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July 26, 2016 - 3:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in health, genesee county, UMMC, news.

Press release:

Employees of community service agencies and professionals are wanted to provide their expertise to help our communities become healthier. 

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments, along with United Memorial Medical Center and Orleans Community Health are updating the Community Health Improvement Plan and Community Services Plans.

They invite you to participate in a conversation to help shape future efforts to imporve current health concerns. Bring your suggestions for how challenges can be met!

There will be a forum to discuss challenges and options from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Genesee County Building #2 -- Foyer Conference Room, on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia.

Light refreshments will be provided.

To attend, please RSVP by Aug. 2 to:

[email protected]

June 28, 2016 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, genesee county, STOP-DWI.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on July 1st and will end on July 5th. The Fourth of July extended weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. This year the 4th of July falls on a Monday, so we expect heavy traveling to begin on Thursday, June 30th and festivities to begin on Friday, July 1st and run through Tuesday, July 5th.

Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks, but all too often the festivities turn tragic on the nation's roads. The fact is, this iconic American holiday is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk-driving crashes. According to data from NHTSA, during July 4th holiday period over the five years (from 2010 to 2014), 752 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a BAC of .08 or more.

These fatalities account for 42 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over this same five-year period. The New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies will collaborate across the state and will be out in force in this coordinated effort to aggressively target those who put lives in danger.

Genesee County Undersheriff Bill Sheron wants you to know “The fourth of July holiday is for family gathering and celebration, let’s keep our families together, please celebrate responsibly.”

The July Fourth Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

June 15, 2016 - 4:20pm

Whatever differences of opinion may exist about how to address the problems faced by small, rural volunteer fire companies, one thing pretty much all the stakeholders agree on is this: they are struggling and need help.

So said Emergency Services Manager Tim Yaeger at Monday afternoon's Public Service Committee meeting.

He asked for permission to apply for a state Management Performance Grant offered as part of the 2015-16 Municipal Restructuring Fund Program. Permission was unanimously granted.

The aim is to secure funds to contract with a consultant to assess the county's firefighting needs.

Yaeger said he and Bill Schutt, the West Battalion coordinator for the Genesee County Emergency Management Office, have talked with County Manager Jay Gsell about bringing a consultant on board. Schutt, a volunteer for more than 25 years with Alabama fire, also works full time as general manager of Mercy EMS, where he manages a staff of more than 60 and its fleet of vehicles.

"We want to look at fire services in Genesee County -- how do we provide that service in the future in a very efficient and professional manner," Yaeger said. "As you know, we've had conversations before, we're struggling, in some places more than others."

The amount of funding available to conduct such a study is "kind of open-ended."

Schutt said the grant is designed for consolidation-of-services projects, but fire service was listed as eligible and after confering with state officials, it was deemed that assessment and evaluation of Genesee County fire services would fit within that scope.

"The 10,000-foot view of what we'd like to look at, is what this grant is asking us to apply for, and it kind of goes down from there," Schutt said. "A lot of it is based on what you'd save for money. I don't think this project is going to be looking at saving money directly, but in the long term it will, so there's a way of working it in there in terms of the long term."

Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg asked how long the process will take.

A timeline is not known. It would be a process of stages, perhaps two or three studies or consultations. 

"It's not going to be 'here's your information' and we're going to walk away," Yaeger said, "because it's such a vast program. There's so many moving parts to this."

If, say an initial study is done and that takes six or seven months just to identify what they true issues are, that may constitute the first step.

"This is not going to be done in a year or two and find a solution," Yaeger said. "I think it's going to take a few years to get to a position to where we can make some decisions."

It was asked, when looking at the big picture, if there is consenus amongst those in the firefighting community about what the future is and what changes may be forthcoming.

"I think today more than ever, there's a level of agreement that a level of government beyond the local fire company has to find some solutions for them," Yaeger replied. "I think they'll all agree to that -- that they are not able to find those long-term solutions for themselves and they need assistance.

"And the next step up would be to the county, because obviously we're going to be able to benefit everybody here. The issue with the volunteer fire service is you may have consensus today, and then two or three elections from now, the consensus changes."

To that, Clattenburg deadpanned: "Exactly."

"So it's a moving target," Yaeger reiterated, adding that no one should expect sweeping changes anytime soon and noting that Oswego is looking at this issue, but the problems in volunteer firefighting companies are statewide.

Thus he's meeting with fire associations of NYS this week to get the them moving toward a solution. He's already met with WNY fire personnel and emergency coordinators, "all agree...we have to start addressing these things."

"So some may go screaming, but some don't really have much to defend. In many cases, they should be the first to tell you they need assistance," Yaeger said. "They need to be doing something different than what we've been doing right now because it's not working. Right now it's primarily daytime, but we're seeing nighttime problems as well."

Gsell said, actually this is a national issue: "Volunteer fire companies are the backbone, particularly in rural jurisdictions, like ours to some extent, versus urban areas, where they have not just a full-time department but a number of them surrounding in a ring of suburbs.

"In talking with others, they have been able to find solutions that in New York State are not yet on the table, because the state has certain issues and preclusions built into statutes that say 'you just don't do it that way here.' So this (study) might be part of what the future might hold as far as prospective legislation that might need to change."

Any consultant up to the task, Yaeger said would "have to work with us and realize this is going to take some time. The more grant money that becomes available, the more services can be done. The preliminary numbers we were talking about on the phone were good numbers. I think we're trying to keep those numbers small, but understanding that if we expand it to $150,000 that may complete the entire project. ....But it's hard to say exactly what the total will come to."

Committee Member John Deleo asked about the scope of a grant-funded study.

"We're not talking about just two outfits combining together," Deleo said. "Is there a chance we could look at a whole big umbrella? I'm not advocating anything. I'm just asking."

No, this is not about just looking at how to combine or consolidate services.

"There's so many moving parts -- locations of fire stations, response times, and combining -- in some cases there's an opportunity but in our county, not many, because we're fairly spread out already," Yaeger said.

"But we're looking at the entire fire service. What does the city provide? What do the remaining volunteer fire companies provide? And they're all in different categories of capabilities, based on their manpower and their budgetary constraints. We're going to look at this whole thing, absolutely."

The thing that won't be done is approaching the issue with any preconceived notions about a solution.

"The first thing is, everybody understand," Gsell said, "and maybe start developing some consensus around all the constraints there are, and then, how do you address those going into the future."

June 9, 2016 - 4:48pm
posted by Cheryl Thorley in genesee county.
Company Name: 
Genesee County
Job Type: 
Full-Time
County Attorney at Genesee County Attorney $96,987-$122,687 For qualifications, job duties and application information: www.co.genesee.ny.us
June 3, 2016 - 2:50pm

A TV monitor that scrolls a continuous loop of ads for local businesses and things of interest in the county will soon be found in the Batavia DMV Office.

On Wednesday, the Ways and Means Committee approved County Clerk Michael Cianfrini's request for permission to install an AdMonitor on a wall inside the DMV, at no cost to the county, other than the electricity used to run it.

"I'm really interested in advertising the motor vehicle office, to (encourage people to) renew locally," Cianfrini said. "We found that a lot of people have no idea that if you go online and do your transactions, that the county gets nothing. They assume it's the same whether you do it in an office or out of office. So it's a good way to get the word out."

The system is prerecorded, with the information provided to AdMonitor, which supplies the equipment, services it and replaces it if need be.

The monitor will feature advertising for local businesses and the county will have five ad spots to call attention to whatever they'd like to call attention to -- from reporting welfare fraud and notifying the public of upcoming immunization clinics, to Youth Bureau activities or happenings at the fairgrounds or the county Park & Forest.

"They also intersperse trivia and other little things to keep people entertained while they wait," Cianfrini said.

Wait? What wait?

"The times I've been in your office, I didn't have to wait," said Committee Chairman Bob Bausch. "I think you move us through pretty doggone quick!"

Whatever is displayed can be switched up and changed from time to time, of course. 

"I've seen this in several restaurants. It does grab your attention. Because I like to play trivia, it's kind of cool," Committee Member Ray Cianfrini. "But you may have a captive audience, like the Department of Social Services, where you have a waiting-room situation, and it soothes the crowd."

Committee Member Rochelle Stein asked if there is any opportunity to make money with it.

No, the county clerk said, but by calling attention to specific activities or promotions, there's the potential to increase foot traffic and participation .

More AdMonitors are possible down the road, the clerk and committee members said, possibly at the DSS and the Office of the Aging on Bank Street.

June 1, 2016 - 6:47pm

Say a middle-school student habitually sasses a teacher and repeatedly winds up in the vice principal's office. Or maybe a teen is often truant from school or acts out in a way that might get him or her in trouble with the law, perhaps already has.

In many cases, there's a voluntary way to make amends and square things with authorities. It's the Genesee County Youth Court -- an alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement. The goal is to decrease behavior problems and increase "citizenship skills."

On Tuesday afternoon, the local legislature's Human Service Committee was given an agency review of the Youth Bureau by Director Jocelyn Sikorski, which includes the Youth Court.

She told them that referrals are up. There were 32 last year and there have been 17 to date this year.

With a success rate of 90 percent or better, there are cost savings to the county because this reduces the caseload in the juvenile justice system, Sikorski said.

Eligible young people are referred by either their school or law enforcement. Parents and guardians are involved throughout and everything is kept confidential. Sentencing is individualized and there's no permanent record in the youth’s file or record.

Youths who want resolution through the Youth Court, fill out an application. If approved, the defendant appears before a court of peers.

A "prosecutor" representing school and community interests argues their side and makes a sentencing recommendation. The defense acts on behalf of the teen in question and also makes a sentencing recommendation. A clerk-bailiff maintains court records, administers the oath, and makes sure the court runs smoothly. A panel of three teen judges listen to both sides of the issue and recommends a sentence based on what is heard in the courtroom.

This process gives the wrongdoer a chance to learn from mistakes through early intervention and positive peer pressure.

Those who voluntarily serve in the Youth Court learn about public speaking, group decision making and the justice system.

It began in 2008 and costs about $16,000 a year to run. Funding is provided by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), a component within the U.S. Department of Justice. Chelsea Dillon is the coordinator; she works collaboratively with the Probation Department, law enforcement agencies, the Dept. of Social Services and schools in the county.

Another program administered by the county Youth Bureau is the federally funded "Youth Opportunity Program," an AmeriCorps offshoot, now in its second year here.

The fledgling program enrolls at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth in direct service projects sponsored by AmeriCorps.

"We had a lot of learning in our office," Sikorsky said of the inaugural year. "We're getting better. There are challenges with the youth being served."

Steps are being put in place to prevent problems encountered initially. But through no fault of the county, future funding is not assured for its continuance here or elsewhere.

The federally funded AmeriCorps Program was also reviewed for the committee by Sikorski. It focuses on creating jobs and providing paths to opportunity for young people about to enter the workforce. Through AmeriCorps, participants learn valuable work skills, earn money for education and develop an appreciation for citizenship by working in community service helping others.

Going forward, a concern with the AmeriCorps program is the higher minimum wage of $9.70 an hour in 2017.

"We still will be competitive with that," Sikorski said, because with their education award and their bi-weekly stipend, an AmeriCorps participant makes $9.85 an hour.

"2018...(we) believe that we will struggle to recruit AmeriCorps members with the raise in the state minimum wage, with the money we have to give our AmeriCorps members. Our hands are tied based on that program."

The grant cycle is every 15 months, and Genesee County next cycle runs from October through the end of 2017, when the minimum wage is set to become $9.70 an hour. Each cycle requires a competitive grant application process to secure funds.

"The minimum wage I think will hit us in 2018," Sikorski said.

Committee Chair Rochelle Stein asked if the minimum wage requirement applies to AmeriCorps at all.

"If this is a government program, though, isn't that exempt?" Stein asked. "Because I thought that governments were exempt from the minimum wage increases. I could be wrong."

Sikorski replied: "My understanding is we're exempt (as county government) from the fact that we have to raise the wages to coincide with the raise in the minimum wage. Correct."

County Manager Jay Gsell said "But that may not apply to this program because it's not necessarily with public entities. That's one of those things that you'll have to look at. We'll have to look into that."

Gsell said the minimum wage hike requirements and any future budget impacts on various programs are still being determined.

Regardless of wages, all AmeriCorps members gain an education benefit. A 900-hour volunteer would get, for example, a $2,650 education award upon completion. A parent or grandparent can allocate it to their child or grandchild; you can use it to pay for your own tuition; and, student loans incurred during AmeriCorps participation can be deferred, and no interest will accrue on them.

In another Youth Bureau initiative, Sikorski happily reported that the Kiwanis Club provided $200 to buy "Halloween kits" last October for 90 boys and girls who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to dress up at school or go trick-or-treating in costumes with friends and family. A total of 40 went to children in one of the city's two elementary schools, and 50 went to underprivileged kids in the other.

"Oh, my gosh, it was so much fun!" she said.

The goal is to make this amusing seasonal holiday outreach travel -- next on one side of the county, then the other, then back to the city.

Stein asked about the back-to-school supplies and was told annually, they are able to help between 30 and 50 children with supplies.

Following Sikorski's presentation, the committee agreed to give permission for the Youth Bureau to apply for a grant from the U.S. Tennis Association to fund a summer tennis program. If granted, it would provide $1,900 to pay for a tennis instructor, mileage and some equipment.

May 25, 2016 - 12:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in STOP-DWI, news, law enforcement, Le Roy, batavia, genesee county.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers has announced that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on Friday, May 27th and will end on Tuesday, May 31st.

Memorial Day week is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. Memorial Day weekend is the traditional beginning of summer. In addition there will be thousands of parties and barbeques to celebrate graduations, proms, communions, confirmations and the fact that the better weather has arrived. This combination of factors equates to more people on the road in general and more people specifically driving impaired with 13 percent more fatalities than on a non-holiday weekend.

The New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies will collaborate across the state and will be out in force in this coordinated effort to reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and deaths during this period.

“Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season. Traffic will increase making it more important than ever to drive defensively. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols out to help keep the roads safe for all travelers” said Undersheriff William Sheron. “The City of Batavia Police Department will be out aggressively enforcing DWI laws over the Memorial Day Week in an effort to ensure that all have a safe and happy holiday week. Make sure to have a plan to get home safely and ensure that all in your party do the same.”

The Memorial Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from the STOP-DWI Foundation with a grant from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets 4th of July and Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

May 10, 2016 - 3:46pm
Press release:
 
On behalf of the state's 57 counties, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) has called on the State Legislature to pass a chapter amendment to the 2016-17 State Budget that would require the state to pay the costs with mandated district attorney pay increase.
 
"This is a quintessential state mandate. The state raised the salary of an elected county official and they are making local taxpayers fund it," said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County treasurer. 
 
On Dec. 24,  the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Compensation voted to recommend increasing all state judge salaries in 2016 and 2018. The recommended increase placed Supreme Court judges' salaries at $193,000 in 2016 and $203,000 in 2018 and placed County Court Judges at 95 percent of a Supreme Court Justice's salary. On April 1st the State approved the Commission's recommendation.
 
State Judicial Law 183-a links judicial salaries with county district attorneys' (DA's) salaries, requiring DA's salaries to be equal or higher than either the County Court Judge or Supreme Court Judge in a county, depending on full or part-time status.
 
"This is unprecedented," said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. "For over 50 years, the state has paid for every DA salary increase mandated on counties. It has always been a fundamental issue of fairness. The state has historically funded these salary increases through the state budget."
 
On April 1, the State adopted a budget that is more than $150 billion statewide, but did not include the approximately $1.6 million for counties to fund the DA salary increases. Interestingly, the state also did not include a general fund allocation for the judges' salaries, forcing those raises to come out of the Judiciary budget.  
 
The raise will cost each county approximately $30,000 in funds not allocated from their 2016 county budgets -- a cost of approximately a third of their total allowable property tax cap growth for all government operations in 2016.
 
"This was an unintended consequence of the demands of meeting an on-time budget, and it can be fixed with a simple chapter amendment that can be passed when lawmakers return in May," Cherry said.
May 3, 2016 - 5:05pm

Mercy Flight Air Ambulance enjoyed another successful year of aiding people in Genesee County, according to a presentation Monday afternoon before the Human Service Committee.

County Manager Jay Gsell requested contract approval for the provision of air medical transfer service in Genesee County for the 2016-17 fiscal year in the amount of $14,250, the same as it's been since 2011.

At the end of a presentation about the agency from Outreach Coordinator Lynn O'Donnell and Mercy EMS Operations Manager Larry Baumgardt, the committee recommended without discussion that the Legislature approve the status quo funding.

(The county is not involved with funding the ground ambulance services.)

Highlights of Mercy Flight for fiscal 2014-15 include:

  • A total of 179 requests for Air Ambulance (helicopter) from Genesee County; 91 transports completed;
  • Total Mercy Flight transports for 2015 were 1,100;

For Mercy EMS, in operation for six years now:

  • 7,377 requests for services; 4,824 transports completed;
  • In the City of Batavia, there were almost 3,000 calls for Mercy EMS in 2014; that number grew to 3,500 in 2015.

Call Types (55 percent were on scene; 45 percent were inter-facility transfers)

  • Adult Trauma -- 38 percent
  • Adult Medical -- 37 percent
  • Adult Cardiac -- 13 percent
  • Pediatric Medical -- 7 percent
  • Pediatric Trauma -- 4 percent
  • Neonatal -- 2 percent

Destination Hospitals:

  • Erie County Medical Center -- 33 percent
  • Buffalo General -- 23 percent
  • Strong Memorial -- 15 percent
  • Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo -- 12 percent
  • Mercy Hospital -- 6 percent
  • Other NY Hospitals -- 5 percent
  • Hamot Medical Center -- 3 percent
  • Other Pennsylvania and Ohio Hospitals -- 3 percent

Funding goes to:

  • Operations/Programs -- 93 percent
  • Development & Fundraising -- 7 percent
  • Misc. -- .5 percent

O'Donnell reported that Mercy Flight continues to upgrade its aircraft. Its Bell 429, the company flagship based in Batavia, recently completed its fourth year of service. Four American Eurocopters have all been refurbished, updated and painted to match the Bell. A Lear 31 twin engine jet is also housed at the Batavia base, in partnership with Thunder Run Aviation. The jet provides advanced life support transports beyond what can be provided by the helicopters.

Due to the new partnership between UMMC and Rochester General Hospital, more transports are being logged to Rochester General.

A good deal of time is spent promoting the agency and working with fire/EMS crews and community organizations, O'Donnell said. For example, Mercy Flight offers first responder ground crew safety training that teaches when and how to request Mercy Flight along with the safety requirements for preparing for a safe landing. There were six trainings in Genesee County in the 2014-15 fiscal year, and 84 first responders attended, a total that is "significantly up" from the previous year.

Another community involvement opportunity that Mercy Flight engages in is prom safety/DWI drills and local high schools. These help students make good decisions, reducing DWI-related accidents. Two were held in 2014-15 -- at Elba and at Byron-Bergen. Funding from the Governor's Traffic Safety Grant makes these possible and they will be offered again this year.

Strong partnerships continue with fire/EMS, law enforcement and UMMC, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

For Mercy Flight, base tours and participation in community events such as the Genesee County Fair, YWCA Penny Carnival, UMMC Teddy Bear Clinic, Pembroke Winterfest, Summer in the City, Brick House Corners Fair and the Oakfield Christmas tree decorating help educate the public and help with fundraising, according to the report. Fundraisers such as the annual Hackers for Helicopters Golf Outing and dinner events at Batavia Downs Gaming and Batavia Country Club are important for these reasons, too.

For Mercy EMS, the ambulance fleet continues to be upgraded, including "graphic schemes that match the helicopters." Three new ambulances will be replacing three old ones. Also, two bases of operations are in place to improve response times for more remote location calls -- one in South Byron, the other in East Pembroke.

Taking part in the UMMC Teddy Bear Clinic and Mash Camps allow preschoolers and pre-teens to learn about EMS. Parades and EMS standbys for community events also provide outreach opportunities, as does allowing local EMT students and UMMC residents-in-training the chance to shadow EMS providers for real-life experience.

Committee Vice Chair Marianne Clattenburg, who represents District 8, asked if recruitment of EMS personnel is difficult.

"Absolutely, this is a nationwide problem," Baumgardt responded.

After a person is already a certified EMT, there's an additional two-year training period required to become a paramedic. That's is a daunting commitment for some and the pay rate in a small market like Genesee County compared to bigger markets does not help any.

"You've served Genesee County for 35 years and we're extremely happy and thankful for that extra level of protection," Committee Chair Rochelle Stein (District 5) said about Mercy Flight.

May 3, 2016 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GIS Map, genesee county, Elections, news.

Genesee County is rolling out a new interactive mapping system and over time, they can add new features to aid with information discovery and search.

One of the first new services unveiled is an interactive elections map.

To use the map, there is an icon in the upper right that looks like a stack of papers.  Click on it. If you click on the link, then, for either of the major parties, it will reveal a legend for what the colors of the map mean. Since Donald Trump swept the county in the latest primary election, that color coding isn't terribly revealing, but if you look at the Democrats, you can see which precincts went for Hillary Clinton and which for Bernie Sanders.

Erin Pence, with the Genesee County Planning Department, said there will be detailed map of national, state and local elections available after the November vote, with layers appropriate to each election.

The standard countywide GIS map is available by clicking here. It still provides several layers or current and historical data about the county, enough to get lost in for hours for the curious.

April 26, 2016 - 3:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, news.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation #5187 creating “National Correctional Officers’ Week” to take place the first full week on May each year.

National Correctional Officers Week provides a platform allowing the community to recognize our Correctional Officers, both past and present, for the critical and difficult service they provide to the communities they serve.

The Corrections Officers of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office dedicate themselves to providing exemplary care while maintaining a safe and secure environment for all of the staff and inmates within the Genesee County Jail.  

I would like to take the time to thank not only the Correction Officers who work at the Genesee County Jail, but Correction Officers everywhere.

 

Norman Itjen

President -- Genesee County Sheriff Employees Association

April 25, 2016 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, genesee county, scam, news.

Press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office would like the residents of Genesee County to be aware of a scam that is going around. The Sheriff's Office has received complaints where residents attempting to purchase motor vehicles on Craigslist are being asked to pay for these items with iTunes gift cards.

The transaction process is through a fraudulent Apple Pay account that the suspect sets up for the victim. The victim then purchases the gift cards and is required to contact a fraudulent 1-800 number and give the suspect the redemption codes on the back of the iTunes gift cards before they'll ship the vehicle.

The suspect never delivers the vehicle and the iTunes gift cards are redeemed by the suspect.

If anyone encounters this type of scenario, please do not move forward with payment and contact the Sheriff's Office at 585-343-5000.

April 20, 2016 - 8:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, genesee county, news.

Just as he did in all but one county in New York, Donald Trump was the big winner in Genesee County in Tuesday's primary election, while Hillary Clinton did not do as well against her remaining rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders.

Republicans preferred Trump by a wide margin locally, giving him 3,673 votes to 1,234 for John R. Kasich, and 974 for Ted Cruz.

The local Democrats mostly went with Sanders, giving him 1,539 votes, with 1,262 for Clinton. 

Clinton carried the state, however.

April 19, 2016 - 12:21pm
posted by Cheryl Thorley in genesee county.
Company Name: 
Genesee County Health Department
Job Type: 
Full-Time
$55,703-$61,273. For qualifications, job duties and application info: www.co.genesee.ny.us
April 19, 2016 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, genesee county, Highway Department.

An increase in funding from the state and lower asphalt prices will help the county catch up on road repaving over the next five years, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told the County Legislature's Public Service Committee Monday afternoon.

This year, the county will have slightly more than $2 million available for road and bridge projects, that's a 25-percent increase over last year.

The state is sending the county an additional $382,000 as part of a Pave NY program initiated this year and intended to increase funding to local governments for five years.

At the same time, the cost of asphalt has dropped by about 20 percent, Hens said.

"This will let us catch up over the next five years and get us where we ought to be," Hens said.

Maintenance has been deferred on many roads in recent years because of tight revenue and high asphalt prices.

That will help with the roads, but what about the bridges?

The county is responsible for 284 bridges (including culverts) and about 50 percent are deficient, Hens said.

The county needs about $15 million for bridge repair and maintenance, and while the state is starting a Bridge NY program, it won't meet all of the county's needs.

"Eventually, the county will probably have to bond some money or do something long term in the millions of dollars to catch up on those bridges," Hens said.

Many of the county's bridges are 65 to 70 years old.  

"They're running out of life and you take a bridge here or there on some of those rural roads and some of the detours get pretty long really quick," Hens said.

April 12, 2016 - 4:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in health, genesee county, news, STDs.

Press release from Kristine Voos, Public Health educator for Genesee County Health Department:

April is STD Awareness Month. Do you know your STD status? If not, you need to GYT!

The annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign is under way during Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month, with online and on-the-ground activities across the country. GYT is a national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the disproportionately high rates of STDs among young people.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 19 million new STD infections occur each year in the United States with almost half of them occurring in young people 15-24 years of age. In fact, one in two sexually active young people in the United States will contract an STD by the time they’re 25 — and most won’t know it. This is why it is important to GYT at least annually and more often if you or your partner participate in risky behaviors.

This month the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, along with community partners want you to know where to get tested locally. If you are sexually active, GYT is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have open and honest conversations about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor and ask whether you should be tested. If you are not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STDs, there are other locations that provide confidential testing.

STD Testing Locations -- Call for details

To make getting tested more convenient Planned Parenthood now has an online appointment scheduling system. Visit www.plannedparenthood.org/healthcenter and enter your zip code to find the health center nearest to you.

 · WorkFit Medical, 178 Washington Ave., Batavia, (585) 343-0334

· Batavia Family Care Center, 16 Bank St. (UMMC Jerome Center), Batavia, (585) 815-6760

Some of the consequences of not receiving timely testing and treatment can include infertility, loss of pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, compromised immune system, and damage to organs. It is also important to reduce your risk of contracting STDs through responsible behaviors.

· Abstinence: The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex.

· Get Vaccinated: Vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended ways to prevent Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccines for males and females can protect against some of the most common types of HPV. HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by HPV infection. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV vaccines are recommended for youth starting at age 11 and adults through age 26. You should also get vaccinated for Hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.

· Reduce Number of Sexual Partners: Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.

· Mutual Monogamy: This means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

· Use Condoms: Correct and consistent use of a condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. If you have latex allergies, synthetic non-latex condoms can be used. But it is important to note that these condoms have higher breakage rates than latex condoms. Natural membrane condoms are not recommended for STD prevention.Contact your local Health Department (Genesee: 344-2580, ext. 5555 / Orleans 589-3278) to receive free condoms.

· Sterile Needles and Syringes: Persons who inject drugs can substantially reduce their risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood-borne infections by using a sterile needle and syringe for every injection.

For information on STDs contact your primary care provider, local health department or other STD testing location. You can also access accurate information online via NYS Department of Health, CDC and Planned Parenthood.

April 7, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, highway department audit, news.

A state audit report was completed last month by the Comptroller's Office of Genesee County's procurement practices for the Highway Department and the use of purchasing cards by county employees. The audit was discussed at the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday.

Local officials say the Comptroller's Office lacks real-world pragmatism when it comes to its bidding and procurement recommendations for construction and road projects; and they claim its findings of inadequate oversight of "P-cards" or purchasing cards are simply wrong.

The random audit looked at the period Jan. 1, 2014 through June 12, 2015.

Key Findings:

  • The Highway Department did not have documentation that it always made purchases from the vendor with the lowest bid price;
  • County officials and employees who were provided with purchase cards did not always comply with the purchase card policy;
  • The Treasurer’s Office did not adequately audit purchasing card transactions.

Key Recommendations:

  • Maintain adequate documentation to help ensure that purchase contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in accordance with the GML;
  • Ensure that employees who are provided with purchase cards understand their responsibilities, sign the cardholder agreement and adhere to the policy;
  • Perform a thorough audit of purchasing card activity to determine if County policies are being followed and cost savings opportunities are being realized.

According to Katherine "Eve" Hens, director of Purchasing, it is patently false that P-cards did not have properly signed user agreements on file.

"All of the documentation for P-card holders and their transactions is on file, including past P-card holders," she told the committee. She said she gathered up the files and met with the auditors to set the record straight and the auditor looked at the files and said "OK, fine, I guess everything's here." And that was that.

Hens also said P-card holders are given a policy book on card use guidelines and they must watch a tutorial video; they must sign agreements acknowleging they understand the rules.

There are 125 P-card holders in Genesee County government.

"We have a more efficient system than in the past," said Treasurer Scott German.

The state had criticized the few instances of above-limit purchases, but German said those cases had special circumstances. The example he gave was a deputy going to Florida to retrieve a prisoner and using his P-card to cover several transactions at one point of sale. Hens noted that in such cases, one of three people has to approve the transaction or the card will automatically be declined: Scott Germen, herself, or "Heather."

German said there were some "semantics" involving people from the Comproller's Office, which led to some miscommunication.

"What a fun audit that was," said Tim Hens, County Highway superintendent.

It was later noted that the audit occured during a "time of transition."

Tim Hens said the way in which projects are put out to bid with vendors is in keeping with how his department has operated for 60 years, ditto for other counties in Western and Central New York.

With a three-month seasonal window of opportunity to do outdoor work once bids are processed and awarded, there needs to be flexibilty, Tim Hens said, or the work wouldn't get done.

The state wants "to help ensure that purchase contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder."

To an auditor in Albany, that means award a single contract to the lowest bidder.

But what Genesee and Monroe and Livingston and Orleans and other counties do is put out a "catalog" of bids to a variety of vendors for materials such as asphalt, pipes, quarry rock, etc., and select the mix that offers the best overall value.

For example, Tim said, if the low bid comes from a quarry in Pembroke, but the job's in Pavilion, the additional mileage to haul in materials will add 50 cents per ton to the job, so a vendor closer to the job site would likely be chosen even if their bid was a little higher.

As a compromise, the state suggests creating zones.

"The state says we should have zones set up in the County with lowest-priced vendors designated in each one," Tim said. "It works from a computer screen in Albany, but not in the real world, and not with a three-month construction window."

The county agreed to the state's recommendation to keep a journal. It will cite specific reasons in each instance that a purely low-price bid was not accepted.

"We will have that documentation to show in the event of another audit," Tim said.

The audit unearthed about $7,000 in overpayment for 24 miles of road striping for town roads, but there was no breakdown provided for it. Going back through all the road logs and trying to determine where .5-percent in a year's worth of road-work expenses were incorrectly calculated would be impractical, Tim said.

"If there's a good faith audit, then there should be give and take for errors," Committee Member Marianne Clattenburg said. "That would be a waste of money."

The county's written corrective action plan will be completed and forwarded, as required, to the state within 90 days.

To view the full audit click here.

March 24, 2016 - 12:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, genesee county, Spring.

Here's a photo taken in Genesee County this chilly spring morning and submitted by reader Jason Smith

March 17, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, micropolitan, business, news.

Press release:

For the 12th consecutive year, "Site Selection" magazine has once again recognized Batavia/Genesee County as a 2015 “Top Micropolitan” for corporate facility investments in the United States.

The ranking of “Top Micropolitans” is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county. There are approximately 575 micropolitans in the United States according to Site Selection Magazine.

Corporate facility investments in Genesee County are the result of the work of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and many other economic development partners including the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC), the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, the GCEDC authorized approximately $54 million in new capital investments which created almost 200 new jobs.

“This was another year of tremendous growth for Genesee County, as we once again saw existing companies make significant investments in their operations here,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “With the announcement of 1366 Technologies as the first tenant in the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), we remain on a path to a very prosperous future for our region.”

“We have every reason to be optimistic about the continued growth and business expansion in Genesee County,” said Raymond Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature. “We have a new hotel at Batavia Downs, Darien Lake Theme Park continues to improve, our new county airport terminal will be ready soon and the STAMP project is now a reality. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this progress.”

The GCEDC achieved 18 project “wins” in 2015, including a $5.4 million investment by ADK Hospitality for a new hotel at Batavia Downs, one of region’s most popular gaming and entertainment destinations. The project will result in a new 82-room hotel and will create 25 new jobs.

“We are very fortunate to have a strong partnership with the GCEDC as Batavia begins to revitalize,” said Jason Molino, City of Batavia manager. “Collectively our efforts in the community have helped create a unified vision that can be achieved. The announcement of 1366 Technologies is just the beginning of a bright future for all Genesee County residents. Twelve straight years as one of the top micropolitan areas in the country has put Batavia/Genesee County on the map.”

“Over the last several years, the strategic partnership between the Town of Batavia and the GCEDC has led to tremendous growth that has benefited not only the Town of Batavia but the entire micropolitan,” said Greg Post, Town of Batavia supervisor.

“With the ramp up of WNY STAMP and 1366 Technologies, we believe investments made by the Town of Batavia and GCEDC will continue to make us a top micopolitan community for years to come.”

Along with these projects, the Batavia Development Corporation had a productive year with the attraction of the Batavia Brewing Company and introduction of the freshLAB restaurant incubator to the Newberry Building, as well as secured more than $600,000 in economic development grants and coordinated a small business ownership series in partnership with Genesee Community College and the New York State Small Business Development Center.

“Over the last five years we have marveled at the good work of the GCEDC and its diligence to position Genesee County for business success,” said Ramon Chaya, Batavia Development Corporation Board president.

“We are happy to be rebuilding the City of Batavia, from brownfield site redevelopment, entrepreneurial and innovation projects, to business education programming. We could not do it without all of the partners in our community. It feels great to be collaborating and moving in the same direction and we are excited to see what comes next.”

The Batavia Improvement District (BID) has had a busy year with many successful events bringing new businesses Downtown, attracting new customers, and working to enhance programs and offerings for next year. The next big project it will undertake is a permanent public market to be housed Downtown.

“Downtowns are the foundation to any community. We continue to work to make the Downtown a place where people want to be. We focus on smaller, productive growth and the basic needs of people which equates to a better quality of life,” said Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the BID.

Other significant projects the GCEDC assisted with were investments made by Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc.

Tourism plays a significant role in Genesee County’s economy with over $51 million in payroll contributed to the local economy. Driving more tourism is one of the region’s 2016 goals with respect to a new visitors center on Park Road.

“Our new Visitors Center will allow us to do a much better job of marketing our assets to overnight travelers at the hotels and the day-trippers visiting Batavia Downs, our restaurants and our shopping centers, by enticing them deeper into the county,” said Tom Turnbull, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce president.

“This new location will allow us to take tourism marketing to the next level and give us a visitors center that all of Genesee County can be proud of."

Full the full list of Site Selection Magazine’s rankings, visit http://siteselection.com/issues/2016/mar/top-micropolitans.cfm.

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