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Hurricane Sandy

November 4, 2012 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, elba, Hurricane Sandy.
Event Date and Time: 
November 4, 2012 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

An event to collect all kinds of stuff to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy is taking place from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Elba Firemen's Recreation Hall. That's at the intersection of routes 98 and 262 in Elba.

A native Elban who now lives in Staten Island is driving here with semi-truck to load up on donations of clothes, nonperishable food and all the basic necessities to help his helpless neighbors. NO MONETARY DONATIONS!

Bring it on!!!

November 3, 2012 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in elba, Hurricane Sandy.

Calling all Good Samaritans! A local emergency aid drive is under way for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and ground zero for donations is the Elba Firemen's Rec Hall at the corners of routes 98 and 262. (That's two miles or so north of the Batavia Thruway exit.)

Bring donations to the Elba fire rec hall from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. "Absolutely NO monetary donations!"

According to Michelle Ostroski and Erin Verratti, an Elba native is traveling from his Staten Island home and coming here this weekend to get badly needed donations for his neighbors.

Locally, "just a group of moms and friends" -- who say they felt helpless watching the TV news coverage and seeing the devastation -- are counting on the citizenry of Genesee County to send this guy packing -- right back to his ravaged neighborhood "loaded for bear."


  • batteries/flashlights
  • bleach
  • rubber gloves
  • any cleaning products
  • large, heavy-duty garbage bags
  • new and used clothing of all sizes
  • coats, gloves, hats, shoes, boots
  • diapers, including adult diapers
  • baby formula
  • blankets, pillows, towels
  • bottled water
  • hand sanitizer
  • non-perishable foods
  • feminine hygiene products
  • paper products -- toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins
  • cups, plastic eating utensils
  • toiletry items: soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.
  • first-aid kits

If you can't come on Sunday and have items to donate, please contact Michelle or Erin and they will make arrangements to pick them up!

Michelle: phone -- 590-6033  or  e-mail: [email protected]

Erin: phone -- 356-0718  or  e-mail: [email protected]

"If you would like help out on Sunday at the rec hall, come on down! Please feel free to spread the word! Every little bit will help!" ... "There are so many people affected, let's pull together and show our kids that we can make a difference!"

October 29, 2012 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, elba, Hurricane Sandy.

We encourage readers to send us information about closures, cancelations and postponements or rescheduling of events, roads, activities, businesses, services, etc., as we all hunker down in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. I'll add them ASAP.

E-mail them to:

[email protected]


[email protected]



Billie (585) 905-5581

Howard (585) 260-6970


  • Canceled: Tuesday night Bingo at the Elba Fire Hall is cancelled.
  • Postponed: Muller Quaker Dairy meet-and-greet Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Genesee Community College.
  • Canceled: All afternoon and evening activities today in the Oakfield-Alabama school district.
  • Canceled: The 4-H Volunteer Training scheduled for tonight at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County Building.
  • Canceled: All activities scheduled after 5 p.m. today in the Elba Central School District.
  • Canceled: All after-school activities in the Byron-Bergen school district.
  • Canceled: This evening's classes of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Education.
  • Canceled: All activities scheduled after 5 p.m. today in the Pavilion Central School District.
  • Temporary closure of GCC campuses as of 4 p.m. today: To help ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, and encourage everyone to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary pedestrian and vehicle travel during this time, Genesee Community College will close today effective at 4 p.m. This closing includes all Campus Centers in Albion, Arcade, Dansville, Lima, Medina and Warsaw, as well as the Batavia Campus. If you have any questions concerning closing and class cancellation procedures, please refer to
    Classes are expected to resume on a normal schedule Tuesday, Oct. 30. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to check the local news channels and the college's Web site before leaving for campus Tuesday morning.
  • Canceled: Tonight's 7 o'clock Bible Study with Just Joy! Ministries at the YWCA.
October 29, 2012 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in Hurricane Sandy.

Press release about Hurricane Sandy from National Grid:

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, National Grid is urging customers to take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety. We have been preparing for Hurricane Sandy for several days and our employees are ready to respond to our customers' needs. We remind you to be prepared and follow safety precautions.

Please check to make sure you have bottled water, working flashlights, a battery operated radio and extra batteries in your home. If you plan to use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors.

To prevent a safety issue, before operating generators, be sure to turn off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. If you see a downed power line, do not go near it or drive over it, always assume it's live. For more safety tips visit us at

In case you lose power, National Grid provides you with multiple ways to receive up-to-date information on things like restoration details, more safety tips, important phone numbers and more.

Sign up for National Grid state-level broadcast text* alerts by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743). You can opt out of receiving text messages at any time by texting the word STOP to NGRID (64743).

You can now get safety and outage information on your mobile phone via our new mobile web browser at

We also keep customers informed on Facebook and Twitter. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information.

Power outages can be reported online or by calling 1-800-867-5222 in New York.

For more information and to report an outage visit

Sign up for major storm alerts.

Text STORM to NGRID (64743)

October 29, 2012 - 1:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Cornell Cooperative Extension, Hurricane Sandy.

Press release to farmers regarding storm from Cornell Cooperative Extension:

Cornell Cooperative Extension urges all farmers to prepare ahead of time for power outages, structural or crop damage, insurance claims and damage that could accompany Hurricane Sandy, also dubbed “Frankenstorm” and the “Perfect Storm.”

The New York State Office of Emergency Management is already warning citizens of Sandy’s approach, and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets urges farmers to pay close attention to those warnings.

Long-range preparations can include purchasing or making rental agreements for special equipment, making adjustments to property and reviewing business arrangements. Short-range preparations should focus on immediate concerns such as turning off propane, moving livestock or equipment to safe places or updating phone numbers for emergency assistance.

Equipment needs may include a generator, fuel, a hand fuel pump, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, a flashlight and batteries, NOAA weather radio and batteries, stored water and feed for humans and livestock and a camera to document damage.

Photos of agricultural losses are very helpful to the USDA, especially with their livestock indemnity programs.

Tobacco farms or nursery operations with greenhouses, dairies, and hog and poultry operations are especially vulnerable if power remains out for a lengthy period. Those farmers may want to purchase a generator, and the sooner the better. Farmers who cannot purchase a generator should consider leasing or negotiating a rental arrangement for a back-up generator in advance. Be aware that some rental contracts are only for eight hours use per day.

Property preparations can include clearing debris from drainage ditches so water can run freely, checking power lines for clearance and pruning or removing trees that could fall on lines, surveying buildings for limbs or trees close to buildings and pounding in extra nails or tightening hurricane straps to prevent wind damage.

Other precautions include clearing away all debris that could blow in high winds, securing farm signs and photographing valuable items and storing the pictures off site.

Farmers and home owners alike should store all business records above flood level, which is generally at least two feet off the floor.

A final long-range preventive measure is reviewing business affairs, including insurance policies, debt level and finances. Farmers need to ensure they have adequate insurance coverage for homes, vehicles, farm buildings and structures, crops and flood damage.

Finally, farmers should develop an emergency plan for their families and their farm workers and should establish a meeting place where everyone can gather after a disaster. They also need to assign and prioritize preparation and recovery duties.

Short-range preparations are those things to do now, even though Sandy’s path is still somewhat uncertain.

These include:

  • Monitoring local weather reports for up-to-the-minute information on the storm.
  • Charging batteries on cell phones and cameras.
  • Determining check-in points for family members and workers.
  • Storing or securing items or equipment that may blow away or blow into structures, including lawn furniture and ornaments.
  • Checking generators to be sure they are in good working order and purchasing sufficient amounts of fuel to operate them.
  • Checking feed inventory and ordering extra if needed.
  • Moving poultry and livestock to higher ground if possible and sheltering them in securely battened barns, houses or tightly-fenced areas.
  • Planning for the possibility of evacuation and identifying horse facilities in nearby vicinities that are willing to take horses in an emergency.
  • Find out what their requirements are for vaccinations or tests such as the Coggins Test.
  • Have a system for permanently identifying each horse with its name, your name and a phone number.
  • Turning off the propane supply at tanks and securing tanks in the event of flooding to prevent them from floating away.
  • Moving equipment to the highest, open ground possible away from trees or buildings.
  • Pumping and storing adequate supplies of drinking water for humans and animals in the case of power outages. Recommendations are for a minimum 36-hour reserve.
  • Topping off all gas, propane and other fuel tanks, including the family vehicles.
  • Marking animals with an identifier so they can be returned to you if lost. This can include ear tags with name of farm and/or phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat or clipped initials in the hair.
  • Moving feed to higher ground or to a more accessible place in case of flooding or transportation problems.
  • Checking the security of roofing materials, siding and windows and doors in barns and poultry houses to make sure they will not blow off or blow open in strong winds.
  • Coordinating with neighbors beforehand to discuss what resources can be shared in the event of power outages or flooding.
  • Making a list of important phone numbers ahead of time in order to make calls following a storm. Potential numbers to include are the local emergency management office, county extension agent, insurance agent, county Farm Service Agency and private veterinarian.

For local emergency offices, contact

October 29, 2012 - 12:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Hurricane Sandy.

Press release:

In preparation for the upcoming storm the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning from 5 p.m. today until 2 p.m. Tuesday. North or northeast winds are expected from 30-45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. In addition, due to the unusual direction of the wind and saturated ground, tree uprooting is of particular concern.

Rainfall amounts of 2 to 2.5 inches are forecast from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning, though there will be localized areas that receive more rain.

All residents are advised to move leaves or debris from the roadway to the parkway between the sidewalk and curb, in addition to keeping all storm water catch basins clean and clear of debris.  Keeping the roadways, gutters and catch basins clear of leaves and debris may assist in mitigating localized flooding concerns. Also, residents are encouraged to check sump pumps to ensure they are functioning properly.

All residents are advised that garbage and recycling collection is CANCELLED for Tuesday pickup and will presume on Wednesday. Residents are advised not to put out garbage and recycling containers for collection Monday evening or Tuesday morning for Tuesday pickup. All collection days will be pushed back one day, and Friday pickup will be on Saturday. 

High Wind Safety Information

High winds can cause downed trees and power lines, flying debris and building collapses, which may lead to power outages, transportation disruptions, damage to buildings and vehicles, and injury or death. Please stay inside when a Wind Advisory or Wind Warning has been issued.

All residents are encouraged to conduct a home safety search to look for items that can move, fall, or break in windy conditions. In addition, move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations (Halloween), trash cans, hanging plants, and anything that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.

The safest place during high winds is indoors. Postpone outdoor activities if a wind advisory or high wind warning has been issued.

  • Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may become loose during strong wind gusts. Keep an eye toward nearby balconies for loose objects that may fall.
  • Take cover next to a building or under a shelter. Stand clear of roadways or train tracks, as a gust may blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Use handrails where available on outdoor walkways and avoid other elevated areas such as roofs without adequate railing.
  • Avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches. Puddles and even wet or snow-covered ground can conduct electricity in some cases. Warn others to stay away.
  • Do not touch anyone who has been shocked who may be in direct or indirect contact with a power line. You may become a second victim. Get medical attention as quickly as possible by calling 9-1-1.
  • When driving, keep both hands on the wheel and slow down. Watch for objects blowing across the roadway and into your path.
  • Keep a safe distance from cars in adjacent lanes as strong gusts could push a car outside its lane of travel.
  • Take extra care in a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van, SUV, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by high wind gusts.
  • If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, get onto the shoulder of the road and stop, making sure you are away from trees or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle. Stay in the car and turn on the hazard lights until the wind subsides.
  • If a line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle. Take care not to touch any of the metal frame of your vehicle. Honk your horn, roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger. Ask someone to call the police. Do not exit the car until help arrives, unless it catches on fire. To exit, open the door, but do not step out. Jump, without touching any of the metal portions of the car's exterior, to safe ground and get quickly away.

The city encourages all residents to take the necessary precautions to prevent injury to themselves and others. Should any resident need the assistance of an emergency responder please call 9-1-1.

If there are any questions, please contact:

Office of the City Manager

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

Phone: (585) 345-6330

Fax: (585) 343-8182

E-mail:  [email protected]

October 29, 2012 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Hurricane Sandy.

City residents, if you've piled your leaves in the street, please move them into the parkway -- between the curb and the sidewalk -- this morning.

City Manager Jason Molino said the city's leaf removal program started a week ago, but there's still a lot of leaves on the ground, and even though in a press release last week the city asked residents not to pile leaves in the street, some have.

"They're a hazard to cars, but in a situation like this, they clog storm drains and prevent storm water runoff," Molino said.

Residents should especially take action to prevent any piles of leaves from blocking catch basins and storm drains.

City crews -- both DPW and fire -- have been ensuring all equipment -- from pumping equipment to chainsaws and all vehicles are in good working order, fueled and ready to go.

There will be a full compliment of DPW workers available today and this evening, Molino said.

The city will have more information about storm preparedness later this morning.

October 29, 2012 - 6:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Hurricane Sandy.

A flood watch and wind warning remain in effect for Genesee County starting at 2 p.m. today.

The flood watch is scheduled to expire at noon, Tuesday. The wind warning is predicted to end at 2 p.m., Tuesday.

The predicted storm front is the remnants of Hurricane Sandy, which is reportedly moving toward the Northeast. The storm is predicted to be a Level 1 hurricane when it strikes the eastern seaboard later today. Manhattan and Brooklyn are under evacuation orders. Heavy snow is predicted for the Appalachian mountains.

For Genesee County, rain estimates range from 2-3 inches. Winds are expected in the 30-40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

The big concern officials have about the wind is it will blow in the opposite direction than the region's prevailing winds. Trees are rooted to deal with prevailing winds and utility poles are anchored to handle wind from that normal direction. This could lead to dangerous conditions for falling trees and power outages.

Authorities urge area residents to prepare for storm damage and power outages. Click here for some recommendations from the NYS Department of Health.

Here's NOAA's Hurricane Sandy tracking page.

NOTE to schools, government agencies, businesses and event planners, please e-mail any closings or public notices to [email protected]. Readers can e-mail photos and information to the same address.

UPDATE: Interesting time lapse video of Hurricane Sandy shot yesterday by NSAA's Earth Observatory:


October 28, 2012 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Hurricane Sandy.

The message from a National Grid spokesman: People need to take seriously the warning of this storm heading toward Western New York.

"Every indication we've gotten is this could be nasty," said Steve Brady, who handles media relations for National Grid in WNY.

Brady indicated the forecast has grown a little grimmer in recent hours.

If the storm turns out to be as significant as predicted, National Grid will have its hands full. The storm could sweep across its coverage area from Cape Code to Buffalo.

Brady called in response to our request for more information about the 40 or so Nelson Tree Company trucks staging at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

While Brady didn't have specific information about that location, he said typically National Grid will stage crews at hotels in anticipation of significant weather events. There are likely other groups of crews setting up similar staging areas in other parts of New York

"In these kinds of sitautions, hotel rooms are at a premium, so we like to keep groups of crews together," Brady said. "That's fairly common."

National Grid started planning for this storm days ago, he said. There's a lot of logisitics involved in preparing behind the scenes for these kinds of events, from procuring hotel rooms to ensuring crews receive adequate food and rest and all trucks are fueled and in good repair.

"If you were on the Thruway today, you probably saw trucks going in every direction," Brady said. "Crews are going everywhere and coming from everywhere."

Earlier today, Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, noted that the northerly winds of this predicted storm will blow in the opposition direction of prevailing winds, which could make trees more vulnerable to being blown over.

National Grid faces a similar problem, Brady said, in that utility poles have guy wires to anchor them against prevailing winds. When winds blow in the opposite direction, the guy wires are less effective.

"We think we’re as ready as anybody can be," Brady said. "The problem with any major storm is you know it's coming, but you don't know where. You don't know what areas will be hit. Every area National Grid serves is going to see some impact and that's somewhat unusual compared to other major storms."

Brady, like Yaeger earlier, encouraged residents to be prepared for a major storm, acknowledging that sometimes forecasts for major storms turn out to be overblown.

"I hope people are taking this one seriously," Brady said.

October 28, 2012 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Hurricane Sandy.

Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, is spending his Sunday making sure the county is ready for whatever may be coming our way tomorrow evening.

It could be the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. It could be something a little more severe, or maybe it won't be bad at all.

Yaeger's message to emergency responders and county residents: Be prepared.

"Right now, it looks like we're prepared," Yaeger said. "The biggest thing is that folks prepare themselves. Make sure they have plenty of food stuffs and water, batteries, withdraw cash from ATMs and make sure their vehicles are fueled."

The local fire chiefs have all been briefed, Yaeger said, and he's been in contact with the emergency coordinators in neighboring counties and with the state's emergency office.

The Salvation Army and UMMC have been notified.

The worse of the storm is expected downstate, and even though the current predictions for the storm in Genesee County is much like any heavy storm we experience a couple of times a year, there are some unique concerns.

Rainfall of half an inch to an inch per hour can cause localized flooding.

Plus, anytime there are sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph there is the potential for trees to come down, taking out power lines and damaging property.

Wind direction is also worrisome.

Our wind tends to blow south and west. But tree root systems grow in the opposite direction, so the northerly winds predicted for this storm may cause greater problems.

And with the rain we've had recently and the rain expected over the next 24 hours from the storm, the ground will be pretty soft and saturated.

"My biggest concern right now is if the system generates a little more energy than anticipated, or if it stalls over us for a little while, that's where I'm concerned," Yaeger said.

The Batavian is preparing to cover this storm however it may progress and we'll bring you new developments as needed.

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