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November 4, 2013 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Stafford.

Randall M. Dennis, 67, of Keeney Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI and moving from lane unsafely. Randall was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 5:50 p.m. Sunday on East Morganville Road, Stafford. His truck left the roadway, struck a sign and guide rail before traveling down a steep earth embankment into a shallow creek. The investigation is ongoing and there may be additional charges. Dennis was transported by Mercy EMS to Strong Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

Byron Gilbert Keller, 18, of no permanent address, is charged with trespass. Keller was reportedly in another person's vehicle on Route 20, Alexander, while it was parked in a driveway. Keller allegedly refused to leave. Additional charges are possible.

Patrick O'Neil Spikes, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Spikes was allegedly a passenger in a vehicle driven by a person he is prohibited by court order from being with. The driver was stopped for allegedly driving on a suspended registration, suspended license and no insurance.

A 16-year-old from Batavia are charged with two counts of petit larceny. The youth was allegedly caught shoplifting at Walmart and during the investigation was found to be a suspect in a shoplifting case from the previous day. The youth allegedly stole $276.57 in merchandise on one occasion and an unknown amount on the second.

Elizabeth A. Graff, 32, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Graff is accused of stealing from an unspecified location. She was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

November 3, 2013 - 10:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, high school sports, alexander.

Clyde-Savannah Head Coach Nick Dercola said it: "Momentum is such a big thing in high school football."

In the second half of the Class D Section V championship game in Rochester, the Golden Eagles had it. The Alexander Trojans wanted it.

As a result, the final score favored Clyde, 30-24.

The Trojans had a chance to win Alexander's first Section V football title in school history, but a muffed snap on a punt deep in Golden Eagles territory on Alexander's first possession in the second half seemed to have a big impact on the game.

Clyde scored on a 10-yard pass from wide receiver Cal Felker to tight end Jarrod Faniel and with a two-point conversion, Alexander's half-time lead of nine points became a one-point lead, 24-23, and gave Clyde's players a little bit of hope.

Even a quick score on an eight-yard run by Dylan Scharlau following an 80-yard kickoff return by Same Browne didn't dampen Clyde's sense from that point that anything was possible.

"After the fumble on the punt, we had field position for the whole second half," Dercola said. "My kids loosened up a little and started getting after it a bit harder ... We got the momentum in the second half and kept it."

So much of Alexander's offense is dependent on senior running back Dylan Scharlau and after gaining 105 yards in the first half, scoring one TD, the Golden Eagles held Scharlau to just 39 yards in the second half.

It didn't help that Scharlau came into the game with a sprained right ankle and had been on a light practice schedule all week.

"It was a tough second half," Alexander Head Coach Tim Sawyer said. "We just didn't make the plays -- a couple of penalties, we dropped an interception and that was eight points the other way.  We've just got to make plays. We've got to finish."

Stopping Scharlau was an important part of the Golden Eagles keeping the second-half momentum flowing their way.

"We knew they were going to come at us and he's a heck of a runner," Dercola said. "We kept hitting him and he'd bounce off. We knew we had to stop him and we didn't do a very good job in the first half. I thought we did a much better job in the second half."

Alexander had a chance to grab that all-important momentum early in the 4th quarter when an 18-yard pass from Joe Faniel bounced off the chest of an Alexander defender and instead of falling to the ground it hung up long enough for Clyde's Kam Disanto to slip his hands under it giving the Golden Eagles a go-ahead TD.

That was a lead Clyde would not surrender as Alexander's offense was pretty much shut down on its following possessions and Faniel added to Clyde's lead on a two-yard TD run with six minutes left in the game.

It's the fourth straight win for Clyde over a team that came into the game with only one loss.

"I feel bad for our community," Sawyer said. "It was huge that our community was behind us. It's great to get this far. We won a league championship this year for the first time in 36 years. We beat Notre Dame in the semi-finals last week. All of those things are very good things."

Section V awards were given to Scharlau, QB Nelson Burke and Jonathan George.

Those seniors, and all the seniors on the team, made such a huge contribution to the Trojans' run at a Section V title, Sawyer said.

"I'm glad Section V recognized (George) as the best lineman out there today," Sawyer said. "He's been the best lineman in every game he's played in this year, and Nelson Burke, he loves the game. I know this hurts."

Burke finished 4-11 passing for 50 yards. He also ran the ball four times for 15 yards and Tyler Laird had four carries for 37 yards.

The Trojans out gained the Eagles 248 yards to 189 for the game and time of possession 30 minutes to 18.

Laird also had five tackles. Zach Laird had two tackles and a sack.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

November 3, 2013 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford.

A truck has left the roadway and rolled over into a body of water off East Morganville Road, Stafford.

Stafford Fire Department and Mercy EMS are responding.

The driver reportedly has minor injuries but is trapped in the vehicle.

UPDATE: One person transported by ground ambulance to UMMC. Reader submitted photo above.

UPDATE 7:03 p.m.: Stafford back in service.

November 3, 2013 - 12:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Deal of the Day.

NEW TODAY! Sammy Hill's, 7 Mill St., Le Roy, NY: This new restaurant has good, fresh food, including hand-pressed burgers, and a friendly atmosphere. Choose a house specialty burger or make your own with a variety of toppings, cheeses and sauces to select from. The menu also includes flatbread sliders, garbage plates, shredded beef or marinated chicken tacos, sandwiches like the Cuban, bruschetta chicken, or deep-fried pork loin. Friday fish fry -- battered, broiled or blackened. Dine in or take out. "Come Get Some!" Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Monday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Casa Del Taco, 234 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Mexican food lovers will delight in this new eatery that makes tacos and burritos "the way you want 'em" plus it offers other items like taco salads, burrito bowls, loaded nachos, churros, and chili. Choose from a variety of toppings, including jalapenos, black beans, cilantro and guacamole. There are also several varieties of salsa to select from, such as corn, mango, verde, and sweet Thai ranch. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday thru Saturday; closed Sunday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Jagged Edges Salon, 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, NY: Jagged Edges Salon is a walk-in and appointment salon for men, women and children. It is a fun, welcoming salon that offers all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, treatments, and facial waxing. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

T.F. Brown's, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." Stop in and check out our Jumbo Chicken Wings, Roast Beef on Weck and Friday night fish fry. The original family spaghetti sauce still adorns all of our Italian specialties. The other popular selections from our menu range from Super Salads, butcher cut Strip Loin and South of the Border items. We offer daily lunch and dinner specials as well as a full adult and children’s menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Stretch your body and soul with yoga. This offer is for $20 off ONE hour-long private yoga session. This is a $60 retail value. We have a gift certificate for $20 off.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery & Cafe, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, NY. A retail and special-order bakery and cafe located in Downtown Batavia inside Seymour Place. Offering a wide variety of items such as cookies, filled cupcakes, quick breads, pies, breakfast pastries, daily. On Fridays, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery offers fresh artisan bread like baguettes, sourdough and rye starting at noon. The custom cakes are out of this world with 3D characters or gorgeous wedding cakes to suit any budget. For all your sweet treats, we have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Palm Island Indoor Water Park, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, NY: The newest family fun center in Genesee County, featuring a hot tub, monsoon lagoon pool and play area, tipping buckets, water slides, arcade with 15 games and birthday party rooms. We have a pair of gift certificates worth $40 in merchandise or services for $20.

Daphne's Restaurant, 241 Swan St., (Off Rt. 63/Ellicott St.) Batavia, NY. Daphne's is destined to become a favorite for any who enjoy something special in a dining experience. Formerly the old St. Nick's Social Club, now unrecognizable to those who used to frequent the club, Daphne's provides you with a warm, inviting atmosphere and decor, which complements the array of wonderful dishes. We offer homemade seafood and pasta dishes, meatballs that are addicting as well as large salads, hot sandwiches & homemade potato chips. Fresh desserts are prepared in our own kitchen (tiramisu has been the top seller so far). We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, 9 Main St., Le Roy, NY. The kind of downhome, laid-back and comfortable place that just feels right. Open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks, this eatery and bar features a variety of eats and drinks that are outstanding. Specializing in smoked meats -- each meat is dry rubbed with a proprietary mix of seasonings, then smoked slowly in their on-site smoker for maximum flavor and tenderness. With a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, combo platters and entrées, there's always plenty of choice for even picky eaters. Great food, frosty brews and some of the best folk around call the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew their favorite -- make it your favorite today! Don't forget to ask about our catering! We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Greg'ry's Bakery, 13 N. Lake Road, Bergen, NY: The bakery offers a variety of the finest cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, breads, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and so much more. Each treat is made the same as it has been for decades and baked right here. Come in and sample some for yourself! We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Scooter's Restaurant in Le Roy, 140 W. Main Street Road (Route 5), Le Roy, NY: Come see us at Scooter's family restaurant with our friendly atmosphere and homestyle cooking! We offer classic American food with breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day. We also offer a full take-out menu anytime. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

SOLD OUT

November 3, 2013 - 11:28am
posted by Billie Owens in Habitat for Humanity, five star bank.

Press release:

Five Star Bank has announced a $5,000 donation to Genesee County Habitat for Humanity for the construction of a family home in the area.

"We are committed to the well being of the communities we serve,” said Marty Griffith, regional president of Five Star Bank. “Genesee County Habitat for Humanity serves its community with diligence and sincerity, and Five Star Bank fully supports their mission. We want to help foster strong, safe communities, and they are the ideal partner for this vision."

Five Star Bank has also announced $5,000 gifts to the counties of Livingston, Chemung, Orleans, and Ontario, as well as Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity organizations in support of the bank’s commitment to the communities it serves. The bank also served as the 2013 presenting sponsor of the Habitat for Humanity Leaders Build Luncheon, and the co-sponsor of the Leaders House.

November 3, 2013 - 10:43am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama, east pembroke, indian falls.

A possible chimney fire is reported at 368 Martin Road on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The house is filled with smoke Alabama Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from East Pembroke and Indian Falls. Akron is put on standby. The location is between Bloomingdale Avenue and Erie County's Scotland Road.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: A firefighter on scene reports the fire is contained to the fireplace, and they will need equipment to tear into it in an effort to keep it contained.

UPDATE 10:55 a.m.: Akron is told they can stand down.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: East Pembroke and Indian Falls are on scene along with Alabama.

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: Indian Falls is back in service.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m.: The fire is out. Alabama command and other responders are back in service.

November 2, 2013 - 11:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, pembroke, indian falls.

The Town of Batavia Fire Department's new ladder truck was used in a unique way this morning -- to practice a water rescue at Indian Falls.

Many times over the years people have fallen at the falls and rope teams have been brought in for a precarious rescue that involves climbing down steep cliffs and/or crossing rapid waters. 

Today, the rescue team trained with the ladder extended over the falls and being lowered down to the water for a practice rescue.

Also participating were Pembroke and Indian Falls.

Photos courtesy Town of Batavia Fire Department.

]

November 2, 2013 - 10:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Genesee County Park.

Dylan Brew sent in this photo from Genesee County Park.

November 2, 2013 - 9:23pm
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Le Roy will play for an opportunity for the Class C Sectional Championship after ousting top-seeded East Rochester/Gananda, 21-14.

The Oatkan Knights will be playing for their 15th sectional championship in school history, in an attempt to extend their Section V record that is shared with rival Cal-Mum.

After reaching the finals last season before losing to Hornell, Le Roy needed to defeat the top seed in Class C and the 2012 Class B champions in East Rochester/Gananda.

The Bombers got off to a fast start, striking just 1:39 into the game, as Zach Hauser found Andrew Fischer on a 51-yard touchdown pass to take the early 7-0 lead.

Le Roy struggled to move the ball on their first possession and were forced to punt. The Knight defense regained their composure, stopping East Rochester/Gananda quickly.

At this point junior Ryan McQuillen asserted himself into the contest.

After being beaten on the Hauser-Fischer touchdown pass, McQuillen atoned for his mistake by taking the Bombers’ punt back to their 31-yard line. Two plays later McQuillen knotted the game on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Mike McMullen with 4:02 remaining the first quarter.

“(McQuillen) did an outstanding job for us all day,” said Le Roy Head Coach Brian Moran. “He was in good position on that touchdown play; he just didn’t make the play. Sometimes that happens, when play goes bad, you make the next play and the next play, that’s what football is all about.”

The two teams would play to a stalemate for the remainder of the first half, trading turnovers and punts.

Le Roy would break that tie coming out of halftime, marching down the field on the opening possession of the half that Nick Egeling capped off -- a drive that lasted 5:27 with a 14-yard touchdown scamper to take a 13-7 lead.

The Bombers managed to move the ball on the ensuing possession but were unable to score. Le Roy was also unable to move the ball and East Rochester/Gananda took over as the fourth quarter began.

East Rochester/Gananda finally began to find their rhythm on the ground after being stifled by a formidable Knight front. The Bombers kept their 10-play drive alive on a strong third-down run from Nate Teeter, followed by another that put them on the cusp of the end zone. Kendrick Watson would finish off the drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge, taking a 14-13 lead with 5:30 remaining.

The Knights would answer though, needing only six plays to regain the lead after senior Peter Privitera took a third-down carry 45 yards for a touchdown, punctuated by a McMullen quarterback sneak on the two-point conversion to take a 21-14 lead with 2:46 to go in the game.

The Bombers would not go away quietly though, after their comeback attempt appeared to be dead, Hauser found Riley Palmer on fourth down for a gain of 45 yards, taking the ball to the Le Roy 45-yard line.

Le Roy’s defense would the step up to the plate.

Kody Lamkin came up with a sack on Hauser for a loss of nine yards and two plays later McMullen would seal the game by intercepting Hauser with less than a minute remaining in the game.

“Football is a tough game,” Moran said. “You have to be tough and physical. That’s Le Roy football.”

Le Roy (8-1) will play Livingston County foe Wayland-Cohocton next Friday for the Class C championship at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester.

“It’s a Livingston County Final,” Moran said. “We play great football out here and we are looking forward to that game.”

Kickoff will be at 5 p.m.

Stats for the game: Peter Privitera, 20 carries, 124 yards, one TD; Tom Kelso, 12 carries for 73 yards. Mike McMullen was four for 9 for 45 yards and one TD. Ryan McQuillen caught three passes for 40 yards and a TD. Kody Lampkin had nine tackles, two for losses. Tom Kelso had seven tackles. Brian Hodges, Steve Cappotelli, Zack Fitzsimmons and Nick Egeling had five tackles each. Cappotelli and Brandon Van Grol each had a sack and McQuillen had an interception.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

November 2, 2013 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at Route 63 and Batavia Oakfield Townline Road. It is blocking traffic. Mercy medics, law enforcement and Town of Batavia Fire Department are responding.

UPDATE 4:06 p.m.: There are three or four injuries; one of the patients is a child. A second Mercy rig is requested.

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: A third ambulance is requested. There is a total of four patients.

UPDATE 4:27 p.m.: The roadway is no longer blocked.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: Two of the ambulances are taking patients to Erie County Medical Center; no word yet on the destination of the remaining rig.

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.: The last rig is also going to ECMC. The assignment is back in service.

November 2, 2013 - 12:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A two-car accident is reported at Judge Road and Route 77 in Alabama. There are said to be no injuries but it is blocking traffic. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with law enforcement.

UPDATE 12:14 p.m.: A Sheriff's deputy on scene reports there are three vehicles involved.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: There is a minor injury -- a hand laceration.

UPDATE 12:17 p.m.: Mercy medics are called to respond in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Alabama command cancels the medical response.

UPDATE 12:22 p.m.: One of the Alabama units called is standing down, another is on scene.

November 2, 2013 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Suicide Corners.

Letter:

The unbelievable has happened! The Roundabout for East Rd. and Rt. 20 in Bethany is officially cancelled. The DOT has withdrawn the plans for the roundabout and went with what the public wanted, a more practical, fiscally responsible and incremental approach.

Debbie and I wish to whole heartedly thank all of our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, officials and the media who supported us during the past 5 years as we opposed this project and fought to save our home.

Thanks to the almost 10 thousand people who signed our petitions or the facebook page to support our effort.

Thank you to Senator Michael Ranzenhofer & Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who with NYS DOT representatives Eric Thompson and Kevin Bush crafted a compromise to benefit the public. I think Washington could learn a lesson here.

Thank you to Genesee County Legislators and all of the other County officials who, with the Town of Bethany Supervisor and Town Board members would not let our fight die and kept the pressure on.

We wish to extend a special thank you to Jamie McClurg for creating “Save the Douglas House” Facebook page.

Again, a thousand thank yous to all for your help in saving our 200 yr old home while still improving the safety of the intersection. We are so grateful for all the support we have received.

Sincerely
Tom and Debbie Douglas
 

November 2, 2013 - 8:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, St. Joe's School.

The Rochester Amerks mascot "Moose" paid a visit to St. Joe's for the school's Halloween party Friday night as a special guest of Matthew Neal, 10.

Matthew won the visit when he went with his father, Herb, to an Amerks game on "Halloween Night." Dressed as Willy from the TV show Duck Dynasty, Matthew won that night's costume contest as decided by the fans.

Originally, the prize was for Moose to go trick-or-treating Halloween night with the contest winner, but because of weather concerns prior to Halloween night, the Amerks scheduled Moose for the party at St. Joe's.

Photo by Alecia Kaus. Information provided by Herb Neal.

November 2, 2013 - 7:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Power lines are reportedly on fire near the residence at 164 S. Main St., Batavia.

City fire being dispatched.

UPDATE 8:04 a.m.: City fire on scene. Fire seen on the lines. National Grid notified.


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November 1, 2013 - 8:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

A person wearing tan pants with bushy hair reportedly forced his way into a residence on Meadville Road, Alabama, went into the bathroom and then left.

He apparently didn't steal anything or harm anybody.

The resident reports the man came to the door and after opening the door, words were exchanged and the man barged in.

The man was last seen heading north on Meadville Road.

A deputy is responding.

November 1, 2013 - 6:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, indian falls.

A caller to dispatch reports a person "may be in the water" above the falls near the Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant, located at 7948 Alleghany Road. Mercy medics and Pembroke and Indian Falls fire are responding. A woman in the parking lot says she thinks she saw a person in the water and that the person has been there at least an hour. Mercy Flight is put on standby. The fire crews are going to put up a light tower.

UPDATE 6:34 p.m.: "What I think we've got here is a pumpkin at the top of the falls," says a responder. "We need a pair of binoculors to see it. But I think it's a pumpkin from what I can tell."

UPDATE 6:36 p.m.: All responding units are told to proceed in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 6:38 p.m.: "We're going to put up the light tower, but I think it's a pumpkin," says Pembroke command.

UPDATE 6:41 p.m.: Emergency responders are going to talk to people at the restaurant in an attempt to get more information about the incident.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m.: "It's been confirmed it's a pumpkin, you can disregard," the dispatcher tells an officer. "Disregarding the pumpkin," is the reply.

UPDATE: A picture of the pumpkin sent in by a reader:

November 1, 2013 - 5:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime.

A resident of Hutchins Street reports finding a 3-year-old child wandering on Main Street in the city and could find no parent or guardian. So the person brought the child home and called police, who are on scene.

UPDATE 6:06 p.m.: Police are continuing to try and locate a family member of the child, but at this point they have no idea who that is. The on-call DSS case worker is being contacted "because we might need some assistance with child care," says an officer.

UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: It's been determined that the child lives on South Swan Street.

November 1, 2013 - 5:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Le Roy.

The gas tank on a passenger vehicle is reported to have fallen off in the area of Bank and North streets in Le Roy. Police responded and determined that the gas tank had been leaking "over a wide area" -- on the trip from Batavia to Le Roy. An officer is speaking with a rep from the Department of Environmental Conservation to determine what, if anything, should be done in terms of cleaning up the spill.

UPDATE 6:09 p.m.: The Le Roy assignment is back in service. The DEC determined nothing needed to be done.

November 1, 2013 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that his new petition drive, encouraging the State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act, has garnered more than 3,300 signatures since launching the campaign one week ago.

“Thousands of Western New York residents have added their voice to mine in calling on the State Assembly to pass a bill that protects our tax dollars,” Ranzenhofer said. “We are sending a powerful message to the State Assembly: a fraud prevention measure is needed to prohibit welfare benefits from being spent on alcohol, cigarettes and other non-essential items.”

Senator Ranzenhofer launched the online petition on Oct. 25. 

“I hope that residents will consider adding their voice to the thousands who have already expressed their support for passing the Public Assistance Integrity Act. It is not too late to sign my online petition, and I encourage residents to join our campaign to protect taxpayer dollars,” Ranzenhofer said.

Residents can still sign the petition by visiting ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

The Public Assistance Integrity Act (S.966) would prohibit using EBT cards for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, and ATM cash withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos.  Senator Ranzenhofer is a co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill passed the State Senate on June 18. The State Assembly has not taken action on the bill.

EBT cards work like a debit card for public assistance recipients, containing both a Food Stamp and Cash Assistance component. Strict regulations already guide what can be purchased for Food Stamps. Cash assistance is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of Cash Assistance.

Federal aid received by New York may be at risk if the State Assembly does not pass the bill. The federal government has mandated that states implement a fraud prevention system by February 2014. If New York State does not act accordingly, the Federal government will penalize the State by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by 5 percent or $120 million.

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