Local News

Evening News Brief

The back and forth over whether restaurants in the Buffalo are can stay open after 11pm continues as a judge ruled that the restaurants involved in a lawsuit against the state can stay open till their normal closing time.  Judge Walker issued a temporary restraining order on the 5th of February allowing restaurants in the suit to stay open but 5 days later that order was overruled by an appellate court judge.  This decision overrules that ruling.  This only effects the 90 restaurants in the suit but they hope it will open up the rest of the state.

The Johnson and Johnson Vaccine that only requires 1 dose has been authorized for emergency use by the CDC and University of Rochester infectious disease experts are weighing in to say get whatever vaccine you can.  Dr Anne Falsey, professor of Medicine at U of R says “Don’t wait a month for something you perceive is better. It may or may not be better” Falsey and Dr Branche, an infectious disease researcher at U of R both agree that any of the vaccines are worth getting.

On Saturday The Genesee county Sno Packers held a rally to fight breast cancer that involved snowmobiling in slightly less clothes than usual.  The Bikini rally in Oakfield raised nearly 30 thousand dollars for the Pink Fund with bikini bottom and t shirt clad ladies riding for the cause across the countryside.

Midday News Brief

The number of Western New York residents testing positive for coronavirus is continuing to trend downward. The latest data shows the seven-day average positivity rate in the region is one-point-eight percent. That’s far below the state’s average rate of three-point-one percent.
Genesee County’s positivity rate stands at 2.9%.

The state Attorney General’s office will be overseeing the investigation of recent sexual harassment allegations made against Governor Cuomo. Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story where a former staff member named Charlotte Bennett claimed Cuomo asked her personal questions about her

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

relationships and if she’d ever been intimate with older men. Last week, another ex-staff member published an essay saying the governor asked her to play strip poker and that he kissed her without consent.

Following this second sexual harassment claim made against him, Governor Cuomo has released a statement involving his conduct in the workplace. The governor apologized for making jokes that some people may have interpreted as insensitive or too personal. He also said that he hasn’t inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone and never intended to make colleagues feel uncomfortable.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties. The advisory continues until just after midnight.
Look for Northwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

A Batavia man faces felony charges after police responded to a domestic incident on South Main Street.
Police tell WBTA  57-year-old Terry Marvin Conrad was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing with a weapon.
Police say that Conrad menaced his son with a knife after becoming involved in a physical confrontation.
He was released from custody after a court arraignment and will return to city court next month.

Western New York drivers are continuing to see higher prices when filling up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia is $2.72.That’s up 8-cents since last week and up 32-cents from a month ago.

The offense of the Buffalo Sabres is struggling again following back-to-back shutout losses at home. Yesterday, goalie Carter Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced as his Philadelphia Flyers beat the Sabres three-to-nothing at KeyBank Center. Buffalo currently sits in last place in the East Division, 13 points behind the first place Washington Capitals. Up next for the Sabres is a road game against the New York Rangers tomorrow night.

Morning News Brief

A large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic begins later this week at Genesee Community College. The clinic begins Friday and runs for seven days. Officials say there should be 500 daily doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Once sign-ups open, residents can call the state’s vaccination line for an appointment.

The Batavia School Board of Education is expected to appoint election inspectors when it meets tonight. The Board will also be asked to make a dozen appointments. Members will also receive an update on Richmond Memorial Library. The meeting begins at 6:30 and will be live-streamed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an apology after a second former aide came forward with accusations of sexual harassment. In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said he “never intended to offend” or “harm.” He conceded he has “teased people about their personal lives” and said he now understands his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal.” Cuomo’s statement, the fourth of the day issued from his office, said “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.” It follows 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett’s accusation in the New York Times that Cuomo asked repeatedly about her sex life and made her feel like he wanted to sleep with her. New York attorney general Letita James announced she plans to bring in an independent third-party to investigate these allegations against the governor.

Genesee County Human Resources has announced an open competitive examination for a firefighter in the City of Batavia. Starting salary is around $51,400. Everything you need to know is posted on the City’s home page.

The New York State COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped to the lowest rate since December 12th.  There are around 5,200 people in hospitals with virus-related conditions. The number has dropped by nearly 200 in the past few days. Admissions to the ICU have also declines, but remain over 1,100. Eighty-five new COVID deaths have been reported statewide.

A Batavia man faces felony and other counts after city police responded to a domestic incident on South Main Street. Police said they arrested 57-year-old Terry Marvin Conrad. He was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing with a weapon. In a press release, police allege that Conrad menaced his son with a knife after becoming involved in a physical confrontation with him. He was released from custody after a court arraignment and will return to city court April 7th.

Batavia police arrested 35-year-old Cody Bush of Walnut Street. He was charged with felony grand larceny and lesser counts of assault and criminal mischief. Those charges were filed following a physical domestic dispute. Additional court action is pending.

Weekend News Brief

Hotel Workers are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine under 1B status.  Governor Cuomo announced Friday that they were to be added to the list and that it will be up to local health departments to determine how hotel workers will be included in vaccine distributions, as well as where and when.  So far just over 4 million people have had at least 1 dose of the vaccine in New York State and about 7.4 percent of New Yorkers have had both shots.

2 sheriffs department staff said their farewells Friday afternoon.  Corrections Officer Kelly Creegan retired after 19 years and Catherine Uhly retired from a 20 year career at Genesee Justice. Uhly began her career on July 8, 2002, as a Principal Clerk at Genesee Justice, then Case Manager in 2014, and in 2016 was appointed to her current position as Program Coordinator. She has received two Meritorious Service awards for continuous excellence and the 2020 Distinguished Service Award.  Uhly was pictured with Sheriff Sheron and Undersheriff Mazur for her last day. Deputies and staff lined the walk in front of the Genesee county jail and saluted Creegan.  During his career, Creegan has been the recipient of a Commendation, Certificate of Appreciation, and Meritorious Service for continuous excellence.

COVID Update from Friday Evening: Genesee county has 18 new cases and 18 people have recovered. 4 and a half thousand people have gotten both doses of the vaccine in Genesee county and 2100 people have had both doses in Orleans.  Orleans county has 4 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  There are 95 active cases in Genesee county and 53 in Orleans.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is sponsoring a blood drive on Monday the 1st at Batavia Downs from 2 to 7 pm.  Paula’s Donuts will be providing free donut coupons to those who give blood.  The drive is being done by Connect Life and you can register if you are over 18 years old at their website connectlifegiveblood.org

The 3 National Guard killed in the helicopter crash in Mendon were remembered in a service on Friday.  Christian Koch, Daniel Prial, and Steven Skoda – all chief warrant officers – died when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter went down in a field.  Friends and family members spoke about them.  A permanent Memorial is planned near the crash site.  An Army Safety Investigation team with the National Guard and Federal Aviation Administration are both conducting investigations into the cause of the crash. Both of those are expected to take several months to complete, though no definitive timeline has been set.  Senator Schumer is calling on a mass investigation of all National Guard Helicopters and vertical lift vehicles after a this and another crash on February 3rd in Idaho both claimed 3 lives each.

Evening Update

Friday Evening COVID Update: Genesee county has 18 new cases and 18 people have recovered. 4 and a half thousand people have gotten both doses of the vaccine in Genesee county and 2100 people have had both doses in Orleans.  Orleans county has 4 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  There are 95 active cases in Genesee county and 53 in Orleans.

Dr Howard Zucker, director of the New York Department of Health, said in a budget hearing that there is an examination of the 6 foot distancing school policy.  He said that they may be open to moving instead to a 3 foot policy with some kind of barrier between students.  The 6 foot social distance school policy has forced many students to work from home, causing many students to struggle.  Dr Zucker said the end goal is to get students back into school.

Midday News Brief

Plug Power, a hydrogen fuel production facility, will build a $290-million production facility on the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama.
The governor’s office and the Genesee County Economic Development Center, confirms that the project will move forward. The company says the facility will employ 68 people.
On WBTA’s Main and Center program this morning GCEDC spokesman Jim Krencik explains what Plug Power is all about

 

Jim Krencik, GCDEC Marketing Director

There is a major side benefit to the PLUG power project. Chris Suozzi of the GCEDC explains that the company will fund a 450 megawatt electric substation which will benefit future developments at STAMP

 

GCEDC Vice-President Chris Suozzi

Plug Power says the 68 new jobs will pay, on average, $70,000 a year. The company is receiving a variety of state and local tax breaks.
Construction of the Town of Alabama facility is expected to begin this summer.

The much talked about STAMP site has had a difficult path. Potential projects never materialized.
The closest a project came was back in 2015 when a company called 13-66 Technologies said it would break ground on a 700-million dollar solor panel manufacturing park. The project fell apart three years later without a shovel in the ground.
More recently, interest in the site has been shown by Samsung who reportedly is considering STAMP as one of three locations for a milti-billion dollar facility.

For the first time in months, most nursing homes across New York State will start allowing visitors back inside their facilities today. People haven’t been able to visit their loved ones and friends due to lingering concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

After waiting patiently all season, Buffalo Sabres fans will soon have the chance to see their favorite team in-person. The franchise announced yesterday that it’ll allow people in the stands of KeyBank Center starting with the March 20th game against the Boston Bruins.

Morning News Briefing

Leading alternative energy technology provider Plug Power will invest $290 million in the construction of a state-of-the-art green hydrogen fuel production facility and electric substation at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park located in the Town of Alabama. The Plug Power project is the first build at the STAMP site and will require that the company fund the construction of a 450-megawatt electric substation to support its expansion as well as future growth opportunities at the business park. Plug Power has additionally committed to creating 68 jobs at the new production facility, which will produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

The City of Batavia Police Department, in partnership with the City of Batavia School District (BCSD), has announced the addition of Officer Miah Stevens as the newest School Resource Officer (SRO). Officer Stevens is replacing retiring Officer Jason Davis who has held the post for the last two years and has served the City for 20+ years as a police officer. Officer Stevens is a 2013 graduate of Pembroke High School, she went on to attend Genesee Community College and SUNY Brockport majoring in Criminal Justice. Stevens has previously worked for the YMCA – Batavia as a children’s swim instructor and lifeguard, City of Batavia – Bureau of Maintenance as a summer laborer and the City of Batavia School District as a teacher’s aide.

It’s the Winter Fun Night Hike from 7:00 to 9:00 pm tonight at the Genesee County Park & Forest. Park guides will lead people on a night hike for ages 18 and over. Meet at Pavilion A on Raymond Rd. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required, call 585-344-1122. Masks must be worn whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance.

Genesee County reports 21 new positive COVID cases, bring the total number of confirmed cases to more than 4,200. The new infections involve residents of 13 communities, including Batavia and LeRoy. 14 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Orleans County reports just five new cases but also another death, which involved a resident at Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. Wyoming County health officials also report five new cases.

Officials with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) don’t see things the way a group of activists in the area do when it comes how detainees at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility are being treated in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Activists say the conditions have led to two detainees going on a hunger strike.  Representatives of Justice for Migrant Families of WNY, which is based in Buffalo, claimed during a press conference that during the recent outbreak, COVID-positive patients have been kept in solitary confinement, that conditions in the facility are unsafe and represent a health threat to the Genesee County community, particularly since, in their view, detainees are being held purely for violations of immigration laws. ICE officials dispute these allegations. According to a source, there is no such thing as “solitary confinement” at the facility.

Today is the day hundreds have been waiting for: the chance to visit their loved ones at nursing homes in New York. New state restrictions are to take effect on this morning. The goal is to expand visits – but the reality is different. In order for nursing homes to allow visitation, they must go 14 days without a positive case. This is leading to frustration on the part of families. The advocacy group Essential Care Visitors says around 30 percent of nursing homes across the state will quality for visitations. On Tuesday, state lawmakers will vote on a caregiver bill. It would lessen restrictions and would give families more opportunities to finally be together.

Evening News Update

University of Rochester Medical Center is testing a booster version of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to see if a third dose will make immunity even more effective against the virus.  Side effects will be closely watched and antibodies will be measured.

The State of New York now has new guidelines for weddings and catered events.  According to the new guidance, venues are restricted to half capacity, with no more than 150 people per event. However, guidance states that “social gathering limit is 50 or fewer people in non-residential settings” and local health departments must be notified if a gathering will include more than 50 people. Cluster zones may have lower gathering limits.  Anyone in attendance at an event will be required to provide information for use in potential contact tracing efforts.  Guests, along with venue staff, will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test ahead of the event. Those who have received a full vaccination may have to show proof.

Midday News Brief

Western Region OTB, owner of Batavia Downs, has purchased at adjacent Hotel at Batavia Downs for $8-million.
The hotel was owned and developed by ADK Hospitality of Buffalo. It opened in November of 2016.

OTB President Henry Wojtaszek told WBTA this morning:

PHOTO: OTB President Henry Wojtaszek

Wojtaszek says the Downs will be better able to market the hotel with tie-ins to the casino such as weddings, tradeshows and overnight dinner packages.

 

NY Gov Andrew Cuomo

A former staff member of Governor Cuomo has published an article detailing alleged incidents of sexual harassment against her.
Lindsey Boylan, who previously accused the governor of misconduct, claims he kissed her without consent and asked her to play strip poker on a private jet.
Boylan used to work for Empire State Development and is currently running for Manhattan borough president.
The governor denied her allegations saying they simply aren’t true.

 

Congressional Republicans are calling for Governor Cuomo to be subpoenaed so he can testify about his administration’s handling of home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
GOP members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform want to look into any connection between the number of deaths at those facilities and the governor’s directive that they take in people from hospitals who tested positive for COVID-19

An almost $11-million project to rehabilitate the Erie Canal in Orleans County has been completed.
Assemblyman Steve Hawley says the project included the repair of seven 100-year old bridge trusses over the canal.
The project will allow the safe passage of trucks, farm equipment and commercial and emergency vehicles to pass safely due to the replacement of the steel flooring on the bridges, which raises their legal weight limit.

After a brief road trip, the Buffalo Sabres will be back on home ice in hopes of securing a second straight win. They’ll be hosting the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center tonight.

Morning News Brief

Timothy Tundo

A Bethany man faces a slew of drug and gun charges after the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force and others raided a home on Linden Road. As a result, 57-year-old Timothy Tundo was taken into custody. During a search, police said they found LSD, ten high-capacity magazines, an ammunition belt, brass knuckles, an AR-15 style pistol, two machine guns, marijuana, five assault weapons and cash. He was arraigned on 23 felony and misdemeanor counts and was jailed in lieu of bail.

State Police arrested 20-year-old Benjamin J. Lathan and 20-year-old Brandon C. Lewis, 20, both of Bergen for Larceny and Trespass. Troopers investigating the January theft of three trail cameras from a property in Allegany County allege both men were involved in the thefts. Both were arrested and released with appearance tickets for Genesee Town Court, where they are due to appear in March.

Congressman Tom Reed and potential NY gubernatorial candidate, says he has no intention of supporting the coronavirus relief package in its current form. Reed says he can’t believe the federal government would provide $1,400 to convicted felons and child molesters.

Wyoming County deputies arrested 22-year-old Johnathan Falk of Batavia. He was charged in separate warrants with felony criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor petit larceny. Other drug charges, as well as a bail jumping count, are also pending. He was remanded to the Wyoming County Jail pending further court action.

New York Farm Bureau outlined its federal public policy agenda Wednesday as farmers from across the state are meeting virtually this week with their U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives. The main priority issues range from agricultural labor reform and COVID relief to trade policy and climate change mitigation. Farm Bureau President David Fisher and Senior Associate Director of Public Policy and National Affairs Lauren Williams unveiled the priority issues during a Zoom press conference.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee reminds parents and caregivers in Orleans County that free car seat checks by certified child passenger safety technicians are available tomorrow in Albion. All attendees over two years of age must wear a mask and must practice social distancing. The event is part of a yearlong safety initiative in which state and local law enforcement agencies, together with various community safety partners, offer free inspections. It happens from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Arnold Gregory Complex (North Parking Lot), 243 South Main Street, Albion.

Genesee County today reports 14 new cases of COVID-19. Twenty-three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fourteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. There are 19 new cases in Orleans County with two hospitalizations. Wyoming County health officials report seven new cases

A former member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration who previously accused him of sexual harassment offered new details about her claims against him. According to an Associated Press report…Lindsey Boylan said in an article posted Wednesday on Medium that he once kissed her on the lips without consent after a private meeting. Cuomo has previously said her allegations are “just not true.”

Evening News Update

57 year old Timothy Tundo of Linden Rd in Bethany was arrested by a joint team of Genesee County Sheriffs and city of Batavia Police after an investigation into illegal drugs and firearms on Tuesday morning.  He was found in possession of LSD with intent to sell, brass knuckles, a unmarked and unregistered ghost gun, 2 fully automatic machine guns, and a large quantity of Marijuana.  He was charged with 21 felonies and 1 misdemeanor related to drugs and weapons possession.

The Diamond Dance Team has been chosen to provide entertainment between innings when the Muckdogs take to the field this year.  Le Beau Salon will have the Diamond Dance Team wowing the crowd with their moves and abilities.  The team is managed by KMS Dance Studio.

Midday News Brief

A Wind Advisory in effect for Genesee and Orleans counties until 10 tonight. Winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour are expected with possible gusts up to 50 miles per hour.
The National Weather Service says tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

A Batavia man charged with attempted murder could go on trial by April.
22 year old Jacob Sponaugle is accused of shooting another man entering the lobby of the Days Inn last July.
Sponaugle’s court appearance up to now have been held virtually. Judge Charles Zambito wants Sponaugle to appear in court – in person – on April 12th.
If no plea deal is offered and accepted, the trial would be the first in the county since of Coronavirus pandemic started.

There have been 15 new coronavirus cases reported over the past 24 hours. 12 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
There have been five new COVID positive cases reported in Orleans County,

Attorney General Letitia James

 

The seven Rochester police officers who were investigated by the New York State Attorney general for their role in the death of an unarmed black man last March, will not face criminal charges – despite the death being ruled a homicide.
Attorney General Letitia James expressed disappointment after she learned of the grand jury’s decision Tuesday

Police handcuffed Daniel Prude while he was naked and held face down with a spit hood placed over his head. He had stopped breathing and was taken to a hospital. He died seven days later.

After some recent struggles, the offense of the Buffalo Sabres got on track in a big way last night as the team picked up a much-needed win.
The Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils four-to-one last night at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Morning News Briefing

Just 15 new COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. Twelve people remain hospitalized. Orleans County reports five new cases and Wyoming County reports 13 new cases.

A Batavia man is going to serve at least a year in prison for a violation of probation but his fate on rape charges remains pending. While held in the Genesee County Jail, 30-year-old Justin T. Gladney appeared virtually in County Court on his violation of probation conviction. His appearance on his rape charges was continued until March 23, when all parties are expected to appear in person.

The legislative leaders and public health directors of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties sent a letter to New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo urgently requesting the designation of a regional mass vaccination clinic at the Genesee Community College (GCC) campus to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to the rural counties. The letter reads that “Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties have consistently been left out of the COVID-19 response with delays in testing supplies and now with very limited vaccine allocations. All three counties are medically underserved and having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher will hold a virtual press conference today to unveil the organization’s national public policy agenda. This will be held in conjunction with meetings this week between more than two dozen NYFB members and the state’s congressional delegation. Farmers will be discussing major federal issues with lawmakers, including the Biden administration’s new immigration proposal, additional COVID relief, and the future of trade policy in this country.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York’s health care distribution sites have administered 91 percent of first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations so far delivered. The week 10 allocation from the federal government was delayed due to winter storms impacting much of the country, and week 10 deliveries continue to arrive today. The week 11 allocation will begin arriving mid-week. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

From the cold case files…State Police in Warsaw continue to investigate the 41-year-old missing person case of James Dean Knox. On December 21, 1979, the grandmother of James Dean Knox reported him missing. She reported she last saw him at her home in South Warsaw on December 9, 1979. Further investigation by the New York State Police revealed Knox had been seen by friends, associates and local business people in the village of Warsaw on December 10 and 11, before his sudden disappearance. At the time of his disappearance, Knox was residing at 35 Wyoming Street in Warsaw and on medical leave from Leroy Machine Co., in Leroy.  Knox was known to frequent a local pizzeria in the village of Warsaw. Knox is described as a white male, 5’11” tall, 150 pounds, dark blonde hair, blue eyes and wore eyeglasses.  Knox was 24 years old at the time of his disappearance. Troopers say…they won’t stop looking.

The U.S. Department of Education has said that states must administer standardized tests this year, but the tests can be shortened and will not be used to evaluate schools. New York officials have expressed disappointment by the decision. Local educators, many of whom spoke out in favor of canceling testing this year, are now waiting to hear from the state about how assessments will proceed — and how much time and money it will cost them. New York was among several states that had requested federal permission from the Biden administration to cancel standardized testing for the 2020-21 school year. The move had strong public support and was backed by key education groups like New York State United Teachers and The Council of School Superintendents. Now New York must fulfill the federal requirement to test students in grades 3-8 in ELA and math. Those assessments are currently scheduled to begin in April.

Evening News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing homes which go along with CMS and CDC guidelines to begin on Friday the 26th. The Department of Health recommends that visitors take a rapid test before entry into the facility, and DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes at no cost. Visitation depends on the nursing home being free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days, the rate of transmission in each county, and needs to be kept below 20 percent of the total resident population.

Congressman Jacobs is calling for the border to be opened up between the US and Canada as a summit between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden approaches.  In a press release Jacobs said: “In one of his early executive orders, President Biden signaled that re-opening the U.S. – Canada border in a safe and cooperative manner was a priority. As a member of the Northern Border Caucus and a representative of a district with a vast amount of New York’s northern border, I urge the administration to uphold that commitment and work with Prime Minister Trudeau on a plan to reopen the border. Western New York families, small businesses, and property owners are relying upon it.”

The Genesee Orleans County department of weights and measures has put out a statement saying that the gas pumps in service are all up to date and inspected and approved.  The hike in prices has to do with the storms and outages in Texas and the Gulf coast along with an increase in demand and a drop in supply coming from the OPEC countries and not with any pumps being tampered with or being broken.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Islanders last night 3 to 2.  Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart scored goals on the Islanders.  Lazar is now third in scoring for the Sabres this season.  Buffalo will be going up against the Jersey Devils again tonight at 7.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia City Council appears to be prepared to move forward with a proposed four-year contract that would put the Genesee Area Family YMCA in charge of running city youth services. Rob Walker, the YMCA’s CEO, said the YMCA can offer “enhancements” beyond the scope of the contract because they have a complete facility and the gymnastics center. A resolution outlining the formal agreement with the YMCA and another to dissolve a pact with Genesee County to provide a youth bureau executive director were forwarded to Council’s Business Meeting on March 8th for a vote.

The City of Batavia says it will conduct a Conference Meeting Thursday morning…and the hot-button topic could be a new city leader. The Batavian reports that it has learned from multiple sources the Council will interview finalists for the vacant city manager position at the meeting, which will go into executive session immediately and is closed to the public. Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski has publicly announced her intention to apply for the position.

Genesee County reports 59 new COVID cases, that’s since Friday. Thirty-one of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Ten of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Seven of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Just 14 new cases have been reported in Orleans County with two hospitalizations. Wyoming County officials report 22 new cases of COVID-19.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.64, up 13 cents from last week. The New York State average is $2.70 – up 10 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.61. AAA Western and Central New York reported Batavia prices were $2.63 (up 11 cents since last week).  Pump prices continue to increase again this week. New York State average gas prices are on par with last year’s level.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new, expanded guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing home facilities in accordance with CMS and CDC guidelines to begin on February 26. The Department of Health recommends that visitors take a rapid test before entry into the facility, and DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes to facilitate their ability to test visitors on-site and at no cost. Visitation continues to depend on the nursing home facility being free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.

Evening News Brief

Genesee Orleans and Wyoming Counties are under a winter weather advisory until 7pm tonight.  There could be snow mixed with rain falling and up to 2 inches of accumulation.  This could make for slippery conditions on the roads.

For the first time since November western New York has a positivity rate of less than 3 percent.  The finger lakes region and western NY have a positivity rate of 2.3 percent.  Nationally the rates of death and transmission has dropped significantly.  Hopes are being expressed by officials in the medical community of new vaccines such as Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine being approved and more production being brought to bear that will speed up vaccinations and lead to things getting back to normal.

The South African Strain of COVID has been identified in Nassau County, the first time it has been detected in New York state.  Governor Cuomo warns that people still need to be cautious about masking and hand washing.  The South African strain has not been shown to be any more dangerous that COVID 19 and the vaccines have so far proven to be equally effective at fighting the new strains including the South African strain.

Senator Schumer is calling for an investigation into army and national guard vertical lift programs after the crash of a helicopter and death of 3 national guardsmen East of Rochester and a second crash in Idaho that claimed the lives of another 3 guardsmen.  Schumer cited a report that in 2019 Congress created the Commission to examine past aviation safety and readiness mishaps and it reported that since 2013, more than 6000 U.S. noncombat military aviation mishaps occurred during training or routine operations, claiming the lives of 224 servicemembers.  The senator said that these reports, cite a perfect storm of issues, including budgetary and administrative, that have resulted in lives lost, 186 aircraft destroyed, and taxpayers costs of approximately $11.66 billion.

Gas prices are up 11 cents since last week to 2.63.  The price also has gone higher than last years average across New York state.  Last year the price for a gallon of regular was 2.61.

The Sabres broke their 4 game losing streak with a win against the Jersey Devils Saturday.  Their 3 to 2 victory was thanks to 2 goals from Sam Reinhart and 1 from Colin Miller.  Their next game will be against The New York Islanders tonight at 7pm.

Morning News Brief

A driver from Albion faces multiple felony counts after he was pulled over in the Allegany County Town of Caneadea. State Police early Sunday arrested 23-year-old Aaron Burnside. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, both felonies. He was released on his own recognizance.

After finding a vehicle off the road, a Darien man now faces multiple charges. Deputies say they found the vehicle off Attica Road in Darien. An investigation resulted in the arrest of 22-year-old Tristan Michael Vaughn of Richley Road. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, unregistered vehicle and moving from a lane unsafely. No injuries were reported in the incident. Vaughn will appear in court March 16th.

Restaurants are in trouble amid the pandemic – that warning Sunday from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY…talking up the Restaurant Act, which includes 25 billion dollars in flexible grants to eateries. The Restaurant Act of 2021 contains 120 billion dollars in aid to the nation’s restaurants. But since it’s included in the coronavirus relief act it may not get any Senate Republican votes.

A weekend fire destroyed a barn in Ridgeway. It also killed more than 50 animals.  When firefighters arrived, the structure was fully involved in fire. The intense flames also damaged a nearby house. One horse was saved, but turkeys, chickens, pheasants and rabbits perished. Ridgeway firefighters were assisted by Medina, Lyndonville, Shelby, Middleport and Hartland. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Batavia police have leveled an attempted robbery charge against a Wyoming County man. Police recently leveled that count against 32-year-old Nicholas Cory Longhini of Wyoming, NY. He was further charged with criminal mischief and criminal contempt. The charges stem from a domestic incident at a Batavia home. He turned himself in and was issued appearance tickets for court returnable April 13th.

Batavia police have charged 52-year-old Mark Farley of Harvester Avenue in Batavia with felony first-degree criminal contempt. According to a police report, Farley allegedly violated an order of protection when he forcefully entered a home and physical contact with the protected person. He was also charged with felony burglary, harassment and criminal mischief. He was initially jailed on $10,000 cash bail. He is due in Batavia City Court March 10th.

Weekend News Brief

Starting Monday the 22nd nursing homes can begin allowing visitors once again, according to governor Cuomo’s announcement on Friday.  The governor said all nursing home staff and residents have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and 73% of nursing home residents are now vaccinated.  The governor’s office will send out guidelines to nursing homes and long term care facilities soon that will include rapid testing and screening provided by the department of health.

In a response to the nursing home protests and ongoing issues with nursing homes Governor Cuomo announced reform legislation to target transparency, care and profiteering at long term care facilities.  Some of the reforms include: requiring nursing homes to disclose all rates on an annually updated website, a cap on salaries for managers and executives, requiring that nursing homes spend 70 percent or more of revenues on direct patient care, and increasing the penalties for violations of public health law.

COVID vaccine shipments have been delayed by the winter weather across the country.  Governor Cuomo’s office released a statement saying that Pfizer shipments scheduled for Friday have been delayed till Monday.  Moderna shipments should arrive by the middle of the week. No appointments at state run sites have had to be rescheduled.

Covid update from Friday evening: Genesee county has 18 new cases and 11 people have recovered. Orleans county has 7 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  There are 71 active cases in Genesee county and 47 in Orleans.

There is a report of a train on snowmobile collision in Darien late Friday night.  The train operator believes that the snowmobile was unoccupied and left on the tracks.  The snowmobile was not registered but it’s last registration was in Rochester.  A CSX employee witnessed a person leaving the scene and fresh footprints were found leading away from the snowmobile.

The Firing Pin in Bergen is partnering with the American Warrior Festival which is having it’s events virtually this year.  Their events are going on right now and end March 25th.  There is a virtual marksmanship competition where you can record yourself doing a ten shot firing drill and submit it and a 5 or 10k with a fun run or walk for sponsorships.  All money raised through registrations, sponsors, merchandise and concessions goes to help veterans.  The American Warriors Festival strives to provide entertainment, encouragement and resources to veterans and work toward veteran suicide prevention.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced the beginning of construction on a new trail at Letchworth.  The first of its kind autism nature trail is a mile-long loop, which is designed to address the sensory needs of people with ASD, a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.  The trail loop will feature eight stations with simple mazes, signage, a cuddle swing, a music corner, and other sensory options for all travelers.  The trail will be near the Humphrey Nature Center.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 5 new cases and 1 person has recovered.  Orleans county has 5 new cases and there is no reporting on the number of people recovered as of yesterday at 5pm.  Totals and numbers will be updated for the weekend news.

Darien Lake has just announced that their opening day, for the first time in a year and a half, will be May 21st.   To keep park goers healthy safety and security measures including contactless security and temperature checks for guests and team members will be in place.  Mobile ordering will also be available at many locations. The park is converting from cash to a card kiosk system, accepting only Mobile and Card Payments.  They will be using a reservation system to stay below the 33 percent capacity cap imposed by NY state.  As one of the largest seasonal employers in New York, Six Flags Darien Lake is hiring more than 1,500 team members for the 2021 season.  For a full list of positions and safety protocols check out the press release at our news partner the Batavian.

Midday News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Republicans in the New York State Assembly are calling for the creation of an impeachment commission to investigate Governor Cuomo.
GOP lawmakers say they want more details on how the governor’s administration handled nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
They claim the governor’s office withheld information about the number of people who died at those facilities due to COVID-19. Republicans believe a bi-partisan commission should look into the issue and report its findings to the Legislature.

 

 

State Police have released the name of the man who lost his life during a crash in Orleans County. Troopers say 46-year-old Steven Noah was driving on West County House Road in Albion Wednesday when his Jeep slammed into another vehicle head-on. Noah wasn’t wearing a seat belt and died at the scene while the other driver suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police are still looking into the accident.

Voters in the Pembroke school district have approved the reconstruction of the bus garage at the Intermediate School campus. Thursday’s vote was 139 yes and just 35 no. The $1.69-million project will not impact the local tax rate. The project will be funded by state aid and $400,000 from the district’s capital reserve.

Since Monday, the national gas price average has increased seven cents to $2.58. This quick four-day jump is a direct result of all major Gulf Coast refineries being impacted by the recent winter storm, which has caused gas supplies to tighten and pump prices to increase.
Triple-A is reporting a 3-cent a gallon increase in Batavia since yesterday.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached four games after a disappointing effort on the road. Victor Olofsson had Buffalo’s lone goal as they fell to the Washington Capitals 3-1 Capital One Arena last night. With the defeat, the Sabres remain in last place in the NHL’s East Division, 12 points behind the first place Boston Bruins.

Morning News Brief

Voters in the Pembroke school district have approved the reconstruction of the bus garage at the Intermediate School campus. Thursday’s vote was 139 yes and just 35 no. The $1.69 million project will not impact the local tax rate. The project will be funded by state aid and $400,000 from the district capital reserve.

The COVID-19 2nd Dose Vaccine Clinic scheduled for today at Genesee Community College in Batavia — for appointments between 9 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. — will be rescheduled due to the weather-related delay of vaccine delivery. Anyone with an appointment during this time slot will be contacted directly by email or phone to reschedule your appointment next week.

Just five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Genesee County. One of the previous positive individuals has recovered and has been removed from the isolation list. Officials report today that 14 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals is an inmate at the Buffalo Federal Detention center. Meanwhile, Orleans County also reports five new cases…as does Wyoming County.

Six Flags Darien Lake will be kicking off its season after April 9th. Dan Stokes is the marketing and public relations manager…he says they are really excited. Stokes said the park will be utilizing an online reservation system this spring, similar to one that is in place for the laser shows that currently are scheduled for the next three weekends. The theme park was unable to open in 2020, but the campground was open for a few weeks last summer. Stokes said the process of hiring seasonal employees is underway. Six Flags Darien Lake employs more than 1,000 part-time workers during its peak season, filling jobs in areas such as performance, games, retail, food service, rides, park services, promotion and clerical.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region welcomes Kara Beth Baker to assist people with disabilities in the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming county region as a New York Connects Independent Living Outreach Specialist. Baker brings 22 years of experience in counseling and accessibility.

Since Monday, the national gas price average has increased seven cents to $2.58. This quick four-day jump is a direct result of all major Gulf Coast refineries being impacted by the recent winter storm, which has caused gas supplies to tighten and pump prices to increase. The situation is very similar to a Gulf Coast hurricane’s impact. Until things thaw out and Gulf Coast refineries are running again (likely early next week), expect more expensive pump prices across the country, varying another 5-15 cents.

Evening News Brief

New York’s COVID vaccine tracker website has added county data.  The website provides information on the number of first and second dose vaccinations distributed and administered across the state. The site is updated daily at 11 a.m.  The regional data comes from sites including: hospitals, mass vaccination sites operated by state and local governments, pharmacies and other providers registered to serve as points of distribution. The regional data does not include vaccinations reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program.

The FBI is now investigating the handling of Nursing Home COVID deaths by Governor Cuomo.  Cuomo’s office says that the department of justice has been looking into this for months and that they have been cooperating with them.

Nursing Home workers in Western NY are protesting for reform in the nursing home industry.  Members of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East say that the system is broken and that the Attorney General’s report was an indictment of the whole industry.  Nearly 800 complaints were filed with the NYS Attorney General’s office from family members of people in nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic.  The union wants nursing homes to commit 70% of revenue towards resident care and spend more hours per day providing care along with increased accountability and transparency.

Last week gas prices jumped up 8 cents in Western NY and this week, since Monday prices have risen by a further 7 cents.  This, after several months of gas prices waffling up and down a penny at a time but staying roughly even.  While the 8 cent jump was because of increased demand and lower supply coming from oil producing countries this weeks rise was a result of the oil refineries freezing up during the storms in the gulf coast.  It is expected that prices will rise by another 5 to 15 cents over the next week and then fall slightly as things thaw out and supplies return to normal operations.

Rich Wagner almost got a 900 series by bowling three perfect games in a row at Mancuso’s Bowling Center.  He got two back to back 300 score games and then missed the 6 pin in his last frame to get a total score of 899.  If he had reached the 900 he would have been one of only 37 bowlers to ever get that score since reporting started in 1982.

 

Midday News Brief

 

Coronavirus numbers are improving in Genesee and Orleans Counties.
Public Health Director Paul Pettit reported on the local situation this morning. He cited statistics from just five weeks ago

Paul Pettit, Public Health Director

Similar improvements were shown in Orleans County. Pettit also said about 11 percent of Genesee County’s population has received at least the first dose of COVID vaccine.

State Police are continuing to investigate a crash in Orleans County that left one person dead.
Troopers say the two-vehicle collision happened yesterday on West County House Road in Albion. Police haven’t released the name of the person who was killed or said if anyone else was hurt.
They’re asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to call them immediately.

As the state’s COVID-19 infection rate falls, more entertainment options will soon be open to all New Yorkers. Officials say indoor family entertainment centers can open March 26th, followed by amusement parks on April 9th. Capacity will be limited to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other health and safety guidelines are also going to be in place.
Day and overnight summer camps can also start making plans to reopen, but no specific date has been announced.

New York State has announced reopening dates for amusement parks and other similar venues in New York. Governor Cuomo said outdoor parks will be able to reopen on April 9, while indoor family entertainment centers will be able to reopen March 26. For any such venue, masking, temperature checks and distancing will be mandatory. Outdoor parks will be limited to 33% capacity, while indoor centers will be limited to 25% capacity. It was also that overnight summer camps, for now, will open in June.

The Buffalo Sabres will be taking the ice again tonight, and for the first time in weeks, no players are on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. After dropping two games at home this week, they’ll be in Washington, DC to take on the Washington Capitals. Face-off for tonight’s contest is set for seven p-m.

The Buffalo Bills are among one of several teams in contention to sign one of the top players in NFL history. The Buffalo News and ESPN report the Bills have reached out to free-agent J.J. Watt and that there is mutual interest between both sides about potentially reaching a deal. Watt, a three-time defensive player of the year, was released by the Houston Texans last week. He’s reportedly looking to sign with a team that’s close to reaching the Super Bowl and who also has a top-level quarterback.

Morning News Brief

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and the FBI are investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing home death data. The governor has struggled with nursing home deaths from the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Though he rescinded an initial directive to return infected residents from hospitals to nursing homes and explained he followed federal guidance at the time, critics blamed Cuomo for the high number of nursing home deaths in the state. The New York Attorney General accused the state of under-playing the death toll and the governor’s office conceded it withheld the numbers from state lawmakers, who are now considering stripping Cuomo of some pandemic power. We’re told the FBI and federal prosecutors are in the early stages of their investigation.

It looks as though the Genesee County Legislature has found a qualified person to fill the vacant position of county coroner. The county Ways & Means Committee has voted in favor of a resolution appointing longtime paramedic Wade Schwab as coroner, effective Feb. 24 through Dec. 31. The measure will be put on the agenda of next Wednesday’s full legislature meeting. One of the four county coroner jobs became open earlier this year upon the resignation of Jeffery McIntire, who moved to Florida.

Genesee County reports 17 new COVID cases. Those impacted are from Batavia Le Roy and eight other communities. Eleven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fifteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals is a resident of the Le Roy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Eleven of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention center.

The Batavia City Planning & Development Committee has approved a site plan for a radiology/intensive care unit addition at United Memorial Medical Center at 127 North Street. The hospital’s request for an area variance is scheduled to be considered by the City Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 25. Doug Randall is the city code enforcement officer…and says that he expects the variance to be approved as well since the two-story, 5,100-square-foot addition will be in line with the previous cancer treatment center addition. According to information provided to Randall, the project will feature a new building entrance off of Summit Street Extension, three new parking spaces and landscaping along the entire frontage of the addition. About 75 percent of the proposed addition perimeter will abut the existing hospital structure. Additionally, plans call for an extension of the 90-degree parking area in front of the cancer center, but do not include any new hospital beds.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, will be offering a CDL (Commercial Driver License) Training Program for Genesee County agriculture producers and their employees for Class A and Class B licenses. This training program is designed for producers and farm employees that have some experience with commercial truck operation. An informational meeting will be held on March 11 at 7 p.m. at the Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Campus, 8250 State Street Road, Batavia. This meeting will explain how the program works and answer any questions you may have. The required training materials and medical forms will also be passed out at this time.

An inmate fight at the Genesee County Jail has led to a felony charge for one. 37-year-old Wayne Potter of Batavia was charged with felony assault. The sheriff’s office says he injured another inmate during a fight.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region welcomes Kara Beth Baker to assist people with disabilities in the Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County (GOW) Region as a New York Connects Independent Living Outreach Specialist. Baker brings 22 years of experience in counseling and accessibility. In her new role, Baker will connect people with disabilities and their families to needed home and community-based supports and services, as well as facilitate access to public benefits.

Evening News Brief

Democrats join with republicans to demand Cuomo’s emergency powers be stripped. 14 democratic lawmakers have called for the powers to be taken away and now 2 are soliciting support for a bill to repeal them and have 9 signatures in the assembly. They say that Cuomo intentionally obstructed justice and also that Cuomo could be impeached. The proposed legislation follows growing controversy over his administration’s reporting of nursing home deaths. More than 15,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID in New York.  At the same time lawmakers are calling on the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences to vacate Cuomo’s Emmy award for communication during the COVID pandemic.

Governor Cuomo’s office has, after silence on the issue for almost half a year, issued guidance for family entertainment attractions, including amusement parks such as Darien Lake to reopen.  Indoor entertainment venues can reopen March 26th and outdoor attractions can open April 9th.  Restrictions apply.  When they reopen they must stay below 25 percent capacity for indoor attractions and 33 percent for outdoor attractions, masks, temperature checks and social distancing as well as sanitization and frequent cleaning are all required.  Also, overnight summer camps may open in June.

The Buffalo Sabres lost their second game to the New York Islanders 3 to zip last night.  Now Buffalo’s record is 4, 6 and 2 and they’ll be back on the ice Thursday the 18th against the Washington Capitals at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

Governor Cuomo’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana now includes an option to have the drug delivered right to your home. Last month, the governor unveiled the framework of his latest proposal to legalize pot, which would allow people 21 and older to buy it from state-approved dispensaries. Local governments would be able to prevent the home delivery option from being available. The governor believes legalizing the drug could generate billions of dollars in needed revenue for the state.

New York State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 3.71 percent, the lowest since November 28. Genesee County’s positivity rate is down slightly to a seven day average of 2.5-percent.

Genesee County Public Health Director Paul Pettit will deliver an update tomorrow on the Coronavirus situation. Pettit expected to talk about area vaccination efforts.
WBTA will carry Pettit’s remarks live, beginning at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

As cases of COVID-19 are trending downward, Rochester Regional Health and UMMC in Batavia are expanding visiting hours.
The hospital is allowing visitors seven days a week.
You still must wear masks, practice hand-washing and stay socially distanced when possible.

From Batavia City Hall: The Batavia Department of Public Works Administration and the Bureau of Inspection will be closed this Monday, Feb. 22, for mandatory training.
The offices will reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Celebration. The awards include the Youth Recognition Award, the Adult Volunteer and Adult Youth Worker. Nominations are due by Friday, March 5. For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau 344-3960). The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website.

Morning News Briefing

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Celebration. The awards include the Youth Recognition Award, the Adult Volunteer and Adult Youth Worker.  Nominations are due by Friday, March 5. For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau. The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website.

The offices of the Batavia Department of Public Works Administration and the Bureau of Inspection will be closed on Monday, Feb. 22, for mandatory training. The offices will reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Anyone needing to do business with either office please plan accordingly.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 3.71 percent, the lowest since November 28. Those hospitalized in the Finger Lakes Region has dropped to 301, with 397 in an ICU.

Genesee County received 39 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday afternoon through the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend. Forty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fourteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County received 15 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday afternoon through the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend. Meanwhile, Wyoming County saw an increase of 34 cases since Friday.

As cases of COVID-19 are trending downward, Rochester Regional Health is welcoming visitors back to its hospitals seven days a week. Please continue to wear your mask, practice hand hygiene and stay socially distanced wherever possible. It’s also important to get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you, although current supplies are limited.

The first steps are underway to take away Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency executive powers. Two downstate Democrats are soliciting support of a bill to repeal the emergency legislative abilities granted to Cuomo last spring in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed legislation follows growing controversy over his administration’s reporting of nursing home deaths. More than 15,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID in New York.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo has announced a proposal for a social equity fund to benefit minority communities.  The 100 million dollar fund will be paid for by taxes from marijuana sales as part of the new legal adult use marijuana legislation that was in the State Budget for this year.  Community-based nonprofits would apply for funding to support efforts that would include: Job placement and skills services, Adult education, Mental health treatment, Substance use disorder treatment, and many more.  Cuomo also put out rules for dispensaries to deliver marijuana to customers and reduced charges associated with illegal marijuana sales.

Are you worried about allergic reactions to the Covid vaccine?  Rochester Regional health has an answer.  By delivering the second dose of the vaccine, which more people have an issue with than the first, in multiple smaller dosages, RRH says it can minimize any allergic reactions.  Dr Shahzad Mustafa,  the lead physician for allergy, immunology and rheumatology at Rochester Regional Health, says that they can give the vaccine in five doses, given 15-20 minutes apart which will allow the body to induce tolerance in the immune system which is the same system they use for peanut allergy treatments.

The amber alert for 17 year old Stephanie White of North Tonawanda has been cancelled.  Police say she was found safe and returned home.  No further details have been released.

Midday News Brief

The city wants to know what you think of planned improvements to Jackson Square.
A special Zoom meeting will be held for business owners and the general public this Thursday at 6pm.
Jackson Square is a popular spot on Friday nights during the summer featuring a variety of music. The square lies between Center and Jackson St. The city has a fist full of state money, part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to improve the stage and the pavement in the square.
Link to the Zoom Meeting

A Genesee County man arrested twice in less than two and a half hours. 41 year old Edwin Standcliff of Corfu was arrested in the Town of Batavia for Felony DWI. A short time later, he was arrested again for felony assault in an unrelated matter.

An AMBER Alert has been issued following the abduction of a teenager in North Tonawanda. Police say Stephnie White was abducted last night by Michael Mesko on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Investigators believe White may be in imminent danger of either serious harm or death. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call 911 or North Tonawanda police.

Governor Cuomo is responding to claims his administration intentionally withheld data on the number of nursing home residents who died after contracting COVID-19. During a news conference yesterday, the governor said his administration should have responded quicker to requests for that data, which were made by lawmakers and the media. The governor says failing to do that caused a void where misinformation was created and spread. He also said that his office did everything it could to keep people from losing their lives.

The Buffalo Sabres were back in action for the first time in weeks last night, but things didn’t go as planned. Victor Olofsson had Buffalo’s lone goal as they fell to the New York Islanders three-to-one at KeyBank Center. The Sabres hadn’t played since late January after several members of the team were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

City to Hold Virtual Meeting on Jackson Square

The city wants to know what you think of planned improvements to Jackson Square.

A special Zoom meeting will be held for business owners and the general public this Thursday at 6pm.

Jackson Square is a popular spot on Friday nights during the summer featuring a variety of music. The square lies between Center and Jackson St.
The city has a fist full of state money, part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to improve the stage and the pavement in the square.

Link to Zoom meeting HERE

Morning News Briefing

A Genesee County man is facing multiple felony-level charges. Batavia-based State Police say they arrested 41-year-old Edwin L. Stancliff of Corfu. He is charged with felony second-degree assault, felony criminal mischief and resisting arrest. Troopers leveled the charges following a disturbance early Monday in the Town of Batavia. Stancliff was initially detained. But the story doesn’t end there…two and a half hours before that, he was pulled over in the town and charged with DWI and a felony count of having a blood alcohol content more than .08%. It’s a felony because he was convicted of the same crime within the last ten years.

Due to the wintry weather, Genesee County has canceled COVID-19 testing scheduled for today.

An adamant Andrew Cuomo insisted there was no coverup in the number of nursing homes deaths in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic when New York was the epicenter. During a Monday press conference … the Governor said he will accept the blame for allowing the “disinformation” to go on … pointing the finger at the media … and others. Cuomo insisted his administration was complying with the Department of Justice’s request … and asked the legislature to wait on their request. He also said nursing homes were never forced to accept patients with COVID.

Additional charges have been leveled against a Cheektowaga man who led police on a three-county chase, including Genesee County. 61-year-old Patrick Thomas Fuhr has been charged by Deputies with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree; aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree and other counts. He is due in Bergen Town Court on March 3. Other charges were filed last week in Batavia.

Here are the latest COVID numbers. In the Finger Lakes Region, 325 patients are currently hospitalized, with 280 in the Western Region. 397 people occupy an ICU bed in the Finger Lakes Region with a 7-day average positive test results of 2.31%. A Connecticut resident who is a patient in a New York City hospital has tested positive for the South African variant. There is no evidence of any spread in New York State to date.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.51, up 4 cents from last week. The New York State average is $2.60 – up 4 cents from last week. A year ago, the state average was $2.62. At the pumps in Batavia, Triple A says the price is $2.52 a gallon, up 8 cents from last week, but 7 cents lower than a year ago. Increasing pump prices have been supported by higher crude oil prices and gas demand, which grew slightly last week though it remains lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Evening News Brief

A winter storm warning is effect from 7pm tonight through Tuesday afternoon at around 1pm.  The weather service expects form 7 to 14 inches of snow across all of western NY.  Genesee Wyoming and Orleans counties are all going to be affected.  COVID 19 testing in Genesee county is canceled for Tuesday, as is the Bus Garage Capital Project Vote In the Pembroke Central School District.  It has been postponed to Thursday, February 18 from 12:00-8:00 p.m.

The New York State Department of Health urges patience to those who are eligible to receive a vaccine for COVID 19.  Last week about a third of New Yorkers were eligible but starting on Sunday that number was increased to accommodate those with comorbidities such as cancer or certain disabilities that increase their risk should they get the coronavirus.  With this group added to the eligibility list the number of New Yorkers who can sign up for an appointment is likely over half the population of the state which would be over 10 million people.  New York only gets roughly 310,000 doses a week so it will take many months to get that number of people vaccinated. At the current rate of receiving doses it will take about 6.5 months to get that number vaccinated.  Nearly 2.2 million people have been vaccinated in the Empire State with the first dose, about 800,000 have been fully vaccinated.

Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order extending the party registration enrollment deadline to February 16th.  This will allow voters to change their party affiliation.  Cuomo says it will allow Board of Elections to have more time to process changes.

The Rochester International Airport is now the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.  This announcement happening on Valentine’s Day, the day Douglass chose to be his birthday.  Douglass’s great great great grandson, Kenneth Morris Jr spoke at the unveiling.  Rochester plans to put up a statue at the Airport to greet travelers.

Gas prices keep going up.  This week the prices in Batavia jumped up 8 cents, nearly reaching last years prices.  Last year the New York state average was 2.62 and it is currently 2.60.  The national price is 2.52 which is 7 cents more than last year’s.  Higher demand and a lower supply are fueling the rise.

Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger was back at practice on Sunday after his battle with COVID-19, along with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin who was taken off the COVID-19 list.  The Sabres are scheduled to play their first game since January 31st on Monday against the New York Islanders.

Midday News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the 7-day average positivity rate dropped below four percent for the first time since November 30. The 7-day average positivity rate stands at 3.90 percent, according to state data. The Finger Lakes region has a 7-day percentage of positive tests of 2.39 percent.
Here in Genesee County, the 7-day positivity rate remains at 2.6-percent.

 

All of Western New York – including Genesee County – will be under a Winter Storm Warning beginning at 7 o’clock this evening.
The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy snow, accumulating 7 to 14 inches. Travel could be very difficult to impossible.
The warning continues through Tuesday afternoon and will impact tomorrow morning’s commute.

Due to the winter storm warning, the Bus Garage Capital Project Vote In the Pembroke Central School District has been postponed to Thursday, February 18 from 12:00-8:00 p.m. The vote had been scheduled for tomorrow.

Due to the impending storm, Genesee County has canceled COVID testing for Tuesday, February 16th.

The LeRoy Fire Department is asking residents there for a little help.
With snow on the ground and more on the way, the LeRoy department is asking residents to clear snow at least three feet from fire hydrants.
You are also asked to clear a path from the hydrant to the street.

Western New York drivers are continuing to see increasing prices at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular in Batavia is $2.52. That’s up 8-cents from last week and is 13-cents higher than this time one month ago.

Morning News Brief

A winter storm will blanket the region from today through Tuesday afternoon. Portions of the area could receive 6-12 inches of snow. The heaviest snow is expected tonight into Tuesday morning.

Felony and other charges have been filed against a man who crashed his vehicle on Alleghany Road in Darien. Sheriff’s deputies say they arrested 33-year-old Myles Daniel MacLeod of Corfu. He now faces felony counts of aggravated DWI and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was additionally charged with refusal to take a breath test and circumventing an ignition interlock device as well as other counts. He’s due in Town of Darien court on April 6th.

Court action is pending for a man who allegedly ran down a woman with his vehicle during a heated domestic dispute. 49-year-old Jason Jones of Brooktondale in Tompkins County was taken into custody on an arrest warrant stemming from the December 16th incident on Dewey Avenue in Batavia. Police charged him with felony second-degree assault, felony first-degree reckless endangerment and other lesser counts. Jones was arraigned and initially remanded to jail in lieu of bail. He is due in court Match 11th.

The LeRoy fire department is asking for a helping hand. With snow on the ground and more on the way, the Department is asking residents to clear the snow around fire hydrants. Officials recommending the snow be cleared at least three feet around the hydrant so firefighters can work. Also, you’re asked to clear a path from the hydrant to the street.

The Finger Lakes Region has, to date, received more than 196,000 total COVID vaccines. Through Friday, state officials say 87% of the total doses have been administered. New York’s health care distribution sites have received 2.1 million first doses and already administered 90 percent of first dose vaccinations and 83 percent of first and second doses.

A state court has rejected multiple appeals filed on behalf of a name-protected Genesee County teenager, who was granted youthful offender status. The teenager was placed on probation after being convicted of possession of child pornography and sexual misconduct. Then, while on probation, he was convicted of felony burglary. He was then sentenced to a maximum state prison term. The teen argued the sentence was too severe. The Appellate Court ruled that his plea was in full satisfaction of numerous other residential burglaries, and several of those burglaries involved the theft of firearms from the homes.

Batavia police say they arrested 32-year-old Alexander Baldwin of East Main in Batavia. He was charged with felony grand larceny. Police said he was paid for a construction job that he never began. He’ll appear in court April 15th.

A Batavia man has been charged with forcible touching. 69-year-old Benjamin Lucas of Bank Street allegedly touched an employee inappropriately. He was issued an appearance ticket for court.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the 7-day average positivity rate dropped below four percent for the first time since November 30. The 7-day average positivity rate stands at 3.90 percent, according to state data. Hospitalizations are down by 916 this week, a 26 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. The Finger Lakes region has a 7-day percentage of positive tests of 2.39 percent.

The New York Lottery has announced one top-prize winning ticket was sold for the February 13 TAKE-5 drawing. The ticket, worth a little more than $64,000, was purchased at DELTA SONIC CARWASH on E Main Street in Rochester.

Weekend News Brief

Its not just republicans who want Governor Cuomo held accountable for the nursing home deaths during the early months of the COVID pandemic, 14 democratic state senators have joined the call to have Cuomo stripped of his emergency powers and an investigation launched into the governor and state health director Howard Zucker.  Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Senator Chris Jacobs, and Senator Ed Rath joined republicans across the state earlier this week in the same call after information about a phone call where a top Cuomo aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to the governor’s office withholding the nursing home death numbers because Cuomo’s administration feared a federal investigation.  The phone call was to democrat lawmakers.

Rochester Regional Health and UMMC will begin allowing visitors on Tuesday the 16th with restrictions.  At UMMC the visiting hours will be between 9am and 1pm and 3pm and 6pm.  Only 1 visitor allowed at a time and visitors must be 19 or older.  No visitors allowed in emergency, with cancer patients, with covid positive patients or people awaiting covid test results or with inpatient behavioral health.  Exceptions to these rules are pediatric patients who can have one support person there at all times. In Labor and delivery there may be one visitor and a doula.  People with developmental or mental disabilities  including dementia can have 1 full time support person there.  And in end of life situations there can be 2 people the bedside at once.

COVID Update from Friday Evening: Genesee county has 12 new cases and 12 people have recovered.  Orleans County has 14 new cases and 9 people have recovered.  There are 82 active cases in Genesee county and 65 in Orleans.

The Holland Land Office Museum will be hosting a virtual guest speaker Michael Broccolo for a presentation titled “Underground Railroad in the Niagara Frontier” starting Thursday the 18th at 7pm.  There is unlimited availability via zoom and all the information to join is on the Land Office museum’s website.  There is limited in person seating at the Museum for 12 people but you must preregister by calling 585 343 4727.  A donation will be taken up at the museum during the presentation.

Fantasy Island has been closed since 2019 but hope springs eternal for someone to pick it up and open the gates once more.  Grand Island Town Supervisor John Whitney says a “notable entity” with a track record in family recreation has approached owners Apex Parks Group and are working through the financing options.  Apex had said they would work to reopen the park with new partners but reports of bad smells and heavy vandalism, plus trucks seen removing restaurant equipment have damped hopes of the park returning.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County reports 20 new COVID cases.
These new infections were reported in Batavia, Le Roy and 11 other communities.
Two more COVID-related deaths were also reported.
Both were over the age of 65. Health officials said one person resided at the New York State Veterans’ Home and the other resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center.
There have been five COVID deaths in Genesee County over the past two days.

In just two days, even more New Yorkers are going to be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. That’s because the registration process for people with serious medical issues begins on Sunday. Shots will start being given as early as Monday.
Among those eligible to be vaccinated include people suffering from severe obesity, cancer and pulmonary diseases. You will need a doctor’s note.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in NYS is 3.54 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since November 25.
The Genesee County positivity rate is down to 2.2-percent for a seven day average.

New York State is easing its quarantine rules for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those folks will no longer have to be in isolation if they’re exposed to COVID-19, but only if it’s been 90 days since their last shot and they have no symptoms of the virus.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation says New Yorkers will be able to fish at no cost this weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday are among the several free days being offered this year to boost interest in the activity. While the requirement for a fishing license is waived, all other fishing regulations will remain in effect.

Morning News Brief

The COVID-19 positivity rate in NYS is 3.54 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since November 25. In addition to that, the number of people hospitalized with the virus is down to around 7,300. That’s the lowest number since the day after Christmas. The Finger Lakes Region has 345 people hospitalized with another 397 in Intensive care.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley visited the New York State Veterans’ Home in Batavia to drop-off valentines that were made by first-grade students from Jackson Primary School as part of the Assemblyman’s “Valentines for Vets” program. A veteran himself, and a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Hawley remained outside of the facility as he left the valentines due to COVID-19 restrictions. In what has been a challenging and isolating year, Hawley said it was his pleasure to facilitate the delivery of the valentines to let the veterans know how much their service is appreciated by the young people of the community.

According to a report released by the New York Post, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers during a phone call for allegedly withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19. The report claims Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said they “froze” out of fear that the true numbers would be “used against them” by federal prosecutors.  In a statement Thursday, Sen. Tom O’Mara said the report makes it clear subpoenas must be issued and a full investigation started immediately. He called it a massive cover-up.

Following a traffic stop in the Town of Stafford, State Police arrested a Corfu man. Troopers took 27-year-old Tyler Jonathan Busch into custody. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance as well as driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol. He’ll appear in court at a later date.

Genesee County reports 20 new COVID cases. These new infections were reported in Batavia, Le Roy and 11 other communities. Twenty-four of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fifteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two more COVID-related deaths were also reported. Both were over the age of 65. Health officials said one person resided at the New York State Veterans’ Home and the other resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center.

The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund has announced that it has awarded more than $4.5 million to more than 300 nonprofit organizations in the region, bringing the total grant amount from the Fund to $13.1 million. This collaborative funding effort was convened in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 health crisis and is now administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, in partnership with The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.

Midday News Brief

Voters in the LeRoy Central School district have approved a $12-million renovation project involving all district buildings.
Voters rejected, however, a $4.2-million project for a multi-turf field and lights on the present soccer field.
The renovation project will cost the average LeRoy school district home owners another 83-cents on the tax rate.
Voters had overwhelmingly rejected the first attempt to pass the budget last October.

Tops has announced the 3 and a half million dollar renovation to its Batavia store is complete. Tops held a virtual ribbon cutting this morning. Almost everything inside and outside the store has been renovated.

New York State could be in line to get 23 billion dollars if a COVID-19 relief package working its way through Congress is approved. Nearly 13 billion dollars in funding would go towards state government.
Governor Cuomo says the state needs all the help it can get after its finances were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s calling for New York to receive at least $15-billion so budget cuts can be avoided.

New Yorkers who have been waiting to see a concert or sporting event in-person are about to get that chance again. Starting February 23rd, arenas and stadiums will once again welcome fans back, but spectators will have to follow specific health and safety rules. They include proof of a negative COVID-19 test three days before an event, temperature checks before entering a facility and a requirement everyone wear a mask. The new guidelines apply to venues with a capacity of over 10,000 people.

Evening News Brief

The allocation of vaccines to Genesee and Orleans counties has been cut in half after an increase was promised.  The drop in vaccines being delivered to the counties comes alongside more people being eligible to receive the vaccine starting February 15th and state and federal government opening more distribution centers and President Biden saying that the national guard would be deployed to help with administering vaccines.  Critics say that more vaccination centers won’t matter if only a handful of vaccine doses will be delivered to them each week.  Governor Cuomo says the new centers and clinics are necessary in order to make sure vaccine distribution is racially equitable.  Health Director Paul Petit says “We’re pushing out the vaccine as quickly as we’re getting it, week by week we don’t have any dosses left because the supply coming to the state is then allocated to the regions. It is hindering everybody.”

Wyoming County will be getting some help with emergency communications after Governor Cuomo announced a grant for 5 counties across New York State of 29 million dollars.  Wyoming county will get nearly 6 million of that in order to build new towers and improve connectivity to upstate public safety agencies and channels.  Niagara and Orleans counties were awarded nearly $6 million each in phase one of the Statewide Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant Program.

Covid Update:  Genesee county has 13 new cases and 19 people have recovered.  3 people in the community over 65 years of age have passed away.  Orleans county has 10 new cases and 13 people have recovered.  3 of the new cases are at Orchard Rehab and nursing.  Genesee county has 82 active cases and Orleans has 67.

Genesee county is looking for a few good students to help redesign the County flag for the Genesee 2050 comprehensive plan.  The department of planning is reaching out to Superintendents to get students involved in a competition to design the new flag.  Students are encouraged to submit their designs and finalists will be chosen by the committee and then have an online vote by county residents.  Submissions are due by February 28th.  Information about the contest including guidelines and how to submit designs can be found on the genesee2050 website.

Section 5 has announced how it will handle the post season tournament schedule for high risk sports.  On Wednesday the Section V Athletic Council met and determined the tournament structure for winter high-risk sports. The team sports of boys basketball, girls basketball, and ice hockey will have a closed sectional tournament in which only the top eight teams in each classification will make their sectional tournament. Wrestling will hold class sectional tournaments starting on March 12, 2021.

Morning News Brief

Genesee County is leading the Finger Lakes Region with its low COVID-19 numbers. County Manager Matt Landers calls it a “nice feeling,” given just weeks ago, the county had one of the worst rates statewide. He called it a “quick turnaround” and said it is due to…all the hard work (the county) has been doing in terms of messaging, distancing, testing and vaccinations.

Based on the success of the Buffalo Bills playoff game model, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says large arenas in the state can open starting Feb. 23. This applies to those that host sporting events, concerts and other events that would draw large crowds. It could impact Watkins Glen International. Those who attend must get a PCR test within 72 hours of the event, and have a negative result. Face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks will also be required. In addition to this, the New York State Department of Health must approve any event set to take place.

The Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday voted in favor of accepting an $11,000 grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s Muriel H. Marshall Fund to launch the CallHub pilot program for the county’s Office for the Aging. The grant will allow the Office for the Aging to help people safely connect with phone calls going through CallHub, a secure web-based tool that makes communication between individuals and groups of people easier, quicker and safer through a designated phone number. The resolution that was passed indicated that CallHub is an application that allows for improved program management for staff and volunteer-based programs, through mass messaging and real-time data collection and monthly reporting capabilities.

New COVID cases in Genesee County totaled just 13 on Wednesday. Nineteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fifteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Sadly, officials report the deaths of three more residents from COVID-related complications. Ten new cases were confirmed in Orleans County, with 14 more cases in Wyoming County.

Genesee County deputies report the arrest of 39-year-old Corrine Elizabeth Navarra of Le Roy. She is charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree welfare fraud. It is alleged that starting on Jan. 17, 2020 she failed to report income while receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which would have lowered her benefit. It is alleged that Navarra received $3,840 in benefits that she was not eligible for. She was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released on her own recognizance.

37-year-old Jason William Doohan of Jerome Place, Batavia has been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. It is alleged that on March 1 of last year Doohan failed to report income he earned scrapping metal, which resulted in Doohan receiving $1,464 in public assistance benefits that he was not entitled to. He is due in Batavia Town Court on March 1.

The Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Girls Basketball Team is currently organizing their 10th annual Shooting For A Cure! game in support of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Over the past nine seasons, the community has raised more than $152,000 for cancer research at Roswell. Shooting For A Cure! has become one of Roswell Park’s largest community-based fundraising events. This year, the team hopes to break the $200,000 mark. This year’s game will be Pembroke vs. Oakfield-Alabama starting at 7 p.m., Friday, March 5 in the Pembroke high gym.

The Genesee County 4-H Program is now accepting registrations for its new 4-H Junior Master Gardeners Club. The club is open to youth age 8-13 and is a collaboration between the Genesee County 4-H Program and Genesee County Master Gardeners.  The club is scheduled to begin meeting on Wednesdays in late April. Space is limited. Youth must be enrolled in the Genesee County 4-H Program to participate. To register or receive more information, contact the Genesee County 4-H Office.

Evening News Brief

Batavia City Schools has rolled out a new Community Schools initiative based on a national strategy of fixing inequities for students who face issues such as lack of sable housing, food insecurity or lack of medical care.  The 4 areas of supporting the, whole child, as the initiative lays it out, are Expanded learning time, integrating student supports such as counselors and clinics, Family and Community engagement with community leaders and collaborative leadership practices including having school staff go out and help with community organizations.  The vision statement is to Build a better Batavia by promoting equitable learning opportunities, cultivating healthier families, and establishing a stronger community.

Governor Cuomo announced today that New York State and Baby2Baby Diaper Bank are joining forces to provide diapers to women and children in need throughout New York State.  Officials say through the partnership with Baby2Baby, 20 million donated diapers will be made available to New York’s Emergency Feeding Programs to be distributed at no cost through food banks across the state.

The 2019 State budget had a little talked about effect on how the political system works in New York state.  It made it so that smaller political parties outside the Republicans and Democrats have to participate in gubernatorial and presidential elections which means they have to get 130,000 or more votes to be on the ballots and also have to run every 2 years instead of every 4.  The Serve America Movement party is saying that this unfairly and unconstitutionally limits elections in New York to just the big 2 parties after they lost a court case to not have their candidate dropped from the ballots in 2021 and 2022.  Their candidate earned more than the 50 thousand votes needed to be a recognized political party in 2018 and then the law was changed in the 2019 budget and now they would have to get recognized again with almost 3 times the votes.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 28 new cases and 30 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 3 new cases and 13 people have recovered.  There are 92 active cases in Genesee county and 73 in Orleans.

The temporary order has ended and the curfew is back on in Buffalo.  All restaurants and bars must close by 10 pm.  There was a temporary restraining order allowing Erie county establishments to stay open to their regular closing time after 100 businesses sued the state.

 

Midday News Brief

It was a challenging year for the men and women of the Batavia Police Department. Chief Shawn Heubusch called it a “tumultuous and trying year” keeping the peace, answering calls for service – all within the all within the confines of a global pandemic.
The report contains a variety of statistics:
There were no homicides, but 13 rapes, three were solved by arrests; 12 robberies with seven arrests 45 burglaries with 16 arrests.
The department reported 248 cases of domestic violence.
You can read the entire report HERE

Genesee County reports 28 new COVID positive cases. Seventeen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Just three new cases were reported in Orleans County, with three individuals hospitalized. In Wyoming County, two new cases were reported since Monday. One additional death was also reported in Wyoming County.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced New York’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 4.38 percent, its lowest since December 1. Cuomo said the post-holiday surge reduction is continuing. As of today, the number of people in the Finger Lakes region hospitalized with COVID has dropped to 398.

From Genesee County Board of Elections…Any party enrollment change requests must be received at the Board of Elections office by close of business Friday in order to be eligible to vote in the Primary on June 22nd or the Early Voting dates beginning June 12th. You can find a voter registration form to print off from Board’s website.

The Buffalo Sabres have returned to practice after a weeklong pause due to concerns over coronavirus. The team was back on the ice at KeyBank Center yesterday even though several players remain on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
Their next contest is expected to be against the New York Islanders Monday.

Batavia Police Issue Annual Report

It was a challenging year for the men and women of the Batavia Police Department. Chief Shawn Heubusch called it a “tumultuous and trying year” keeping the peace, answering calls for service – all within the confines of a global pandemic.

Follow this link to read the entire report HERE

Morning News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced New York’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 4.38 percent, its lowest since December 1. Cuomo said the post-holiday surge reduction is continuing, and that is the direct result of the toughness of New Yorkers who have sacrificed and done what is needed to beat back this invisible enemy. As of today, the number of people in the Finger Lakes region hospitalized with COVID has dropped to 398. Deaths statewide on Tuesday were 138.

Genesee County reports 28 new COVID positive cases. Thirty of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Seventeen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Just three new cases were reported in Orleans County, with three individuals hospitalized. In Wyoming County, two new cases were reported since Monday. One additional death was also reported.

Congressman Tom Reed, State Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt, and other regional lawmakers have joined together to…as they say…highlight their efforts to secure justice for the families of New Yorkers who lost loved ones due to what they call Governor Cuomo’s dangerous mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic in our state’s nursing homes. During the press conference, the group reaffirmed their call for the Biden Administration and Department of Justice to provide the public with answers and accountability through a full, independent, and fair federal investigation. He said they demonstrated, in one clear voice, that there are leaders at the state and federal level who will not relent until they’ve secured justice for the people of New York. They urge the Biden Administration and Department of Justice — do what is right.

The Batavia Police Department has received a number of calls regarding people allegedly fraudulently filing for unemployment benefits. These cases are investigated directly by NYS Department of Labor – Office of Special Investigations and not by local law enforcement. Citizens who are victims of this type are fraud are asked to contact the Department of Labor.

From Genesee County Board of Elections…Any party enrollment change requests must be received at the Board of Elections office by close of business Friday in order to be eligible to vote in the Primary on June 22nd or the Early Voting dates beginning June 12th. You can find a voter registration form to print off from Board’s website.

Downstate Democratic State Assemblyman John McDonald is pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to have a statewide COVID vaccine preregistration system in which people would fill out the questionnaire and turn in all the necessary paperwork just once. People would then wait for a call from the state or county health department when an appointment becomes available. Local Republican Assemblyman Steve Hawley says preregistration would not solve the biggest issue of all: limited supply.

Evening News Brief

As companies making the COVID vaccine increase their production and more companies get approval to distribute their versions the federal government has announced a 5 percent increase in the amount of doses sent to states for the next 3 weeks.  In addition the government will allocate 1 million doses to federally qualified health centers.  To date, New York has administered 2.5 million dosages, with about 10% of New Yorkers receiving their first dose. Ninety-two percent of dosages allocated to the state to date have been used.

A proposal before state lawmakers would give some relief to families with loved ones in nursing home care.  For almost a year family members have not been able to visit their loved ones due to COVID-19 regulations unless they were at the end of their life.  A new proposal would allow at least 2 family members to be designated caregivers for physical and emotional support.  If passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, it would go into effect 45 days after it is signed into law.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 33 new cases since Friday and 57 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 26 new cases and 44 people have recovered.  7 of the new cases are from Villages of Orleans.  The total active cases have dropped below 100 in both counties for the first time in several months.  Genesee county has 91 active cases and Orleans has 83.

Midday News Brief

Two of Upstate New York’s largest supermarket chains have announced plans to merge. Price Chopper and Tops Friendly Markets say their companies will soon be under the same corporate umbrella. The merger is set to be complete later this year, and the new company’s offices will be headquartered in Schenectady. Until the companies combine, they’ll continue operating under their current names. Layoffs are not likely since both chains are currently looking to hire workers. Tops has two locations in Genesee County.

 

Batavia Police say they have received several calls about unknown people fraudulently filing for unemployment benefits in the name of local people.

If you think you have been a victim, do not contact local police, but rather the New York State Dept. of Labor.  Phone: 1-888-598-2077 or online at:

https://www.labor.ny.gov/agencyinfo/uifraud.shtm

 

The search continues for a new, permanent Batavia City Manager…although few specifics have been offered.

Responding to a question from a citizen last councilman John Canale a member of the search committee refused to offer any details on the search and simply replied,  “There will be more to come.”

Starting this weekend, millions of New Yorkers with serious medical issues can start signing up to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. The registration process will begin Sunday with the first shots scheduled to begin Monday. Among those eligible to be vaccinated include people suffering from severe obesity, cancer and pulmonary diseases. In order to get their immunization, a person must prove they have a qualifying condition by providing a doctor’s note or other certification.

The Buffalo Sabres will be staying off the ice for at least the next few days after two more of their games are postponed. Their upcoming contests on Thursday and Saturday have been pushed back due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. At least nine members of the Sabres have been placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol List. Buffalo’s next game is scheduled to be next Monday against the New York Islanders.

Unemployment Fraud Complaints Reported in Batavia

News Release

The Batavia Police Department has received many calls regarding unknown person fraudulently filing for unemployment benefits in the name of citizens. These cases are investigated directly by NYS Department of Labor – Office of Special Investigations and not by local law enforcement. Citizens who are victims of this type are fraud are asked to contact the NYS Department of Labor at (1-888) 598-2077 or online at https://www.labor.ny.gov/agencyinfo/uifraud.shtm

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia City Council will accept public comment on the city’s proposed $16.7 million budget on Feb. 22. At 7 p.m. The spending plan calls for a tax increase of 1.38%. Public hearings to establish new water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees, and to amend the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District Plan also are now scheduled for Feb. 22 at the same time. A public hearing about the Community Development Block Grant took place last night, but no one from the public or Council commented. The city seeks to obtain a Block Grant to fund infrastructure projects.

Batavia Girls Fastpitch Softball says it is overwhelmed with gratitude from the community stepping up with very generous donations to allow for the installation of a brand new electronic scoreboard at Lions Park, the home of the Batavia Stingers.  In particular, the team wants to give a special thank you to the two lead sponsors of the sign, Batavia’s Original Pizzeria and Batavia Restaurant Supply, Inc. The team further wants to give a special thanks to the nearly two dozen sponsors that are permanently listed on a banner below the sign at Lions Park.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been awarded the New York Beef Producers Association 2020 Friend in Government award. Hawley has been supportive of New York agriculture as a lawmaker and as a citizen for decades, as he is a 42-year member of the New York State Farm Bureau, has served as President of the Genesee County Farm Bureau and has been a member of the New York State Assembly Committee on Agriculture for 15 years. The award is given to legislators who have been notably vocal advocates for those in the industry of beef production, and Assemblyman Hawley is one of only two legislators to receive this award this year.

Congressman Chris Jacobs held a virtual press conference with local leaders Monday to address the urgent need for high-speed internet coverage in rural communities. In addition, they discussed the growing divide in digital literacy skills and Orleans County United Way’s current efforts to survey residents. Jacobs said “The rebuilding and future prosperity of our region depend heavily on ensuring Western New Yorkers have access to reliable high-speed internet and the skills to use it. The first step to meeting this goal is ensuring we have accurate data on who still needs coverage, that is why the work the Orleans County United Way is doing is critical.”

Since Friday, 33 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Genesee County. The new infections involve residents from Batavia, Le Roy and 11 other communities. Fifty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Eighteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

The operation of youth sports in the LeRoy community has never been more important than in the past months. Youth softball in LeRoy has been steadfast for decades. Officially incorporating in 2020, it has seen a resurgence with a fresh group of eager volunteers including: sponsors, parents, board members and coaches. Last summer, LeRoy Youth Softball was able to safely conduct several months of skills, drills and inter-squad scrimmaging. This winter. the program has been holding safe indoor clinics for girls. The 2021 season is here with registration open now through Feb. 28th.

New York state elections officials have certified Republican Claudia Tenney’s narrow victory over Rep. Anthony Brindisi…the last U.S. congressional race to be finalized. The certification came after a state judge ruled that Tenney won the race for central New York’s 22nd Congressional District by 109 votes. Brindisi issued a statement to the media congratulating Tenney and offered to make the transition process as smooth as possible.

Price Chopper and Tops Markets have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement that creates a powerful alliance between the two storied independent grocery chains, as it nearly doubles their collective footprint in the Northeast. This transaction unites two iconic New York-based grocery chains with deep ties to their local communities and shared commitments to service, savings, and convenience. The joint venture will collectively employ more than 30,000 teammates. The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Evening News Brief

Tops Market, Batavia

Tops, Market 32 and Price Chopper are merging into one big 300 store family.  A new parent company based in Schenectady will run the operations, which have yet to be named. Scott Grimmett, president and CEO of Price Chopper/Market 32, will be CEO and serve on the board of directors.  Frank Curci, chairman and CEO of Tops Markets says “We look forward to working closely with the Price Chopper/Market 32 team and together becoming an even stronger competitor with more scale, as we continue serving our customers and communities.”  The financial agreements have not been announced.

Gas in Batavia is up 5 cents this week, a big jump as it has been stable for many months.  A year ago the price was 2.44 and it is now 2.47.  Ny state average is up to 2.51 which is 13 cents lower than it was last year.  OPEC has reduced its production of oil and demand is also going higher as vaccines are administered and restrictions are lifted.

Rasmus Dhalin, Dylan Cozens and Curtis Lazar join coach Ralph Krueger on the NHL’s COVID protocol list, spurring the Sabres and the 9 players that are on the list to have to reschedule 12 games.  Now the earliest game will be the 11th with the Sabres taking on the Capitals at the KeyBank Center.

Midday News Brief

The City of Batavia will hold a public hearing tonight at 7 PM at City Hall. Lawmakers will receive comments on the City’s community development needs, and to discuss the possible submission of one or more Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications.
The City is considering submission of grant applications for public infrastructure and housing rehabilitation assistance.
Only $20 million is available statewide for public infrastructure projects.
$10 million is available for economic development projects.

 

Genesee County officials say that the draft of the Sheriff’s Police Reform and Reinvention Report is open for public comments until Monday, February 22. County residents can submit comments on the draft plan via email to the County Manager.
The Report can be accessed at the Genesee County Sheriff Department’s website.

 

Two lucky Batavia men have won 2021 Corvette in this year’s Rotary Club raffle.
Mike Pullinzi (pah-lin-zee) and Mark Schmidt shared the purchase of a 100-dollar ticket and came up the grand prize winner in the annual fundraiser.
They now have the choice of taking the car or the 40-thouand dollar cash prize.
This is Rotary’s largest fundraiser of the year.

A Batavia man faces a felony charge of burglary.
Sheriff’s deputies say they busted 38-year-old Christopher Diers of Ellicott Street for allegedly boosting merchandise from Walmart on Veterans Memorial Drive. He also allegedly ran from store security when he was approached at the exit.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on the U.S. Department of Defense to investigate crashes involving the UH-60 Black Hawk. Two helicopter crashes have occurred recently resulting in the deaths of six members of the National Guard. Locally, a Black Hawk crashed in Mendon in late January killing three men. Gillibrand questions whether these incidents could fit a larger pattern of malfunction. The Senator says the deadly crashes occurred less than two weeks apart.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia City Council tonight will schedule a public hearing on the new budget which contains a tax hike of just shy of 1.4%. The Council is also expected to introduce two new local laws. The first will amend the Municipal Code to establish new water rates, meter fees and a Capital Improvement fee. Local Law #2 of 2021 proposes to amend the Business Improvement Plan District. The budget public hearing is planned for February 22nd. Tonight’s business meeting is set for 7 p.m.

New York on Sunday reported the lowest COVID hospitalizations since Christmas Day. 143 virus-related deaths were confirmed on Saturday. The statewide positivity rate has dropped to 4%, the lowest one-day positivity rate since November 27th. The Finger Lakes region had 428 COVID-related hospitalizations with 397 patients admitted to an ICU.

The City of Batavia will hold a public hearing tonight at 7 PM at City Hall. Lawmakers will receive comments on the City’s community development needs, and to discuss the possible submission of one or more Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications. The City is considering submission of grant applications for public infrastructure and housing rehabilitation assistance. $20 million is available statewide for public infrastructure, public facilities, and community planning. $10 million is available for economic development projects.

Genesee County officials say that the draft of the Police Reform and Reinvention Report is open for public comments until Monday, February 22.  Genesee County residents and other stakeholders can submit comments to the draft plan via email to the County Manager. The Genesee County Police Reform and Reinvention Report can be accessed at the Genesee County Sheriff Department’s website. The 20-person stakeholder committee appointed by the Genesee County Legislature that wrote the draft of the report will consider the comments at its next scheduled meeting on February 22nd.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on the U.S. Department of Defense to investigate crashes involving the UH-60 Black Hawk. Two UH-60 crashes have occurred recently resulting in the deaths of six members of the National Guard. Locally, a Black Hawk crashed in Mendon in late January killing three men. Gillibrand questions whether these incidents could fit a larger pattern of malfunction. The Senator says the deadly crashes occurred less than two weeks apart.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has received the support of the City Democratic Committee for a potential third term in office. Warren won the Democratic committee designation with 62 percent of the vote, despite being indicted by a grand jury in October on charges of mishandling campaign funds.

Weekend News Brief

New York State has released a list of additional people who are eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine starting on February 15th. This group of people with co-morbidities include those with Diabetes type 1 or 2, the severely obese, pregnant mothers, those with intellectual disabilities, heart conditions, cancer, pulmonary disease, liver disease, sickle cell, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, neurological conditions and those who are immunocompromised.  For the complete detailed of everyone who can receive the vaccine follow the link to covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov on wbtai.com.

https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine

The National Football League is making health care workers the stars of Super Bowl 55, inviting 7,500 of them to attend the game for free as a show of gratitude for their hard work during an unbelievably trying year and 4 of them are coming from Buffalo.  2 nurses at ECMC and 2 nurses at Buffalo General hospital were given tickets to the big game by Buffalo Co-Owner Kim Pegula after they were nominated by their coworkers for excellence in caring for those with COVID 19.  Kaitlyn Floyd, a charge nurse at Buffalo General says “I wish every single person could come with us!”

COVID Update from Friday at 4pm: Genesee county has 11 new cases and 30 people have recovered.  There has been another death from COVID-19 in Genesee county bringing the number of dead to 111 in Genesee county and 78 in Orleans Most of those who have passed in both counties were nursing home residents.  Orleans county has 13 new cases and 26 people have recovered.  There are 111 active cases in both counties.

94 different businesses and restaurants in the Buffalo area are now able to stay open till their normal closing time after they filed a lawsuit against the state.  A temporary restraining order was issued after another judge allowed businesses in the orange zone to operate as if they were in the yellow zone.  Following this Cuomo decided to strike all orange and yellow zones in Upstate NY even though the COVID numbers had not fallen below the threshold for lifting those restrictions.  When asked about the 10pm curfew across New York State Governor Cuomo said that he considered lifting it “Maybe if the Bills were in the Super Bowl… just kidding.”

The Office for the aging is warning of a scam targeting seniors in this area.  Scammers are calling claiming to be Medicare workers and asking for your Medicare number while promising free items such as back braces or glucose monitors.  Medicare will never call you and ask for your number.  Remember, if you did not initiate the call, do not give out any information.  Also Customs and Border Protection is warning of another scam where someone calls pretending to be from Border Patrol or Homeland Security and says a box containing drugs or some other illegal item was being shipped to you and for you to press a button to speak with an officer.  Then they will try to get personal information like your bank number from you.  If you receive this call hang up.

Midday News Brief

Erik Fix

Erik Fix will be the new President of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
Fix will succeed Tom Turnbull who is retiring on March 22nd.
Fix has held a variety of jobs in Genesee County. For many years he worked at the YMCA, he was the Regional Executive Director of the United Way and is currently the manager of the M and T Bank branch in Oakfield.
Fix lives in LeRoy.

 

A Lake Effect Snow warning has been issued for Genesee, Wyoming and Erie Counties from 4 this afternoon through 10 tomorrow night.
The National Weather Service says we can expect heavy Lake Effect snow accumulating 9 to 18 inches during the most persistent snow.
Winds up to 40 miles per hour will result in considerable blowing and drifting with near white-out conditions.

Western New York Congressman Chris Jacobs was one of only 11 republican members of the house to support ousting Congresswoman Marjorie Green from her committee assignments.
Jacobs, who represents Genesee County in congress, said he was … quote “very troubled by a number of Green’s statements and assertions.
Green, among other outrageous claims, said the California wild fires were started by a space laser triggered by Israel.

Southern tier Congressman Tom Reed is hinting that he could mount a challenge to Governor Cuomo in 2022.
The 23rd District Republican said the governor’s days are numbered and real leadership would be coming to Albany soon.
A spokesman for the governor responded to Reed’s remarks, claiming he didn’t stand up to the Trump administration.

The head coach of the Buffalo Sabres is the latest member of the NHL community to test positive for coronavirus. The team says Ralph Krueger has contracted the illness while multiple Sabres have also been added to the league’s COVID-19 protocol list. Buffalo’s season is on hold for at least a few more days with their next game set to be against the Washington Capitals.

Morning News Brief

A Lake Effect Snow Warning is in effect from 4 p.m. through late Saturday night. Heavy lake effect snow is expected. Total snow accumulations of 9 to 16 inches in the most persistent lake snows. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph will result in considerable blowing and drifting snow. The Warning includes Genesee, Erie and Wyoming counties. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Orleans County.

A Warsaw couple faces federal drugs crimes. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that 62-year-old Michael Scott Bullers and 54-year-old Pearl Susan Mibbs were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiring and attempting to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. The defendants made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen and are being held pending detention hearings on Monday.

Congressman Chris Jacobs released a statement after voting to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from her committee assignments. He said he was very troubled by a number of Greene’s statements and assertions. Jacobs said he was shocked by the video of Greene harassing a survivor of the Parkland school shooting. He said he believed her actions, whether out of extreme callousness or ignorance, disqualify her from serving on the House committee overseeing education policy.

With another impending winter storm approaching coupled with the snowfall already received Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano and the members of the City of Batavia Fire Department are encouraging residents to “adopt a fire hydrant” near their home or business this winter season. The department is asking residents and business owners for their assistance in keeping fire hydrants clear of snow and debris. Napolitano added “if possible, the ‘adopted’ hydrants should be uncovered of snow after each snowfall and provide a clear path of approximately three feet around the hydrant. This path will allow firefighters to quickly locate the hydrant and obtain a water supply used in firefighting activities.” Officials say that delays in locating and securing a water source can hamper fire suppression activities, raising the risk of injury and furthering property damage.

Genesee County reports 18 new cases of COVID-19. Seventeen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Twenty-three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County reports 33 new positive cases with three people hospitalized. Meanwhile, health officials in Wyoming County are reporting 16 new COVID cases.

State and local law enforcement agencies across New York will be stepping up patrols to crack down on impaired driving during the Super Bowl weekend. The enforcement campaign will run from today through Monday. This safety initiative is designed to reduce alcohol and drug-related traffic crashes. It is sponsored by STOP-DWI with funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

A cohort of lawmakers, social justice and mental health advocates, and relatives of Daniel Prude gathered virtually Thursday morning to propose a new piece of legislation aimed to bring mental health professionals to 911 calls. Daniel’s Law is being put forth in the New York State Legislature by Assemblyman Harry Bronson and State Sen. Samra Brouk. It establishes state and regional councils for mental health responses to crisis situations. Under those councils, mental health professionals would be among the first responders to emergencies involving mental health and substance abuse. The bill is named for Daniel Prude, who died on March 30, 2020 – one week after an encounter with Rochester Police officers during which he was detained, had a spit hood placed over his head and ultimately stopped breathing while being held down.

Evening News Brief

The New York State Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor has ruled that the state department of health has 5 days to release all information about nursing home deaths to the Empire Center which has been suing for the information since August 3rd.  O’Connor also ruled that the health department has to pay for all legal fees and compensate the Empire Center for losses during the time since they first filed suit.  The Department of Health had postponed responding to the Empire Center’s Freedom of Information Law request 3 times.  The state health department has previously stated that the information was lost, or that what was already released was completely accurate, and now the State Attorney General reports that the number of deaths in nursing home was underreported by at least 50 percent.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 20 new cases and 21 people have recovered.  One county resident and 1 Resident of the VA Medical Center have passed away.  Orleans county has 30 new cases and 10 people have recovered.  7 of the new cases are at Orchard Rehab and Nursing and 1 is at The Villages of Orleans.  There are 132 active cases in Genesee county and 119 in Orleans.

Western NY Independent Living is calling on people with disabilities to make their voices heard by participating in the 2021 Virtual Legislative Education Week from February 8th to 12th.  Participants wishing to hear from, and talk to, their representatives can use the Zoom Meeting online platform OR call in to speak with the elected officials participating.  Go to wbtai.com for details on how to register.   Register by Feb. 6 for these virtual meetings by contacting Jillian Moss at (716) 836-0822, ext. 146, or by email at jmoss@wnyil.org.

The city of Batavia Police Reform Committee has released their draft of the plan for how Batavia PD can move ahead in compliance with Governor Cuomo’s mandate.  The whole draft and the feedback form are available online at batavianewyork.com.

Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger has COVID 19.  He announced that he tested positive earlier today and has entered the NHL’s COVID protocol.  A handful of other players across the NHL have also tested positive and are quarantined.  All Sabres games through the 11th are postponed.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County’s Advanced Manufacturing Plant, known as STAMP, has caught the attention of another potential developer.
The Buffalo News has reported an Albany based company, known as Plug Power, wants to build a “green hydrogen” plant in the Town of Alabama.
The company would produce green hydrogen to fuel freight and materials handling equipment.
According to The Buffalo News, Plug Power could begin construction as early as next month and be completed by the end of next year. The paper said the facility would create 62 new, high paying jobs.
The plant would be given a host of state grants and tax incentives from the county’s Economic Development Center.
Just a week ago it was revealed the STAMP site was under consideration for a 17-billion dollar semi-conductor manufacturing facility.

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Genesee and Wyoming Counties.
The Watch is in effect from tomorrow afternoon through late Friday night.
Expect difficult travel conditions due to blowing snow.

 

Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is repeating his demands for legislative hearings into the Cuomo Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes.
A recent report from the State Attorney General revealed the health department was under-counting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.
Hawley is also demanding a termination of the governor’s emergency powers.

 

Following the completion of the draft City of Batavia Police Reform Plan it has been presented to City Council for their input. The report has also been made available to the public for further input.
The City has created a feedback form on the City’s website to receive written comments.

 

Morning News Brief

Last week it was Samsung. Now, it’s Plug Power. According to a story in The Buffalo News, the Albany-based Plug Power has disclosed plans to erect five “green hydrogen” plants in the United States, including a $264 million facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama. The plant, which would produce green hydrogen for freight and materials handling equipment, is expected to be in operation by 2024, according to the published report. Previously, it was reported on The Batavian that Samsung is considering the placement of a $17 billion semiconductor plan at STAMP, a venture of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Congressman Tom Reed, along with every member of New York’s Republican Congressional Delegation, joined together and sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson requesting the Department of Justice immediately issue subpoenas for Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Commissioner of Health, and their staff on all documentation and communications related to their nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group also requested an update on the Civil Rights Division’s inquiry into New York State’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes. In a statement for the press, Reed said “Thousands of New York families who lost a parent or grandparent due to New York’s disastrous nursing home policies deserve nothing less than full transparency and accountability.”

Whether you call it “refunding” or “refinancing,” Genesee County stands to save a pile of money by consolidating a couple loans and reworking the payment plan. Speaking at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, County Treasurer Scott German said the municipality may have the opportunity to save more than $20,000 in interest costs over the next 13 years. He said…“It’s called refunding, but for us, regular folks, it’s refinancing.” The two debts in question, both Public Improvement Serial Bonds, are from 2009 and 2014, totaling $2 million and $4.7 million.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is reiterating his demands for legislative hearings into the Cuomo Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes following a press conference held by legislative colleagues regarding a bombshell report from the Attorney General’s Office. It revealed the department was undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent. Additionally, Hawley is demanding a termination of the governor’s emergency powers, and also requesting that his colleagues in the Majority compel administration officials to attend legislative hearings on the matter by issuing subpoenas against them.

44-year-old Charles J. Rodriguez Sr. of West Main Street in Batavia has been arrested and charged with first-degree arson. His arrest stemmed from an incident Nov. 26 on Osterhout Avenue in the City of Batavia. It is alleged that Rodriguez lit a bottle of flammable liquid and threw it at the front window of a residence on that street, breaking the window. The bottle did not go into the residence but it did cause a fire. An uninvolved person was inside the residence at the time and Rodriguez allegedly knew the person was in there. There was minor damage to the home…no one was injured. He was arraigned virtually in Batavia City Court and is due there on Feb. 25.

Sheriff’s deputies report the arrest of 25-year-old Phllip Mitchell Gambino of School Street in Batavia. He was charged with second-degree menacing. It is alleged he menaced another person with a knife during a verbal altercation outside Walmart. Gambino was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to be in Batavia Town Court on Feb. 11.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo said yesterday that he is putting more power into the hands of local governments.  Now counties are allowed to offer shots to restaurant workers, taxi drivers and to facilities that serve people with developmental disabilities. It was also revealed yesterday the federal government will be increasing its COVID-19 vaccine supply to states. Plans are also in the works to provide vaccines directly to pharmacies.

The day after Valentines day new protections for Surrogates and parents go into effect.  The budget for 2021 included legalizing gestational surrogacy in New York State.  The new protections include life and health insurance paid for by parents and insurance to protect the parents from any losses while going through surrogate birth.

One of the biggest employers in Genesee county, Darien Lake Amusement Park is hiring for the 2021 season.  More than 1000 positions are open for the spring, summer and fall months.  To apply and for more information go to sixflags.com/darienlake

Midday News Brief

Michael Tomaszewski

The case against Batavia Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski has been put off until March.
The 48 year old Tomaszewski is accused of bilking local families out of nearly a half-million dollars.
Authorities say Tomaszewski accepted money for prepayment of funeral services and failed to place that money in trust, as required by law. In other cases he was accused of receiving payment for services that were never performed.
Tomaszewski had been scheduled to appear in County Court yesterday but instead the case was adjourned until next month.
The delay is fueling speculation that a plea deal is in the works.

 

Charles Rodriquez Sr

A Batavia man has been arrested on a charge of 1st Degree Arson.
44 year old Charles Rodriquez was just arrested for causing a fire on Osterhout Avenue last November.
Police say Rodriquez hurled Molotov at the front window on a home causing the window to break and start a fire. No one was injured, although authorities said there was a person inside the home and Rodriquez knew it.
He is being held in county jail without bail.

 

The mother of a nine-year-old girl who was pepper-sprayed by Rochester police officers is planning to file a lawsuit against the city.
Elba Pope says last Friday’s incident in downtown Rochester traumatized her daughter, and that the girl only ran off because she was upset about an argument involving Pope’s ex-boyfriend. The girl was later handcuffed and pepper-sprayed in the back of a police car.
One of the officers involved is suspended while two others have been placed on leave.

 

Governor Cuomo says more New Yorkers have now been made eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Local governments are allowed to offer shots to restaurant workers, taxi drivers and to facilities that serve people with developmental disabilities. It was also revealed yesterday the federal government will be increasing its COVID-19 vaccine supply to states. Plans are also in the works to provide vaccines directly to pharmacies.

 

The New York State Department of Labor has announced that it has identified over 425,000 fraudulent unemployment benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing fraudsters from stealing more than $5.5 billion in benefits. The Department has referred hundreds of thousands of fraud cases to federal prosecutors, and continues to work with law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local level to hold fraudsters accountable.

Morning News Brief

2020 was a slightly less hectic year for the Batavia City Fire Department. According to Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano, the total call volume for the year was down by approximately 5% as a result of the pandemic especially during the first and second quarters of the year. However, at this time, the call volume for the current year is trending higher. The Department last year handled a total of 2,264 calls for service, including 55 fires and more than 1,400 rescue and medical calls. The annual reports showed the busiest month was January and the slowest was April. Response times were under 4 minutes for 53% of the time.

New York’s statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is 5.47% and the 7-day average is 4.95%…it’s the first time since December 6th that the rate has been below 5%. Right now, in the Finger lakes Region, 539 COVID patients are hospitalized and 397 patients are in Intensive Care. 146 deaths statewide were reported.

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Genesee County continues to shrink. On Tuesday, the health department reported just nine new cases. The infections involved residents of Batavia, Le Roy and eight other communities. Twenty-three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Twenty of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County reports 25 new cases with four people hospitalized. Meanwhile, Wyoming County officials reports just nine new cases.

More economic challenges in the Southern Tier…Siemen’s Energy, formerly Dresser-Rand, is expected to shutter its manufacturing operations in Olean next year. Employees were told Tuesday afternoon during a ‘Town hall’ type virtual meeting. One hundred jobs are headed out of town while another 400+ workers will be laid off. Last year, the manufacturing facility in Wellsville was shuttered by Siemen’s with the ‘office’ positions shifted to Olean, which is now in chaos.

The New York State Department of Labor has announced that it has identified over 425,000 fraudulent unemployment benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing fraudsters from stealing more than $5.5 billion in benefits. The Department has referred hundreds of thousands of fraud cases to federal prosecutors, and continues to work with law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local level to hold fraudsters accountable. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Department of Labor has paid over $65 billion to more than 4 million New Yorkers – representing more than 30 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just 11 months.

The New York State Department of Health is investigating the University of Rochester Medical Centers COVID-19 vaccination program. This comes after an internal email indicated people connected to the university, including donors, could be vaccinated ahead of prioritized groups at a special clinic. URMC released a statement Monday that this special clinic did not happen. However, the medical center added that 26 non-employees who received the email did get invited to a clinic meant for employees.

Evening News Brief

New York State is fining the Villages of Orleans 20 thousand dollars and the Federal Government are fining them 66 thousand after an investigation found that nurses and staff were not wearing PPE or properly sanitizing their hands or commonly used utensils and equipment and there was cross contamination between those who had COVID and those who did not.  One nurse said in an interview during the May investigation, “If we have the PPE, then I wear it but most of the time there is no PPE available on the unit.”  Staff also said proper PPE was locked in the director’s office.  The State Attorney General has an ongoing investigation this facility.

Tops friendly markets is receiving 96 percent fewer doses of the coronavirus vaccine than they were in January.  Down to 200 doses a week for the entire chain of 51 supermarket pharmacies from 6000 doses a week.  Kathy Sautter, public and media relations manager for Tops Friendly Markets, says “We’re being told to vaccinate 65 years of age and older which is a very large percent of the population here in New York state. Unfortunately, we don’t have the means to do so. We don’t have the vaccines, we can’t vaccinate. We can’t make appointments for vaccines we don’t have,” She went on to say that in order to make an appointment people must go onto the Tops website and be prepared to refresh the page many times to see if an appointment becomes available.

Although Governor Cuomo said that getting high speed internet for cheap to all New Yorkers is a big desire of his during the state of the union week long address he has pocket vetoed a study to see who in NY doesn’t have reliable high speed internet.  The study was nearly unanimously approved by the state senate and assembly.  The governors office said that at 3 million dollars the study was too expensive.

COVID Update: Since Friday at 4pm  Genesee county has 46 new case and 50 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 36 new cases and 56 people have recovered.  5 of the new cases are at Orchard Rehab and Nursing.  There have been 4 deaths from covid in Orleans county, 3 of those who have passes are community members and one was a resident at Orchard Rehab and Nursing.  There are 151 active cases in Genesee county and 98 in Orleans.

The Sabres game against the Islanders at 6 tonight has been rescheduled.  The NHL says that the weather and the Sabre’s decision to fly has made contact tracing and precautions impossible so the game is cancelled and will be rescheduled to a later date.

Midday News Brief

The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Genesee County is trending down.
The county’s positivity rate yesterday was 3.5-percent…about equal to the rate for the entire Finger Lakes Region.
The statewide average for yesterday was 4.4-percent.
All percentages have been trending downward over the past three weeks.

One Rochester police officer is suspended and two others are placed on leave following an incident where a nine-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed. Police were called to Avenue B on Friday after receiving a report about a disturbance involving the child and her custodial parent. Things escalated and the girl was pepper-sprayed while handcuffed in the back of a police car. State Attorney General Letitia James says her office is looking into the incident that she’s calling disturbing and unacceptable.

Children who live in the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District and who will be 4 years old by Dec. 1 are eligible to be registered for a Universal prekindergarten (UPK) program for the 2021-2022 school year.
The children attend five days per week, each day, for 180 days, and there is no direct out-of-pocket cost. Transportation is provided for students who are 4 years old. Registration paperwork needs to be returned by mail or in person to the Oakfield elementary school office by March 5.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claims an aggressive new stimulus package is urgently needed to lift the U.S. out of the depths of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The New York Democrat said it must be sweeping and bold. He argued Congress cannot “dither and delay.” Schumer noted Democrats in the Senate and House are ready to make procedural moves to pass a nearly two-trillion-dollar stimulus package without Republican help. Republicans have balked at the steep price tag. A group of ten Senate Republicans is proposing a much smaller stimulus package.

After a couple of games at home, the Buffalo Sabres will be back on the road tonight on Long Island. Buffalo is coming off of a five-to-three loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. Face-off for this evening’s contest is set for six p-m.

Morning News Brief

Genesee County reports 46 new COVID cases since Friday. Twenty people are hospitalized but officials say 50 others have recovered. The latest infections involve residents more 13 communities. Meanwhile, health officials in Orleans County report 36 new positive cases and three more deaths involving community residents. Two of the individuals were under the age of 65 and one of the individuals was over the age of 65. In addition, officials report the COVID-related death of a resident of Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. The resident was under age 65. Twenty-five new cases have been confirmed since Friday in Wyoming County. Ninety-two remain in isolation.

When you stop at a gas station, you’ll likely realize prices are up. The New York State average is $2.51 – up 2 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.66. Batavia pump prices are up a penny. Pump prices are increasing while gas demand is dropping, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Although gas demand dropped, and total refinery utilization decreased, pump prices have increased moderately, signaling that expensive crude oil prices are driving the price.

In an effort to compel an independent investigation into reported bombshell allegations unveiled by the Attorney General’s nursing home report last week, NY Finger lakes Senator Tom O’Mara, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, has advanced a motion calling on the Committee to issue a subpoena to the New York State Department of Health for the nursing home data and related communications. Instead of considering the motion before the committee, Senator James Skoufis, Chair of the Committee on Investigations, dismissed it on a questionable procedural argument, even going as far to mute Senator O’Mara’s microphone during the meeting.

Children who reside in the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District and who will be 4 years old by Dec. 1 are eligible to be registered for a Universal prekindergarten (UPK) program for the 2021-2012 school year. The children attend five days per week, each day, for 180 days, and there is no direct out-of-pocket cost. Transportation is provided for students who are 4 years old. Students that start the program at 3 years old must be transported by the family until they turn 4. Registration paperwork needs to be returned by mail or in person to the elementary school office by March 5. Space is limited so please return the paperwork as soon as possible in order to avoid being placed on a wait list.

The distribution of free food for local residents may not be grabbing the headlines the way it did at the start of the pandemic but the programs haven’t stopped and the need has not subsided. Ryan Macdonald is pastor at City Church, which conducts free food distributions on Wednesday mornings at St. Anthony’s on Liberty Street. They’re currently feeding 500 families a week. While the Salvation Army is not distributing as much food as it did when the pandemic first started, its three-day-week distribution on East Main Street is still exceeding the pre-pandemic demand for food.

NY State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte on Monday decided to delay the results of the 22nd Congressional District race for about another week. Syracuse.com reported DelConte, overseeing the last undecided Congressional race in the country, made the decision to prolong the race even more after a last-minute challenge from Democract Anthony Brindisi, who is fighting to keep the House seat from Republican Claudia Tenney. At last count, Tenney led Brindisi by 122 votes of more than 316,000 cast for the two candidates. She appeared to pick up a handful more Monday morning during a court-ordered examination of several ballots that hadn’t yet been reviewed.

Evening News Brief

Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Senator Chuck Schumer announced today that he is including legislation that will help NY brewers, vintners, cider makers and distillers by reducing excise taxes for the industry.  Beer gets a reduction on taxes per barrel below 60 thousand barrels.  Wine and hard cider gets a new tiered tax credit system and Spirits get a reduced rate for the first 100 thousand proof gallons produced or imported.  Schumer says that it will benefit craft beverage alcohol producers, wineries and spirits producers across the state which provide over 200 thousand jobs to New Yorkers and 20 billion dollars to the state GDP.

Senator Chris Jacobs has recognized Margaret Peri of Batavia as the New York 27th Congressional District Veteran of the Month for January of 2021.  “Her selfless and dedicated service exemplifies what it truly means to be an American, and I am honored to designate her NY-27’s Veteran of the Month.” Says Jacobs.  Peri served in the Army from 1975 through 1978. Throughout her military service, she was a Chapel Activities Specialist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and earned the Army Commendation Medal.  After being honorably discharged she served the people of Genesee County for more than 38 years in the Department of Social Services.

Starting February 12th Darien Lake Amusement Park is going to be offering a drive in laser lightshow.  The Drive In half hour Rockin’ Laser Light spectacular will be held in the parking lot and is free for current members and season pass holders but reservations are required.  Tickets are being sold on the park website for 14.99.  The shows go from the 12th to the 21st, and then the 26 through the 28th and March 5 through 7th.   There will be three viewings per night.

Seneca Park Zoo will allow kids to come see the animals for free during the month of February.  Every Adult who buys a ticket can bring up to 5 kids under12 for no charge.  Tickets for adults are 10 dollars.  The polar bear, red pandas, and snow leopards are out more frequently in the winter months in Rochester and the Hours at the zoo are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the New Jersey Devils Sunday afternoon 5 to 3. Curtis Lazar, Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Ristolainen scored goals in the second and third periods.  The Sabres will be at the New York Islanders home ice on Tuesday at 6pm.

Midday News Brief

Nasty winter weather is all around us, but for now at least, Genesee County is doing OK.
We are one of the few counties in New York State without an active weather alert.
Monroe and Livingston Counties have winter weather advisories until tomorrow morning.
The farther east you travel, look out.
Governor Cuomo today declared a state of emergency in New York City and 9 other counties throughout the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Western New York drivers are still seeing an increase in prices at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular in Batavia is $2.39 – up two cents from last week.
That price is still nearly 25-cents a gallon less than a year ago.

The Batavia City Council begins its Budget Review tonight.
Council meets at 6 tonight – open to the public – and will go over budgets for General Administrative Services and the Police Department.
On Wednesday night, council will review the DPW and Fire Department budgets.
Adoption of the final budget is set for March 8th.
In its present form, the city budget would result in a tax increase of 1.4-percent, a substantial increase in water rates.
The budget calls for layoff of a DPW ordinance enforcement officer, and leaves vacant two police officer positions and three firefighter positions.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer isn’t a fan of what he’s seeing lately on Wall Street. With retail investors on Reddit driving up the stock price of GameStop, Schumer described recent market action as “really messed up.” He said many questions must be addressed right away. The New York Democrat added he wants Senate committees to look at the issue as well. Schumer insisted players in the stock market can’t referee as well.

Morning News Brief

New York’s State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has declined for 23 straight days.Gov. Cuomo calls it a “significant trend.” In the Finger Lakes Region, there were 542 patients hospitalized with COVID. There were also 397 ICU beds occupied with virus-related complications. The positive rate in the region has dropped from 4.27% to 3.92%.

Despite the devastating toll of COVID-19, heart disease remains the #1 cause of death in the U.S and worldwide, and the leading cause of death among women. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease. One is too many. National Wear Red Day is this Friday and the American Heart Association is urging everyone to wear red to raise awareness about the devastating effects of heart disease in women. Heart disease and stroke can affect a woman at any age. In fact, nearly 45% of women age 20 and older are living with some form of heart disease, however, new data suggests Gen Z and Millennial women are less likely to be aware that heart disease is their greatest health threat. Wear Red Day takes place during American Heart Month, which is all of February.

The country’s last undecided congressional could be concluded today. New York Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte could issue a ruling on the winner later today. Republican challenger Claudia Tenney has had a narrow lead over Democratic incumber Anthony Brindisi. The district runs from Binghamton to north of Utica.

Multiple corporate donors to Rep. Chris Jacobs have suspended contributions to the Western New York congressman following his objection to the 2020 Electoral College results. Jacobs received a total of $63,800 in donations from nine corporate PACs in the 2020 campaign cycle, campaign finance documents show.  Jacobs was one of 147 Republican lawmakers who raised objections to the certification of electoral votes; he was one of four lawmakers from New York to do so.

Weekend News Brief

 

Governor Cuomo has responded to the allegations against him and State Health department Director Howard Zucker that they deliberately underreported the deaths of people in nursing homes after the controversial March 25th order for nursing homes to take COVID positive patients in from hospitals to avoid hospitals getting overwhelmed.  Zucker said that the reason the death counts were lower than the actual number is that they were being cautious in order not to put out inaccurate information.  Cuomo said that he understands peoples pain but it didn’t matter where people died or why.

The Robert Morris School building may have kids in the halls once again is a proposal by Superintendent Anibal Solare gets picked up by the board.  Solare pointed out that the district is losing money and value by having the school sit unused except for a few programs because without students the state would not fund any repairs or maintenance or upgrades to the building.  A report from SEI Design Group found several areas that need to be addressed in the building and across the district to the tune of roughly 40 million dollars though they stressed that Batavia had been doing a very good job maintaining the schools compared to other districts.  Solare said that the reopening of Morris would take longer than just a few months and that more community input is needed.

High School seniors who are graduating can apply for the New York Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Youth Scholarship for up to 1500 toward furthering their education.  Applicants must live or work on a farm, they or their family must be members of the farm bureau, and they must live in New York state.  For more info and to apply, go to the NY Farm Bureau’s Website.  Applications are due by March 1st.

The Holland Land Office Museum will be returning to normal operating hours on Tuesday February 2nd.  The hours will once again be 10 to 4 Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Evening News Brief

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is demanding that the legislature holds a hearing on the information brought forward by the state AG Letitia James about Coronavirus deaths in nursing homes being underreported by roughly 50 percent.  He is also calling on the governor to have his emergency powers revoked.  Hawley said in a press release “What was revealed in today’s report from the Attorney General is nothing short of tragic, and, at this point, I consider it a moral obligation to hold hearings into this matter so we can get to the bottom of what caused this unfathomable tragedy.”

Friday afternoon Covid Update: Genesee county has 46 new cases and 39 people have recovered.  1 of the new cases is at the VA medical center and 1 is at premiere Genesee.  We are saddened to report the deaths of 2 people at Leroy Village Green and 1 person in Orleans county.  Orleans county has 8 new cases and 20 people have recovered.  1 of the new cases is at Orchard Rehab and Nursing.  There are 165 active cases in Genesee county and 127 in Orleans.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced updated guidance for wedding receptions in the state.  The governor called the updated guidance “Safe Marriage Receptions,” and said it follows the success of the program that allowed fans to return to the stadium for Buffalo Bills games. Fans were required to receive a negative COVID-19 test to be allowed to attend.  The updated guidance for wedding receptions will go into place March 15 and will require the following: Testing for all that attend the event, 50% capacity – up to 150 attendees, Must be approved by local health department.

Midday News Brief

A Genesee County jail inmate hanged himself in his cell earlier this month.
The death of inmate Kyle Adam Scheuerlein was just announced by the Sheriff’s Office last night.
Back on January 4th, a guard found Scheuerlein hanging from a shower curtain rod at 12:30 in the afternoon. CPR was performed and the inmate was taken to ECMC in Buffalo where he died ten days later.
There was no explanation given for the delay in announcing the inmate’s death.
Scheuerlein was arrested by Batavia Police and jailed New Year’s Day on charges of burglary and criminal contempt.
As investigation is being conducted by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and the state Commission of Corrections.

The state Attorney General’s office claims the number of nursing home residents who died due to COVID-19 has been underreported by health officials. Investigators spent months looking into how long-term care facilities treated patients as the number of coronavirus infections grew. Attorney General Letitia James says it’s important to know why these people suffered and to make sure nothing like this happens again. State Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker criticized the AG’s report, saying the implication deaths were undercounted is wrong.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is urging one of the biggest companies in the world to set up shop in Western New York. Senator Schumer says he has talked with Samsung about building a new 17 billion dollar semiconductor facility in Genesee County. It would be located in the Town of Alabama and could create roughly 19-hundred new jobs. The Wall Street Journal reports Samsung is considering several sites for the facility but hasn’t made a final decision.

The two-game winning streak of the Buffalo Sabres has come to an end following an overtime loss. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart each scored for Buffalo, but it wasn’t enough as they fell three-to-two to the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center last night

Morning News Brief

The death of a Genesee County jail inmate is ongoing. Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron, Jr. reports that an inmate died after attempting suicide at the Genesee County Jail on January 4. A Correction Officer found the 28-year-old inmate hanging from a shower curtain rod while making routine rounds.  The Correction Officer immediately summoned assistance and began performing life-saving measures.  The inmate was transported by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo where he died on Thursday, January 14. The inmate is identified as Kyle Adam Scheuerlein of Batavia.   He had been incarcerated on bail in the Genesee County Jail since January 1, following his arrest by the City of Batavia Police Department on the charges of felony burglary and Criminal Contempt. An investigation into this incident is being conducted by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the NYS Commission of Corrections.

An arrest has been made stemming from a sex crime in the Village of Medina nearly four years ago. State Police say they took 67-year-old Edward S. Robison of Medina into custody. He was charged with three felony counts of possession of a sexual performance by a child, class E felonies. The alleged crimes were first reported March 8, 2017. Under bail reform, the charges weren’t eligible for arraignment or detention. Robison was processed and released on appearance tickets for court.

The Genesee County airport has been awarded $13,000 as part of supplemental funding from the December COVID relief package passed by Congress. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said that as the COVID crisis is extending beyond its estimated timeline, the air travel industry is being impacted “for months on end.” Overall, 53 New York Airports received funding.

Three dozen new COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. The infections involved 13 communities, including Batavia and Le Roy. Twenty of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Officials have also confirmed the death of a resident at the Leroy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. 33 new cases were reported in Orleans County. Eleven of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Twelve of the new positive individuals are residents at the Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. Twenty-nine new cases were reported in Wyoming County.

After working last year to secure a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to boost American-based semiconductor manufacturing, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this week followed up on his efforts and reached directly out to Samsung Senior Vice President of Samsung Device Solutions, Joe Herr, and other top brass about Samsung’s interest in locating their new plant on the Genesee STAMP campus and expressed his strong support for the project coming to Western New York.  Samsung is currently considering the Genesee County campus, as well as several other locations in other states, for its semiconductor fabrication (“fab”) plant – with 1900 jobs – that the company plans to open late next year. Schumer said “This Samsung project is an exciting and a potential game changer for the region. He said he made it clear to Samsung that he strongly supports locating their planned 1900 worker state-of-the-art semiconductor chip fab at the shovel-ready STAMP site in Genesee County.

NY Attorney General Letitia James has released a report on her office’s ongoing investigations into nursing homes’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those findings were that a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much as 50 percent. Based on these findings and subsequent investigation, Attorney General James is conducting ongoing investigations into more than 20 nursing homes whose reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern. Local lawmakers, who previously scorned James…now support her bash on Cuomo.

Chris Collins, the former Congressman for Genesee County who admitted in Federal Court to illegal insider stock trading and lying to the FBI, has re-emerged publicly after being pardoned last month by former President Donald Trump. Collins has started a new Twitter account…you can find it on your own. In his first tweet Collins posted a video explaining that as a businessman, politician, and former convict, he is ready to share what he’s learned with the social media world. Collins represented Genesee County in Congress from 2013 to 2019. He was the first member of Congress in 2015 to endorse Trump for president.

Midday News Brief

BCSD Superintendent Anibal Soler

Batavia City Schools reporting improved graduation rates.
The rate of students who graduated in four years from 2011 to 215 was 85 percent.
In the latest period measured, the class of graduates who attended BHS from 2016 to 2020 was 93 percent. School Superintendent Anibal Soler credits students and staff:

Soler congratulated the staff for their role in the student’s success.

 

Twenty-eight new positive COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. The new infections impact a dozen communities. Twenty-three of the positive individuals are hospitalized. The Health Department also confirms a community member over the age of 65 has died from virus-related complications. Orleans County also reports 28 new cases while 13 additional cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

Batavia Police have added a new officer to their ranks.
K-9 Batu (bah-too) has completed his training in Monroe County and is ready to take a. ..”bite outta crime.”
K-9 Batu and handler, Officer Stephen Quider are trained in tracking, narcotics detection and general patrol operations.
Batu and his training were paid for by private donations and funds from the Department of Homeland Security.

PHOTO: BPD Officer Stephen Quider and Batu

A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for Orleans County.
The National Weather Service warns of Lake Effect and Blowing snow accumulated 3 to 5 inches.
The advisory for Orleans County goes into effect at 6 tonight until 7 tomorrow morning.

The Buffalo Sabres will be back on home ice tonight as they look to win their third game in a row. They’re hosting the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. When these same teams played on Tuesday night, Buffalo was able to earn a three-to-two victory, thanks in part to Jack Eichel’s first goal of the season. Face-off for tonight’s contest is scheduled for seven p-m.

Evening News Brief

Orleans county is under a winter weather advisory for Lake effect snow from tonight at 6 through Friday at 7am.  Snow Accumulations of up to 5 inches are expected and winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour may cover roads with drifts and reduce visibility.   Snow is expected to fall in bands so be ready for rapidly changing road conditions.

The federal government has responded to NY’s calls for more doses of the vaccine by sending money.  The government is sending almost 467 million dollars to New York state to aid in vaccine distribution and administration announced Senators Schumer and Gillibrand yesterday.  This allocation comes from FEMA and will be used for the storing, handling, distributing, transporting and administering of COVID 19 vaccines in the Empire State.  Lt Governor Kathy Hochul has stated that the number of weekly doses allocated to NY State has gone down from 300 thousand to 250 thousand.

After months of requests, several lawsuits, a claim that the information had been lost and a stalled investigation by the Trump administration New York has finally released the numbers of nursing home deaths due to covid and it was found that nursing homes and the state had underreported death counts by at least 50 percent.  Republicans across the state are calling for the resignation of Governor Cuomo and State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.  Representative Elise Stefanik says “Governor Cuomo’s only response has been to ruthlessly attack anyone who questioned the state’s disastrous policies, including those from his party, deny any wrongdoing, and hide nursing home fatalities data that would implicate his administration.”  Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt sent out a statement “By underreporting COVID deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent, the Department of Health has betrayed the public trust.”

Senator Ed Rath is asking hunters to take a survey about some legislative changes that effect hunters.  The poll focuses on two long-debated proposals that will affect hunters in New York State.  These proposals were recommended by the Department of Environmental Conservation and included in the Governor’s budget.  Find a link to the survey at wbtai.com.

https://www.nysenate.gov/questionnaires/edward-rath-iii/senator-raths-2021-hunting-poll

The Buffalo Sabres will be back on home ice tonight as they look to win their third game in a row. They’re hosting the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. When these same teams played on Tuesday night, Buffalo was able to earn a three-to-two victory, thanks in part to Jack Eichel’s first goal of the season. Face-off for tonight’s contest is scheduled for seven p-m.

Batavia High’s Graduation Rate Continues to Grow

Batavia High School’s graduation rate, for students who graduate within four years, increased from 85% in the 2011-2015 cohort to 93% (for June graduates) and 94% (for those who graduated by August of their senior year) in the 2016-2020 cohort. The number is even higher – 97% for the 2016-2020 cohort – when only those students who attend school in BHS are counted (as opposed to those who, for various reasons, had been completing their studies at alternate locations.)

 

In other words, 85% of all freshmen entering BHS in the fall of 2011 (as the Class of 2015) earned their diploma by June of 2015. The graduation rate continued to improve over the course of the next several graduating classes, with the last group for which we have data being the Class of 2020. For that graduating class, 93% of all freshmen entering BHS in the fall of 2016 (as the Class of 2020) earned their diploma by June 2020 and 94% completed the graduation requirements by August 2020. Again, that number was higher (97%) for students who attend school at BHS.

 

Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Soler, in presenting the data to the school district’s Board of Education, congratulated the staff on their role in student success. He also noted that BHS principal, Mr. Kesler, and his staff will continue to work on raising the overall graduation rate and will dig deeper into the subgroups of the student population to look for patterns and to identify better ways to serve the full student population.

Morning News Brief

The Genesee County Legislature has approved some upcoming bridge work. A construction contract with Union Concrete and Construction Corp in West Seneca was given the green light in the amount of $1.7 million. The work involved the replacement of bridges on Meadville Road over Canal Feeder in the Town of Alabama, Sharrick Road over Murder Creek in the Town of Darien and Tower Hill Road over Spring Creek in the Town of Byron. Ninety-five percent of the capital project will be paid by federal aid, with a 5 percent local match taken from the 1 percent sales tax fund. The Legislature also approved a consultant agreement with C&S Companies of Rochester, for an amount not to exceed $109,000 in connection with the replacement of the Upton Road over Bowen Creek bridge in the Town of Batavia. Work, which will be covered by federal aid at the 95 percent level, is expected to start immediately.

Twenty-eight new positive COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. The new infections impact a dozen communities. Twenty-three of the positive individuals are hospitalized. The Health Department also confirms a community member over the age of 65 has died from virus-related complications. Orleans County also reports 28 new cases while 13 additional cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

It’s not a surprise but the unemployment rate ticked up across the region. According to the state Labor Department, there were 1,500 fewer workers in Genesee County last month when compared to December 2019. Year-over-year, the unemployment rate jumped 1%, landing at 5.4% last month. Orleans County had very similar results. The figures, from the state Labor Department, were released this week.

All Orange and Yellow zone COVID restrictions in upstate New York have been lifted. Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during his briefing on Wednesday, citing the drops in COVID positivity rates across Upstate New York. State officials stressed certain statewide restrictions, such as a 10 p.m. curfew for on-site service at bars and restaurants, continue.

The Genesee County Legislature will begin a phased-in process of resuming in-person meetings beginning Monday. Legislators and administration will meet in-person with all others participating via Zoom videoconference. Starting March 1st, department heads and persons scheduled to present to a standing committee or the full legislature will meet in-person along with legislators and administration. In April, the public may be added to in-person meetings which will be held in the third floor Legislative Chambers at the Old Courthouse in Batavia. A face mask covering the nose and mouth is required and everyone entering the building will sign in and out. Legislature Chairperson Rochelle Stein said the County Legislature is taking steps forward in a cautious and calculated manner while closely monitoring every health metric.

After extended internal consultation and discussion among Finger Lakes and Western Region County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed in Genesee and Orleans counties in accordance with New York State guidelines…that in a press release Wednesday from Paul Pettit, director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. Per current State guidance, indoor facilities must limit their capacity to no more than 50 percent occupancy and a maximum of two spectators per player. In addition, protocols to ensure social distancing, use of face coverings, and enhanced disinfection protocols must be implemented.

NY State Senator Tom O’Mara who is the newly appointed Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee, this week highlighted the need for a stronger state commitment to local roads and bridges throughout Upstate New York. Over the next several weeks, the Legislature’s fiscal committees will hold 13 virtual hearings examining Gov. Cuomo’s proposals in key issue areas. O’Mara has been a leader in the Local Roads Matter campaign.

Evening News Brief

The yellow and orange zones in upstate New York are now canceled according to Governor Cuomo in a press release today.  That means that restrictions that were specific to the zones are now lifted.  Cuomo cites a decrease in covid transmission as the reason for the lift.  New York only has 4 yellow zones now, all of them downstate with Long Island having the highest positivity rate.

The Genesee Orleans Counties Health department has announced that high and moderate risk sports may proceed in Genesee county and Orleans county.  This allows non-professional and non-collegiate sports, such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, and volleyball, to proceed with individual and group training, competitions, and tournaments, effective February 1.  There are restrictions, go to the NY Forward site to read all the details.

The USDA has suspended all past due debt collections and foreclosures for borrowers under the farm storage facility loan and direct farm loan programs.  The Farm Service Agency asks farmers who have these loans out to contact them for more information about the temporary suspension.

Rochester Regional health has put out a statement that it is vaccinating as many people as possible against COVID 19.  So far RGH has vaccinated over 15000 staff and 3500 community members.

Nationwide Insurance is teaming up with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, KC Supply and others to award emergency first responders with grain rescue tubes and hands-on rescue training to help save lives.  Grain bins can be very dangerous for farmers as grain tends to suck a person who falls into it down and trap them.  Special equipment and training is required for the rural firefighters who are often the only help the farmers have.  Fire Departments can enter a contest to get a free grain rescue tube and training.  To see how to enter check out our news partner the Batavian.

Till close today Applebees is helping St Paul’s Lutheran School with a carryout for a Cause fundraiser.  Use code “doingood” all one word when you order online till 10pm tonight and the school will get 10 percent of your total bill as a donation.

County Health Department Approves Moderate and Higher Risk Sports

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are providing the following information for schools, businesses, coaching staff, athletes, parents of student-athletes, and youth and adult amateur sports leagues in both counties.  “After extended internal consultation and discussion among Finger Lakes and Western Region County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed in Genesee and Orleans Counties in accordance with New York State guidelines,” stated Paul Pettit, Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

New York State Interim Guidelines for Sports and Recreation were announced by Governor Cuomo late Friday, January 22.  These revisions allow local health departments to authorize non-professional and non-collegiate sports, such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, and volleyball, to proceed with individual and group training, competitions, and tournaments, effective February 1.  Updates were also made to low- and moderate-risk sports and recreation activities.

All responsible parties (schools, businesses, leagues, organizations) must follow the New York State Department of Health’s INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR SPORTS AND RECREATION DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY and applicable Executive Orders for the conduct of their sports and recreation activities.  Per current State guidance, indoor facilities must limit their capacity to no more than 50 percent occupancy and a maximum of two spectators per player.  In addition, protocols to ensure social distancing, use of face coverings, and enhanced disinfection protocols must be implemented.  For moderate and higher risk sports, if an athlete, coach or referee receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, all in-person team or group activities for that sport (e.g. practices, scrimmages, games, meetings) may result in a 10 day suspension to lessen the spread of infection and allow for

the case investigation and contact tracing to occur.  Situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Participating in higher-risk sports presents significant risks.  The level of risk presented by a return to sports is driven by the sport and setting, local disease activity, and individual circumstances including underlying health conditions that may place the athlete or household contacts at increased risk of severe disease should they contract COVID-19.  Individual schools and businesses, student and adult athletes, and parents/guardians must carefully consider a variety of factors before making an individual decision to participate.

To allow continuation of higher risk sport and recreational activities, local health authorities will continue to consider many factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Whether there is a more transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area
  • Local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and
  • Local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

Contact sports bring people close together and increase the risk of transmission.  If persons choose to return to high-risk sports, they must follow guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Athletes should be mindful of their activity outside of sports to minimize risk and reduce community spread.  We must work together during these stressful times to ensure that our youth and adults have the opportunity to participate in athletics safely.

The New York State summary guidelines are posted on the NYForward website.  All responsible parties (schools, businesses, leagues, organizations) must read and affirm the State’s detailed guidelines and develop a safety plan.

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationMasterGuidance.pdf

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationSummaryGuidance.pdf

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYS_BusinessReopeningSafetyPlanTemplate.pdf

Stop the spread of COVID-19:  Wear a mask; maintain a social distance of 6 feet; wash your hands often.

Corrections Officers Graduate

Photo from left to right: Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur; Correction Officers Tyler J. Stewart, Marissa R. Jacques (Class President), Trevor J. Sherwood; Jail Superintendent William A. Zipfel

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. announces the graduation of Correction Officers Tyler J. Stewart, Trevor J. Sherwood, and Marissa R. Jacques
(Class President).

These Correction Officers recently graduated in a class of 12 from the Niagara County Basic Corrections Academy. 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.

“Congratulations to Correction Officers Stewart, Sherwood, and Jacques. We look forward to your future in Corrections at the Genesee County Jail,” stated Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr.

Midday News Brief

Section Five athletics, the governing body of high school sports, says basketball, Hockey and wrestling can begin on Monday.
Their season must end by March 6th.
As for football, an actual start date has yet to be announced.
All of this is subject approval of the Genesee County Health Department.
The complete statement issued by Section Five late last night is can be seen HERE.

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Genesee County. Both were over age 65. The health department says one person resided at Genesee Senior Living and one the other resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center. In Orleans County, 23 new cases have been confirmed. Ten of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Officials in Wyoming County report a slight spike, with 41 news cases confirmed.

Batavia Assemblyman Steve Hawley and his colleagues in the Assembly Minority have written a letter to Gov. Cuomo demanding they do not use the budget process to legalize marijuana.
Hawley believes substantial matters of public policy such as the legalization of marijuana should not be advanced through the budgetary process, and should instead be debated and discussed as any other legislation would be.

 

The State Gaming Commission has approved a new app that’ll make it easier for people to play some of their favorite lottery games. A company named “Jackpocket” developed a program allowing folks to buy scratch-off tickets and have them delivered right to their homes. Once the scratch-off version of the app goes live, players can buy bundles of tickets at a time. Money for those purchases will come from a deposit system set up by the company.

The Buffalo Sabres have won their second game in a row, thanks to a big contribution from their captain. Jack Eichel scored his first goal of the season as the Sabres beat the New York Rangers three-to-two at KeyBank Center last night. The Sabres will be back in action tomorrow night when they once again host the Rangers.

Section 5 Athletic Council Sets Dates and Tournament Structures

News Release

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 4:00pm members of the Athletic Council, the governing body of Section V Athletics, voted on many items related to the authorization of high-risk sports to begin on February 1, 2021 pending approval from local departments of health.  Any section of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has the authority to determine a later start date than what is provided by NYSPHSAA.

 All high-risk sports will need approval from their local departments of health before they can proceed.  Section V Athletics reaches twelve different local departments of health and the request for approval has been made to each of them as of Monday, January 25, 2021.

Winter high-risk sports are Basketball, Ice Hockey, and Wrestling.  The Winter high-risk sports season will begin on Monday, February 1, 2021 pending department of health approval.  Regular season must end by Saturday, March 6, 2021 and sectionals will conclude by Sunday, March 14, 2021.  Our leagues are now responsible to determine the regular season schedule within the dates mentioned above.

For the Winter High-Risk sports season, the sectional tournaments will be a closed sectional format to be determined and all events will be hosted at the higher seed.  The Fall II sports are Competitive Cheerleading, Football, and Volleyball.  We will finalize start and end dates for the Fall II sports season in coming weeks.

Spring sports are Baseball, Boys Golf, Boys Tennis, Lacrosse, Softball, and Track & Field.  The NYSPHSAA Spring sports season start date is Monday, April 19, 2021.  We will continue to be sensitive to Spring sports that have already missed a complete season and sectional/state championship last year due to the pandemic.

 At this time, only two spectators per athlete are permitted according to the New York State Department of Health, but local departments of health can be more restrictive.  Section V will make every attempt to livestream events as they were in the previous seasons.

Morning News Brief

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and his colleagues in the Assembly Minority have written a letter to Gov. Cuomo and other top state leaders demanding they do not use the budget process to legalize marijuana. Hawley believes substantial matters of public policy such as the legalization of marijuana should not be advanced through the budgetary process, and should instead be debated and discussed as any other legislation would be. In a press statement, Hawley said the matter is deserving of meaningful scrutiny and debate, something, he claims, we haven’t seen much of since the Governor was granted his prolonged and egregious executive powers.

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Genesee County. Both were over age 65. The health department says one person resided at Genesee Senior Living and one the other resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center. Additionally, on Tuesday twenty-six new cases were confirmed. The latest infections involved residents from 13 communities, to include Batavia and Le Roy. In Orleans County, 23 new cases have been confirmed. Ten of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Officials in Wyoming County report a slight spike, with 41 new cases confirmed. There are 110 residents in mandatory isolation.

Thirty-one school districts statewide were designated in fiscal stress under New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System for the school year ending on June 30, 2020. Western New York was the only region that had no school districts in fiscal stress for the 2019-20 school year. Locally, Pavilion and Medina Central were described to be susceptible to fiscal stress.

Officials have updated New Yorkers on the state’s vaccination program. As of midday Tuesday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,3 million first doses and already administered 74 percent of first and second doses. Now for the Finger Lakes, the region has received 52,300 first and second doses and have administered 78% of both doses.

There have been plenty of reports about streetlights within the City of Batavia that are not operating properly. Officials say…if you see a light that is out or appears to not be operating correctly, please send as much information to the city as you can…information such as street, pole number, and nearest house address. The city will then determine if it is a city-owned light and make repair. If it is a National Grid light, then they will be notified. You can send your report via email to bdavis@batavianewyork.com.

Congressman Chris Jacobs is returning to the House Committee on Agriculture for the 117th Congress. He says area farms, processing facilities, and agribusinesses provide thousands of good-paying jobs and present major opportunities to set the region up for future prosperity. As of 2017, Western New York had more than 4,400 farms producing over $1.1 billion in products, representing 22 percent of all NYS agriculture sales.

New York’s State parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails welcomed a record-setting 78 million visits in 2020. The milestone marks nine years of steady visitor growth and represents an overall increase of 34 percent. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said “In what has been a tremendously difficult year, State parks have remained open for residents and visitors to enjoy, get out of the house and stay active.”

Evening News Brief

County Legislators across New York state are calling on Governor Cuomo to allow the counties to take charge of how they distribute the COVID vaccines.  The Genesee Orleans County Health department has said that there are more than enough sites and people to get the shots into peoples arms but the state is not allowing the counties to use systems they already had in place for this kind of rollout.  Cuomo’s spokesperson said that the slow rollout is entirely Trump’s fault and that county legislators are taking “cheap shots from cheap seats.”

Governor Cuomo announced that he is sending 542 more national guard to Washington DC for Capitol security.  The 1300 troops sent in for inauguration week are to come home and the new troops will rotate in in their place.  The governor said this is a new mission to strengthen security requested from the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

COVID Update: Since Friday Genesee county has 67 new cases and 130 people have recovered.  24 people remain hospitalized.  4 of the new cases are in the VA Medical Center.  Orleans county has 33 new cases and 66 people have recovered.  There are 167 active cases in Genesee county and 134 in Orleans.

Midday News Brief

A Winter Weather Advisory has been extended for our area until early tomorrow morning.
The National Weather Service has posted the advisory for Genesee and Orleans Counties until 1a.m. tomorrow.
The Weather Service is forecasting mixed precipitation.
One to three inches of additional snow is possible and ice accumulations of around a tenth of an inch.
Periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will result in slippery roads with limited visibility.

LeRoy Firemen and other volunteer departments quickly quelled flames that damaged a home at 75 Summit Street in the village.
The fire broke out late last night. It was brought under control in about 20 minutes. The four occupants of the home all escaped safely.
There were no injuries.

High school sports may soon get to return to the hardwood and grid iron.
S0-called high risk sports, including basketball and hockey, may be able to begin their seasons on February 1st. Football may have to wait until March 1st.
It is all up to the county health department to issue the go-ahead.
Strict health protocols will be implemented to help impede the spread of coronavirus.
The complete guidance from the New York Public High School Athletic Association for sports through the end of the school year can be download HERE.

Students in schools across the state may not have to take any assessment tests or Regents exams this year. The State Education Department is asking for a federal waiver to cancel them due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The state was granted a similar request last year after students switched to remote learning in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.

Morning News Brief

A two-alarm fire that damaged a home in Le Roy remains under investigation. Fire crews from Le Roy and Bergen responded to 75 Summit Street around 10:30 p.m. last night after the caller reported flames in a second-floor bedroom. Initial crews encountered heavy smoke conditions. A second alarm brought in additional equipment from Pavilion and Stafford with the Town of Batavia covering the Le Roy station. Four occupants inside the home were able to safely evacuate. No word yet on what triggered the blaze.

A statewide COVID-19 vaccine shortage is impacting this area. Genesee and Orleans counties continue to work to distribute the limited supply of vaccine received in their continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Genesee County said in a Tweet that “in light of the statewide shortage in vaccines, they will be cancelling this week’s vaccination clinics at GCC. Genesee & Orleans Counties received 300 doses of the vaccine for the week, far less than the originally anticipated 2,500 doses between the two counties. The 300 doses will be used for 1B essential workers. Those over age 65 should continue to seek vaccine from their providers, pharmacies and the state sites. Appointments for vaccine are currently online ONLY.

Batavia High School’s athletic director says he’s beyond excited that high-risk sports, delayed because of COVID, might be able to start their seasons on Feb. 1. That could mean basketball, hockey and wrestling could all start next week but final approval for practices to begin must come local health departments.  Local Public Health officials said they have been on conference calls with other health officials from the Finger Lakes region, with more to come, as they work to develop a uniform approach to restarting specific high school sports.

A Batavia man who already faces a slew of criminal counts is back in jail without bail. 47-year-old Daniel Wolfe is now charged with burglary and criminal contempt. In November 2019, Wolfe is accused breaking into a house on Liberty Street and violating an order of protection. That led to a nearly 24-hour standoff with Batavia police and deputies. At one point, Wolfe allegedly shot at police with a BB gun. He eventually surrendered. Last August, a grand jury indicted him on a dozen counts, including trying to kill a police dog. Additional court action is pending.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says as New York’s COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, the state can expect to see adjustments for some safety restrictions in the coming days. During a briefing Monday at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, the governor said COVID rates have been dropping since the holiday season spike. The governor said adjustments will be announced Wednesday regarding the state’s micro-clusters – specifically for yellow and orange zones. The governor did not say what these changes will be.

Average local gas prices have dipped, ever so slightly. In Batavia, the price at the pump is down a penny to $2.38. The New York State average is $2.49 – up 2 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.70.

New York State United Teachers applauds the announcement that the state Education Department will seek a federal waiver of grades 3-8 and high school testing requirements amid the ongoing challenges students and educators statewide are facing related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the Union said “In a year that has been anything but standardized, it’s the right move to seek this waiver to cancel this spring’s standardized exams.”

Evening News Brief

Genesee Orleans and Wyoming Counties are on a winter weather advisory with  snow expected 8am tomorrow morning through Wednesday at 1am.  Accumulations of up to 5 inches are expected.

2 people have been arrested in connection with the abduction of the 2 Cash children from a foster home in Greece.  29 year old Dimitri Cash Sr the children’s father, is facing 3 charges, 2nd degree robbery, 2nd degree kidnapping, and 1st degree burglary. The other man arrested is 32 year old Kimara Pluviose.

Have you received a random item in the mail addressed to you from Amazon or another online retailer?  You may have unwittingly participated in a brushing scam.  Brushing is where sellers on online marketplaces write fake reviews for purchases they never had by sending some small item of not much value to customers who’s info is available online.  Then they can fake a review of their product and companies like amazon will see the shipped item and think it is a legitimate review.  You are in no danger from this.

The Sabres got another shot at it and beat the Capitals in a shootout Saturday 4 to 3.  All Buffalos’ goals were scored in power play Colin Miller, Eric Staal, and Victor Olofsson scored inregular play and Jack Eichel put in the final goal after over 5 minutes of shootout action.  Ullmark made 28 saves and stopped all 3 of the Capital’s shootout attempts.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County’s highly touted but long vacant Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park has made the short list for a multi-billion dollar facility for Samsung Electronics.
The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the 1,200 acre site in the Town of Alabama is one of five locations under consideration by Samsung for making semiconductors.
The paper reported that the project could mean an investment of 15-billion dollars by the South Korean company.
In addition to the Town of Alabama STAMP location, Samsung is also considering two sites near Austin, Texas and two near Phoenix, Arizona.
According to the Journal the Samsung project could employ upwards of 1,900 workers.
Over the past two decades the Genesee County Economic Development Center has poured millions of dollars into the STAMP site building
Infrastructure such as water and sewer systems. The preparation of “shovel ready” land is intended to hasten the time of the time of construction.

Genesee County receives only a fraction of the coronavirus vaccine is was expecting for this week.
The health department asked for 2,500 doses but is only getting 300 doses to split between Genesee and Orleans counties.
The doses are for Groups 1-B and persons over the age of 6 provided that you can get an appointment.
Right now, there are no appointments available at either state run or county run clinics anywhere near Batavia.

An Avon man is behind bars for allegedly bilking a Batavia business out of $10,000.
60-year-old Stephen Hegel of Avon is charged with several felony counts for allegedly stealing the money from Turnbull Heating and Air while he worked for the company last October.
Hegel is in the Genesee County Jail pending a court appearance later this month.

SUNY officials have announced when students, staff and faculty will be starting the upcoming spring semester.
In-person classes will begin on February 1st, with weekly COVID-19 testing being mandatory for everyone.
Most SUNY students were sent home before Thanksgiving in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Morning News Briefing

Buffalo…is not headed to the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Bills 38-24 in the AFC Championship game. The final call from Kansas City (final call). Bills QB Josh Allen finished the day going 28-for-48 for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Bills finish their best season in recent memory that consisted of a 13-3 regular season record and their first AFC East title since 1995-96.

The Batavia City School Board expects to make several staffing appointments when it meets tonight at 6:30 p.m. Some of the appointments include substitute teachers, a long-term Special Ed teacher and a districtwide groundskeeper.

The Batavia City Council will receive a police reform presentation when it meets tonight at 7 p.m. Two local laws will be introduced. One amends the municipal code to establish new water rates, meter fees and a capital improvement fee; the second proposes to amend the Business Improvement District Plan. Public hearings will also be scheduled. Several budget work sessions will also be scheduled.

New York reported 160 COVID deaths statewide on Saturday. Gov. Cuomo said he remains confident that NY can defeat this and rebuild stronger than ever before. Until that day comes, he encourages all New Yorkers to keep fighting the good fight together – wear a mask, social distance and avoid gatherings. The Finger Lakes region currently reports 692 patients are hospitalized. 397 people in the region are in an intensive care unit.

Governor Andrew Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the state’s vaccination program. The total week 6 federal allocation of vaccine delivery to providers was completed Sunday. Delivery of the week 7 allocation from the federal government does not begin until the middle of this week. As of 11am yesterday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1.3 million first doses and administered 88 percent first dose vaccinations. In the Finger Lakes Region, 80,150 first doses were received with 95% administered.

Chuck Schumer says…one of the Senate’s most pressing agenda items…is putting two thousand dollar checks into the hands of Americans. The Senate Majority Leader…speaking Sunday in New York City…said…Democrats are looking to bump up the recent six-hundred-dollar payments to an even two thousand….and he’s hopeful his colleagues from the other side of the aisle…will sign on. Senator Schumer promised…if the G-O-P won’t agree…Democrats will use tools at their disposal to push the bigger checks through.

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

 

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

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

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

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

Special Weather Statement

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

1018 AM EST Fri Jan 22 2021

 

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

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

 

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

Locations impacted include…

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

This includes the following highways…

Interstate 390 between exits 8 and 12.

Interstate 90 between exits 47 and 42.

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

Morning News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

Genesee Co. Manager Matt Landers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local COVID Vaccination Schedules Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

County Announces Upcoming COVID Testing Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

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

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

 

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Weather Advisory Posted

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

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

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

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

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

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

Sonja Gonyea, UMMC

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Morning News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Morning News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

Matt Landers

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers says, be prepared to wait

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

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

Chris Jacobs (R-NY)

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

Morning News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Muckdogs Name Lives

 

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

New Muckdogs’ Owner Robbie Nichols

 

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

 

Chris Jacobs (R-NY)

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

Chris Hayward

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

LeRoy Police Chief Chris Hayward:

John Condidorio

 

For Detective Condidorio, it was an emotional moment:

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

 

WBTA asked him today, why Batavia?

 Robbie Nichols PHOTO: WETM

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midday News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Evening News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

WBTA Midday News Briefing

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

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

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

 

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

Chris Jacobs (R-NY 27)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

Tops Markets, Batavia

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

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

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

WBTA News will carry that update live.

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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