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March 26, 2017 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion Fire, fires services, Pavilion, news.

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Tyler Schiske, on the right with Chief Dewey Murrock, was named Pavilion's Firefighter of the Year, during the department's annual dinner at its Fire Hall on Saturday night.

The Pavilion Volunteer Fire Department's officers for 2017 are: Dewey Murrock, chief, John Weis, 1st assistant chief, Donald Roblee, 2nd assistant chief, Tyler Schiske, Paul Dougherty, Wayne Taylor, captains, Mike Wright and Chad Freeman, lieutenants, Dough Wright, fire police captain, Bill Kegler and Dick Park, safety officers, and Dougherty, Schiske and Taylor are training officers.

The social officers are: Nick Wright, president, Paul Dougherty, vice president, Bill Carrigan, treasurer, Kathy Wright, recording secretary and Kelly Kraft, financial secretary.

March 26, 2017 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
March 26, 2017 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, trade policy, news.

China and robots

This is part three of an eight-part series on trade and how changes in policy might affect the local economy.

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Times change, Congressman Chris Collins argues.  He doesn't dispute that for the later half of the 20th Century, a regime of trade agreements and more open trade worked well for the United States, but we no longer live in the same post-war world that forged those instruments of trade.

We face competition from China that presents a unique challenge to U.S. economic dominance and automation is eating jobs the way tornadoes tear through trailer parks.

"We went from an agricultural economy to an industrial, production economy and now through automation, we have fewer jobs," Collins said.

We don't know the future, he said, but "where are these people going to work if we don't make stuff.  We need to have opportunities that others don't have."

The American Dream (a term first coined by historian James Truslow Adams in 1931) is an ethos founded on the idea that we are a country that makes stuff.

We are builders. We are factories. We are smokestacks and train tracks and men with lunch buckets and lug wrenches. 

The perception that Trump campaigned on is that the American Dream ain't what it used to be.  Economists disagree over whether that's true. While over the past 30 years a greater share of income earned has gone to the nation's richest one percent, there's evidence that suggests it's still possible for the poor and middle class to move up the economic ladder.

The balance between income inequality and economic mobility is a matter of debate.  For those who perceive a problem, the question is who or what to blame.

Trump found ready targets in China and trade deficits.

"We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing," Trump said during his campaign. "It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world."

While campaign, Trump said the trade deficit with China was either $400 billion and $500 billion. For 2016, it was actually $347 billion.

Economists debate how much impact China has had on U.S. manufacturing jobs since the country of 1.4 billion people joined the WTO in 2001.  On one hand, while the U.S. has lost five million manufacturing jobs since then, actual factory output has increased at the same time; however, the Economic Policy Institute reports that the rise of China as a global economic power has displaced 2.7 million workers, including 2.1 million in manufacturing. 

China may pose a different kind of challenge for the U.S. economy than we've faced before, but it isn't clear the Trump administration has come up with a strategy beyond slapping tariff's on every Chinese import.

The big worry among economists is that Trump's rhetoric, let alone actual tariff's, will spark a trade war. The man Trump hired to oversee the National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, is regarded as being ideologically opposed to China.

Even though the local economy has little direct ties to China, how the country's trade policy goes with China will have an impact locally.

To the degree that trade with China matters in Genesee County, it matters more to consumers and farmers than manufacturers.  For consumers, trade with China means money saved on gadgets and consumer products. For farmers, China is a big part of world consumption of food, especially grain, so even if local corn and soybeans are never shipped directly to China, the price farmers can get for these commodities is based on worldwide prices and the strength or weakness of the dollar. 

The manufacturers we interviewed said, for the most part, they don't trade much with China nor do products from China directly compete with their own products.

For Chapin, the biggest worry is how China handles protection of intellectual property, according to CEO Jim Campbell.

"Individual companies in China ignore our U.S. Patents so we have to defend them most vigorously," Campbell said. "We go head to head with China in the Pacific Rim area, mostly in Australia and New Zealand. China a significant advantage in freight costs to these areas over us in Batavia."

Trade with China is minimal Graham Corp., said Jeff Glajch, vice president and CFO for Graham Manufacturing in Batavia. There are some parts Graham imports from China, but it's not a significant part of the business, he said.

If there were new trade barriers with China, it wouldn't have a major direct impact on Graham, he said.

"In the big basket of all the changes, I don’t think it would cause us significant harm," Glajch said.

Any new difficulty in trade with China might have a bigger impact on Liberty Pumps, but CEO Charlie Cook didn't express much concern, though he said it's still too soon to say what might be coming that will change foreign trade for his company.  China has been an area of company growth, he said, with sales growth of about 12 percent, which is a bit higher than companywide growth.

When it comes to trade and China, one of the more interesting stories in local manufacturing is p.w. minor, a company with a 150-year local history that late in its history moved much of its production to China before nearly going out of business two years ago. Then Pete Zeliff and a partner bought the company's assets and Zeliff went to work repatriating that factory work to Batavia.

But the twist here is that one reason p.w. minor could start making all of its own shoes again is automation.  

And what Zeliff did isn't unique these days in American manufacturing. It's called "reshoring."

Three years ago, fewer than 100 companies were known to have reshored manufacturing, but it's been a growing trend.  One of the more interesting recent examples was highlighted by CBS Evening News a couple of months ago -- a bicycle company that is owned by a Chinese billionaire.

Zeliff sees a future U.S. manufacturing sector that is large enough to accommodate a robust workforce, even if there are fewer jobs per square foot. Trade barriers will help make that happen, he said.

"We’ll still have jobs, more high-tech jobs to run and program and maintain these robots and things," Zeliff said. "We’ll have less low-tech jobs and more high-tech jobs."

That's a view of the future shared by Collins. If there are going to be fewer manufacturing jobs, all the more reason to make sure those jobs stay in the U.S.

"Times do change," Collins said. "It's a different world we live in now."

GRAPHIC: The chart shows the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs since the 1940s while production output has continued to increase.  Economists say this trend is the result of machines replacing more and more manual labor. It is a trend that accelerated in the 21st century as computers came to play a greater role in manufacturing.

 

Previously:

March 26, 2017 - 2:54am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy, news.

It's turning into a busy Sunday for Le Roy Fire Department. "An unknown-type fire" at Copart USA was reported around 2 a.m. by a resident of The Greens of Le Roy.

It turned out to be a car fire at the auto salvage business located at 4 West Ave. in the Village of Le Roy. A rep for Copart was contacted.

A little while later, a fire alarm sounded at Tops Market on Main Street, Le Roy, and they responded there as well. No sign of smoke or fire, however.

Mercy medics were called a few minutes ago to stand by at the West Avenue incident and Mercy medic #1 just arrived.

Mutual aid is being provided by another fire company, too. (Believe we heard Mumford.)

UPDATE 4:22 a.m.: Access to the Copart facility was delayed because a rep was not immediately available to unlock the gates, so a single car fire turned into a blaze involving 22 vehicles. The Tops Market alarm was triggered because firefighters tapped into the fire hydrant by the store, not because of anything involving the store itself. Mercy medic #1 was put back in service shortly after Le Roy Ambulance Service returned from taking a patient to UMMC and responded to the scene. 

UPDATE 5:26 a.m. (by Howard): Responding were Le Roy, Stafford, Caledonia, and Mumford. Firefighters couldn't gain access to the facility without the assistance of a rep because it is surrounded by an electrified fence that can only be opened from inside the facility.  The lot is filled with vehicles that have been in accidents and will be auctioned off either for parts or restoration.  The fire was in the back of the facility reachable only by gaining access through the gate. The cause is under investigation.

UPDATE: Here's a satellite image of the facility.  The fire was back toward the Wright Beverage warehouse, the third or fourth row up from the bottom.

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March 25, 2017 - 6:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, accidents.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at 142 Oak St. One of the vehicles struck a house. City fire and Mercy medics are responding. A first responder on scene says an older male has a severe head laceration.

UPDATE 6:38 p.m.: A middle-aged male was driving a Chevy Trailblazer southbound on Oak Street and crossed the center line; he may have fallen asleep. The driver of a white sedan northbound on Oak Street was unable to avoid the collision and the sedan was struck; there was air-bag deployment. The Trailblazer narrowly missed a tree in the front yard where it ended up crashing into the concrete porch of a house; the house appears undamaged. The driver of the Trailblazer has a cut above his eye but is conscious and alert and being transported to a hospital. The driver of the white sedan declined medical attention.

March 25, 2017 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, news.

According to a reader who contacted The Batavian, about a dozen employees at Batavia Downs had complaints about new scent defusers installed at the facility, but according to Mike Nolan, COO for Western OTB, only two employees were seen by doctors.

While the employees complained about the new machines, a connection between their symptoms and the machines hasn't been confirmed, he said.

Also, in response to the e-mail received by The Batavian, Batavia Downs is in compliance with regulations to have on hand material data safety sheets, he said.

Here's the full statement from Nolan:

Within the last week Batavia Downs installed a few scent air machines. They are widely used across the country in retail establishments. 

We did have a couple of employees complain of allergies during the week and went for medical treatment blaming the scent machines, no confirmation they were the source of the ailment at this time.

We do have MSDS sheets on site at the Downs and have offered them to the affected employees for consultation by their physicians.

We discontinued use over the weekend so the vendor can come on site Monday and make adjustments if necessary.

The goal is to create a great environment at our facility for Patrons.

March 25, 2017 - 3:00pm

Commonly Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions:
 

Q. What is a Workers’ Compensation claim? 
A. A Workers’ Compensation claim is a legal action that occurs when you get hurt during the course of your employment. In New York State you cannot sue your employer. When you get hurt at work, the Workers’ Compensation system provides for lost time financial payments and medical treatment required as a result of your work-related injury. 

Q. How do I know if I have a Workers’ Compensation claim? 
A. If you sustain an injury during the course of your employment, you should contact our office for a free case evaluation as soon as possible. We can help you determine if you have a Workers’ Compensation claim and assist you in filing the proper paperwork.

Q. How long do I have to file a Workers’ Compensation claim? 
A. You are required to report your injury to your employer within 30 days. There is also a two year time limit to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board. Failure to adhere to these time limits can result in a denial of your claim. 

Q. Is a Workers’ Compensation claim my only recourse if I am hurt at work? 
A. In New York State, you cannot sue your employer. In some circumstances, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed in addition to a Workers’ Compensation claim. This includes, but is not limited to, injuries sustained in a work-related motor vehicle accident, constructions injuries, or injuries sustained at a location not owned by your employer. Our team of attorneys at Dolce Panepinto will assess your claim to ensure that every legal avenue available to you is pursued. 

Q. How much does a Workers’ Compensation Attorney cost? 
A. Workers’ Compensation fees are generated on a contingent basis. This means that we only receive payment if we generate money in connection with your Workers’ Compensation claim. More information on contingent fees can be found here. Additionally, our attorneys can explain our attorney fees in greater detail.

Q. Do I need an attorney? 
A. While an attorney is not required, it is strongly recommended that you retain an attorney. The Workers’ Compensation Law is complex, confusing, and often difficult to navigate. The insurance carrier will have an attorney fighting on their behalf, we recommend that you have an attorney fighting on your behalf. Having an attorney means ensuring your rights are protected, maximizing your benefits, and making sure your questions and concerns are addressed.

Dolce Panepinto works tirelessly to protect the rights of injured workers by making sure that those responsible are held accountable. If you or a family member are injured at work, or in your private life, contact us today for a free case evaluation at 585-815-9003. For further question regarding Worker's Compensation Law or to contact Dolce Panepinto: click here.

March 25, 2017 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, trade policy, economics, news.

Globalization

This is part two of an eight-part series on trade and how changes in policy might affect the local economy.

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One of the more interesting characters President Donald J. Trump has brought into the White House is Stephen K. Bannon, a top advisor to Trump with the job title of Chief Strategist. 

Bannon is a former Navy officer, Wall Street financier, former chairman of Breitbart News, and a former Hollywood producer who derives some of his income from royalties on the TV series "Seinfeld." To his enemies, he is a white nationalist, a fascist, a Nazi, even though these are characterizations he rejects and the evidence to support the labels is suspect. He calls himself an "economic nationalist."

His epiphany came, he has said, during the 2008 financial crisis. His father lost $100,000 when he sold his AT&T stock (without consulting a financial advisor or anyone in his family). When Bannon observed the ability of Wall Street CEOs to walk away from the crisis unscathed while hardworking Americans such as his father were hurt, he was incensed. Bannon believed (and he's far from alone in this perception) that Wall Street tycoons perpetrated a fraud while profiting from the meltdown. 

The crisis set Bannon on the path of an economic ideology he believes will protect the working people of America from the elites of a globalized economy. When Bannon and Trump met, in many ways, they were soulmates. Without using the term, Trump was probably an economic nationalist before he decided to run for president.  

Trump doesn't call himself an economic nationalist. He just says, "We're going to put America first." That's an emotionally more powerful term that has resonated with voters.

If we're going to talk about trade over the next few days and understand how the Trump Administration's policies may change the economics of Genesee County, if not the entire world, it would be helpful to understand what Trump and Bannon believe and where that fits into the history of economics.

When Trump talks about putting America first, the message resonates with a subset of his supporters who are against globalization.

The word globalization means different things to different people. To nationalists, it seems to mean a process by which countries begin to surrender their sovereignty to international organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization and the World Court. To most economists, it means the world developing more tightly coupled economic ties and becoming more interdependent through trade with no need to trample national sovereignty.

The anti-globalist believe countries can best protect their sovereignty by restricting trade. That approach is called protectionism.

Many economists think the whole idea of protectionism was smashed by Adam Smith, the Scotsman who published "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776. "The Wealth of Nations" in a real sense marked the birth of economics as a course of study. Until Smith's monumental work, how trade worked was viewed through a lens of thinkers known as mercantilists. For the mercantilists, trade was a zero-sum game -- for every winner, there was a loser, for one side of a trade to gain, the other said had to fall behind. For that reason, mercantilists believed that governments needed to plan the trade of their countries and if necessary raise barriers to trade to protect homegrown production.

Smith said that simply isn't true. Smith argued that to force people to make at home what could be made more cheaply in another country was a waste of resources because the people doing less productive work could better spend their time doing things that made a greater contribution to the local economy. 

It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to make his own shoes, but buys them of the shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt to make his own clothes, but employs a tailor. The farmer attempts to make neither the one nor the other, but employs those different artificers.

The best economy, according to Smith, is one where each person is free to maximize his own productivity. By laboring in one's own interest, Smith observed, people contribute to the greater public good though that is not their true intention. His famous phrase from this passage is "the invisible hand," or that which guides the whole economy toward greater good through a series of self-interested actions by individuals. 

That is the essence of the free market.

Economist David Ricardo would expand on this observation with his theory of comparative advantage. Ricardo argued that two nations benefit when each engaged in their greatest economic capacity and then trade the results of that output. Ricardo's example involves a bit of math, but basically if one country has an advantage over another in making both wine and cloth, but the greater advantage lies in wine, then the wine country should make wine and trade for cloth and the country weaker in both wine and cloth should make cloth and trade for wine. In this way, both countries are more productive together than each doing their own thing.

Comparative advantage comes right down to the county level and even the individual farm level, said Craig Yunker, CEO of CY Farms. If one farmer has better ground for raising cattle and another farmer has better land for grains, they would both be foolish to try to be in the cattle and grain business. They are better off putting most of their effort into cattle for one and grain for the other (even if they both do a little cattle or a little corn).

The same applies to international trade, Yunker said.

"There are factories that have been closed for 100 years," Yunker said. "They don't make buggy whips anymore. There are cars being made in Mexico, but the technology comes from the United States. There are probably more cars being sold worldwide because of the expansion of production and we all benefit."

The way Pete Zeliff sees it though is the United States has a lot of advantages that it can use to grow manufacturing regardless of what the rest of the world does. Zeliff, owner of p.w. minor and a member of the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors, points to our lower cost of chemicals and our lower cost of energy, especially since the birth of the shale gas industry. That will make the United States more competitive in manufacturing, he said.

"The price of natural gas will be below $4 for the next 30 years," Zeliff said. "That will make us the most competitive country in the world. We're energy independent with the lowest cost of energy in the world. We can source 85 percent (of inputs for manufacturing) right here. The rest of the world cannot."

Even with Smith pointing the way to the value of free trade, many world leaders couldn't shake the appeal of protectionist policies because the benefits of free trade are incrementally diffused over time and across populations while the occasional costs of free trade are more visible (see: The Fruits of Free Trade (pdf)).

The world got itself into a lot of trouble through protectionist policies in the early 20th century, with protectionism contributing to a worldwide depression and eventually a global war. That created a greater realization that developed nations needed to find ways to cooperate.

That led to The Bretton Woods Conference, held in 1944 in New Hampshire and attended by delegates from 44 Allied nations, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), signed in 1947.

Bretton Woods led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and of the organization that eventually became the World Bank (the late Barber Conable, Batavia's representative in Congress in the 1970s, became president of the World Bank in 1986). 

GATT governed trade among signatories until the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1993.

The roots of these agreements were planted by events of the previous 40 years. The chaos that followed World War I was predicted by economist John Maynard Keynes in his book the "Economic Consequences of Peace." Keynes foretold the harsh consequences of the Paris Peace Conference on Germany -- predicting it would lead to future chaos.

After the Great War, America, along with other nations became much more protectionistic, making it much harder for Germany's economy to recover from the devastating consequences of the peace treaty. While protectionism here and abroard didn't cause the Great Depression, most economists agree that the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 only made matters worse, deepening what was then only a recession and prolonging the depression. 

It was with that background that Keynes and other economists who joined the conference at Bretton Woods sought to promote a more open global market for trade and the flow of currency. 

Bretton Woods and subsequent agreements helped bring greater political and economic stability to world, but these consensus organizations have also long been the targets of anti-globalists, such as the John Birch Society, founded in 1958.

Those views remained in the minority in the 1950s and 1960s, when the U.S. economy expanded at an average rate of 6 percent a year, and even in the 1970s and 1980s, anti-globalism was largely a fringe movement.  

It became more of a leftist and anarchist cause early in the 21st century.

Most people on the right were fine with global trade until a few years ago. Then there was the 2008 financial crisis hitting right at a time when China, which joined the WTO in 2001, was becoming a bigger economic power.

CHART: Gross Domestic Product (a measure of an economy's wealth) on a per-person basis for each country in the world, showing relative wealth and percentage of world population.

Previously:

March 25, 2017 - 7:30am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Announcements, boy scouts troop 6006, news, batavia.

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Scout leaders and boys from Troop 6006 are promoting their Pasta Dinner fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. next Saturday, April 1st, at the First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia.

Dinner includes spaghetti, meatballs, salad, Italian bread, dessert and beverages. 

Pre-sale tickets are available now until March 31st and cost $10 for two tickets. To buy tickets, contact Tracy Grover 585-762-4613, Steve Ognibene 585-409-8358, Paul Marchese 585-300-7058, or they can be purchased at Marchese Computer Products, 220 Ellicott St., Batavia, during normal business hours.

They can also be purchased at the door: adults $7, children 10 and under $5.

All proceeds will go toward purchasing new camping gear and scout activities.

March 25, 2017 - 5:25am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Darien, news.

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A tractor-trailer rollover accident is reported at 2061 Broadway Road, Darien. The big rig also struck an unoccupied parked car.

"We'll need the rescue, then an ambulance. The patient's going to be able to get himself out; he's just looking for some paperwork right now," says a first responder at the scene.

Darien Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

The location is between Attica and Smithley roads. "Unknown if fluids are leaking," says the dispatcher. 

Law enforcement is on scene. "A pole is hit, but it doesn't appear to be damaged," says a first responder. National Grid will be called.

UPDATE 5:27 a.m.: A heavy wrecker will be called for the trailer, which is on its side against a utility pole, and another tow for the front cab.

UPDATE 6:01 a.m.: The trucker claims he swerved to avoid a moose. The tractor-trailer then slid along a guard rail and landed in the front yard of a residence, crushing the front end of a parked Jeep. A woman who was sitting in her living room at the time said it sounded like a truck dragging a car down the road, then went boom. The big rig wound up only a few feet away from where she was sitting. It was carrying a light load -- shoes.

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March 24, 2017 - 8:10pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in events, Pavilion, music, education.

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An ensemble of young musicians and choral singers from Wyoming and Genesee counties will be performing at the All-County Music Festival, sponsored by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators’ Association Inc.

The first performance begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Attica High School, Main Street, Attica. The second performance will be at 2 p.m. April 7 at Pavilion Central School, Big Tree Road, Pavilion.

Students from St. Joseph and Notre Dame, and Alexander, Attica, Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield-Alabama, Pavilion, Pembroke and Wyoming school districts compete for a chance to perform in this festival.

Performances include the Senior High Jazz Band Ensemble, the Elementary All-County Chorus, the Junior High All-County Band, and the Senior High All-County Chorus.

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March 24, 2017 - 6:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Basom, Oakfield.

David Bruce Piechowicz, 41, of Lackawanna, is charged with two counts of second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon, third degree -- with a prior conviction. He was taken into custody March 23 by the U.S. Marshall's warrant task force on a Town of Alabama warrant on the charges, issued Feb. 12 following an unspecified incident on Shanks Road in Basom. The defendant was jailed on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond. The case was handled by Genesee County Deputy Lonnie Nati.

David William Cook, 50, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unsafe turn/failure to signal, aggravated DWI, and DWI. Cook was arrested at 7:04 p.m. on March 23 on Lincoln Avenue in Batavia following a traffic stop. He allegedly had a BAC of more than .18 percent at the time. He was issued appearance tickets for Batavia City Court on April 26. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.

John Moon, 25, of Batavia, was arrested at 10 p.m. on March 22 by State Troopers for DWI. They performed a traffic stop on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia and Moon allegedly failed field sobriety tests. His breath test allegedly resulted in a BAC of .17 percent. He was given appearance tickets for Town of Batavia Court in April.

Bettina Jacqueline Jacobs, 33, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and first-degree promoting prison contraband. She was arrested for allegedly introducing Suboxone into the GC Jail after being taken into custody at court for an alleged violation of her previous release agreement. It is also alleged that during the subsequent transport to another jail, she gave some of that controlled substance to another inmate. Jacobs was arraigned in City of Batavia Court on March 22 and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Parker.

Dawn M. Morford, 56, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. And 41-year-old Gary Bradford, of Maple Street, Rochester, is charged with a violation -- unlawful possession of marijuana. Both were arrested March 21 following a traffic stop in the Town of Bergen by the GC Local Drug Enforcement Task Force. They were issued appearance tickets returnable to Bergen Town Court. Uniformed deputies from the Sheriff's Office along with K-9 "Destro" assisted with the investigation.

A 16-year-old who lives on Lewiston Road in Oakfield is charged with second-degree criminal contempt after allegedly being found in possession of a cell phone on March 10. The subject was ordered earlier this month to refrain from possessing a cell phone by Judge Adams in GC Family Court. The defendant is to appear in Oakfield Town Court at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Cory Mower.

March 24, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Health Care.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement regarding the American Health Care Act.

“I am extremely disappointed with today’s result,” Congressman Collins said. “This bill, while not perfect, was a solution that would have ended the Obamacare nightmare that Western New Yorkers have had to endure for too long.

"By increasing competition and giving people the power to make their own choices with their own health care, the American Health Care Act would have been a drastic improvement over the healthcare system Obamacare has left us with.

“Despite today’s result, this process has provided the opportunity to push for reforms vital to Western New York, specifically my amendment to force Albany to end its unfunded mandate on New York’s counties once and for all.

"I will continue advocating for that critical measure going forward and will remain resolute in my commitment to the taxpayers in my district.”

March 24, 2017 - 4:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news.

A man found to be illegally in the United States was arrested after a bloody domestic incident on Wood Street in Batavia last night.

At 9:15 p.m., Batavia police responded to 8 Wood St. for a physical domestic incident and found a female victim with a laceration to her neck. The victim indicated the suspect, Reynauldo Diaz-Ruiz, had cut her with a knife and was still inside the apartment. Officers located the man and attempted to take him into custody, but he allegedly refused to comply and physically resisted arrest.

Officers were eventually able to subdue Diaz-Ruiz and take him into custody after deploying a Taser. Diaz-Ruiz was transported to the Batavia Police Department where he allegedly attempted to take the service weapon of the escorting officer, who was able to subdue Diaz-Ruiz until additional officers arrived. Diaz-Ruiz was then transported to UMMC for a medical evaluation and released a short while later to the custody of Batavia PD.

Through investigation it was learned Diaz-Ruiz is in the country illegally.

Diaz-Ruiz was arraigned in Batavia City Court with the assistance of a court-appointed interpreter on the following charges:

  • First-degree assault (Class B felony);
  • Third-degree attempted robbery (Class E felony);
  • Second-degree attempted escape (Class E felony);
  • Fourth-degree attempted grand larceny (misdemeanor);
  • Attempted menacing a police officer (Class E felony);
  • Attempted criminal possession of a firearm (misdemeanor);
  • Second-degree menacing (misdemeanor);
  • First-degree reckless endangerment (Class D felony);
  • Second-degree reckless endangerment (misdemeanor);
  • Fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon (misdemeanor);
  • Criminal mischief;
  • Resisting arrest (misdemeanor);
  • Obstruction of governmental administration (two counts).

Diaz-Ruiz was put in Genesee County Jail without bail. An immigration detainer was also lodged against him.

The Batavia Police Department was assisted by Mercy medics, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency out of Batavia.

Anyone with information in reference to the case may contact the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370 or online at http://www.batavianewyork.com/police-department/webforms/report-suspicious-drug-or- criminal-activity.

March 24, 2017 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, trade policy, news.

Introduction

This is part one of an eight-part series on trade and how changes in policy might affect the local economy.

employment_pop2017.png

At the top of his agenda, Donald J. Trump, told supporters while campaigning for president was that he would bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

"I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," Trump said at one campaign rally.

How Trump goes about reshaping American trade policy will likely have a profound effect not just on the whole United States but also on us in Genesee County as farmers, business owners, executives, employees, and families. As America's economy goes, so goes Genesee County, so over the past few of weeks, The Batavian has interviewed several local business leaders to see how Trump's campaign rhetoric and what has emerged as his administration's policy during his first 100 days in office are shaping their views of our shared economic future.

The views range from a full embrace of Trump's "Make America Great Again" bravado to fearful skepticism that trade barriers and protectionism will lead to trade wars and ultimately financial ruin.

"I think Trump is going to be good for us in business," said Pete Zeliff, owner of p.w. minor in Batavia. "He's going to start leveling the playing field. The way trade deals have been done, the playing field isn't level. It's really hard to compete with people overseas. Their labor is so much less, so naturally, things cost less money. What Trump has talked about, leveling the playing field makes total sense to me."

Jeff Glajch, vice president and CFO for Graham Manufacturing in Batavia, said that with Graham exporting more than it imports -- about 40 percent of its sales are overseas -- he thinks some of the policies contemplated by Trump and the Republicans in Congress will not only be great for Graham, but great for America and great for Batavia. Graham employees nearly 300 people locally and Glajch, who remembers more manufacturers here 30 years ago, would like to see a resurgence in local manufacturing. 

"We're encouraged by anything that favors U.S. production because I think we've been unfavored for quite a while," Glajch said. "It would be nice to see that shift back in our direction a little bit. It would be great as a country."

On the campaign trail, Trump spoke frequently of increasing tariffs, tearing up trade deals such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and entering into a series of bilateral trade agreements (cutting deals with only one country at a time instead of deals that encompass several countries). To economists, that rhetoric sounds a lot like protectionism, and that's a dirty word to those who favor free trade.

Craig Yunker, CEO of CY Farms, said he favors free trade and is fearful of what Trump's disruption of international trade norms might do to the local and national economy. 

"The issue I have with people who talk about trade as a zero-sum game is that trade is a win-win game," Yunker said. "It's a very positive thing. It leads to higher incomes for both parties if done right."

"The issue," he added, "is that when we look at the percent of the pie we get rather than the size of the pie. We see a smaller piece of the pie, but the economy has expanded. The issue of the anti-trade mentality is to look at 'what is my share of the pie?' and the free-trade mentality and a more pro-growth mentality is 'let's grow a bigger pie.' "

Rep. Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president, said Trump's trade policies, and the policies he's pursuing in Congress with fellow Republicans, are unapologetically protectionist.

"Absolutely," he said.

Collins said he's concerned about the people who have lost factory jobs. They aren't the kind of people who are going to become rocket scientists, he said, or researchers. When they can't find a job, they become depressed, and too often they wind up in service-sector jobs at lower wages.

"We need to make stuff and give people an opportunity to make a good living who have a high school (diploma) or a community college degree," Collins said.

Top graphic: The graphic shows the number of people employed as a percentage of the U.S. population. As you can see, prior to the 2001 recession, the number hit 81.6 percent. It climbed back up to 80 percent prior to the 2008 recession and has been climbing for the past five years hitting 78 percent at the start of 2017.

March 24, 2017 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A car has reportedly struck a pedestrian at the intersection of State Street and Alva Place, Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

The location is by Washington Towers, behind JCPenney.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.: A pedestrian was struck by a car making a left-hand turn, but the person does not appear to be injured. Mercy medics are transporting the pedestrian to Strong Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

March 24, 2017 - 3:00pm

Open House this Sunday, March 26 • 12 - 1 p.m., 22 Forest Ave. in the Oakfield Village. This home offers five large bedrooms, two full baths with first floor laundry, first floor master, huge dining room and kitchen. One-car attached garage, 54" high sidewall heated saltwater above-ground pool and landscaped backyard with gas fire pit put this house above all the rest. This home is part of the 100-percent Moneyback Guarantee Program and also comes with our Transferable Home Warranty. Call to schedule your showing right away, call Charles at 716-860-2222 to find out what your house it worth!

March 24, 2017 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

An 81-year-old man from Medina who was a passenger in a sedan that rammed under the trailer of a big rig died just before 5 p.m. yesterday, according to State Police.

Purcil E. Buzard suffered severe trauma in the accident, according to sources, and was flown by Mercy Flight to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The accident was reported at about 9:30 a.m. yesterday at the intersection of Route 77 and Route 63 in Alabama. A tractor-trailer that was eastbound on Lewiston Road was making a right-hand turn onto southbound Alleghany Road. A Mercury sedan driven by Donna L. Wolter, 69, of Medina, allegedly failed to stop at the four-way stop. The car went under the trailer and its roof was sheared off and then hit a vacant building on the southwest corner of the intersection. It bounced off the building and hit a sedan stopped on Lewiston Road.

Wolter suffered head injuries.

There were no other injuries reported as a result of the accident.

March 24, 2017 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
mugsm_oliverthomas2017.jpg
      Oliver Thomas

If Oliver Thomas hadn't had a warrant for his arrest for five months, perhaps he could have made bail today, but since he didn't turn himself in and continued to hide from police, Judge Charles Zambito wasn't persuaded that bail was appropriate in his case.

Thomas was wanted for his alleged role in a home-invasion attack on residents in a Central Avenue residence in October. A second warrant was later issued because of his alleged failure to register a change of address as a convicted sex offender.

On the bail evaluation worksheet, which judges use to help determine somebody's flight risk, Thomas scored a negative four, even though he's a lifelong Batavia resident.

Thomas was in court today specifically for a review of his bail status following his arrest in Le Roy and original arraignment earlier this week.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini argued that even with his lifelong residency, Thomas has proven he's really pretty transient with lots of options for where he can go and where he can hide.

"He's a significant flight risk," Cianfrini said.

His assigned counsel, Brian Degnan, argued that because of his roots here, and that he obeyed all of the rules of his prior parole, he deserved reasonable bail, such as $10,000 or $20,000 bond.

Zambito agreed that Thomas is a flight risk and ordered him held without bail.

March 24, 2017 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news.

The case of a 29-year-old man's sexual affair with a 16-year-old Genesee County girl turned a lot today on speculation about just how hurt the girl was by the affair.

Daniel Brown is from Ontario County and has already been sentenced to two years in state prison on his conviction of crimes stemming from acts between him and the girl in that county and this morning's hearing was to determine if he should get an additional year in prison for crimes committed locally.

He pled guilty in December to criminal sexual act, 3rd.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell argued that Brown deserved the maximum available sentence available under the plea deal, three years in prison to be served concurrently with his Ontario County sentence, notwithstanding a statement by the victim's mother in a letter to court stating that her daughter suffered nothing more than a broken heart from the affair.

Finnell said that even by his own admission, Brown knows he hurt the girl in ways that will have ramifications for her later in life.

"He acknowledged in his letter to the court that he knows her brain is still developing and that this can affect her later in life," Finnell said. "He knew that."

According to Finnell, Brown struck up a friendship with the girl while she was still 15 and would meet with her, text with her and even showed up at school at least once to watch one of her school activities and when questioned about his presence, he said he was at the school that day to interview for a teaching job, which, Finnell said, was a lie.

Finnell said the physical affair started as shortly after the girl turned 16 and that Brown knew what he was doing wrong all along both legally and morally.  

According to Finnell, Brown would pick up the girl at school and never drive far from the school so they could get her back to the school quickly if her mother showed up, ostensibly to help hide the affair. 

The maximum sentence was appropriate, Finnell said, because the affair started in Genesee County and Brown continued to pursue the girl in Genesee County, even if they also spent time together in Ontario County.

Public Defender Jerry Ader argued that his client shouldn't get any additional prison time because he's already received sufficient punishment in Ontario County, which besides the two-year sentence, includes 10 years on parole and 30 years on the sex offender registry.

Both Finnell and Ader referred to a claim by Brown, who has held steady jobs since his military service and has no criminal record, that he succumbed to temptation after being dumped by his fiancée. Ader said that isn't an excuse, but just like any hardship faced by defendants, it is a circumstance worthy of the court's consideration.

Ader took issue with Finnell's characterization of the girl's eventual mental state, that she will suffer down the road. Ader said without a statement from the girl, and no way of predicting the future, there is no way to judge how the affair will affect the girl in the future.

Judge Charles Zambito said he felt sorry for Brown's personal difficulty, but it wasn't a mitigating circumstance in his mind, before handing down a three-year sentence.

"This was all about you getting what you wanted and what you thought you needed," Zambito said. "You never said you cared for her or even expressed that you cared for her. This looks like you used her for your own purposes."

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