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September 20, 2017 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, City Schools, schools, education, news, notify.

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As of this morning, Dennis Kenney is the new interim principal at Batavia High School.

Kenney fills the vacancy left when Scott Wilson accepted a position in Churchville.

The school district reviewed several candidates to replace Wilson on a permanent basis but has decided to extend the search.

Kenney will serve as principal until Dec. 22.  

The school board approved his contract in executive session at the start of last night's meeting.

A resident of Warsaw, Kenney has 40 years in education and recently retired as a principal at Iroquois Central Schools, where he worked for 12 years.

His first 18 years in education was with the New York State Division Youth, which is now Child and Family Services, working in residential facilities with kids who had serious emotional issues and learning disabilities.

He's also been a principal at Barker, an assistant in Albion and Canandaigua and served for two-and-a-half years as superintended in Perry.

He has three sons and was on vacation in Virginia Beach with eight of his grandchildren when he got the call from Superintendent Chris Dailey asking if he would be interested in interviewing for the interim position.

"They'll find me a very visible high school principal and very approachable," Kenney said. "I'd like the parents to know that my door is always open, and staff, to come and see me on anything. The students, too. I think we have a great school district here and the high school has a great faculty, good assistant principals, and we're going to work together and keep moving forward."

September 20, 2017 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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September 19, 2017 - 8:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ctiy schools, batavia, schools, education, news, notify.

When district officials asked voters to approve a $27 million capital improvement project they promised the tax levy would go up "0.00 percent" and with the approval of the annual tax warrants tonight, Batavia School District trustees kept the promise.

In fact, because assessed values have gone up about 3 percent for properties in the school district, the 2017-18 tax rate for property owners will go down 79 cents, or 3.54 percent.

The new rate will be $21.46 per thousand of assessed value, Business Manager Scott Rozanski told the board.

It's the second year in a row the district has lowered the tax rate by more than 3 percent.

In six of the past 10 years, the school district property tax rate has gone down from the previous year. Accounting for those years the rate has gone up, the average annual increase is .07 .70 percent.

UPDATE: Scott Rozanski provided these PDFs:

He also told us:


The only thing in the District's control is the levy.  The tax rate is determined by a number of factors outside our control (assessments, equalization rate and county adjustments from prior year such as omitted taxes and exemption removals) 
Also, this will be the fourth consecutive year that taxpayers will receive a rebate check from NYS as a result of our compliance with controlling the taxes (tax freeze).

Just one clarification, the ten-year tax levy increase is 0.70 percent (not 0.07 percent) - as written online.

September 19, 2017 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, county highway, news.

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Genesee County is leading the state in shared services among municipalities, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told members of the County Legislature on Monday.

As an example, he pointed to paving work on South Main Street Road this week.

Hauling in asphalt are trucks from Pavilion, Byron, Elba (two), Batavia (three), Stafford (two), Alexander and Bergen.

The crews will also resurface Byron Road this week.  

The $570,000 project is paid for by a state grant.

The South Main project is 3.8 miles and Byron is 4.5 miles.

"It seems things like just keep getting better and better," Hens said. "We have a great mix of (town) superintendents."

September 19, 2017 - 4:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, news.

22614468_1501288094.2088_0.jpgCarrie Fisher, a mother of two in Corfu, has been waiting since August for a heart transplant and today, her family finally received word that a heart is available for transplant.

She is scheduled for surgery at 5 p.m. at Strong Memorial Hospital, according to Kurt Fisher.

Carrie Fisher has been at Strong since August on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. Fisher developed cardiomyopathy during her second pregnancy with her son, Trevor, whom she delivered on July 11. Her heart was weakened and could no longer sustain her.

The whole family and the community have pulled together to help Carrie, Andrew, and their children get through the difficult time.

"We would like to let everybody know (that the transplant is taking place) who have helped us out," Kurt Fisher said. "Thank you."

Submitted photo.

September 19, 2017 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $500,000 in federal funding for the Town of Batavia in Genesee County. The federal funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program. Specifically, the Town of Batavia will use the funding to create a new Southwest Water District. The new water district will bring public water service to 40 residential users who do not currently have access to safe drinking water.

“This federal investment is great news for the Town of Batavia,” Senator Schumer said. “With support from the USDA’s Rural Development program, Batavia will be able to create a vital new water district bringing public water service to dozens of residents. I am proud to announce this federal investment and will continue to fight to make sure that rural communities have the tools they need to grow and prosper.”

“This investment ... will help facilitate a critical project that will bring safe and reliable water to dozens of residents in the Town of Batavia,” Senator Gillibrand said. “These funds will provide the necessary resources to build a brand new water district, which will help deliver clean water and enhance residents' quality of life, and protect public health in the area.”

“We are so grateful and excited to receive this funding that will allow us to make a vital resource available to the community," said Greg Post, Batavia Town Supervisor. "Access to clean water will both enhance the personal health of many individuals and spur development in this area.

"Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have long supported us and we express extraordinary gratitude to all elected officials, the USDA, and stewards at every level who have made it possible for us to receive funding for an initiative that will so greatly benefit our community.”

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. The Rural Development agency is committed to improving economies and lives in rural America, through loans, grants and loan guarantees. They support local businesses, individuals, and communities by promoting economic development, offering loans and providing technical assistance.

September 19, 2017 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, Dellapenna Building, batavia, business, news, notify.

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A delay in securing financing through the New Market Tax Credit program for developer Savarino Companies has held up the state of the Ellicott Station project, which is the $18 million redevelopment of the former Della Penna property on Ellicott Street in Batavia.

Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., said today that Savarino expects to close financing on the project in November.

The original target date was August. (For an explanation of financing for the project, click here.)

This week, survey crews are on site so preliminary engineering work can begin. The surveys will help with floodplain-related design work.

Once financing is done, environmental remediation work can begin. 

"Hopefully, we'll get some favorable days and favorable weather during the winter," Pacatte said. "There's also some work to do inside on Resurgence Brewery. By spring, we should be in full construction mode."

There will also be a workforce recruitment project beginning in the fall, in cooperation with PUSH Buffalo and the Genesee County Work Center aimed at finding jobs for hard-to-place workers.

Savarino, Pacatte​ said, is also inviting local contractors to bid on subcontracts. Bid specs will be available on the Savarino website once the purchase of the property is completed.

September 19, 2017 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in old county courthouse, news.

Now that the cupola atop the Old County Courthouse can be lit in any color in the spectrum, County Manager Jay Gsell is proposing the County Legislature adopt a policy on how and when it can be lit for special causes and occasions.

"What we're trying to do is establish a fairly general policy so it doesn't all the sudden become a free for all," Gsell told members of the Public Service Committee during Monday's meeting.

The policy would reserve county, state, and national holidays as well as days designated for "long-established causes" that county is associated with, such as domestic violence awareness, breast cancer awareness, and STOP DWI.

Otherwise, other groups can submit a written request, using a newly created county form, to request to light the cupola in appropriate colors for the specified event or cause.

Whether to grant the request will be at the discretion of the county manager or his designee.

The lighting for the cupola, which is controlled by a computer on the third floor of the courthouse, was donated by Batavia-based Lighting Design Innovations earlier this year.

It was lit -- in red, white, and blue -- for the first time in May.

The committee recommended approval of the resolution by the full Legislature.

September 19, 2017 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A truck is reportedly tangled in wires in front of the Alabama Fire Hall on Lewiston Road, Alabama.

It's unknown if the wires are power lines.

The driver is reportedly still in the truck.

September 19, 2017 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how s the 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.
September 19, 2017 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, Batavia HS, batavia, news, notify.

The Batavia City Schools community is mourning the loss of Lorne Brudz, a student at Batavia High School, who passed away this morning.

The death was announced today on the school district's homepage and Superintendent Chris Dailey sent a letter to parents.

"Our entire school community is mourning the loss of this wonderful young man," Dailey wrote in the letter.

Dailey informed parents that counselors, teachers and support staff are available to assist students, teachers, and parents. He suggested parents talk with their children about the death as it affects people in different ways.

The school district was not informed of the cause of death.

September 19, 2017 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county highway, news.

The financial outlook for the multifaceted County Highway Department looks pretty much unchanged for 2018, Superintendent Tim Hens told members of the County Legislature on Monday.

Hens presented a department review during the Public Service Committee meeting.

"We're proposing a fairly flat budget and general fund contribution to County Highway," Hens said. "It is actually exactly the same as it was in 2017."

After two winters of mild weather, the county hasn't used much salt recently and with low oil prices the past few years, the cost of asphalt has remained low. Even with hurricane Harvey that hit Houston, causing a bump in fuel prices, Hens expects costs to return to their pre-Harvey level before long.

"I don't expect oil and gas to really fluctuate too much," Hens said.

A pressure point however is the county's bridges and culverts. 

The county has 100 bridges eligible for federal aid. The typical lifespan of a bridge is 50 to 75 years.

"About half of our Federal bridges are what are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete," Hens said.

Ideal, the county should replace two bridges with the help of federal aid every year. For the past decade, the average has been one bridge every two years.

"It's a pretty big deal for us to not get federal aid," Hens said.

As for culverts -- which Hens defined as anything with a span of five to 20 feet -- there are 278 in the county. 

Over the past two years, nine of the 30 most in need of replacement have been replaced.

A contract has been awarded to two concrete companies for castings for culvert pipes, so there are 10 under construction now.

For roads, Hens said aid will assist in the reconstruction of Pratt Road and Searles Road next summer.

County Highway and several local town highway departments are working together under a shared-services agreement this week on South Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

Hens also said when roads are getting repaved, or overlayed, the surface is milled as well as the shoulder and the millings are then ground up so they can be recycled for bedding on the shoulder and expanded shoulders. The roads are being widened by four feet on the shoulders.

"We're winding up with 30-foot roads, which is safer for drivers, is safer for kids on bikes, and people walking. It's a pretty big improvement. It's going to take a long time to get through all the roads, but it will be a big benefit to the county when we're all done."

The project started three years ago.

As for parks, Shannon Morley has been doing a great job as the environmental educator at the interpretative center on the County Park & Forest in East Bethany, Hens said.

Reservations have held steady for use of pavilions at the parks, though crews had quite a bit of work after the March windstorm repairing damaged pavilions, as well as cleaning up trails in the County Park.

With funding being cut off for the Americorps program, the county won't benefit from those helpers at the County Park this year, Hens said, but efforts are underway to work with another program, the state's Student Conservation Program. That's more expensive but the folks with ACORN have raised money to help cover the cost.

It may also be possible to get volunteers from SUNY Brockport.

Hens said the first year of the new ice rink at DeWitt Recreation Area went well, but he thinks for the kids to get the most out of it, it needs to stay open later. When kids get out of school at three or four, and it gets dark at 5:30 p.m., there isn't much time for them to skate. Hens said he is looking into providing some lighting so they can skate longer into the evening.

The biggest news out at the County Airport is a plan to resurface the runway in 2019.

The current runway is 40 years old, Hens said.

The airport continues to be a moneymaker for the county, even with less travel, meaning lower full sales, because of weather this past year.

Typically, the airport has generated $100,000 to $200,000 a year in surplus revenue, but Hens is projecting $65,000 to $75,000 this year.

In the past few years, there have been several improvements to the airport, including a new terminal and new hangars. Since Hens has been highway superintendent, there has been a $27 million investment, most of it federal funds, in the airport.

The investment is paying off, Hens said.

" Our hangars are full and we are way ahead of forecast for what the FAA thinks we should have in terms of based aircraft," Hens said. "In fact, we've got another 8-bay T-hangar waiting in the wings to go up and then another one beyond that, so hoping we can base more aircraft here."

September 19, 2017 - 11:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Downtown Revitalization Initiative, news, notify.

Local officials are being invited to Batavia City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Thursday where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to make an announcement.

What Cuomo will announce is not revealed in the invitation, but the City of Batavia did submit an application to Cuomo's office for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative contest, which carries a $10 million award for one municipality in each of the state's economic development regions.

While winners have been announced in other regions, the winner of the contest in the Finger Lakes region has not yet been announced.

Local officials cannot discuss the reason for Cuomo's visit.

September 18, 2017 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Robert E. Wright, 35, no permanent address, is charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, criminal possession of a narcotic/drug with intent to sell, criminal possession of a narcotic/drug, unregistered motor vehicle, driving without insurance, aggravated unlicensed operation and two counts of unsafe tires.  Wright was arrested following a complaint at 8:46 a.m. Saturday in the area of 563 E. Main St., Batavia, of a man slumped over the steering wheel of a car. At the scene, Wright led officers on a brief foot pursuit. He was also wanted by the Department of Corrections. Wright was ordered held without bail.

Tonya M. Cragg, 38, of Church Street, Tioga, Pa., is charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Cragg was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance at 8:46 a.m. Saturday in the area of 563 E. Main St., Batavia. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Carla Faye Ewell, 59, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and inadequate headlamps. Ewell was stopped at 12:40 a.m. Sept. 9 on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Earl R. Benson, 51, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and driving on the wrong side of the median. Benson was stopped at 9:56 p.m. Sept. 8 on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Madison Alyssa Scheurlein, 19, of Overlook Drive, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Scheurlein allegedly stole two items from Kohl's valued at $72.

September 18, 2017 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how s the 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.
September 18, 2017 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia varsity basketball Coach Buddy Brasky will hold a Basketball Mini-Camp at the Batavia High School gym this fall. This Mini-Camp is for boys in grades 8-12.

The camp will start Thursday, Oct. 5 and run from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 5, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30, and Nov. 2.

This program is for the experienced and serious player only!!!  The program will emphasize offensive skill development. Cost for the program is $95.    For more information call Buddy Brasky at 585-356-4050 or email [email protected]   

** PLAYER MUST BRING THEIR OWN BASKETBALL

September 18, 2017 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

A former Batavia High School student is in her third day of a hunger strike to protest the way the University of Rochester has handled sexual harassment complaints against a professor in UR's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Lindsay Wrobel says she won't eat until Dr. Florian Jaeger is removed from the faculty.

Wrobel is not claiming that she was sexually harassed.

Jaeger is at the center of an EEOC complaint filed against the university

"Until Professor Jaeger is removed from the university, there’s going to be no trust among the student body," Wrobel said. 

Wrobel graduated from BHS in 2013 and was a Top 10 member of the class.

The sexual harassment allegations have roiled the campus for more than a year but became national news after a long story in Mother Jones. There's also been coverage in The New York Times and Nature.

The university conducted an investigation into the allegations and found no evidence that Jaeger violated its policy. After complaints that the investigation failed to consider all of the evidence or interview all witnesses, the findings were appealed and a dean in another department at UR investigated the appeal and upheld the findings of the original investigation. 

At least one faculty member has resigned in response to UR's handling of the case and others have alleged retaliation for their part in the accusations. The university also investigated these complaints and found no evidence of retaliation.

After seeing Wrobel not looking well, an anonymous person called 9-1-1 on her behalf, but Wrobel reportedly declined medical treatment.

Wrobel said her hunger strike is painful and scary but she intends to persist.

"I fully intend to do this until I’m hospitalized. I think what’s of primary importance is the students on this campus feeling safe. And as of right now, they don’t, and they won’t until Professor Jaeger is removed," Wrobel said. 

Our news partner 13WHAM has been following the story:

September 18, 2017 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

keybank2suspect2016_1_0.jpgThe man who robbed the Key Bank branch in Batavia at the end of last year and got away with $10,275 isn't expected to get out of prison before 2025.

Joel Zsebehazy, 33, an Iraq War veteran from Niagara Falls, was sentenced to three to six years in prison by Judge Charles Zambito in County Court this morning.

Attorney Lisa Kroemer, from the Public Defender's Office, requested a two-to-four-year prison term for her client after noting that Zsebehazy was on parole at the time of the robbery, so he now owes the state prison time before he can start serving a sentence on the Key Bank robbery. 

"Given that fact, he's going to be serving a lot of time anyway," Kroemer said.

Zsebehazy apologized for his actions.

"I realize there is no excuse to justify what I did," Zsebehazy said. "I know what I did was wrong. I knew when I went into the situation it was wrong. I know it negatively impacted more people than just myself."

He then apologized to the teller and the court for his crime.

After the robbery, Zsebehazy fled the state. He was eventually located in Lousiana and brought back to Batavia on the bank robbery charge. During his travels, Zsebehazy said, he started attending AA meetings and going to church and felt like he was getting his life back on track.

"I've been making progress in my life," Zsebehazy said. "I know that in no way excuses myself and I stand here ready to make amends in any way I can."

Zambito said he wasn't moved by either the fact that Zsebehazy will spend an even longer time in prison because he was on parole at the time of the robbery or that he was getting his life together. The fact is, Zambito said, he robbed a bank and had to be chased down in order to be brought to justice.

"To say that this has been an opportunity to start a new life by robbing a bank is something I find incredible," Zambito said.

Zambito said Zsebehazy had already received a substantial break on potential prison time when he was offered a plea deal that capped his sentence at three to six years.  To cut it any further wouldn't fit the crime, he said.

Zsebehazy was ordered to start making payments toward restitution while he's incarcerated. Kroemer tried to convince Zambito to delay restitution payments until Zsebehazy is out of prison because Zsebehazy will receive such a minimal allowance for toiletries, writing paper, and other personal items while in prison that any restitution payment would make it difficult for him to obtain necessities. 

She suggested that lack of money for these items is why some prisoners turn to "less than legal activity" in prison.

District Attorney Lawerence Friedman said Zsebehazy should start paying restitution immediately and that prison officials have a formula to take only a portion of a prisoner's money for restitution payments so they still can buy necessities from the prison store.

Zambito agreed.

Photo: file photo

September 17, 2017 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Darien.

Two vehicles left the scene, and two didn't leave the scene of a motor-vehicle accident in the area of 9548 Alleghany Road, Darien.

A chief on scene reports minor injuries. 

Darien fire responded.

Deputies were advised of the vehicles that fled the scene.

September 17, 2017 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kiwanis Club of Corfu/Pembroke/Darien, pembroke, news.

21698030_1658251137529996_617299611_n.jpg

The Kiwanis Club of Corfu/Pembroke/Darien sponsored its annual Classic Car Show at the Pembroke Town Park today.

There was also a basket raffle benefiting Crossroads House.

Photos by Lenora Kohorst.

21697809_1658253770863066_1769194439_n.jpg

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