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February 22, 2018 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia kiwanis, batavia, news.

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Submitted photo: Matt Landers, president of Batavia Kiwanis, with a dessert tray commemorating the club's 95 anniversary.

Press release:

Today, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia celebrated its 95th Anniversary.  The club’s rich history of performing community service projects for the children of the Batavia community has left its mark in a variety of ways.

The club received its charter from Kiwanis International on February 22, 1923, with 56 original members, including the former Batavia Mayor, Ashton W. Caney, and many other community businessmen and professionals.  The mission of Kiwanis is to serve the children of the world, and as one of their first projects, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia started a fresh air program where they sponsored bringing children from the cities into the country for a week. The club began recognizing the top ten students from Batavia and Notre Dame High Schools in 1944 and continues to do so today. The club’s largest project during their first half-century included raising over $42,000 to assist in building the city pool at MacArthur Park, which was dedicated in 1962.  Following the pool project, the club sponsored the development of Kiwanis Park in the Town of Batavia.  The park was dedicated in 1977, and most recently the club helped to convert the park to one that offers specialized equipment for children with developmental disabilities. 

During the second half-century of the club’s existence, a most significant impact was realized through the Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala event that raised a combined total of nearly $200,000 over five years to assist the Justice for Children Advocacy Center in securing a permanent home.  These funds are presently being utilized to renovate a building that will meet the service needs related to assisting children who have been physically or sexually abused.

Other projects started by the Kiwanis Club include a Soap Box Derby, an ice carnival, Farm City Days, a ski tow in Attica, and the Golden Olympics for seniors.   The club continues to work tirelessly for the community in a variety of ways. Monies raised through their Pancake Day, Spaghetti Dinner and 5K for Autism Awareness are distributed to local children-centric organizations.  Money from those projects also funds several annual community events:  Easter Egg Hunt, Thanksgiving Morning Skate, Holiday Tote Project and AMBA Blood Analysis. The club supports Meals on Wheels by delivering meals on a weekly basis, as it has done for nearly 20 years.  Most recently in partnership with Genesee County, club members volunteered to maintain the outdoor ice rink at DeWitt Park on Friday nights so the community would have the opportunity to skate under the lights on a weekly basis. The club also partners with the Genesee County Bar Association to recognize outstanding law enforcement professionals from the Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, State Police Troop A and the Leroy Police Department at their Annual Law Day Dinner.

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia currently has 43 members and is proud of the long-term membership of Kiwanis Past Lieutenant Governor Richard Rung since 1973, as well as that of local Past President Donald Lewis since 1965. 

February 22, 2018 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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Ann Capuano

A 32-year-old Montclair Avenue resident had a litany of excused this morning for Judge Charles Zambito for why she missed drug treatment appointments, including transportation issues, before breaking down in tears.

Zambito sentenced Ann Marie Capuano to shock probation, which means six months in jail followed by five years on probation.

In June, Capuano agreed to a guilty plea to a Class E felony of attempted burglary.

Three months earlier she had broken into a State Street Road business and brandished a knife.  She then tried to escape on a bicycle.

Later, she admitted to being on drugs at the time.

She was released from custody under Supervision of Genesee Justice and was scheduled to participate in drug treatment.

In treatment, she was accused of stealing medication from another patient.

Zambito told Capuano this was her last chance and the next step would be state prison.

Via our news partner, WBTA.

February 22, 2018 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Develoment Corp., batavia, news, notify.

During a budget workshop Wednesday night, the occasionally controversial Batavia Development Corp received across the board support from members of the City Council.

Up for discussion was the $110,000 the city provides to the BDC to fund its operations, including paying the salary of Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte.

Councilman Al McGinnis opened the discussion suggesting that while it might be OK to fund BDC this year, he would like the funding reviewed next year.

By the end of the meeting, however, McGinnis backed off that request because he learned funding for BDC comes from the video slot machine proceeds paid to the city by Batavia Downs.

"As long as it's the VLT money, that's fine," McGinnis said after the meeting.

He said he doesn't have a problem with the BDC and likes the work Pacatte and the board of directors are doing. He would just like to see a more detailed, nuanced regular report from the BDC on its projects.

At that point, Councilwoman Kathy Briggs jumped in and said the BDC regularly emails council members about its projects.

As for residents who are sometimes critical of the BDC, she thinks more of them are excited to see what's coming, and once the two in-progress breweries open up, that will help validate the work of the BDC in the eyes of a lot of people.

"Once they start seeing something, they’re going to get excited," Briggs said. "They’ve been hearing it for so long and they ask when, but when they start seeing a little progress, they’re going to get excited."

Both during the meeting and after, Councilman Paul Viele said the money the City is providing the BDC is money that is being well spent.

"For the $110,000 that we’re giving them, we’re getting a bang for our buck," Viele said. "You see what the result is. It’s great for the city. Whatever we can do to help them, let’s move forward."

During the meeting, Councilwoman Rosemary Christian questioned why BDC's budget was $125,000 last year. Interim City Manager Matt Worth explained that $15,000 was added to the budget because of some anticipated environmental remediation. It turned out that work wasn't necessary, the money wasn't spent and it was moved back into the general fund.

Worth also provided a short history of the BDC, which dates back a couple of decades. At one time, Ed Flynn, now a consultant working on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative for the state, worked for the city handling economic development. The BDC received federal funds to establish a revolving loan fund. After Flynn's position was eliminated, the BDC board and the loan fund remained but with nobody to administer it.  That led to some problems with collections on the loans.  A coordinator's position was created both to help with the administration of BDC functions, but also to pursue economic development opportunities.

Since then, during Pacatte's tenure, several new market-rate apartments have been added to the downtown residential stock, the Carr's Warehouse has been converted into a mixed-use complex, a developer has been secured for the former Della Penna property and the Santy's Tires property, and soon the J.J. Newberry building will become the Eli Fish Brewing Company with the FreshLab restaurant incubator as part of the project.

Councilman Adam Tabelski expressed concern that talk of defunding the BDC could hamper the BDC's relationship with developers and other development partners, creating uncertainty about the BDC's continued operation.

"It perplexes me that this matter is even coming up as a topic," Tabelski said.

Christian asked about the BDC's contribution to the city winning the region's Downtown Revitalization Inititiviative contest, with its $10 million prize for economic development, and Council President Eugene Jankowski said that Pacatte assisted in the application process plus the fact that the city has the BDC, as well as the Batavia Business Improvement District, gave the city more points to help in its winning score.

The budget workshop started off with a discussion about funding a part-time staff position at the Youth Bureau.  In the past, the position was filled by a member of Americorps but the Federal government has eliminated Americorps.  

The County's Youth Bureau Director Jocelyn Sikorski, who operates the city's youth bureau program as part of a shared services agreement, said the job is critical to the operation of the youth bureau. 

After a discussion about the importance of the programs the Youth Bureau provides to give children in the city, especially children from pooer homes, constructive activities and meals, the council voted to fund the position.

"We pay now or we pay later," said McGinnis. "And if we pay later, we pay dearly."

The council also addressed the topic of a spray park on the Southside of the city.  On Christian's request, with council support, Worth said staff will work up a report on the cost of the smallest possible spray park in Farrell Park, just to give council members of an idea of what it might cost, not that the spray park will be located there or be a park like the one in the report.

In today's dollars, the Austin Park spray park would cost $500,000.

Tabelski said Albion is building a small spray park for a couple hundred thousand dollars.

The current spray park uses about six million gallons of water each summer. To picture that much water, he said, imagine filling and emptying the water tower over by the VA Center four times.

The city buys that water at a wholesale price.

February 22, 2018 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, news, Notre Dame.

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Notre Dame advanced in the Class D1 Section V boys basketball playoffs Wednesday with a 68-50 home victory over Wheatland-Chili.

Andrew Moore scored 13 points, Ryan Moffat, 12, Gabe Macdonald, 11, Nico Zambito, 9, and Brendin Klotzbach, 8.

Zambito had nine rebounds. Spencer Misiti had five assists.

For Wheatland-Chili, Adam Lund scored 23 points.

In girls basketball,

  • Canisteo beat Le Roy, 59-56
  • Geneseo over Alexander, 53-34
  • Bergen over North Rose, 57-40
  • Notre Dame beat East Rochester, 54-36

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February 22, 2018 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

With the State Legislature reconvening for this year’s legislative session and the 2018-19 State Budget process underway, Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer is asking for constituents’ opinions on issues impacting New York State and the Western New York community.

“Many important issues will be discussed and debated at the State Capitol in the days, weeks and months ahead,” said Ranzenhofer. “As your State Senator, I value the concerns and priorities of constituents in the 61st Senate District. I encourage residents to share their opinions with me by completing the 2018 Legislative Questionnaire. As always, I will be listening to all of my constituents as this year’s legislative session progresses.”

Residents can complete the survey by visiting Senator Ranzenhofer’s website, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov. The 16-question survey covers a wide variety of legislative issues, including the local economy, quality of local public schools, and bills introduced in the State Assembly and State Senate. 

February 22, 2018 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, UMMC, NY-27, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced that four hospitals in his district will receive funding included in the Bipartisan Budget Act so they will be able to continue serving those most in need. The Bipartisan Budget Act provides an extension of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and Low-Volume hospital payment adjustment for five years, providing necessary certainty to hospitals largely in rural areas.

“This funding means life or death for rural hospitals,” said Collins. “In the event of an emergency, my constituents in need to know that the lights will be on and they have somewhere to go for treatment.”

The hospitals that will receive funding are Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, and the Wyoming County Community Health System in Warsaw. In total, Collins secured over $8 million for the four hospitals through FY2022.

“The Medicare Dependent Hospital and Medicare Low-Volume payment adjustment help ensure New York's rural and small community hospitals can continue to provide essential healthcare services to patients in need," said HANYS President Bea Grause.  "We thank Rep. Collins for supporting the reinstatement and extension of these important policies.”

“We appreciate Congressman Collins' recent efforts in assuring inclusion in the federal budget agreement programs that have been essential for hospitals like WCCHS,” said Donald Eichenauer, CEO of Wyoming County Community Health System. “Over the past decades, these programs were generally included in legislation with authorization for only one or two years. The short-term extensions put us in a positon where almost annually we had to invest efforts in searching for ways to cut staffing or reduce expenses if the programs were not re-authorized. The five-year extension will give us greater confidence that services can be maintained, jobs retained and our efforts can be focused on continuing patient care at its high level.”

“The Low Volume adjustment is critical for Noyes Hospital to help offset the cost of providing services as well as uncompensated care,” said Amy Pollard, President and CEO of Noyes Memorial Hospital. “Emergency Services at Noyes and other hospitals must operate fully staffed 24/7. Last year 14,600 patients were treated at the Mary Saunders Beiermann Emergency Department at Noyes. The continuation of the Medicare payment adjustments helps assure that these vital services remain intact. I am very grateful to Congressman Collins for his support of the rural hospitals and thus, our community.”

Collins added: “I was proud to support this Bipartisan Budget Act and the important funding included for rural hospitals. I have and will continue to stand against any cuts in funding for hospitals in rural communities.”

February 22, 2018 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears 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.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.

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February 21, 2018 - 9:31pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Eagle Scout, Dollar General.

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Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post tonight said he was surprised by the Batavia Town Planning Board placing an issue over a sidewalk at the Dollar General project in the hamlet of East Pembroke into the Town Board’s lap, but he acknowledged that it could provide the impetus toward creating a municipal sidewalk policy.

Speaking after the monthly Town Board meeting, Post said he didn’t expect planners to approve the site plan without sidewalks and also calling for the developer, Zaremba Group, to contribute $10,000 toward a sidewalk fund should the Town Board rule that a sidewalk be constructed to connect to existing sidewalk on nearby East Avenue.

The planning board’s vote, which was accompanied by a recommendation to the Town Board to include the sidewalk, took place on Tuesday night.

“Usually the planning board makes the final decision when it comes to that (approval or disapproval of a site plan), not kicking it back to the Town Board,” Post said. “In the end, the common sense thing to do is to build the sidewalk, which coincides with our goal of creating a walkable community.”

Post said the Town hasn’t developed a sidewalk policy – “we don’t build sidewalks; this is something new to the Town,” he noted – but this could be the “instigating spark that compels us to move in that direction.”

The supervisor said the Town Board discussed the matter before its meeting tonight and will be continuing the debate, adding that he anticipates calling a public information meeting focusing on sidewalks and public sewer in the hamlet.

Post said that, one way or another, the sidewalk at the site of the proposed 9,000-square foot Dollar General store will be built.

“In the long term, we will look at a policy and (the creation) of sidewalk districts that benefit the residents that use them, while for the short term, we don’t want to make people walk on the side of the road in the dark for 200 (actually about 260) feet,” he said.

The board passed numerous resolutions tonight, including:

-- Two Eagle Scout community service projects by a pair of Batavia High School students. Johnathan Totten, a senior (pictured), and Matthew Grover, a junior, were granted authority to build park benches at Kiwanis Park and park benches and picnic tables at Galloway Park, respectively.

Both are working toward Eagle Scout status – Totten in Troop 6069, of which his father, Greg, is scoutmaster, and Grover in Troop 6006.

“I want to thank you for your service and dedication to the community and scouting,” Post said to Totten after this request was approved. “You’re on your way.”

-- The purchase of four 2018 Ford pickup trucks – two F250’s and two F350’s – for use by the highway and water/sewer departments, replacing four 2016 models as part of its two-year vehicle rotation schedule.  The purchase of 8-10 foot snow plows that attach to the trucks also was approved.

“By changing trucks every two years, it is much more cost-effective for us,” Post said. “We have no maintenance issues since they’re under warranty, which allows us to not have a full-time mechanic.”

-- The transfer of two parcels from Oakwood Hills, LLC, at the Oakwood Subdivision on East Main Street Road – a tenth of an acre tract where a sewer pump station is located and 15 acres covering five streets in the subdivision as part of the Town’s roadway infrastructure.

-- The acquisition of a parcel of land at Batavia Gardens on East Main Street as an easement for Ellicott Trail. The cost was $20,400, which will be reimbursed to the Town as part of the grant-funded $1.2 million bicycle and pedestrian project.

-- An agreement with G&G Municipal Consulting and Grant Writing to conduct a Median Household Income and Low/Moderate Income survey throughout the Town for the purpose of determining the Town’s eligibility for grant money.

The contract with the company is for $16,500 plus postage.

Photos at top -- State Assemblyman Steven Hawley presents a certificate of achievement to Gary Diegelman for his 15 years of service as chair of the Town of Batavia Zoning Board of Appeals as Supervisor Gregory Post looks on. Moments earlier, Post and the Town Board showed their appreciation with a crystal award. Scoutmaster Greg Totten congratulates his son, Johnathon, after the Town Board approved their Eagle Scout community service project. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

February 21, 2018 - 6:30pm


Solid home in the heart of the village! This three bedroom home has a lot to offer, either to someone starting out or a growing family. This home is super spacious with a very open floor plan downstairs and upstairs features plenty of closets and good size bedrooms. The kitchen is sunny and bright and has homey back breakfast nook out looking the fenced in backyard. There is an extra deep garage, plenty big enough for a car and work space! The basement of the home, with a little work, could be great extra living space- it's already partially finished and has a wet bar! The home offers central air, a new 200 amp electrical service and the roof on home and garage is 7 years young. With very little elbow grease, this home can be up and running in no time! Very easy to see! Call Lynn Bezon at Relaint Real Estate today at 344-HOME or click here for more information on this listing.

February 21, 2018 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

JW Hardy III told Judge Charles Zambito today that the only reason he entered a guilty plea in the brutal and nearly fatal assault by a group of men against a lone victim on East Main Street in Batavia in July is that he thought it was the best way to minimize any potential prison term.

Zambito sentenced Hardy to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence under terms of the plea deal.

"I took this plea to get home quickly to my family," Hardy said. "I'm sorry for what happened to the victim but I didn't do it. I'm innocent."

Zambito said there was a witness who identified Hardy, who didn't deny being at the scene, as one of the attackers. 

He then explained that even being an accomplice, if not an actual attacker, exposes Hardy to the same criminal liability as if he was sufficiently involved.

"I have to recognize the magnitude of your involvement in a brutal assault that almost killed a man," Zambito said.

District Attorney Lawrance Friedman offered a brief description of the scene first responders found when they arrived. The victim was bloody from multiple stab wounds, including one that severed and exposed his bicep. He noted that one of the responding police officers -- Arick Perkins -- received community recognition for his quick action in applying a tourniquet that saved the victim's life

"If not for his actions, this, of course, would be a murder case," Friedman said.

Because there were multiple people involved in the assault, Hardy was charged with, and admitted to, a gang assault felony.

Defense Attorney Marty Anderson said that Hardy is a good father to three children, ages 2, 3, and 4. He has been a good father, he said, even though he is the paternal father to only two of the three being raised by their mother.

He also noted that while Hardy had a prior gang assault charge, that was 15 years ago and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. The other blemish on Hardy's criminal record is one that was granted youthful offender status.

Even though police believe multiple people joined Hardy in the attack on the victim, there has only been enough evidence so far to charge Hardy and Anthony Spencer, 26. Spencer's case is still pending and he appears ready to take his case to trial.

There were at least four people in the courtroom in support of Hardy, who was not in custody prior to his sentencing. As he was led away by deputies, Hardy, a big but soft-spoken man, waved to them and said, "I will be all right."

February 21, 2018 - 4:37pm
Press release:
 
New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) announced today that the Executive Budget proposes a lower tax rate for Batavia Downs. The proposal would provide $1.4 million in tax relief.
 
“The Executive Budget Proposal (EBP) is a first step to leveling the tax playing field for Batavia Downs," Ranzenhofer said. "Lowering the tax rate will make the local facility more competitive and ensure a fairer share of dollars are returned to taxpayers through our local governments.
 
"I will continue to advocate for establishing tax parity between Batavia Downs and other gaming facilities across the state."
 
The Executive Budget also eliminates mandated spending levels of 10 percent for marketing expenses and 4 percent for capital improvements. Under existing state law, the oldest nighttime harness track in the country pays one of the highest effective tax rates among gaming centers in the region.
 
In January, Senator Ranzenhofer introduced legislation (S7397) in the State Senate that would lower Batavia Down’s taxes paid to New York State by increasing the facility’s portion of net winnings from 35 percent to 41 percent. If enacted, the act would take effect on April 1, 2019.
 
Gaming Operation
  • Batavia Downs  -- FY 2017-18: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 35

                                         EBP: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 37

  • Vernon Downs -- FY 2017-18: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 41

                                       EBP: Portion of New Winnings (percent) = 42

  • Hamburg Gaming -- FY 2017-18: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 41

                                            EBP: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 42

About Batavia Downs

Batavia Downs Gaming, operated by WROTB, is a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. WROTB is a public benefit corporation – owned by 15 Western New York counties, including Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming, as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Since its inception, WROTB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in operating and surcharge revenues to the residents of those participating municipalities.

February 21, 2018 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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       Steven Vega

A 25-year-old Rochester man was sentenced in Genesee County Court today to three to six years in state prison for robbing the Bank of America branch in Batavia in July.

That was the max sentence available to Judge Charles Zambito under a plea agreement for Steven R. Vega. Without the plea agreement, Vega could have been sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years.

The 25-year-old Vega was a bit tongue-tied when given a chance to speak before he was sentenced, admitting he had made a lot of mistakes in his young life.

"I recognize my mistakes," Vega said. "I accept what happens in my life is what happens. I don't know what else to say. I accept full responsibility."

Vega entered a guilty plea in County Court to robbery in the third degree on Dec. 13.

Vega is already serving a two- to four-year term on another charge and is facing additional prison time for charges in Monroe County.

"He is still a very young man at 25 years old," said his public defender, Lisa Kroemer. "It is obvious he has not gotten off to a particularly good start in life. Drugs seem to be fueling his deviance."

She suggested a shorter sentence given his young age and the prison term he is already serving, and likely to serve on the Monroe County charges, to give him a better chance at turning his life around.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman argued that given the record he's already amassed and the seriousness of the crime, Vega was already given a substantial break with his plea deal. Zambito said he agreed with that assessment.

February 21, 2018 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, bridges, news, notify.

Genesee County is responsible for more than 380 bridges and culverts. But for each grant-writing periord, it is only allowed by the state to apply for funding from Bridge NY for repairs to and replacement of four bridges and six culverts.

At a recent meeting in Albany, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens asked a representative from the Department of Transportation if there was a workaround for that limitation.

The consultant's suggestion: Get each of the towns in the county to apply for grants for four bridges and six culverts. There is no reason, he said, the towns can't apply, but let the county administer the grants once they are received.

"That's potentially 26 bridges instead of two," Hens said. "I don’t know that we’re going to get that many, but I’m going to try to get as many applications in as I can. Even though they are theoretically awarded to the town, the county would still administer it and hire the consultant and manage the construction. Bridge NY projects are funded 100 percent so there’s no cost to us or the towns."

In the last round of Bridge NY grants, the county applied to fund four bridge replacements and on funds for only two -- one on Searls Road and another on Pratt Road.

Grant applications are due in April.

Hens said he has met with town superintendents in the county and they support the proposal. It will take the towns' cooperation to get the applications in on time.

Bridge NY grants are reimbursements. The bridges get built and paid for and then the state sends the money to the local jurisdiction that won the grant.

The county has about $17 million in proceeds from the sale of the Genesee County Nursing Home that legislators have promised to use on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. 

Since it is reimbursement based, we would spend the money first and we would get reimbursed for all of the funding," Hens said. "That would be another great use of our nursing home proceeds, just to manage cash flow for those projects."

Once the projects are done and the county is reimbursed, Hens said, that money could then be used for infrastructure projects that must be locally funded.

The county will be spending about $2.5 million of those proceeds this summer on three projects -- replacing the Stroh Road bridge in Alexander, replacing Colby Road in Darien, and on eight culvert replacement projects around the county.

In response to questions from members of the Public Service Committee on Tuesday, Hens said the Stroh Road bridge has been submitted four times for federal funding. Funding was granted twice, but then the bridge was knocked off the list.

Even though the bridge is critical to that part of Alexander, where there are nearby farms and a quarry, it's low traffic volume makes it a low priority for state and federal aid. The next chance to apply for federal aid is 2020 but the deterioration of the bridge has reached a critical stage, so Hens does not recommend waiting on an iffy prospect of getting a grant to cover its anticipated replacement cost of $1.5 million to $1.6 million.

Bid requests went out yesterday to contractors, Hens said.

February 21, 2018 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, notify.

Genesee County is exploring the possibility of entering into a contract with a consultant who will help the county save money on energy costs and reduce energy usage.

County Superintendent Tim Hens presented a proposal to enter into an agreement with Johnson Controls that would enable the county to fund many projects for system upgrades that need to take place anyway but in a manner that would make the projects cost neutral for the county.

Johnson Controls would finance over 20 years $3.9 million in projects in the county and the county would make annual payments on the financing through its annual cost savings.

Cost savings over the first three years are guaranteed. Hens said the county can purchase guarantees in subsequent years but the experience of other agencies that have entered into such agreements is that once the cost savings are proven, it doesn't make sense to spend money to save money.

It's been 10 years since the County went through a federally funded energy audit, so Johnson came in about six months ago and reviewed all of the county's facilities, bringing in consultants from all over the nation with expertise in various relevant fields.

Hens has received a summary of recommendations. Some of the projects are easy, such as switching out all of the fluorescent lights for LED lights or putting vending machines on timers. They get more complicated when getting into boilers, HVAC systems, electrical panels, and breakers or air handlers.

"They went over all over buildings with a really fine-tooth comb and found a lot of things we didn't even know we had," Hens said. 

Many of the projects would typically be part of the county's routine capital budget for facilities but under the possible agreement, instead of tapping the capital budget Johnson would finance those projects, freeing up that portion of the capital budget for other projects.

The financing rates from Johnson, Hens said, are competitive and would save the county from entering the bond market.

He cited the City of Batavia and Byron-Bergen Central Schools as examples of local agencies that have had a successful relationship with Johnson.

Yesterday, the Public Service Committee reacted favorably to the proposal -- there was no vote taken -- so Hens is expected to come back to the Legislature next month with a written proposal and a proposed contract for a possible vote to move forward.

February 21, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, GCC, creativity conference.

Press release:

Genesee Community College is excited to share the details of the fifth annual Creativity Conference: Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone taking place Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the Batavia Campus. Do you have a hobby or passion? Ever consider turning it into your own business? Then you won't want to miss this conference!

"So many people in the world dream of being their own boss. What they don't see is just how realistic that opportunity is!" Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., director of GCC's Business Programs. "This year, every piece of the creativity conference has been carefully aligned to inspire those creative business ideas and show participants just how far their entrepreneurial aspirations can take them."

The Creativity Conference will open for participants to check in at 8:15 a.m. in the Conable Technology Building lobby. The conference cost is $49 per person. For GCC students, faculty or staff, the conference cost is $25 per person. Registration includes a continental breakfast and delicious lunch.

Seating is limited, so register today at www.genesee.edu/best under "View our classes now!"

At 9 a.m. the conference will begin with keynote speaker, Erica Swiatek. She will address the link between creativity and entrepreneurship. Swiatek has made her living doing just that as one of the founders of Innovate Faster, a training, consulting and facilitation company based in Buffalo. Innovate Faster offers training courses on the creative process, enhancing teamwork, managing change, customer service and much more. Details on Innovate Faster are available at www.innovatefaster.com.

Swiatek's own creative thinking and ideas have come to fruition in her business, 3600 Escape, a company located in Buffalo that hosts groups in one of two specially dedicated Escape Rooms. Participants select either the "Conspiracy Theory" or the "Mineshaft" room and then are locked inside!

They have to work as a team to find and put together clues to escape the room -- and they only have 3,600 seconds to do it! Swiatek has now taken this concept on the road allowing her to perform the escape room experience for companies and corporate events on their premises through a package of creative characters, clever clues and utilizing the participant's own spaces.

The escape room experience can be done just for fun, or as a real-life learning tool. Swiatek's post-experience debrief session breaks down the steps and actions taken by individual participants during the exercise to help them understand the personality traits that they draw from while working to solve a problem.

Learning about one's strengths and tendencies is a powerful way to unite a team, helping them to understand each other better and to work together more efficiently. More information is available at www.3600escape.com.

Swiatek earned her master's degree in Creative Studies and is currently an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. At both Innovate Faster and 3600 Escape, Swiatek blends her expertise in the fields of innovation, learning and development to design activities, courses, programs and experiences to facilitate innovation, professional development, change management and teambuilding.

Certified in Myers-Briggs, DiSC and FourSight assessments, Swiatek draws on these tools to help participants problem solve, communicate and understand each other better.

From 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Swiatek's will host a special escape room experience right here at GCC! Participants will work in small groups to look for clues, propose hypothesis and race against other teams to solve the problem first.

At the end of the session, Swiatek will breakdown the skills and tools used by each personality type to help participants better understand their individual problem solving strengths. Anyone registered for the conference can sign up for this special breakout session which costs an additional $15 per person and is limited to 30 participants, so sign up quick! 

For those not attending Swiatek's escape room experience, there will be nine unique and inspiring breakout sessions featuring entrepreneurial leaders from our region to share stories of their own startups, answer audience questions, and inspire the next generation of great new ideas.

Conference participants will be able to select three of these sessions to attend. Each session will be offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

Among the breakout sessions will be:

  • Rashaad Santiago, special effect/ makeup artist, Face Off-Season 6 Winner (2014)
  • Sue Fuller, owner of Della's Chocolates in Medina
  • Trace George, owner of VSP Graphic Group in Buffalo, (the official graphic company for the Buffalo Bills) and GCC Alum
  • Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoos in Medina
  • Maureen Spindler, owner of The Village Photographer in Hilton and GCC's own visual communications specialist/photographer

Additional sessions will be available and session schedules are subject to change.

At 12:45 p.m., everyone will come together for a sit-down lunch, provided by American Creative Dining, served in the centrally located William H. Stuart Forum.

After lunch, the team from Startup Genesee will conduct a powerful wrap-up session for all conference attendees with giveaways and a very exciting announcement sure to help take entrepreneurial ideas to the next level!

The Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone conference, presented by GCC, is made possible through partnership with the Startup Genesee Committee and the Ain Center at the University of Rochester's ongoing support for the "Year of Entrepreneurship" series.

Behind every great business is a great idea! Let GCC be a resource for your idea and your path to success! GCC offers both an associate degree and a Certificate program on Entrepreneurship. Check out the options at https://www.genesee.edu/academics/programs/business/entrepreneurship/.

February 21, 2018 - 2:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, homeless, ILGR, CoC, Announcements.

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) has long worked to assist residents of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties (GOW) who are dealing with homelessness, through the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY). ILGR is pleased to announce that Dai Nguyen has joined their staff in the position of HAWNY Program Specialist.

For those who might be unaware of them, Nguyen is inviting representatives of human service or government agencies that are likely to encounter clients who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or have problems securing housing, to an ongoing series of GOW Continuum of Care meetings.

These will be held on the third Thursday of every other month, from 10 to 11 a.m., beginning March 15th.  Under HAWNY sponsorship, they take place at the Main Office of ILGR, 113 Main St. at Center Street, Suite 5, in Batavia.

While the gatherings are primarily open discussions on the needs of the homeless, likely topics include updates on:

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Continuum of Care (CoC), a program designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness;
  • The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a database that keeps track of homeless people;
  • Rapid Rehousing, HUD's model for alleviating homelessness;
  • Grant applications;
  • Housing updates in GOW;
  • Plus new events and services. 

In addition, attendees can get assistance with HMIS training, HUD procedures, and the multifaceted, non-for-profit PathStone's programs, so that their clients can access these services as soon as possible.

The third Thursday dates set for 2018 are: March 15th, May 17th, July 19th, Sept. 20th, and Nov. 15th.

While encouraged, registering in advance is NOT required to attend. To RSVP or ask questions on the event, please call Dai Nguyen, at (585) 815-8501, ext. 417

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

February 21, 2018 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Jail, infrastructure, news, notify.

Even though it's likely Genesee County will have a new jail in five or six years, the current facility still needs maintenance and the latest expense is $71,487 for upgrades and modernization of the jail's 32-year-old elevator.

The elevator is needed for safe transport of inmates between floors of the three-story facility as well as getting meals up to the second and third floors.

"We have a preventative maintenance contract with these folks (Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp.) and they do do annual inspections per state standards and the last couple of years we've been fixing a lot of the little things," said County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens. "It's gotten to the point where they said we can't certify it anymore if you don't do the whole kaboodle."

Hens said the county became aware of the need for the upgrades about a year ago and $73,000 was set aside in this year's capital project budget for the elevator.

Former Sheriff Gary Maha, now a county legislator, said without the elevator, meal delivery to the upper floors would become much more difficult and tedious, carrying trays of food up the stairway. He also said moving inmates between floors is safer on the elevator than in the stairwell.

Of course, that is exactly what will need to happen during the period that the elevator is out of service for the upgrade.

The Public Service Committee unanimously approved at its Tuesday meeting moving the resolution in support of the project to the full Legislature for its consideration.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the committee approved moving forward with a resolution to award a $20,075 contract to TSG Security for upgrades and repairs to the fire alarm system at the County Courthouse. The current system is 25 years old and needs repairs. The county had set aside $28,000 for the project.

The committee also approved a resolution rejecting a $400,000 bid for stonework and other facade work on the former Sheriff's Office building, now Genesee Justice, on West Main Street. Originally, the county expected to spend $200,000 on the project, but with a strong economy, contractors are busy, driving up their bids, and there's more work than originally anticipated on the historic Medina sandstone building. This summer, Hens will prepare grant applications to seek financial assistance to cover the cost of the project.

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Part Time Cleaner

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a part time Cleaner. This is a non-competitive Civil Service position. Typical work activities include, but not limited to: sweeping, mopping, polishing and vacuuming floors, washing windows, emptying trash and cleaning public lavatories. Applicants should submit the Genesee County Civil Service application form to the Human Resources Office at: One Batavia City Centre, 2nd floor at City Hall by 2/28/2018. If you have questions, please contact Jim Ficarella at 585-345-6325.

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