Local News

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

 

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Sikorski New Exec Director of Coop-Ext in Genesee County

Jocelyn Sikorski PHOTO: The Batavian

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Angel Stockings Stuffed in Bergen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salvation Army / Ken Barrett Toy Drive Friday

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

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

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

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

About The Salvation Army Empire State Division

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

For more information go to: empire.salvationarmy.org

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

About The Salvation Army

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

Tourt Named City DPW Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

Health Alerts

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batavia Asks Residents to Complete Police Reform Survey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

Free COVID Testing Offered in County

News Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Batavia Seeks Part-time City Court Judge

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

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

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

City Court Judge

Attn: City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Jr.

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

 

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

 

If there are any questions, please contact:

 

Office of the City Manager

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

Phone: (585) 345-6330

Fax: (585) 343-8182

E-mail: rtabelski@batavianewyork.com

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

Vet’s National Cemetery in Pembroke Dedicated

Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY)

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

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

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

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

From Schumer News Release:

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chamber Calls for Nominations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Pettit, Genesee County Public Health Director

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

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

Health Alerts Issued Tuesday

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

Le Roy Moose Lodge:

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

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

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

Flying J Travel Center:

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Health Alert: Funeral Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BCSD Goes All Virtual Learning Monday and Tuesday

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

Anibal Soler

Dear Batavia Families,

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

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

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

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

These challenges include:

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

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

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

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

WE are Better Together…WE are Batavia!!!

Anibal Soler, Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health Alert: The Harvester

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesee County Health Alert

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

Tops Markets, Batavia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning News Briefing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend News Brief

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon News Brief

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

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

Erie County sheriff Tim Howard says that he and his deputies will not break up Thanksgiving dinners and that thanksgiving traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s Mandates.  According to Governor Cuomo there are not to be gatherings of more than 10 people in private residences for any reason including thanksgiving.  This mandate is following national health figures such as Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that we don’t want to give COVID when we give thanks.  The remarks by Sheriff Howard answer the question that many had, how will this new mandate be enforced?  Governor Cuomo has not addressed this question.

There is a high wind watch for Genesee county and other parts of western NY form today until Monday.  Southwest winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour are expected with gusts of up to 60 mph possible.  Be alert for downed trees or power lines.  Report power outages to your electric company.

New York Independent living is proud to announce that the Young Leaders and advocates network is joining the family of agencies.  The young leaders and Advocates network is a 50 year old organization where young people with disabilities fight for an equal voice in issues effecting their lives.  More than 35 thousand people between ages of 14 and 30 live with disabilities in western NY.

Health Alert

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who was at Batavia’s  Original on Friday November 6th and Saturday November 7th between the hours of 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. We advise all individuals who were at Batavia’s Original on Friday or Saturday between the stated hours to monitor their symptoms for 14 days (Nov. 20th or Nov. 21st).

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

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

Morning News Briefing

The investigation continues after a fire caused heavy damage to a Batavia home and claimed the lives of several pets. Flames were spotted Thursday leaping from a home at 162 State Street. The fire chief said it was a two-alarm fire. No one was home when the flames broke out. A dog and three cats died in the blaze.

The Genesee County Health Department is reporting 40 new positive COVID-19 cases. Some of the new infections involve a staff member at Batavia High School and a student at Byron Bergen High School. Both individuals are in mandatory quarantine. Both schools remain open. Orleans County reports 30 new virus cases and Wyoming County reports 18 news cases since Tuesday.

A lack of staffing because of the spread of COVID-19 in the community is forcing Batavia’s Original to close for the weekend. The owner will evaluate staff availability on Monday to see if she can reopen. Five workers at the pizzeria have tested positive and because of close contact, several more are in mandatory quarantine for two weeks and can’t come to work.

Cashless tolling will go live on the New York State Thruway’s ticketed system – more than a month ahead of schedule – during the overnight hours of tonight into tomorrow. The historic conversion will take place simultaneously at 58 tolling locations across the Thruway’s 450-mile ticketed system. At the time cashless tolling goes live, cash will no longer be accepted as a form of payment at toll booths and printed toll tickets will not be handed out. The conversion to cashless tolling marks the end of phase one of the project. Phase two, which begins following the conversion, includes the removal of existing toll plazas.

Families will have the opportunity to visit a local dairy farm without ever leaving the couch. Genesee County’s Oakfield Corners Dairy is the next stop on American Dairy Association North East’s “Fun on the Farm” series, which can be seen on Facebook at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14. This week, dairy farm team members Adam Dresser and Jamie Black will discuss how Oakfield Corners uses genetics when breeding their cows, leading to healthy animals who produce a lot of high-quality milk.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York says that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed critical legislation addressing the growing decline in volunteer firefighters across the State. The new law creates a New York State Recruitment and Retention Task Force that will study challenges to recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters. Its mission is to develop recommendations and policy changes to assist fire departments across the state in boosting their ranks.

$400,000. That’s how much Buffalo Bills fans have raised in honor of Bill’s quarterback Josh Allen’s grandmother. She passed away over the weekend. The Bills Mafia is making donations to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo in increments of $17 dollars—Allen’s number is 17.

Afternoon News Brief

A fire engulfed a home at 162 State street in Batavia this morning killing 3 cats and 1 dog.  No people were home when the house went up before 8 am.  Fire fighters were on the scene quickly as a n off duty firefighter was passing by and called in for help along with many residents of nearby homes.  He was informed someone was in the house and attempted to gain entry but the flames were already too hot.  After the fire department arrived and doused the flames they found no people inside.  The residents arrived at around 11 am.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Governor Cuomo has announced new restrictions designed to fight the rise in COVID cases in New York State.  Just in time for Thanksgiving Cuomo says that no ore than 10 people are allowed to congregate in private homes, bars, restaurants, and gyms must close by 10pm starting Friday at 10pm.  These restrictions are very close to what neighboring states are doing.  Cuomo says that the rules for private homes are needed as Halloween parties are reported to be the cause of some clusters in areas around the state.

Cashless tolls begin Friday night on the NYS thruway.  This is almost a month ahead of schedule.  Cars getting on the highway will not have to stop at the booths anymore as the cameras positioned above will shoot a pic of the front and back license plates and also scan for ezpass tags.  Those without ezpass will be charged more than those with them.  The next phase of the project involves removing existing toll booths. During this period, drivers will be asked to drive through toll lanes at reduced speeds without stopping. Citizens are asked to exercise caution when driving up to toll plazas.

Maybe you felt the earth shake.  The US Geological survey reports that a 1.5 magnitude quake has struck up near Wilson in Niagara county.  They say that the depth of the quake was 5 kilometers down into the earth and happened Tuesday morning.

The salvation army is getting going with it’s red kettle campaign with bell a ringing.  Requests for help are at an all time high as many people are suffering from the shutdowns and decreased economy that came from them.  If you don’t carry change or cash then you can give online on the salvation army’s website or via apple pay or google pay.

Morning News Briefing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York is taking actions to address rises in COVID-19 cases, and the new rules impact bars, restaurants, gyms and private gatherings. During a conference call, the governor said State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments must close at 10 p.m. Curbside food pickup can continue past 10 p.m. Gyms will also be required to close at 10 p.m. These new rules take effect Friday at 10 p.m. Cuomo said private gatherings such as parties will be capped at 10 people.

A Bethany man returns to court next month after he was charged with a violent crime. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 24-year-old Greg Solomonidis of Little Canada Road was charged with felony assault. That count stems from an incident in July at a tavern in Alexander. He allegedly struck a person in the face causing serious injury. He’s due in Town of Alexander court on December 21st.

County Coroner Jeff McIntyre has received a commendation from the Genesee County Legislature for his tireless work — more than 260 hours — along with a team of responders — to an airplane crash site in Corfu. The Oct. 2 plane crash into a swampy, wooded area near Boyce Road claimed the life of Buffalo attorney Steve Barnes and the life of his niece Elizabeth Barnes, who was a government attorney.

The Batavia Muckdogs Baseball Club will be issuing refund checks to purchasers of 2020 game tickets at the Dwyer Stadium office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. To expedite the refund process, you’re asked to bring a government-issued identification and proof of purchase.

When it comes to commitment and dedication to battling opioid addiction in rural areas, the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force shines brightly. That’s the viewpoint of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, which has awarded the local collaborative organization with a 2020 Community Star. The award is given to only one rural entity in New York State.

Catholic Charities needs volunteers for its COVID-19 phone visitation program. An adaptation of its home visitation program for seniors (age 60+) in Genesee and Orleans counties, this safe social connection is an opportunity for homebound seniors to maintain contact with the outside world they otherwise would not have due to their shrinking social circles as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Interested volunteers would call weekly, from their own homes and on their own schedules, to check in on the homebound seniors. Training and a background check are required.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the Outdoor Rx Act requiring the New York State Division of Veteran’s Services to review issues relating to veterans’ ability to access state parks, lands and facilities. The Outdoor Rx Act is the first step in identifying how New York State can better address the needs of veterans adjusting back to civilian life through outdoor activity. This legislation takes effect immediately. Recent studies have shown that time outdoors can be a valuable asset to traditional therapy. Outdoor-based therapeutic programs hold promise for individuals suffering from PTSD and Substance Abuse Disorder.

While the wait continues for many New York State races to be called, new proposed legislation aims to speed up the process for future elections. According to current state law, absentee ballots cannot be counted until after Election Day. This year, more than 1.5 million of those were returned, meaning a hold-up on clear results. Now, Democratic state senators are bringing forth legislation that would allow absentee ballots to start being canvassed on Election Day, three hours before polls close.

Afternoon News Brief

 

COVID Update: after a lot of cases over the weekend the new case number went down significantly yesterday with just 7 new cases in Genesee county and 13 in Orleans county.  17 people recovered in Genesee county and 3 people recovered in Orleans.  The health department released that 1 student at Holley high school has tested positive for COVID 19 and contact tracing is underway.  There are now 87 active cases in Genesee county and 47 in Orleans.

Jamie A. Dutton has been indicted for attempted murder.  Aug. 25 Dutton allegedly stabbed a person while outside the city water filtration plant on Lehigh Avenue.  That person was brought to the hospital by a family member and was stabilized there. He was also indicted for first-degree assault for allegedly causing serious physical injury to a person with a knife.

A worker at the new apartment complex being built on east main street accidentally severed a 2-inch gas line while working around 2pm on Tuesday.  10 homes and businesses were evacuated as the gas leak was brought under control.  It took about a half hour to seal off the leak and then people were allowed to return.

A new option for COVID-19 testing may be available soon in Western NY.  Four in one rapid nasal tests can detect COVID, Flu A and B, and RSV in about 35 minutes.  This new test will be used primarily for children and is currently in very short supply.  Doctors are saying it tests at the DNA level to find the virus at its most basic level.

Refunds available to Muckdog Season Ticket Holders

Refunds to Batavia Muckdogs season ticket holders will be available at Dwyer Stadium this Friday and Saturday.

Ben Hayes, the former president of the now defunct New York-Penn Baseball league will be in Batavia this weekend.

Hayes says he will be at Dwyer Stadium this Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm each and will make refunds on the spot to season ticket holders. You will need to bring ID and some proof of your ticket purchase.

Morning News Briefing

An investigation is underway into a barn fire on East Road in Batavia. Flames Tuesday afternoon brought the building down while firefighters worked to protect a nearby home. At least one firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation. Multiple departments responded to the scene. A nearby propane tank was also monitored. Fire crews remained at the scene well into the evening.

A Batavia High School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was not in school with any symptoms and was considered asymptomatic prior to getting tested. As a result of contact tracing, one additional staff member and five students were deemed as “close contact” and will quarantine for 14 days. Any student and staff member that was identified as a “close contact” has already been contacted by the Batavia High School administration. The Genesee County Health Department will also follow up with identified students and staff. Batavia High School will remain open for in-person hybrid learning model.

The Genesee County Health Department reports seven new COVID cases. Since Friday, there have been 43 new cases. Those newly infected live in Alabama, Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Darien, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion, and Stafford. Two of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County reports 13 news cases and Wyoming County reports 12 additional cases.

It’s Veterans Day and ceremonies and services are scheduled across the area. There will be a 10 a.m. event at the VA Hospital in Batavia while the New York State Vets home will hold a service at 10:15. At 11:30, there will be a ceremony at the Jerome Center monument. Organizations participating include the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County, Genesee County American Legions Disabled American Veterans – Chapter #166 Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment.

Jamie A. Dutton has been indicted for attempted murder. It is alleged that on Aug. 25 Dutton attempted to stab a person while outside the city water filtration plant at 480 Lehigh Avenue. He was also indicted for first-degree assault for allegedly causing serious physical injury to a person by means of a dangerous instrument.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again disputing the rumors that he’s interested in being President-Elect Joe Biden’s Attorney General. Cuomo, who previously rejected the idea after an Axios report last month, publicly rejected interest on the Howard Stern Show. Cuomo served as Attorney General in New York from 2007-10 and was the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who attended Trivia Night at T.F. Brown’s Restaurant on Tuesday, Nov. 3, between 6 and 9 p.m. Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. Officials say anyone who attended the Trivia Night on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd should monitor their symptoms until Nov. 17th. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

A fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at a trailer on Telephone Road in Pavilion. A propane tank was also near the trailer. It started after a pile of leaves was ignited. Pavilion and Le Roy fire departments were first to respond. Additional firefighters were called in from Bethany, Stafford, Caledonia and York. The American Red Cross was called for the displacement of at least three residents.

Genesee County urges vigilance in fighting spread of COVID19

News Release

Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein and Genesee County Public Health Director Paul Pettit are urging county residents and businesses to step up in taking precautions to fight the spread of COVID19.

Their call is the result of an increase of infections in Genesee County and the GLOW region and Governor Cuomo’s announcement earlier today about parts of Erie and Monroe Counties being placed in Yellow Zones.

The Governor and his health experts have created three zones to manage the spread of the virus:  yellow designates an area as being in a precautionary phase; an orange zone designation denotes a community is in a warning phase; and red means the community is in a cluster zone which imposes the strictest rules and regulations. You can learn more about the zoning designation by visiting https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-cluster-action-initiative.

“We don’t want restrictions that will negatively impact businesses and the local economy, but if we continue to see increases and spikes, New York State is going to come in and create the zones that were announced today in Erie and Monroe Counties,” said Stein.  “Unfortunately, that is where we are trending if we don’t take action fast and become more vigilant to fight the spread of the virus.”

Among the restrictions in a yellow zone includes that houses of worship can have no more than 50 percent capacity.  The maximum number of people at non-essential indoor or outdoor gatherings is limited to 25 people maximum. Businesses can remain open but for restaurants there is a maximum of 4 people per table for both an indoor and outdoor dining.  Schools can remain open but there must be mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings.

Stein said that Genesee County will be reaching out to various government agencies and business partners to urge the community to step up their vigilance in wearing masks, maintaining appropriate social distancing, hand washing and other common sense things to prevent further spread of the virus.  The County is asking these partners to spread the message through email and social media channels.

“The key thing at the moment is similar to what we experience with the cold and flu season and that is people feeling compelled to go out if they are not feeling well,” said Pettit.  “If you feel ill in the slightest, then please do not go out or to work and contact your physician immediately in order to schedule a test.”

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays right around the corner, the temptation of larger gatherings particularly of family and friends who travel from outside the region poses another way of how the infection rate can spread.

“Cold and flu season is here, and eventually bad weather will force people to gather inside which is a recipe for the spread of the virus and this becomes even more concerning with the holidays right around the corner,” Stein said.

Testing locations in Genesee County can be found https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you.

Afternoon News Brief

COVID Update:  Genesee county now has more active cases than any time in the pandemic as over the weekend 43 new cases were received.  2 teachers at Jackson primary school have tested positive and Jackson primary will be going to 100 percent virtual learning till Monday, November 30th.  Orleans county has 18 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  1 student at Lyndonville high school and 1 student at Medina high school have tested positive.  Contact tracing is in progress.  1 person in Orleans county has passed away from COVID 19.  The person was over 65 years old.  There are now 54 active cases in genesee county, the highest on record before this was 43.

Due to the increase in COVID-19 in the county Genesee county facilities and meeting rooms will be closed to the public.  The city clerks office, Department of public works admin and inspection bureau, and yard waste station will remain open.  Public meetings will continue to be face to face but all attendees and guests will be subject to screening by the fire department.

The city council meeting Monday night was interrupted when 2 reporters, one Mike Pettinella from our news partner the Batavian, and one unnamed reporter noticed an unusual smell.  They informed the firefighters who were taking everyone’s temperature.  City fire was dispatched for a smell of natural gas and the meeting was halted.  It was determined that the smell was antiseptic from the dentist’s office combined with the smell of burning leaves.  Afterwards the meeting was allowed to continue.

Even though no one was able to ride it this season, those who have know it was a bumpy ride.  The Predator Wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Darien Lake is getting an update for the 2021 season.  The 95 foot tall, 3400 foot long roller coaster that opened in 1990 will be getting a new steel track title the titan track by Great Coasters International which is capable of launches, corkscrews and loops although the plan for what the predator will look like once it is finished has not been released.  The new track style is designed with no welds, instead using rivets to provide a smoother ride.

Well that stinks, literally.  A 2500 dollar reward is being offered for information into an incident in North Collins involving significant damage to a car.  What was the damage? Someone filled the interior of the car with manure.  Crime stoppers of western New York are looking for any leads into the foul crime which happened in the early morning of October 15th.

Health Alert: Nov 3 Trivia Night at T F Browns

News Release

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who attended Trivia Night at T F Brown’s on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. We advise all individuals who attended the Trivia Night on Tuesday, November 3rd to monitor their symptoms until November 17th.

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

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

Morning News Briefing

COVID-19 cases in Genesee County continue to spiral upward. Since Friday, 43 new cases have been confirmed. The Genesee County Health Department was notified of two positive teachers at Jackson Primary School. The individuals have been placed under mandatory isolation where they will remain until they have recovered. Contact tracing is in process to identify close contacts. Out of an abundance of caution, Jackson Primary School will remain 100% remote virtual learning until Monday, November 30. In Orleans County, 18 new cases were confirmed while in Wyoming County, official report ten new cases.

A pedestrian who was struck while crossing East Main Street on Friday night has been identified by Batavia Police as 45-year-old Casey Nutting, of Batavia. Nutting, according to witnesses, was running across the street when he was struck by a minivan. The drive of the minivan, whose identity has not been released, has not been charged and police said no charges are anticipated.

With growing COVID cases in New York, state officials said Monday they are less likely to allow high risk indoor winter high school sports, such as basketball, hockey and wrestling. New York has yet to announce any official decision on winter sports, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his top aides doubted whether the teams will be able to convene later this month as the schools had hoped.

New York Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay has tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican announced the positive test in a statement on Monday night. Barclay had taken the test as a “precautionary measure.”

Buffalo and Rochester shattered their record high temperatures Monday with temperatures reaching 76 in Buffalo and 77 in Rochester. This breaks a 129-year record at Buffalo and a 21-year record at Rochester.

Alleged phony money has led to an arrest. Sheriff’s deputies say they took 60-year-old Lawrence Williams Sr. of Ross Street in Batavia into custody. He was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. On Oct. 6, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a counterfeit $100 bill at a store on Veterans Memorial Drive. Following an investigation, it is alleged that Williams knowingly presented the fake money He was arrested, arraigned virtually in Genesee County Court, then released on his own recognizance.

Effective immediately all City of Batavia facilities and meeting rooms will be closed to the public in light of increased in COVID-19 positive cases in Genesee County. Facilities that will remain open for public business include the City Clerk’s Office, DPW Administration/Inspection Bureau and Yard Waste Station. At this time, City Council meetings, Planning & Development Committee meetings and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings will remain as in-person meetings held in the Council Chamber with minimal City staff attending.

A grand jury is hearing evidence against the Rochester Police officers involved in the Daniel Prude case. Prude died in March, a week after being restrained by police on Jefferson Avenue. His death was not made public until months later, prompting a wave of protest and an investigation into how Rochester City Hall and RPD handled the case.

Update to Fatal / Car Pedestrian Accident

News Release

Batavia Police this afternoon identified the victim of last Friday’s fatal carf pedestrian accident on East Main at Summit St.

The pedestrian was Casey Nutting, age 45, of Batavia. The driver remained on scene after the accident and has cooperated fully with the investigation.

The Batavia Police Department is still investigating the accident, but at this time no charges are pending and none are expected in the future.

Afternoon News Brief

Parts of Western NY are now designated yellow zones for their increase in COVID-19 cases.  Amherst, Aurora, buffalo, Cheektowaga and many more towns are ow under increased restrictions including a 25 person maximum for mass gatherings indoors and out, 4 people max at restaurant tables, mandatory weekly testing for teachers, students and staff and houses of worship must be under 50 percent capacity.  Erie county was at a 6.3 percent positivity rate.  Also newly designated as yellow zones are Onondaga and Monroe counties.  New York still has one of the lowest positivity rates in the nation.  Across the US there were over 126,000 new cases and more than 1000 deaths on Saturday.  In New York 18 people died from COVID, 4 of them in Erie County.

Researchers at Cornell University have created a new interactive map to track COVID 19 cases in schools in New York State.  The web based tool is called NYS School District COVID 19 tracker.  It estimates cases and spread based on geography , demographics, and socioeconomic factors, pulling in data from state and county education and health departments.

Gas prices keep on dropping.  In Batavia it is down to 2.18 a gallon which is 1 penny below last week.  The Energy Information Administration predicts that prices will keep dropping but gasbuddy.com says that in about 6 weeks there may be an increase as stimulus and relief may buoy it back up.  The dropping prices are because of lower demand and an increase in the amount of domestic oil available.

Buffalo broke records today and yesterday with the temperature going over 70 degrees before noon today and yesterday it hit a high of 73 degrees.  The record of most over 60 degree days in November is set to be broken by Wednesday.  All these records are over 8 decades old with the one broken yesterday being 129 years old.

Graham BOCES Partnership Benefits All

School Business Partnership: Aaron Leone, right, practices his welding skills on the Miller LiveArc machine, as Welding Instructor Andrew Geyer, guides him.

News Release

When Graham Corporation and the Genesee County Economic Development Center approached Jon Sanfratello, Executive Principal of the GV BOCES Batavia Campus, about donating a welding simulator, Sanfratello knew that this was a huge bonus for the Metal Trades Program.

“When businesses invest in our programs, our students are the true benefactors. This welding simulator, that Graham Corporation has so generously donated, will provide our students with an additional training tool to test their skills,” Sanfratello said. “One of our top priorities here at GV BOCES is the integration of both applied and practical skills into curriculum so our students are college and career-ready. This training tool is another means of achieving our goal. We are so very appreciative of Graham’s investment in our program and students.”

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Graham Corporation (Graham) provided a Miller LiveArc Welding System to the Metal Trades Program at the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center at the GV BOCES Batavia Campus. This system provides a simulation scenario for a student to practice welds in a live-arc training mode. Andrew Geyer is the Welding Instructor at the Batavia CTE Center. Geyer explained how this new system will be used.

“The Miller LiveArc has cameras and infrared sensors that will read students’ welds and grade them accordingly based upon the parameters that are set,” Geyer said. “It is our hope that representatives from Graham can spend some time with us and program the machine with industry-based welds so students can get a better understanding of what is expected in industry.”

Geyer and Metal Trades students recently met with representatives from Graham Corporation and Chris Suozzi from the Genesee County Economic Development Center via Zoom. During this online meeting, students asked many questions about employment opportunities at Graham Corporation.

Graham Corporation is well known for being a major employer in the region as well as a supporter of schools especially, Genesee Valley BOCES. Graham has gifted other consumable materials to the Metal Trades Program at the GV BOCES Batavia Campus.

“The Welding Program at the Batavia CTE Center is very important to Graham Corporation and to our community. As Graham continues to grow, access to skilled welders is vital. Welders make up approximately 50 percent of Graham’s skilled workforce,” said Alan Smith, General Manager of Graham Corporation. “Graham has a long history of supporting the welding program at the Batavia CTE Center with donations of plate steel and weld wire. Graham’s latest donation of the weld simulator will enable students to learn proper welding techniques by providing immediate feedback while saving the expensive cost of weld wire.”
-more-

Graham Corporation has a record of hiring welding students from the Batavia CTE Center and from other BOCES around New York state. Don Fonda, Superintendent at Graham Corporation, noted that this partnership goes back decades.

“We have close to 75 employees who went to a BOCES program, and add in some recent new hires, the total is over 80 employees. We have 53 employees who came to Graham from the Batavia GV BOCES program,” Fonda said. “From what I could find out the Graham/ Batavia GV BOCES connection goes back to the 1970s when GV BOCES was next to the industrial center. Bob Torrey was one of the first co-op students at Graham. He started at Graham working three days and Saturdays in January of 1974 while he was in school. He was hired full-time in June 1974, 46 years ago.”

Chris Suozzi, Vice President of Business and Workforce Development for the Genesee County Economic Center, shared how partnerships like this benefit the community.

“The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) applauds Graham Corporation for investing in equipment and experiences that will benefit every 11th and 12th grade student learning in GV BOCES’ welding lab. This partnership strengthens the skills of our students for the great careers at Graham Corporation.”

Morning News Briefing

Beginning today and continuing for the next two weeks, Jackson Primary School in Batavia is shifting to 100 percent virtual learning. The District Superintendent made the announcement Sunday after two employees at Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and were symptomatic while on campus. Jackson is the only school in the City School district moving to virtual learning for the time being. Virtual learning will be in effect until Nov. 30. Staff and students who have been identified as ‘close contact’ will be notified by both school administration and the Genesee County Health Department beginning immediately.

The cause of a house fire in Batavia remains under investigation. Crews were called out last night after flames were seen shooting from the home at 3 Walnut Street. Additional help was brought in from the Town of Batavia, Darien and Alexander. There were no injuries.  All residents evacuated before firefighters arrived. The upstairs apartment, where the fire started, was occupied by two adults and an infant. The downstairs apartment was occupied by one adult and a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old.  One family will be assisted by the Red Cross.

Solar and wind farms, and some coaches are on the agenda when the Batavia City Board of Education meets tonight. The Board will consider a resolution to opt out of the exemption under the New York State Real Property Tax Law for Solar & Wind Energy Farms or Farm Waste Energy Systems. The school board will also vote on a Memorandum of Agreement regarding stipends for some coaches. The Board meets at 6:30 p.m.

As New York State and the nation continue to grapple with the challenges posed by COVID-19, the State University of New York Chancellor has outlined a sweeping, system-wide plan that will allow campuses to safely return to in-person instruction for the spring semester, subject to any changes in federal or New York State guidance. According to the plan all students must be tested for COVID-19 upon return. The plan also pushes the start date of the spring semester for in-person instruction until February 1 and spring break 2021 will be cancelled. In addition, all returning students must complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to their arrival on campus.

Some additional funding appears headed to the Batavia Police Department. When the City Council meets tonight, it will vote on a resolution to amend the 2020-2021 police department budget to reflect a new STOP-DWI grant of $5,000. The Youth Bureau is also earmarked to receive a Rotary grant. The Council will also shift to a behind closed door session to discuss real estate and employment matters. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Court action is pending for an Albion woman who now faces multiple felony counts. State Police say they arrested 42-year-old Alicia Stanton. Troopers charged her with first-degree reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and second-degree arson. The charges stem from an incident in Albion Friday afternoon.

The Buffalo Bills have improved to 7-2…that hasn’t happened since 1993. Buffalo defeated Seattle Sunday 44-34.

County Manager Matt Landers has announced that Assistant County Manager, Tammi Ferringer successfully completed the High Performance Leadership Academy, a partnership of the National Association of Counties. The Academy focuses on five essential skills; leading, organizing, collaborating, communication and delivering.

Police Release Further Information on Fatal Pedestrian Accident

News Release

At approximately 8:02 PM on 11/06/2020, the Genesee County Dispatch center was notified of a car/pedestrian accident which occurred on East Main Street just east of Summit Street.
Officers from the Batavia Police Department, along with the City of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy Medics, responded where the male pedestrian was found with severe injuries, laying in the middle of the roadway.
The pedestrian was transported to UMMC where he was later pronounced dead.

The preliminary investigation shows the vehicle was heading east on East Main Street when the pedestrian entered the roadway just east of Summit Street. The pedestrian was on the south side of the roadway and heading north.
The vehicle struck the pedestrian as he was crossing the road. The investigation is still ongoing and no further updates should be expected until 11/09/2020. The identity of the pedestrian is being withheld at this time at the family’s request.

Anyone with information in reference to the case may contact Detective Sergeant Lutey at 585-345-6311 or the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370 or online HERE

Weekend News Brief

There was a fatal collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle on east main street in Batavia around 8 pm on Friday night.  Batavia police, fire and mercy flight responded to a man lying in the middle of the road.  He was taken to UMMC where he was pronounced dead.   No information yet on the vehicle that struck him and the identity of the man is being withheld by family request.

 

Rochester Regional Health is suspending general visitation to hospitals starting Sunday at 7pm.  This affects Rochester General, Unity Hospital, Genesee County, UMMC, and Clifton Springs Hospital.  End of life and patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities including dementia or cognitive impairments will be allowed limited visitation.  Pediatric patients can have 1 support person on site and swap with 1 other person, obstetrics patients can have one on site person and a doula.  Visitors will be screened and temperature checked on entry and every 12 hours.

There are many options on how to celebrate veterans day this Wednesday.  GCC is hosting a virtual veterans day now through Wednesday on their website where you can view a slideshow honoring veterans connected to GCC and view a ceremony to commemorate the day.  There are ceremonies scheduled at Genesee county park at 9am, The Batavia VA memorial center at 10am, the NYS veterans home at 10:15am, at Upton Monument in Downtown Batavia at 11A, and at the Jerome Center monument at 11:30am.  Mask wearing and social distancing are required.

COVID Weekend Update: From Friday at 4 pm Genesee county has 11 new cases.  Orleans county has 7 new cases and 1 person has recovered.   The health department is not reporting travel quarantines because of the new testing option.  There are currently 54 active cases in Genesee county and 25 in Orleans.  A student at Elba elementary school has tested positive.  They were not in school for 2 days before testing positive so the health department believes there is no impact on the school.  There is also a positive case in Albion elementary but they were also not in school.

The Buffalo Bills are facing off against one of the NFL’s elite teams at the bills stadium.  The Seattle Seahawks are flying in to Orchard Park for a Sunday afternoon contest. The records are tight for both teams this season with Buffalo being six-and-two this year while Seattle is currently six-and-one. Both teams are also coming off of victories against teams in their own division.  Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is set for one p-m.

Afternoon News Brief

Western Ny York is a problem, says governor Cuomo as the 7 day rolling average for the region has gone up to 2.8 percent.  Cuomo also says that he is working with local leaders to develop a micro cluster strategy to bring the numbers down.  The highest density of cases are in Buffalo, Hamburg, Tonawanda and Orchard Park.  Cuomo will make an announcement Monday about a micro-cluster strategy that is tailored to the particulars of the area. Monroe County and Onondaga County will also be designated as micro-clusters.  There is a color coded zoning strategy going from yellow to red and Cuomo did not say which color thee counties would be in.  Cuomo also said that it would be irresponsible to allow fans back into Bills stadium.

COVID Update: From 4pm yesterday Genesee county had 10 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  15 new people are on travel quarantine.  There is no separating whether they are doing the 3 day quarantine or the 14 day quarantine in the numbers.  Orleans county has 6 new cases and 1 person has recovered.  15 new people are on the travel quarantine list.  The health department reports that there is a COVID positive student at Batavia high school but no impact on the student body is expected.  There is 1 new positive case in alexander middle/ high school and contact tracing is under way.  There are 43 active cases in Genesee county, which is a new high since April 10th, and 19 in Orleans.

Governor Cuomo has announced that the period where expired licenses are still valid will be extended to December 3rd.  This is for driver’s licenses only, as the extension that had been in effect for vehicle registrations and inspections since March has ended.  Officials say don’t wait, get your license renewed as soon as possible.

The State Education Commissioner says students across New York won’t be taking any Regents exams in January. The decision to scrap the tests was made due to lingering concerns over COVID-19. The Education Department says the current learning requirements will be modified so students can still earn their diplomas. There’s no word yet if the Regents exams will be held in June or August of next year.

This could be the longest string of 60 degree plus days in November in the last 80 years for western NY.  If the weather holds for 7 total days it will break the record set in 1938.

If you want to do a sun salutation to celebrate the summerlike weather on Saturday in centennial park you can sign up to do a yoga class.  One last yoga in the park is scheduled for tomorrow at 9am.  The event is free but organizers ask you to bring a food item, perishable or non perishable, to help with a food drive for the little free pantry and fridge.  You can register for the event by following the link on wbtai.com.

Morning News Briefing

Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Genesee County. Those newly infected live in Batavia, Bethany, Darien, Elba and Pembroke. The ages range from under 20 to over 80. The Health Department has been notified of a positive student at the Batavia High School. The student was not in school two days prior to testing positive, therefore no school impact. The individuals are on mandatory isolation until recovered. Contact tracing is in process for those who are considered close contacts and will be placed on mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with the positive individual.

Court action is pending for 35-year-old Jennifer M. Moore, 35, of River Street in Batavia. She is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, also a Class B felony. It is alleged that Moore sold crack cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force on two separate occasions. She was also allegedly in possession of crack cocaine at the time of her arrest. Moore was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released under supervision. The task force is comprised of law enforcement officers from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the Batavia Police Department, and the Village of Le Roy Police Department. The task force was assisted by deputies and the District Attorney’s Office

Federal prosecutors say that 27-year-old Brandon Wilson of Buffalo was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with delay or destruction of mail. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He’s accused of failing to deliver 800 pieces of mail to include three absentee ballots.  The complaint is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and other agencies.

New York State’s statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is 1.59 percent, according to a press release from Gov. Cuomo’s office. The positive testing rate in the state’s “focus zone” areas is 2.69 percent. The state’s positivity outside of all focus zones is 1.42 percent. There were 14 COVID-19 deaths in the state on Tuesday.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation to expand community school funding and ensure students, families, and communities have the resources needed for students to thrive. The Full-Service Community School Expansion Act of 2020 would help public k-12 schools serve students, families, and communities by investing more than $3 billion in public schools to be community hubs and provide integrated student supports, expanded and enriched learning opportunities, collaborative leadership, and family and community engagement – including medical, mental, and nutrition health services, mentoring and youth development programs, and continuing education courses.

Afternoon News Brief

Health officials in Western NY are concerned with the rise in cases. Western NY is now at a 5% infection rate. This is an 80 percent increase in cases from jut a week ago. Erie County Health Commissioner Dr Gale Burstein says that the majority of cases are coming from schools. 215 students and staff at schools have tested positive in the month of October across Erie County.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 20 new cases and 28 new people are on travel quarantine. 16 people have recovered. Orleans county has 6 new cases and 22 new people are on travel quarantine. 4 people have recovered. There are 39 active cases in Genesee county and 14 in Orleans. At the Schools, Alexander middle and High schools have 2 students who tested positive and 2 staff members. 1 Staff member at BOCES in Batavia has tested positive. 1 staff member in the Kendall central School district has also tested positive.

Democrats in New York state were hoping to get a supermajority in the state senate but it looks like republicans actually picked up more slots and democrats lost a few. Republicans currently hold 20 seats out of the 63 total in the state senate and are confident they will get more in long island and the Hudson Valley.

Did you ever play with chalk? Almost everyone has at one point or another. And it is finally getting the recognition it deserves by being inducted into the national toy hall of fame in Rochester’s National Museum of Play. Chalk, Jenga and Baby Nancy beat out challengers such as Bingo, Lite-Brite, Yahtzee, Risk and My Little Pony. The three toys were inducted in a ceremony earlier today.

United way of Genesee county is holding a virtual basket auction fundraiser from November 5th through November 15th to raise money for its backpack program. There will be almost 50 items up for bid. You can find a link to the auction at wbtai.com on our local news page.

Bidding Begins for Backpacks

Online bidding starts today for a major fundraiser to support the Genesee County United Way Backpack Program.
Biding for Baskets will continue through November 15th.
The auction has been put together by the Women United Initiative, part of the United Way of Genesee County.
The program supplies students in Genesee County with weekend meals.

Use this link to the online auction: https://williamkentinc.hibid.com/catalog/245412/2020-united-way-auction/

Just a few of the baskets up for bid:

Morning News Briefing

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Genesee County. In the last two days, 20 new cases were confirmed. The latest infections involve people from Alabama, Batavia, Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield and Pembroke. Twenty-eight new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. The new cases include two students and one staff member at the Alexander Middle / High School and one Alexander Central School District staff member. The Health Department was also notified of a positive staff member of the Genesee Valley BOCES, Batavia Center. The individual is on mandatory isolation until recovered. Contact tracing is in process for those who are considered close contacts and will be placed on mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with the positive individual.

A Batavia man is due in court next week to answer a felony charge. Batavia police say they arrested 33-year-old Brandon Dodd of Highland Park. He was charged with grand larceny involving the theft of a motor vehicle as well as unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Dodd was arraigned and released under supervision and placed under 24/7 house arrest. He’ll head back to court Tuesday afternoon.

The Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee has hit the pause button on a resolution to terminate the county’s youth bureau operating agreement with the City of Batavia. The Batavian reached out to a couple of lawmakers, who declined comment. Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski said that City Council plans to address a similar resolution at its Nov. 23 Conference Meeting, but speculated that the situation may come up at next Monday’s Business Meeting.

Warsaw-based State Police have filed a criminal charge against a Batavia man. Troopers said they arrested 19-year-old Jordan Rose. He was charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury. He’ll appear in Town of Attica court at a later date.

If you made a mistake on your NY absentee vote and your ballot was rejected, it’s required that you be notified. New York Attorney General Letitia James is reminding residents of their rights under the state’s new “notice and cure” law. Local boards of elections are required to notify voters if their absentee ballots include errors. If voters received a notice of deficiency between October 27 and November 3, they have seven days to address the issue to ensure their vote is counted.

While New York Senate Democrats had hoped to gain a “supermajority,” or veto-proof majority with two-thirds of the seats in the chamber, it appears it’s the Republicans who will be gaining some seats. While absentee ballots still need to be counted and results haven’t been finalized, based on the current numbers, Republicans who currently hold 20 out of the 63 Senate seats are confident they’re picking up more, especially on Long Island and the Hudson Valley. They say bail reform was a key issue.

Alexander High School will continue remote instruction through at least November 18th. New COVID cases prompted the move. New cases have also been reported at Notre Dame High School and Kendall. No changes have been reported for Alexander Elementary or the Middle School.

Afternoon News Brief

A home on Judge rd in Alabama went up in a blaze after a fire started in the chimney.  The all 3 occupants and dogs were able to get safely outside and the fire was put out by Alabama firefighters.  Seven departments were activated to quell the flames.

Veterans get to take 11 percent off their grocery bill at Tops friendly markets on Veteran’s day next Wednesday.  Customers should present proof of service that they, or an immediate family member are a U.S. veteran, active duty, reserve or retired military personnel to automatically receive an 11-percent discount off of their total purchase that day.

New York’s new testing instead of the 2 week quarantine goes into effect today.  All travelers coming into New York must test negative for COVID within 3 days of entering the state.  They must then quarantine for 3 days and then test negative again.  This applies to every state other than those that border NY state.

The International peace garden foundation which is headquartered in Batavia is selling a history of the Batavia peace garden book to fundraise for the peace garden itself.  The book is written by Barbara Ann Toal, cofounder of the garden along with Paula Savage.  Copies can be purchased for 20 dollars at Oliver’s Candies and sweet life country store.

Morning News Briefing

In a special election to fill an un-expired term on the Batavia City Council, incumbent GOP Councilman at-large Jeremy Karas defeated Democrat Samuel DiSalvo. Kevin Veazey appears to have won a seat on the Alabama Town Council. Meanwhile, James Cleveland unofficially has won his bid for Pavilion Highway Superintendent.

In results tabulated by Genesee County election officials, though still unofficial, incumbent Sheriff William Sheron beat his challenger by a more than 2-1 margin. With a more than 11,000 vote lead and too few absentee ballots left to count, Sheron said he felt comfortable declaring victory. Sheron said he was pleased with the results and thanked those who supported him.  Sheron vowed to continue the tradition in Genesee County of providing outstanding law enforcement to local residents.

Chris Jacobs looks like the winner in the 27th district congressional race. Unofficial results show he has a hefty lead over challenger Nate McMurray. Edward Rath also looks like he is headed to victory in the state senate and Steve Hawley handily won re-election.

Voters in Genesee County strongly support Donald Trump for President. While more than 3,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted, Trump won the county by a more than 2-1 margin.

The newest allocation of funding to the state from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) provides New York with an additional $88.6 million in emergency relief to the child care system. This includes $20 million in child care scholarships for children of essential workers that will run through December 31 or until funds are depleted. Essential workers using a regulated child care provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care as long as the funds to support it are available.  All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for essential workers are able to participate in this new program.

Republicans who reside in the Town of Batavia and are interested in receiving GOP endorsement for Town Justice are asked to send a letter of interest and resume to Steve Hawley. Current Town of Batavia Court Judge Michael Cleveland has tendered his resignation effective Nov. 27. Those interest in the post should send their letter and resume to Hawley no later than Monday, Nov. 9. The Town of Batavia GOP Committee will be meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 at the Town of Batavia Hall to discuss the matter. It is located at 3833 W. Main Street Road. All COVID-19 protocols will be followed including mandatory masks.

Karas Keeps Council at-large Post

Results for contested races in Batavia and Genesee County

City of Batavia

In a special election to fill an un-expired term on the Batavia City Council incumbent GOP Councilman at-large Jeremy Karas defeated  Democrat Samuel DiSalvo,  2,755 to 2,119.

Town of Alabama – Town Council

One year unexpired term

Kevin Veazey               465

Terry R. Thompson    295

 

Town of Pavilion – Highway Superintendent

James D. Cleveland         751

Todd Hackett                    282

 

 

 

Sheron Defeats Krzemien for Sheriff

Sheriff William Sheron

Republican William Sheron defeated Democratic challenger David Krzemien for the office of Genesee County Sheriff.

Unofficial totals released by the Genesee County Board of Elections Tuesday night gave Sheron 17,068 votes to Krzemien, 6,962

Afternoon News Brief

In total, the early voting in Genesee county was less than the average nationally.  There were about 7000 early voters out of the 40,567 registered voters in Genesee county.  There were about 3000 absentee ballots requested.  About 2000 democrats voted and about 2800 republicans voted.  In many other places across the US early voter turnout was higher than the total voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 6 new cases and 16 new people are on travel quarantine.  16 people have recovered.  In Orleans county there are 3 new cases and 7 new people are on travel quarantine.  25 people have recovered.  There are 21 active cases in Genesee county and 12 in Orleans.

Governor Cuomo is saying that New York has reservations about the information sharing agreement that comes with the COVID Vaccine.  In the agreement states must share information on who received the vaccines including their personal identification number which would normally be a license or social security number.  Cuomo said this information could be used to identify illegal immigrants and that the federal government has no legitimate reason to want this information and called it extortion.  Cuomo says he is sending a letter to Washington questioning the need for the ID numbers.

Morning News Briefing

A Batavia woman is now under court supervision following her arrest on drug-related charges. The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force arrested 35-year-old Jennifer Moore of River Street. She was charged with two counts each of criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance. Those are class B felony crimes. Police allege that Moore sold crack cocaine to an agent of the Task Force on two separate occasions. Moore was arraigned and released under court supervision.

Even though New York voters have been casting ballots for a couple of weeks, today is the traditional in-person Election Day when everybody stands in line and complains…about the line. Polls in New York are open until 9 p.m. However, here’s the rub…if you think this is a normal year where you can stay up until midnight and get the answers, well, it probably won’t happen, no matter what any candidate says. Plenty of people this year voted by absentee ballot, and those won’t begin to be counted until sometime next week. The few likely almost guaranteed winners are those running unopposed in local races.

The Genesee County Legislature’s Human Services Committee has approved a proposal to end a longstanding agreement with the City of Batavia for the operation and funding of the City Youth Bureau. The full legislature could consider the measure November 11th. The move is expected to save the city money.

Genesee County officials are reporting six new COVID-19 cases. The new positive case resides in Batavia, Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield and Pavilion. Sixteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Orleans County reports three new cases and Wyoming County reports six additional cases.

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support has announced the launch of a new Alcohol Awareness campaign to caution people of the warning signs of excessive alcohol use, and where to go to get help. In addition to warning signs, the campaign will also help offer alternatives to using alcohol for stress management, at a time when the danger of excessive alcohol use is increased as a result of the pandemic. As New York State continues to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, excessive alcohol use may be especially risky to both mental and physical health. It can lead to or worsen existing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Alcohol also may decrease immune function, which can increase susceptibility to illness.

The Genesee Society of Model Engineers announces the cancellation of the fall “Great Batavia Train Show” that was scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15th, at the Call Arena at Genesee Community College in Batavia. The show that typically attracts 1,200 to 1,500 model railroad enthusiasts and railfans is the latest club event to become a casualty of COVID-19 restrictions. The next “Great Batavia Train Show” is scheduled for April 11.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo and Letitia James, the Attorney General for New York state announced Sunday that they thought he distribution plan put out by the federal government for the COVID vaccine is unworkable for people of color because it uses pharmacies, doctors offices and clinics as distribution sites.  The AG and governor argue that people of color do not have access to pharmacies or doctors offices and cite the number of people of color who don’t get the flu vaccine.  A 2007 national institute of health study shows that minorities don’t get the flu vaccine more because they don’t trust the shot than lack of access.  A 2017 study shows a lack of trust in healthcare professionals as the reason less people of color get vaccinated.  AG James indicated they may use litigation to change the federal government’s plan.

Governor Cuomo has announced a new method for handling travelers from out of state.  Instead of the 2 week quarantine any traveler coming from a state that does not border New York State must be able to show a negative COVID-19 test at most 3 days before they enter NY and then must quarantine for 3 days once in state.  Then they must take another COVID-19 test on the 4th day and that one must come up negative.  If it is positive they will have to go into mandatory quarantine.  There is still the option for travelers to quarantine for the 2 weeks if they refuse to take the tests.

The prices at the pump came down a little bit this week compared to last week.  In Batavia according to triple a the price for regular is 2.19, down one penny from last week and down 42 cents from last year.  The New York State average is 2.23.  Gabuddy.com is saying that the national price will drop below 2 dollars a gallon in the next 2 weeks.

With the switch to all cashless tolling coming up soon on the Thruway the question is, how will the system handle cars with snow on their license plates or plates that are going through the infamous Ny peel?  The state says that drivers are responsible for making sure their plate is legible to the system.  This means sweeping off snow before getting on the thruway and making sure the plate gets replaced if it starts to peel.  Your car will have several HD photos taken so as long as one of the plates is legible the system will still work.

The bills beat the patriots 24 to 21 last night leaving the patriots with the longest losing streak in their franchise since 2002.  The bills are now at 6 wins and 2 losses for the first time since 1993.  The bills next game will be against the Seattle Seahawks in buffalo on Sunday.

Morning News Briefing

Genesee Community College has cut 13 full-time jobs — a move necessitated by the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the two-year college’s financial picture. Justin Johnston is vice president of Development & External Affairs – He says “Notice was given but it doesn’t take place until the end of December.” Johnston said that six of those positions are traditional faculty members and seven are non-teaching administrative employees. He would not disclose the specific job titles. This latest action comes on the heels of the summer layoff of 27 part-timers at the college, which previously had enacted measures in reaction to reduced funding and revenue triggered by COVID-19.

Genesee County has confirmed one new case of COVID-19…that’s based on the most recent report from the County Health Department. The latest infection involves a person from Pembroke. Nine new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Genesee County was also informed late last week that a student at the Le Roy Junior/Senior High School tested positive for COVID-19. The last day the student was in the school was October 27th. All contacts have been identified and have been placed under mandatory quarantine.

An 18-year-old was killed in a crash early Sunday morning in Webster. Police say they found a vehicle had crashed into a tree. An area resident pulled six people from the car before police arrived. The driver, Brody Spade of Webster, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Five other occupants, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were taken to the hospital. They remain hospitalized with injuries ranging from minor to serious.

Just a reminder, New York’s expanded seatbelt law is now in effect. It requires every passenger, front and back seats, are now required to buckle up.

New York is replacing its COVID-19 travel advisory list with a new policy mandating travelers go through a testing process when coming to the state. The governor shared the news on a conference call with reporters, saying that with nearly every state on the advisory list, experts suggested shifting to a testing policy would now be more effective. Previously, travelers from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 were required to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival to New York. Now, the state’s new policy requires travelers must have tested negative for the virus within 3 days of their arrival to New York. The new policy goes into effect Wednesday.

A Buffalo man faces multiple felony counts after being pulled over in Albion. State Police arrested 35-year-old Jason Mesler. He was charged with felony aggravated DWI, felony DWI for having another conviction within the last ten years and felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. It happened Sunday at 4:30 a.m. Troopers had warned they would been looking for impaired drivers over the Halloween weekend.

Weekend News Brief

Genesee Community College has taken the difficult measure of reducing its staff by cutting 13 full time positions.  Notice was given on Friday and the last day for those cut will be at the end of December.  There has also been a pay freeze for the 2020-2021 year.  GCC blames the pandemic for the 10 percent decrease in enrollment, the switch to primarily virtual education, and the need to rely on reserve funds to make up the college budget.

Weekend COVID Update:  As of late Friday Afternoon Genesee County had 1 new case and 9 new people were on travel quarantine.  A student at LeRoy High School tested positive and contact tracing has finished.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 9 new people are on travel quarantine.  3 people have recovered.  There are 31 active cases in Genesee county and 34 in Orleans. The Health departments want to remind the public that restrictions on gatherings are still in place.  No get togethers of more than 50 people and please maintain social distancing and mask wearing.  Have any events outdoors if possible.  Recently there was a wedding in Clarendon that had over 100 participants and over 30 cases in 9 counties have been identified linked to the wedding.  As you are planning for holidays keep this in mind.

The home energy assistance program opens up on Monday the 2nd to new applicants.  The office of the aging assists older adults and persons with disabilities to get help with heating costs through the winter.  They strongly suggest you apply online at mybenefits.ny.gov.  If you don’t have a computer or online access you can pick up an application in the entryway at office of the aging.

New York State DMV is warning of a new text based phishing scam.  The texts are sent to your phone asking you to update your information with the DMV to maintain compliance with the Real ID regulations and provide a link to follow.  The DMV says that following the link may install malicious software on the phone.  If you receive these texts you should delete them immediately.

Governor Cuomo announced that because of an extension by the USDA the farmers food box program will be continuing through the end of the year.  About 35 million dollars, or 16 million pounds worth of meat, dairy and produce have been purchased and distributed in New York for this program.  The Nourish New York program is helping families out during the pandemic and has provided food to over 823 thousand households.

Afternoon News Brief

 

The extended deadline for motor vehicle registrations and licenses is coming up next week.  Governor Cuomo signed an extension because of the Coronavirus so that people would not have to get their renewals done while sheltering in place.  November 3rd, election day, is also the last day to get these done if you were supposed to before now.  You may have trouble getting license or registrations renewed now as many shops are saying they are booked solid through the 3rd.

Congressman Chris Jacobs is calling on Governor Cuomo and Albany to release the 3 billion dollars from the SMART act that has yet to be used in New York State Jacobs says that 1 billion of that money can be immediately sent to towns and counties that hadn’t received funding yet.  Of the 500 billion dollars sent out by the SMART act 161 billion is earmarked for communities that are smaller than 500 thousand people.  Most smaller counties in New York have yet to see any of that money.

There is a public hearing scheduled to go over the Genesee county budget on November 4th at the old county courthouse.  The hearing will be at 6pm on Wednesday.  You can pick up a copy of the budget at the county clerks office.

Judge and active community volunteer David Saleh has passed at 67 years of age after a short battle with brain cancer.  Saleh was a Batavia city court judge, the president of the Batavia lions, the committee chair of the city of Batavia republican party, and had been a lawyer for more than 40 years.  He used his law knowledge and expertise to help the Corfu volunteer fire department and the village of Corfu.  He is survived by his wife and 4 children.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 12 new cases and Orleans county has 1 new case.  1 person has recovered in Orleans county.  18 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  A staff member at Lyndonville central schools has tested positive.  The last day they were in school was last Friday.  There are 30 active cases in Genesee county and 36 in Orleans.

Genesee county police are working to make Halloween a bit safer by cracking down on impaired driving.  The statewide STOP-DWI effort starts today and will involve police and sheriffs being out in force checking drivers for alcohol and drug impairment.  Police checkpoints and more police vehicles on the road are expected to drop driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.  Police say to have a plan, don’t drink and drive, find a safe way home or you may never get home at all.

The city of Rochester is at the highest rate of gun related deaths since they started tracking the statistic in 2010.  275 people have ben killed with guns so far this year in the flour city.  Rochester city councilman Willie Lightfoot says this is the new normal.  “It’s not uncommon for me to be in my barbershop and hear gunshots.”  Rochester is 35th in murder rate in the nation and Buffalo is 14th tied with Philadelphia.

Local Agencies Participate in Halloween DWI Crackdown

The Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator announced that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and the Village of LeRoy Police Department is participating in the special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

Halloween is meant to be scary, but not when it comes to driving. When it comes to drunk driving Halloween can turn the roads into a horror fest. While we spend time trick or treating and hosting parties with our loved ones, law enforcement officers across New York State are taking to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts starts TODAY, October 30, 2020 and will end on Sunday, November 1, 2020.  New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.  Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.

The STOP-DWI Halloween Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by STOP-DWI NY and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.  Throughout the remainder of the year the Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign will also target Thanksgiving and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

You can help to make a difference by having a Sober Plan!  Download our mobile app – “Have a Plan” and you will always be able to find a safe ride home www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp Impaired driving is completely preventable.  All it takes is a little planning. Have a safe and happy Halloween Weekend!

Afternoon News Brief

The law that makes seatbelt use mandatory for all passengers 16 and up in New York State goes into effect on Sunday November 1st.  Currently, passengers 16 and older are only legally required to wear seat belts in the front passenger seat of a vehicle.  “We’ve known for decades that seat belts save lives and with this measure we are further strengthening our laws and helping to prevent needless tragedies,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.  All children under the age of 16 must wear seat belts and children younger than 8 years old must use a proper child system.

Governor Cuomo has handed the power to enact and enforce mask mandates in schools to the towns and counties.  Local governments will now be responsible for whether the school districts will have to wear masks and what rules they must follow.  No word on how this will effect private schools.

There has been a much larger early voter turnout than normal in western New York and across the country.  As of yesterday at 4pm about 1 tenth of registered voters in Genesee county have voted already.  Just over 49 hundred absentee ballots were sent out and about 33 hundred have been returned.  So far 61 million people have voted early in the US mostly in Texas, Florida and California.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 4 new cases and 13 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has 6 new cases and 16 new people are on travel quarantine.  2 people have recovered.  There are 18 active cases in Genesee county and 38 in Orleans.  Elba’s pre kindergarten program will be going to 100 percent distance learning until November 9th after 1 student at Elba elementary tested positive for COVID 19.  1 student in Albion Middle school tested positive, the health department says that the student was not on campus after October 22nd and contact tracing has been completed.

Sheriff Sheron has received an endorsement from the Genesee county Sheriffs office Administrative staff.  In a press release Sheron say “I am sincerely humbled by the endorsement of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Administrative staff.  I thank them for their support of re-election to Sheriff of Genesee County and for their complete dedication to the citizens of Genesee County.”

Wendy’s is giving out free chicken sandwiches from now till November 8th.  You can get 1 a week by downloading the Wendy’s mobile app and ordering anything off the drive thru menu or using their app to order then showing the qr code at the restaurant.

The Buffalo Sabres have signed Victor Olofsson to a 2 year 3.05 million dollar a year contract.  The 25-year-old had 42 points in 54 games in 2019-20 before the regular season was cut short. His goals per game ranked seventh in franchise history while his points per game ranked 10th.  Despite missing 15 games because of an injury, Olofsson earned a spot on the league’s all-rookie team. Before his injury, he led all NHL rookies with 16 goals and 35 points.

Morning News Briefing

Orleans County Sheriff’s deputies are releasing new information regarding the case of Natale Huntington, as they say they continue to look for the child’s parents. Deputies say they were called to a home in Clarendon Wednesday morning for the report of a missing 15-year-old and a missing 2-month-old. Following an investigation, an AMBER Alert was issued. They say Natalie was found safe in Auburn with extended family members. She is currently in the custody of Orleans County Child and Family Services. The whereabouts of the child’s parents, 16-year-old Kevin Huntington and 15-year-old Alyssa Bel, are currently unknown. Deputies say they fled on foot after leaving the child in Auburn.

Genesee County’s proposed budget for next year will keep taxes below the state mandated cap. The 2021 recommended General Fund (operating) budget is $110 million, that’s down from the current year spending plan. The county manager says he is proposing a tax increase of 1.28%. The recommended budget will tap into the county’s ‘rainy day fund,’ technically called the unappropriated fund balance to the tune of $2.3 million. Officials say it is entirely appropriate to dig a little deeper into the account during the current pandemic.

The City of Batavia Police Department has been made aware of small denomination counterfeit bills being passed at local businesses. The Batavia Police Department is reminding everyone to check their money carefully. If you feel that you may be victim in receiving counterfeit bills, please report it to the Police Department. Information on the current counterfeit cases is not being release at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Health officials have documented four new COVID-19 cases in Genesee County. The newly confirmed infections involve people from Batavia, Bergen, Darien and LeRoy. The ages range from under 20 to over 70 and include one elementary school student. Orleans County reports six new cases while Wyoming County confirms two additional cases.

One million New Yorkers cast ballots over the first four days of early voting, state elections officials said Wednesday. People around the state have been enduring wait times of up to several hours to cast votes since early voting started Saturday. About 8% of New York’s roughly 13 million registered voters have turned out over the four days, according to the unofficial figures from the state Board of Elections. The number of voters statewide has increased each day since Sunday.

The U.S. Department of Justice has requested data related to the number of nursing home residents in New York who died due to COVID-19, which has been shrouded in secrecy for months. The request seeks the number of residents who died from COVID-19 inside private nursing homes as well as those who died after being transferred to a hospital, other medical facilities or any other location, according to a letter first reported by the New York Post.

Afternoon News Brief

California has been added to the quarantine list joining 44 other states that qualify for restrictions.  Massachusetts also meets the requirements but joins new jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut as states that are meeting the criteria but will not be on the quarantine list.  Cuomo has announced that he is weighing scrapping the quarantine and implementing rapid covid testing for travelers.

As more and more kids are getting online with or without their parent’s supervision the Batavia Police department has released a video presentation to help parents keep their kids safe from internet predators and prevent sexting and cyber bullying.  The video is available to view on our website wbtai.com.

Governor Cuomo says that NY has the 2nd lowest infection rate of all 50 states.  The hot spots are down to 3.8 percent and the state as a whole is at 1.5 percent.  Cuomo cautioned people making plans for Thanksgiving that they should not travel across state lines or they would have to quarantine.  Cuomo warns that small gatherings can spread covid as much as large gatherings.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 4 new cases ad 25 new people on travel quarantine.  Orleans County has 6 new cases and 4 new people are on travel quarantine.  9 people in Orleans county have recovered.  There are 14 active cases in Genesee county and 34 in Orleans.  The Genesee Orleans health departments announced yesterday that a wedding in clarendon on the 17th is the source for many covid cases and they are asking people who went to the wedding to contact the health department.

Schools are warning parents who have remote learning at home to be on guard for fake school workers.  A man in Scottsville went to a students home and identified themselves as a school worker and said their child was supposed to go on a field trip with them.  They were asked to leave and police were called.  The man was described as Caucasian, in his 40s about 200 lbs, balding with glasses and driving a dark gray Honda Civic.

A nationwide poll has found that bills fans, specifically the bills mafia ranks number 3, in complaining.  According to MI Bets, the Bills fan base ranks third in the NFL among fans who complain the most behind the New England Patriots at number two, and the Dallas Cowboys at number one.  The poll surveyed 5000 NFL fans from around the country.

BPD Releases Internet Safety Presentation for Parents

The Batavia Police Department has released an Internet Safety Presentation for Parents and Community Members today. The presentation is in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Netsmartz.org.

It features several tips for parents on how to help keep their children safe in the online world, and prevent sexting / cyberbullying.

The presentation can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Q81gRAKFQ.

Counterfeit Bills Being Passed in the Area

The City of Batavia Police Department has been made aware of small denomination counterfeit bills being passed at local businesses. The Batavia Police Department is reminding everyone to check their money carefully. If you feel that you may be victim in receiving counterfeit bills, please report it to the Police Department at 585-345-6350.

A few simple items to check for on US Currency that are hard to recreate on counterfeit bills:

 – Color Shifting Ink – the bill denomination on the bottom right hand corner has the right color shifting ink.

Raised Printing – To detect raised printing, take your fingernail and run it carefully down the collar/jacket. You should feel some vibration on your nail from the ridges.

Blurry Borders/printing/text – significantly blurry borders, printing, or text, it is an automatic red flag.

Red & Blue Threads – If you take a close look at an authentic bill, you will see that there are small red and blue threads woven in and out within the fabric of the bill.

Watermark – In many of the new bills, the watermark is actually a replica of the face on the bill.

 Information on the current counterfeit cases is not being release at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Afternoon News Brief

Tis’ the season to be thankful, that you are allowed to go home. SUNY schools are implementing a new policy which is supposed to protect the families of students who are going home for the holidays. In order for the students to leave campus they have to test negative for COVID 19. Students will be tested at most 10 days prior to leaving campus. If they test positive they will be required to quarantine on campus till they test negative before going home. There has been no announcement on how this will be enforced and the plan for testing will be announced by November 5th.

Byron, Pavilion and Stafford are getting more money t help with water infrastructure. Byron will get nearly 10 million dollars half in a grant and half in a loan to extend safe potable water to about 600 people. Pavilion will get 567 thousand dollars as a loan to build a new 300 thousand gallon water tank and pipeline to serve 2495 people. Stafford is getting 3 million dollars about half and half loan and grant to extend water to 185 residents who don’t have safe drinking and cooking water. This money is coming from the USDA and is part of 891 million dollars being sent out by the Trump Administration to 43 states.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 5 new cases and 13 new people are on travel quarantine. 2 people have recovered. The case at premiere Genesee tested negative soon after testing positive so has been removed from the numbers for Genesee county. Orleans county has 19 new cases and 16 new people on travel quarantine. 5 of the new cases are students at Albion elementary, middle and high school. 4 of the students were not in school all of last week. Contact tracing has been completed for the 1 student who was in school. There are 19 active cases in Genesee county and 37 in Orleans.

It may just be a piece of plastic and metal but for many people the political yard signs are an expression of their first amendment right to free speech. For other, they are so offensive they can’t help themselves. Police in communities across western NY are reporting a rash of political sign thefts in the last 2 weeks. At least 4 people have reported signs stolen in Batavia. Others have reported signs stolen in Amherst, Niagara county, Chautauqua County, Rochester and Buffalo. The majority of thefts have targeted trump signs but at least one occurrence here in Batavia was teenagers stealing Biden signs. Stealing political signs in NY is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of up to 1000 dollars and up to 90 days in jail.

The case of the 2 teens who were arrested after the deadly shooting in Lockport a week and a half ago has been turned over to a grand jury. One of the boys has confessed to the shooting saying that they were trying to hit 2 people they knew were at the Halloween party. The shooting killed one person and injured 5 others.

The City Council wants to build a new police station on the Alva Place parking lot, the Genesee country Farmers Market is not pleased with that plan. The market has moved 11 times in the past 15 years and each move costs them organization and customers. According to Elizabeth Carr, representative for the Market, “it takes at least two years “to ramp back up to full capacity.” City Council President Eugene Jankowski says he is surprised by the displeasure as they had proposed the police station months ago and no one complained.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia Police Department accepted almost 300 pounds of prescription drugs during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Take Back Day. Police accepted drugs from 142 vehicles. This year, the department partnered with staff from United Memorial Medical Center who were on hand to accept sharps. The service was free and anonymous, no questions asked. This month’s event was the DEA’s 19th nationwide event since its inception 10 years ago. Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that remaining Deer Management Permits in several of the State’s Wildlife Management Units will be available to hunters beginning Nov. 1. He says “New York’s hunters are setting records this year, but there are still opportunities for Deer Management Permits across the state. Deer populations are generally at or above desired levels.”

Genesee County health officials now report another five new positive COVID-19 cases. The new positive cases involve residents from Alabama, Bergen, Bethany, and LeRoy. The individuals are in their 20s and 60s. Confirmed cases in Orleans County jumped by 19 while in Wyoming County, six new cases were reported.

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says a husband and wife were killed Sunday afternoon in a vehicle crash in the Town of Geneseo. 85-year-old Mary Beardsley of Dansville pulled in from of a farm vehicle. She and her husband, 84-year-old Willard Beardsley were killed. The other driver sustained minor injuries and was taken to Strong Memorial. The crash remains under investigation.

Local Results of Drug Take Back

News Release

The Batavia Police Department accepted almost 300 pounds of prescription drugs during the DEA’s Drug Take Back Event held in the Alva Place parking lot on October 24th. Between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM, officers accepted drugs from 142 vehicles. This year, the department partnered with staff from United Memorial Medical Center who were on hand to accept sharps. The Batavia Police Department would like to thank UMMC and all the citizens who participated to help keep these drugs off the streets!

Victims Identified in Geneseo Double-fatal Crash

News Release

GENESEO-Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty advises of a double fatal motor vehicle crash that occurred Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday October 25, 2020 at approximately 3:07 pm, Sheriff’s Deputies and emergency personnel responded to the intersection of Triphammer Road and Pole Bridge Road in the Town of Geneseo for a two (2) vehicle motor vehicle crash with reported serious injury.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a passenger vehicle being operated by Mary J. Beardsley, age 85 from Dansville NY, had been travelling southbound on Pole Bridge Road along with her husband 84 year old Willard A. Beardsley. Mary Beardsley came to a stop at the intersection of Triphammer Road before entering into the intersection to continue going south and pulled into the path of an oncoming farm truck.

Responding emergency personnel had to extricate Mary and Willard Beardsley from the vehicle. Willard was pronounced deceased at the scene. Mary Beardsley was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

The driver of the farm truck was identified as David. G. Vandeweert, age 56 from Geneseo NY. Vandeweert was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Investigating for the Sheriff’s Office were members ofthe Command Staff, Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division, Forensic Identification Unit (FIU), Communications Bureau, Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU), Drone Unit, and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Unit, all under the Incident Command of Sergeant Matthew Orman of the Patrol Division. Responding emergency personnel included members from the Geneseo Fire Department, Geneseo Ambulance, Livingston County EMS, Lima Fire Department, East Avon and Avon Fire Departments.

The crash remains under investigation by our Office with the preliminary findings being non-criminal in nature and instead a horrible accident

Halloween Safety Tips from the City of Batavia Fire and Police Departments

It’s Fall and the Halloween celebration will soon be upon us. As in the past, there will be children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches –these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.

Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a safe one.

Taking simple fire and personal safety precautions can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun.

Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano of the City Fire Department, Chief Shawn Heubusch of the City Police Department in conjunction with the United States Fire Administration,National Safety Council along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would like to offer the following safety tips;

• Please follow and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween celebrations, which include;

Having a virtual Halloween costume contest

Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

 Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

• Stay in groups while trick-or-treating while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
• Costumes should be well fitting, flame resistant, highly visible and free of long trailing fabric
• Always test makeup for potential skin allergy before applying
• Remember to look both ways when crossing streets
• Always stay on sidewalks
• Provide children with flashlights and glow sticks for visibility
• Avoid dark houses
• Examine all treats before eating
• Enjoy with caution
• Motorists are reminded to take the following precautions;
watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs
enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
Chief Napolitano highly recommends keeping Halloween decorations away from any open flames, light bulbs and heaters. It is very easy for decorations such as dried flowers, cornstalks, crepe paper to catch on fire.Additionally, Napolitano recommends keeping exits clear of any decorations so as to not block your exits in the event of a fire and testing your smoke detectors to ensure that they are working or request fire department staff to inspect and test for you.
Chief Heubusch advises that a 9:00 P.M. curfew is in place for all trick-or-treating activities. Those that do go out for the evening are reminded to ensure that they are dressed in reflective clothing and that young trick-or-treaters are always accompanied by an adult. See and Be Seen. Also, do not attempt to go to porches that are dark or otherwise not welcoming to trick-or-treaters and respect other’s property. Lastly, if a resident has any questions or concerns regarding any of these tips, they can contact the City of Batavia Fire Headquarters at 585-345-6375.

Morning News Briefing

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate a vehicle crash that left one person seriously injured. It happened shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday night on Main Road in Pembroke. According to authorities, a red Mustang went off the roadway, struck a pole, a garage, and then went into a creek. The back half of the vehicle was sheared off. The driver was not coherent after being extricated and was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight with an apparent serious injury.

Sheriff’s deputies say two people were hurt, one seriously, when two vehicles crashed Sunday on State Route 33 in Stafford. 17-year-old Ryan T. Ledermann of Webster was driving westbound on Route 33 when he attempted to pass an uninvolved tractor-trailer. The vehicle left its lane of travel and entered into the eastbound lane. The vehicle struck the front driver side of an oncoming pickup driven by 56-year-old Charles P. Fales of Batavia. Ledermann was taken to Strong Memorial with apparent serious injuries. Fales sustained less serious injuries and was also taken to Strong. The crash remains under investigation.

The state is gearing up to spend big money for highway projects in Genesee and Orleans counties. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will spend $357 million for the renewal of roadways in every region of New York State. These infrastructure renewal projects will incorporate the use of environmentally conscious construction techniques. $1.3 million has been earmarked to resurface Route 98 from Route 20 to the City of Batavia (South Limit) in the Towns of Alexander and Batavia. $1.2 million has been authorized to resurface Route 237 from the Genesee County Line to the Village of Holley (South Limit) in the Towns of Clarendon and Murray in Orleans County.

Congressman Chris Jacobs has cosponsored the Preexisting Conditions Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 692). He calls the measure critical to the well-being of the most vulnerable in our community. The Act would preserve access to health care for people with preexisting conditions if the Affordable Care Act is significantly changed or repealed.

A grand jury has handed down a six-count indictment charging two people with theft at the Target store in the Town of Batavia. One of the top counts facing Kahel Suttles and Ericka McBride is felony third-degree grand larceny. They’re accused of stealing $3,200 in merchandize in February. The pair is also accused of possessing stolen property from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Marshalls. It is alleged in count five that they possessed tinfoil that they used to cover security tags to prevent sensors from being activated when merchandise was taken from the stores.

From the courthouse…Paul Hussey is indicted for the crime of bail jumping in the second degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 24, 2019 Hussey did not appear in Genesee County Court in connection with a charge against him.

Court action is pending for a Batavia man facing a felony charge. Batavia police arrested 19-year-old Christopher Good, charging him with first-degree burglary. Police said Good allegedly unlawfully entered a home and caused physical injury to an occupant. He was arraigned and released under supervision pending further action by a court.

We’ll know more later today about a deadly car crash in the Town of Geneseo Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s office confirmed there was a fatality but wouldn’t say much more.

Weekend News Brief

Ready for some pricey popcorn with extra butter?  Movie theaters are back open across New York State.  Theaters are only open at 25 percent and many have not opened yet but legally they can open now.  Many theaters have completely online or app based ticketing, refreshment ordering, socially distanced seating and check in.  Find out what’s playing near you.

An audit of waterways across new York state put together by the comptrollers office found that 83 water treatment or sewer systems do not report overflows which is illegal.  What this means to the people living in those areas is that there is no report when sewage backs up into the groundwater or even the drinking water.  They didn’t release which municipalities are not signed up but said that the public can get alerts on water issues if you sign up for NY Alerts.  Get the link to sign up on wbtai.com.

https://alert.ny.gov/

COVID Update:  From Friday afternoon, Genesee county has 2 new cases and 5 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has 3 new cases and 14 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are 7 active cases in Genesee county and 23 in Orleans.

The Batavia police collaborative advisory stakeholder group met for the third time to talk about the topics restorative justice Genesee Justice, implicit bias training, the juvenile diversion program, and procedural justice standards of conduct, community relations, and biases in policing.  Experts on each of these subjects addressed the committee and talked about how they are already being addressed in the Batavia police department.

Congressman Chris Jacobs penned a press release praising the USDA on releasing another 500 million dollars to support the farmers to families food box program.  This is the fourth round of purchases for the program that will award contracts for deliveries between Nov. 1st and Dec. 31st. The program was launched on May 15 in response to COVID-19 and to date has delivered more than 110 million boxes to American families.

Governor Cuomo praised the Liberty Square 14.5 million dollar construction project on east main st in Batavia as an “exciting new project in the City of Batavia that will help our veterans who have given so much for our nation. Providing them and other area residents with new housing will provide comfort and financial security during a difficult time.” The new building will have 55 apartments and 28 of them are set aside for formerly homeless veterans

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced Thursday that he is weighing the option of changing the way people coming from states that have a 10 percent or higher COVID testing positivity rate are handled when coming into New York state.  Cuomo said they may transition to rapid testing for all people entering the state from quarantine states instead of requiring a 14 day self quarantine.  Cuomo said this after New Jersey and Connecticut began having a high enough rate to warrant the 14 day quarantine for travelers and Cuomo said it would be impossible to ask them to quarantine as so much work travel goes between New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The governors of New Jersey and Connecticut said they will change how they handle the quarantines to adjust which states are on the list.

There is a Pro-Trump pro 2nd Amendment and pro police rally Saturday starting at 3:15 in the afternoon in front of the Batavia City hall.  The Rolling Patriots will start out at Walmart at 2 o clock and do a slow parade to City Hall where there will be speakers including pastors.  Care a Van ministries and Extreme Streetwear will be there.  At 330 there will be a march down main street and Batavia police will be blocking off the roads.  This event is organized by Anne Scalia the head of Glow4Babies.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 0 new positive cases and 8 new people are on travel quarantine.  1 of the people who tested positive on Wednesday is a resident at premiere Genesee.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 8 new people are on travel quarantine.  Genesee county has 7 active cases and Orleans has 23.

The NTSB has released its preliminary report on what lead up to the plane crash that killed Steve Barnes and His niece in Pembroke NY on October 2nd.  Investigators say before the plane started to fall, Barnes, who was piloting the plane, told a radar controller “everything’s fine.”  They say the controller saw the plane falling quickly at a speed of almost 14,000 feet a minute and lost contact with Barnes.  According to the report, the plane made a 360-degree right turn before it lost contact with radar.  The NTSB says they’re still investigating and this is not their final report.

19 year old Olivia Cinquino of Clarence has been charged with petty larceny after she was caught stealing trump signs form front yards.  The person who called police followed Cinquino in their car and when police arrived they saw many signs in her vehicle.

South Byron and Elba Fire departments are both having chicken barbeque fundraisers on Sunday starting at 11:30 till sold out.  Cost is the same, 12 dollars for both.  Go to the Elba firemen’s recreation hall or the South Byron Fire hall to get some chicken!

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County Board of Elections says they’ll be rolling out their new electronic poll books for the upcoming election, beginning with Early Voting tomorrow. The new election management tool allows jurisdictions to see voter turnout in near real-time, monitor the status of the Poll Pads, and remotely lock or disable a Poll Pad if there is a security issue at a polling place. Voters will have the ability to check into their polling location just as they always have — by giving their name and address to the Inspectors. The difference is now they will sign the poll pad instead of the big books. Voters will continue to use paper ballots for all voting.

Tomorrow (10/24) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Genesee County law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. There will be two drop-off locations on Saturday – Pembroke Town Hall, Route 5 at Route 77 in Pembroke and Alva Place Parking Lot in Batavia (across the street from Batavia Showtime movie theater located in the Genesee Country Mall). The Batavia location will also accept sharps. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked. Collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, which includes masks for citizens dropping off medication.

 

For more than 20 years, Genesee Community College has invited the public to its Main Campus in Batavia on Veterans Day for two very important events — welcoming potential new students with a virtual Academic Open House and honoring veterans for their service to our country with a Veterans Day Ceremony. However, COVID has mixed things up this year. This year the college has prepared a video recognition that will be accessible to all on GCC’s website at any time on Wednesday, Nov. 11. In addition, potential students of all ages and their families are strongly encouraged to register and join GCC’s Virtual Open House also on Nov. 11 beginning at 9:30 a.m., which includes a schedule of virtual presentations and Q&A sessions.

Open Enrollment for those on Medicare continues until Dec. 7. The NY Connects/Genesee County Office for the Aging continues to be a resource that has information on all plans available for Genesee County residents. Even during COVID-19, they’re still helping you with your choices. Just call the office weekdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Genesee County deputies arrested 41-year-old Aurello Aragon-Figueroa, of Chapel Road in Byron. He was charged with third-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing, both felony crimes. He was arrested after allegedly not reporting income that he was earning and filing applications that were used to determine eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits without citing that income. As a result, it is alleged he received $9,321 in SNAP benefits that he was not entitled to.

Thirty-year-old Jillian Hupp of LeRoy was sentenced this week to a one-year conditional discharge in Batavia Town Court, after pleading guilty to one count of petit larceny. An investigation by the Genesee County Department of Social Services allegedly revealed that Hupp failed to report that the father of her children was also residing in the home, and she failed to report his wages. Hupp subsequently received $2,776 in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) she was not entitled to. Hupp accepted a plea deal to the reduced charge of petit larceny.

Afternoon News Brief

Afternoon Update: The Orleans county health department says that a Holley High School student has tested positive for COVID 19.  They were last on campus on Wednesday morning and were sent home.  They are a member of the white hawk cohort and were not physically at school Monday or Tuesday.  Contact tracing has begun.

There is a lack of trust between Genesee county and the towns because of the revenue disbursement agreement stoppage and then resumption.  Even though the disbursements have started again the town of Bethany received 16.2 percent less than was promised to it in the initial agreement.  Bethany town supervisor Carl Hyde Jr said that he’s not convinced that the municipalities will receive the amounts the county has publicized for 2021, either.  “Until it shows up in the town’s bank account, I’m not taking them at their word for it. They took an agreement that all the towns (and villages) worked hard at to come up with and signed and agreed to, and they just threw it away.”  Genesee county has announced that it will send 10 million dollars to the towns and villages in 2021.

An Erie county man has been arrested and charged for a rape in Darien back in august of 2014.  Genesee county sheriffs deputies say that 35 year old Nicholas Turnquist of west falls has been accused of a multitude of sex offenses across Genesee Wyoming and Erie counties.  He was arraigned Wednesday and is held without bail in Wyoming county jail.

Two Lockport teenage boys have been arrested and charged in the shooting that took the life of 20 year old Cheyenne Farewell of medina and injured 5 others at a Halloween party on early Saturday morning.  Security camera video from across the street show the two boys walking up to the closed door of the garage and blind firing 6 shots through the door before running off around the next door house.  The boys are 16 and 17 and their identities have not been released.  They are each charged with intentional homicide and criminal possession of a weapon.  They are held on 500 thousand dollar bail or 1 million dollar bond.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 3 new cases and 2 people have recovered.  5 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has 6 new cases and 3 new people are on travel quarantine.  1 of the positive cases is a student at Albion elementary school.  The health department says they were not in school 48 hours before becoming symptomatic and there has been no direct contact in school.  There are 7 active cases in Genesee county and 23 in Orleans.

 

The Batavia Town Board is gearing up for public hearings on a budget as well as water and sewer rates. The public hearing on the $5.1 million preliminary spending plan is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Town Hall. As reported first on The Batavian last week, the board raised the amount of its unexpended fund balance to be allocated to balance the 2021 budget after receiving news that Genesee County authorized a final $1 million revenue distribution payment for 2020 and pledged about $1.7 million for 2021. The budget public session will follow a 7 p.m. public hearing on the sewer rate for District No. 1 and No. 2 in the town, and a 7:05 p.m. public hearing on the water rates.

The Alexander Central School District board of education will be conducting a superintendent job search to replace Catherine Huber, who has accepted the position of district superintendent of the Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES in Delaware County. Board President Brian Paris confirmed that she has left the Genesee County school after nearly four years as its chief administrative officer.

The City of Batavia Fire Department joins fire departments nationwide in promoting the annual “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery” campaign on Sunday. Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano encourages all residents to adopt the simple, life-saving habit of changing smoke alarm batteries when they change their clocks back from daylight saving time to standard time. Today’s home fires grow in size faster than ever, typically allowing as little as one to two minutes to escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds, due to current home furnishings burning faster and producing more toxic gases and smoke.

New COVID-19 cases have returned to Genesee County. In Wednesday’s update, officials said three new cases were confirmed. The latest infections involve people age 40-70. Five new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Health officials say six new cases were identified in Orleans County while officials in Wyoming County confirm six new cases as well.

An Elmira-based bank is extending its reach to the Buffalo market. Chemung Canal Trust Company has announced that it will expand its lending operations to serve the City of Buffalo, as well as Erie and Niagara Counties, with the intention of opening a Loan Production Office in the near future. Chemung Canal Trust Company, headquartered in Elmira is a full-service community bank with full trust powers. Established in 1833, it is the oldest locally-owned and managed community bank in New York State.

Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Tom Reed and Congressman Josh Gottheimer, along with 26 of their colleagues within the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, sent a letter to Congressional leadership and President Trump urging both sides to work together to get a bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal across the finish line as soon as possible. The group of lawmakers said they are just days away from the election, after which the prospect of moving stimulus legislation forward is very dim until early February. The lawmakers said in a press release every day that passes, is another missed opportunity to deliver relief for American families and businesses who will continue to suffer needlessly as a result of Congress failing to do its job.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is celebrating his endorsement and continued partnership with the Business Council of New York State as he continues his reelection campaign. Hawley says he is both thrilled and humbled to continue his push for better business laws and fair treatment in government with the backing of the Business Council.

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee this week approved a special use permit that opens the door for the creation of two apartments on the second floor of the Main Street Pizza building at 206 E. Main Street. The next step is to finalize the engineering drawings and move the project into the construction phase.

Morning News Briefing

For the second day in a row, Genesee County reports no new COVID-19 cases. However, fourteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Once again, the news is not as good to our south and north. Wyoming County reports two new cases of the virus. In Orleans County, four new cases were reported. Three new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that Arizona and Maryland have been added to New York’s COVID-19 travel advisory. No areas have been removed. Neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania now meet the criteria for the travel advisory — however, given the interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport, the top dog says a quarantine on these states is not practically viable. That said, New York State highly discourages, to the extent practical, non-essential travel to and from these states while they meet the travel advisory criteria.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is celebrating his endorsement and continued partnership with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as he continues his reelection campaign. Hawley, a gun owner himself and a firm believer in the Second Amendment, is proud to continue his relationship with the NRA.

Although COVID-19 mandates are forcing students and teachers to cover their faces, they “can’t mask the Batavia pride,” according to Kathie Scott, public information coordinator for the Batavia City School District. On Monday, Scott posted information about “Can’t Mask the Batavia Pride!” on the district’s redesigned website, writing that the campaign is “in response to all the reorienting that has been required to reopen school – from social distancing and face mask mandates, to hybrid and virtual learning and sport delays/cancellations.” The school Superintendent informed the school board about the campaign at its meeting Monday night. Scott said the campaign “has been in the works for a while,” with discussions taking place with the fire department, police department and others throughout the community to make it happen.

St. John Fisher College has announced it will be transitioning to remote learning for the remainder of the fall semester. This comes a day after the college reported 52 cases of COVID-19 in the campus population over the past nine days. Tuesday, the college reported a total of 64 cases since Oct. 10. In a statement to the college community, the school said that wastewater surveillance demonstrates increasing rates of the causal agent of the virus. It added that, while the college is at a level of confirmed cases that does not require it to take action by the state, it is taking this measure out of an abundance of caution for students, staff and the community.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is urging the Senate to pass the bipartisan Act, called the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act of 2020…of course, it’s the Restaurants Act. The Act would create a $120 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund to address the unique long-term challenges of food service and drinking establishments and ensure they can maintain operations, pay workers, and keep their doors open. It would provide economic relief to independent restaurants navigating unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

Afternoon News Brief

Drug treatment professionals are on alert after a person in Oneida tested positive for the drug carfentanil.  The highly addictive and in many cases deadly man-made opioid is considered to be 10 thousand times more powerful than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.  In normal use the drug is used as a tranquilizer for elephants.  Drug dealers usually mix it with other drugs to make them stronger and this leads to overdoses at higher rates.  Oneida county officials say a single grain of salt sized dose can kill.  Chief Clinical officer for GCASA Kathy Hodgins says they are prepared to test anyone suspected of using carfentanil but there have not been any cases reported in Genesee or Orleans counties.  Officials warn that the drug is so powerful that even multiple doses of Narcan may not be able to stop an overdose from killing the person.

COVID update:  Genesee county has no new cases and 8 people have recovered.  There are 8 new people on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has 8 new cases and 13 people have recovered.  There are 10 new people on travel quarantine.  There are a total of 9 active cases in Genesee county and 13 in Orleans.

Governor Cuomo announced today that 5 more states although he didn’t say which ones, are now on the travel quarantine list.  According to the rules that Cuomo put in place along with the governors of Connecticut and New Jersey both of those states would have to go onto the list starting this week as they are also experiencing higher than 10 percent positive rates.  But Cuomo says that imposing the quarantines on new jersey and Connecticut would be unworkable as there is too much work travel between the three states.  The governor of Connecticut says that he will change the rules for travel restrictions as quarantining ¾ of the united states is unmanageable.  43 states are now on the travel quarantine list as case numbers have been skyrocketing across the country. There is good news though, as the number of cases may be going through the roof the number of deaths per day continues to fall going from an average of a thousand a day in September to less than 700 a day average.

Batavia city schools have unveiled their new Batavia pride campaign called Cant mask Batavia pride!  The campaign seeks to instill pride in Batavia and the community and is giving away Batavia devil head on a stick masks and asking people in the community to record a 30 second or less video with the mask.  People are encouraged to say a positive and encouraging message for the students, staff or families of Batavia CSD.  There is also a new app available on android or iPhone called Batavia CSD, NY.

The bills failed to topple the champion chiefs on Monday night in a 26 to 17 loss.  The bills got a field goal and 2 touchdowns but couldn’t keep up with the chiefs running game.  Buffalo still leads the AFC East and will play the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon.

Morning News Briefing

Residents of the Town of Bergen can share their thoughts on the new adopted 2021 Preliminary Budget one week from today during a public hearing. The public hearing on the tax cap override will be at 7 p.m., followed by public hearings on the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department budget at 7:15 and on the 2021 Town budget at 7:30. Facing an unprecedented loss of revenues from the county as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board began cutting 2020 expenses this past spring. Board members took a reduction in pay; some personnel appropriations were trimmed; projects and equipment purchases were put on hold. The moves helped offset a 14.4-percent loss in revenues from Genesee County and 20-percent withholding in various state aid. Again, those hearings are October 27th.

Unlike a bunch of areas west of Binghamton, Genesee County reports no new cases of COVID-19. Eight people have been placed in precautionary quarantine because of travel from restricted states. It’s a different story in Orleans and Wyoming Counties. Eight new cases have been reported in Orleans while seven new infections have been reported in Wyoming County.

In a time when there is no certainty, one thing is clear – local gas prices are holding steady…for now. It is 2020, after all. AAA of Western and Central New York says right now that Batavia gas prices are $2,20 a gallon, which represents no change since last week. The New York State average is $2.25 – the same as last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.70.

The Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging at Rochester Area Community Foundation is introducing new ways to connect with the great services it supports for older adults in Genesee County. A new website, askmarshall.net, shares how the Marshall family of programs supports healthy aging and also provides easy access to resources for aging well.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24 at locations across the country. The nationwide event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for legislation to support live event venues and small- and mid-sized businesses that are struggling to recover after months of limited operations due to the coronavirus crisis. The bipartisan Act would create a new loan program to fund six months of employer and operating expenses for businesses that have lost substantial revenue and need support that the Paycheck Protection Program has been unable to adequately provide. The NY Senator said…the recent uptick in coronavirus cases across New York is a reminder that this pandemic will be with us well into next year.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced that the COVID 19 hotspots in New York are getting better.  The hotspot’s rate of infection is down to 3.3 percent from 5.5 last week.  The state rate is down to 1.2 percent or 1.1 percent if you facto out the hotspots.  Cuomo also noted the unemployment rate is down to 9.7 percent form the 16 percent we saw at the height of the pandemic.  The National unemployment rate is now below 7.9 percent.

How do you like them apples?  Apparently quite a lot as over 5000 dollars worth of honeycrisp apples were stolen from a western NY apple orchard back on September 23rd.  Sanger Farms in Niagara county lost hundreds of apples, owners say the trees were picked clean and no apples were left on the ground.  The trees were in an area where the public was not allowed to do u-pick.  New York State Police are investigating.

Gas prices have not changed at all from last week across most of western NY.  Gasbuddy.com says that this is because of the lack of movement both on the road and in Washington DC on a new stimulus package.  Batavia has an average price of 2.20 and last year that was 2.65.  The national average is 2.17.

The Transit Authority Police Benevolent Association has announced its endorsement of David Krzemien for election as Genesee county sheriff.  Krzemien is a retired member of the association, was their president for 3 years and served on the union board for 7 years.

Morning News Briefing

We can all look forward to some encouraging news later this week. Gov. Cuomo says movie theaters outside NYC can reopen, with limitations. Theaters can only open in counties that have COVID-19 positivity rates of less than 2 percent on a 14-day average and do not have any cluster zones. Theaters will be subject to rigorous state guidance and enforcement.

Ski resorts can reopen with 50 percent indoor capacity and with strict health and safety protocols under state-issued guidance starting Friday, November 6. There are rules and regulations, of course…masks required at all times, except when eating/drinking or skiing; Social distancing between parties required at all times; Lifts are restricted to members of the same party and ski lessons are limited to no more than 10 people. Resorts must also reduce outdoor capacity on mountains by 25% during “peak” days or if multiple trails are closed due to unseasonable conditions.

Another familiar retail staple is gone. J.C. Penny in Batavia closed up shop at 5 p.m. Sunday. J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May after years of sales declines and months of disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.

The single use plastic bag ban is coming back after months of not being enforced. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that the DEC will begin to enforce the ban on single-use plastic carryout bags today. According to the DEC, the ban was not enforced due to an agreement with a plastics company. The timing also coincided with COVID-19 as many stores refused to allow reusable bags.

Batavia Police Department continue to investigate a burglary at Batavia Bottle and Can Retrieval Center at 563 E Main Street. Investigators confirmed that property was removed. If anyone has any information, you’re asked to reach out to police.

The Batavia Development Corporation will gavel into session Thursday morning. The meeting begins behind closed doors where members will discuss the employment of an individual as well as a property deal. During the public portion of the meeting, they’ll discuss the sexual harassment policy and board members confidential evaluations.

The Buffalo Bills take the national stage for the second straight week, this time for a matchup with the reigning Super Bowl champions. It will be a meeting of two prolific offenses, headlined by quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. Allen ranks second in the NFL in passing yards; Mahomes ranks fourth. The game will air nationally at 5 p.m. Both teams sport a 4-1 record.

Weekend News Brief

The Bergen C Store cigarette caper from the beginning of September is apparently part of a wider criminal enterprise says the Genesee county sheriffs department.  3 people arrested in victor on September 28th had allegedly participated in more than 30 smash and grab type burglaries across 6 counties including the Byron Crosby’s, the Leroy Kwik fill, the Batavia Crosby’s and pavilion farms.  Back in September 2 of the 5 member crew were caught trying to rob the Batavia Crosby’s, Jennifer Abrams and Tarus Fluitt.  The other 3,  Kristina Marble, Eric Smith and Jose Cruz-Rosado were caught robbing a gas station in victor and chased down and arrested, one tried to swim the Erie canal to escape but started drowning when officers jumped in and saved them.  All 5 are on multiple felony charges.

Police are looking for help with the identities of the people who broke into and stole property from the Batavia Bottle and can Retrieval Center on East Main street late Thursday night.  Police have pictures of the white van used in the break in and you can check them out at our news partner The Batavian.  If you have information call Detective Sergeant Matt Lutey at (585) 345-6311 or call the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

COVID Update: As of Friday afternoon Genesee county had no new cases and 2 people had recovered.  There are 25 new people on travel quarantine.  Orleans county had 1 new case and 2 people had recovered. There are 3 new people on travel quarantine.  Genesee county has 17 active cases and Orleans has 18.  One student at Batavia BOCES has tested positive and is on quarantine and contact tracing is being done.

Local health departments are applauding the distribution of over 400,000 rapid testing kits for COVID 19 across the state but the ability to use them is in doubt.  Paul Pettit, health director for Genesee Orleans county health departments, says that with new testing requirements they don’t have “a full understanding of the details of the new requirements and a lack of support and capacity to meet them.”  The ramped up testing means more people doing the testing, people most counties don’t have available. “Who will provide the staff and resources necessary to administer the tests?” 2 State level Health Directors have asked Albany to send people and financial to the counties to help.

The Pavilion Central School District has chosen a new Superintendent.  Mary Kate Hoffman, the principal of York Elementary School is the former director of curriculum and instruction at Pavilion central Schools and was a 2nd grade teacher in Pavilion as well.  Hoffman says she is “honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the Pavilion Central School District as Superintendent,”

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee county wants a new flag, and wants you to design it.  As part of the counties public engagement strategy Genesee county planning director Filipe Oltramari is inviting residents to participate in a design competition.  “We’re calling it Genesee 2050, a vision strategy for the next 30 years for our county,” he said.  The original comprehensive plan was written in 1997.  Oltramari says that the contest will be open to everyone and a committee will select the best designs and the community will vote online for their favorite.  Rules, guidelines and starting date will be announced.

There is a frost advisory for Genesee county and most of Western NY tonight.  Frost could kill sensitive outdoor vegetation if left uncovered.

Governor Cuomo announced today that the new York national guard is going to be stationed at New York airports starting today to enforce the travel restrictions on people coming from 36 states and 2 US territories.  Guards will be in uniform but will not be armed, they will be assisting in the screening process for incoming travelers to allow healthcare workers to do other tasks.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 4 new cases.  Orleans county has 4 new cases and 1 person has recovered.  4 new people are on travel quarantine in Orleans county.  There are a total of 19 active cases in Orleans county.  The Genesee Orleans county health departments continue to have a computer problem so the statistics are still not up to date for Genesee county.

Morning News Briefing

A Batavia man is in trouble with the law after investigators say he tried to steal $17,000 from a relative. 65-year-old Thomas Ditzel is charged with attempted grand larceny. He was arrested as a result of an investigation into the misappropriation of funds as a Power of Attorney in 2018. Ditzel allegedly attempted to take funds by closing an investment account of a family member and have the check sent to an address where he allegedly planned to retrieve it. However, another family member intercepted the check. Court action is pending.

The Batavia Board of Education will be asked to accept two resignations and approve four leaves of absence when it meets Monday night. The resignations involve a teacher aide and a data processing clerk. The Board will also be asked to approve the appointment of a probationary Deputy School District Treasurer. The meeting is Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.

Genesee County ends the week with four new cases of COVID-19. Those newly infected live in Batavia and Pembroke. Their ages span from under 20 to over 60. Orleans County is also reporting four new cases. Four new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Three new cases have been confirmed in Wyoming County.

A Batavia woman faces multiple felony counts after a social services investigation. 41-year-old Ifrah Armstrong of Bank Street is charged with third-degree grand larceny and four counts of offering a false instrument for filing, all Class E felonies. Armstrong was arrested after allegedly not reporting income that she was earning and also filing an application that is used to determine eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits without including the income. As a result, it is alleged Armstrong received $5,200 in SNAP benefits that she was not entitled to.

The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals. In the past few weeks, there have been several reported scam calls to Rochester citizens. Law Enforcement is urging people to report the calls right away. During these calls, scammers have attempted to gain banking information and credit card numbers. Telling the victims that their social security number has been used in a criminal act and this information is needed within an hour or they will be arrested. On Wednesday, a report was made to the U.S. Marshals office in Rochester. The victim reported that a caller told him there was a warrant for his arrest. The victim was told to transfer funds and if he did not comply, he was threatened with arrest and seizing of his property.

Genesee County deputies say they’ve arrested 27-year-old Ana Uribe of Batavia. She has been charged with felony counts of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. It is alleged that at the time of her application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, she did not report income she was earning, which is used to determine eligibility.

Afternoon News Brief

The Genesee county Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative met for the first time on Wednesday night with 15 members attending.  The meeting was opened by County legislature chair Rochelle stein who asked that the committee would be unified and respectful.  Members introduced themselves and then county manager Matt Landers read the executive order that mandated the creation of the group.  The timeline of the future meetings was handed out and will deal with topics such as use of force, implicit bias, de-escalation training and violence prevention.  They anticipate meeting through the beginning of January.

Governor Cuomo and several other governors are asking for a meeting with President Trump about how the vaccine for COVID 19 will be distributed.  The governors are asking what the states role will be in distribution and how up to 20 million doses will be efficiently given out in New York.  “It is a massive, monumental undertaking,” Cuomo said Thursday, “and if you listen to the White House, it could be just weeks away.”

COVID update: There have been 5 new cases in Genesee county this week.  Statistics are not yet available because of an ongoing computer problem at the health department.  Orleans county has 2 new cases and 15 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are a total of 32 active cases in Genesee county and 16 in Orleans.

Governor Cuomo signed into law an official new holiday in New York state.  Juneteenth, the date that commemorates when the last slaves received word that they had been freed in 1865, more than 2 years after the emancipation proclamation, will now be celebrated on June 19th every year for all New Yorkers.  Cuomo made it a holiday earlier in the year for state workers.

Morning News Briefing

The day begins with better than expected news on the tax front… a decrease in the Genesee County property tax rate and a much smaller than anticipated increase in the Town of Batavia property tax rate. County Manager Matt Landers says he’ll propose a county budget that includes a tax rate decrease, dropping the rate to $9.80 per thousand of assessed value. Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post has encouraging news as well, reporting that his current budget calls for about a 39-cent increase – from $2.45 per thousand to $2.84 – which is considerably less than the potential 89 percent increase that was bandied about a couple weeks ago.

So far this week, five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Genesee County. More than three dozen people are on a precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. Orleans County reports two new cases, both from Albion. Meanwhile, Wyoming County also reports two new cases of COVID-19.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that New York State will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health laws. The New York State Department of Health will send a letter warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce state limits on gatherings and the closure of schools.

A drive-thru chicken barbecue to benefit the Elba Volunteer Fire Department will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25 at the fire rec hall on Route 98 in Elba. It starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until sold out. Cost is $12. Coronavirus protocols will be observed. Please wear a face mask and remain in your vehicle.

Congressman Chris Jacobs has cosponsored the State Municipal Assistance for Response and Transition (SMART) Act. He says “many local governments in Western New York did not meet the 500,000 resident threshold to receive coronavirus funding from the CARES Act.” He notes that “without additional aid to state and local governments our hospitals, first responders, and schools are facing the risk of layoffs and cuts to critical services they provide our communities.” The SMART Act would provide $500 billion for a Coronavirus Local Community Stabilization Fund to provide aid to state, local, and tribal governments.

New York’s Worker’s Compensation Board announced its new online claims system: OnBoard. The project website for the new system includes frequently asked questions and links to information webinars. The Worker’s Compensation Board has been developing the system over recent months. They say it features new technology and functionality, like 24/7 access, improved prior authorization requests, and real-time data validation.

From the ‘kinda saw this coming department…’ The Metropolitan Transportation Authority or MTA, is facing the greatest crisis in its long history, with few viable options without federal funding to avoid cuts in service and staff, additional fare hikes and long-lasting damage that could impair regional transit for decades…that cheery news from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in his annual report on the MTA’s finances.

The newest person to take the helm of the Rochester Police Department was sworn into office Wednesday morning at City Hall. Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan will lead the department on an interim basis pending a national search for a permanent replacement for the chief. She was chosen last month by Mayor Lovely Warren.

Afternoon News Brief

The city council of Batavia has no plans to cancel or limit trick or treating this year.  Interim City Manager Rachel Tabelski did say that residents should be informed of the CDC trick or treat guideline.  The CDC says that people handing out candy should avoid direct contact with trick or treaters, should hand out the candy outdoors or give out pre bagged treats, wash their hands and wear a mask.  The CDC has marked Genesee county as an area safe for trick or treating.

Governor Cuomo announced 3 more state have been added to the list of states that travelers coming from into NY will have to quarantine.  Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia make the list 38 states.

COVID Update: due to a technical issue at the County health department we do not have numbers for Genesee county but Orleans county has 11 new cases over the long weekend and 10 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are 17 active cases in Orleans county.  Genesee county information will be updated for tomorrows broadcast.

Congressman Chris Jacobs has cosponsored the smart act to allocate 500 billion dollars to local and tribal governments that did not meet the threshold of 500 thousand residents.  This money would be given to states which would be required to release one third of that money to local governments.

The city of Batavia fire department will be flushing hydrants north of main street  and east of bank street Thursday and Friday.  This could result in discoloration of water in homes and businesses nearby.  If you have discolored water wait a bit to do laundry.  Running the taps for 5 minutes or so may clear the water.

Morning News Briefing

The City of Batavia was expecting to take a huge financial hit from COVID-19, but today, the future doesn’t look as grim. Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski is slightly more optimistic. What that means is, it’s still bad, just…not as bad, which is good for taxpayers.

The Batavia City School District has created an executive director of operations position as part of a reshuffling of jobs that has reduced the number of employees on its administrative leadership team. The district saved about $70,000 in the move.
Due to the Columbus Day holiday, both the Genesee and Orleans County health departments were closed Monday. There were no map, website or media updates over the weekend or on Monday. Updates were supposed to resume Tuesday but technology issues got in the way.

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 1.3 percent in 2021…that from the Social Security Administration. The cost-of-living adjustment will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2021. Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount.

Another statewide shutdown is possible, but not guaranteed, according to Gov. Cuomo. The state is keeping a close eye of clusters of COVID-19 hotspots that have emerged. Cuomo notes that hospitalizations are up, some because of the hot zones.

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing & testing fire hydrants tomorrow and Friday from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the general area of North of Main Street and East of Bank 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.

In Batavia…Citywide leaf collection will begin Monday and will continue until Nov. 20. Residents are asked to rake leaves into piles and leave them in the parkway (unbagged). Do not pile leaves around fire hydrants, trees or sign posts. Leaf piles should only contain leaves and no branches, grass clippings or other materials.

Morning News Briefing

A Batavia man, on parole after serving prison time, has lost his battle to have his felony conviction overturned. 42-year-old Jason Carpenter was found guilty in Genesee County court in January 2018 of felony assault. The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo filed the appeal claiming that Carpenter was deprived of a fair trial because, even in the absence of a for-cause challenge from either side, County Court should have excluded two prospective jurors who purportedly exhibited actual bias and another prospective juror who had an implied bias. The State Appellate Division of the Fourth judicial District wasn’t swayed. In a three-page decision, the Appellate Court rules that… contrary to Carpenter’s contention, the sentence was not unduly harsh or severe.

According to the latest statistics, New York State’s COVID-19 positivity rate without the Red Zone focus areas included was 1.05%. The state’s overall positivity rate is 1.12 percent. In “Red Zone” focus areas, the positivity rate for test results is 3.70 percent – down from the 6.13 percent average from last week. Gov. Cuomo says despite the numbers, this is not a second wave (cuomo1). The “Red Zone” focus areas are home to 2.8 percent of state’s population, yet had 17.6 percent of all positive cases reported last week to New York State.

From the crime and disorder department…46-year-old Brenda Lee Draper of Batavia has been charged with two felonies. Police charged her with grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. Authorities say she wasn’t totally honest when she filed an application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistant. Reports claim she failed to mention some income which allowed her to receive some benefits she was not entitled to.

The current national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.19, the same as one week ago (and the same as the week before that.) New York State average is $2.25 – down 1 cent since last week. AAA Western and Central New York says Batavia gas prices are down a whopping penny…at $2.20.

Some good news for a local restaurant manager… Holly Carney runs the McDonald’s Restaurant located at 587 E. Main Street in Batavia. She has been selected to receive McDonald’s Outstanding General Manager Award. This is an accolade that recognizes only the top performing 10 percent of McDonald’s Restaurant Managers. Carney was one of only 33 McDonald’s Restaurant managers from New York State to receive the honor which includes a cash prize and a trophy.

A 27-year-old man is in jail after he led State Troopers on a short chase before crashing into another vehicle in Rochester. Police said Jose Rivera was tackled after he attempted to run away. Rivera was allegedly found to be in possession of 109 bags of Fentanyl and a bag of cocaine. The parolee was charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. A violation of parole warrant was lodged and Rivera was taken to the Monroe County Jail.

Former congressman Chris Collins is expected to begin his 26-month sentence today at a Florida prison. He has been trying to get his prison time postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. Collins is set to serve his time at a federal prison camp in Pensacola. He pleaded guilty last year to federal insider trading charges.

Morning News Briefing

The Genesee County Health Department will resume sending out COVID-19 updates tomorrow. There were no weekend updates and there won’t be any today, because of the Columbus Day. According to the Department, the last report showed one new coronavirus case in the county. The latest patient is in their 20’s and lives in Elba. Sixteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. One of the positive individuals is hospitalized. Orleans County also reports one new case.

We should know tomorrow whether or not Batavia’s Assistant Manager will get a bump in pay. When the city council meets tomorrow night, they’ll vote on a resolution to authorize additional compensation for interim city manager Rachel Tabelski. Martin Moore left the Manager’s position in July. The additional pay would be retroactive from July 20 and continue until the city manager post is filled.

After two consecutive days of negative tests, a Tennessee Titans coach tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday morning. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team released a statement saying a staff member tested positive and that their facility is temporarily closed. The Titans have currently received a total of 24 positive test results, including 13 players dating back to Sept. 24. The Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans game was moved from Sunday to Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. after an uptick in COVID-19 cases. According to ESPN, Tuesday’s game is now in jeopardy.

The public will weigh in later this month on a plan by the Batavia Town Board to override the state property tax cap. A public hearing is scheduled for October 21st at 7 p.m. The session will be held at the Batavia Town Hall on West Main Street Road. A copy of the proposed local law is on file at the Batavia Town Clerks office and is open for inspection during regular office hours.

Effective today, the bridge over Whitney Creek on Judge Road in the Town of Alabama will close so that the span can be replaced. The bridge is immediately west of Crosby Road. There will be a detour posted onsite for the duration of the project, which is expected to take approximately two to three months to complete.

Elba Central should resume to a hybrid instructional format tomorrow. In recent weeks, a number of students tested positive for COVID-19. The school superintendent said after learning of the test results September 28th, the Health Department ordered that over 20 staff members and over 100 students needed to be quarantined. Last Friday, another 10 staff members and nearly 40 more students were going to be quarantined again based on another confirmed case.

Letchworth State Park closed to new guests over the weekend after reaching capacity under COVID restrictions. It was a peak foliage weekend. The park recommends if you plan on visiting that you avoid the hours of 12 to 4 p.m., as that’s when the park is busiest. Anyone visiting a state park is asked to wear a face covering and maintain social distance.

Weekend News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced Friday that rapid COVID testing will be available across all of New York State.  Starting with 400 thousand tests which will be distributed to local health departments, hospitals and primary care providers for free these tests can have results within 15 minutes instead of the normal 48 hour tests most providers have right now.  Under the new rules for schools in areas having a spike, areas designated yellow zones will have to test 20 percent of students faculty and staff once weekly beginning next Friday.  These tests will make getting results from that testing much faster.

As COVID cases are on the rise in New York some businesses were never allowed to open and are starting to use their empty properties to fight against Governor Cuomo.  Movie Theaters across New York state are using their Marquees to post messages asking the governor to allow them to reopen.  Regal theaters, which closed all US locations again on October 5th, is posting the message “48 states have reopened theaters so far. Why not New York, Gov. Cuomo?” on their fronts and on the sidewalks in front of the theaters.  “We are owed an answer. We’ve answered every question. He said theaters would be next, but that was almost a month ago. And then crickets,” said Joseph Marsher, president of the New York chapter of the National Association of Theatre Owners.  Also all Broadway theaters will be closed until at least may costing New York up to 13 billion dollars.

The Genesee county planning board sent a request to the Byron town board to ensure that property values of land near the new solar farms will not drop once the farms are in place.  The Byron solar farm projects have come under fire from Byron residents for using up prime farm land and lowering property values.  Byron town board members have defended the projects as opening up Byron to money that it would otherwise have no way to receive.

COVID Update: As of 4 o clock Friday Genesee county had 1 new case and 16 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has 1 new case and 2 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are a total of 27 active cases in Genesee county and 9 in Orleans.

45 year old Buddy Moore Jr of Leroy has plead guilty to charges of sexual contact with a child under 13.  He was arrested after a victim came forward saying that Moore had committed the crimes against them from 2003 to 2011.  Moore is sentenced to 15 years in prison and 5 years post release supervision starting in December.

St Paul Lutheran church and school is holding a fundraiser Chicken BBQ Sunday the 11th from 11:30AM till its gone.  Tickets are 12 dollars a dinner which includes chicken, potato salad mac salad and a roll with butter.  The event will be drive through.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced new restrictions for COVID hotspots in the Empire state closing schools imposing a max limit of 10 people in synagogues and churches and imposing restrictions on businesses.  Genesee county is not one of these hotspots and the finger lakes region is still under 1 percent infection.  The counties and communities having to face these restrictions are all in or near New York City at this time.  Officials are warning that schools being open and the flu season may cause increased spread in all areas.  New York state had over 1800 new cases yesterday and 9 deaths.  The united States continues to have from 30 to 50 thousand cases daily although the number of deaths compared to cases has been dropping since June.

Congressman Brian Higgins is asking the federal government to meet Canadian officials halfway with opening up the border between the US and Canada at least to family members and those who own property on the other side.  Earlier this week Canadian officials announced that they wanted to open the border to extended family members including long term dating relationships before the Canadian thanksgiving.  Higgins also sent a letter to President Trump asking for some leniency in the border restrictions.

COVID Update:  Case numbers in Genesee county continue to rise with 8 new cases in Alabama, Batavia, Elba and Stafford.  21 new people are on travel quarantine.  One of the new cases is a resident of the veterans home.  In Orleans county there are 2 new cases and 7 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are a total of 26 active cases in Genesee county and 8 in Orleans.

Genesee community college is offering new fast paced classes starting October 26th.  These classes cover everything from College composition to textiles and will take only 7 weeks.  The courses are meant to help students meet their general education and program course requirements and are able to be completed entirely online.

Independent living of the Genesee region is running its walk run and roll 5K or 10K race and fundraiser from October 18th to 31st.  It is completely virtual so participants can choose their own route.  There is also a scavenger hunt involved where participants are challenged to locate particular sights and sounds of nature, city life, and Halloween decorations in a unique feature to the “race.”  The entrance fee is 25 dollars and participants get a t shirt.  You can sign up on the independent living Facebook page or by calling independent living at 585 815 8501 extension 411.

Congressman Christ Jacobs dropped a press release criticizing his opponent Nate McMurray for supporting packing the supreme court.  McMurray tweeted on Monday that he would pack the courts to save choice, marriage equality and preexisting conditions and Jacobs responded by saying that this would be very dangerous for the future of our democracy, undermining the separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.  Jacobs called on all people to denounce the radical and destructive agenda championed by McMurray.  Vice President Biden and Kamala Harris have refused to say whether they would or would not pack the supreme court if elected.

Morning News Briefing

The number of COVID-19 cases in Genesee County continues to mount. In the latest update, health officials report eight new confirmed positive cases, involving residents from Alabama, Batavia, Elba and Stafford. Two of the positive individuals are under 20, one is in their 40s, are in their 50s, one individual is in their 60s, and two are in their 80s. Three were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive. Health officials say twenty-one more people are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states. One of the individuals is a resident at the New York State Veterans Home. Meanwhile, Orleans County reports two new cases and Wyoming County reports one new case.

The NFL has announced changes to the Buffalo Bills schedule. The Buffalo at Tennessee Titans game will now be played on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m. on CBS. The scheduling decision was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts. Should the Buffalo-Tennessee game be played on Tuesday night, the Week 6 Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills game scheduled for Thursday, October 15 will be moved to later in the weekend.

Troopers responded to a two-vehicle crash on West Bergen Road in the Town of LeRoy around 5 p.m. Thursday. Preliminary investigation reveals that a car traveling northbound lost control, crossed into the southbound lane and was T-boned by a pickup truck. After extrication, the driver of the car was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital in critical condition. The driver and a passenger in the pickup truck, which was not heavily damaged, were taken to UMMC in Batavia for evaluation. The investigation is still pending.

New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider isn’t happy with the stalled federal stimulus negotiations. In a statement released Thursday, he said… schools are laying off teachers and staff. Some students in grades 7-12 are being forced to learn entirely remotely, due to inadequate funding. The federal government needs to get serious and provide the necessary relief.  Lawmakers should return to the bargaining table and provide the funding crucial for our schools to operate effectively. The education of millions of schoolchildren in New York and the livelihoods of thousands of teachers and staff are hanging in the balance.

Batavia-based funeral director Michael Scott Tomaszewski was arraigned on 15 new charges in Genesee County Court Thursday as a result of the continuing investigation of his business practices. On July 23, the 48-year-old was charged with 91 counts of failure to deposit monies paid in advance in connection with agreements for funeral merchandise or services for 91 customers. Since his initial arrest, 11 additional victims came forward. The latest charges include eight counts of felony grand larceny. He was arraigned by a judge and released on his own recognizance.

Nate McMurray, Democratic candidate in New York’s 27th Congressional District, has won the endorsement of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Region 9 in this election.  The Union covers a vast area, including Western and Central New York. Members work in automotive, aerospace and steel industries, and include members at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

After nearly two years under a federal investigation, prominent Rochester developer Robert Morgan and three others who were indicted on fraud charges have had their cases dismissed. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford handed down an 83-page decision Thursday afternoon, dismissing the 114-count federal indictment. In the decision, Wolford said it was “self-evident and cannot be reasonably disputed” that prosecutors mishandled evidence in their investigation.

Afternoon News Brief

Additional charges were filed today against 48 year old Batavia Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski based on 11 victims who said they pre-paid funerals and grave markers Tomaszewski did not use the money the way they directed.  These people came forward after he was arrested.  Tomaszewski was charged with 91 counts of grand larceny for similar accusations at the time of his arrest.  He was arraigned virtually and released on his own recognizance.

The Village of Leroy police reform and reinvention collaborative met for the first time and the 15 member group talked about several subjects important to the community.  Police Chief Hayward talked about how the police have been falling behind in record keeping and have very little ability to discipline the officers if there is a complaint or transgression.  The committee said they would work on those things and attempt to raise public trust in the police which they said was at an all time low.  The Batavia committee meets tonight.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 2 new cases and 1 person has recovered.  Orleans county has 3 new cases and 7 new people on travel quarantine.  There are 19 active cases in Genesee county and 6 in Orleans.

Governor Cuomo warns New Yorkers that the COVID rates are rising in the empire state. After the statewide rate of infection was below 1 percent for several weeks it is now at 1.01 percent with hotspots getting as high as 5.8 percent. Western NY is at 1.4 percent. This is out of the 145 thousand tests taken on Wednesday. Cuomo says he will impose shutdowns on areas where there are outbreaks and cited shutting down Jewish synagogues and churches if they don’t social distance and wear masks.

Morning News Briefing

A Monroe County man faces multiple felony charges stemming from an incident in the Town of Bergen. Batavia-based Troopers arrested 33-year-old Shamir Aslam of Mendon. He was charged with aggravated family offense and first-degree criminal contempt, both class E felonies. He was also charged with aggravated harassment. He was initially detained pending action by the court.

Genesee County is dealing with two more COVID-19 cases. In both cases, the infected people live in Elba and are under the age of 20. The county has had a total of 326 confirmed cases to date. One of the individuals who tested positive is in the hospital. Meanwhile, Orleans County reports three new cases.

The Wyoming County Public Health Administrator says COVID-19 cases are increasing in Wyoming County and community transmission is occurring. With weather changing, gatherings are moving indoors where it may be more difficult to maintain social distance. Fall is the beginning of traditional cold and flu season and the Wyoming County Health Department is reminding everyone to maintain social distance, wear a face covering, practice good hand hygiene and stay away from sick people. One new positive case has been reported, bringing the total to 147.

Former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who presided over the chamber for 14 years, died Tuesday. He was 91. He ruled at a time when Republicans had a stronghold on the state Senate across upstate New York, giving them extraordinary power to control legislation and control hundreds of millions of dollars in state money to dole out to pet projects in their districts.

Genesee County Job Development Bureau is hosting a Virtual Job Fair via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 15th from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Register by Oct. 14th at (585) 344-2042. Whether you are hoping to find a fresh start, a better job, or a new career direction; job seekers will find some exciting opportunities at the Virtual Job Fair. Local employers will be in attendance, eager to hire for immediate openings in a range of occupations. The job fair is open to the entire community.

Genesee Community College will host two virtual Open House events this fall for students and families to learn all about what the College has to offer. The first event will take place online from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, where participants will be able to listen to and watch presentations from all types of areas of the College including various Academic Departments, the Admissions team, Athletics, Financial Aid, Student Success, Student Engagement and Inclusion, and more. These special Virtual Open House events will also give virtual attendees an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Register now at www.genesee.edu/VisitGCC to attend either GCC Fall Virtual Open House on Saturday, Oct. 17 or Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Employee’s Association, the Sheriff Office’s largest union, announces its endorsement for William A. Sheron Jr. for Sheriff. A press releases says…In these trying times of misinformation and anti-law enforcement, we need a Sheriff with strong leadership, knowledge, experience, and integrity. Sheron checks off all these boxes. He has worked in all aspects of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and has served in multiple supervisory capacities throughout his 43 years within the department, including 21 years as Undersheriff. He is also a lifetime resident of Genesee County.

National Fuel Gas says it is fully prepared for the winter heating season, and based on potential weather conditions and modest increases in natural gas commodity pricing, the utility anticipates a slim increase in customer bills during the winter heating season months – November through March – of slightly less than $10 per month when compared to last year’s unseasonably warm winter. While last winter may be difficult to remember with everything else that has taken place, temperatures were 10.8% warmer than the usual Western New York winter. While the season started fast and furious with an early November snowstorm and frigid temperatures, November 2019 was the only month of last winter that finished colder than normal.

Afternoon News Brief

The election won’t be decided on November 3rd says University at Buffalo Associate Professor of Political Science and elections expert Jacob Neiheisel.  He says this years general election could be 2000 all over again times a few.  With so many absentee ballots in the air and so many allegations of fraud this election will require patience.  There have been 78000 absentee ballots requested in Erie county so far.  Neiheisel says we definitely won’t know what happened on election night.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 1 new case and 1 person has recovered.  There are currently 2 active cases in the Elba Central School district.  Orleans county has 2 new cases and 2 people have recovered.  17 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are a total of 18 active cases in Genesee county and 3 in Orleans.

A Genesee county man has been arrested for assaulting a police officer in Gainesville.  26 year old David Schmieder had police called on him for walking down the middle of the road and acting irrationally on rt 19 on September 23rd.  When police arrived Schmieder refused to follow deputies orders and allegedly punched a deputy in the head.  Deputies say he had drugs in his mouth.  He is charged with Assault in the second degree, Tampering with physical evidence, Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, Resisting arrest, and Disorderly conduct – obstructing traffic.

The Buffalo Zoo announced that Sampson, the 5 year old giraffe, has passed away after a medical procedure.  Sampson had a dental procedure done as he had a problem that was making it difficult for him to eat and failed to recover after the procedure was over.  The zoo is asking for the public to share pictures and memories of the giraffe to the zoos Facebook page.

Sheron Endorsed by Sheriff’s Employee’s Association

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Employee’s Association, the Sheriff Office’s largest union, proudly announces our endorsement for the Republican candidate for Sheriff, William A. Sheron, Jr.

In these trying times of misinformation and anti-law enforcement, we need a Sheriff with strong leadership, knowledge, experience, and integrity.  William Sheron checks off all these boxes.  He has worked in all aspects of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and has served in multiple supervisory capacities throughout his 43 years within the department, including 21 years as Undersheriff.  He is also a lifetime resident of Genesee County.

William Sheron is the most-qualified person for this position and is the clear-cut candidate.  His proven leadership offers the stability, transparency, and integrity that Genesee County residents demand and deserve going forward.

Kevin Wolff

Genesee County Sheriff’s Employees Association President

NYS Deputy Sheriff’s Association Executive Board Member

Morning News Briefing

Hang on to your hats today. The National Weather Service has a wind advisory in effect for much of the day. Wind gusts to near 50 mph are possible. What does it mean? Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

Batavia City Schools…looking at a $5.5 million revenue shortfall, thanks to state funding hold backs, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The district has experienced a funding cut of 20% so far. The state says it is “withholding” the funds but there’s no guarantee the funds will be backfilled nor that there won’t be more “withholding” during the remainder of the year. The state is facing a $16 billion budget shortfall and the deficit over the next four years is expected to grow to $66 billion. That doesn’t bode well for the future of school funding.

Genesee County has one new case of COVID-19. The latest patient lives in Elba and is in their 50’s. As of this morning, there are two active cases at the Elba school. Orleans County also reports two new positive cases.

There will be a chicken BBQ fundraiser for the South Byron Volunteer Fire Company beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 25 until sold out. It will be held on a drive-thru basis at the fire hall, located at 7389 Route 237 in South Byron. Cost is $12 per person. Please wear face mask and remain in vehicle.

New York’s municipalities collected nearly $17 billion in sales tax revenue in 2019, representing 9.7 percent of all local government revenue, according to a comprehensive report on local sales tax just released by State Comptroller DiNapoli. Every county and city in the state, along with many towns and villages, depend on these funds to pay for essential services and operations, revealing the statewide impact of the revenue losses from the pandemic. DiNapoli says “COVID-19 has decimated local sales tax revenue this year, blowing holes in the budgets of municipalities across New York State. ” He said just as our Main Street small businesses can’t rebuild alone, our local governments don’t have the means to do this themselves. Direct aid from the federal government is needed to help communities recover.

Congressman Chris Jacobs has cosponsored four pieces of legislation that he says will help drive economic recovery – the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, a bill extending coronavirus aid for airlines, the Small Business Expense Protection Act of 2020, and the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act.

Afternoon News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo has decided to take a firmer hand with COVID restrictions in local governments after saying on Monday that local officials are not enforcing the mask mandate and social distancing.  New York State’s average positivity rate is up to 1.22 percent with several areas seeing spikes in cases.  While he praised the low rates across the state, Cuomo says that he will send state enforcement to those areas experiencing spikes and close schools and possibly churches and synagogues if the case numbers don’t go down.  The 5 areas experiencing spikes are mostly in or near New York City and Erie County.

In an update on the crash of Steve Barne’s airplane which killed him and his niece on Friday morning in Corfu officials are now saying that there was no black box on the plane.  The investigation into what happened when the plane veered off course and then dropped 17000 feet may take up to a year.  All wreckage has been recovered and is on it’s way to the national transportation safety board.

The COVID Alert NY app is now available.  This is a free smartphone app for anyone 18+ that lives or works in New York available for download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The COVID Alert NY app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 9 new cases with 3 of them being students from the Elba Central School District.  8 new people are on travel quarantine.  Orleans county has no new cases and 5 people have recovered.  11 new people are on travel quarantine.  There are 18 active cases in Genesee county and 3 in Orleans county.

Morning News Briefing

The engine of an airplane that went down in a swampy and wooded area off Boyce Road in Corfu has been recovered after being dug out from under more than 10 feet of mud. Sheriff William Sheron says the search for pieces of the airplane, which disintegrated on impact is complete and the parts are being shipped to Nashville for further investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. The search for human remains continues today. Attorneys Steve Barnes and Elizabeth Barnes died in the crash at about noon Friday. The cause of the crash remains undetermined.

The Genesee County Health Department has received three additional positive COVID-19 tests from students at Elba High School. The individuals have been placed under mandatory isolation where they will remain until they are fully recovered. The Genesee County Department of Health said contact tracing is in process. Students and/or staff will be notified and placed under quarantine if they were identified as a close contact. Ned Dale is the school superintendent – he says the district continues to work with the Health Department in identifying close contacts and testing symptomatic students. Overall, the county reported nine new coronavirus cases, impacting Alabama, Elba, LeRoy and Oakfield.

A Pembroke woman faces multiple felony counts. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 32-year-old Allissa Winder of Pembroke. She was charged with first-degree identity theft and grand larceny. Winder allegedly opened several credit card accounts in another person’s name and charged over $3,000. She was arraigned and released pending further court action.

Court action is pending for a Batavia man charged with second-degree strangulation. 27-year-old Montell Cunningham was arrested by Batavia police after an investigation into a domestic incident on Tracy Avenue in Batavia. After arraignment in Batavia City Court, he was initially put in jail on cash bail. A stay away order of protection was issued for the victim. Cunningham is due back in city court on Oct. 29.

Congressman Chris Jacobs is announcing he is now accepting nominations for his Congressional Veteran of the Month program. To nominate a veteran who is a current resident of the 27th Congressional District to be recognized, constituents can visit Jacobs congressional website. He says he is eager to launch this program.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren was arraigned Monday afternoon on charges related to campaign finance misconduct. Charges include scheme to defraud and violating election law. Warrens attorney entered a not guilty plea. There is no estimated timeline for the trial.

In his daily briefing Monday Gov. Cuomo noted that this Friday is the last day New Yorkers can register to vote in the 2020 Election. You can register in person at the county board of elections or at any New York State agency-based voter registration center. For more information call 1-800-FOR-VOTE.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.19, the same as one week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.66. The New York State average is $2.26 – no change since last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.72. AAA Western and Central New York says Batavia prices remain unchanged at $2.21 a gallon.

New York has again extended the expiration date of annual vehicle inspections, registrations and driver’s licenses that otherwise would have lapsed during the coronavirus pandemic, validating them for at least another month. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order early Monday making the change, allowing the documents to remain valid until Nov. 3. The order, which had been set to expire Monday, applies only to those that lapsed since March. But the order made clear expired registrations and non-driver identification cards — which can be renewed entirely online — will not be extended again beyond Nov. 3.

Afternoon News Brief

The Department of environmental conservation is asking hunters to watch for deer that may have EHD. Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is effecting deer across New York state and at least 750 deer have been found dead from the disease. It is spread by bites from a small fly and humans cannot catch it. Symptoms include swelling of neck, tongue eyelids and head. Deer may appear lame or dehydrated and many deer with this disease will seek out water and die near water sources. If you see any deer that may have this disease call the DEC.

The border between Canada and the US remains closed but there may be some wiggle room for people wanting to cross.  The Canadian minister of immigration Marco Mendicino tweeted Friday that a process will be created to allow extended family of Canadians to enter the country.  This will “include people in an exclusive, long-term dating relationship and their dependent children; as well as adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents,” said Mendicino.  Canadian Authorities want families to be able to be together for Canadian thanksgiving on October.

The university of Rochester has a new Nobel Prize alumnus in Harvey Alter.  Alter received the nobel prize for medicine for his work with 2 others on the discovery of Hepatitis c.  Alter graduated from U of R in 56 with his bachelors degree and again in 60 with his MD.

Gas prices are holding steady in western NY with prices not changing from 2.21 a gallon since last week in Batavia.  The national average price is the same as last week as well staying at 2.19.  Last year the price was 2.66.

 

Fire Prevention Week

The City of Batavia Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) —the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years —to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

“We know cooking fires can be prevented,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice-president of outreach and advocacy. “Staying in the kitchen, using a timer, and avoiding distractions such as electronics or TV are steps everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes.”

The City of Batavia Fire Department encourages all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme.

“The most important step you should take before making a meal is to “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” said Stefano Napolitano, Fire Chief. “A cooking fire can grow quickly. I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.

”The City of Batavia Fire Department wants to share safety tips to keep you from having a cooking fire.

 Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

 If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.

 You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.

 Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
 Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
The City of Batavia Fire Department is hosting a series of events in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”, including virtual events at schools via and socially distant visits. For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention visit: www.fpw,org
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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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