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Billie Owens's blog

November 8, 2017 - 1:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A car accident with minor injuries is reported at Main and Jackson streets in Downtown Batavia. City fire and Mercy medics are responding. Police are on scene.

November 7, 2017 - 8:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Two vehicles had windows smashed in at a parking lot off School Street in Downtown Batavia. City police are on scene investigating.

UPDATE 9:18 p.m.: Vandals smashed in windows on two vehicles off School Street and another two vehicles off Liberty Street. A total of three purses were stolen in the crime spree.

November 7, 2017 - 5:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, pembroke.

A car vs. deer accident with minor injuries is reported at 1315 Main Road, Corfu. Smoke is coming from a vehicle. Pembroke Fire Department is responding. The location is between Route 77 and Boyce Road. There is "debris all over the roadway," according to a first responder on scene.

November 7, 2017 - 5:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, GCC, news, history, education, Confederate monuments, notify.

Turns out history is not what you learned about from your fifth-grade textbook.

Like human beings, it’s complicated, multifaceted and a work in progress.

Historians who gathered at Genesee Community College on Saturday to discuss monuments and statues of the Confederacy made that point clear.

Other issues emanating from that controversial topic were more opaque.

Should Confederate monuments be disassembled and put into a museum? Or stand as they are and “contextualized” by the addition of explanatory signage or a juxtaposing anti-memorial?

By what criteria do we evaluate the people honored? Are they more than their worst traits? Do they contribute to the public discussion beyond their role in the Confederacy?

While more and more Americans wrestle with those kinds of questions, by all accounts, the current debate is fraught with emotion. There’s a quick-tempered divisiveness that too often rapidly devolves into shouting matches or worse, culminating in the nadir at Charlottesville.

Derek Maxfield, Ph.D., GCC associate professor of History, brought together a three-man panel to weigh in on Confederate monuments. It was the last session in a day spent talking about the short shrift that history, especially local history, is getting in New York classrooms, the stifling trend of "teaching to the test," and disaster preparedness as it relates to safeguarding historical artifacts.

Speaking were:

  • (Via Skype) Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., who lives just outside Frederickburg, Va., but teaches online as professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at St. Bonaventure University in Cattaraugus County.
  • Michael Eula, Ph.D., Genesee County historian, who is a retired academic who spent 30 years in the California Community College system.
  • Danny Hamner, GCC adjunct professor of History for the past 15 years in Batavia.

They cited a series of articles which have been published online at a site called "The Emerging Civil War,” which offers fresh and evolving perspectives on America’s deadliest conflict. (To visit, click here.​)

Mackowski provided a launching point for the sake of the discussion at GCC. He penned an article from a free speech perspective for the Emerging Civil War series because it interested him as a journalism professor, and other authors had dibs on other aspects of the controversy.

“As soon as you start saying, ‘Take down that statue because it’s offensive to me,’ to me, that’s a First Amendment issue,“ Mackowski said. "Here you have artistic expression and people saying ‘That art is offensive.’ It’s always been my understanding that one of the purposes of art is to provoke. So, of course, in some ways it’s going to be offensive to some people.”

Eula said “I couldn’t agree more that art as embodied in these statues is by definition provocative. In fact, it should be provocative. First and foremost, we need to remember that when we look at these monuments, and the discussion surrounding them, we are talking about more than monuments.

“We’re talking about how we conceive of American history…of our civil society. I think each side engaging in the conversation needs to take a moment to try and understand the other perspective, the other side."

Hamner said that although he’s disturbed by the emotional response against Confederate artwork, he diverged with Mackowski on two points.

Firstly, the question of public art versus private expression.

He said he associates the First Amendment with personal displays of art: putting a Confederate flag on your porch.

“But when it comes to public art, to me it’s not a question of free speech, it’s a question of pure politics,” Hamner said.

Therefore, Hamner advocates having a true political process to work through so that opinions are heard and a “rationale discourse” can take place regarding each monument or statue on a case by case basis.

Secondly, whether there is “instrinsic value” in a work of art strikes him as “moving the goalpost a little bit.”

Hamner said the tougher question that does need addressing is: “Do these people have intrinsic values that we need to respect – outside of their association with the Confederacy?”

Mackowski, acknowledging he purposely wrote from the viewpoint he did because it was not covered by others in the online series, agreed with his colleagues.

As we wrestle with the notion of what makes somebody worth honoring, a fear – particularly in pro-Confederate quarters – is “Who’s next?” Mackowski said, and while some argue this is a slippery slope, he allowed that “we probably need to evaluate some of these other folks.”

What do these guys represent?

It was at this point that host Maxfield brought up the stark argument, in The Emerging Civil War series, proferred by Julie Mujic (pronounced “MEW-hick”), Ph.D., adjunct professor of History at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio.

She argues that Confederate statues commemorate treason and ought to be removed.

“To sustain Confederate monuments sends the message that it’s necessary to celebrate the effort, even when that effort was malicious. The monuments must come down. They represent inequality, oppression…”

Mackowski said Mujic’s stance strikes at the heart of the whole argument: "What do these guys represent?”

“As you know, the history of the war was rewritten as soon as the war was over. And instead of it being about slavery, it starts to be about ‘noble sacrifice’, ‘doing your duty’, and ‘honor’ and ‘states’ rights’.

“So today, a lot of people refuse to look at people who served with the Confederacy as being traitors, but in fact, that’s what they were. … So do you honor that or not? That’s a very important question that we don’t have a common context for.”

Hamner has a problem with both Mujic’s argument AND the defenders of the monuments for essentially the same reason.

He cites a catch phrase, even used by President Trump in a tweet, that “You can’t change history.”

He said people tend to think of the past as objective, factual and unchanging; our historical interpretation of that past as either right or wrong.

The problem is, that “implies that the process was somehow supposed to end.”

The deal is, reinterpretation of the objective truth is going to happen with every generation, as knowledge evolves, more facts come to light, consensus migrates.

As they all conceded, historians and the citizenry can’t change the past, but the interpretations of the past must be constantly requestioned.

"I’m always struck by the curious statement that ‘We’re revising history'," Eula said. "My reaction is that ‘History is always being revised.’ "

Having said that, Eula noted that at the time most, if not all, of the statues and monuments were erected, there was no national debate about it, no consensus.

“We need to keep in mind the question: Is the removal of a monument erasing history or merely calling our attention to what is now a different interpretation of that moment in time?”

Forgotten nearly always in these discussions, Eula pointed out, are the poor whites who had not been supportive of the Confederacy from the get-go.

A whole year before the North passed a draft law forcing mandatory armed service, the Confederacy did so, which tells historians the South was not getting the numbers of volunteers for The Lost Cause that many today would like to imagine.

And the slave-holding elite, later the pardoned ex-slave-holding elite, still got the run of the place after the war.

That meant former slave owners got to become the local bankers, and pass vagrancy laws, which continued the bondage of freed men, Eula explained.

This informs today’s understanding of the time in which the statues came to be.

“My point is that it isn’t simply a straightforward proposition as to whether these statues are works of art protected by the First Amendment; whether or not there are contemporary implications for race relations in our own day.

“These are products of a specific historical moment in a specific part of the country.”

Impact Beyond the Confederacy

Eula also said many of the Confederate generals had no significance beyond their military career. That raises the question, for example, does this form a slippery-slope logic for the removal, say of the Washington Monument? No, Eula argues, because although Washington owned slaves, “his significance lies in his contribution to the construction of a new nation.”

“These (Confederate) monuments are dedicated to the memory of an elite South…seeking to destroy the United States in the name of slavery…that was as busy trampling on the rights of poor whites as it was on the slaves."

And, if the decision is made to get rid of a monument, which whether you like it or not is a “historical document,” then the process to do so must abide by some local, identifiable political construct.

To just tear down a monument, Eula said, is akin to someone walking into the Genesee County archives and saying “Well, I don’t like what’s said on this particular piece of paper, therefore, I’m going the shred it.”

“Just like for any other historical document, we have to find a way to preserve these. Whether or not they should be preserved in a public space, that’s another issue...

“These are the kinds of issues that need to be sorted out before we can make any final decision on whether or not any particular Confederate memorial stays or is replaced,” Eula said.

The operative phrase is “particular piece,” says Mackowski.

“To look at Confederate monuments as a big, monolithic one-size-fits-all sort of issue is absolutely the wrong way to go about it,” Mackowski said. "But because tempers are flaring and emotions are high, that’s sort of how people are approaching it.”

Instead, a lot of questions should be asked to inform a reasoned debate, say historians.

Who was the monument put up to honor? Why was it put up? Who put it up? When? What was the intent?

Moreover, a statue of Stonewall Jackson is a very different thing than a statue in the courthouse square that honors the local county boys who got drafted into a regiment and sent off to war.

Plus, consider that community values change, and over 150 years, they change a lot.

A book by David Lowenthal called “The Past is a Foreign Country – Revisited” describes, the panelist said, how today’s values differ vastly from those of yesteryear.

So, it behooves people today not to try and look at history through the lens of “presentism.”

“I think we’re not really talking about history at all when we talk about these monuments, we’re talking about memory,” Mackowski said.

The Sorry State of Historical Literacy

This observation prompted Maxfield to mention a problem he calls “historical literacy,” or more precisely, the lack thereof.

“I don’t want to come off as elitist about this, but the fact of the matter is we are spending less and less time in the public schools teaching history,” Maxfield said.

“We’re shoving it out of the curriculum and, in fact, Confederate history in particular, CANNOT be discussed in some Northern states.”

And vice versa; Texas comes to mind.

“That’s an unhealthy phenomenon, when you can’t look at the other side of an argument,” Maxfield said.

Meanwhile, Hamner is concerned that while people scurry to make sure history’s getting correctly written and that context is being correctly construed, there’s a gaping window open for some people to ram their political agendas through.

“One only has to look at the way Donald Trump defended the artistic value of these monuments, when he has a l-o-n-g history of development in New York City of tearing down artwork after artwork to make room for his projects.”

To wit, the construction of Trump Plaza is said to have resulted in the destruction of an Art Deco-style store that featured windows created by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali.

None other than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City waited in eager anticipation of what was supposed to be the fantabulous donation of massive Art Deco bas-relief murals from that store, only to find they had been knocked down and destroyed by Trump’s crew so as not to prolong the project by a week and a half.

The point?

“We have to be very careful that we are separating people who are using some very valid argument to shield ulterior political agendas,” Hamner said, adding “…I would hate to see a very important, intelligent conversation like this being used in a way as a shield for what I consider very, very base intentions.”

It also is not helpful that the general public does not seem to understand what the discipline of history is all about.

“A lot of what historians do is really philosophy,” Maxfield said. “Until we have the opportunity to teach more critical thinking and encourage more exploration, I’m afraid what we‘re doing, especially in the public schools, is narrow and narrow and narrow.”

Facts and Sensibilities

It’s important to remember, too, Mackowski offered, that in history, a set of facts does not equal a set of facts. Two plus two does not equal four when you are dealing with facts in history, he said.

Fact: The Union Army moved in to occupy Fredericksburg in the spring of 1862.

But that fact is viewed vastly differently by two diarists who wrote about it. One was a member of the social elite who wrote about it being this great calamity; “The Yankee invaders are here; this is awful.”

An emancipated slave saw it differently. He wrote “This is the greatest day of my life. This is the greatest thing to ever happen.”

Thus, adding together different historical perspectives over the span of a century and a half is something that can’t be “summed up” tidily.

“Before this degenerates into mindless philosophy,” Maxfield told Saturday’s attendees, garnering some comic relief, how about considering one solution offered by a historian: Leave all the monuments as they are, but just improve the interpretive signage.

How other nations have addressed the issue of historical monuments was something that Eula explored when asked to participate in the GCC panel.

“The whole issue of holocaust memorials was an obvious one” to look into, he said.

One approach he found was memorials constructed next to other memorials with different interpretations attached to them.

In the United States, for example, you could put up: a monument next to the existing one that denotes the number of slaves murdered during their enslavement; or the number of soldiers who were murdered at the Confederate prison of war camp at Andersonville, Ga.; or “the number of poor whites who couldn’t buy their way out of the draft, who didn’t support the planters’ war, and who paid for that with prison sentences,” Eula said.

Coming up with a county-by-county count of the dead, might be a way of “softening the effects of the monuments with regard to those who find them objectionable,” the official county historian said.

At this juncture, Hamner said he sees agreement about the panel’s strategies and tactics; but it comes down to his original point: the need to separate the historical element from the political one.

“I would hate to take The Lost Cause interpretation monument and then simply encase it in a new interpretation and say ‘That’s the official interpretation. Now it’s done.’ "

There is no "One Conclusive Truth"

Hamner's desire is to protect the PROCESS of public history, not the monuments themselves.

“If the political process in that community says ‘We’re putting it in a museum.’ Ultimately, I’m for that," Hamner said. "What I’m really worried about is understanding the particularities of each monument, maintaining the process of investigation, and the willingness to revise our thinking – every generation, every person.”

Which begs the question, in Eula’s mind, as to WHY we necessarily have to have ‘ONE CONCLUSIVE TRUTH’?, he asked, slapping his hand on the table as he spoke each word.

“The minute you do that it leads you down, historically, a path of dogmatism that tends to shut down democracy, that tends to shut down the expression of free ideas.”

What if we as a society never have agreement?

“So what! … Why can’t we agree to disagree and have a civil discourse?” Eula asked.

The absolute declaration of what the correct interpretation is, was called totalitarianism in the 20th century, Eula reminded the audience.

Remember, there was a time when you were either for or against McCarthyism. You were either for or against the United States entering the purported "war to end all wars,” “The Great War” -- World War I.

“That’s when a lot of innocent people get hurt and killed, for reasons to me that are absolutely senseless,” Eula said.

Mackowski countered with a “get real” argument.

Philosophizing aside, and since the notion of “contextualization” of Confederate monuments is so kosher among historians, Mackowski wanted to play devil’s advocate.

“If you’re driving down Monument Avenue in Richmond (Va.), it’s basically an auto park,” Mackowski said. “Who’s able to stop at one of those traffic islands in the middle of traffic and read context about Stonewall Jackson or Jeb Stewart or Jefferson Davis?”

Context is actually difficult to pull off in some places, he noted, and maybe even if you could pull it off, does it really match up to these giant men on giant pedestals?, he asked.

And let’s say you decide to leave it in place, what about vandalization?

To that, Maxfield chimed in with something that a historian from Texas A&M University had to offer, and that is that location does matter.

Andersonville, for example, is cited as the South’s version of a 19th century concentration camp; a place where 11,000 to 13,000 federal troops meet a grisly end under brutal conditions.

If a monument stands in a place such as this, it should be kept there, the scholar argued, even if publicly funded, because going TO that site or a battlefield is voluntary. The same cannot be said for someone who must drive past a statue that offends you every day to get to work and there’s no other route to go; that’s involuntary.

Plus, on a battlefield, historians and/or Park Service employees are there to help with knotty questions and interpretations, right?

Wrong, says Mackowski, in fact Park Service employees have largely been silent on the issue. Because taxpayers pay their salaries, they can’t really delve into it.

Some of the people best equipped to comment on this discussion have their hands tied because of politics, Mackowski said.

Nor has academia been free from constraints, Maxfield noted.

Removing monuments on a battlefield, which is essentially a giant cemetery, raises “other complexities,” according to Eula, who stressed the need for balance.

“Because we have people there, regardless of our own idealogical beliefs, who ended their life there, most likely involuntarily.”

He went on to recall how memorials to Stalin and Lenin came down in Eastern Europe in the middle of the last century.

Growing Dissent

“My point here is that, as much as it pains me to say this, there could be enough popular dissent out there regarding all these statues that no amount of discussion or legislation could change.

“It could be that our own society has so changed in the span of the last two generations in particular, that there is this huge upsurge demanding a removal of some of these monuments in the way that we saw in the Soviet Union with regard to Stalin.

“And I’m not convinced historians, even the most well intentioned, are really going to have a whole lot to say about this.”

This perspective prompted Mackowski to ask why this moment, why now?

Eula maintains that some of this popular dissent has been growing for a long time, back to the 1960s and the feelings spurred by the morass of the Vietnam War.

“It’s what I started off by saying – this is not simply about Confederate monuments,” Eula responded. “There are deeper currents here at work, and these didn’t begin recently.”

The groundswell of attention paid to the subject these days could, in part, stem from harsh “economic realities” many people face, which historians have largely been insulated from.

This means that “some of our discussions are frankly going to prove irrelevant” because they are not, rightly or wrongly, in alignment with what the populace is feeling, thinking or demanding, Eula said flatly.

Hamner said, on one hand, there’s this sort of academic/historical question of how best to contextualize Confederate artwork. Then on the other hand, there’s a deeper human question of WHY historians do what they do.

The thing that matters most of all, he said, is that – regardless of whether a decision is made to keep or do away with a monument – that a process is followed to get to the decision.

Hamner contends that the camp that says "Leave it alone. Don’t touch them" is made up of people who want to freeze time and not confront the complexity of heritage.

They are reducing human beings to their best qualities – like bravery – “a disembodied sort of character trait.”

But the opposite camp is also reductionist – making complex humans villains and the epitome of their worst characteristics.

For an example of the former, Mackowski showed a picture of the statue of Stonewall Jackson at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Prince William County, Va. (See inset photo above.)

He said Jackson is made to look like “Arnold Schwarzenegger on a Budweiser Clydesdale" … like this God of War – a horseman of the Apocalypse. In reality, Jackson was slight, modest and “would have been appalled to be portrayed this way.”

In other words, monuments are less about facts and more about “how people want to remember the Stonewalls.”

What About Bias?

A student asked the panel, “So if interpretation is the key solution, how do we select the accurate interpretation for each monument without being biased?”

The panel's collective wisdom: Finding “the objective truth” and “the right interpretation” is doomed.

Rather it is consensus itself, by interpreting and reinterpreting, that will painstakingly get you “closer and closer” to what the pluralistic outcome ought to be.

Yet Maxfield said even that is elusive because “there are progressive historians that believe progress in humankind is possible – you get closer and improve – but other historians disagree with that." That dichotomy also shapes interpretation.

Eula said he thinks it’s not possible for a historian not to be biased. So you be as objective as you can be by acknowledging your bias, “your theory.”

Since “just the facts” are not the whole story, “you look at evidence based upon your starting point. But the responsibility of the scholar is to let the audience know: This is my starting point.”

Before you can get to an interpretation of a monument, for example, you have to get people to “understand that history is relevant,” Mackowski replied.

“Unless you can get people to understand that history is not what happened in the past, but rather why the past is influencing what is going on RIGHT NOW, people aren’t going to get to that (new and improved) interpretation.”

It’s that whole issue of general historical illiteracy that Maxfield had lamented earlier.

To make meaningful headway, people have to have discussions, the historians said, not ongoing yelling matches.

“Or 140 characters of saying ‘You’re wrong!’ " Mackowski concluded.

November 7, 2017 - 11:42am
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, news, accidents.

A tractor-trailer versus pole accident at a construction site on Judge Road caused power lines to be ripped down. A power company rep is on scene and lines are across construction equipment, the road and are torn from a house.

Alabama fire command is holding the assignment to remain in the fire hall. The road will be temporarily closed from Kenyon Avenue to Route 77 until the lines are removed.

No injuries are reported.

November 6, 2017 - 4:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Alabama.

A female walking with her son on Lewiston Road in Alabama was struck by a beer can sent flying out the window of a white pickup truck equipped with a ladder rack on the back. The vehicle was last seen eastbound on Lewiston.

The victim is going to UMMC for treatment. 

Sheriff's deputies and city police are on the lookout for the white pickup.

November 4, 2017 - 5:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Genesee County Farms.

Press release:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director John Mietz in Genesee County today announced that producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage, can prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the acreage reporting dates below and note the reporting date for perennial forage, pastures, and forage seedings is Nov. 15, 2017.

“In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements, all producers are encouraged to visit the Genesee County FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable deadline,” said Mietz.

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Genesee County:

Nov. 15, 2017: fall perennial pasture, hay, cover crops and fall grains (wheat, etc.) December 1, 2017: maple sap
Jan. 2, 2018: honey

The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

  • If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

  • If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

  • If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing” or “seed,” then the acreage must be reported by July 15, 2018.

According to Mietz, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss reports, please contact the Genesee County FSA office at (585) 343-9167. 

November 4, 2017 - 5:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, genesee county farmers.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director John Mietz in Genesee County reminds producers to review available 2018 USDA crop risk protection options, including federal crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, before the fall crop deadline of Nov. 20, 2017.

Federal crop insurance covers crop losses from natural adversities, such as drought, hail and excessive moisture. NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, maple sap, bioenergy and industrial crops.

The following fruit tree, nut tree and perennial crops in New York have a NAP application deadline of Nov. 20, 2017: Apples, Apricots, Asparagus, Blueberries, Caneberries, Cherries, Chestnuts, Cranberries, Currants, Ginger, Grapes, Gooseberries, Elderberries, Horseradish, Juneberries, Kiwi, Mulberries, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Plums, Plumcots, Prunes, Quince, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Walnuts, and Willow.

Dec. 1, 2017 is the NAP application deadline for Honey and Maple Sap.

“NAP policies allow producers to protect their investment by purchasing coverage for noninsurable crops,” Mietz said. “Natural disasters are an unavoidable part of farming and ranching and FSA programs like NAP help producers recover when they experience a loss.”

USDA has partnered with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois to create an online tool at 32TUwww.fsa.usda.gov/napU32T that allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for federal crop insurance or NAP and to explore the best level of protection for their operation. NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production, with higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price available, including coverage for organics and crops marketed directly to consumers.

Federal crop insurance coverage is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. Agent lists are available at all USDA service centers or at USDA’s online Agent Locator at 32Thttp://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#32T. Producers can use the USDA Cost

Contact: John Mietz [email protected] or phone (585) 343-9167. 

Estimator at 32Thttps://ewebapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/costestimator/Default.aspx32T to predict insurance premium costs.

For more information on NAP, service fees, premiums and sales deadlines, contact the Genesee County FSA office at (585) 343-9167 or visit 32Twww.fsa.usda.gov/nap32T

November 4, 2017 - 5:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, HEAP.

Press release:

If you are a homeowner and eligible, the Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit can help you repair or replace your furnace, boiler and other direct heating equipment necessary to keep your home’s primary heating source working.

HEAP emergency furnace repair benefits are available beginning Monday, Nov. 6th.

Benefit amounts are based on the actual cost incurred to repair or replace your furnace, boiler, and/or other essential heating equipment, $3,000 for a repair and $6,500 for a replacement.

You must go to your HEAP Local District Contact to apply. Your local district contact will decide if you meet all the eligibility conditions, including the income and resource requirements.

Before work is started it must be approved and authorized by a HEAP Local District Contact. Payment is made directly to the vendor after all the work is completed.

View HEAP Monthly Income Limits.

November 4, 2017 - 5:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, chorale, byron, bergen.

Byron-Bergen’s top vocal talents prepare for their debut with the RPO Festival High School Chorale at the season’s Gala Holiday Pops concert. From left, Jerome Spinks, Esther Wilkins, Mason Fuller, Stephanie Buell, Josh Phelps, Hannah VanSkiver and Brian Ireland. (Not present: Sydney Brown)

Submitted photo and press release:

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Festival High School Chorale, a group of nearly 200 of the finest vocal talents from more than 30 high schools in our seven-county area, has been part of the popular Gala Holiday Pops concerts every year since 1994.

This year, Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School will be represented in the Chorale by eight young vocalists: Hannah Van Skiver, soprano; Esther Wilkins, soprano; Sydney Brown, alto; Stephanie Buell, alto; Joshua Phelps, tenor; Jerome Spinks, tenor; Mason Fuller, bass; and Brian Ireland, bass.

“This is a great group,” said Byron-Bergen’s Vocal Music Director Laurence Tallman. “They have strong, expressive voices, wonderful musical skills, and unusual depth and maturity. Each one is positive, enthusiastic, and committed to being the best they can be.”

The Festival High School Chorale gives young singers an opportunity to take on a program of challenging winter and holiday-themed music, under conductor Jeff Tyzik with co-directors Amy Story and Harold McAulliffe, and accompanied by the full Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Performances will feature guest Denzal Sinclaire, one of Canada's most popular jazz vocalists who is ranked among the finest jazz singers of his generation.

The performances will be held in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre at: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21; 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22; and 2 p.m. and also 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23.

Tickets are available online at www.RPO.org.

November 4, 2017 - 5:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, Batavia Downs, sports.
Photo of Kahoku with driver Kevin Cummings.
 
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 
 
Kahoku abandoned his usual front-running style to find the winner's circle in the $10,500 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 3). 
 
Osprey Vision (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) both left hard and battled for the lead in a two-horse breakaway. When they reached the quarter in :28.1, Osprey Vision had seated Noble Legend while the rest of the field finally caught up. Positions then remained unchanged to the half producing a tepid :30 split. 
 
As the group entered the second circuit, Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) started an outer flow with Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) on his back. By the three-quarter pole Empire Earl N had enough and stalled, prompting Cummings to tip Kahoku three-wide. Kahoku took well to the move and continued to motor after clearing at the head of the lane, eventually sprinting clear by a length of the fast-closing BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to win in 1:58.2. 
 
It was the 38th lifetime win for Kahoku ($19.80) and it pushed him over the quarter-million dollar mark in lifetime earnings with $253,015 now on his card.
 
Colleen Girdlestone owns Kahoku who is trained by Priscilla "Sis" Mooney. 
 
In the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot, Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) turned a perfect two-hole trip behind Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) into an easy brush to the wire win in 1:58. Fox Valley Veto ($4.40) is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice and is trained by Maria Rice. 
 
Larry Stalbaum led all drivers for production on Friday with four wins on the night. 
November 4, 2017 - 4:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fire that occurred at an area motel this morning.

At 8:57 a.m. today the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a fire at the Sunset Motel, located at 4054 W. Main Street Road (Route 5) in the Town of Batavia. Crews from the Town of Batavia Fire Department arrived on scene and were able to extinguish the fire quickly, keeping the fire contained to one room.

The occupant of the room, Lance Dery -- age 66, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The preliminary investigation indicates that Dery was smoking in his bed, which ignited the blankets and mattress.

Coronor Karen Lang directed Dery be taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy.

The investigation is continuing by the Town of Batavia Fire Department, Genesee County Emergency Management Office and the Sheriff's Office.

(For initial post, click here.)

November 4, 2017 - 9:08am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news, notify.

A working structure fire was reported at the Sunset Motel at 4054 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. It started in Room #6 Correction: It was not Room 6. A first responder on scene said the doorknob is hot to the touch.

Town of Batavia Fire Department responded. Fire was immediately knocked down. There is one occupant in the room.

UPDATED 9:09 a.m.: Mercy medics squad #1 is on scene.

UPDATE 9:13 a.m.: "An ambulance won't be needed per command."

UPDATE 10:12 a.m. (By Howard): One person was found deceased in the motel room when firefighters made entry. An investigation has yet to determine if the victim died before the fire started or as a result of the fire. It was a small fire said Town of Batavia Fire Deputy Chief Chad Higgins. "I pulled in on location," Higgins said, "went to the door, the door was hot, tried to make entry through the door, there was too much smoke. Our first engine company was right behind me. They made entry, found one victim, a small fire ...  the fire had pretty much already snuffed itself out. Once we opened the door, we gave it a little more oxygen but we were able to knock the fire down with an extinguisher, so it wasn't a very big fire." Information about the victim isn't being released pending family notification. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

November 3, 2017 - 6:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, St. Jerome Guild, Christmas, batavia.

Press release:

The St. Jerome Guild Inc. annual "Noel Nook" will take place at the Gift Shop located at the Jerome Center at 16 Bank St., Batavia, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4.

All customers will enjoy a 10-percent discount on their entire order, some exclusions apply. The Guild, a not-for-profit volunteer organization, has been serving the healthcare community for decades, and this year we are celebrating our 100th Anniversary!

Enjoy punch and cookies and browse our Christmas and holiday inventory in the Shop and in the huge backroom "Nook" of Snowbabies, Jim Shore figurines, Santas, snowmen; artificial trees and glittered stars; holiday wreaths and sprays, hundreds of elegant and country tree ornaments similar to Pottery Barn and primitive art of tin and wood; canvas art, throws, centerpieces, potpourri, and scented McCall candles, battery-operated candles, candle warmers, frosted lamps, night lights, angels and religious items.

New this year are items from Stonewall Kitchen -- jams, jellies, grilling sauces and dessert toppings -- which are now carried in the shop.

Written expressions are featured on wall art, pillows, and kitchen towels. We also carry a popular variety of wooden walking sticks. Healthcare providers can enjoy stylish lanyards with an assortment of clip-on jewelry. Gift cards are available.

If you like to shop at Giftology then you will find bar accessories of wine stoppers, Corkcicles and Corkcicles beverage cups, "Pilsner Chillers," fruit infusers, and eclectic and new designed metal wine caddies depicting doctors, golfers, nurses, firefighters, musicians, athletes, and gardeners, etc., at a more reasonable price. If you like Anthropologie then you will love our home goods including, aprons, serving pieces, spatulas, mugs, and popular maps.

We feature a variety of brightly-colored holiday florals and wall hangings; Charles Viancini silicone casserole and baking lids, matching aprons, magnets and stoppers.

’Tis the season to wear our ponchos and shawls, in many patterns, along woven glittered caplets, fur-trimmed hats, gorgeous scarves, headbands and gloves. We continue to carry our selection of purses, wristlets and wallets and our "Jerome Collection" jewelry include: semi-precious stone necklaces, necklace sets, bracelets, earrings, and watches. We feature Lottie Dotties, a popular line of reasonably priced silver plate attractive rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Dotties are magnetic of birthstones, pearls, beveled glass and are interchangeable with each piece of jewelry. Our inventory includes Anju jewelry in copper and silver, Janelle bracelets, as seen at Parkleigh, and new to the shop Jane Marie children's collection.

Our "Jerome Baby Collection" of stuffed animals, coats, tummy blankets, knit hats, booties, socks, banks, picture frames, milestone items, plates, utensils and accessories, and children's toys, lunch boxes, cups, plates, and utensil sets at an affordable price.

The Guild sponsors an annual Health Care Professional Scholarship to qualified UMMC employees, who pursue their educational careers. The Guild sponsors the Jerome Center Annual Employee Recognition Day to thank employees for their efforts serving the community. Initiatives providing a comfort bag to patients of the Oncology Center, and children patients of the Jerome Center Urgent Care are comforted with stuffed animals.

The St. Jerome Guild Inc. has fulfilled pledges of $80,000 to the UMMC facilities expansions and other major initiatives. The Guild supports the UMMC/Rochester Regional Health Care Foundation projects as a major corporate sponsor for the annual spring Gala. Guild members donate thousands of volunteer hours at the Gift Shop and at many UMMC fundraising events.

Gift Shop business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. - noon and managed and operated by Guild volunteers. At the annual Membership Tea or throughout the year, new members are welcomed. Members attend regular monthly meetings and guest speakers. The Guild sponsors a daily lottery and anyone can participate.

November 3, 2017 - 5:47pm

Press release:

The Arc of Genesee Orleans will host the annual Chili & Chowder Fest & Bake Sale on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Arc Community Center in Batavia.

There will be a raffle of 100 theme baskets. (Need not be present to win.)

Time is 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Early ticket sales only Friday 11/17 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The center is located at 38 Woodrow Road.

This event benefits people with disabilities in our communities.

Want to DONATE a basket? Call 343-4203.

November 3, 2017 - 5:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, tompkins financial corp..

Press release:

In recognition of its commitment to the community, Tompkins Financial Corporation was honored by the Center for Youth as a recipient of the Chuck Cuminale Youth Advocate Award. The award was presented during the Center for Youth’s annual meeting on Sept. 25 at the Strong Museum of Play.

Created in memory of a dedicated Center For Youth counselor and champion for youth, the Cuminale Award is the agency’s highest honor. The Cuminale Awards are given to community leaders and philanthropists who are committed to improving the lives of young people in the community.

The team at Tompkins was recognized for providing support to the Center for Youth on behalf of a homeless youth who had lost both parents in a short time. Accepting the award on behalf of Tompkins Financial Corporation were Ela Hakiel, Tompkins Financial Advisors vice president and senior wealth advisor, and Lisa Formicola, Tompkins Bank of Castile Pittsford branch manager. Hakiel and Formicola led the team from Tompkins as they provided guidance to help the Center for Youth ensure the safety and security of the young person in need.

“Lisa and I are fortunate to be employed by a company whose core values include the highest commitment to the community and to the customer,” Hakiel said. “We are humbled by this honor, but the true heroes are the staff, social workers, board members and others who make significant daily contributions to the community through their work at the Center for Youth. All of us at Tompkins Financial are committed to acting as good stewards and supporters of the Center in the community.”

Tompkins Financial has a strong commitment to the community, and to the Center for Youth. In addition to the receiving the award, David Boyce, President of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, was elected as a new member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Youth.

Learn more about the Center for Youth at www.centerforyouth.net.

November 3, 2017 - 5:25pm

Press release:

We are happy to announce that Ascension Parish in Batavia is hosting a Christmas Bazaar to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 17 Sumner St. in the Community Hall.

This event will feature Mrs. Claus’s Café, Visits with St. Nicholas, Used Book Sale, Basket Raffle and Placek Sale.

In addition there will be children games including snowman bowling, jingle boxes, treasure chest and many more. There will be more than 25 vendors just in time for holiday shopping including Perfectly Posh, Tastefully Simple, Chiselwood, along with handmade items for sale. Each vendor will have a door prize to give away to a lucky winner.

November 3, 2017 - 5:20pm

Information provided by Jeanice Howard, of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576, Le Roy:

Consider buying a brick for Christmas. The Veterans Memorial Brick Program is a great way to honor a special veteran in your life by engraving a brick with their name. These make meaningful gifts.

This practice of pride provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who desire to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to boldly serve our county.

A 4-inch-by-8-inch engraved brick costs $50 (with wording space for 40 characters); an 8-ich-by-8-inch engraved brick costs $100 (with wording space for 60 characters).

The Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576 in Le Roy has been host to numerous events through the years, such as card games, bingo, breakfasts, holiday celebrations, bowling and the site is available to the community for wedding parties and local churches in time of need.

For information or questions, call Brick Committee Chair -- Jerry Diskin 585-721-3076.

To visit Le Roy's Post 576 online, click here:

To view a copy of the order form to buy a Veterans Memorial Brick from the Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576, click here.

You can print it out, fill in the blanks, then mail it with your check to the Legion in Le Roy. Checks should be made payable to American Legion Post 576. All the details, including the address, are on the form.

November 3, 2017 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, crime, notify, Le Roy, alexander, batavia, news.

Jeffrey L. Barr is indicted for the crime of attempted murder in the second degree, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 13 while at 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia that Barr intended to commit the crime of second-degree murder. Specifically, he allegedly intended to cause the death of another person by stabbing the intended murder victim multiple times with a knife. In count two, Barr is accused of first-degree assault, another Class B violent felony. It is alleged in count two that Barr intended to cause serious physical injury to another person and caused such injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument -- a knife.

Daniel L. Green is indicted for the crime of unlawful surveillance in the second degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on April 25 in the Town of Le Roy that Green -- for his own sexual arousal or gratification -- did intentionally use or install an imaging device to surreptitiously view, broadcast or record a person dressing or undressing or the sexual or other intimate parts of a person at a time when she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. He allegedly did so without the person's knowlege or consent.

Kevin L. White is accused of the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on May 31 in the City of Batavia that White unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug with intent to sell it. In count two, he is accused of the crime of escape in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly escaping from custody on May 31 in the city.

Marcos Cacho-Velaz is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 23 in the Town of Alexander that Cacho-Velaz drove a 2006 Chrysler north on Route 98 while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 23, the defendant knew or had reason to know that his driving privilege was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by authorities and he was allegedly driving under the influence for alcohol or a drug at the time. In count three, he is accused of refusing to submit to a breath test requested by Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Saile. In count four, he is accused of failure to dim headlights. He allegedly failed to dim his headlights when a vehicle with headlamps was approaching ahead from within 500 feet, so that dazzling light interfered with the driver of the approaching vehicle when no exception to dim the lights was applicable. In count five, Cacho-Velaz is accused of consuming or possessing alcohol in a motor vehicle.

November 3, 2017 - 3:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news, Grand Jury, notify.

Phillip R. Chin is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 5 in the City of Batavia that Chin knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug with intent to sell it.

In count two, he is accused of the same crime for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and these had an aggregate weight of a half ounce or more.

In count three, the defendant is accused of criminally possessing drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three that Chin knowingly possessed or sold gelatin capsules, glassine envelopes, vials, capsules or other material suitable for packaging individual quantities of narcotic drugs or stimulants. Furthermore, it was allegedly known that these were intended to be used for unlawfully manufacturing, packaging or dispensing a narcotic drug or stimulant.

In count four, the defendant is accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count four that Chin knowingly possessed scales or balances used or designed for the purpose of weighing or measuring controlled substances and these were intended to be used for unlawfully manufacturing, packaging or dispensing a narcotic drug or stimulant.

In count five, Chin is accused of second-degree forgery, a Class D felony. It is alleged in count five, that on Oct. 5 in the Town of Batavia, that Chin -- with the intent to defraud, deceive or injure another -- falsely made, completed or altered a written instrument. This instrument was purported to be a public record required or authorized by law: a two-page written statement given to an investigator with the New York State Police in the name of another person.

In count six, Chin is accused of second-degree forgery, also a Class D felony. It is alleged in count six that on Oct. 5 in the City of Batavia that Chin -- with the intent to defraud, deceive or injure another -- falsely made, completed or altered a written instrument. This instrument was purported to be a public record required or authorized by law: a Genesee County Jail booking card.

In counts seven through 17, Chin is accused of second-degree forgery, all Class D felonies, for his allegedly fraudulent completion of various Genesee County Jail paperwork.

In count 18, he is accused of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony, for providing a two-page written statement to an investigator with the New York State Police which contained false information.

In counts 19 through 30, this man is accused of offering false instruments for filing in the first degree, more Class E felonies, for putting false information in all of the allegedly forged paperwork.

(If you're counting, that's two misdemeanors and 28 felonies.)

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Copyright © 2008-2017 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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