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January 19, 2016 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, batavia, Stafford, Le Roy.
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Ingrid Crosson

Ingrid E. Crosson, 43, of South Wales, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Crosson is accused of entering a residence in Stafford and stealing a laptop, German air pistol, small pocketknife, three jars of coins, and a pillow case valued at more than $600. Crosson was identified through a note she left at the scene. Following arraignment in Town of Batavia Court, Crosson was released on her own recognizance.

Michele Anne Stamp, 51, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or more, speed not reasonable and prudent, and moving from lane unsafely. Stamp was involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 7:03 p.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Alabama. She was transported to the Genesee County Jail where she submitted to a chemical test. She allegedly tested for a BAC of .21. She was arrested by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Nicholas S. Gillett, 25, of Italy Valley Road, Middlesex, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Gillett was arrested as the result of an investigation in the Town of Bergen. He was allegedly found in possession of a rifle in violation of probation as a result of a felony conviction.

Andrew K. Wright, 25, of Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wright allegedly pushed a woman and struck her several times with a broom during an argument. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Timothy C. Pabone, 42, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, menacing, 2nd and DWI. Pabone was reportedly involved in an argument at 12:38 p.m. Saturday at 220 W. Main St., Batavia, over where a vehicle was parked. Pabone allegedly brandished a knife and threatened another person. He then allegedly tried to flee the scene in a vehicle, driving through a back yard and over the parkway. He was also charged with unlicensed operator, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to keep right, unregistered motor vehicle, driving without insurance, switched plates, and improper registration sticker. Pabone was jailed without bail.

Nicholas Allen Clark, 26, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of hypodermic instrument. Clark was arrested following a complaint at 2:04 p.m. Saturday of a person injecting himself while driving a vehicle on Liberty Street.

Shawna M. Pursel, 38, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Pursel was allegedly found in possession of a glass pipe commonly used for smoking crack cocaine.

Joseph W. Gottstine, 26, of Beaver Meadow Road, of Java Center, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic violation.

Raymond L. Morgan, 44, of State Route 31, Lyons, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Morgan was arrested on a warrant. He is currently incarcerated in Wayne County on an unrelated charge.

Victor D. Guy, 29, of West Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic violation.

Cheryl M. Lyons, 50, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. She was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Cheryl A. Kowalik, 55, of Alexander Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of issuing a bad check.

Samuel Anthony Nigro, 64, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. Nigro was allegedly found in possession of a billy club during a home visit by a probation officer. Nigro has a prior felony conviction. He was jailed without bail pending review by Superior Court. Upon review, he was released under supervision of the Probation Department.

Melissa M. Lesage, 36, of Lake Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic citation. She was released on $500 bail.

Terry E. Smith, 38, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with side window tint, no plate lamp, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Smith was stopped at 2:04 a.m. Jan. 10 on McKinley Avenue by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Samantha L. Tate, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Tate was arrested on a warrant stemming from an alleged shoplifting incident at 415 E. Main St., Batavia.

Joey A. Evans, 25, of Maple Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for allegedly violating released under supervision conditions. Evans allegedly failed to appear for required meetings. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Loretta L. Baer, 44, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Baer was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Frank J. Yanik, 39, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and failure to stop at stop sign. Yanik was stopped at 1:21 a.m. Saturday on Liberty Street by Officer Peter Flanagan.

January 18, 2016 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Alabama.

Gayno Star Standsblack, 44, of Wehrle Drive, Williamsville, is charged with felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 1st, moving from lane unsafely, no seatbelt, and driving without an interlock device. Standsblack was arrested following a report of a suspicious vehicle off the road on Meadville Road, Alabama, at 2:07 a.m. Saturday by Deputy Jason Saile. Standsblack was jailed without bail.

Joseph Paul Capuano, 63, of Clarissa Street, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or higher and speeding. Capuano was stopped at 5:38 p.m. Saturday on South Lake Road, Le Roy, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

January 18, 2016 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, walmart, batavia.

A manager tells a deputy on scene that he's seen smoke from a possible fire in a wall at Walmart.

The alarm originally came in as a pull station activation.

A first responder reports the possible electrical fire may be out.

Town of Batavia fire was dispatched.

January 17, 2016 - 7:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alabamam.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported in the area of 1855 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

It's believed the injuries are minor.

UPDATE 7:10 p.m.: The address has been changed to 2300 Lewiston Road.

January 17, 2016 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, fire services, corfu fire.

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The Corfu Volunteer Fire Department held its annual installation and awards dinner Saturday night at the fire hall.

Jim Hale, above, was named Firefighter of the Year and received the award from Chief Dean Eck, left.

Dave Saleh (third picture) and Cathy Skeet (fourth picture, with Karen Lang) both received Fire Service Person of the Year awards. Glenn Eck (fifth picture) was for honored for responding to the most calls and Bruce Fauth received a certificate from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (sixth picture) for his 45 years of service to the department.

Other years of service awards went to Brian Schollard, 35 years, Bernie Fix, 30, Cathy Skeet, 25, and Roger Smart, 5.

The executive officers for 2016 are: Steve Rodland, president; Ben Tranpani, VP; Paula Tranpani, secretary; Jen Eck, treasurer; Bernie Fix, Justin Rodland and Ed Fauth, trustees; Allan Starkweather, sargeant at arms; and Brad Lang, chaplain.

Firematic officers: Dean Eck, chief; Brian Schollard, deputy chief; Greg Lang, 2nd assistant; Brian McMartin, senior captain; Ben Trapani, captain; Brad Lang, captain; Mitch Bates, captain; Bernie Fix, fire police captain; Rachel Bozzer, lieutenant EMS; Glenn Eck, lieutenant; Steve Rodland, lieutenant; Dan Smith, lieutenant; and Brian McMartin, safety officer.

EMTs: Rachel Bozzer, Cathy Skeet, Kristen Gaik, Roger Smart and Karen Lang.

Corfu Fire District Officers: Bruce Fauth, chairman; Jim Mallory, deputy chairman; Jenny McMartin-Eck, commissioner; Jim Hale, commissioner; Mark Zimmerman, commissioner; Paula Trapani, secretary; and Michelle Sformo, treasurer.

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January 16, 2016 - 9:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A pedestrian has been reportedly been struck by a car on East Main Street at Swan Street.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:52 p.m.: Person is conscious and alert.

January 16, 2016 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Budget.

There are ample reasons to be optimistic about Batavia's future, City Manager Jason Molino says in his annual budget message delivered yesterday to City Council Members along with the proposed 2016-17 budget, even though the coming year will be hampered slightly by an uncertain sales tax picture.

Downward pressure on oil prices is likely to mean a decrease in sales tax revenue for the City as gas prices remain low and could fall further, according to Molino's projections.

Meanwhile, some expenses continue to go up and the city's property tax base is seeing only modest growth. Therefore, Molino said, the city probably needs to raise property taxes by 13 cents, putting the rate a $9.29 per thousand of assesses value. The tax levy would increase by $55,621, or 1.10 percent.

For a home assessed at $80,000, the proposed increase adds $10.40 to the annual tax bill.

While sales tax on gas is only 18 to 20 percent of total sales tax receipts for the city, sales tax is the city's largest general fund revenue source at 39 percent of the city's general fund.

"We project a slowdown in the coming year," Molino said, "but how much is hard to project."

That's why the city needs to continue its focus on economic growth, which will expand the city's most stable revenue source -- property tax, Molino said.

The budget calls for the continuation of programs that will help, and are helping, to drive the city's growth, such as brownfield redevelopment, as well as capital investments in sidewalks and roadways, along with the ongoing, multi-year effort to invest $22 million in upgrades to sewer and water infrastructure. All of these programs will have a significant impact on the willingness for businesses to locate or expand in and around Batavia, Molino said.

There's already been progress in the city on brownfield redevelopment, such as the conversion of the former Carr's warehouse into a business and residential complex as well as the work under way to start a brewery and restaurant in the former Newberry's building. There are other projects in the works, Molino said.

"These areas didn't become blighted overnight and we won't correct the blight overnight," Molino said. "It will take time, it will take people and it will take energy."

Over the past decade, the city has made tremendous budgetary progress, Molino noted, going from a city operating at a deficit with little credit to one with a $8 million fund balance and an A-1 credit rating.

At the same time, the city has managed to replace nearly $3 million of antiquated equipment.

While the budget will use reserves for capital improvements, Molino notes that the projected decline in sales tax revenue will inhibit the city's ability to replenish those funds this year, but he sees the current economic environment as temporary and expects the economy to pick up, especially locally, over the next couple of years.

A potential bright spot on the sales tax picture is the planned construction of a plant for 1366 Technologies in the STAMP project in Alabama, Molino noted. It's hard to project the potential impact of that project, but Molino noted in his budget message that the construction of two yogurt plants in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park helped the city realize 4 to 6 percent sales tax growth in 2012 and 2013.

Another positive note coming out of 2015 is single-family home sales reach 122 closed escrows, up from 80 in 2013.

The city is also benefiting from a slight uptick in the assessed value of properties, as a couple of properties that were previously exempt from property taxes because of PILOT guarantees are now getting those increased assessed values taxed. Some of the additional revenue, however, is offset by the loss of PILOT payments from property owners. (PILOT = payment in lieu of taxes; taxes are exempt at a pre-defined formula on the increase of assessed value on a redeveloped property, but the property owner pays a fee to receive that benefit. That fee is split among the taxing jurisdictions that would otherwise receive the abated property tax.)

With the city facing ever escalating workers compensation insurance costs, Molino is also proposing the city adopt a self-funded insurance program, which will result in about a $250,000 cost savings. The assistant city manager and HR director would administer the new program.

The proposed spending from all funds for 2016-17 is $24,798,158. The general fund expenditure is proposed at $16,204,570. That's an annual increase of $499,806.

It's critical, Molino said, that the city continue to invest in its future, because only through economic growth can it meet future financial challenges and continue or improve city services.

There's a lot of positive momentum, a renaissance, in Batavia, in Genesee County and throughout the region, from Rochester to Buffalo, Molino said. Batavia needs to be a part of that positive trend.

"Let's stop with the negative perceptions about what Batavia can't be and talk about what Batavia can do," Molino said.

Molino ended the intro to his budget message on a similar high note, sounding a bold and ambitious vision statement for the city:

We need to become a community where employers don’t think twice when considering expansion. Our government services must strive for excellence and foster cooperation. It’s imperative our organizational culture and physical assets reflect immense pride in our City. We need to become a community where people of all ages truly enjoy life. Our vision is simple, to make Batavia the community of choice, in which the quality of life is unmatched and opportunity is around every corner.

January 16, 2016 - 12:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield, elba.

Speed and alcohol were factors in the motor-vehicle accident death of David Beehler Jr., 37, of Maltby Road, Oakfield, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

No other details of the accident were released following the completion earlier this week of a preliminary investigation.

Beehler was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident on Fisher Road, Oakfield, on Dec. 22.

He was reportedly driving his 2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck when it hit a tree and a utility pole. Beehler was ejected from the vehicle, according to information released after the accident.

Beehler was a local volunteer firefighter.

January 16, 2016 - 3:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Bethany.

A utility pole is reportedly on fire in the area of 5769 Ellicott Street Road, Bethany.

Bethany fire responding.

January 16, 2016 - 2:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A car has reportedly hit a tree stump in the area of 7238 Meadville Road, Alabama.

There is one occupant, reportedly unconscious.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 2:53 a.m.: Alabama fire is back in service. A male subject is being investigated for possible DWI.

January 15, 2016 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, elba, oakfield-alabama.

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In the second half of Elba's 56-40 victory over Oakfield-Alabama on Thursday night, #55 John Hochmuth demonstrated what a dominant big man can do to lift a team.

Displaying solid and practiced post-play skills, the 6' 4" senior scored 19 points and blocked five shots in the game, with the third and fourth quarters being his most productive.

I've never seen a high school kid who works harder than John," said Head Coach Ciaci Zambito. "He makes my job easy. It's so much fun to coach him. He is our best practice player every single day, and finally, I think, all of his hard work that he has done throughout his career is really starting to pay off."

Zambito wouldn't go out on a limb and say Hochmuth is the most dominant player in the Genesee Region, but he still gives him very high grades.

"John is the most dominant post player I've seen at Elba, ever," Zambito said. "I played with a couple of good post players. But especially in terms of the defensive end of things, he doesn't just block shots, he changes shots, and obviously you know what he can do underneath the basket on offense."

The test of where Hochmuth stands in GR could come when Elba faces Attica, whenever that might be, since a recent game was canceled and needs to be rescheduled.  Attica has 6' 5" junior Owen Thompson, who scored 20 last night in the Blue Devils' 77-44 victory over Wheatland-Chili.

The Lancers are off to a 12-0 start on the year and Hochmuth said it's fun to be part of a team that has really grown into a bonded unit.

"We're all brothers on the team," Hochmuth said. "We all like each other outside of school, in school. We're family and that's why we play great together."

Basketball is a team game and one reason Hochmuth is able to thrive in the post is his teammates offer their own scoring threats, and when the defense opens a little space to guard them, they know how to feed Hochmuth the ball.

"Opposing teams focus on John," Zambito said. "They game plan for John, as I would. But when you've got down a guy who knocks down 11 threes in a game (as Henry Pflaumer did in a game earlier this season), and you've got a guy who comes in tonight and knocks down back-to-back threes, you've got to start honoring that a little bit more. You've got to pick your poison. Do you want to guard the perimeter and leave John one-on-one? Or do you want to double John? You can't double everybody."

Thursday, Pflaumer scored 13 for the Lancers, with Tucker Bezon adding 11 and Dakota Dillon six.

It was Bezon's best game of the season, Zambito said.

Oakfield-Alabama scored 18 points in the first quarter, but was held to 22 the rest of the way.

Zambito said he told the team after the first quarter that they weren't playing the Lancer brand of basketball.

"Oakfield likes to get up in you," Zambito said. "They like to press you, but we're more of a half-court team. I think we kind of fell into the trap the first eight minutes of the game where we were trying to play up to their tempo. But we can't do that. We get ourselves into some big trouble when we start doing things like that."

Jon Harris scored seven for the Hornets and Jake Mandez had six. Trey Nadolinski scored five to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

It's been a long time since Elba's boys team has experienced this level of success, and the current Lancers' roster hasn't forgotten the bad times, which is what keeps them from getting too comfortable with their 12-0 start, Zambito said.

"All I have to do is show them the records from the past two years," Zambito said. "Less than 12 months ago, these kids weren't experiencing any success. It's a different feel. We really have a good thing going, great chemistry. There's a nice bond going on. They trust each other. They're hungry and they'll stay hungry. I've told them from day one, I don't care how many games we win, we're looking to win a title."

The Lancers are currently #1 in the GR, #1 in Section V Class D2 and ranked #5 in the state.

"We've always had potential," Hochmuth said. "Now we're showing it."

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January 15, 2016 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, schools, education, nutrition.

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It was celebrity chef night at Le Roy High School on Thursday, with three local chefs acting as instructors for a group of teachers who competed against each other to create the best healthy meal.

While awards were given for best salad and best entree, the evening was really about providing a real-world lesson in healthy eating, said Michelle Sherman, a phys-ed teacher and coordinator of the wellness program at the school.

"It's so easy to create these meals out of just stuff you would have in a pantry and you don't have to go pick up fast food," Sherman said. "It's easy, and it's fun. You can have a nice fun family night by doing all of this."

The local chefs instructing the teams were Selby Davis, Hassan Silmi and Sam Hillburger. On Davis's team were Erica Jermy and Kim Cox. On Silmi's team were Julie Coleman and Mike Humphrey. On Hillburger's team were Tatyana Qadiri and Pete Green.

The judges are students in the Culinary Arts Program at BOCES, and they were Emily McVicker, Abbey Cacner, Steven Stephany and Nicholas Shepard.

Brian Moran was emcee.

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January 15, 2016 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in micheal ranzenhofer, schools, education.

Press release:

The New York State Senate has passed legislation that completely abolishes the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) this year. Nearly $434 million in GEA cuts remain for schools in 2016-17.

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer voted in favor of the bill.

“One of the top priorities for this Legislative Session is to get rid of the GEA budgets cuts. I am proud to support the Senate-approved legislation as the first order of business. It’s time for the Assembly Democrats to join with us,” Ranzenhofer said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a phase-out of the GEA over two years during his State of the State address.

“We must end the disastrous GEA this year. The time is overdue to eliminate the GEA, along with its devastating impact on funding for public schools,” Ranzenhofer said. “Abolishing the GEA will finally restore millions of dollars in state aid to our schools and build a better future for our children.”

The GEA was first imposed in 2010 by former Governor David Paterson and the Democrats who controlled the Senate and Assembly. Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the GEA because it made severe cuts to the bottom lines of school districts in Western New York. Since it was first approved, Senator Ranzenhofer has been leading the charge to eradicate the GEA and deliver major funding increases to help mitigate its devastating impact on education.

In the past five years, the GEA cuts have been reduced by approximately 85 percent. Last year alone, Senator Ranzenhofer successfully pushed for an additional $603 million to help schools overcome the GEA challenge.

The bill has been sent to the State Assembly.

January 15, 2016 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

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A portion of Park Road is being shut down this afternoon so work crews can remove a scaffold raised for the construction of the new hotel at Batavia Downs that was damaged in last week's windstorm, Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post said.

It's a matter of public safety, Post said, to close the road while the scaffolding is removed.

The project took some time to get to, Post said, after the damage, because the project needed to be carefully planned.

Batavia Downs will remain open, Post said, as well as the other businesses on Park Road.

There's no estimate on how long the project will take to complete.

January 15, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, batavia, Oakfield.

Francine Pauleete Francioli, 34, of Erie Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, unlawful possession of marijuana and inadequate taillights. Francioli was stopped at 4:47 p.m. Thursday on North Bergen Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Francioli was allegedly found in possession of alprazolam, hydrocodone and marijuana during the traffic stop. 

Benjamin Ross Corke, 28, of Tracey Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Corke was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Rene Norma Brouchu III, 32, of Lewiston Road, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Brouchu allegedly stole several items from Walmart with a value of $174.61.

January 15, 2016 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming has closed the books on another record year, making it 10 straight years in which the facility increased revenues from the previous one. In 2015 the 787+ video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming facility generated $52.6 million in net winnings, up 7.37 percent from 2014’s $48.9 million. This percentage increase in net growth was first among NYS facilities for the second year in a row.

“After the completion of our gaming floor expansion and the opening of our new lobby, patron visits have increased as have revenues,” said Michael D. Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Gaming. “With the construction of a new 84-room hotel, opening in midsummer, we look forward to further serving our customers in the Western New York area while expanding our reach even further.

2015’s increase comes on the heels of 2014’s 5.37-percent net winnings increase over 2013. In 2014 Batavia Downs was one of only two NY state facilities to show an increase. This marks the third time in the last four years that Batavia Downs Gaming leads NYS facilities in terms of percentage growth.

“We’re happy to show continued growth,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Gaming. “We also had a record year of payouts, with $627 million in winnings paid out to our visitors. These increases also benefit the counties and cities that own us. As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to our member municipalities.”

Western OTB is a public benefit corporation owned and operated by 17 Western New York municipalities: Cattaraugus County, Cayuga County, Chautauqua County, Erie County, Genesee County, Livingston County, Monroe County, Niagara County, Orleans County, Oswego County, Schuyler County, Seneca County, Steuben County, Wayne County, Wyoming County as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Headquartered in Batavia, WROTB owns and operates 27 OTB branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

January 15, 2016 - 11:07am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) at its Jan. 14 board meeting authorized the transfer of a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement to Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) as a result of the sale of the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in Batavia. The PILOT agreement will be in effect for the remainder of 2016.

A key provision of the PILOT that will be transferred to DFA is a $300,000 payment from DFA for water and waste water/sewer infrastructure sustainability to the town of Batavia and the assumption of fire district fees.

“We are extremely pleased that Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to purchase the manufacturing facility in the Genesee Agri-Business Park,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman of the Board of Directors of the GCEDC. “I think it shows that DFA is a company with a great deal of integrity as well as a commitment to our community.”

“This is another great example of how all of our public and private partners in the economic growth and sustainability model we embraced over the last 10 years continue to excel in making sure our taxpayers and water/sewer customers are well served and able to rely on stable rates in the face of unpredictable events,” said Gregory H. Post, supervisor of the Town of Batavia.

“The efforts made on behalf of the Town of Batavia and the region by Steve Hyde and the staff at GCEDC and the extraordinary investment in our Town by DFA during the transfer of PILOT agreement allow us to continue to offer and provide the infrastructure and support necessary to efficiently serve our community’s ever growing needs. We stand ready, willing and able to assist the new owners and offer thanks to all involved in this negotiation.”

It is expected that within the next few months that DFA will present its plans for operating the manufacturing facility and submit its own application for assistance at the appropriate time.

“We expect many, if not all of the jobs lost from the plant’s closure last month to be restored, but that is going to take some time as DFA prepares its plans,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC. “We remain committed to assisting the DFA in this transition to ensure the plant will continue operations as one of the region’s largest agricultural food production facilities, as well as serve as a major economic driver in the region.”

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by more than 14,000 members on more than 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA is also one of the county’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients and is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products.

January 15, 2016 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department has received multiple complaints of fraudulent posts on social media (Craigslist, Facebook, and other similar Web sites) claiming to be John Gerace, a realtor of RealityUSA with property “for rent.” The postings are requesting a $700 deposit in exchange for keys to the residence. The only contact information on the postings is for [email protected].

The Batavia Police Department with the assistance of John Gerace, would like to remind the community not to give money upfront for a rental apartment without first walking through the apartment and signing a lease agreement. This is a reoccurring issue. If you feel have been part of this scam please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 to report the incident.

Previously: Real estate agent turns the tables on craigslist scammer

January 14, 2016 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, business, batavia.

Press release:

Genesee ARC is moving ahead with plans to close down one section of its recycling operation and work with individuals employed there to find new positions.

The change affects the sorting line at the recycling center where as many as 14 people work each week. In the restructuring, the individuals with disabilities employed at the transfer station, on the trash and recycling routes, redemption center and Genesee Data Management will maintain their jobs.

“We will still be picking up recyclables from our curbside trash customers and accepting them at our transfer station,” Executive Director Donna Saskowski said.

Cardboard will still be sorted and bundled at the plant but all other recyclable materials will be collected and shipped to larger facilities with automated sorting.

“The cost of operating the line has increased over time and the prices we were able to secure for the baled recyclables have decreased considerably over the past 18 months, resulting in an untenable financial situation,” the director said.

Key employment services staff will be working with the individuals to assist them with job placement through the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR). A job at ARC’s Sheltered Work Center on Walnut Street is not an option due to State regulations, effective July 2014, prohibiting the acceptance of any new (or returning) work center placements.

Genesee ARC was the sole trash and recycling contractor for residents of the City of Batavia, from 1983 to 2013. The nonprofit began offering private trash collection and recycling services after a decision by city council to opt out of the trash business altogether, leaving residents to find their own local provider. This created its own set of challenges as Genesee ARC for the first time had to develop pricing, options and an entire new system to bill for the services. And, while a few new providers sprang up overnight, Genesee ARC has a majority of City of Batavia residents as its customer base for curbside trash and recycling. A large percentage of city residents also take advantage Genesee ARC’s transfer station services.

“This was a very tough decision for our leadership and Board of Directors,” Saskowski shared.  “We will do everything we can to help secure new job placements – this is a priority.”

January 14, 2016 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, Oakfield fire.

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The Oakfield Fire Department is installing solar panels on the roof of its fire hall.

Assistant Chief and Board Member Sean Downing said the project came about through a conversation a department member had at work at the U.S. Gypsum plant with the brother of an area solar installer. That started the process of the department learning about the cost-saving benefits of solar, especially with the government incentives available to cover the cost of installation, along with incentives offered by solar companies. As a result, there's no cost to the department and over the next 25 years, the department stands to save about $95,000 on electric costs.

"It was kind of a no-brainer," Downing said. "It doesn't cost us anything, not for engineering, not for installation, there's no out-of-pocket expenses, and for a project that is going to cover nearly all of our electric expenses."

The solar installation is being handled by CIR Electrical Construction Corporation, out of Lackawanna.

Interestingly, there has been some concern among firefighters about the increasing number of solar power installations in the state. They present a safety hazard to firefighters and make it more difficult for firefighters to cut a hole in a roof for ventilation, a key fire-fighting strategy. As a result, New York is considering limits on solar panel installations

CIR is using new technology that mitigates some of these difficulties, said Jeff Pedro, CFO for CIR.

"We are using SolarEdge inverters which have a rapid shutdown function on their inverters," Pedro said. "This really was brought about by firemen and is part of the 2014 NEC code for PV systems."

The safety features are designed to allow rapid shutdown of electrical flow by first responders.

Top photo, courtesy Norris Clifton Aerial Photography.

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