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February 10, 2012 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Ambulance.

Morale is high in the Le Roy Ambulance corps these days, according to Chuck Hammon, thanks to a $90,000 FEMA grant that has enabled the department to upgrade to the latest, most advanced mobile defibrillators available.

The high-tech defibrillators will help EMTs save lives, Hammon said.

"The Lifepack 15 came out two years ago," Hammon said. "We've been working with Lifepack 12s for 10 years. For a nonprofit like us, this never could have happened without a grant."

The units cost $33,000 each. FEMA provided a grant of $90,000 -- the only one of its kind awarded in the State of New York in 2011 -- and the ambulance service had to provide an 8-percent match.

The match came from selling the old units for $5,000 to a company that will refurbish them and resell them.

The manufacturer did a good job of listening to what EMTs needed to be changed about old units, Hammon said. The new ones have better bump guards, are easier to access and read controls, plus they have extra features and buttons that are less difficult to clean and sanitize.

The unit can not only grab an EKG -- that can be saved wirelessly to a smartphone, a laptop computer (along with other patient information) -- but  transmit it to the hospital, either for consultation with a doctor or to provide emergency room personnel advance information on a patient.

In fire situations, the unit can check firefighters or victims for carbon monoxide poisoning.

And in the case of a hazardous spill, it can be used to monitor people with possible exposure to dangerous chemicals.

"It's not all-inclusive," Hammon said. "It's not going to test everything, but it will test hemoglobin and test for nitrates in the blood."

He said the defibrillators are currently the most advanced in service in Genesee County.

February 10, 2012 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Sponsored Post, advertisement, Shop Batavia.

There's been some great activity taking place on Shop Batavia recently:

And the list could go on.

If you check the home page of Shop Batavia daily, you'll find new specials and new information about great local businesses.

Remember, when you shop locally, more of your dollars stay in the local community to help our community grow and thrive.

February 9, 2012 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Investigators have no clear understanding yet of how or why Alyce Huntoon, 24, of Batavia, died Wednesday night.

Monroe County medical examiners conducted an autopsy today, and according to Chief Randy Baker, "found no obvious sign of physical injury that resulted in her death."

There were injuries to her body that were consistent with medical personel trying to revive her, Baker said. Otherwise, her body suffered no physical trauma.

An unnamed city resident, Baker said, reported finding an unresponsive female in a parked car at 427 E. Main St., Batavia, at 10:30 p.m.

City fire, Mercy EMS and police officers responded to the scene.

Huntoon was transported to UMMC where she was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner's office will complete toxicology tests, but investigators will need to wait for up to three months for results.

Meanwhile, Det. Pat Corona said investigators will continue to question people who may be able to shed light on who Huntoon had contact with, what she was doing and what was going on in her life.

Corona called the investigation a "death investigation."

Huntoon was most recently employed at Tully's and did work Wednesday night.

Baker would only say that the person who called 9-1-1 was "a city resident."

The chief acknowledge there weren't a lot of details to report and said, "We're trying to give out accurate information," and he was careful not address specific aspects of the investigation.

"We've talked to several different people who may have had contact with her last night," said Baker, when asked about questioning a specific person.

In her Facebook profile, Huntoon wrote:

Having fun with life and being a mommy! spending my time with ppl that make me smile:-) bound and determined to smile and laugh everyday!

I am a momma of two beautiful babies Ava and Maddox! I try to spend my time with ppl that make me happy! i am determined to live a happy and fun filled life with the people that make me smile everyday!

February 9, 2012 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Sandra Tan, of the Buffalo News, has put together a great summary of the issues and facts in the situation in Le Roy. She did it in FAQ (frequently asked questions) format.

There are so many important points in the piece, rather than try to summarize parts, I recommend you just go and read the whole thing.

February 9, 2012 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A women was found unresponsive in a vehicle in a parking lot at 10:30 p.m., Wednesday and later pronounced dead, accounting to Batavia PD.

An autopsy is expected today to determine the cause of death and an investigation is ongoing.

Mercy medics and city firefighters responded to 427 E. Main St. on the initial call.

The 24-year-old woman was transported to UMMC were she was pronounced dead.

Police expect to release more information today.

The woman's name has not been released pending family notification.

February 8, 2012 - 10:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A conspiricy to commit murder charge was dropped today against Derick Barker, 26, of Georgia, as part of a plea deal that had him admit to two felony charges.

Barker, who first made the news for running across the Thruway last June in an attempt to evade police, admitted to criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal strangulation.

When Barker was first arrested, he was taken into custody along with his brother Justin, 22, and Benjamin Santiago Jr., 22.

In September, the brothers were accused of a plot to murder Santiago. In January, Justin Barker entered a guilty plea to the conspiracy charge.

A short time later, Derick Barker was charged with strangulation for choking a fellow inmate in the Genesee County Jail.

For the drug and strangulation charges, Barker faces up to eight years in prison. He will be sentenced in April.

February 8, 2012 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center is currently implementing an electronic medical record (EMR) system in outpatient clinics. Last week, Tountas Family Care Center in LeRoy was the first hospital-run outpatient service to transition to an electronic medical record and over the next six months each family care center and hospital based medical practice will shift to the new system. This includes Batavia Family Care Center, the Women’s Care Centers in Batavia and Medina, Surgical Associates, Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, Cardiology and Internal Medicine, and the Corporate Health Center.

Evolving to an electronic medical record keeping system in all facets of health care will lead to improved quality, efficiency, and ease of access for providers to an individual’s important health information. Paper records require considerable storage space and collecting records for review by a single provider is time consuming and complicated. Handwritten notes can be illegible and important pieces of data can be buried under a “mountain” of paper. The electronic medical record provides standardization of information and can predict, detect and prevent adverse events based on the information submitted and stored on the system. With the patient’s medical history, laboratory test results, allergies, medication and immunization records at their finger tips, physicians will be able to make a faster, more accurate diagnosis and reduce medical errors.

In addition to providing clinical documentation in the providers’ office, orders can be sent electronically to other hospital departments, (i.e. the Laboratory, Diagnostic Imaging, Wound Care Center) as needed and prescriptions can be sent electronically to local pharmacies for new prescriptions and refills.

In 2006, United Memorial Medical Center began using Medical Information Technology, Inc. (MEDITECH), an integrated software solutions company as the information system in the acute care, hospital setting. LSS Data Systems, a subsidiary of MEDITECH, will provide software for use in the physician practices for the creation of an EMR. The compatibility between information systems at the Hospital and in the physician offices allows structured clinical data to be shared in a timely manner and permits all available clinical information to be in place when making decisions.

This marks a significant accomplishment towards a consolidated electronic medical record for United Memorial patients, regardless of the service provided.

February 8, 2012 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 39-year-old resident of Maple Street in Batavia is being accused of welfare fraud that spanned nearly 18 months following an investigation by the Department of Social Services.

Kerry A. Ackley is charged with felony grand larceny, 3rd, and four felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing.

Ackley allegedly failed to report that she was receiving worker's compensation payments and she is accused of receiving $11,341.18 in cash assistance and food stamps from Oct. 2009 to April 2011.

Following arraignment, Ackley was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Suspected welfare fraud can be reported confidentially to DSS at (585) 344-2580, ext. 6417 or 6416.

February 8, 2012 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Press release:

The Genesee County Baseball Club will hold its annual Batavia Muckdogs Hot Stove dinner and auction on Friday, March 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Terry Hills at 5122 Clinton Street Road in Batavia. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.

The evening will begin with a cocktail hour followed immediately by dinner.  The Hot Stove Dinner is a time for good food, friendship, baseball talk, and silent and live auctions of baseball-related memorabilia (including signed bats and balls), work by local artists, and gift certificates from a variety of local businesses.

Tickets may be purchased in Batavia at Dwyer Stadium, Gerace’s Hair Care, the Williams Law Firm, and the offices of Dr. Ross Fanara and Dr. Alan Barcomb.

February 8, 2012 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Lehigh Valley Railroad Derailment Site.

Press release:

The EPA has reviewed the sample results for the contents of 80 out of about 240 drums of soil and rock material from the Lehigh Valley Railroad Derailment Superfund site.

The December 1970 derailment resulted in the release of liquid trichloroethene (TCE) and cyanide crystals. The material in the 80 drums was tested for these and other contaminants. This information is being used to determine whether the material is hazardous and what type of permitted facility the drums can be taken to for disposal.

In all cases, the results indicate that the materials in the drums are non-hazardous. TCE was detected in one drum, at a concentration of 0.2 parts per million (ppm), which is below health-based levels. There were no detectable levels of cyanide in any of the drums.

Analyses of the contents from the rest of the drums is ongoing and we will make results available. The drums will be taken to a permitted facility.

February 8, 2012 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Dr. Susan Swedo, you could say, wrote the book on PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder). She is currently chief of the Pediatrics & Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1998, Swedo wrote the first paper on PANDAS. Click here for her official biography.

In the course of working on the story of the Le Roy illness, we contacted NIMH about her possible opinion on the Le Roy cases and discovered -- something that should have been obvious -- she can't publicly discuss the cases. With that in mind, The Batavian sent her eight questions we thought might be relevant to readers, but did not specifically address any patients in Le Roy. Below are the questions and Dr. Swedo's answers.

1. Has there ever been a case of mass PANDAS previous to this situation in Le Roy?

Not to my knowledge. It would be unlikely, given that PANDAS requires both a genetic susceptibility to post-streptococcal autoimmunity and a particularly virulent strain of strep. There have been epidemics of rheumatic fever and Sydenham chorea (the neurologic variant of rheumatic fever). Sydenham chorea is the model disorder for PANDAS, so it is theoretically possible that such an outbreak could occur.

2. Before Le Roy, would the suggestion of a mass outbreak be something you would have considered likely or even possible?

If a mass outbreak of PANDAS occurred, it should follow the same rules as individual cases, in which boys outnumber girls by 3-4 cases to 1. So if you had 14 affected girls, you would expect to have at least 40 to 50 boys exhibiting symptoms at the same time.

3. A neurologist from Mayo Clinic posted a video on YouTube that said about 1 percent of children develop tics. Dr. Mechtler said getting PANDAS is as much of a long shot as winning the lottery. And then imagine 12 diverse people all selecting the same numbers and winning the same lottery -- that's how unlikely it is the Le Roy situation is PANDAS. Others have reported that PANDAS isn't rare at all (there was an article in Scientific America). Which is it, rare or not?

PANDAS is not rare, but it is not common either. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects about 1 in 100 students and PANDAS is not the most common cause of OCD (That cause is currently unknown.). Among grade-school aged children, PANDAS may be responsible for a larger percentage of cases because the ratio of boys to girls is 3:1 before age 10, and then it switches at puberty so that becomes more common in girls than boys. Comorbid symptoms also differ by age with younger children frequently having a triad of OCD / ADHD (Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and tic disorders, while adolescents and adults are more likely to have comorbid depression and/or anxiety disorders.

4. Is there anything about PANDAS that would make it more likely that mostly (all) girls would contract it?

See above. The opposite is true.

5. Is there evidence from previous cases of ties to environmental toxins?  What environmental causes might be tied to PANDAS, if any?

No environmental causes have been suggested.

6. What is the most common way PANDAS is contracted?

PANDAS is the result of an untreated strep infection. The strep bacteria “hides” from the immune system by putting molecules on its cell wall that look like the human host (molecular mimicry). These foreign molecules are eventually recognized as part of the infecting strep infection and the child’s immune system reacts to them, producing cross-reactive antibodies.

Cross-reactive antibodies are initially produced against a component of the strep bacteria but “misrecognize” a molecule in the child’s own body as foreign and “attack it." In the case of rheumatic fever, the antibodies recognize molecules in the heart and cause rheumatic heart disease, or in the joints and cause arthritis, or in the brain (particularly the basal ganglia) and cause Sydenham chorea. Some children with cross-reactive “anti-brain” antibodies don’t develop full-blown Sydenham chorea but develop PANDAS symptoms instead.

7. What about genetics might be related to a child getting PANDAS?

During the early 1900s, before antibiotic treatment was available for strep throat and scarlet fever, people would be quarantined for scarlet fever. Among the crowded tenements in NYC and Chicago, many people would get strep (scarlet fever or strep throat) but only one in 20 families would have a child who developed rheumatic fever. In those families, multiple children would often become affected with rheumatic fever and there are fascinating case reports of mothers with 10 of 11 children in the “Lying in” hospital (for rheumatic fever treatment) at the same time.

Those family histories are also present in PANDAS (increased susceptibility to rheumatic fever). In addition, the children have increased numbers of first-degree relatives with tics and/or OCD, suggesting that PANDAS may be due to a dual genetic vulnerability to post-streptococcal sequelae and OCD/tics.

8. The NIMH site says PANDAS can be contracted "to puberty," not "though puberty"? Is this a semantic difference or a significant difference? Is it known whether a child who has already reached puberty can contract PANDAS?

The PANDAS criteria were chosen to narrow the heterogeneity of OCD to a “studiable” cohort of patients. Puberty (or age 12 years) was chosen as the upper age limit because of immunologic evidence that about 98 percent of the population will have “immunity” to streptococcal infections by the age of 12 years. We know that cases can occur after puberty, (because outbreaks of rheumatic fever and Sydenham chorea used to be common among military recruits and college students living in crowded dorms). Thus, PANDAS was defined as a pre-pubertal disorder but can occur through and after puberty.

(Dr. Swedo says) Please note: PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) criteria use a less restrictive term of “pediatric onset,” which is variously defined as before age 18 years or age 21 years.

Some additional information (below) that may be of interest: (I apologize that it’s not already on the website. We’re hoping to get it up by the end of the week.)

What is the best treatment for PANDAS?

The best treatment for PANDAS is to treat the inciting infection if it's still present (with antibiotics if strep is the cause). If there is no evidence for a current infection, some physicians have reported success with a short course of antibiotics (presumably because there is an occult infection in the sinuses, nasopharynx or elsewhere). In severe cases, a single course of plasmapheresis or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been shown to be helpful. Although I've learned of physicians having success with use of steroids for PANDAS, we did not test them because of reports of worsening of tic disorders on steroids. (And in our studies of Sydenham chorea, the steroids produced only a temporary reduction in symptom severity with rebound to pre-treatment levels or worse after the steroids were stopped.)

How are tics diagnosed?

Tics are a very specific movement disorder in which there is a "premonitory urge" (feeling that you need to move, almost like an itch that makes you scratch it) and therefore, they can be at least partially controlled by the ticquer. Tics increase in times of stress and decrease during rest for most people (but sometimes the opposite occurs). They tend to wax and wane in severity over the course of an hour, day and weeks. Some children also have flurries of tics where they'll occur frequently and then not at all for a few minutes or even several hours. The most important aspect of a tic is its partially involuntary nature, where patients can exert some control over the symptoms (except for minor tics like eye-blinking and throat-clearing, which can occur more automatically). In general, if the tics are immediately noticeable to others, they should be at least partially controllable by the person who has them.

Also, tic disorders (like childhood-onset OCD) are about three times as common in boys as girls, so if you had a "Tic Epidemic," one would expect to see 40 to 60 boys if 14 girls were affected.

How is PANDAS/PANS diagnosed?

The updated clinical criteria for PANDAS are as follows:

1) Presence of obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or tic disorder;

2) Unusually abrupt onset of symptoms ("overnight," "0 to 60 in one to two days," "possessed by the illness");

3) Prepubertal onset (NOTE: This criterion was an arbitrary one chosen because post-streptococcal reactions are rare after age 12, but could occur in individuals who do not have protective immunity.);

4) Association with other neuropsychiatric symptoms, including various combinations of the following (NOTE: All would start suddenly and in combination in a previously healthy child):

      a. Severe separation anxiety (can't leave parent's side, needs to sleep on floor next to their bed etc);

      b. Generalized anxiety which may progress to episodes of panic and "terror-stricken look";

      c. Motoric hyperactivity, abnormal movements and sense of restlessness;

      d. Sensory abnormalities, including hypersensitivity to light or sounds, distortions of visual perceptions and, occasionally, visual or auditory hallucinations;

      e. Concentration difficulties, loss of academic abilities, particularly in math and visuo-spatial skills;

      f. Urinary frequency and new onset of bed-wetting;

      g. Irritability (sometimes with aggression) and emotional lability. Abrupt onset of depression can also occur, with suicidal ideation;

      h. Developmental regression, including temper tantrums, "baby talk" and handwriting deterioration (also related to motor symptoms).

5) Association with streptococcal infection. At initial onset, the symptoms may have followed an (asymptomatic and therefore untreated) streptococcal infection by several months or longer, so you might not find the inciting strep infection. However, on subsequent recurrences, the worsening of the neuropsychiatric symptoms may be the first sign of an occult strep infection (and prompt treatment may reduce the OCD and other symptoms).

FOR PANS – Criterion #1 is limited to OCD only (no tic disorders as primary diagnosis) and the last criterion is eliminated because PANS stands for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome and does not include an etiologic component.

February 8, 2012 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Press release:

At the Dent Neurologic Institute, Drs. Jennifer McVige and Laszlo Mechtler have had the privilege to examine and treat 14 of the 19 patients from Le Roy, NY. The diagnosis of Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI) was not made without considerable input from regional and national experts. We understand the difficulty some of our patients and family members may have with our diagnosis, it is reassuring to see that most of our patients are improving significantly over the last several months.

Although we have not evaluated all the patients affected, we have considered many other diagnoses, such as PANDAS and neuro-toxicity due to environmental factors. With the cooperation of the New York State Department of Health and nationally recognized PANDAS specialists, we have ruled out these diagnoses.

We also feel that the media exposure has raised the national awareness of a rare form of conversion disorder, such as MPI, which has not been fully accepted or understood by the public as well as the many in the medical community. At the same time our primary responsibility is to our patients, who unfortunately have not done well with the intense community and media scrutiny. We do respectfully request that the media remember that we are dealing with impressionable teenagers who have understandable fears and concerns.

Although it is not uncommon to have a difference of opinion by treating physicians, I would respectfully request that the patients be treated not through the mainstream media but by credible experts specializing in the field of movement disorder. In this regard, multiple international experts have made themselves available for further consultation. We have strongly encouraged that our patients take advantage of this unique opportunity.

The statement was signed by Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director of Dent, and Dr. Jennifer McVige, pediatric neurologist.

February 7, 2012 - 8:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Statement:

Letter to the Community

The Leader Professional Services Final Recommendations Review is posted below and available through this link. Since there still appears to be some misunderstanding regarding whether we are committed to conducting soil testing, I would like to clarify that we are committed to conducting soil testing. As Leader presented at the meeting on Saturday, we will be conducting both air and soil testing but are doing so sequentially for the following reasons:

·      Indoor air sampling is the most direct method of determining whether the vapor intrusion pathway is complete and whether building occupants face a long-term health risk. Indoor air data integrates all contributing factors from the subsurface, above the ground, and the building itself.

·      The students are spending most of their time in the building so this is a good place to start for identifying any immediate situation we need to address.

·      If there are any harmful substances under the school building slab (in the soil or groundwater), the most likely pathway to the students would be through vapor intrusion and then inhalation by the students.

·      The results of the air sampling can provide a clearer road map on where we need to conduct our soil testing first and specifically what we should be looking for. 

·      Our air sampling is not just general air quality testing. Leader is specifically looking into the compounds and other environmental indicators that are of an immediate concern to our community.  

The District is pleased to announce that we have received good news from local and state officials. They are working hard to secure funding for the costs incurred by the District for the testing to be conducted at the high school by Leader Professional Services. Other private entities have contacted us regarding possible additional financial assistance and we will be pursuing all such resources.

Finally, as you may be aware, Robert Bowcock sent a letter to me on February 6, 2012, and simultaneously sent the same letter to the media. Given this, I have no choice but to publically respond, as this matter must be put to rest so that we can proceed forward with review and sampling outlined by Leader Professional Services and return our focus to the education of our students. As Superintendent of Schools, it is my responsibility to protect and lead this District. In conjunction with our Board of Education, I make decisions as to appropriate action and response to numerous matters. We did just that here.

Understanding in December that despite the findings of the Department of Health and private medical professionals, we needed to provide further reassurance to parents about this situation, we had initial environmental testing conducted. After consultation with trusted advisers and a review of credentials and experience, we then retained Leader Professional Services to analyze the preliminary testing results and provide further recommendations.

All of this occurred prior to the time that we became aware of Ms. Brockovich’s interest in this situation through an interview she gave on the HLN network on Jan. 27 and prior to Mr. Bowcock appearing, without notification to us, but with a camera crew from HLN in tow, at the District on Saturday morning, Jan. 28. Their public entrance into Le Roy has not altered how the District has proceeded with this matter to date or how it will proceed moving forward.

As you can see from the thorough and thoughtful plan set forth by Leader Professional Services, we are working with an experienced, reputable company. As a District, we are not in need of Mr. Bowcock’s direct involvement, nor the involvement of others by whom we have been contacted, albeit their contact has not been made in such a public way. Certainly, as they deem appropriate, if those individuals or entities wish to provide us with relevant information they believe would assist our efforts, they may do so.

Just as with almost every decision we as a District make, I recognize that some have alternate views as to how we should proceed. All I can ask at this point is that people recognize that our decisions are made always with the best interests of our students and the school community at large as our primary focus and only after careful, reasoned thought.   

Kim M. Cox
Superintendent of Schools

Additionally, the district posted a PDF of Leader's report on their testing plan.

February 7, 2012 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, City Schools.

Report released by the city school district:

Highlights from the Batavia City School District Board of Education meeting on Feb. 6 include the following:

School Consolidation Update

On behalf of the BOE’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, Board Member Steve Mountain presented their completed feasibility study and a recommendation for consolidation of schools. The report also will be shared with the Budget Ambassadors as they review the district’s preliminary budget  and make recommendations to the board. The committee’s recommendation takes both fiscal and educational progress into account and includes:

-- Selling the Administration Building and relocating staff to available spaces around the District;
-- Utilizing the Jackson Elementary building for students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grade one;
-- Utilizing John Kennedy for students in grades two through four;
-- Placing grade five students at the middle school;
-- Revising the transportation policy so that all K-8 students who live farther than one mile from their school would be eligible for free busing; and,
-- Maintaining the Robert Morris building, making its classrooms and offices available for rental or lease.

Among the considerations behind their recommendation were the advantages of a “cluster model” for schools in which all students in a specific grade level are in the same building, providing for a more focused and deeper instructional plan. Research indicates that students benefit when curriculum is more consistent, and having all students of each grade in one building will facilitate this consistency as well as regular collaboration and sharing of strategies and resources. It also enables greater balance of class size as well as balancing concentrations of students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students among classrooms.

While this cluster model would also describe the middle school, part of the recommendation is to have fifth-grade classrooms in a different part of that building, set off from the older students. Another suggestion is to create a house model --  a school within a school that has its own educational program, staff and students -- for both fifth- and sixth-graders. The study also noted several nearby districts which currently and successfully have fifth grade as part of their middle schools.

Jackson and John Kennedy elementary were designated as the sites for lower grades after all three of the current elementary buildings were analyzed in regard to number and size of classrooms, parking and parent drop-off/pick-up, bus loops, gymnasiums, cafeterias, library media centers, and size of the school grounds.

In regard to the finances, overall, the committee estimated an anticipated net savings in the first year of slightly more than $1 million. A reduction in staffing would have the greatest impact, followed by lower utility costs for the Robert Morris building. Relocating the Information Technology Department from the Administration Building, which involves moving the fiber optic cables that make up the district’s computer network, would be a one-time expense increase. This is recommended only upon the event of the sale or lease of the Administration Building, in which case the proceeds from the sale or lease could be used to mitigate the impact of the expense. Transportation costs would increase if more students become eligible and if those eligible students use district transportation, but, using current formulas for NYS transportation aid, approximately 90 percent of the costs would be returned the following year. 

BMS Comprehensive Educational Plan

More after the jump (click on the headline to read more)

February 7, 2012 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council.

On a vote of 6-3 Monday night, the Batavia City Council approved a $1,500 annual raise for themselves.

Council pay will bump from $2,000 annually to $3,500.

It's the first pay raise for the council in 20 years.

New council members Brooks Hawley, Chris Doeringer and John Canale voted against the raise.

February 7, 2012 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

In previous reports. Dr. Laszlo Mechtler has said Dr. Susan Swedo has indicated she would issue a statement confirming the conversion disorder diagnosis for the Le Roy teens with tics.

We attempted to contact Dr. Swedo for such a statement and were referred to the press office for the National Institute of Mental Health, a government agency.

We just received the following statement from NIMH:

The information you have from Dr. Mechtler regarding Dr. Swedo is incorrect. Dr. Swedo has not evaluated any of the patients so therefore cannot confirm any diagnosis.

February 7, 2012 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

A girl from Le Roy who is friends with five of the other girls who developed tic symptoms is now being treated for conversion disorder by the Dent Neurological Institute, according to Dr. Laszlo Mechtler.

That makes 19 official cases, with 17 of them being Le Roy High School students.

"Her parents agree with our diagnosis," Mechtler said.

He said there are possibly other doctors seeing other patients who do not want to go on the record.

With the aggressive media coverage and "continued hysteria" around the situation, Mechtler said, it's possible new patients may be afflicted, at least until the situation quiets down.

Mechtler recommended that any parents who are concerned their children could be susceptible to conversion disorder, "take away the social media and segregate them from friends who may be afflicted."

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