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January 6, 2021 - 2:02pm

Press release:

Public workshops have been scheduled for the Genesee 2050 Comprehensive Plan and Recreation Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan update will help Genesee County craft a new vision for its future and strategies to realize that vision. The new Recreation Plan will help the county better respond to residents’ wants and needs for recreation facilities and better connect existing assets with residents.

Both planning processes will be discussed at the public workshops. Interactive activities will help draw participants out on how they want the county to develop and allow everyone to bring their ideas to the projects.

Public engagement is a crucial element of the process to ensure residents and stakeholders are aware of the planning process and that everyone has ample opportunity to weigh in. The workshops have been scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 19 and at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 20.

The workshops will be held virtually on the Zoom platform. The content of each is identical, so participants need not plan on attending both, although they are welcome to do so. Everyone planning on attending either meeting must register in advance. Registrations are accepted by email to Eve Holberg at: [email protected]. Zoom meeting login information will be distributed to registrants via email before the meetings.

Information about the meetings as well as about the projects as a whole are posted online at www.Genesee2050.com. This site also includes links to surveys including the Genesee 2050 Comprehensive Plan survey, recreation plan survey and shorter mini-surveys on specific topic areas.

The meetings and surveys are open to anyone who cares about the future of Genesee County. Everyone is urged to participate.

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For more information contact County Planning Director Felipe A. Oltramari by email at: [email protected] or phone (585) 815-7901.

Training Credits for Planning and Zoning officials available upon request.

January 6, 2021 - 12:17pm

Press release:

Out of nearly $20 million ESL Federal Credit Union reinvested in the Greater Rochester community in 2020 through its philanthropic efforts, more than $10 million was dedicated to supporting the pandemic response through grants to nonprofit agencies across the community.

As the pandemic continues into 2021, the full-service financial institution, with a branch in Batavia, is prepared to carry on its commitment to support nonprofit agencies throughout the community and the people these agencies serve.

“Nonprofits have been experiencing critical financial hardships throughout the pandemic and that is expected to continue well into 2021,” said Faheem Masood, president and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union.

“To support the stability and resiliency of these agencies so they can continue to provide critical services, nonprofit and corporate funders need join together to lift up these organizations for the benefit of the people in the greater community.

"Our purpose at ESL is to help our community thrive and prosper, and thanks to trust and loyalty of our members, we are ready and able to do our part to reinvest in the community as we all work together through this public health crisis.”

Some of the grants ESL provided in 2020 to support the coronavirus pandemic response included:

  • $4 million to 20 nonprofit agencies distributed through United Way of Greater Rochester to ensure funding for these agencies remained whole due to a decrease in workplace campaign donations throughout the year;
  • $2.5 million donated to the Community Crisis Fund organized and managed by United Way of Greater Rochester and Rochester Area Community Foundation;
  • $385,000 through United Way in Livingston, Ontario, Wayne and Genesee counties to housing agencies in these counties for rent relief;
  • $350,000 to Rochester City School District to address the Digital Divide among students and provide WiFi access;
  • $345,000 to Urban League of Rochester for sustaining small businesses and COVID-19 relief;
  • $300,000 to PathStone Enterprise for COVID-19 business recovery, supporting minority-owned small businesses;
  • $250,000 to Child Care Council, which provided $1,000 grants in three counties to child care centers;
  • Approximately $190,000 to Action for a Better Community to address the Digital Divide. This grant matched a federal grant for internet devices and years’ worth of internet connectivity for approximately 150 families;
  • $100,000 to The Children’s Institute to address the Digital Divide for Pre-K students (3-5 year olds).

“The critical issues our community faces because of this pandemic and beyond are best addressed when organizations come together and collaborate for the greater good,” said Ajamu Kitwana, vice president/director, Community Impact, ESL Federal Credit Union.

“This level of collaboration will continue to be a necessity in 2021 and ESL is prepared to learn from our work in 2020 and understand where funding needs are greatest as we move forward.”

ESL’s Community Impact team was created in an effort to support the building of a healthy, resilient and equitable Greater Rochester. The Community Impact efforts of ESL focus on expanding individual opportunity, building strong neighborhoods and strengthening organizations and systems.

Over the past three years, ESL’s philanthropic reinvestments in the community have totaled more than $40 million.

January 6, 2021 - 12:07pm

Press release:

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the more than $3 million “Raising the Bar” Restaurant Recovery Fund to assist restaurants in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This grant funding has been made possible through financial donations led by Diageo North America and supported by Coastal Pacific Wine & Spirits (a division of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits) and will be implemented by the nonprofit National Development Council (NDC).

The “Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund” will help eligible restaurants adjust their operations to the impacts of COVID-19 and adherence to New York State’s public health and safety measures during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “The restaurant industry is a critical component of our state's economy -- encompassing hundreds of small businesses who employ thousands of New Yorkers.

"This industry has been among the hardest hit by the devastating effects of COVID-19, working hard to stay open, serve customers and keep employees safe. This fund is designed to help establishments adapt during this unprecedented time with assistance to sustain their businesses during the winter months to come." 

“Raising the Bar” grant funding can be used for COVID-19-related improvements and equipment that will allow the business to: comply with social distancing guidelines; expand take-out/delivery operations; or accommodate outdoor dining such as plexiglass barriers/partitions; signage promoting social distancing and hygiene protocols; heaters, heat lamps, weatherization upgrades and insulated delivery bags; improvements that will allow the business to continue operating through the winter months such as filtration system upgrades and food heaters to maintain temperature for to-go orders; and purchasing PPE and sanitation supplies necessitated by the pandemic; and COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.

Qualifying purchases and expenditures must be from Sept. 1, 2020 onward to be eligible. Initial round of grants are up to $5,000. 

Initial grant funding will be awarded based on the received applications and dispersed independently by NDC, an experienced national economic nonprofit that has been in operation since 1969. 

“Diageo is committed to supporting restaurant owners, particularly those in underrepresented communities, who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19,” said Debra Crew, president, Diageo North America.

“We are honored to serve as a founding contributor of the ‘Raising the Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund, providing much needed relief to an important industry that serves as a vital part of the economic engine of local communities. We encourage other organizations and businesses that also call New York ‘home’ to join us in this endeavor to make the impact of the program even stronger.”

“The hospitality industry in New York needs help now more than ever and we are here for them like they’ve always been here for us,” commented Wayne E. Chaplin, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

“The Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund provides an essential lifeline to restaurant owners so they can continue to operate safely, and stay afloat during this critical time. We are proud that our Coastal Pacific Wine & Spirits division is working with the State of New York, our valued supplier, Diageo, and the NDC to provide this much needed and urgent financial support.”

"At NDC, we are eager to get moving on this restaurant grant program," said Dan Marsh, president of National Development Council. "Having worked on numerous loan and grant programs in New York and across the country, what we have seen is that smaller restaurants -- especially minority and woman-owned establishments -- are not getting the help they really need. A tailored grant program specific to this industry is critical."

Eligible businesses consist of New York State restaurants that have no more than $3 million in 2019 revenue and are engaged in providing food services and meals prepared on-premises to patrons who traditionally order and are served while seated, including certain on-premises food and drinking establishments licensed through the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and which need funding to adjust to COVID-related impacts and protocols.

Establishments providing take out or grab and go food services due to COVID-19 restrictions are also eligible to receive the grant from NDC. Additionally, these establishments must have been in operation on or before March 1, 2019 and certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.

All businesses must continue to comply with the New York Forward reopening guidance and Cluster Action Initiative guidance, as applicable. Restaurants can apply to the “Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund” starting Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. For more information visit the ESD website.

January 6, 2021 - 11:49am
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, Oak Orchard Health, vaccine.

Press release:

New Yorkers who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine -- currently that includes healthcare workers -- should check as soon as possible with their organizations or employers to see if they qualify.

The vaccine may be available to you for only a limited time period, before it gets redistributed by the state, so please act immediately.

“We encourage as many as possible to receive the vaccine—we may have only a short time to stop the virus, and it depends upon as many people getting vaccinated as possible, as soon as possible,” said Nancy Ciavarri, MD, chief medical officer, Oak Orchard Health.

Oak Orchard Health has received a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine from NYS Department of Health. We are allowed and directed to provide the vaccine for certain types of workers in the communities we serve but must follow strict guidelines provided by NYS DOH.

Oak Orchard Health

Originally founded in 1966, Oak Orchard has grown from a migrant health project into an integrated health center with multiple locations providing health care services for everyone located in the communities we serve. Currently serving over 23,000 patients at eleven locations, Oak Orchard Health is a recognized patient-centered medical home and 501(c) nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located inthe towns of Albion, Alexander, Batavia, Brockport, Corfu, Lyndonville, Hornell and Warsaw.                                    

January 5, 2021 - 10:22pm

Understanding the importance of traffic flow -- especially along a busy Route 98 north of the Thruway exit, engineers will be putting their heads together to devise the best plan for vehicles to enter and exit the four-story medical office building being proposed by Rochester Regional Health.

Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain, speaking after tonight’s Batavia Town Planning Board meeting, said there is “a little more work to do” to correctly mitigate any potential traffic issues and to ensure the traffic pattern is designed to accommodate future growth.

“We’re in the reviewing phase and acting upon a few comments from the (New York State) Department of Transportation,” Mountain said, adding that the project will include the installation of a traffic signal on Route 98, connecting Call Parkway with Federal Drive.

He also emphasized that anything done for this project must allow for the possibility of the construction of another traffic lane along Route 98.

Thus, the planning board signed off on a State Environmental Quality Review (a negative declaration) and approved the site plan contingent upon final approval by town engineers and the clearing up of any mitigating factors.

“This keeps the project moving forward while we set up meetings with the developer’s engineers and DOT officials,” Mountain said.

RRH plans to construct an 140,000-square-foot medical office facility at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), a plan already recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board.

Additionally, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals approved an area variance related to the building height.

United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia is part of the RRH system, which has similar multi-specialty buildings in the Rochester area and also in Geneva.

RRH has contracted with the CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) engineering firm of Rochester. CPL engineers previously reported that 90,000 square feet will be allotted for office space and that 360 parking spaces will be available – with 63 of them in a first-floor parking garage.

UMMC President Daniel Ireland has said that RRH will disclose information about the specific services as the project progresses.

January 5, 2021 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received 91 new positive cases of COVID-19.
      • The new positive cases reside in the:
        • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
        • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield)
        • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
      • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
      • Thirty-five of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
      • Twenty-one of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
      • One of the new positive cases is a resident at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility.
      • We are saddened to report the COVID-related deaths of two residents, one whom resided at Genesee Senior Living and one whom resided at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Both of the individuals were over 65 years old. We will not be releasing any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of these individuals during this difficult time.

  • Orleans County received 25 new positive cases of COVID-19.
  • The new positive cases reside in the:
    • Nineteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
    • Twenty of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
    • One of the individuals was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).

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January 5, 2021 - 3:41pm

chelsea_elliiott_2.jpgGenesee County is calling upon one of its own to provide experience and support while it conducts a search to fill the vacant youth bureau executive director position.

The legislature’s Human Services Committee on Monday voted in favor of creating a deputy youth bureau executive director, a temporary title that County Manager Matt Landers said will be given to Chelsea Elliott, (photo at right), who has worked for the county for the past seven years.

“Chelsea currently is our youth program coordinator and she is very capable,” County Manager Matt Landers said. “She runs our Youth Court and also coordinates the education piece on the youth side of the STOP-DWI program.”

The vacancy occurred last month when Jocelyn Sikorski stepped down to become executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, effective Jan. 25.

Landers said Elliott will be working with Sikorski over the next couple weeks to review the executive director’s responsibilities.

“We realize that there is going to be a period of time that the position is vacant, and looking at the need for somebody in house to transition us, this seemed like the most appropriate fashion (to proceed),” Landers said. “… with this being a union employee that would be stepping up into the role … we feel like this is a justified and prudent move for us to do.”

Landers said the resolution passed by Human Services (and subject to a vote of the full legislature) calls for the full-time deputy position to run for up to six months.

“We don’t anticipate it taking six months. We have spoken with Chelsea and she is agreeable to step up, and then once the director position is filled, the temporary position will be eliminated,” he said. “If Chelsea does have an interest (in succeeding Sikorski), this is something where we will have an opportunity to view her in the role. Certainly, she is eligible to throw her hat into the ring.”

The deputy executive director position provides additional pay for Elliott since her duties will increase, Landers said.

The change at the top of the county’s youth bureau comes as the City of Batavia, which has shared the county executive director for its youth programming, explores the possibility of contracting with an outside agency to provide city youth services.

January 5, 2021 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, notify.

Rep. Chris Jacobs voted last week in favor of President Donald Trump's request to give every eligible American an extra $2,000 in a COVID-related stimulus payment but the CASH Act remains stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Whether those payments will land in taxpayers' bank accounts in the coming weeks seems to hinge on today's runoff election in Georgia.

Two Senate seats are up for grabs and all four candidates support passage of the CASH Act but getting the bill through the Senate isn't just a matter of lining up enough votes.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, as majority leader, has the power to block a floor vote on the bill.

McConnell has argued that some of the direct payments would go to families who don't need it and would cost about $464 billion.

The House-passed bill, McConnell said, "has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate," vowing that the chamber would not be "bullied into rushing out more borrowed money."

Jacobs doesn't see it that way.

“Additional COVID-19 relief has been my priority since I took office this summer," Jacobs said in a statement. "I voted to deliver $2,000 stimulus checks to Western New Yorkers who have been hardest hit by arbitrary shutdowns, unemployment, and economic downturn. I commend the President for signing the bipartisan relief deal last night and for his support of increased stimulus checks.” 

The CASH Act was approved last week by the House in a 275-134 vote. Fourty-four Republicans supported the measure.

The $2,000 payments were first suggested by Trump. He said he wasn't happy with Americans getting only $600 each in the last stimulus bill.

While campaign for the Democrats in Georgia's special election yesterday, Joe Biden, winner of the Nov. 3 election, said the $2,000 stimulous checks would be sent to Americans immediately if the Democrats win both seats today.

The race pits Kelly Loeffler against Raphael Warnock and David Perdue against Jon Ossoff.

Biden supports Warnock and Ossoff.

"If you send Jon and the Reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now," Biden said. "And if you send (Perdue and Loeffler) back to Washington, those checks will never get there," Biden said. "It's just that simple. The power is literally in your hands."

Even though Perdue and Ossoff both support the stimulus payment, even with the two Republicans seated in the Senate, McConnell could still block the bill from coming up for a vote.

A victory for two Democrats would mean the end of McConnell's reign as majority leader and, according to Biden, mean there would be no possibility of Republicans blocking the direct payments.

A Democratic victory today would also give the party control of both houses and the White House for at least the next two years and leave Republicans with little power to block the Democratic agenda.

The amplified power of congressional leadership to control floor votes has long been a target of complaints from the former Congressman from Wisconsin, and former Republican now Libertarian Justin Amash. He tweets about it frequently.

January 5, 2021 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, corfu, elba.

Derek Francis McQueen, 33, of Phelps Road, Corfu, is charged with: second-degree vehicular assault; driving while ability impaired by combined influence of drugs; third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation; following too closely; and unlicensed operator. At 1:04 p.m. Sept. 16, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a two-vehicle collision with injury on Batavia Elba Townline Road in the Town of Elba. Following an investigation into the accident, it was determined that McQueen -- operator of the striking vehicle -- was at fault. A license check found the NYS driver's license was revoked. During the course of the investigation, it was suspected that McQueen was under the influence of drugs. Field sobriety tests were administered and he was subsequently arrested. The defendant was taken to the Genesee County Jail where City of Batavia Police Detective Matthew Wojtaszczyk, a certified Drug Recognition Expert, administrered a drug influence evaluation, which allegedly determined McQueen to be under the influence of multiple categories of drugs. On Monday, Jan. 4, he was charged in the case due to the injury sustained by an occupant of the other vehicle involved. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Elba Town Court at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

January 5, 2021 - 1:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, accidents, batavia, scanner.

A two-vehicle collision is reported at Main and Court streets. There are four patients -- all sign-offs. Court southbound is blocked by the accident. City fire, Mercy medics and police are on scene.

UPDATE 1:19 p.m.: Three people were signs-off; a fourth is being transported to UMMC with complaints of back, head and shoulder pain.

January 5, 2021 - 12:49pm

Press release:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will purchase an additional $1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

In total, USDA has distributed more than !32 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new round of Farmers to Families Food Boxes will go a long way in helping American families access nutritious and healthy meals as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," Perdue said.

January 5, 2021 - 12:44pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is praising the recent decision made by the Department of Labor’s Farm Laborer Wage Board to maintain the 60-hour overtime threshold until at least next November.

Hawley had been advocating in recent months to maintain this overtime threshold in light of a proposal to lower it. Hawley feared it would make operating an agribusiness even more difficult during what has been a hard year for the agricultural sector due to the negative impact COVID-19 has had on the industry. 

“This announcement is a big relief for farmers and agri-business entrepreneurs throughout the state, and I’m glad there’s one less thing to worry about in what’s already been an incredibly challenging year for agriculture,” Hawley said.

“While there is still work to be done helping our farmers through the COVID-19 pandemic, I am glad we avoided what would have certainly been a catastrophic mistake for our farmers and agricultural workers and entrepreneurs.”

January 5, 2021 - 12:39pm
posted by Press Release in fire hydrant, city of batavia, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be changing out a fire hydrant on Ellicott Street on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The work will begin at 8 a.m. and water should be restored by 3 p.m.

Should weather or unforeseen issues delay the project the shutdown may occur on Thursday (Jan. 7) during the same hours. 

The water will be turned off for residents on: 

  • Ellicott Street between Ellicott Place and Harvester Avenue;
  • Harvester Avenue between Ellicott Street and Colorado Avenue;
  • Colorado Avenue and Ellicott Place.

This may cause discolored water, please refrain from doing laundry if water is discolored.

We appreciate your patience while we make these repairs.

Bill Davis

Superintendent of Water and Wastewater

City of Batavia

January 5, 2021 - 12:27pm

Antiquated. Obsolete. Restrictive. Unfair.

Those were some of the adjectives used by members of the Genesee County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative to describe the New York State Department of Civil Service during its meeting on Monday night via Zoom videoconferencing.

And, going beyond sharing their opinions of Civil Service, the committee agreed that now may be the “perfect opportunity” to reform the system that administers tests for government jobs.

“There has been a push throughout New York State for years now about reforming the Civil Service requirements and the testing procedures,” Sheriff William Sheron said, responding to a question from committee member Julie Carasone about changing the procedure to ensure more diversity in hiring. “I guess my best answer to that is to push on our state senator and assemblyman to try to change that or put pressure on New York State to change their Civil Service regulations.”

Sheron said he is speaking on behalf of administrators in various job sectors who are hamstrung by Civil Service’s restrictive guidelines.

“That you have to select from the top three individuals, to me, makes no sense in the world. I think there should be more of a test and interview process rather than a guarantee that if you’re in the top three – that we have to try to choose from the top three,” he said. “Many times, the individuals that you have to choose from are not satisfactory but it’s very difficult to get them removed from the list.”

The sheriff said it would take a unified front consisting of government, municipal and community leaders to put pressure on Albany, noting that “it’s definitely time for some type of Civil Service reform.”

Committee Member Gregory Post, who is the Batavia Town supervisor, said it was his belief that Civil Service “hasn’t had a total rehab since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”

Post: Collaboration Can Make a Difference

“But, that being said, this is the perfect opportunity now because there has always been, in my 45 years in the public sector, one component -- which is generally the employers or the management side petitioning the governor and Albany and some of the more partisan politicians on the east and Downstate to amend Civil Service policies to address our reality.”

“This opportunity that has been presented to us in the past year, I think for the first time in several decades, empowers this organization to ally with the constituents and in a combined manner (with) all parties involved …working collaboratively. It shouldn’t just be county officials and legislators. They’ve been asking for this for a hundred years.”

Post said he would like to see a partnership involving “constituents who are most impacted and most benefitted from this change, and the only way we can do that is to involve them and engage them, and I think we need to invite the press to be participatory in that. … Being in the top three has not served us as well as trusting our instincts and giving people a chance that otherwise wouldn’t have one.”

Sheron noted that a deputy sheriff’s position is opening soon and said his plan is to get the notice out to the public as quickly as possible, working with Human Resources to reach the minority communities. He also said he is enlisting the services of the Genesee County Career Center to help those interested in taking the test, including resume preparation and interviewing techniques.

Sheron and County Manager Matt Landers concurred that the county’s ability – or inability -- to find worthy minority candidates for law enforcement and other positions has been a stumbling block.

“I think the starting point for us is to trying to go down the avenue of getting the word out about our test coming up and providing individuals the education and the tools to be able to be successful in taking the tests,” Sheron said, adding that only a few members of the minority community have taken the deputy sheriff’s test and even fewer have passed it.

Landers: We Can Do Better

Landers said finding a path to change Civil Service would be a major challenge, considering the bureaucracy involved, but emphasized that he didn’t want to downplay the effort to reform it.

“But at the same time, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we can do better with our recruitment and advertising efforts,” he said, “I think that’s something that we control in our own hands that we don’t need outside help with. We can try to reach out to segments of our population and do a better job of education and better job of notification.

“We can change the rules all we want -- from (the top) three to five to 100 – but if we don’t get diversity in people in taking the test, then it doesn’t do any good at all.”

Landers also criticized the time gap in the Civil Service process, noting that it sometime takes up to year to fill the position after the taking of the test.

“The way Civil Service works – it’s kind of a unique situation – a person signs up for a test, it’s taken three months later and the results come out three months later – where an opportunity might open up six months later,” he advised. “It’s such an antiquate process, in general, that it’s kind of like a secret in some ways that people have to be planning way ahead.”

As far as reaching the minority population, he suggested that the sheriff reach out to groups such as Just Kings in the City of Batavia to “spread the word and that might have more of an immediate effect.”

Sheron: Let's Put it in the Report

While Genesee County ramps up its effort to reach a more diverse audience, Sheron said it is important that this committee include its evaluation of the Civil Service process in the report it will send to New York State by April 1.

“We recognize that there are problems with Civil Service and should incorporate it right into our report to the state,” he said.

Post agreed, adding that the chance to see a change would be possible “if we can get 5 percent (of Genesee County residents) to support some kind of petition to address this as a vital component of what they’re asking us to do here. We need to strike while the iron is hot … as the whole system is corrupt and obsolete.”

County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said she supports moving on this immediately.

“Right now is the time, with the leadership in Albany, to grab a hold of this and update the entire process of Civil Service,” she said.

Committee member Gary Maha, former Genesee County sheriff, said Civil Service would be a “very difficult nut to crack” and called upon the New York State Association of Counties, Conference of Mayors, county managers and city managers … “to get the attention of our (state) legislature.”

Sheron and Undersheriff Brad Mazur opened the meeting by presenting an outline of three areas mentioned in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order on police reform – Violence Prevention & Reduction Intervention, Model Policies and Guidelines Promulgated by the NYS Municipal Police Training Council, and Standards Promulgated by the NYS Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

  • Violence Prevention & Intervention

This involves removing or reducing underlying causes and risk factors, such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, gang activity, illegal weapons possession and domestic conflicts.

The sheriff’s office currently works with professionals from several sectors in this effort, including the YWCA, Genesee County Mental Health, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, school resource officers, Crisis Intervention Team, PAARI (Public Safety Assisted Addiction and Recover Initiative), Independent Living Continuum of Care and Criminal Justice Advisory Council.

  • Model Policies & Guidelines

The sheriff’s office follows Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) model policy – as well as policies of other accredited law enforcement agencies -- in various aspects of police operation.

Not every model policy is suited to adoption by every agency, Sheron said. Many agencies develop their own policies and procedures by studying model policies from many sources, and by studying actual policies being successfully used by other law enforcement agencies around the country.

  • Standards Promulgated by the NYS Accreditation

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Department has been an accredited agency with the New York State Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation Council (LEAAC) since 2000, and currently is accredited through November 2025.

The sheriff's office has developed a Citizen Comment Form for positive comments, as well as legitimate concerns and/or constructive criticism, regarding the Sheriff’s Office or Sheriff’s personnel. 

The next meeting of the Genesee County Police Reform Collaborative is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 19.

January 4, 2021 - 8:14pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received 166 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield)
      • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • One hundred and forty one of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Eleven of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Three of the new positive cases are residents at the Batavia VA Medical Center.
  • Two of the new positive cases are residents at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility.
  • One of the new positive cases is a resident at the Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
  • We are saddened to report the COVID-related deaths of two residents who did reside at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Both of the individuals were over 65 years old. We will not be releasing any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of these individuals during this difficult time.

 

  • Orleans County received 101 new positive cases of COVID-19.
  • The new positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • Eight of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Sixty five of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Sixteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • We are saddened to report the death of one of our community members. The individual was over 65 years old. We will not report any other details out of respect for the person and their family. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this person during this very difficult time.

Genesee County's seven-day average positivity rate is 12.4 percent.

covidchartjan42020.png

January 4, 2021 - 6:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, east bethany, Pavilion.

Juan M. Mendez, 20, of Holley, no address provided, is charged with first-degree rape -- sexual intercourse with another person who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless. It is alleged that at midnight on Sept. 4 on Batavia Stafford Townline Road, in Batavia, that Mendez had sexual intercourse with a female who was incapable of consent due to her level of intoxication, rendering her helpless. He was put in Genesee County Jail following his arrest and arraignment and his bail was set at $2,500 cash or $10,000 bond. Mendez is due in Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 28. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Office Investigator Joseph Loftus.

William Richard Kapelke, 38, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal obstruction of breathing. On Dec. 31, he was arrested after the investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 8 a.m. on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia. It is alleged that Kapelke choked a female durihg a verbal and physical altercation, and that this occurred in the presence of the victim's child, who is under the age of 17. He was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released on his own recognizance. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Tower, assisted by Deputy Mathew Clor.

Dylan S. Pehrson, 18, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal mischief in the fourth degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; grand larceny in the fourth degree; and third-degree robbery. The arrest follows a domestic incident that occurred at 3:06 p.m. Dec. 20 on Franklin Street. It is alleged that the defendant forcibly took items from the victim and broke property at the residence. After arraignment in Batavia City Court, Pehrson was released on their own recognizance and is due back in city court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Joanne K. Harper, 56, of Pavilion, no address provided, is charged with: failure to keep right; driving while ability impaired by drugs; and driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol. At 3:27 p.m. on Dec. 20, the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a two-car head-on collision with injury on Old State Road near Silver Lake Road in the Town of Covington. It was also reported that one of the drivers was trapped and could not get out of the vehicle. Responding deputies observed two vehicles that had collided on the north shoulder of the westbound lane on a blind curve. Deputies freed the entrapped driver and both drivers were medically evaluated by Perry and Monroe ambulance medics. The eastbound vehicle appeared to have swerved into the westbound lane, causing the head-on collision. The driver of the eastbound vehicle, Harper, was given field sobriety testing and arrested. She was taken to Attica Police Department for evaluation by the NYS certified Drug Recognition Expert, who reported that she was allegedly under the influence of multiple drugs and could not operate a vehicle safely. Harper is due in Town of Covington at a later date. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Harding.

Morgan Elizabeth Rector, 21, of Pickthorn Drive, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. She was arrested after an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred on Pickthorn Drive at 2:53 p.m on Dec. 27. It is alleged that she damaged property. Following her arrest, she was released on an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Feb. 23. The case was handled by Bataiva Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

Cassandra M. D'arconte, 22, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and criminal contempt in the first degree. She was arrested on Dec. 23 after the investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 4:31 p.m. that day on North Street. It is alleged that she violated an order of protection that was issued the same day. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Juctice. D'arconte is due back in city court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Taylor M. Peyman, 29, of Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent or more; unsafe backing; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; and DWI -- common law. On Dec. 19, Peyman was arrested after an investigation into an accident that occurred at 8:20 p.m. in the area of Jackson Square. Peyman was released with appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on March 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman.

Tammy Rene Daigler was arrested at 3:55 a.m. on Jan. 1 on Wiard Street in the City of Batavia for driving while intoxicated -- first offense. She was stopped for a vehicle and traffic law violation and, following an investigation, allegedly found to be impaired by alcohol and to have a suspended driver's license. She is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy James Stack and City of Batavia Police.

Michael Shane Lytle, 31, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- with a previous conviction, and unlawfully selling fireworks with a value of $500 or more. He was arrested at 12:03 p.m. on Dec. 21 on State Street after an investigation by Genesee County Probation Department and city police. It is alleged that he possessed an illegal metal knuckle knife and more than $500 worth of illegal fireworks. He was arraigned in Genesee County Jail virtually by Batavia City Court and released inder supervision of Genesee Justice. Lytle is due to return to city court on Feb. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Austin Hedges.

Casey Thomas Vaughn, 31, of Prune Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Vaughn was arrested on Dec. 28 after an investigation into a larceny that occurred Dec. 20 at 5:08 p.m. at the Mobile Gas Station on East Main Street in Batavia. It is alleged the defendant stole products from the convenience store. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Sean Wilson.

Richard J. Burdick, 42, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested on Dec. 26 after allegedly stealing a shipping cart full of goods from Tops Market in Batavia at 10:29 a.m. He was processed on scene and released with an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court on Feb. 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen

Robert C. Strollo, 60, of Bethany Center Road, East Bethany, was arrested by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post after Strollo turned himself in on a bench warrant for petit larceny out of Batavia City Court.

January 4, 2021 - 6:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Human Services Committee, genesee county legislature.

The manner in which the first group set to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has grown in recent days makes one wonder whether the butcher, baker and candlestick maker will be the next ones to be added to the list.

Paul Pettit, public health director for Genesee and Orleans counties, today said the roster of the 1A prioritization group is “very fluid and keeps expanding, and it seems like every day.”

Speaking at the Genesee County Legislature’s Human Services Committee meeting via Zoom videoconferencing, Pettit said the 1A group now includes health-related professionals well beyond those initially identified as the most essential of the “essential” workers.

“You may recall seeing a week or two ago (that 1A) was really targeted at EMS (Emergency Medical Services) workers, frontline healthcare workers and coroners, medical examiners, funeral home directors,” he said. “Since that time, the list has grown fairly substantially, which now includes private medical practices, hospital affiliated medical practices, public health workers, dentists, other dialysis workers, diagnostic treatment centers, and also includes occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, behavioral health workers and student health workers.”

Pettit noted that other frontline health workers, home healthcare aides and related providers are in the process of being added into the first group.

“As you can see it has grown fairly large over the last week or two (and) that could change tomorrow. So, we’re currently working again with the hospital and Oak Orchard Health, which is the former Pembroke Family Medicine, … to start to vaccinate the different groups that I just mentioned under the 1A prioritization,” he said.

Pettit said the vaccine is “starting to roll out” at United Memorial Medical Center.

“They’re holding pods actually today and a couple other days this week,” he said. “We’ll be getting the vaccine hopefully tomorrow – smaller amounts – and we will be starting to work on the 1A priority group. Obviously, day by day as more vaccine comes in to the community and more providers start to come online, it will speed things up.”

Pettit reiterated what he said during a media briefing last week (as reported by The Batavian) that it will take a couple weeks to meet the demand – especially as the 1A list continues to grow.

“The focus is on the 1As and keep in mind, that once we get the 1As done, we will have to start over with their second shot as the vaccination series is 28 days apart with the Moderna vaccine,” he said. “So, essentially we’re going to be giving folks their second round while we’re trying to start with the first round of the 1B essential group. It’s going to get a little muddled there about a month from now.”

He also emphasized that nursing homes throughout the state are part of program coordinated by the NYS Department of Health in conjunction with pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens.

“They’ve gone in and have been vaccinating nursing home residents and staff. That is not anything that we have had any oversight … that is being done strictly through the state DOH,” he said.

In action related to the local health department’s efforts to COVID test, contact trace and vaccinate, the Human Services Committee approved three resolutions during today’s meeting:

  • A memorandum of understanding with the state DOH to ensure the proper distribution and administration of the vaccine by the Genesee County Health Department. The MOU is subject to ratification and approval by the full County Legislature.

“The governor is cracking down on this (adherence to making sure the vaccine is given per the state-mandate prioritization),” Pettit said. “At the moment, it (vaccine) is a scarce commodity; there’s not a lot of it out there yet and there’s a high demand for it.”

Pettit, again, talked about the stiff penalties that could be imposed, including the loss of the provider’s medical license and fines of up to $1 million for failure to comply.

“That is why that MOU … is being put in place,” he said. “It’s basically us attesting as a receiver of the vaccine that we – the county – will follow the state guidelines.”

  • The creation of two temporary full-time COVID-19 response specialist positions to assist the health department with testing, contact tracing and vaccination.

Each job, which will be in force for six months beginning Jan. 18, carries a salary and fringe benefits totaling $40,388, with those expenses to be paid with a combination of state aid reimbursement and Medicaid to State funds.

  • Acceptance of a $35,000 grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials to the health department for contact tracing, overtime and testing expenses.

Pettit said the money isn’t enough “to carry us through to the finish line” but expects more funding to be available as a result of the passage of the federal stimulus bill.

“We have a monumental task ahead of us "over the next four to six months,” he said.

In other news, the committee reported that the Orleans County Legislature reappointed Pettit as its public health director per the two counties’ municipal agreement.

January 4, 2021 - 4:50pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is calling on his colleagues in the Legislature to reject Assembly Bill 416, which would give the Governor or his surrogates the authority to detain individuals determined to be a threat to public health. Hawley opposes this legislation as he believes it to be unconstitutional and in violation of the right to due process.

“This bill is unconstitutional on its face and disregards all basic concepts of due process that make us free in this country,” Hawley said. “Protecting the health of our neighbors is a noble goal to be certain, but this bill forfeits our constitutional liberty in a way we can never allow.

"This is yet another piece of legislation from a downstate member of the Majority that blatantly disregards the constitution and causes people to distrust their government. People being detained on a whim just isn’t something that should ever happen in our country, and I will do everything I can to stop the passage of this dystopian legislation.”

January 4, 2021 - 4:40pm
posted by Press Release in Western Problem Gambling Resource Center, news.

Press release:

The new year symbolizes fresh starts and new beginnings. People use January as a benchmark to reprioritize their lives, and with the unique challenges that last year brought, many of us are looking ahead with even more fervor.

Something that 2020 brought clearly into focus is the importance of mental wellness. A variety of factors can impact mental health, including thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Problems related to gambling can influence each of those components. If gambling, yours or someone else’s, has negatively affected you, know that you are not alone and there is support.

Nearly 668,000 New Yorkers have experienced a gambling problem in the past year. The effects can include sleep issues, strain on relationships with loved ones, financial problems and increased alcohol or drug use. People who struggle with problem gambling are also at a higher risk for other mental health problems. Two out of three individuals reported that their mental health suffered as a result of their gambling. Gambling disorder may also occur with other existing conditions like anxiety, depression, mood disorder or personality disorder.

Emotional and psychological distress is not exclusive to just the person gambling either – each of those individuals can affect up to 10 of the closest people in their lives. A study found that nine out of 10 people impacted by someone else’s gambling problems felt emotional distress. Between the people gambling and their close friends and family, nearly 6.7 million New Yorkers are affected by problem gambling and may experience mental health issues because of it.

Most importantly, help is available if you or someone you love has been exhibiting warning signs of a gambling problem, such as being absent from activities with friends or loved ones because of gambling; feeling stressed or anxious when not gambling; low work performance due to absence or preoccupation with gambling; or lying to family and friends about how much money and time is spent on gambling. January is a great time to reach out to the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC).

The Western PGRC is here to help anyone who is looking to reprioritize their lives and overcome the problems that gambling has caused. Private-practice counselors, behavioral health and treatment facilities, recovery groups and other community services throughout Western New York make up a vast referral network.

When people call (716) 833-4274 or email [email protected], they confidentially connect with a knowledgeable PGRC staff person who will listen to and connect them with the resources that best meet their needs.

Whether you are ready to get help, or you are just curious about your options, call us today. We’re here to help.

Top Items on Batavia's List

The Genesee County Agricultural Society is seeking competitive bids from competent, licensed contractors, including MWBEs, for both, high-voltage and low-voltage electrical services, to be performed at the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia, New York.

Fairgrounds Electrical Infrastructure Competitive Bid Request Batavia, N.Y. NOTICE: The Genesee County Agricultural Society is seeking competitive bids from competent, licensed contractors, including MWBEs, for both, high-voltage and low-voltage electrical services, to be performed at the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia, New York. The work will entail replacing a main-gang switch with pole, replacing wiring, boxes, and lighting with high efficiency LED fixtures, and adding specialized ventilation equipment.

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