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April 20, 2018 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, news, notify.

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Genesee County has a lot going for it, several positive check marks, in a new "community report card" from ACT Rochester but a big surprising negative: Arts, Culture, and Leisure.

The Rochester-based nonprofit agency scored Genesee County with a red mark and trending down in the report released today.

For anybody who participates in arts and culture in Genesee County, that might be a surprise.

Gregory Hallock, director of GO ART!, said he definitely disagrees with the assessment.

"There is a ton of stuff happening in Genesee County," Hallock said. "We have murals all over the county. You can walk an art trail downtown. We have the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, Batavia Players, the Wind Ensemble, the Concert Band. We have breweries. That is art and culture. It's everywhere. It's in architectural design. Our building (GO ART! in Seymour Place downtown) is not only historical, it's an architectural accomplishment. There is just art everywhere."

He then started listing off more arts and culture in Genesee County, such as Genesee Community College's art gallery and theater, and the museums, and the restaurants, and the art schools and dance studios.

"That's a lot," he said. "One of the biggest things is you don't realize it's here. It's everywhere. Art is all over the community."

Hallock moved to Batavia from Buffalo and he said he thinks there is a more active arts community in Batavia than there is in the bigger city.

None of those things, however, are measured by ACT Rochester.

Ann Johnson, the initiative's director, said the report card tries to work with objective, quantifiable data that is accessible through public records. It would be cost prohibitive to survey every county's arts group, even if every county has an art group, to get a complete picture.

What is measured in the report for arts and culture is tourism spending per resident ($1,576), recreation spending per resident ($205), and the number of art teachers in the county's school (with 77, higher than most other counties in the state).

Genesee County tends to beat out other counties in the region in all these counties but not the rest of Upstate.

Johnson acknowledged that the data doesn't capture everything about a community's art and culture activity and how a community might feel about it. The numbers measure, in reality, whether people are coming to a community for arts and culture and leisure. It doesn't measure what local residents are spending for local arts and cultural events.

"I don't think Genesee County should feel at all that all that the red is a negative indication," Johnson said. "It is actually what the data shows us when we add up the indicators in that category. It shows up as red."

Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce said the report reminded him of the old aphorism, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

There's more to tourism and culture in Genesee County then can be captured in numbers and there is no comparison for a rural community when measured against larger counties.

"Anybody trying to base what goes on in tourism based solely on statistics is not really getting the whole picture of what is going on," Turnbull said. "Just compiling stats and trying to make a point I think is really irrelevant. I think it is unfair to us."

Potentially, a person who might think of relocating to Genesee County, or worse, a site selector for a big company, might find this report online and get a negative impression of Genesee County as a place to come and enjoy arts and entertainment.

That is a concern, said Steve Hyde, CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"I'm all about trying to change the image and enhance the image of this community," Hyde said. "We're really focused on growth we've had that focus for years. We've made a lot of progress but it's a marathon, not a sprint. When reports like this come out, where they may not have all of the relevant facts in order to make a judgment, it is rather weak and distorts reality."

Coming out of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Process, Hyde said he witnessed firsthand how the local arts community on growing and enhancing what they do, including GO ART!, Batavia Players, and Batavia Showtime.

"I look at those trends and they are very good trends for arts, culture, leisure and the local economy," Hyde said. "We are active and engaged and working to make things better. That's the point I would make to a site selector, that we are engaged more than (what) a couple statistics might show that comes out of a book."

To pick up on comments by Hallock, Genesee County has a lot to be proud of in this category:

  • Batavia is the only small city in America with both a professional baseball team and a symphony orchestra;
  • We have a symphony orchestra;
  • GO ART!
  • There is also a chorale, a wind ensemble, and a concert band;
  • There are numerous local performing musicians and music acts;
  • There are several art studios/schools in Batavia and Le Roy;
  • There are also dance schools throughout the county;
  • Besides art classes, our high schools have thriving music and theater programs (Le Roy just won a national award).
  • Batavia High School has a rock band class;
  • We have Batavia Players/Theater 56;
  • We have Batavia Showtime;
  • There are a number of very good, locally owned restaurants in the county;
  • Museums include all the town museums along with HLOM, the Jell-O Museum and the County History Department;
  • There is live music at Darien Lake, Batavia Downs, the Ridge NY;
  • There are local bars/taverns throughout the county that are venues for local and regional acts;
  • We have two locally brewed beers;
  • We have parks, including Darien Lakes State Park, the County Park, and DeWitt Recreation Area;
  • Darien Lakes Theme Park and the water park at Quality Suites & Inn;
  • The Batavia Arts Society;
  • We have a writers' group and we have local poetry readings;
  • The Batavia Photography Club;
  • The Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation;
  • Polish Falcons Club, Nest 493, Batavia;
  • Gillam Grant Community Center in Bergen;
  • Richmond Memorial Library, plus libraries in Byron-Bergen, Pavilion, and Corfu;
  • The City Art Canvas, murals throughout the county;
  • Downtown has a popular and growing public market in the summers;
  • Community events all year long in every town and village;
  • Three bowling alleys, recreational sports leagues of all types, high school sports;
  • Gyms in Batavia and Le Roy;
  • Mixed Martial Arts events;
  • Batavia Downs Casino & Hotel -- with the oldest lighted harness racing track in America;
  • We have several active veterans' groups;
  • We have numerous rod and gun clubs throughout the county;
  • There are snowmobile trails;
  • There are several golf courses and a number of annual golf tournaments;
  • Concerts in Jackson Square and the Ramble;
  • An autumn wine walk downtown and Christmas in the City;
  • Nationally recognized artists such as Roy Mason, Noah North, and Nina Mason Booth came from Genesee County; 
  • Genesee Community College is a hub of arts and culture, with the Roz Steiner Art Gallery and the Stuart Steiner Theater, and it's a great source of multicultural events (the annual Fashion Show is a big draw);
  • The Tonawanda Indian Reservation holds cultural events;
  • Annual tourism draws like the worldwide Magicians Convention, regional Psychic Fair, Batavia Train Show, Foxprowl Com-Con, and the Batavia Antique Show and Sale;
  • There is agritourism that includes Maple Weekend, tours of alpaca farms, and farm-to-table events that showcase locally grown food;
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardeners program, with training, workshops, demos, plant sales, and more;
  • Genesee County is one of the very few small markets in the county with three competitive news outlets (The Batavian, WBTA, the Batavia Daily News).

What did we forget?

Photos: File photos.

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April 20, 2018 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia, accident.

A two-car motor vehicle accident with injuries is reported in the parking lot of Batavia Downs on Park Road.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 2:22 p.m.: No need for fire, Town of Batavia back in service. Injuries are not due to the accident. It is a medical condition that caused the accident.

April 20, 2018 - 1:47pm

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Batavia Middle School was rockin' this morning with a visit from the rock band class at Batavia High School to help kickoff STEAM Day at the school.

The band's visit was intended to also give middle school students of another idea for a class they might take when they get to high school.

The band played The Ramones, Tom Petty, The Kinks (twice depending on how you count "You Really Got Me" with the Van Halen intro of "Eruption"), and Cream, among others.

During a Bryan Adams song, the students broke out their mobile phone flashlights and waved them in the air just like any other rock concert.

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April 20, 2018 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia CTE, BOCES, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

Earlier this month, hundreds of high school students from across New York state attended the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference, which was held in Binghamton.

Students from the Mount Morris and Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers attended this competition and earned the highest awards in their events. These students proved to be the top student technology experts in the state. As a result of earning these awards, four students have qualified to attend the National FBLA Leadership in Baltimore in late June.

“FBLA is a great learning opportunity for our students, they gain confidence in their abilities and develop valuable networking skills to aid them in their future,” said Maggie Poray, Batavia CTE Center Programming and Interactive Media instructor.

Angel Felix and Spencer Herring are Computer Information Systems students who attend the Mount Morris CTE Center. Both are students from Geneseo Central Schools. This team won first place in the Computer Game and Simulation Competition.

This is the second year that Angel has competed in this competition. Last year, he also earned first place in the Computer Game and Simulation Competition. This year’s game has a theme, “A Day in the Life of a FBLA student.”

“It is a two-dimensional game that is played on a computer. The characters have different activities such as competing in FBLA events and even fundraising. In our game, the characters are also developing a game. We spent six months working on this project which includes two main and 10 other characters,” Angel said.

Spencer said, “This was my first year entering the FBLA Competition, Angel and I are a great team. It’s an open-world game, which means the player can roam a virtual world and approach objectives freely.

"Angel and I thought about some of the things we do as FBLA students and we put that into the game. We had some programming glitches to work through but we worked together to fix these issues.”

“Angel and Spencer put a lot of hard work and dedication into their Computer Game and Simulation competition. They were able to build on the experience from last year to develop their skills in programming, design and problem solving to develop an amazing computer game to present to the judges this year,” Poray said.

Larry Harvey, Mount Morris CTE Center Computer Information Systems instructor said, “We are incredibly proud of our students for competing and producing results that will enrich their lives for years to come.

"The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership along with the Future Business Leaders of America organization, believe that the most important skills that we teach are the ones that the students will use far beyond school and into everyday life.”

Taylor Tyczka is a Batavia CTE Center Programming and Interactive Media student from Attica CS. She is a junior and was elected as NY FBLA District 10 State Vice President. This is the first time that a student from the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership has been elected as a state FBLA officer.

“I am very excited to be elected for this position," Taylor said. "I worked very hard on my campaign. I will attend state FBLA meetings and serve as a liaison between the schools and chapters in District 10 and the state FBLA.

"I’m very thankful to my advisors and my teacher, Ms. Poray, for providing me with this opportunity to attend this state conference. This is an honor for me to serve.”

Donovan Kelley is a Batavia CTE Center Programming and Interactive Media student from Caledonia-Mumford. He earned fifth place in the Computer Applications Competition.

April 20, 2018 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry Piegza, NY-27, news.

Press release:

The Erie County Reform Party is proud to announce the endorsement of Larry Piegza who looks to unseat Chris Collins in New York’s Congressional District 27. Piegza, a Western New York native and entrepreneur, originally announced that he was running as a Republican candidate last November.

“I originally hoped to inspire the Republican Party to change direction and focus on balancing our budget, streamlining our government and promoting ethical leadership.” Piegza said. “But the party is no longer interested in these goals.

"The Republican Leadership is not holding Chris Collins to account for his insider trading scandal and the fact that he keeps voting to balloon our deficit. My campaign is to give conservatives a chance to revolutionize our government. If we want to drain the swamp, a good place to start is with Chris Collins.”

The Reform Party has long believed in reforming the political and electoral process, eliminating corruption and special interest control of policy-making government in order to return more power to the people. It advocates for term limits for congressman and judges, instant runoff voting, and mechanisms for more direct democracy.

“The fighting in Congress this year has disgusted many people; people want a balanced budget, not a circus show," said Charlie Flynn, head of the selection committee. "When we decided to endorse Larry, I knew that the Republican Party is truly splitting.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if half of the Party votes for our candidate this year. We have the more ethical conservative candidate."

The fact that Piezga is an underdog in this race doesn’t seem to bother him.

“I am truly honored by the Reform Party’s decision to endorse my candidacy,” Piegza said. “Our nation is going to need strong third-party candidates if we are going to hold Congress accountable to their districts.”

To learn more about Piegza and his campaign for New York Congressional District 27, visit FixItLarry.org. Additionally, consider supporting the campaign by donating $5, $10, or $27.

April 20, 2018 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, Le Roy, Oakfield.
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    Jason Anderson

Jason R. Anderson, 36, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, driving while under the influence of drug and alcohol, criminal mischief, 4th, and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Anderson is accused of driving his vehicle into Kibbe Park where it became stuck in the mud. Anderson then allegedly stole another vehicle and attempted to push his vehicle out of the mud. That vehicle also became stuck in the mud. The stuck vehicles were reported at 1:27 a.m. Tuesday. Upon investigation by officers Mitchell Cowen and Arick Perkins, Anderson was allegedly found to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol and in possession of needles. He was arraigned and jailed without bail.

Kiara M. McCoy, 28, of Woodward Street, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to answer a traffic summons. McCoy was located by Rochester PD and turned over to Batavia PD. McCoy posted bail and was released.

George E. Norway, 65, of North Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with aggravated harassment. Norway allegedly left a threatening message for an employee at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Norway was arraigned and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.

Sarah D. Peterson, 26, of Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Peterson was arrested by State Police at an apartment in Le Roy at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Samuel R. Oddo, 34, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Oddo is accused of stealing property at Target with a value of more than $1,000. He was arrested by State Police at 2:34 p.m. Monday.

Jessica M. Pfenninger, 35, of Batavia, and Robin L. Walsh, 51, of Batavia, are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Pfenninger and Walsh were arrested by State Police at 2:38 p.m. Wednesday. No further details released.

April 20, 2018 - 10:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama, Basom.

A motor-vehicle accident with unknown injuries is reported in the area of 986 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, in front of the Rez Smokeshop.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 10:09 a.m.: Indian Falls fire requested mutual aid.

UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: One person shook up. Mercy EMS can respond non-emergency. Indian Falls is canceled. 

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: Alabama fire back in service. About 20 minutes ago, the ambulance was called back to the scene because an injury victim decided he did want to be evaluated at a hospital. The patient was transported to an Erie County hospital.

April 20, 2018 - 7:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.

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April 19, 2018 - 9:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.

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April 19, 2018 - 8:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, GCEDC, batavia, business, news.

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Students at Genesee Community College competed today in a business idea pitch competition. with a couple of hundred dollars in prize money at stake from StartUp Genesee Committee of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

In all, 17 individuals and teams competed, including Gino Vos, above, who pitched his idea of a tourism-related T-shirt company in his home of Kurasoleno, in South America. He won second place in the "Most Likely to Succeed" category.

The winner in that category was Glenn Holmes, with Livestock Haulage Company. Holmes is also an international student from Ireland.

The "Most Creative" prize went to Josh Berranco, Nathan Maniscalko, and Richard Estes, with the TV Show, "Spooky Kooky Investigation Inc." (see video below)

Second in "Most Creative," Paige Biggins, hockey for children with special needs.

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Casey Smalls, a GCC fashion student, pitched a new natural eyelashes product.

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Zoe Falsone, Paul Elliott, and Dave Inzinna, a TV show, "Music Then, Now, Forever."

April 19, 2018 - 7:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Johnson Controls, genesee county, energy savings, news, notify.

The Genesee County Legislature is having a hard time coming to terms with borrowing $4 million to potentially save $4 million or more on future energy bills.

Not every member of the Legislature believes the cost savings are real, or that the county should borrow that much money on an expectation of saving money years from now.

Legislators Gary Maha and Andrew Young are the most skeptical.

"I appreciate the effort," Young said. "I try to look at everything just as I would for my business. Would I do it? I would not borrow $4 million and hope I got it back over the next 20 years. I don’t know too many business people who would."

He called the idea, from a business perspective, "irrational."

Clattenburg said she looked at it a little differently.

"The rationale is like any homeowner," Clattenburg said. "You buy an energy-efficient furnace and your costs are cut in half and you take saving from the energy cost and use it to pay for your furnace. You talk about (as) if, I was a business. I talk about it as if I were a housewife and I was buying a furnace. That is how I would look at it."

In summary, the proposal involves the county signing an agreement with Johnson Controls that would entail the county borrowing $4 million. Johnson Controls would then act as a contractor for a series of projects intended to reduce energy consumption at county buildings.

Many of the projects are already part of the county's capital investment plans. Over the 20 years, the county would pay $200,000 a year on the loan but save an estimated $200,000 a year in energy costs. Johnson Controls guarantees a certain amount of costs savings realized in each of the first three years of the contract. The county could buy a sort of extended warranty for additional years to guarantee savings, though that isn't really being considered.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens first brought the idea to the Legislature in February and the Legislature gave him the green light to put together a resolution to approve a contract with Johnson Controls.

He's been to two committee meetings this week, Public Service on Monday and Ways and Means on Wednesday, to discuss the proposal with legislators. Neither committee has yet to approve the resolutions.

Yesterday, Ways and Means tabled the resolution pending more information on other financing options, such as using $2 million the county has available and borrowing only $2 million, perhaps from another source.

“I don’t just see it as a loser," Hens said during a 30-minute robust discussion of the proposal Wednesday. "I think it’s a good deal for the county. I wouldn’t be here for my third committee meeting pushing it so heavily if I didn’t think it was a great idea for the county.”

The benefits as laid out by Hens, County Treasurer Scott German, and the legislators who support it -- Shelly Stein, Marianne Clattenburg, John Deleo, and John Hilchey -- include:

  • Front-loading paying for several capital-improvement projects that the county will have to pay for eventually anyway;
  • If the contract is signed by May 30, an interest rate of 3.5 percent is locked in (the Federal Reserve is planning three interest rate hikes this year);
  • Getting the work done before inflation drives up the costs;
  • Shifting some of the operational expense of energy from an expense against property taxes into an expense against sales taxes, which frees up space for other expenses under the tax cap;
  • Saving maintenance and repair costs on old and failing equipment;
  • Ensuring employees are working in safe and comfortable buildings that currently need significant repairs

Maha said he isn't against the idea of getting the work done, but he isn't comfortable on taking on a $4 million loan with a 20-year payoff, especially when the county is looking at a potential expense of $45 million or more for a new jail.

"The timing of it bothers me," Maha said. "I understand the benefits of the energy efficiency at the county buildings but I look at my home, you know, I haven’t put any energy into my home until I have the money. I don’t think my constituents want me to say 'yeah, go ahead and borrow $4 million' when we’ve got other projects out there that will cost the county millions of dollars.”

Not every project in this proposal will, by themselves, lead to cost savings. Putting a new roof on the highway garage, for example, won't reduce energy costs but it must be done and it can be included in the contract. Making it part of the Johnson Controls contract takes it out of the list of other capital projects the county must pay for using the existing capital budget.

Most of the cost savings actually come from some of the smaller projects, such as switching lighting in county buildings to more energy-efficient systems.

Some projects, such as replacing the eight air handlers on the roof of County Building #2, will both reduce energy costs and save maintenance costs.

"Right now we spend a ton of time repairing broken air handlers in Building #2," Hens said on Wednesday. "We don’t have great job-costing software to be able to track exactly what we spend, but I can tell you, Terry and the other guys have a lot of overtime going in after hours to fix air handlers or going to the jail to repair the boiler."

Deleo admitted to some skepticism of the proposal but near the end of the discussion Wednesday, he said he had warmed to it.

"So you’re saying right now cash is cheap, so let’s lock it in at the low rate and keep that over the 20 years because it’s cheap now, and then we’ll keep our cash in reserves and if things go off, we always have the cash, and cash is king, as they say," Deleo said. "I’m not as negative against this anymore as I hear it more and more."

Young said he doesn't think the savings is sufficient enough to justify taking on $4 million in debt. Using a calculation provided by Johnson Controls called Net Present Value, Young said there are essentially no savings.

The initial NPV calculation showed only $1,357 in savings on the value of the money, but Hens said with a lower financing rate, the new calculation is $38,519.

"I’m not 100-percent confident, there’s no guarantee it’s going to pay for itself in 20 years," Young said.

Net Present Value is a term economists use to try and determine the value of money today against the value of money at some point in the future. The calculations can get complicated. A straight calculation of $4 million today versus the value of that money in 20 years would, at a steady rate of 2-percent annual inflation, be $2.7 million.

Such straight-line calculations through having little predictive value. We don't know what the rate of inflation will be in each year, what interest rates might be in future years (if money isn't borrowed now and is instead borrowed on a project-by-project basis in coming years); and in this case, how the cost of energy will change over 20 years.

Maha is concerned about placing bets on the prediction of the future, he said. Who knows what technology changes will come in 20 years? He suggested in 20 years, whoever is still around in county government will have no real knowledge of why the loan exists and what purpose it served.

"I want to reiterate that my concern is, I don't care if it's $1 million or $4 million, I don't like the 20 years," Maha said. "Who knows what is going to happen 20 years down the road. Who is going to look back in 20 years and remember why we did this?"

Clattenburg countered, “We might look back in 20 years and say look at all the money we saved over the 20 years.”

Both Hens and German made the point a couple of times during the discussion that the estimated saving presented by Johnson Controls should be considered "conservative" estimates that the actual cost savings should be higher. Johnson Controls, Hens noted, with the first-three-year guarantee on its estimates, doesn't want to overestimate and wind up owing the county money, so their estimates are cautious.

Clattenburg, who chairs Ways and Means, was perhaps the staunchest proponent of the Johnson Controls proposal.

“If we don’t do this and we go the other route (paying for each project individually), don’t come to me to override the tax cap at any point," Clattenburg said. "I hope you are willing to do that if we don’t go this way because that’s what’s going to happen."

Neither legislators Bob Bausch nor Gregg Torrey expressed an overt opinion on whether they will support the proposed contract. But Bausch suggested that maybe the county could use current capital project funds along with some reserves, up to about $2 million, to reduce the amount of money borrowed. That would both reduce the total amount of interest paid and reduce the length of the loan, perhaps to as little as six years.

Hens said that would mean going to another firm for financing and losing the guaranteed 3.5 percent rate. German said he would have to gather estimates but the rate wouldn't be guaranteed until the county was actually ready to take out the loan, which could be two months.

The committee agreed to table the resolution until German is able to report back on that option.

CLARIFICATIONS: We should have pointed out in the body of the story that the estimated cost savings on utility bills alone if the loan is taken out is $117,250. Hens says that's a conservative estimate based on an inflation rate of 3 percent over 20 years. He said the actual rate since 1998 has been 3.9 percent and going back to 1958, the averaged annual rate of inflation for energy costs has been 4.32 percent. If either of those figures hold true, he said, the county will save substantially more.

April 19, 2018 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, kathy hochul, Nate McMurray, news.

Press release:

Today, Governor Cuomo told a gathered crowd that Kathy Hochul would give Democrats the best chance to take away the 27th Congressional District from Chris Collins. He referenced Nancy Pelosi, implying that she expressed a similar sentiment.

Democratic Congressional Candidate Nate McMurray is disappointed by the statement.

“Clearly I'm not part of the Washington/Albany insider game. But you know what? I want no part of that mess. This is a new era. It’s an era where the people again decide what’s best, not a group of political elites."

McMurray continued, "The Governor is not out there with me in the 27th District. He does not see the energy and enthusiasm we see, not from big donors but from regular people.”

“I respect the Governor," McMurray said. "I think he has done a lot of important things. If the Governor is reelected, I look forward to working with him.

"And if Kathy Hochul wins her reelection bid for Lieutenant Governor, I especially look forward to working with her. I’m proud of her representation of our region. I wish the Governor would join me on a trip to Batavia or Warsaw or Lockport and see the support we're feeling in those rooms.

“Sooner or later Albany and D.C. will realize, ‘Don’t underestimate Nate.’ I’m no pawn on a board. No one owns me. No one owns the people of NY 27.”

April 19, 2018 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, news.

Press release:

“The governor is so desperate to appeal to the radical left as his election approaches that he has now granted conditional pardons to roughly 35,000 convicts on parole, a shameful move that flies in the face of every law-abiding citizen who has done the right thing and followed the law.

“Despite the governor’s radical interpretation, paying your debt to society and earning back the ability to exercise our most cherished right, voting, should not be granted until a felon is completely off parole and has been rehabilitated.

“It is obvious Gov. Cuomo will go to great lengths to win an election but I never thought it would involve pandering to rapists, murderers and arsonists. This governor seems to be fonder of helping inmates and convicted felons instead of hardworking, law-abiding citizens.”

April 19, 2018 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Five Star Urgent Care, batavia, news, business.

fivestarribbonapril2018.jpg

Five Star Urgent Care held a ribbon cutting yesterday for its new location on Veterans Memorial Drive, next to Home Depot, in Batavia.

Cutting the ribbon is Denae McPherson, the regional practice director for Five Star.

The location is the 18th for the company.

April 19, 2018 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, poetry, news, arts, entertainment.

poetrycontestwinner_2018gcc.jpg

Press release:

"Time" magazine recently quoted Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith as she talked about the value of poetry in our world today.

She said, "Poetry requires us to be humble and beholden to something other than our own opinion. That's important. There's too much in our 21st century lives that is telling us we're the most important thing, that our initial gut reaction is incredibly valuable and not vulnerable, and that our opinions as consumers are more important than just about anything else about us.

"A poem says 'No, no. You have feelings. You have fears. You have questions. Let's get back to the voice and the vocabulary of being human.' "

The annual student poetry contest at Genesee Community College is designed to do just that -- to encourage and reward students for their abilities to express their feelings, fears, questions and voices through poetry.

For the 17th year, the poetry contest illuminated the unique and impressive talents of GCC's students. On Tuesday, April 17, the six winning students were honored at an awards and recognition ceremony in the Alfred C. O'Connell Library where they each received a certificate, gift card, and a journal to encourage them to continue their writing.

The 2018 Student Poetry Contest winners, awarded by a panel of six judges, included:

Body of Work: Committee's Choice -- Catherine McCabe-Strong, of Rochester

McCabe-Strong is in her final year of Paralegal Studies at GCC. She is a repeat winner of the Student Poetry Contest.

Body of Work: Director's Choice -- Cameron Kowalczewski, of East Aurora

Kowalczewski began at GCC in 2016 as an Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) student and has since graduated high school and is now pursuing an associate degree in the Social Sciences with a concentration in English at GCC.

1st Place -- Nicole Favata, of Dunkirk

Favata is a Fashion Design student at GCC. Favata submitted a poem in spoken word format and the transcript is available on the Poetry Contest Web page.

2nd Place -- Raxel Piper, of Oakfield

Her second-place winning poem is entitled "The Perfect Woman."

3rd Place -- Mackayla Poorman, of Farmersville Station

Poorman is pursuing an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts at GCC's Arcade Campus Center and plans to transfer to a four-year college for writing and to minor in Theater. Her creative poem format was inspired by several of her favorite authors; Maggie Stiefvater, Jennifer Niven and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Honorable Mention honors -- Gabrielle Rozanski, of Avon, for her piece, "Tomorrow."

The entire works of these students can be found onGCC's Alfred C. O'Connell Library Poetry Contest Web page.

"Our students have many responsibilities between their studies, clubs, sports, jobs and families that demand their time and attention," Assistant Professor and Reference Services Librarian Cynthia Hagelberger said.

"We are thrilled to see so many of them putting in the extra effort it takes to enter the poetry contest each year. The library is proud and honored to offer a program that provides students with a public forum to celebrate their writing skills and creativity."

April 19, 2018 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, entertainment, news, schools, education, Le Roy.

lr_bestmusicapri192018.jpg

Press release:

The NAMM Foundation has designated Le Roy Central School District as one of the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education in the country.

This national designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Le Roy is one of 538 districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2018.

Congratulations to the Le Roy music teachers, administrators, students, parents and community leaders on this distinguished designation!

Le Roy has received this designation 12 out of the last 13 years and continues to thrive in providing music education through many opportunities throughout the district. The program supports more than 300 students in chorus and more than 200 students in band throughout our district offering performance ensembles in both vocal and instrumental for students in grades 4-12 as well as a competitive marching band. Annually, the program produces a sixth-grade musical and a Jr.-Sr. High musical. In the classroom general music and a variety of Sr. High electives are also offered each year.

Merritt Holly -- Le Roy superintendent: "Our entire Le Roy Central School District is proud to be recognized again as a 2018 Best Communities for Music Education.  This prestigious honor signifies the continued dedication and passion our teachers and students have to excel in music education. Congratulations to our administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community for supporting each other in achieving this wonderful accomplishment!"

Carol Messura -- Wolcott Street School principal: "On behalf of Wolcott Street School, we CONGRATULATE all the students, staff members, and parents for being named a Best Community for Music Education once again! This recognition is well deserved and demonstrates the unwavering commitment to excellence that the music department continues to uphold. From kindergarten through 12th grade, the seeds of collaboration and perseverance grow in our students which allow them to flourish into the future. The sky's the limit!"

Tim McArdle -- Jr.-Sr. High School principal: "We are so proud of all of our music students and staff who year in and year out produce high-level performances on our stages, in the pit, in competition, and on the field across many places throughout the region. The relentless efforts of our music boosters, families and supporters help create a synergy that propels our program to new heights each year. The music program is one of the many aspects of our district that makes being an Oatkan Knight so special!"

Matt Nordhausen -- Le Roy Music Department chair: "We are humbled to once again receive this wonderful distinction, which casts a national spotlight on what all of us in this Le Roy community already knew; that the parents, teachers, school administration, board of education and members of this community work together tirelessly to provide a multitude of first-rate musical outlets and educational opportunities for the growth and benefit of our children."

April 19, 2018 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

The State of New York knows better than most the importance of 9-1-1. When disaster strikes, New Yorkers depend on a fully functional, responsive 9-1-1 emergency communications system. And, after the September 11, 2001 attack, it was the New York firefighters and police officers who called on Congress to provide dedicated spectrum to public safety and additional funds to migrate these systems to next generation 9-1-1, which will allow public safety officials to receive real time location information, live video feeds, and much more.
 
Ironically, the very funding that New York and many others fought for in Congress as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act is not available to New York. That is because a provision in the law prevents states that divert 9-1-1 fees collected from consumers on their phone bills for other purposes from receiving these federal funds. The thought being, if the state is not prioritizing its 9-1-1 system, the federal government should not contribute its scarce funding that would allow for more diversion.
 
Unfortunately, New York has been found by the Federal Communications Commission to be a diverter of 9-1-1 fees every year since the Commission began collecting this information in 2009. Each state is responsible for its own 9-1-1 system, which typically includes public service answering points (PSAPs), otherwise known as the 9-1-1 call center, and personnel.
 
States fund these services through a fee on consumers’ phone bills. According to data provided to the Commission, the average 9-1-1 fee from wireline services is $1 per line per month and the average 9-1-1 fee on wireless phone bills is $0.92 per line per month. In New York, the state collects $1.20 for each mobile device – one of the highest in the nation.
 
Each year the Commission submits information on state 9-1-1 fee diversion practices to Congress. The goal being that this name and shame role of the federal government will pressure states to prioritize 9-1-1 funding and ensure that money they collect from their consumers is going where it should be going. This approach appears to have led to recent successes in states like Rhode Island and New Jersey – both of which are considering legislation to end their fee diversion practices.
 
Perhaps New York did not like this notoriety because this year the state refused to even submit data to the FCC. Despite this, the Commission found in its Report to Congress that based on sufficient public record information and the state’s previous history, it still could conclude that New York diverts funds for non-public safety uses. In fact, under state law, New York diverts approximately 41 percent to its General Fund. And, according to state tax records, in 2016, New York collected more than $185 million from the state’s 9-1-1 fee, but only dedicated $10 million in support of the state’s PSAPs.
 
Unfortunately, this practice has real world consequences for the citizens of New York. The Associated Press recently reported that New York is the only Northeastern state with serious service gaps in rural areas, which is of particular concern for many parts of Western New York. This article also estimated that the state needed $2.2 billion to fully upgrade the state’s 9-1-1 system. With a shortfall like this, one must wonder why the state would risk falling further behind by prioritizing funding for the General Fund rather than 9-1-1 services.
 
On Friday, we will travel to the Niagara County Emergency Management Office to see firsthand the great work that they do to respond to the emergency needs of Western New Yorkers and how New York’s 9-1-1 fee diversion practices are affecting PSAPs in rural areas. Our message will be clear: New York’s diversionary tactics must stop. If the state doesn’t act, we will have to explore ideas at the federal level to bring an end to this practice once and for all.

April 18, 2018 - 11:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, murder, news, batavia.

murderpcapril182018.jpg

At a press conference this morning (photo), officials with the Sheriff's Office asked for the public's help in locating the family of murder victim Sherri Colleen Butler and this evening investigators announced next of kin of been located and notified of Butler's death.

The 58-year-old woman was found dead Monday morning in her room at the Sunset Motel in Batavia, the victim of blunt force trauma to her neck.

The suspect remains at large.

Investigators are still seeking the public's helping in solving the murder case. Anybody with any information that might be helpful are encouraged to call (585) 343-5000.

Previously: Investigators trying to locate family of murder victim Sherri Colleen Butler

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