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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.


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.

January 4, 2021 - 1:13pm

Press release:

After successfully securing in July an amendment to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which expanded the list of diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced Jan. 3 that the FY2021 NDAA included his amendment, which officially authorizes $8 billion in new benefits for vets suffering from Agent Orange-linked illnesses.

Schumer explained that upon the president’s signature, nearly 240,000 veterans around the country who might be suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and parkinsonism will be able to access healthcare and benefits, numbers that have expanded because of the senator’s amendment associating additional diseases with exposure to the herbicide commonly referred to as Agent Orange.

“After years and years of suffering and fighting, I proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with our Vietnam Vets who were exposed to Agent Orange to get Congress to finally take a major step forward so they get access to the medical care they need,” said Senator Schumer. “It’s taken far too long, but I join veterans across the country in celebrating today as a victory for those who put their lives on the line finally getting the healthcare they deserve.”

Schumer added, “I’m especially proud today to have expanded access to this incoming influx of benefits by securing an amendment that adds bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to THE LIST of diseases associated with Agent Orange. Our veterans did not hesitate in the face of danger to fight for our country, and we must not nickel and dime them as they fight for their health now.”

The senator has fought for years to not only secure funding for Agent Orange-affected veterans’ health benefits, but also to increase the number of veterans who have access to those benefits. Earlier this year, Schumer unveiled his plan to add an expansion of the illnesses associated with exposure to "Agent Orange" to the NDAA.

The senator has previously visited Staten Island, Rochester, Albany, Utica, Dunkirk, Wallkill, and Ithaca to meet with Vietnam vets and advocate for an expansion of the associated illnesses list. Schumer said that the nation’s Vietnam veterans – more than 240,000 of whom are in New York – who were exposed to Agent Orange, have been calling on the feds to expand the list of diseases associated with the herbicide exposure.

Schumer added "I am proud to have helped our Vietnam vets cut through bureaucratic red-tape and with only the president’s signature needed, New York’s vets are closer than ever to getting the medial access they deserve.”

Schumer emphasized the importance of adding added bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the list of diseases associated with ‘Agent Orange’ exposure, and reiterated just how long this fight has been waged. Last year, the Senator secured a provision in the budget deal requiring OMB and the VA to issue a detailed report to Congress on the delay in adding these conditions to the presumptive conditions list, BUT the report was woefully insufficient and Schumer said those agencies failed to properly explain why they were denying veterans. In addition to the failure to include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism on the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list, the VA has never acted on a 2018 National Academies report that found sufficient evidence of association between exposure to herbicides and hypertension.

Schumer also explained that per the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the VA automatically accepts that if a Vietnam Veteran physically served in Vietnam between January 1962 and May 1975, it is probable that the veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent like Agent Orange.

Furthermore, the Act established a list of “presumed” diseases that the VA stipulates are caused by Agent Orange exposure. Therefore, if a veteran served in Vietnam at any time between 1962-1975 and is diagnosed with one or more of the diseases VA recognizes as service connected, the VA will compensate the veteran and his or her family. However, even though there has been scientific evidence linking Parkinsonism, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism to Agent Orange exposure, they are not currently on the VA’s list of recognized presumptive conditions.

Schumer said if an Agent Orange-related condition isn’t specifically listed on the presumptive conditions list then the VA forces the suffering veterans and their families to argue their claim in a lengthy, bureaucratic appeals process that can last years and often end in a denial. In many cases the veteran will die before the process is even concluded.

Schumer said veterans shouldn’t have to wage their own war to gather the scientific facts and medical opinions about hypothyroidism in order to receive the care and benefits needed to treat the illnesses they contracted because they served our nation. Schumer said that is absolutely crucial that thousands of Vietnam-era veterans in New York State receive the healthcare benefits they need and deserve, and final passage of his amendment in the NDAA will allow that to happen.

January 4, 2021 - 12:39pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.

Scott Gibson rolled a 300 game this past week in the Wednesday Men's Handicap League at Rose Garden Bowl -- the first at the Bergen bowling center after several perfect games at the former Scopano's Lanes in his hometown of Oakfield.

The 55-year-old right-hander started with 12 strikes in a row on lanes 1-2 before posting games of 231 and 199 for a 730 series. He is averaging 220 in the league after posting a 223 average last season.

In other action, Tony Sprague of Batavia fired a 299 game on Sunday in the T.F. Brown's Adult-Child League at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

Last season, Sprague, 18, rolled a 300 game as a youth bowler at Medina Lanes. He now is bowling as an adult.

For more high scores around the Genesee Region, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

January 4, 2021 - 9:26am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after being sworn into the 117th Congress today.

“Serving Western New York has been the honor of a lifetime," Jacobs said. "I am looking forward to a productive new term and working to tackle pressing regional and national priorities. My focus will be on rebuilding Western New York’s economy, supporting small businesses and farmers, and investing in new infrastructure -- including rural broadband.

"I also know there is much work left to be done as we defeat COVID-19, especially securing vital aid for our local governments. I want to thank Western New York and the great people of NY-27 for putting their trust in me. I pledge to put you and the United States Constitution first, and continue to uphold my commitment to serve with honor and integrity.”

January 4, 2021 - 9:24am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA: 

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.26, up 1 cent from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.59. The New York State average is $2.33 – up 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.72. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.27 (up 2 cents since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.26 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.30 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.30 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.38 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.28 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.36 (no change since last week)

Upward price movement at the state level has pushed the national gas price average up to the highest level since stay-at-home guidance was issued in mid-March. This is the result of higher oil prices -- crude oil pricing reached the highest levels since February.

The month of December has seen the biggest pump price jump of any month this year, ending with a national average of 11 cents higher than it began. Despite low demand, pump prices are more expensive because crude oil has seen steady gains. However, gas prices remain much lower than one year ago.

January 4, 2021 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

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  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
January 4, 2021 - 8:53am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, sports.


Jake Rosenbeck of Medina, bowling in just his third scratch singles event, captured the 67th Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament on Sunday with a 233-212 victory over top-seeded Matt Balduf of Batavia.

Rosenbeck, a strong right-hander with a high-powered release, struck on six of his last eight deliveries – including three strikes in the 10th frame – to close out Balduf for the $600 first prize.

Balduf was the tournament’s high qualifier with an 893 four-game series on Sunday morning, and followed that up with an 882 four-game series in the semifinals to earn the No. 1 seed. He earned $340.

The two-day tournament drew 58 entries – up from 37 when it was held at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion last year. Thirteen of the bowlers – five from the Saturday 12:30 p.m. squad, four from the Saturday 4 p.m. squad and four from the Sunday 10 a.m. squad -- advanced to the semifinals.

Rosenbeck, 34, a manufacturing group leader at General Motors in Rochester, qualified off the Saturday 12:30 p.m. squad with 859 for four games and then posted 778 in the semifinals to earn the No. 3 seed for the five-bowler stepladder finals.

In the first match, four-time champion Scott Culp of Honeoye Falls defeated 18-year-old Dennis Van Duser of Perry, 231-170, before dropping a 209-185 decision to Rosenbeck.

Rosenbeck then knocked off second-seeded Brady Weber of Perry, 224-186, before meeting Balduf in the title match.

The 25-year-old Weber, who rolled a 275 final game in the semifinals to advance, won $260, while defending champion Culp, 42, pocketed $225 and Van Duser won $200.

He said he was expecting a challenging oil pattern – which it was – and had the mindset to not give away the 1-3 pocket and pick his spares.

“I knew that it was going to be a tough condition out there – as it should be for a scratch tournament -- and I was just trying to make my spares – fill the frames,” Rosenbeck said. “I figured that being on the plus side of 800 after four games would put me in a pretty good spot.”

Using a Roto-Grip Halo throughout the tournament, he played around the third arrow, staying behind the ball for maximum forward revolutions.

“My game is up and in -- not to covering a lot of boards – and that’s where I get my best carry,” he said. “The big hook is not my game. I try to stay behind the ball and not get around it too much.”

The stepladder finals featured a variety of styles – Rosenbeck staying behind the ball; Balduf off the side more; Weber utilizing the contemporary pro release; Culp as the prototypical power player; and Van Duser, a two-hander.

Rosenbeck competed in the tournament last year, but didn’t make the cut. He finished in second place two years ago in the GRUSBC Masters at (then) Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield.

He and his wife, Kayla, have a son, Henry, almost 2, and are expecting another child in April. He bowls in the Thursday Firefighters League at Medina Lanes.

Balduf, 52, registered several big games, including 253 in qualifying (his 893 was good for a $25 bonus) and 259 and 269 in the semifinals.

Geoff Harloff of Batavia, the leader of the Saturday 4 p.m. squad with 872, fell one pin short of tying Van Duser and Culp for the fourth and fifth spots in the stepladder finals – shooting 771 in the semis. He earned $130.

Mickey Hyde of Le Roy placed seventh at 765 in the semifinal round and won $120.

Other cashers were Brian Weber of Perry, $110; Mike Pettinella of Batavia, $105; Mike Johnson of Batavia, $100; Don Parrott of Warsaw, $95; Chris Huntz of Castile, $90, and Kevin Reigle of Elba, $90.

For tournament statistics, go to www.bowlgr.com.

The Genesee Region USBC Masters is scheduled for Feb. 13-14 at Letchworth Pines in Portageville.

Photo: From left, Jake Rosenbeck, Matt Balduf, Brady Weber, Scott Culp and Dennis Van Duser. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

January 3, 2021 - 1:59pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in nostalgia, batavia, news, history, urban renewal, downtown, main street.

I always have been a follower of Hallmark movies due to their storyline's simplicity and happy endings. What I think that most intrigued me was when the main characters always seemed to go home to save a part of their town, from historic buildings to Main streets.

These stories always take me back to our Downtown. I've written many articles about urban renewal, its history, why it happened, and how it happened.

But it never illustrates the sadness we endured or the memories we cherish.

Watching a Hallmark movie with its predictable ending always makes me think about going home or being home in Batavia.

Many of these movies take me back to the '60s and the daily ritual of walking home from Notre Dame High School. As my best friend and I would cross Union Street to Main Street, our first stop would always be the Red Barn for a little snack. The next stop would be Oliver's for Molly Pops.

It was a simple time, but the memories of walking down Main Street are as vivid today as they were in the '60s.

The big red brick square building on the corner of Court Street and Main Street always intrigued me.

I knew it must have been a hotel, and standing on our tiptoes, looking at the dusty lobby always made me curious about that building.

Many years later, as I was researching the hotel, I returned to that window scene imprinted in my mind, imagining people dancing and eating in that beautiful Richmond Hotel, named after the famous Dean Richmond family.

I think some of my favorite memories were shopping. I love the clothes of the '60s. Favorite places to shop were Alexander’s Clothing Store and C.L. Carr's department store. It was always so much fun to go into the stores and look at the newest styles.

Being a Notre Dame student, we had to wear the ugliest uniforms.

What were they thinking by having the girls wear a bolero? So, the idea of getting new clothes was a big deal.

 Alexander's on the north side of Main Street had a section in the store called The Barn. It was like walking into a teenager’s fashion dream, showcasing all the newest styles.

When I was a freshman, there was a dance called the Christmas Dance, and I remember buying my dress from The Barn.

It was pink, and since this was my first dance (I was 14), and my dad being a dad, he made me add a big black velvet bow to the neckline of the dress. I always thought that was funny since I weighed about 93 pounds.

I also remember in my senior year buying my formal for our senior prom at Alexander's.

I can't forget my other favorite store on the south side of Main Street, C. L. Carr. It was like entering into many little departments that, together, created a building where you could buy almost anything.

I loved their clothes. Somehow, there was a deal with my parents, or I should say with my mom, that I could take home clothes on approval.

That was always exciting because I could pick out my favorite clothes and take them home and show my mom, and hopefully, I could keep one or two of them.

My mother would say, "Don't show your father today; wait a few days, and the day your father asks 'When did you get that new outfit?' you can say, 'Oh, I’ve had it awhile, Dad.' ”

Since we had to wear such attractive uniforms one year, the store sold mohair sweaters that we could thankfully wear over our school uniform. I didn't care that I was allergic to wool. I would wear that sweater, so did my best friend, Cathy. I think she might've had a blue sweater and I had a pink one. I loved that sweater.

I have so many memories of that fantastic store in which you could buy a particular card, vacuum cleaner, a rug, sewing supplies, pots and pans, and have gifts wrapped all year long.

I can remember buying my wedding gown in 1974 with my mom, another memory I will cherish.

It was the way the sales clerk treated you with such kindness and respect that left such a remarkable impression. I picked out our everyday dishes and "good china” at Carr’s.

They also had a travel agency kiosk called Travelore on their first floor where we bought our honeymoon tickets. You really could find everything in that store. 

Years later, I had my first child and couldn't wait to buy baby clothes.

I also would buy gifts for other friends and relatives, and somehow the sales clerks at the store knew if that new baby had already received the gift I had picked out.

When our daughter was in high school, she was one of the Christmas wrappers in the store's basement.  

With their fake snow and predictable storylines, Hallmark movies take me back to my hometown to remember what it was like before it was taken away.

The one thing the wrecking ball couldn't take away are the treasured memories of my hometown Main Street.


1) (Top) Demolition of Downtown Batavia in the name of urban renewal, courtesy of Genesee County History Department;

2) Red brick building -- Hotel Richmond, courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum;

3) Hotel Richmond lobby, coustesy of the Genesee County History Department;

4) Notre Dame High School class photo of girls wearing boleros, from a ND yearbook;

5) Anne Marie Peca in her Senior Prom formal from Alexander's clothing store, courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz;

6) Anne Marie Peca wedding photo, courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz;

7) C. L. Carr store drawing, Pat Burr;

​8) (Bottom) Main Street Downtown Batavia, courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum.

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