and cameras instead of the traditional toll ticket.

State officials say efforts are underway to prevent a future shortage of personal protective equipment.
There was a scramble for things like masks and gowns when the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March.
Now, the state is teaming up with 20 companies to make sure there are enough supplies should there be a second coronavirus wave this Fall. Before the pandemic the state could buy face masks for 70 cents each, but that cost went to seven dollars per mask in just a matter of weeks.


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on the federal government to give more help to daytime child-care facilities.
The New York lawmaker pushed for the creation of a 50-billion dollar fund as part of the Child Care is Essential Act.
Day care providers would be able to use the money for expenses and to pay staff members.
Senator Gillibrand also says there needs to be better communication between the Centers for Disease Control and child care facilities to make sure proper safety guidelines are being followed.

Morning News Briefing

Michael Tomaszewski

In addition to the 200 counts of grand larceny against Batavia director Michael Tomaszewski, deputies say they are looking into the suspected mishandling of human remains, including those of a stillborn baby.
Chief Deputy Joseph Graf said told our news partner The Batavian investigators are looking into several incidences of improper handling of remains. He would only confirm two of the cases – one an army veteran and the other a baby.
Tomaszewski was charged last week with accepting pre-arrangement payments from some 90 families, funds that by law should be placed in a trust account. Deputies say they never were. The total financial loss to local families: over a half million dollars.


Two families are left homeless following a fire on Ellicott Street.
The fire broke out around 8 last night in a duplex type home at 430 Ellicott, near South Swan..
All occupants of both apartments safely escaped.
One firefighter was suffered a minor injury and was evaluated at the hospital. The Salvation was called to help the residents.
Officials said it appeared the fire started in the basement and because of the balloon type construction of the building, fire was able to climb to upper floors.

The heat is on across Western New York today, and National Grid wants customers to be ready. The utility company says there will be a high demand on energy as temperatures reach the 90s this afternoon.
To help save a bit of money, National Grid suggests you use fans to circulate air around your home.
People are also being asked to check on elderly neighbors and children since they’re most at-risk for heat-related illnesses.

It appears that New York State is continuing to get the upper hand in the battle against COVID-19.
New data released over the weekend showed only one-percent of people statewide who were screened for the illness Saturday received a positive result.
Three deaths reported in the State Saturday.
However, the number of people hospitalized for treatment of coronavirus fell to its lowest point since March.


The Toronto Blue Jays are coming to Buffalo, and now we know the date of their first game at Sahlen Field. The Major League Baseball team will make its Western New York debut August 11th against the Miami Marlins.
The Blue Jays will be playing most of their home contests in Buffalo after being told they couldn’t take the field in Toronto or Pittsburgh due to concerns over the coronavirus. Sahlen Field, home of the team’s Triple A affiliate the Buffalo Bisons, will be getting some upgrades before the first game.

Weekend News Brief

Michael Tomaszewski

The Genesee county Sheriffs Office is investigating a body that was found in the garage of Michael Tomaszewski Funeral home and has been there for up to nine months.  On Thursday Tomaszewski was charged with 200 counts of grand larceny, failure to deposit monies, and schemes to defraud among other charges.  The body, believed to be that of Peter Vendetta was given to Tomaszewski for burial but never made it to the grave.  According to Vendetta’s step daughter Ronda Grabowski, Tomaszeski never received instructions for the burial from a cousin so he just kept the body.


Governor Cuomo is wading into an ongoing debate about what is food and what isn’t and making it law.  2 food items in particular raised eyebrows all over western NY.  Cuomo in his Friday news briefing declared that hotdogs are sandwiches, and chicken wings are not food.  He said these things as part of his mandate to force bars and restaurants to serve food with alcohol.  Cuomo stated that the mandate is to make sure that people are not congregating at bars or large outside gatherings with just drinks but that they are sitting down to substantive foods and not just finger foods.

New York Republicans including Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Michael Ranzenhofer decried the new legislation coming out of Albany.  The New York State legislature voted to allow people to register to vote through agencies such as the DMV and New York City housing authority but not the DEC which Ranzenhofer says is picking and choosing to try to curry votes with only specific voting groups.  Another bill that passed would allow the state government to redistrict areas of New York which Hawley says will lead to Gerrymandering.  The assembly also decided against removing Cuomo’s emergency powers, and blocked legislation to increase penalties for assaulting a police officer.

For the first time in more than 100 years, Buffalo will be the home of a Major League Baseball Team.  Late Friday night Governor Cuomo announced that the Toronto Blue Jays will be coming to Sahlens field in Buffalo.  The blue jays had to fly away from their home at Rogers Center in Toronto as the Canadian government would not allow them to travel back and forth over the border to the US because of Coronavirus.  Pennsylvania would not let them play at PNC Park for similar reasons.  The Jays were concerned about Sahlens Field as the lighting and Clubhouse amenities are not up to MLB standards.  Their practice team will be going to Frontier field in Rochester.

Afternoon News Brief

After the announcement that Michael Tomaszewski was facing felony charges for allegedly stealing funds from dozens of families in the Batavia area another funeral home association has stepped in to help.   Bohm Calarco Smith, HE Turner and company and the other funeral homes in their group have offered to help recover the funds and possibly donate services to those who were victimized.  Tomaszewski is alleged to have stolen from 91 customers including elderly persons.

The Genesee Orleans county health departments released yesterday that there is 1 new case of covid 19 in Genesee county and none in Orleans.  9 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 9 new people are also on travel quarantine in Orleans.  There are a total of 8 active cases in Genesee county and 1 in Orleans.

New Yorkers will once again be able to apply for the Trusted Traveler program.  The department of Homeland Security said late Thursday that it was opening up the program which allows for faster processing at international ports and airports as New York is now sharing DMV information with the federal agencies for people enrolling in these programs.  Governor Cuomo has asked for an investigation into the ban which he says was political extortion that hurt New Yorkers and may have contributed to the spread of covid 19. Albany has still maintained it will not share DMV information with ICE or Border Patrol and DHS is working with the Justice Department to take further legal actions against New York over those restrictions.

The new law requiring police departments across New York state to make public any disciplinary records has been halted by a federal judge in New York City.  Judge Katherine Failla granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday barring police departments and law enforcement agencies in the state from disclosing discipline records until at least Aug. 18 which is when a union lawsuit against their release will be argued.

Governor Cuomo said in a press conference today that there is still hope of the Toronto Blue Jays coming to Buffalo.  Cuomo said that he had had a very good conversation with the MLB commissioner this morning and if it is going to happen, I’d rather it happen here, its good for buffalo.

Morning News Briefing

Michael Tomaszewski

Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski is facing felony charges for allegedly pocketing Pre-need funeral payments.
The Sheriff’s Office says the scam bilked almost a hundred local families out of more than a half-million dollars.
The 48 year old Tomaszewski is accused of accepting the payments and not depositing the funds in trust accounts as required by law.
He is facing of grand larceny and falsifying business records.
Tomaszewski operates a funeral home bearing his name on West Main Street in Batavia and also the Dibble Family Event Center next door.
Tomaszewski was arraigned in county court late yesterday and then released on his own recognizance.


Jacob Sponaugle

Batavia police, with the help of F-9’s, search an area of Monclair Avenue and Vernon Place, looking for evidence related to Wednesday night’s shooting near the Days Inn.
The suspect in the shooting is identified as 21 year old Jacob Sponaugle lives on Montclair Ave.
He’s accused of shooting an acquaintance near the Days Inn Wednesday night in an apparent argument over a gun sale.
The victim of that shooting has not been identified by police. He suffered a non-life threatening wound to the upper chest.
Sponaugle has been charged with attempted murder and first degree assault. He is in the Genesee County Jail.

Governor Cuomo is sounding the alarm about the increase in COVID-19 cases among New York’s youngest residents. The governor says a campaign is being launched to warn people in their 20s and 30s about the dangers of coronavirus and how easily it’s spread.

A Batavia resident in their 20’s is the latest positive case of COVID-19 in Genesee County. There were no new cases of coronavirus reported over the past 24 hours in Orleans County.

The Buffalo Bills say season ticket holders for the upcoming 2020 campaign are eligible for refunds. And the team says those people can get their money back while maintaining their seat location and seniority for 2021. There’s no word yet if the Bills will play their home games in Orchard Park in front of fans due to questions surrounding the coronavirus. Season ticket holders have until August 14th to request a refund.

Funeral Director Charged with Failure to Deposit Pre-payments

Michael S. Tomaszewski

Local funeral director Michael S. Tomaszewski, 48, is being charged with 91 counts of failure to deposit monies paid in advance in connection with agreements for funeral merchandise or services.

He has been arrested following an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into Tomaszewski after a client of the Office of the Aging received a complaint from a customer of the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home & Cremation Chapel.  The client expressed concern regarding a deposit made for pre-paid funeral arrangements.

The investigation led authorities to conclude that Tomaszewski had received pre-payments from 91 customers for which trust accounts were never opened.

When a funeral director receives pre-payment for funeral services, the director is required under NYS law to place the money in a trust account within 10 days.

Investigators believe no such accounts were ever opened.

Additionally, Tomaszewski is accused of receiving payment for two headstones, and gravesites that were never purchased.

The deposited ranged from $350 to $15,500.

It’s alleged that Tomaszewski’s customers sustained a total loss of approximately $525,000.

In February, Tomaszewski filed for bankruptcy in Federal Court.

Tomaszewski is charged with 61 counts of grand larceny 3rd, 29 counts of grand larceny 4th, three counts of petit larceny.

He is also charged with five counts of falsifying business records 1st.  He is accused of creating fake business documents reflecting non-existent account information for trust accounts.

The long-time funeral director, who also owns the Dibble Center, is also accused of knowingly sending fake documentation to DSS and is charged with offering a false instrument for filing 1st.

There are also two counts of scheme to defraud filed against Tomaszewski.  He is accused of engaging in a scheme constitution a systematic course of conduct with intent to defraud at least 10 people by making false promises to obtain money.  He is also accused of defrauding a vulnerable elderly person as defined by state law.

Today, Tomaszewski was arraigned in County Court by Judge Charles Zambito via Skype.  He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in Batavia Town Court at 10 a.m., Sept. 17.

The investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Anybody who wishes to check the status of any pre-paid account can call (800) 577-3752 to verify the existence of a pre-plan account.  Anybody who believes they are a victim is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (585) 343-5000.

Suspect Arrested in Batavia Shooting

Jacob Sponaugle BPD Photo

News Release

On Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at around 9:30PM, the Genesee County 911 Center received a call for an apparent gunshot victim at 200 Oak Street, the Days Inn Hotel, in the City of Batavia. Upon arrival of City of Batavia Police Officers, a male victim was located with an apparent gunshot wound to the upper body area.

The victim was awake and alert. The victim was treated at the scene by the responding officers until the arrival of the City of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy Medics. The victim was then transported to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester via Mercy Flight with reported non-life-threatening injuries. A single white male was identified as the suspect, it was further reported that the suspect fled the scene in a white 4 door sedan, with a female passenger, prior to patrols arrival.

During the course of the investigation Officers determined the identity of the suspect, and lone assailant, to be Jacob Sponaugle, age 21, of Batavia. City of Batavia Police Officers and Detective Bureau members along with the assistance of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police – Batavia, Department of Environmental Conservation Police K-9 and members of the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force searched the area, interviewed witnesses and obtained video surveillance footage.

It was further determined that Sponaugle and the victim were acquaintances and that Sponaugle was at that address for the purpose of selling a firearm to another individual. With the assistance of key witnesses and the community, the suspect, Jacob J. Sponaugle was taken into custody at approximately 2:15 a.m. without incident outside of a residence on Montclair Avenue in the City.

Sponaugle faces the following charges and will be arraigned in Batavia City Court via Skype later today;

Attempted Murder in the 2nd Degree – 1 count
Assault in the 1st Degree – 1 count
Criminal Use of a Firearm in the 1st Degree – 2 counts
Aggravated Criminal Possession of a Weapon – 1 count
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree – 1 count
Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the 3rd Degree – 1 count

The Batavia Police would like to thank the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office; City of Batavia Fire Department; the New York State Police – Batavia; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation K-9,Mercy EMS, the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force, Genesee County 911 Center and Genesee County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance at the scene and the continued investigation.

The victim’s name is not being released at this time. Anyone with any further information is encouraged to contact the Batavia Police Department using the contact information below.

The Batavia Police Department can be reached at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370 or online HERE

Morning News Briefing

Police cordon off Days Inn on Oak St where victim of shooting was found  PHOTO Courtesy: The Batavian

Gunfire on Batavia’s north side.
A man stumbles into the lobby of the Days Inn on Oak Street around 9:30 last night with a gunshot wound to his chest.
Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch was at the scene:

The victim was flown to Strong Hospital in Rochester.
He was conscious and alert and talking to police.
As of last night police said they did not know what triggered the gunfire. It appeared the victim was shot with a small caliber handgun.
Heubusch said there is a “person of interest” in the case they are looking for. He said he does not believe there is a threat to the general public.

Matt Landers, appointed County Manager


Matt Landers, the assistant Genesee County Manager, has been approved for the top job taking over for Jay Gsell by the middle of next month.
Landers said he’s ready for the job…

Landers is 43 and lives in Elba. He had worked in the treasurer’s office before becoming the assistant to Gsell.
Landers was also a former Republican Party Chairman in the county.
Gsell, who will retire on August 14th, was recognized for his energy and personality. He was described as a legend in county government.

It looks like there’s still a chance the Toronto Blue Jays could be playing games in Buffalo this season. Yesterday, Pennsylvania health officials scrapped the team’s plan to play their home contests in Pittsburgh due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. Over the weekend, the Blue Jays were told they couldn’t use their traditional home field at Rogers Centre in Toronto for the same reason. Should the Blue Jays play locally, it would be at Sahlen Field, which is the home of their Triple A affiliate the Buffalo Bison’s.

Governor Cuomo says while New York is making progress in the fight against coronavirus residents still need to remain vigilant.
The governor is concerned about the growing number of COVID-19 cases nationwide and the possibility people from those hotspots could cause a spike in infections here.
The governor also said yesterday that the infection rate has actually gone down as the state’s economy reopened instead of going up.

Over the past 24-hours Genesee County has reported one new positive case of COVID-19…an individual in their 30’s living in Darien. Orleans County had no new cases.

New Detox Center Approved for Batavia

The Batavia City Planning and Development committee voted to approve the construction of a new 2 story 20 bed detoxification center at the Atwater house residential facility located at 424 East Main St. here in Batavia.  The over 87 hundred square foot facility will serve the Genesee Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse campus and provide much needed space for dealing with those who have addictions to drugs or alcohol.  At the same meeting a renovation to the Save-A-Lot building was also approved.

Genesee Orleans county health departments announced yesterday that there is one new case of COVID 19 in both Genesee and Orleans counties.  2 people have recovered in Genesee county and 1 has recovered in Orleans.  15 new people are on travel quarantine in Genesee county and 45 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans.  There are a total of 7 active cases in Genesee county and 2 in Orleans.

Morning News Briefing

New York has added travelers from 10 more states to the list of people who must quarantine after arriving in the Empire State. Folks coming from places like Alaska, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland and Delaware need to isolate themselves for two weeks to make sure they’re not infecting people with coronavirus. Overall, there are now 31 states affected by the quarantine order. Visitors must reveal information about their trips to health officials, and if they don’t, they could be fined $2,000.

Newest COVID-19 stats for Genesee County: one new positive case in the past 24 hours. An individual in their 70’s, living in Batavia, has tested positive for the virus. No one here is hospitalized. Orleans County also added one new case.

The Toronto Blue Jays will not be using Buffalo’s Sahlen’s Field as their home site this season.
The Jays will be setting up shop in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, home of the Pirates. Sahlen Field got serious consideration but ultimately required too many upgrades to bring its amenities to major-league standards.
There are conflicts between the Pirates and Blue Jays for seven of the 30 dates. One solution would be for those games to be moved to the opposing club’s park, with Toronto batting last as the home team.

Congressman Chris Jacobs is now officially representing the 27th District.
Jacobs was sworn-in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday and will be serving on both the House Agriculture Committee and House Budget Committee.
Jacobs, a Republican, will go right back into campaign mode since he’s being challenged again in November by Democrat Nate McMurray.

If you’re one of the millions of New Yorkers who get cable TV service through Spectrum, prepare to hand over more money.
The company says starting in August it’ll be raising its rates by nearly three bucks a month to offset the increasing cost of local programming.
But, some customers could receive rebates if the amount of sports programming is cut due to the ongoing pandemic.
There will be no rate increase for Spectrum Voice, Mobile or Internet customers.

Morning News Briefing

We are getting an idea of what school could be like in Batavia when, or if, classes resume this fall.
School administrators say a day could be spent in school, learning remotely, or a combination.
School Superintendent Anibal Soler updated the Board of Education last night on possible scenarios for Batavia schools.
The mix of in-class and online or remote learning, could be determined by the first letter of the student’s last name. For example, two days in school three days learning remotely from home.
Parents could opt for 100-percent virtual learning. Still others have said they don’t want their kids in school at all until a vaccine is available.
The plan is subject to change.

Three new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County over the past 24 hours. Those individuals live in Batavia, Bergen and Corfu.
Two of the three are under 20, one is in their 50’s.
Two new positive cases were reported in Orleans County.

A Town of Alexander man is arrested on charge of producing child pornography.
40 year old Christopher Brown could get 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said police, working online undercover, discovered a video allegedly produced by Brown using a hidden camera in his bathroom. Brown is being held in federal custody.

60 year old William Galiford of Reed Road, Bergen has been charged with drunk driving and driving a car that wasn’t his.
He was stopped last night near his home and allegedly started fighting with deputies. That earned him a charge of resisting arrest.
He was released with a court appearance ticket.

For the first time in months those of us living in the 27th Congressional District will have a representative in Washington.
Chris Jacobs is set to be sworn into office today.
The Republican beat Democrat Nate McMurray in a special election held last month. Jacobs will be finishing the term of ex Congressman Chris Collins who resigned after being arrested on federal insider trading charges.

Governor Cuomo is issuing a stern warning to bars and restaurants that have been violating reopening guidelines.
He says those businesses will be closed down if they don’t make sure customers are following social distancing protocols.
Large gatherings were reported across New York this weekend, which officials say could trigger a spike in coronavirus cases.

Morning News Briefing

New numbers show the New York State is continuing to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Cuomo says the number of New Yorkers hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 is at its lowest level since mid-March.
In the Western New York region, the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus has hovered above a one-percent average for the last few days.
In Genesee and Orleans County: the latest report showed two new positive cases in Genesee County and none in Orleans County.

The Toronto Blue Jays are looking for a new home and ….it could well be Buffalo.
The Canadian government says the Blue Jays can’t play at Rogers Centre in Toronto due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Sahlen Field is the home of the team’s Triple A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. However, members of the Blue Jays say they’d prefer to take the field at a major league stadium. A decision is expected soon, since the 2020 Major League Baseball season starts in a few days.

Members of the state Legislature will get back to work today during a rare summer session, and they have a lot to do. They’re planning to tackle several issues in the coming days including the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, recreational marijuana legalization and new consumer protection measures. There will also likely be talks about how to close the state’s lingering multi-billion-dollar budget gap.

Gasoline prices have been rising with the temperature in Western New York. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular is now $2.20. That’s up two cents from last week.
Gas buddy-dot-com reports the average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia is $2.22.

Morning News Briefing

New rules: If you want to buy a drink, you must buy food.
The governor says this latest directive is aimed at cutting down on crowds gathering in bars during the pandemic. The new order also requires customers must be seated to order their alcohol and food – either at a table or socially distant at a bar.

A Darien Center man gets eight years in prison for child pornography.
30 year old Alexander Seegar of Darien was convicted of posing as a teenage boy sexting naughty pictures 10 to 12 year old girls in Niagara County. Seegar used the social media site Instagram to conduct his illicit photo sharing.

Another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic are the fall state and regional high school sports championships.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has announced it’s delaying the start of the fall high school sports season and it’s cancelling the fall state and regional championships.
The fall sports season is scheduled to start September 21st.

A good day on the local COVID-19 front.
The health department reports no new positives cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours in either Genesee or Orleans counties.

A new statue of the abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, has been installed in Maplewood Park in Rochester.
The old statue was vandalized July 5th and torn from its base and left at the edge of the Genesee River gorge.
It could not be salvaged. It’s one of thirteen statues of Douglass put up around Rochester and the second to be vandalized.
The two men who were convicted of vandalizing the first statue helped install this latest statue.

Morning News Briefing

The explosion could be heard all over LeRoy.
A natural gas powered Waste Management garbage truck failed to make it under the Mill Street railroad bridge yesterday afternoon.
LeRoy Police Officer Emily McNamarra explains what happened…


PHOTO: LeRoy Police Officer Emily McNamarra

 PHOTO: LeRoy Police Officer Emily McNamarra

There was no fire and no one was hurt.
The railroad bridge was damaged. Until repairs are made, there will be no train traffic on the bridge.

The Ellicott Trail, a pedestrian and bicycle path through the city and town of Batavia is officially open.
The project was more than three years in the making.
The Batavia Rotary Club donated bike racks and benches for the project.
The trail runs about four and a half miles.

One resident from Pembroke and another from Alexander have tested positive for COVID-19.
In Orleans County, another resident of the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina has died from coronavirus related illness.
That brings the total deaths at that nursing home to 24 since the pandemic began.

The Buffalo Bills say their stadium in Orchard Park is about to undergo a name change.
The team announced that New Era has asked to be released from its naming-rights agreement.
Just when the change will take place and the new name for the stadium have not been announced.
New Era, best known for its baseball caps, has struggled financial during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says schools in Western New York can’t reopen safely without more federal funding.
Schumer made the announcement while in Wyoming County yesterday.
Schumer is pushing legislation called the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act. If approved, it would provide 175 billion dollars in aid for schools nationwide.

July 15 is the new tax deadline

July 15 is the deadline to file your taxes. Usually, it’s April 15, but the pandemic forced the move to today.

The New York State Tax Department will have representatives available until 7 tonight to help you with any last-minute filing questions. The number is 518-457-5181.

The state tax department is also encouraging taxpayers who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 to prepare and file their taxes for free through the state’s Free File software found on the tax department’s website. The state says more than 221,000 taxpayers have already done so, a 40 percent increase from last year.

Morning News Briefing

Nursing home residents are getting the chance to see their loved ones in-person for the first time in months.
The state is easing visitor restrictions. Two visitors will be allowed at a time, and they must undergo temperature checks, wear face masks and stay six-feet away from patients.
In order for the nursing home to allow visitors it must not have had any new coronavirus cases among staff or residents for 28 days.
It is estimated however only 24 percent of nursing homes will qualify to welcome visitors today.
Nursing homes were closed off to visitors back in March to slow the spread of coronavirus.

It’s been a long time coming but the Ellicott Trail will open today.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting will be held this afternoon signaling the opening of the 4 and half mile trail from Seven Springs Road to Route 33 Pearl Street Road.
The trail was more than three years in the making.
It is only to be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

No fall sports at GCC.
The decision affects men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, swimming and diving, as well as women’s volleyball.
GCC says the sports will be rescheduled from Fall 2020 to Spring 2021.

One name from the Bad Boys repoirt this morning: 42 year old Jeffrey Haibach of Pike Road in Batavia. He’s been charged with trespassing. Deputies say Jeffrey entered a neighbor’s home, without permission, and stayed there until his neighbors came home.
Haibach has a court appearance ticket.

There is a food distribution today at Northgate Free Methodist Church on Bank Street Road.
The distribution begins at 9 this morning.
Be sure to have your truck cleaned out so that it can hold 3 to 4 boxes of food.
Stay in your car as volunteers will load the food for you.
If you are picking up food for someone else, be sure to have ID showing the separate address.

The polls have been closed for weeks, and it looks like there might soon be a winner in the 27th Congressional District race. The latest absentee ballot results show Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs with a five-point lead over Democrat Nate McMurray. Jacobs declared victory on primary night, but McMurray has refused to concede until all the votes are counted. Whoever comes out on top will finish the term of ex-Republican Congressman Chris Collins.

Morning News Briefing

City Council is poised to deny a request by a popular downtown restaurant to pop up a tent for outdoor dining.
Vic Marchese is the owner of Main Street Pizza. He says the lack of outdoor seating is hurting his business…

Marchese was applying for temporary permission to set up tables in a tent in parking spaces adjacent to his building.
The city hall balked at the idea. They cited too few parking spaces already and traffic congestion.
Councilman Ron Viele supported Marchese

Later, during the council’s business meeting, it approved a plan to allow Eli Fish to set up 12 outdoor tables in the city owned Jackson Square.

The council later approved a deer management plan for the city.
The plan allows archery hunters to take up to 65 deer during the designated hunting season. There are lots of conditions for the hunt.
The City of Batavia has dealt with an over-population deer for years.

Fire in Pavilion sends a young boy to the hospital with smoke inhalation.
Fire started in the living room of a home along Ellicott Street Road just south of Telephone Road yesterday afternoon.
County Fire coordinator Tim Yeager was there…

PHOTO: Genesee County Fire Coordinator Timothy Yeager


The boy, said to be 10 or 11 years old, is OK.
Two pets – a dog and cat perished in the fire – but another dog was rescued..
Officials believe the fire started in a faulty window air conditioner.

It was some kind of chase.
A State Trooper in took off in pursuit of a car emblazoned with the word “security” along its side.
The chase started on Park Road last night as the security car exited the Red Roof Inn, with no lights, It ended with the suspect car getting stuck trying to drive onto the Thruway behind the Hershey’s building. There were three people in the car which was later determined to have been stolen from Rochester. Troopers at the scene declined further details.

Travelers who arrive in New York from states with a high number of coronavirus cases will need to fill out some paperwork, or face a penalty. Officials say anyone who lands at an airport in New York State has to reveal their travel plans, and if they refuse, they could be fined two-thousand dollars. The state health department says the requirement is needed after thousands of travelers declined to fill out the forms voluntarily.

Monday Afternoon News Brief:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo announced during his press briefing today that schools in regions that are in phase 4 may reopen in the fall if the region they are in have less than 5% infection rate on average for 14 days.  Schools themselves must follow health department guidelines.  The health department’s guidelines include masks and PPE whenever students or staff cannot maintain social distancing.  It also includes guidelines on cleaning, screening, tracing, transportation and food service.  Schools will have to close if infection rates climb above 9% over a 7 day average.  Final plans must be submitted to the state health department by July 31st and final decisions will be made the week of August 1st-7th.

Genesee Community College has announced that it’s fall sports will be cancelled due to the coronavirus.  Men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, swimming and diving, and women’s volleyball will all be affected by this decision.  Most of region 3 colleges are doing the same thing.  Assistant Vice President of student engagement and inclusion Kristen Schuth says that this is the best path for GCC to ensure the safety and well being of student athletes coaches and training staff and that she looks forward to the day when it is safe for the fields and floors of GCC to hold competitions again.

Gas prices continue to be down in western NY but are rising slowly across the us.  The national average for regular unleaded is $2.20 which is 2 cents higher than a week ago.  Last year it was $2.79.  The Western NY average is $2.21 cents, down 2 cents from last week.  Last year the average across NY was $2.89.

Morning News Briefing

Batavia police this morning announce a string of recent arrests.
29 year old Jennifer Hogan of Buell Street behind bars on a robbery charge from last year.
Jennifer and her boyfriend were stopped in Livingston County last week and are facing drug charges .During the course of that investigation police discovered the outstanding robbery warrant against Jennifer.
She’s now in the custody of the Genesee County Jail.

Latayfa Franklin of Buffalo has been arrested for endangering the welfare of an incompetent person. Batavia Police say Latayfa allegedly blocked the nose and mouth of a person on Bank Street.
Latayfa’s been released under supervision.

A Liberty Street woman arrested for harassment following a neighborhood fracas.
BPD says 31 year old Rae Cook hauled off and slugged a neighbor.
Rae was given a court appearance ticket.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is mourning the loss of its former leader. Retired Bishop Edward Kmiec passed away over the weekend at the age of 84 following an illness. Kmiec was the 13th bishop of Buffalo from 2004 until he retired in 2012.

A plan intended to harvest up to 60 deer per year with bow hunting is expected to be presented to Batavia City Council tonight.
It’s an effort to control the deer population in the city.
Hunters would need a license and hunt only during specified times in specified areas.
The plan was drafted in consultation with the state department of environmental conservation.
The meeting will be held at 7 tonight in the city council board room at city hall. Face masks and social distancing required.

State education officials will be meeting today to discuss guidelines that’ll be in place should kids return to class in September. School districts have been working on their own plans but are also waiting for regulations to officially be announced. Governor Cuomo said last week a decision on whether students are back in class will be made in early August. They were sent home back in March to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Weekend News Brief

Genesee Orleans county health departments announced Friday that there are 2 new cases of COVID 19 in Genesee county and 1 in Orleans.  3 people have recovered in Genesee county and 3 people are on travel quarantine in Orleans.  There are a total of 5 active cases in Genesee county and 2 in Orleans county.

On Friday Governor Cuomo announced that beaches across NY State may reopen their concessions starting Sunday July 12th.   The concessions must adhere to the same restrictions as restaurants including mask wearing and social distancing

Nursing homes are now allowed to have visitors according to Dr Howard Zucker state department health commissioner.  Nursing homes that have not had a case of COVID 19 for 28 days may allow up to 10 percent of residents to have up to 2 visitors per day.  Masks and screenings will be required as residents at nursing homes and in long term care are the most vulnerable to Coronavirus.

The unofficial counts are in, at least in Genesee county.  In the 61st state senate democratic primary Kim Smith came out on top with 1083 votes and in the 27th congressional seat special election republican Chris Jacobs lead with over 6000 votes to Democrat Nate Mcmurray’s near 3800.  Tallys are not done in other counties and we can expect final results sometime Monday.

The survey being conducted in Batavia over school reopening so far shows that 2 thirds of residents want kids back in school with a regular schedule and social distancing and masks when possible.  “Most of our parents want in-person classrooms and so do we,” said Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr.  The only area that parents weren’t mostly in favor of was busing, with 66 percent of respondents saying they would drive their own children and only 28 percent saying they were comfortable with busing even with sanitizing.  The survey concludes on Monday.

Hidden Valley Animal Adventure Worker Injured by Zebu

A Zebu, type of animal that attacked caretaker. Courtesy: thecalifornian.com

An employee of the Hidden Valley Animal Adventure park in Wyoming County is recovering today from injuries she suffered from an animal attack.
The incident happened around Noon yesterday at the park in Varysburg.
The employee, believed to be in her 30’s and identified only as a caretaker of the animals, was injured by a Zebu, a kind of humpback cattle.
The caretaker was flown to hospital by Mercy Flight with injuries to her head and ribs. The injuries are believed not  to be life threatening.
The animal had recently given birth.

The park released a statement reminding visitors not to attempt to feed or touch any newborn animals.
Four years ago, park owner Hans Boxler was trampled to death by an antelope that has escaped from its pen.

Morning News Briefing

As the heat wave continues to grip Western New York the county’s health department is asking all of us to save water.
Even though the Heat Advisory expires tonight excessive heat and humidity is expected for another three days.
The health department has outlined a number of ways you can save water:
Avoid filling swimming pools, watering lawns and washing cars.
Use your dishwasher and washing machines only for full loads.
Check faucets for leaks and take shorter showers.
If voluntary measures are unsuccessful, mandatory conservation may be enforced.

Absentee ballot counting continues in the 27th Congressional District race this week, and the race is getting tighter.
Democrat Nate McMurray is now just nine points behind Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs. Jacobs had been ahead by 31 points on primary day.
While he still needs a large number of absentee ballots to go his way, McMurray refuses to concede.
The winner of this election will finish the unexpired term of former Congressman Chris Collins.

A traffic stop in Livingston County leads to felony charges for a Batavia couple.
David Vega and Jennifer Hogan are facing charges after allegedly giving phony names to police.
Vega was also charged with driving under the influence of drugs and driving with a license that had been suspended 31 times.
Hogan had an outstanding warrant in Batavia for Robbery.
Both were released under the new bail reform measures.

One new case of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County in the past 24 hours.
A person in their 50’s from Darien has tested positive.
No one in the county is hospitalized due to coronavirus.

After being shut down for months to prevent the spread of coronavirus, malls across Upstate New York will finally have shoppers inside them today.
Malls will need to make sure people stay six feet apart, establish designated delivery areas and have special air filters installed.
The number of employees and shoppers is also being capped at no more than half of a mall’s maximum capacity.

Voluntary Water Conservation Notice from the Genesee County Health Department:

All residents served by the Genesee County countywide Public Water Supply (GCPWS) are requested by the GCPWS and the Genesee County Department of Health to conserve water.

According to the local weather forecast, Genesee County is expected to endure at least three more days of excessive heat and humidity. It is expected that very high levels of water consumption will continue throughout this period.

To avoid an emergency situation, all residents served by the GCPWS water system are asked to do their part to conserve water. Guidelines to save water include:

  1. Avoid filling swimming pools.
  2. Avoid watering lawns and washing cars.
  3. Use your automatic dishwasher only for full loads.
  4. Use your automatic washing machine only for full loads.
  5. If you wash your dishes by hand, do not leave the water running for rinsing.
  6. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator to keep it cool instead of running the water.
  7. Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, seven days a week and often can be repaired with an inexpensive washer.
  8. Check your toilets for leaks. To test for leaks, add a small amount of food coloring to the toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately.
  9. Take shorter showers. Long showers can waste five to 10 gallons every extra minute.
  10. Install water-saving showerheads or flow restrictors. Area hardware or plumbing supply stores stock inexpensive water-saving showerheads or restrictors that are easy to install.

    We need your help. If voluntary conservation measures are unsuccessful, mandatory water conservation may be enforced. Questions may be directed to the Genesee County Department of Health.

  11. The Genesee County Department of Health can be reached at (585) 344-2580, ext. 5555 or:  Health.Dept@co.genesee.ny.us

Afternoon News Brief

The Genesee County Job Development Bureau is having the summer youth employment program this summer and they need 45 young people between the ages of 14 and 20.  Most of the jobs will be outdoor work to help with social distancing and hygiene requirements.  Interviews will be July 13-17th For more information contact the Genesee county career center.

An alternative court for minor offenders in either school or by law enforcement is available.  Set up as a court of their peers, youth court has judges from 8th to 11th grade.  Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement, group decision making; develop their public speaking skills; participate in a great leadership opportunity; and learn and participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense, and bailiff.  The application deadline to be a member of the Youth court is July 31st.

The Genesee Orleans county health departments announced yesterday that there are 2 new cases of Covid 19 in Genesee county and none in Orleans county.  1 person has recovered in Genesee county.  The health department are now including people who are on quarantine from traveling.  6 people in Genesee county are on travel quarantine and 9 people in Orleans county are on travel quarantine.  There are 5 active cases in Genesee county and 1 in Orleans.

Although Albany has not announced when Amusement parks can open, a group is trying to revive a dead one in Western New York state.  Empire Adventures is attempting to raise money through a go fund me and loans with banks and investors to restart the 59 year old amusement park on Grand Island.  Although it wont be ready for this season, they hope to celebrate Fantasy islands 60th anniversary in 2021 with a functioning and fun park.

Morning News Briefing

For the first time in months, shoppers in Western New York will be heading back to the malls tomorrow.
Governor Cuomo has given shopping centers outside of New York City the green light to reopen.
However, the malls must have the proper air filters installed to lower the risk of coronavirus infection. Malls are also being required to constantly check those filters to make sure they’re working correctly.
There’s still no word yet on when gyms, fitness centers or amusement parks can reopen.

Western New York could tie a record today for the longest string of 90-degree days.
A heat advisory remains in effect for Genesee County and today could be the hottest so far.
Tropical humidity will make the near record high temperatures feel like triple digit heat.
Ozone and other pollution levels will be high.

Governor Cuomo says students, teachers and parents won’t have to wait too much longer to find out if schools will reopen this fall. The governor said yesterday a final decision will be made in early August, a few weeks ahead of the traditional start of the school year in September.

From the bad boys report this morning:
31 year old Colby Ellis of Albion is behind bars this morning.
Ellis arrested by Genesee County Deputies on charges of burglary and petty larceny.
He is accused of violating a stay away order of protection in Alexander.

Two new positive cases of COVID-19 in Genesee County over the past 24 hours.
The positive individuals reside in Batavia and Darien. One of the positive individuals is in their 40’s and one is in their 60’s.
No Genesee County resident is hospitalized with coronavirus.

The stars of NASCAR will not be making their usual visit to New York State’s Finger Lakes region this summer.
NASCAR officials say the upcoming Cup Series race, scheduled for August 16th, will now be moved to the road course at Daytona International Speedway.
The decision to take The Glen off the schedule for the first time in decades is due to quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors.
Since NASCAR teams are based out of North Carolina, they’d be required to isolate for two weeks after arriving.

Afternoon News Brief:Malls to Reopen Friday with New Filters

Governor Cuomo announced today that malls will be allowed to reopen on Friday July 10th in regions that are already in phase 4 of the NYS reopening plan provided they have MERV 11 or higher rated air filters in place.  Merv 9-12 are the most commonly used and recommended household filters.  Merv 11 may filter out the.125 micron virus particles but experts warn that a good filtration system won’t help people who are close together or not wearing masks and may not slow the spread at all given how open and high ceilinged malls are to begin with as the virus likely won’t even make it into the system.

Governor Cuomo announced today a deadline for schools to have a reopening plan in place.  The governor said that an announcement about schools will come on July 13th and that schools will have until July 31st to submit a plan to the State.  The final decision will be made sometime between August 1 and 7.

Western NY has a problem with feeding its children.  The organization Feeding America estimates that before the pandemic and associated shutdowns nearly 55 thousand children in Western NY were food insecure, meaning that they didn’t know where the next meal would be coming from and the amount of food the children were getting wasn’t enough for them to be active, alert and growing.  During the pandemic that number has grown to nearly 80 thousand.  Food banks and giveaways, mostly at churches, help the situation and help families during these uncertain times.  Feeding America urges people in Western NY to donate to places that are doing these giveaways and support your neighbors.


Florida has renewed it’s state of emergency over the rise of covid cases and also renewed the quarantine order for travelers coming from NY, New Jersey and Connecticut to the sunshine state.  Florida has set up checkpoints on major thoroughfares into the state from the tri-state area and will place travelers from the 3 states into a 14 day quarantine.

Morning News Briefing

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia says he’s signed on to a Republican plan to re-open schools this fall.
Hawley says the GOP plan will explores potential solutions for each level of education and social interactions.
The Cuomo administration has yet to release guidelines for re-opening schools this fall but has directed individual school districts to draft their own contingency plans.

The latest COVID-19 report: No new positive cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours in either Genesee or Orleans Counties.
The health department says no one is hospitalized with COVID-19 illness in Genesee County and only four people are in Mandatory isolation.

Governor Cuomo is asking travelers from three more states to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in New York.
With the number of coronavirus cases growing in Kansas, Oklahoma and Delaware, travelers from there are being asked to isolate themselves.
There are now 19 states covered by the Governor’s quarantine order.
The state Health Department is asking travelers to voluntarily fill out forms revealing details about their trips…but few have.

Day two of the Western New York Heat Advisory. Heat index values will reach into the mid-90’s today…near 100 tomorrow and Friday.
Drink plenty of fluids, try to stay out of the sun. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

The Town of Batavia will be experiencing low-water pressure in the western and northwestern parts of town.
Due to high water demands, the County is obtaining water from alternate connections. This lowers water pressure.
The town says will continue until further notice.

State Police have announced the results of their recent holiday weekend crackdown on illegal fireworks.
Troopers targeted people who were bringing the contraband into New York from Pennsylvania.
Troopers confiscated $27,000 worth of illegal fireworks.

Latest COVID-19 Update

Genesee Orleans COVID 19 Report Since Thursday:

Orleans county had 0 cases of covid 19

Genesee county had 3 new cases

3 people in Genesee county have recovered and none are hospitalized

Orleans county still has 7 people hospitalized

There are 5 total active cases of covid 19 in Genesee county and 2 in Orleans

Governor Cuomo announced today that 3 more states are on the quarantine list. Visitors to the empire state coming from Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma will now be subject to a 14 day quarantine. These join 16 other states for a total of 19 states that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have deemed to be having too many coronavirus cases. According to the Governor’s Office, the quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

42 year old Jeremy Fairbanks and 35 year old Leah Kelly both of Batavia are each charged with 306 counts of criminal contempt in the second degree after being arrested over a complaint of violation of a court order. Fairbanks was arrested on the 2nd and Kelly was arrested on July 5th.

Morning News Briefing

New York State’s Health Commissioner deflecting blame away from his boss for contributing to the high number of coronavirus deaths in New York State nursing homes.
Dr. Howard Zucker says Governor Cuomo’s executive order requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients was not a significant factor in the deaths. Rather, Zucker says, it was nursing home staff and visitors that caused the increase.
In Orleans County alone, 53 residents of two nursing homes – one in Albion and one in Medina – died from COVID-19 related illness.

Governor Cuomo says while the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue in a positive direction, he’s continuing to raise the alarm about case totals in other states. He called it “frightening” that other regions are reporting increased numbers, saying an outbreak anywhere means a potential outbreak everywhere.
That said, in New York indicators are positive, including the lowest number of new hospitalizations since March 18th.
Cuomo maintains that recent cases in New York have been tracked back to people traveling from out of state.

Genesee Community College has announced plans to bring students back to campus in a limited capacity.
GCC has outlined a series of COVID-19 safety measures for in-person classes.
All classrooms and labs have been measured to determine maximum capacity, all College Village residence bedrooms will be converted to singles and dining services will be limited to single-serve or take out items.
There are a number of other measures, all are available on our website.

A Heat Advisory officially takes effect today for Genesee County and all of Western New York.
Expect heat Index values in the mid 90’s for today and tomorrow and near 100 Thursday and Friday.

For the first time in over 70 years, thousands of people will not be heading to Syracuse for the New York State Fair. Governor Cuomo announced yesterday the popular event has been canceled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

GCC Announces Restart Plans for Fall Semester

NEWS Release: GCC

BATAVIA  GCC unveiled a series of plans for the Fall 2020 semester to bring students back to campus in a limited capacity, while operating numerous courses through remote delivery. The Fall 2020 plans include a blend of learning modalities featuring a robust number of online, hybrid and HyFlex classes, and all in-person instruction will follow the College’s COVID-19 safety measures such as:

  • All classrooms and labs have been assessed to determine the maximum capacity while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
  • Maximizing GCC’s hybrid and HyFlex learning environments that strategically combine in-person and online instruction.
  • Labs requiring face-to-face, hands-on learning will be separated in multiple sections as needed to reduce classroom density.
  • All College Village residence bedrooms will be converted to singles with one student per private room.
  • The services that students rely on, such as the Library and Tutoring and Testing Centers as well as campus study spaces will be available for use following social distancing rules.
  • Dining services will open but will focus on single-serve items and take-out items.
  • While some programs and activities will look different in the Fall semester, GCC is committed to providing a vibrant student engagement experience for all students.

“We will remain vigilant throughout the duration of this pandemic, continuously monitoring health conditions and working to mitigate the spread of the virus,” James M. Sunser, Ed.D., president of GCC said. “The hard work and cooperation of everyone today helps ensure we remain healthy and safe tomorrow and can have a successful academic year.”

College officials are currently gearing up to welcome back staff and faculty on a reduced capacity as well, beginning Monday, July 6, 2020.

“The past four months have been an extraordinarily challenging time. There are so many moving parts in a college campus that I must commend our campus community who have teamed up to maintain as many critical services as possible, allowing us to be prepared for this fall,” Dr. Sunser said. “This included modifying workflows, teaching and working remotely, learning and introducing new technologies, and sometimes discovering new efficiencies or new opportunities, such as our Virtual Commencement Ceremony. It is no accident that GCC continues to have no documented positive cases of COVID-19, a true testament to our collective commitment to strategically tackle this crisis.”

Employees received a five-page “Welcome Back” guideline outlining all the new facets of working on campus that includes social distancing, mask wearing and multiple steps to reduce the density of the campus population. The most salient features of the Re-opening Plan include but are not limited to:

  • Only employees with a valid ID are allowed on campus at this time.
  • All persons will be given a brief verbal screening about their physical health and an infrared, touch-free temperature reading by a member of the College’s Health or Campus Safety Office, who will have the authority to deny access to anyone deemed at risk for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Many departments are staggering summer staffing to reduce GCC population density.
  • Maintain a six-foot distance from other people at all times, avoid physical contact such as handshakes, and wear a face mask in all shared spaces.
  • Most meetings will continue to be held remotely and many areas of the College will remain closed this summer, such as dining services, as they are prepared for fall configuration.
  • GCC’s Buildings and Grounds Department will be cleaning and disinfecting common areas and frequently touched surfaces throughout each day, and each department and individual will be asked to clean and disinfect individual workstations and equipment using College provided supplies.

GCC posts the latest updates and information on the College’s COVID19 webpage that is available from the College’s homepage on its main website, www.genesee.edu.

Morning News Briefing

The National Weather Service has posted a heat advisory for tomorrow through the end of the week for all of Western New York including Genesee County.
Heat index values in the mid-90’s are expected tomorrow and Wednesday, then near 100 Thursday and Friday.
The highest heat index values will be inland from the Lake Ontario shore.
The Weather Service says hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur. Warm overnight low temperatures will make it difficult to cool buildings without air conditioning.

Rochester police are asking for help in finding out who damaged the Frederick Douglass statue in Maplewood Rose Garden. The statue was found removed from its base yesterday and discovered about 50 feet away from the pedestal. It’s now being sent for repairs.
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York.

New York State is continuing to make progress in the ongoing battle against coronavirus.
Governor Cuomo says fewer than one-percent of State residents who were tested Saturday received a positive result.
However, eight more people did die due to the illness, pushing the statewide total closer to 25-thousand.

Western New York drivers are continuing to find consistent prices at the gas pump.
According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $2.20. That’s down a penny from last week.
Gas Buddy-dot-com shows the average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia at $2.25.

Rochester Regional Clarifies Gov’s Comments on Free COVID-19 Testing

News Release From Rochester Regional Health:

We have heard of confusion based on the announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo this week concerning statewide COVID-19 testing being free and open to all patients. We want to clarify to the public what this means.

As per the statement on the ny.govwebsite, if you go to a New York State testing site, it is free and anyone can get tested. If you go to any other site that is not state-run, you must follow the requirements of the specific organization, hospital, company, etc. set forth as far as testing.

At Rochester Regional testing sites we are still not testing everyone. There are certain criteria.

Right now, the closest state-run (free) testing site in the area is Monroe Community College. If any individual wants to get tested, they can do so at this site for free. This is the site (locally) Governor Cuomo was referring to when he said anyone can get tested for free.

This is a fluid situation and testing requirements may change. We will update the public as needed.

Here’s a link to test sites: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

Please call the testing site or your health care provider before you go for testing.

If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.

If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.

Morning News Briefing


A new president has been named for the Board of Education in Batavia.
She is Alice Ann Benedict, a former board president.
She replaces 30 year Board veteran Patrick Burke who has announced plans to retire from the board at the end of the year.
Benedict had served as a board member from 1995 to 2006.
She was re-appointed to the Board in May to fill a vacancy and then was elected to a full three year term last month.

Genesee County Sheriff’s arrested 22 year old Elis Salkic of Adele Drive in Greece following a traffic stop on Tuesday evening. Deputies stopped the vehicle on Richmond ave in the city after it ran a stop sign. Salkic was charged with AUO 3rd, Unlawful possession of Marijuana, operating a vehicle while using an electronic device and failure to stop at a stop sign. Salkic was found to be driving on a suspended license and given appearance tickets for 8/18 at BCC

• Genesee County received 1 new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of 225 positive cases
o The positive individual resides in Oakfield.
o The positive individual is in their 20’s.
o The positive individual was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
o Currently no individuals are hospitalized and no individuals have been released from mandatory quarantine.
• Orleans County received 1 new positive case of COVID-19 today for a total of 267 positive cases
o The positive individual resides in Clarendon.
o The positive individual is in their 50’s.
o The positive individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
o No individuals have been released from mandatory quarantine.
o 7 of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.

Genesee county sheriff’s continue to respond to multiple calls over the last week to people that have been swimming illegally at various locations. One of the most popular spots had visitors last night
Nine people reportedly climbed the rocks and jumped into the falls below Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant at 1227 Gilmore Road in Corfu. Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies are responded issuing warnings and trespass violations.

Batavia Fire Dept Issues Fireworks Guidance

As we approach the July 4th Independence Day Holiday, Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano of the City of Batavia Fire Department would like to remind the residents of the City of what sparkling devices are allowed by law. “We want to ensure that our residents enjoy the holiday in a safe and responsible manner” said Napolitano.

According to the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services “Sparking Devices” are considered, “ground based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke.”

Napolitano also stated, “These sparkling devices can only be bought and sold from June 1st to July 5th and from December 26th to January 1st in any given year.” Furthermore, the law states that “Sales of sparkling devices by certified temporary stands or tents can only occur from June 20th to July 5th and December 26th to January 1st in any given year.”

According to Napolitano, allowable sparkling devices under the law are sparkling fountains, sparklers on wooden sticks (not metal sticks), smoking devices, snakes confetti-filled party poppers and paper-wrapped snappers. Non-allowable and illegal devices include firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and any other aerial devices.

As a result of COVID-19 cancelling many public fireworks displays, Chief Napolitano recommends the following alternatives to celebrate the 4th of July Holiday without fireworks. Furthermore, these alternatives are pet and children friendly.

  • Use glow sticks, they glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler.
  • Use noise makers. They can be found at a local party supply store.
  • Red, white and blue silly string.
  • Outdoor movie night. Set up a television or screen and projector.
  • Make patriotic crafts with the family.

Lastly, Napolitano states,” It is important to take the necessary fire safety precautionary steps when using these devices. Last year there were a report 18,500 fireworks related injuries in the United States each year.”

If any resident has questions regarding what is allowable or would like information regarding safety precautions, they can call the City of Batavia Fire Headquarters at 585-345-6375.

Morning News Briefing

For the second day in a row there have been no new COVID-19 cases in in Genesee County.
As of late yesterday, no individuals are hospitalized with coronavirus in the county.
While the number of new cases of coronavirus are steadily dropping statewide, the state is urging all New Yorkers to get tested for COVID-19. Previously, screening was limited to nursing home staff, essential employees and people who were exposed to the virus, but now everyone is eligible to get tested. The nearest Batavia testing site is United Memorial Medical Center.

Genesee County’s Economic Development agency is expected to take final action today on a 1.4-million dollar project that will transform the YWCA building on North Street.
The project calls for expanding the Three Little Birds pediatric medical practice inside the YW.
The YW will remain in the building as a tenant. The medical practice is seeking various tax incentives.
The YWCA was forced to sell their building to help get out from under a financial crisis that that threatened the agency’s existence two years ago.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of LeRoy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.
The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on July 3rd and will end on July 6th. The Fourth of July extended weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving.

If you are planning some yard work this weekend note that Batavia’s Yard Waste Station on Law Street will be closed. The facility will shut down tomorrow and Saturday and will not re-open with regular hours until Monday.

GCEDC Considers Final Approval of YWCA Project

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) board of directors will consider final approvals for a $1.4 million mixed-use proposal by Fraser-Branche Property, LLC at the agency’s July 2, 2020 board meeting.

Fraser-Branche Property, LLC is proposing to remodel the majority of the 13,000 square-foot YWCA facility in the city of Batavia to enable the expansion of the Three Little Birds Pediatrics medical practice. The remainder of the facility will support the YWCA and other existing tenants.

A public hearing on the proposed incentives was held November 20, 2019.

Fraser-Branche Property, LLC’s proposed investment contributes to Genesee County’s growth strategy in the city of Batavia through the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2).

Launched by Genesee County, the City of Batavia, the Batavia City School District and the GCEDC, the BP2 program provides support to future brownfield redevelopment projects through the benefits generated by projects in the city of Batavia.

Because of the COVID19 pandemic the meeting will be conducted via conference and on-line at www.gcedc.com.

Morning News Briefing

Joshua Blessed

58 year old Joshua Blessed of Virginia may have had bigger and more sinister plans on his mind when he plowed his tractor trailer along a multi-county police pursuit.
That chase began on May 27th in LeRoy and ended in a hail of gunfire in Geneseo, and ended with police eventually shooting Blessed to death in the cab of his truck.
As part of the investigation, police searched Blessed’s home in Virginia where they found 14 improvised explosive devices or IED’s, two AK-47’s, thousands of rounds of ammunition and over $100,000 in cash.



Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty says with that arsenal, he had bigger plans but it all started with a scheduled delivery in Batavia…

In all police said Blessed fired at least 24 rounds at them from a 9mm Glock striking several police vehicles and ramming others with his truck.
Law enforcement fired over 120 rounds to stop him.


A new poll shows New Yorkers are in support of recent policing reforms passed by the state Legislature.
Eighty percent of people surveyed by Siena College said they agreed with the new laws which include a ban on the use of chokeholds and making the disciplinary records of officer’s public.
Seventy percent of New York State residents also said they have a favorable view of their local police department.


There will be no minor league baseball played this year. The word is now official.
No Buffalo Bisons, Rochester Red Wings and no Batavia Muckdogs baseball.
While baseball will be back in Buffalo and Rochester, not so for Batavia. The NYP League which owned the Muckdogs has all but disbanded.


The last 24 hours has been good on the coronavirus front locally.
There were no new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Genesee or Orleans counties.


A food distribution is planned for today.
City Church is holding the distribution at its St. Anthony’s site on Sumner Street from am 9 until 11am this morning and again on Wednesday, July 8 at the same time.

Morning News Briefing

A traffic stop along Cedar Street in Batavia leads to a string of drug charges. The Genesee County Local Drug Task Force arrested two men yesterday afternoon.
They were identified as 34 year old Jerwan McFarely of Lehigh Avenue and 41 year old Mathew Olcott of Clinton Street.
Police say McFarely was in possession of suspected crack cocaine and pot, while Olcott was found to have suspected crack and drug paraphernalia. Both a facing violations and misdemeanor charges.

Another COVID-19 death reported at the Orchard Rehab and Nursing Center in Medina… 23 people have lost their lives to the virus there.
The death toll for all of Orleans County since the pandemic began is 53.
Genesee County’s death toll is five.
Three new positive cases of the virus were reported yesterday in Genesee County, two from Batavia and one from LeRoy.

Air travelers could soon have an important form to fill out once they arrive in New York State.
Health officials say information on those documents would help with the enforcement of a new quarantine policy. Last week, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced new guidelines for people arriving from areas with a high number of coronavirus cases.
Those individuals are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Just how the rules will be enforced still isn’t clear.

It looks like malls across the state are going to be shut down for at least a little while longer.
Governor Cuomo says indoor shopping centers won’t be allowed to reopen until air filters are installed that remove coronavirus particulates. Many mall operators say that’s not necessary since both their heating and cooling systems are already safe.

The Fourth of July is coming up this weekend, and State Police have announced a plan to crack down on fireworks.
Troopers say they’ll be focused on keeping illegal fireworks out of New York that are brought in from states like Pennsylvania.
Police say they have received numerous complaints from residents in many Upstate communities about fireworks being set off in their neighborhoods at all hours of the night

Holland Land Office Museum is Now Open

The Holland Land Office Museum is now open at its normal business hours. The museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

The museum will be reopening with some noticeable changes. First, the museum is implementing its Safety Plan, which requires all visitors to the museum to wear masks and admission will be limited to 10 at a time. Also, visitors are asked to refrain from touching any of the artifacts and cases, and to follow our “one way” floor plan.

Visitors are also asked to maintain the 6 foot social distancing protocol and to use the hand sanitizer and washing stations around the museum. Secondly, the museum is reopening under a new admission policy.

Visitors to the museum will now have to pay an admission fee. The ranges include: Free for Museum Members, $1 for Children, $3 for Students/Veterans/Seniors, $5 for Adults, and $10 for a Family of four. The HLOM is instituting a strict cleaning procedure to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors, but wishes everyone to come by and visit us and see all our treasures of the history of Genesee County. Thank you to all who have supported us in the past, through this difficult time, and continue to into the future.

If you have any questions please contact the museum by phone at 585-343-4727 or email at hollandlandoffice@gmail.com. Information can also be found on our website.

Morning News Briefing

There’s yet another sign the worst of the coronavirus crisis could be coming to an end in New York.
The state has announced the lowest single-day death toll from the disease since March. Five Empire State residents lost their lives on Saturday while less than one-percent of the people screened statewide for the illness that day tested positive.
The state is continuing to warn New Yorkers to remain vigilant and protect themselves to keep the virus from spreading again.

The guy was just trying to take his seat at the Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant. Problem was, the seat wasn’t his. Deputies arrested 41 year old Donald Walls of Rochester on charges of Trespassing and Petit larceny. A deputy on patrol watched Walls taking patio furniture from the restaurant early yesterday morning.
He was slapped with court appearance tickets.

A North Spruce Street man collared by BPD who had to take him down after a foot chase.
28 year old Darius Jones was arrested after he fled a domestic incident.
Police say once in custody they found Jones in possession of crack cocaine, fentanyl strips and packaging material. He’s in county jail this morning without bail.

Western New York drivers are still finding pretty steady prices at the gas pump.
According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular is $2.20. That’s up just a penny from last week.
In Batavia, gas buddy-dot-com says the average is 4-cents higher at $2.24.

The City Church is holding a drive-thru food distribution event at its St. Anthony’s site.
The distribution will be held at 9 to 11am on the next two Wednesday’s July 1st and July 8.
Everyone is welcome! St. Anthony’s is located on Liberty St. in the City of Batavia.

Morning News Briefing

Today Batavia and Genesee County enter Phase 4 of New York’s economic reopening.
It means that the number of people allowed at social gatherings will double from 25 to 50. Churches can welcome more worshipers
Professional sports can take place without fans, and low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment activities will also be allowed.
Movie theaters, gyms and malls are going to remain closed until further notice.

New COVID-19 cases still under control in Genesee County. Only two new cases reported yesterday, one from Batavia one from LeRoy.

Restaurants that have been allowed to serve alcohol to go, will be able to continue serving up the adult beverages for off-site enjoyment.
The state says the take-out alcohol has helped bars and restaurants during the pandemic.
The order allowing booze to go was set to expire tomorrow, the governor is expected to extend the order.

For the first time in more than 20 years the Batavia Police Department has a K-9 officer.
He is K-9 Hank, from Holland.
He’s part Belgium Malinois, part Shepard.
City Council President Gene Jankowski, once a K-9 handler himself when he was on the police department, says Hank is a welcome addition:


PHOTO: K-9 Hank and his handler, Officer Stephen Quider

Hank’s new handler is Officer Stephen Quider.  Hank and Officer Quider will be together 24-7.
Hank cost close to $11,000, paid for with drug forfeiture funds.


Election officials say it’ll likely be weeks before Western New York voters know who won Tuesday’s primaries.
That’s because there were a large number of absentee ballots requested for the 27th Congressional District special election and other races.
Since it’s a federal election, ballot counting will start first in the 27th District contest involving Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs and Democrat Nate McMurray.
Jacobs has already declared victory but McMurray is refusing to concede until every vote is counted.

Empire State drivers are now able to get their hands on a brand new license plate for their vehicles.
The blue and white “Excelsior” plate features images of iconic New York landmarks including Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty.
They’re currently available at DMV offices in 22 counties and at some auto dealerships.
The “Excelsior” plates will be issued with new vehicle registrations but anyone who wants to replace their old plates with the new design will have to pay $25.

Morning News Briefing

The Finger Lakes region has been given approval to enter the final phase of the state’s reopening process on Friday.
Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties are part of the Finger lakes Region.
Once Phase Four begins, the number of people allowed at social gatherings will double from 25 to 50, and religious gatherings will be allowed at up to 33-percent of an indoor site’s capacity.
Professional sports can take place without fans, and low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment activities will also be allowed.
However, movie theaters, gyms and malls are going to remain closed until further notice. Governor Cuomo says the state is still looking into how to keep people safe when visiting those locations.

Local health department numbers are still encouraging. There was one new case of coronavirus reported yesterday in Genesee County – an individual in their 20’s from Elba. There was also one new COVID-19 case in Orleans County.

An Oakfield couple busted by Monroe County deputies for allegedly boosting property out of cars.
31 year old Samantha Wroblewski and 28 year old Judd Farewell (fair-well) are facing a variety of charges including possession of stolen property.
Monroe County Sheriff’s say the duo admitted to breaking into cars on several occasions in Henrietta. Lawmen recovered a number of stolen credit cards.

The numbers are far from official in the 27th Congressional District Special Election and Democrat Nate McMurray says he will not concede defeat.
Republican Chris Jacobs says the math is all on his side and has declared victory in the race to fill the seat until the end of the year.
The McMurray camp says there are more than 65-thosuand absentee ballots yet to be counted but Jacobs’ people claim that his 31-thosuand vote lead is insurmountable.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are taking a big step to protect their residents from the coronavirus.
A travel advisory is now in place meaning anyone who arrives in those states from an area with a high number of COVID-19 cases such as Arizona, Florida or Texas must quarantine for 14-days.
Enforcement of the advisory will vary by state, but anyone caught breaking the rules in New York could be forced to quarantine or a face a fine.

Morning News Briefing

The polls have been closed for hours, now Western New York voters are waiting to see who came out on top in yesterday’s primaries.
In the 27th Congressional District, Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs is declaring victory over Democrat Nate McMurray. This is the battle to see who completes the term of ex-Republican Congressman Chris Collins.

PHOTO: Chris Jacobs

However, McMurray says he’s not conceding and will wait until every vote is counted. Jacobs also says he won the Republican primary for that seat and the latest numbers show him with a big lead over Darien Justice Beth Parlato and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

Due to the large number of absentee ballots requested, it could take a while before winners in every race are declared. That’s because election officials won’t start tallying those votes until next week.

No surprise here, Joe Biden won the New York Democratic Presidential primary.
He defeated Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden already had enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination and, Sanders had already bowed out of the race.

Genesee County’s unemployment rate improves dramatically, but it is still in double-digits.
The May jobless rate was 10.1 percent – down from a staggering 14 percent in April.
But, one year ago in May, the unemployment rate in then county was 3.4 percent.

Batavia City Schools will begin it’s popular Grab and Go meals program this Monday.
The program provides two days of breakfasts and two days of lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The distribution is between 9 and 11 in the morning at Jackson Primary and John Kennedy Intermediate schools.
There is no cost and no enrollment is necessary.

Rochester Regional Health (UMMC) Visitor Policy


Rochester Regional Health Visitor Policy



  • Patients may designate two visitors throughout their stay;
    • Only ONE visitor is allowed at a time for no longer than four hours daily.
  • Visiting hours for all RRH hospitals are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. daily.
  • *No visitors will be permitted for:
    • ED patients
    • COVID-19 positive patients
    • Suspected COVID-19 positive patients
    • Cancer infusion centers
    • Inpatient behavioral health
  • *The exception to the above list of prohibited visitors include:
    • Pediatric patients may have one designated guardian on-site at a time.
    • End-of-life patients may have one on-site visitor at a time.
    • Obstetrical patients may have one on-site visitor at a time.
    • Patients with intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disabilities.
    • There are no restrictions on the hours of visitation for this list of visitors.
  • Visitors must be older than 18 years of age.
  • Visitors must be screened upon entering the facility; they will be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature over 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Visitors will be registered in an electronic system within the EMR (Care Connect) upon entry for each visit. The registration log will include the name and contact information of the visitor, the date(s) of their visits, and the name of the patient(s) visited.
  • Patients undergoing same-day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a companion, but may not stay during the procedure.
    • A companion may drop them off and pick them up outside the facility.
    • They may not be with the patient inside the facility.
  • Visitors may not be present during procedures and in the recovery room except for pediatrics, childbirth, and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disability.
  • Visitors will be instructed to remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit except when directed by hospital staff to leave during aerosol-generating procedures or other procedures during which visitors are usually asked to leave.
  • Within areas of our facilities that do not allow us to accommodate social distancing, we reserve the right to refuse visitors for their safety and the safety of our patients and staff.
  • Visitors must be wearing their mask or cloth face-covering upon arrival to the facility. If the visitor does not arrive with a mask or cloth face-covering, the hospital will provide the visitor with a mask. The visitor will be instructed to keep their mask or cloth face-covering on at all times.
  • Visitors will be instructed to comply with strict hand hygiene and personal protective equipment practices.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Visitors will be provided written information regarding the potential risks and benefits of visiting a patient within the hospital as well the expectations regarding their visitation which includes: the hours of visitation, remaining in the patient room during the entire visit unless otherwise instructed, wearing their mask or cloth face-covering during their entire visit and instructions regarding meticulous hand hygiene. Visitors who fail to comply with the outlined expectations will be asked to leave the facility.

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County voters get to cast ballots today in two different elections.
One is a special election to fill the vacant congressional seat once occupied by Chris Collins. State Senator Chris Jacobs and Democrat Nate McMurray are competing for that post. The winner will serve until the end of the year.
Also today, there is a republican primary to select the party’s candidate for the November election in the 27 district.
The candidate include Jacobs, Darien Attorney Beth Parlato and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw. The winner will square off against McMurray for a full two year term.
Voting takes place today until 9 tonight.

Batavia City Council has no plan – yet – to replace former City Manager Martin Moore.
Moore left city hall last Friday in a mutual agreement with council.
Council president Gene Jankowski says one option to replace Moore is to exercise the guarantee that came along with Moore when he was selected two years ago.
That guarantee was from Novak Consulting the Ohio firm that was paid $26,000 by Batavia to find a city manager.
Novak offered another free search if the person they recommended didn’t last a full two years. Moore’s tenure was just under that.

Four new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Genesee County over the past 24 hours.
There has also been one death reported at the Orchard Rehab and Nursing Center in Medina.
That brings the death toll in Orleans County to 50 since the pandemic began.
All but one of those deaths occurred at the Orchard Nursing Home in Medina or the Villages of Orleans in Albion.
There have been a total of five deaths in Genesee County…none of them in a nursing home.

Visitors to New York from out-of-state may soon have to quarantine when they get here.
Governor Cuomo says he’s considering a mandatory isolation period for people from states with high numbers of coronavirus cases such as Florida and Texas.
Cuomo says he’s concerned that if infected individuals arrive, it could cause another spike in COVID-19 cases in New York.

From the police blotter:

38 year old Ray Tucker of Williams Street in Batavia: Arrested for allegedly displaying a dagger while in the midst of a fracas with his neighbor…

63 year old James Karas of Ross Street charged with Harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. Batavia Police say Karas subjected two young girls to unwanted physical contact in Austin Park

Morning News Briefing

Coronavirus robbed this year’s senior class of most of those memories that signal their final year of high school….the prom, the class trips, just saying good-bye.
But the administration and faculty of Oakfield Alabama High School would not let the virus take away graduation.


Superintendent John Fiscus:

The outdoor graduation on Saturday drew graduates and their families in cars that filled the school parking lot. Horns replaced applause…and a parade of cars brought graduates to the stage to receive their diplomas.
The ceremony was capped with fireworks and a parade through their home towns.
WBTA was proud to have been selected to broadcast the ceremony into the cars and home of the graduates and their families.



Security footage

A one-thousand dollar reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of a man who burglarized Dave’s Ice Cream.
It happened just before 11 Saturday night.
Police say a man dressed in black pants, a black coat and wearing a black mask broke into store just before 11 Saturday night.
He tried but failed to open the cash register but would have been disappointed anyway – there was no cash anywhere in the store.
Owner Debra Webster was alerted to the break-in by her security system and called police. But by the time they could respond, the intruder had


New Yorkers will finally head to the polls tomorrow for primary day, and one big race is happening in Western New York. It’s the battle for the 27th Congressional District where the winner will fill the seat left open by former Republican Congressman Chris Collins. Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs is going up against Democrat Nate McMurray to see who finishes the final few months of Collins’ term. Jacobs is also involved in a GOP primary against Beth Parlato and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw to see who will carry the party banner into the general election for the post in November.

He might not be holding daily briefings anymore, but Governor Cuomo is still keeping New Yorkers updated on the coronavirus. The governor says 15 people who had the disease passed away Saturday, the lowest number of deaths since March. And less than one percent of people screened for coronavirus Saturday tested positive. The governor said both of those numbers prove New York is on the right path to defeating the virus.

Marty Moore Out as Batavia City Manager

Batavia City Manager Dr. Martin Moore is leaving the city.
His departure was characterized as a “mutual agreement” between the city and Dr. Moore.

In a three sentence statement issued late this afternoon the city announced:

“The City of Batavia and City Manager, Martin D. Moore Phd,, have mutually agreed that he will be leaving on June 20, 2020 to pursue other opportunities.
The City would like to thank Marty for his service to the community since October 2018 and wish him the very best in future endeavors.
In accordance with the City’s Charter, the Assistant City Manager Rachael Tabelski will assume the role on the departure of the Manager.”

Dr. Moore was named City Manager on October 15th of 2018.
He came to Batavia following what was then termed, “a nationwide search.”
Moore was city manager of Eunice, New Mexico.
One reason he was attracted to Batavia was that his wife had family in Western New York.

Moore’s resignation was not unexpected.

It was well known at Batavia City Hall that there was tension between Moore and City Council President Gene Jankowski.
The latest dust-up was reportedly over a barbecue for social justice in Williams Park, plans that never materialized and led to the Demonstration for social justice held earlier this month along Main St.

WBTA has learned that an informal vote concerning Moore’s future was taken during an Executive Session of city council
The vote to severe the city’s ties with Moore was not unanimous.
Moore’s last Day is tomorrow.

Morning News Briefing

Batavia Police are using the suspected incident as a lesson to parents and their kids when it comes to people they don’t know.
On Wednesday night, at Dewitt Park, a young person, described only as a juvenile, accepted a ride home from a man later identified as James McNally.
Along the way, the juvenile said McNally tried to grope him. The child faked being sick, got out of the car and sought help from neighbors.
When police arrived they arrested McNally on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching – both misdemeanors.
McNally was later released under supervision of Genesee Justice and an order of protection was issued.

Police say there is a new set of child abduction prevention ideas replacing the familiar “stranger danger.” We have them listed within the Batavia Police News Release HERE

Bars and restaurants caught breaking rules to hold down the number of coronavirus cases can now face serious consequences.
Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing the State Liquor Authority to immediately suspend the liquor licenses of businesses who are not enforcing social distancing and other health protocols.
A second executive order also means bar owners are responsible for making sure people in outdoor areas follow the same guidelines.
Several businesses have had their licenses suspended. None of them in Genesee County.

Governor Cuomo is considering putting a quarantine order in place for people who visit New York from Florida.
You may remember Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered New York visitors to self-quarantine back in March. Cuomo says the spread of COVID-19 has decreased dramatically in New York and he doesn’t want people from other states to cause a spike in cases.

The health department reports no new cases of coronavirus in either Genesee or Orleans counties in the past 24 hours. Since the start of the pandemic, Genesee County has had a total of 205 positive cases and five deaths.

Western New York music lovers are going to have to wait a bit longer to see the Piano Man in person. That’s because Billy Joel has pushed back his August 15th concert at New Era Field in Orchard Park to August 14th, of next year.
The decision was made due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Tickets for this year’s show will be honored on the rescheduled date. Ticketmaster will also be offering refunds.

Batavia Man Arrested for Allegedly Groping Child

News Release

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at or about 6:10PM, Batavia Police Officers responded to the area of Clinton St. for a juvenile that had flagged down a neighbor, requesting help. Patrols arrived on scene and located two local residents sitting with a juvenile and McNally standing near them.

Patrols separated McNally from the juvenile and residents. The residents indicated that the juvenile told them, that he needed help getting away from McNally. Patrols interviewed the juvenile briefly and concluded that the juvenile had accepted a ride from McNally from DeWitt Park, with the intentions of McNally driving the juvenile to his residence. While transporting the juvenile, McNally allegedly attempted to grope the juvenile. The juvenile feigned a sickness so McNally would pull off to the side of the road. The juvenile then exited the vehicle and ascertained help at the nearest residence.

Upon discovering the alleged incident, Batavia Police Officers promptly took McNally into custody and transported him away from the juvenile. McNally was arrested for Endangering the welfare of a child (A Misdemeanor) and Forcible Touching (A Misdemeanor) and was arraigned via skype in Batavia City Court by Judge Rogers. McNally was released under the supervision of Genesee Justice, and an order of protection was issued. McNally is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court at a later time.

The Batavia Police Department would like to take a quick moment to update the community and parents on new abduction prevention ideas. Instead of “Stranger Danger” try using the following language when talking to your child about abduction prevention:

• Don’t say: Never talk to strangers.
• Say: You should not approach just anyone. If you need help, look for a uniformed police officer, a store clerk with a name-tag, or a parent with children.
• Don’t say: Stay away from people you don’t know.
• Say: It’s important for you to get my permission before going anywhere with anyone.
• Don’t say: You can tell someone is bad just by looking at them.
• Say: Pay attention to what people do. Tell me right away if anyone asks you to keep a secret, makes you feel uncomfortable, or tries to get you to go with them.

The Batavia Police Department can be reached at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370 or online HERE

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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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