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March 23, 2017 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Health Care, chris collins, kathy hochul, NY-27.

It might be nice to think that some bit of magic could just make the county share of Medicaid expense disappear, but somebody has to pay one way or another, said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul during an interview with The Batavian yesterday about the Collins Amendment to the GOP's health care coverage reform bill.

"It’s not a free gift," Hochul said. "You can’t say, 'oh, this is going to be great,' and have it work out. They have not thought through the ramifications for this."

Rep. Chris Collins convinced the House GOP leadership to allow his amendment to the American Health Care Act, ostensibly a replacement for the Affordable Health Care Act pushed through Congress by the Obama Administration in 2010. The amendment affects only New York and blocks the state from taking county money to provide Medicaid coverage to residents.

County leaders have long complained that this unfunded mandate is crippling local budgets and forcing counties to cut other services.

"Year after year, Albany’s leadership relies on counties to foot the bill for New York State’s out-of-control Medicaid costs. Enough is enough," Collins said in a statement released when he announced the amendment. "This amendment will stop Albany from forcing its unfunded mandate down the throats of taxpayers, and help counties lower the property tax burden on hardworking families."

The cost shift won't lead to cuts in property taxes, Hochul predicted, but there would be other ramifications for New York's taxpayers. Those ramifications include either the poor and middle-class families who rely on Medicaid are going to have $2.3 billion in services cut or counties are going to lose their share of sales tax collections.

"Here's what is going happen, and the counties need to be aware of this, there are going to be tough choices to compensate for the Collins scam and one of them is to reexamine the assistance we give to counties now," Hochul said.

According to Hochul, when Medicaid was created, the conditions set up by the state was that counties would pay for 25 percent of Medicaid coverage and to compensate counties for the cost, counties could keep a portion of sales tax revenue.

County Manager Jay Gsell isn't sure that is exactly the history of sales tax in New York and said he's researching it.  The threat to take money away from the counties if the amendment goes through is in line with Gsell's prediction in a story we published yesterday about the amendment.

"The state is not going to go quietly into the night," Gsell said.

We had trouble getting in touch with Hochul or staff members before yesterday's story, so yesterday Hochul had her staff reach out to The Batavian to arrange an interview so she could address directly with local residents her concerns about the Collins amendment.

"I want people to have a full perspective that if you take out the county’s share, there are still going to be consequences," Hochul said. "Either we cut services $2.3 billion or we raise taxes and it just comes from another pocket in the State of New York to the tune of $2.3 billion."

Hochul has long positioned herself as an advocate for local communities, and she said she is, but it's also her job as lieutenant governor now to look out for all the people of New York and the Collins Amendment, she said, will be devastating for the state.

"The governor and I are very much aware of this cost on counties and that’s why the governor cut that share down to 13 percent and so now NY state counties are paying less per person than they did back in the year 2000," Hochul said. "In addition, we did two more things: we capped the escalation of these costs, so the state is picking up any increases in the Medicaid costs. That has been in place the last five years and the governor also in 2011 created the Medicaid redesign team to squeeze out saving out of this program. $34 billion have been saved overall, and a large part of that was savings for the counties."

There is some dispute over the history of how we got in a position where county taxpayers are helping to foot the bill for a program that is billed as a "state and federal" benefit for people who can't otherwise afford healthcare. New York is one of only 16 states that pass some of the cost onto county taxpayers and New York's county share is the highest in the nation.

"What they’re proposing is the unraveling of a deal that was put in place in the 1960s when at the time counties were picking up 44 percent of their residents' health care costs," Hochul said. "Then whenMedicaidd and Medicare were in enacted in 1965 there was the thought we could reduce that down for the counties to 25 percent and also allow them, again, allow them to collect some sales tax to offset that cost."

Gsell's version includes 1960 with the Kerr-Mills Act, which created a program called Medical Assistance for the Aged.  It gave states the ability to create a medical coverage program and decide on the criteria for eligibility. The Federal government provided matching funds to cover the costs.  The act was a precursor to Medicaid.

The prior 1950s program, Gsell provided matching funds for state payment to medical providers on behalf of people on public assistance.

"Nowhere did I find that NYS counties were voluntary partners in these pre-Medicaid funding programs," Gsell said. "The Hochul quote about counties paying pre-Medicaid, pre-1965, 44 percent of elderly indigent care, which NYS reduced our 'burden' to 25 percent, maybe 'accurate' in regards to then cost sharing, but this 1965 to 2017 Medicaid program is not the same in terms of benefits, entitlement, number of recipients, with counties having no say in size, eligibility and an open-ended entitlement as back 52-plus years ago."

The Cuomo administration has been in full attack mode the past few days over the Collins Amendment.  Yesterday, The Batavian received at least a half-dozen press releases from the governor's office about the amendment, plus statements funneled through the governor's press release database from hospitals in the region attacking the amendment.

"The radical conservative ideology in Washington has declared war on New York with legislation that will devastate hospitals across the state and hurt New Yorkers," Cuomo is quoted as saying in one press release. "These massive cuts will cripple our hospitals and ravage the health care services on which New Yorkers rely."

The other bit of history that came out in news reports yesterday over the Medicaid spat is that Andrew Cuomo's father, when he was governor pushed for years for the state to pick up the county's share of the Medicaid tab.

Both Cuomo and Hochul have accused Collins of political pandering to try and secure more upstate congressional votes for the AHCA, which is far from guaranteed passage.  The reform, pushed as part of President Donald Trump's promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, would scuttle direct subsidies to people who purchase insurance through health care exchanges as well as end the individual mandate to buy health insurance, and replace it with a refundable tax credit for all qualifying Americans.

Critics contend the bill would drive up the cost of health insurance while conservatives argue the bill doesn't actually repeal Obamacare.

A poll commissioned by The Economist shows strong opposition to the AHCA in several rural upstate districts, including the NY-24 ( 33 percent support / 51 percent oppose), NY-23 (38/45), NY-22 (38/45), NY-21 (37/45), as examples.

In the NY-19, the district of John Faso, the co-sponsor of the Collins Amendment, 35 percent support and 48 percent oppose.  The bill has a little stronger support in Collins' own district, the NY-27, with a split of 40/42.

"The reason that Representative Collins proposed this is to literally offer a bribe to on-the-fence upstate Republicans who were starting to hear from constituents that decimating and destroying the Affordable Care Act, which benefits seven million New Yorkers now, is not something their constituents really want," Hochul said.

Cuomo has characterized the Collins Amendment as putting politics before people, and we asked Hochul about that statement, noting that really any decision about budgets, taxes and spending is about people. For Genesee County, a cost savings of $9.4 million might not lead to much or any savings to taxpayers, but it could save critical programs. This past year, the County Legislature went through a contentious budget debate that had some members of the Legislature even floating the idea of eliminating deputies from road patrols.  The county will also likely be forced by the state to build a new jail in a few years, plus the county needs at least $15 million in infrastructure repairs. 

Meanwhile, New York's menu of Medicaid options is the most generous in the nation and the program leaves the perception of operating on an open checkbook. (Gsell provided this chart that shows county share of Medicaid expense across the nation and New York's is far and away the highest rate.)

"I disagree with your assessment that it’s an open checkbook," Hochul said. "The fact that we shaved $34 billion off of it just in the last few years and the governor continues to have a Medicaid redesign team in place to make sure we’re cutting costs."

Hochul said if the ACA is repealed, it's just going to drive up costs for all New York taxpayers because the uninsured will be more likely to use emergency rooms for routine medical needs.

"They’re going to the ER and the cost is going to be dramatically higher," Hochul said. "Those costs are being picked up by taxpayers. People have to realize this is a united system and we’re going to continue as a state to cut those costs."

She said New York's costs are higher because we have a larger elderly, working class population and our industrial past means we have higher rates of cancer.  She recalled seeing as a child the pollution spewed by steel plants, for example, in Buffalo area.

"That is large a way to explain why we have higher costs, not that we’re just throwing good money after bad," Hochul said. "We have a governor who is very tight fisted with the state’s taxpayers dollars. He’s very conscientious.  That’s why we’ve cut middle-class taxes. We’ve cut business taxes. We continue to focus on creating jobs to put more money back into the local economy, more sales tax for the counties, more property tax revenue for house sales. It all works together. You can’t just pull out one piece of the puzzle and have that collapse and have the other part be picked up by everybody else."

She called the Collins amendment a betrayal of the people of New York.

"The number one rule for doctors is 'first do no harm,'" Hochul said. "I think that should also apply to members of Congress. What Chris Collins is proposing will inflict harm and pain on the people of the State of New York and we have to get pressure on him to talk this back and put it on the sidelines and realize this is a horrible mistake."

Late yesterday, Collins put out a press release that characterized the Cuomo Administration's response to his proposed amendment as "a complete meltdown."

“Governor Cuomo and his sidekick are using doomsday predictions to scare everyday New Yorkers into allowing Albany to continue taxing them to death," Collins said. "It’s absolutely disgusting the governor would threaten the middle class with a tax increase while holding a $14 billion taxpayer-funded slush fund in his back pocket. As I have said before, if this Governor can’t find 1.5 percent to save in his budget, I am more than willing to find it for him.”

March 23, 2017 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid.

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March 23, 2017 - 9:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, accident, news.

A motor-vehicle accident with possible serious injuries to reported on Route 77 at Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE(S)(By Billie) 9:37 a.m.: The availability of Mercy Flight is being checked. Eastbound traffic on Lewiston Road will be shut down. Mutual aid from Shelby Fire Department is requested.

UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: The address is 6655 Lewiston Road. Two Mercy Flight helicopters are heading to the scene -- #5 out of Batavia, #7 out of Buffalo.

UPDATE 9:57 a.m.: Mercy Flight 5 is on the ground. One patient is being put on board now. Another patient is in an ambulance awaiting loading onto Mercy Flight 7, which just landed. Both were said to have been extricated from a vehicle underneath the undercarriage of a tractor-trailer.

UPDATE 10:23 a.m.: Mercy Flight 7 is airborne and going to ECMC. Mercy Flight 5 is airborne and going to Strong Memorial Hospital. The State Police crash investigation team is on scene. A tractor-trailer was eastbound on Lewiston Road and at the intersection with Route 77, the trucker was making a right-hand turn to go southbound on Route 77. A Mercury sedan southbound on 77 slammed into the big rig; the impact sheared off the roof of the Mercury sedan, which is still embedded in the axles of the tractor-trailer. The damaged sedan continued and hit a building on the southwest corner of the intersection, then careened off the building, striking a sedan that was stopped at the intersection. But only the two occupants of the Mercury were injured, one seriously, the other very seriously.

NOTE: We are withholding pictures from the scene pending an update from State Police.

March 22, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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   Jeremy Armstrong

The suspect in a Dec. 2 shooting on Jackson Street has been indicted on a count of attempted murder by a Genesee County Grand Jury.

Jeremy R. "Boog" Armstrong, 26, of Batavia, faces six felony counts stemming from the incident which seriously injured a victim who has not been identified by authorities.

The counts also include assault in the first degree, criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, criminal use of a firearm in the third degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

Armstrong was picked up earlier this month in East Hartford, Conn., on a warrant.

Police say Armstrong fired several shots at close range.

He allegedly shot a person while on Jackson Street and the two men reportedly knew each other.

According to sources, the victim suffered shoulder and chest wounds. He was treated first at UMMC and then transferred to ECMC.

Armstrong was located in East Hartford outside the residence of a family member, according to police. He was taken into custody without incident.

Individuals with information that may assist in the investigation are asked to call Det. Eric Hill (585) 345-6373, Det. Thad Mart at (585) 345- 6372, or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

March 22, 2017 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, byron, Oakfield.

Victor Michael Delatorre, 34, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Delatorre allegedly damaged property of the Genesee County Jail.

Eric McWethy, 20, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with loud muffler and unlawful possession of marijuana. McWethy was allegedly found in possession of marijuana during at traffic stop at 9:11 p.m. March 16 on Ellicott Street, Batavia, by Officer Chad Richards.

Keaira Sharee Jones, 25, of Jay Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Jones was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 12:34 p.m. March 17 on Washington Avenue by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Cassi A. Schutt, 29, of West Crest Drive, Rochester, is charged with driving on a suspended registration, aggravated unlicensed operation, driving without insurance and failure to stop at sign. Schutt was arrested on a warrant for the listed charges. 

Carlton L. Beardsley, 22, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breaking and menacing, 2nd. Beardsley was arrested following a complaint of a domestic incident at 4:45 p.m. March 17 on Walnut Street, Batavia. He allegedly threatened a female with a knife and then choked her. He was jailed on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Shane K. Borton, 44, Chase Park, Batavia, is charged criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Borton was allegedly involved in a physical altercation at 6:02 p.m. Saturday, which also violated an order of protection.

Donald Egan Jr., 26, of State Street, Seneca Falls, was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Gangi Steven Perez, 21, of Bridge Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, possession of alcohol in a vehicle, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Perez was stopped at 12:27 a.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Arick Perkins.

Jamie L. Soto, 42, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with offering a false instrument for filing, 1st. Soto allegedly filed a sex offender change of address form with a false address. This is an additional charge added to previous charges.

Ifrah Mohammed Jajimusse, 38, of Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Jajimusse was allegedly found in possession of marijuana during at traffic stop at 8:25 p.m. Monday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Jacob J. Russell, 21, of Walkers Corners Road, Byron, and Salvatore M. Schwable, of Weber Avenue, Oakfield, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Russell and Schwable were in a vehicle stopped by members of the Local Drug Task Force and were allegedly found in possession of marijuana. Schwable was also found to have an arrest warrant of out Batavia Town Court for alleged petit larceny and criminal mischief.

March 22, 2017 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GOP, batavia, news.

Press release:

The Town of Batavia Republican Committee is seeking interested residents who would like to serve on the Committee and participate in their local government process. The requirements to serve on the Committee is to be 18 years old and a registered Republican.

The Committee seeks and endorses candidates for Town and County offices, carries petitions to allow candidates to be on the ballot, and raises funds to support the local campaigns. This is an opportunity to serve your community and be more informed on what is happening in your town.

If you would like more information please contact the Chairman, Steve Hawley at [email protected] or Committee Secretary, Kathy Jasinski, at 762-8239. The next meeting is scheduled for April 12th at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. All Republicans are welcome to attend.

March 22, 2017 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in L&L Transmission, L&L Towing, business, batavia.

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L&L Transmission is back in the towing business.

Cameron Selapack admits, yeah, it's a nice excuse to get out of the garage and meet customers in the field, but he said the real reason for bringing back L&L Towing was it was becoming increasingly clear customers needed the service.

They needed another option and a way to save money, especially if they were bringing their car to L&L for service.

"We do offer a discount rate," Selapack said. "If they're bringing their car here, we'll definitely give them a break."

The towing service is available 24 hours a day and the available for any type of call.

L&L Towing can be reached at (716) 984-4870.

March 22, 2017 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
March 21, 2017 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, healthcare, chris collins, kathy hochul, NY-27, news.

A proposal to block New York from using county taxpayer money to pay for Medicaid sounds good on paper, but as always, the devil is in the details, says County Manager Jay Gsell.

Gsell's biggest fear is that even if the proposal is passed by Congress, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office would just find a way to shift other expenses to the counties.

"My sense of the reaction from the governor and the lieutenant governor over the last week is that it is very likely how they would respond," Gsell said. "They’re still putting a state budget together. Things could change on a dime."

The proposal comes from Rep. Chris Collins, who is having it added as an amendment to the House GOP's health care bill aimed at replacing the Affordable Healthcare Act. 

From a Collins press release put out earlier today:

The Medicaid Local Share Limitation, which was proposed by Congressmen Chris Collins and John Faso, would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments. The proposal would only apply to the $2.3 billion being raised from counties outside of New York City. New York State currently raises $7 billion from its local governments to fund its $27 billion Medicaid liability, which is the largest amount in the nation.

“This is a huge win for our constituents,” Congressman Collins said. “I want to thank President Trump, House leadership, Congressman Faso, and the rest of my fellow New Yorkers for getting this key provision included. Year after year, Albany’s leadership relies on counties to foot the bill for New York State’s out-of-control Medicaid costs. Enough is enough.

"This amendment will stop Albany from forcing its unfunded mandate down the throats of taxpayers, and help counties lower the property tax burden on hardworking families. We understand the devastating impact New York’s reckless spending is having on everyday New Yorkers, and I’m proud to join with members of our delegation to bring vital tax relief to our constituents.”

In a tweet today, Collins said his amendment to the bill, called "Ryancare" by some, and "Trumpcare" by others, would save Genesee County taxpayers $9.4 million that the county currently pays as a local share of Medicaid expense.

Gsell said it's more than $9.6 million of an overall $68 million expense, with the Federal government and state government picking up the balance of the cost. 

The proposal from Collins has brought forth blistering attacks from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Last week, Hochul said in a statement:

"What’s worse, a New York Republican Congressman, Chris Collins, is offering an amendment that would wreak havoc on the state. While I understand that the Democrats in Washington are attacking Collins on ethics issues and are having a heated political fight, they shouldn’t be played out at the expense of everyday New Yorkers.

“Here are the facts: The overall Medicaid plan would cost the state billions of dollars of lost federal funds and jeopardize hospital stability."

She said the Collins proposal would amount to a $4.7 billion tax increase on the people of New York.

According to a report in the Democrat and Chronicle, Cuomo ripped the bill as a "death trap" that would devastate hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Upstate New York.

"My greatest fear from last year’s election has actually come true, which is you have a rabid, conservative ideology in Washington that would tell New York to drop dead, and that is exactly what is going on," Cuomo said.

At $60 billion per year, New York is topped only by California (at $85 billion) in total Medicaid spending. In New York, counties cover $7 billion of the state's share of the Medicaid expense, by far the highest share of any state in the union.

This for a program that is defined by the Feds as a "Federal and state" (not county) medical coverage benefit for people with limited income.

In her statement last week, Hochul offered up a history of how counties came to help pay for Medicaid, saying the counties agreed to take on this expense, but Gsell said that's not his understanding of the history.

Gsell said the counties got roped in against their will in the 1960s when Congress created a long-term care program and ordered states to help pay for it and New York turned around and told counties they would share in the expense. Then when Medicaid was created a few years later, New York told the counties they would pick up 25 percent of the tab, though at the time, the program was a lot less expensive than it is today.

"I saw some comments by Ms. Hochul last week that said, ‘oh, the counties have nothing to be grousing about -- they've been funding Medicaid forever,' " Gsell said. "She alluded to this one- or two-year-old piece of Federal legislation from the early '60s and says, ‘yeah, the counties volunteered to do it.’ No, even then, the state told the counties, 'you will fund this program.' "

New York's Medicaid bill is so high, Gsell said, because the state covers the full smorgasbord of coverage. Whereas the Federal government has only about 15 services that are mandated, New York offers the full slate of available options, more than 30 altogether.

At no time, Gsell said, have states been given any opportunity to have a say in who is covered, how they are covered or what is offered. Everything is mandated by the Federal government or the state.

When Gsell became county manager 23 years ago, the county share of coverage was about $4 million, but the expense started increasing at 5 to 10 percent per year until the county share was capped a few years ago.

The Collins amendment is designed, in part, to help secure support from New York's congressional delegation. That overt political maneuver prompted another statement from Hochul today:

"Mr. Collins has perpetuated a political scam on New York.  As Mr. Trump’s bag man he has had to buy votes to pass the Affordable Care Act and did it by promising counties relief from their share of Medicaid. He now wants New York State to pay his $2.3 billion political IOU.

"The state cannot and should not. If Mr. Collins wants to buy votes let the federal government pick up the share rather that the people of New York. Local county taxes or state taxes New Yorkers still pay. One way or another, it is still coming out of New York taxpayers’ pockets. Let Mr. Collins help New York State and his district by having the federal government pay – that is why he is in Washington.

"He could easily help pay by reducing the $150 billion tax cut to the richest 1 percent of Americans or buying one less tank from Trump’s record defense budget. Why make the people of his district pay for his politics. We do know Mr. Collins is adept at corrupt financial schemes but this is the ultimate insider trading scam."

Ryancare/Trumpcare is by no means assured of passing. It will obviously receive Democratic opposition, but a number of House conservatives also oppose it. It will also face a tough fight in the Senate.

Still, if it does pass, Gsell is far from certain it will lift the burden from Genesee County for unfunded mandates. He believes, based on the stern opposition to the cost shift from Cuomo and Hochul, that Albany will just pull the purse strings tighter on other programs with county-state cost shares, such as indigent defense, Safety-Net, Pre-K early intervention and probation assistance. The state share of a total of nine state-mandated programs exceeds the potential $9.6 million in cost savings offered by Collins amendment.

"The money that the state has to start absorbing could turn on our budgets in these other areas with less state aid," Gsell said. "The state is not going to go quietly into the night."

Michael McAdams, a spokesman for Collins, rejected this contention outright.

"That's an unfounded hypothetical," McAdams said. "There's no basis for thinking that would actually occur."

The ironic piece of this fight between Collins and Hochul (who lost the congressional seat to Collins after one term) is Hochul has long been a strong proponent of local communities, making a point to shop local every holiday, for example, even stopping in Batavia stores.

Through the governor's press office and on Twitter, we reached out to Hochul to ask her to address the seeming contradiction of supporting local communities while backing an unfunded mandate, but we haven't received a response.

Gsell thinks Hochul's position may not be entirely her own.

"It struck me as she was being instructed," Gsell said. "This didn’t sound like a Kathy Hochul thing. It mirrored very much what the governor’s thing is, which is, ‘counties, shut up. You’ve got your Medicaid cap. We’ve given you pension reform with Tier 6. You’ve gotten enough. Go away. We’re not going to cost shift from counties to the state.' ’’

March 21, 2017 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Earlier there was a call for a suspicious condition on Thomas Avenue.

The caller reported that a man had come to the side door of her residence asking to see utility bills, indicating he was with a utility company.

Now, the caller's husband has spotted the man on the street again and has engaged him in a verbal confrontation.

"It's getting heated," according to the dispatcher.

Batavia PD responding.

March 21, 2017 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in art, schools, education, batavia, City Schools, news.

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Deb Meier, who has taught art in the City School District for 31 years and is about to retire, provided the district board with an annual overview of activities in the art department at last night's board meeting.

Students are exposed to art at all grade levels and instruction, she said, isn't just about visual presentation. The courses hit on history, writing, culture, critical thinking, science, and math, providing cross-curriculum lessons.

"You can see throughout, we take a lot of elements of art, the line, shape, color, texture, value, space and we teach the kids now to build on it each year," Meier said.

They also learn how to create art in various mediums, from basic drawing to watercolors, animation, multimedia, and video.

"One of the things we try to teach in class is if you make a mistake, just like in life, you work your way through it," Meier said. "You don’t just give up."

Each year, students also create self-portraits, which helps them visual their own growth as people and artists.

"The portraits this year just blew me away," Meier said. "I’ll always remember them."

Two Batavia High School Students had their work selected this year into the Finger Lakes Art Show, which is a juried show, so not all pieces submitted are accepted into the show. The students were Angie Macconi and Melissa Mountain.

"It’s important at all grade levels we talk about art, we write about art, we critique and encourage communication," Meier said. "We try to keep to the positive. I would rather hear from a child, ‘I like this one best because,’ and then give me a reason, and say it in a way, ‘I like how the artist used line in this one, that it curls and swoops through the picture and leads your eye through’ rather than, ‘it’s pretty.’”

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By Cora Beal.

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By Tyler Budzinak

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By Leo Burg

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By Sophia Dinehart

March 21, 2017 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.

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Submitted photos and information.

Six students from Oakfield-Alabama had the opportunity to spend a week in Washington DC learning about how their government works.  Students spent time meeting with Rep. Chis Collins’ staffers, spent time on Capitol Hill, and even had a tour of the White House.  Students participated in debates with students from across the country and held a Mock Congress to learn the procedure for getting a bill passed. They also had some time to explore the Library of Congress and going to the International Spy Museum.  The students participating were John Igoe, Justina Pruski, Kylie Schlagenhauf, Haily Davis, Brianna Greene, and Hannah Scarborough. 

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March 21, 2017 - 11:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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John Kennedy School received the Outstanding School Award at last night's City Schools Board meeting. The school has been recognized as a school that boosts achievement for economically disadvantaged students by Better Outcomes, an educational research and consulting company in Hartsdale.  The selection was made based on demographic data and ELA Assessment results. Accepting the award, presented by Board President Pat Burk and Superintendent Chris Dailey, was Principal Paul Kesler.

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Kristina Clark received the outstanding staff award. Clark was honored for her many years of dedicated teaching at Jackson School, especially her use of distance learning technology, which has taken kids to the Mariner's Museum in Virginia and a kindergarten class in Texas. She also volunteers on various school committees.

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Kristen Fix received an outstanding staff award. Fix was honored for her strong ability to communicate and collaborate with parents as a kindergarten teacher at Jackson School. She also volunteers for school events, activities and committees.

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Joe Husssar received an outstanding staff award. Hussar was recognized for his ability to work with at-risk students, including home visits to assist students and their guardians. Recently, he assisted a co-worker who had fallen, He rode with her to the hospital and stayed with her until her family members arrived.

March 21, 2017 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, dance, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

Friedrich Nietzche once said, "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once." With great music, fine lighting, a diverse cast of more than a dozen practiced dancers and a range of choreographic styles by Tara Pocock, a Genesee Community College faculty member, "The Night of Dance" promises to be a great day found and fully appreciated. The one-show only event is scheduled Saturday, March 25 at 7 p.m. in the Stuart Steiner Theatre at the Batavia Campus. All proceeds will benefit the GCC Forum Players Theatre Group.

"This fun and family-friendly event will feature varying dance styles from jazz, hip hop, modern, lyrical, and tap," Pocock said. "It combines the talent of many and will even include an optional audience participation opportunity."

Music for "The Night of Dance" will range from Michael Jackson to Skrillex, the 90's hip hop hits to contemporary "rise up" and some "guillotine" music scores to complement multiple styles of movement. The cast includes: Tara Pocock of Batavia, Erin Korn of Brockport,

Katie Luttrell, Nicole Pritchard, Sam Hunt, Remiah Sundine, Alexis Moore, Alex Dowd,

Madison Dowd, Amanda ball and Riley McPherson-all from Churchville, Makayla Spence from Rochester, Rebecca Phelps of Bergen and members of the GCC Dance Club

Tickets prices are: General admission $8; Seniors (55+), students (16+), GCC faculty and staff $5; GCC students with a valid ID $3 and all GCC alumni with the Alumni card receive $2 off regular priced tickets. Doors open at 6:30 and there will be a 15 minute intermission during the 90 minute program.

Photos by Howard Owens

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March 21, 2017 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Cornell Cooperative Extension, news.

Press release:

“The phone lines at Cornell Cooperative Extension Genesee County have been down since Thursday, March 16 as we await repair of the line by the utility company. If you need to reach our office, please contact us at [email protected] or feel free to stop by our office at 420 East Main St, Batavia during our office hours, from 8:30 am- 5 pm. Our Master Gardener walk-in hours remain the same, Monday-Friday, 10 am – 12 pm. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

March 21, 2017 - 7:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia, schools, arts, entertainment, news.

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Batavia High Schools annual Mr. Batavia contest is at 7 p.m., March 31, in the school auditorium.

Contestants have been in rehearsals for weeks for the annual event.

This year's contestants and their charities they are competing for: 

  • Jerry Reinhart, Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation
  • Dominic Brown, Iroquois Trail Council, BSA
  • Campbell Anderson, Red Cross
  • Casey Radka, Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Cody Dioguardi, Ricky Palermo Foundation
  • Sam Bartz, Batavia VA
  • Quentin Branciforte, Anna's Wish
  • Ryan Bieniek, All Babies Cherished
  • Casey Austin, Collin Crane Memorial
  • Joe Allegue, Community Action
  • Freddie Cunningham, Volunteers for Animals
  • John Currier, Habitat for Humanity

Below, a few shots from rehearsal for the "swimsuit" competition.

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March 21, 2017 - 7:15am

Press release:

Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, is expanding benefits for season pass holders by increasing its free concert offerings through its partnership with Live Nation.

Season pass holders will have exclusive eligibility for a limited number of free lawn tickets to three Live Nation concerts during the 2017 season, including Third Eye Blind on June 29, OneRepublic on July 25 and Goo Goo Dolls on August 12.

“We are always looking for ways to reward our most loyal guests and increase the experience value,” said General Manager Chris Thorpe.  “What better way to do that than to increase our free concert offerings for season pass holders?”

Season pass holders will present their processed season pass at Darien Lake’s Live Nation Portal located in the park next to the Grizzly Run attraction only on the day of the concert to receive their free lawn ticket. This benefit is first-come, first-served, and only a limited number of tickets will be given out. As these concerts are Live Nation events, all Live Nation restrictions apply.

Paying for itself in just two visits, a Darien Lake 2017 season pass remains the best value available to park guests. In addition to unlimited admission all season long, season pass holders will enjoy a free souvenir mug, free tickets for friends, free parking, free concerts and other benefits if they purchase and process their pass by May 29.

For more information on season passes, concerts or accommodations, visit www.DarienLake.com.

March 21, 2017 - 7:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
March 20, 2017 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, batavia, business, news.

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Brian Fiorella became the first Batavia resident with TV service from Empire Access today when a work crew completed the addition of the service to his home network.

It's been a long process for Empire to get the agreements and approvals in place with the city and state to start providing TV service to Batavia residents, so Empire executive Bob R. VanDelinder was on hand for the installation.

"It's exciting for us," VanDeinder said.

Dozens of people have already signed up to start getting TV service from Empire, even though the company just started advertising its availability.

The service is entirely digital and combined with broadband service gives customers the opportunity to access the full array of home entertainment services available online and from TV networks.

"Given that it's all digital, you have great quality," VanDeinder said. "There are still systems out there that are analog, cable-type systems, so you don't have the same quality.

"Being on fiber optics allows us to provide better service uptime," VanDeinder added. "With this service we're able to provide amazing digital TV service, HD service, DVR -- whole-home DVR, and we have a watch-TV-anywhere feature, which allows you to watch TV from anywhere in the world with an internet connection."

Empire is also the only community-based cable or broadband provider in the area, which VanDeinder said helps the company provide better service. You always reach a live operator when you call customer service.

For more on local service, visit the website for Empire Access.

 

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Erik Rindell, a technician with Empire, making the final connection for the TV service at the home of Brian Fiorella.

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Justin Wing, an employee of Brian Fiorella, Steven DeWitt, Empire Access, Brian Fiorella, Bob VanDeinder, and Tom Hare, Empire access.

Fiorella owns Fiorella's Technical Services, based in Batavia. The company provides service and installation for home entertainment systems.

March 20, 2017 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford.

A driver who initially claimed she wasn't the one who struck a pedestrian in Stafford, causing the woman serious injuries, was issued traffic tickets related to the accident on Route 33 at 12:28 p.m., Sunday.

Cited was Katelyn Brown, 23, of Falling Leaf Trail, Brockport. She was also arrested on an unrelated warrant and turned over to Ogden PD.

Brown was issued tickets for aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, moving from lane unsafely and failure to use due care approaching a pedestrian.

The name of the woman who was injured was not released, but she reportedly suffered serious injuries and was transported by Mercy EMS to University of Rochester Medical Center. 

The original report was for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle with the vehicle leaving the scene, followed by a report of a car leaving the roadway, traveling into a ditch and striking a utility pole.

Brown reportedly told deputies when they first arrived that another car had struck the pedestrian and that she drove off the road when she became scared after seeing the accident.

Upon further investigation, deputies determined that Brown was the alleged driver who struck the woman with her vehicle.

The accident is being investigated by Deputy Andrew Hale, Investigator Joseph Graff and members of the Crash Management Team. 

Stafford fire assisted at the scene.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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