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August 21, 2021 - 11:10am

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The owner of Save-A-Lot at 45-47 Ellicott St., seeing the improvements his landlord was making to the downtown building, said he figured the time was right to create a “fresh, modern” look to the grocery store that will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in December.

“When we heard that Victor (VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc. President Victor Gautieri) was going to update the building -- putting apartments on top of the store -- we decided to extend our lease and renovate our location here,” said John Hedlund, a Niagara Falls resident and owner of five Save-A-Lot stores in Western New York,

“We put about $300,000 into it, giving it a fresh, modern feel; a new décor package and new life.”

So, while the Gautieri company was completing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project that resulted in 10 market-rate apartments on the second floor (and continues to prepare another 18,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor), Hedlund went to work on updating the grocery store.

Hedlund, who is in a partnership with William Larson of Pennsylvania, the former owner of the Corfu IGA store, provided details of the changes while giving The Batavian a tour of the store earlier this week.

“We shortened up the hallway to the entrance of the store, and we’ve expanded our produce, meats, dairy and frozen food items throughout the store,” he said. “New windows on the front give it more of a grocery-store look, plus we’ve replaced a lot of equipment and we added new lighting and paint.”

In the grocery business for 44 of his 60 years, Hedlund said he likes Save-A-Lot’s new branding and signage, and is pleased with the results of his decision to shorten the aisles and add a center aisle.

“By doing this, it gives customers the opportunity to not be crowded in the aisles, so they have room to step aside and not be pushed around,” he said. “It just gives everyone more space. We’ve done this with all of our stores, and it really ended up being a positive thing for everyone.”

Hedlund owns Save-A-Lot stores in Le Roy (which underwent remodeling recently), Albion (which open three years ago), Salamanca (his first store, which also has been renovated) and his hometown of Niagara Falls.

The Batavia store consists of 18,000 square feet, with two-thirds of it as retail space, Hedlund said. He said that he hopes other businesses come to the location, noting that the increased traffic would help to offset the loss of the store’s “in and out” business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That and other factors such as a minimum wage increase and rising inflation have resulted in higher prices.

“Yes, we’re starting to see that, but we’re trying to maintain the retail pricing as low as possible,” he said. “We’re competitively priced … as we don’t have to carry a lot of items that just sit on the shelves and cost money. We look for terms and we have a lot of buying power through Save-A-Lot as they have 1,000 stores, so that keeps our costs down.”

A licensee, Hedlund said he is qualified to buy through Save-A-Lot and outside vendors, including produce from local farmers.

The store employs about 18 people, including two full-time butchers, a full-time produce manager and full-time operations manager.

“We fresh cut our meats every day and we also offer grab-and-go deli meats on a daily basis,” Hedlund said.

Hedlund said a four-day sales promotion each month will begin on Sept. 4.

“There will be hot sales on produce and meat selections for four days – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – each month for a while,” he said. “We will be promoting that heavily.”

The store is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Previously (from December 2011): Entrepreneurs saw Batavia needed a grocery store downtown, so they opened one

Photo at top: Save-A-Lot owner John Hedlund next to the new produce display at the Ellicott Street grocery store. Photos at bottom: Expanded center aisle; grab-and-go deli section; frozen foods and dairy section; employee Corey McKenzie cashes out customer Gary Capuano of Batavia. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

August 20, 2021 - 10:18pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

“Both Genesee and Orleans Counties are now in a high level of community transmission according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view),” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health).  “Genesee and Orleans Counties are currently at 99 active cases.  We are also reporting eleven hospitalizations between the two counties, with eight in Genesee and three in Orleans. All of these hospitalizations are community members across the age spectrum and not nursing home residents. The majority are unvaccinated.”

We encourage everyone to follow the public health prevention precautions as noted below.  It is important for those who are not currently vaccinated to talk with their primary care provider to determine whether getting vaccinated is right for them.  “The best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 or health complications from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.  The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective,” stated Pettit. 

Per the CDC recommendations for communities with the high spread of COVID-19, we encourage everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear masks when indoors in public and when at crowded outdoor settings.

  • Everyone should continue practicing the following public health prevention precautions: 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • If water is not readily available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Wash and sanitize frequently shared/touched items.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wear a face mask indoors in public and crowded outdoor settings. 
  • Monitor your health daily and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms.
  • Get tested if you are experiencing symptoms and self-isolate until you get your results back. If you test positive for COVID, you are to isolate for 10 days. 

For up to date data, GO Health updates the Emerging Issues page of the website (https://gohealthny.org/emerging-issues/) on Mondays and Thursdays and posts the data on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages (GOHealthNY is the user name for each of these platforms). 

The Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming County Health Departments COVID-19 Case and Vaccination Tracker is updated daily (https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/5f8401b0516247b490934303e3975e49/)

August 20, 2021 - 10:09pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Chris Jacobs, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after the Biden administration announced yet another extension of the U.S. – Canadian border restrictions until at least September 21st, 2021.

“Extending the closure of the U.S. – Canada border again without answers demonstrates the sheer inability of this administration to adequately plan or provide transparent answers to the American people. Our shared border should have been open months ago. This administration’s failure to do so has forced our small businesses to suffer economically from another missed tourism season, and more heartbreaking, they have prolonged the suffering of thousands of families. 

“Enough is enough. The President needs to stop passing the buck and reopen the U.S. – Canada border immediately.

The Department of Homeland Security extended the current restrictions on land travel from Canada to the United States until September 21st, 2021. The border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 2020. On August 9th, 2021 Canada began allowing fully vaccinated Americans into the country. 

Jacobs introduced the Northern Border Reopening Transparency Act in June to force the Biden administration to provide answers to Congress and the American people on its efforts to reopen the U.S. – Canada border.
 

August 20, 2021 - 8:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, accident.

A go kart has reportedly hit a pedestrian at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

A head injury is reported. 

Mercy EMS responding

UPDATE 9:07 p.m.: Town of Batavia back in service. A patient is being transported to UMMC.

August 20, 2021 - 3:10pm

Le Roy Town Supervisor Jim Farnholz put an athletic competition spin on news that Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc. will not be building a $500 million, 486,000-square-foot processing facility on land adjacent to the Le Roy Food & Tech Park on Route 19 north of the village.

“You know what, as a coach would say, ‘When somebody goes down, it’s the next man up – that’s how I look at it,” said Farnholz, speaking by telephone today.

Word that the Ohio-based cheese manufacturer is looking elsewhere – reportedly at a 130-acre site in the Cattaraugus County towns of Farmersville and Franklinville – reached Farnholz over the past couple days. However, he said, the Le Roy Town Board has done much to set the stage for another company to come in.

“We’re going to request some of the archaeological work and some of the site planning if Great Lakes is willing to give it to us, since they have already done that,” he said. “And that would be a further incentive for another business to come in because the archaeological and some of those other things are done already.

“We checked a lot of boxes. We’ve got water, gas and electric solved, so I think that makes it more attractive for the next one on deck.”

Although Great Lakes Cheese did not submit a formal application to the Genesee County Economic Development Center to review its site plan or to request tax incentives, company representatives did check out the location and talked to individual landowners about the possibility of selling their property.

REZONING FOR FUTURE EXPANSION

Also, on July 8, the town board unanimously voted to rezone seven parcels totaling 185 acres in the north of the Le Roy Food & Tech Park – between Route 19 (Lake Street Road), West Bergen Road and Randall Road – from R-2 (Residential) to I-2 (Light Industrial) to accommodate future business expansion.

“We did everything we could and we will continue to try and attract business and industry,” Farnholz said. “In the end, there were some DEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) issues with wastewater, and I think there were some incentives that other municipalities or counties may have offered that financially weren’t available or the best idea for us or the best fit.”

The town board’s decision to rezone the parcels was made despite opposition from homeowners in that area, many of whom spoke at a public hearing prior to the vote.

One of the most outspoken against it was Eric Raines Jr., who with his girlfriend, purchased the historic Olmsted Manor and its 14 acres of woodlands on Lake Street Road. Raines’ contention was that the town’s Future Land Map showed that the area was supposed to remain “agricultural.”

Contacted today, he said, "It is what it is, and I'd like to thank anybody that supported us. I guess I'm going to be able to watch the sunset over the soybeans for at least another day."

A check of the Genesee County PROS Property Search site lists the owners of the rezone parcels as Englerth (four parcels, 123.7 acres); Sam Caccamise Estate (one parcel, 53.5 acres); Stella (one parcel, 2.8 acres), and Falcone (one parcel, 5 acres).

GCEDC OWNS TECH PARK

The GCEDC owns the vacant 71.7-acre Le Roy Food & Tech Park located to the south of all but the Falcone parcel. The park is zoned I-2.

Mark Masse, GCEDC senior vice president of operations, said his agency continues to promote the site to manufacturers, both locally and outside of New York State.

“The GCEDC is always looking for companies to locate and expand their businesses here,” he said. “It is our goal to provide the appropriate acreage and utilities that will enable these companies to pair up their operations.”

According to minutes of a June 24 board meeting of the County of Cattaraugus IDA, Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc., and Schwab Land Holdings, LLC, applied to that agency “to allow and direct the CCIDA to partner and facilitate the proposed project an action by undertaking certain studies and findings to help achieve shovel ready site status.”

Continuing, the minutes state the facility would preserve 229 jobs and would allow for additional hiring of 200 new employees.

Reportedly, the plant will also require 30,000 more cows from area dairy farms as it will be producing four million gallons of milk per day – twice as much as used at the company’s Cuba Cheese plant in Allegany County.

CCIDA CONSIDERS 25-YEAR PILOT

A letter dated July 27 from Corey Wiktor, CCIDA executive director, acknowledged receipt of the company’s application and request for financial assistance (tax incentives).

Wiktor, returning a phone call from The Batavian, said that while nothing has been finalized, the CCIDA is considering a 25-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement proposed by Great Lakes Cheese, as well as sales tax and mortgage tax abatements.

"We have not done that prior, but we have also not been a party to a proposed project of this magnitude," Wiktor said, noting that for every one manufacturing job at the site it could create six more jobs down the supply chain."

He said agency staff is doing its due diligence on the site, including flood plain and traffic studies, soil testing, and environmental and endangered species studies.

"And, like Le Roy, we've gone through some municipal rezoning, if you will. Things are progressing, but we still do not have a confirmed project or investment."

Previously: Le Roy Town Board votes to rezone parcels adjacent to Le Roy Food & Tech Park after hearing residents' concerns

August 20, 2021 - 10:11am

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A week away from cementing their place as the first tenants of the new City View Residence, Jonathan Bates said the two-bedroom apartment above Save-A-Lot on Ellicott Street provides everything that he and his brother, Jake, desire at this point in their lives.

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School graduates – Jonathan is 27 and Jake is 26 – signed a one-year lease with VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc. and are scheduled to move into their new home on Aug. 28.

Jonathan Bates (pictured above), in an interview with The Batavian on Thursday, expressed his pleasure with being the first to rent one of the 10 units that were constructed as part of the City of Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization Award initiative.

They will be living in one of the three two-bedroom apartments; the others have one bedroom.

“It’s cool to be a part of the revitalization of Batavia. This project is kind of the culmination of all the efforts that have taken place so far, and it’s exciting to be part of that,” he said. “Family members saw pictures of it (on The Batavian), and when they did, they said, ‘Jon and Jake, this is right up your alley. You’ve got to check this place out.’”

Bates said the monthly rent for the market rate apartment is well worth it, considering the modern and varied furnishing, and the access to downtown businesses.

“You go up there and each space, each unit has a unique view of the city, the downtown life,” he offered. “You take a look around where we are and we’ve got gyms, restaurants, banks – everything within walking distance. And a (grocery) store right down here on the first floor. It’s worth every penny.”

The brothers work for the same company in the construction management field.

“Being in the industry, I know exactly what VJ Gautieri has been going through to open this place up, and all the challenges in the industry right now with getting material and labor shortages due to COVID. But they have done a fantastic job getting this thing done on schedule,” Bates said.

He said they were put in contact with Victor Gautieri, president of VJ Gautieri Constructors, and, after receiving a tour, signed on the dotted line.

“We were sold immediately,” he noted.

When asked if he sees himself as a millennial, part of a group born from 1981-1996 that is said to be enthralled with city living, Bates said he didn’t pay much attention to categories.

“To be honest with you, I don’t even know what I’d be considered,” he replied.

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY IN HAND

Gautieri reported that City of Batavia Code Enforcement Officer Ron Panek issued the facility’s certificate of occupancy last week.

“Mr. Panek did a complete inspection of the facility, and we also had to provide several documents, including an elevator inspection certificate, fire alarm system certificate, sprinkler system certificate and an electrical certificate showing that the wiring was inspected by a third-party,” Gautieri said.

He said Panek did a “complete walk-through,” as did Batavia Fire Department officers to familiarize themselves with the facility.

The certificate of occupancy came about a year after Gautieri secured the additional financing needed to complete the $3.1 million project.

Gautieri said he is in the process of reviewing applications and scheduling tours for those who are interested in learning more about the apartments. For more information, contact the VJ Gautieri Constructors’ office at 585-343-0852.

Previously: A first look: City View Residences (aka Ellicott Place) on the second floor of Save-A-Lot building

August 20, 2021 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, pembroke.

Gabriel Otis Houlihan, 19, of North Angling Road, Pembroke, is chargerd with DWI, driving with a BAC 0f .08 or greater, and moving from lane unsafely.  Johnston was arrested on Thursday in connection with an allegation that on July 18 at 5:35 a.m. he was driving drunk while on Peral Street Road, Batavia.  The arresting officer is Deputy Zachary Hoy.

Grand Jury Indictment: James J. Santiago, Jr., is indicated on counts of failure to register a change of adress as a sex offender and failure to sign verification form/confirm address. Santiago is accused of failing to register between October 2020 and February 2021.Grand Jury Indictment: James J. Santiago, Jr., is indicated on counts of failure to register a change of adress as a sex offender and failure to sign verification form/confirm address. Santiago is accused of failing to register between October 2020 and February 2021.

August 20, 2021 - 9:13am
posted by Billie Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Press release:

After 30 years of service, Sergeant John L. Baiocco worked his last shift yesterday at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.  He will be retired as of September 3, 2021.

Sergeant Baiocco started his career on August 19, 1991, as a Correction Officer at the Genesee County Jail.  On April 13, 1993, he was appointed a Deputy Sheriff and then was promoted to Sergeant on January 23, 2016.

During his tenure, Sergeant Baiocco was assigned to the Civil Office with the responsibilities of Warrant Officer and civil processes.  Most recently, Sergeant Baiocco is the Supervisor of the Field Training Officers and a child car seat safety technician.  His commitment in serving in numerous positions for the Deputy Sheriff’s Association illustrates his dedication and passion for his profession and fellow colleagues.  Sergeant Baiocco earned several awards that include Officer of the Year, Meritorious Service for continuous excellence, three Commendations, and Certificates of Appreciation  

“John has been a very dedicated employee, and everyone here at the Sheriff’s Office wishes him the very best in his future,” stated Sheriff Sheron

Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

August 20, 2021 - 9:09am
posted by Press Release in Tompkins Insurance Agencies, batavia, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies has been named among the Top 100 largest independent property/casualty agency in the nation by Insurance Journal.This is Tompkins Insurance Agencies’ seventh consecutive appearance on Insurance Journal’s top 100 list, with a 2021 ranking of 87thlargest.

Agencies included on Insurance Journal’s Top 100 list are ranked by total property/casualty agency revenue for 2020 and comprises only those agencies whose business is primarily retail, not wholesale.  This year’s report was published in the August 5 issue.

Tompkins Insurance operates 18 offices in western New York, six offices in central New York, and seven offices in southeastern Pennsylvania. A part of Tompkins Financial Corporation, (trading as TMP on the NYSE - MKT), the agency is affiliated with Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins VIST Bank and Tompkins Financial Advisors. It is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 different companies.

August 20, 2021 - 9:05am
posted by Press Release in master gardeners, batavia, news.

Press release:

Save the date! Saturday, September 18, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, the Genesee County Master Gardeners will be hosting their annual Fall Garden Gala at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 East Main Street in Batavia.

This plant sale features hardy garden perennials, most grown by Master Gardeners.  Fall is a good time to plant many perennials as there is still time for them to grow a strong root system before winter.  An interesting selection of house plants will also be available for sale.

Don’t forget to stop inside for the Chance Basket Auction.  You never know what treasures may appear, including unique garden art.  The Chance Basket Auction drawing will begin at 12:30 pm.

Learn how to artfully arrange flowers fresh from the garden as talented Master Gardeners create arrangements and bouquets right before your eyes!  These beautiful flower arrangements will be available for sale.

The Master Gardener Helpline will also be open to answer your gardening questions. Not sure what your garden pH is? Bring in a soil sample for FREE pH testing.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great plants at great prices. Arrive at 10 am for the best plant selection.  No early birds please.

Proceeds from the sale benefit the educational outreach of the Genesee County Master Gardener Program.

We will be following CDC guidance that is available at the time of the event.  Thank you for your cooperation and support!

For more information contact Jan Beglinger at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 132, or stop by the Extension office at 420 East Main Street in Batavia.  Visit our website at: http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/eventsfor more information.  Like us on our Facebook page for Gala and other Master Gardener program updates: https://www.facebook.com/CCEofGenesee.

August 20, 2021 - 8:55am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is putting out the following statement and information regarding assistance to individuals trapped in Afghanistan. 
 
“My office is actively helping individuals trapped in Afghanistan, and we stand ready to aid others in need,” Jacobs said. “We are working diligently to assist NY-27 constituents and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants who are in harm’s way in Afghanistan. If you are a petitioner or a family member of someone trapped or know of someone who is, I urge you to share this contact information and reach out to my office as soon as possible.” 
 
Anyone in need of assistance in NY-27 is urged to call Congressman Jacobs’ Geneseo District Office at 585-519-4002 or the Clarence District Office at 716-634-2324. In addition, they can contact the office by visiting https://jacobs.house.gov/contact.  
 

August 20, 2021 - 8:53am
posted by Press Release in news, notify, Genesee County STOP-DWI.

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Press release: STOP DWI Impaired Driving Campaign runs Aug. 20-Sept. 6

Genesee County’s STOP-DWI Coordinator announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and Village of LeRoy Police Department will participate in a special event to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving.

Law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI Campaign will start on August 20th and will end on September 6th.  

This event is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

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

Always remember impaired driving is completely preventable.  All it takes is a little planning.

August 20, 2021 - 8:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in eel federal credit union, batavia, news.

Press release:

ESL Federal Credit Union announces the launch of the ESL First-Time Homebuyer Grant, a 10-to-1 dollar-for-dollar match, up to $10,500 toward down payment and closing costs, for eligible Black and Latino residents in Greater Rochester.

According to U.S. Census data in the Hard Facts Update released in 2020 by ACT Rochester, homeownership rates among Black and Latino residents are 32 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in the Greater Rochester nine-county region. This is compared to 73 percent among white residents in the region.

“The creation of the ESL First-Time Homebuyer Grant helps in addressing the inequitable homeownership opportunities that exist in our community,” said Faheem Masood, president and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union. “These inequitable opportunities experienced by the Black and Latino communities have existed for generations, and have stood in the way of providing these residents with access to and attainability of homeownership, the most common of wealth-building tools. Our community cannot be prosperous so long as these inequitable opportunities exist, and ESL is committed to doing our part to embedding greater equity in our community so all who call Greater Rochester home can thrive.”

The ESL First-Time Homebuyer Grant offers eligible first-time homebuyers the ability to earn $10 in grant dollars for every $1 saved over a minimum six-month savings period. The grant provides home buying educational support, a dedicated ESL Savings Account, and funds towards down payment/closing costs.

“Our goal is to make the home buying process more accessible for Black and Latino residents in our community,” said Caytie Bowser, Vice President/Director, Product Development and Management, ESL Federal Credit Union. “Closing costs and down payments are two of the biggest impediments when it comes to the homebuying process. Through this grant, we are not only able to lessen the upfront cost burden of buying a home, but ultimately set up grant participants for long-term success through first-time homebuyer education sessions and access to post-homeownership guidance.”

Grants are available annually on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible Black and Latino buyers. ESL is committed to providing 300 grants on an annual basis.

The grant funds will be made available to owner-occupied purchased properties that are located within Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties in the State of New York.

For complete details and eligibility requirements about the ESL First-Time Homebuyer Grant, visit the ESL First-Time Homebuyer Grant page on esl.org.

August 19, 2021 - 3:46pm


NEW LISTING ALERT: 15168 White City, Barre. Talk about affordable and cheaper than rent!! Here’s your chance for that home in the country with a little bit of land and not much to do! Home was recently remodeled and freshened up-features new kitchen and bath and new flooring thru out. Brand new furnace and hot water tank and newer metal roof! This home sits on a 1 acre corner lot and looks out over pretty farm country. This home is perfect for starting out or downsizing but especially for someone that is looking for quiet country living! Call Reliant Real Estate today - call 585-344-HOME (4663). Click here for more information on this listing.

 

August 19, 2021 - 3:45pm
posted by Lisa Ace in Open Houses, real estate, ZagPad..





 

Comments
August 19, 2021 - 3:23pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify.

As attorneys for both sides gear up for the possibility of a jury trial to decide former employee Michael Nolan’s civil lawsuit against Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., and its president and board chairman, the longtime WROTB director representing Genesee County says he doesn’t see “any merit” in the case.

“I don’t believe there is any merit in it,” Richard Siebert said on Wednesday, emphasizing that he was not at liberty to talk about specifics. “And I just don’t quite understand why the lawsuit seems to be singling out our CEO, Henry Wojtaszek, and our chairman of the board, Richard Bianchi. It should be filed just against the corporation, that’s all I will say.”

Siebert, an OTB director for 28 years, did offer a bit more, however, noting that the board has been expecting this suit to be filed.

“We knew that his (Nolan’s) attorney has been trying to threaten all types of lawsuits if we didn’t make some compromise … but all I can say is to my knowledge – and I am knowledgeable of the situation, there is no basis for this lawsuit,” he said.

“It will take a couple years for the courts to settle it out, but there’s no basis in my mind, whatsoever, and I don’t think the corporation is going to suffer from it.”

Nolan, the public benefit company’s former chief operating officer, was fired from his position last December. He is seeking $14.5 million in damages, according to a 23-page filing by his lawyer, Steven M. Cohen of HoganWillig, PLLC, of Buffalo, on Aug. 12 in U.S. District Court Western District of New York.

The suit names WROTB as well as Bianchi and Wojtaszek (both as individuals and in their capacities with the corporation) as defendants.

It contends that Nolan was ostracized and kept out of OTB matters since April 2019 for speaking to federal and state investigators about the corporation’s practices, including offering gold-plated health insurance for board members with political ties, misuse of professional sports tickets and luxury boxes, and awarding of contracts “to politically-connected entities associated with WROTB.”

Cohen is seeking $14.5 million in compensatory damages for his client, plus the reinstatement of Nolan to his former COO position and of full fringe benefits and seniority rights, along with damages sustained due to the violation including, without limitation, the compensation for lost wages, benefits and other remuneration, and payment of all reasonable costs, disbursements, and attorney's fees.

Responding today to an email from The Batavian, Cohen said Nolan has been punished for being honest in his replies to investigators looking into possible wrongdoing at WROTB.

“My client has been through an ordeal, all for telling the truth to the law enforcement agencies who are investigating corruption at the WROTB,” he said. “My client neither commenced the investigation, nor initiated contact with the authorities.  He is not the only one to speak with the FBI, New York State Comptroller, U.S. Attorney or (NYS) Gaming Commission.”

Cohen said that Nolan “may be the only one who disclosed to the board exactly what he told the authorities, which put them in a panic.”

“The conduct of the defendants has been despicable and we are looking forward to presenting our evidence to the judge.”

The attorney for WROTB, Daniel C. Oliverio of Hodgson Russ, Buffalo, spoke to The Batavian on Wednesday -- calling Nolan’s suit “a political hit job that’s going to fail.”

“OTB commissioned an independent lawyer to do an investigation (Terrence Connors of Connors LLP, Buffalo) – not our firm,” Oliverio said. “He interviewed I think 46 witness and the report is hundreds of pages (actually 380 pages), including Mr. Nolan himself twice for hours. He didn’t come up with one shred of evidence to support the allegations.”

Oliverio said that Nolan changed his story repeatedly.

“We examined Mr. Nolan under oath, in what is called a 50-H proceeding as we’re entitled to that per New York law,” he said. “We examined him twice under oath for several hours, and he couldn’t substantiate any of his allegations; he backtracked.”

Oliverio categorized the suit as “political nonsense from an employee who was disgruntled, and we believe it was an attempt to upset Mr. Wojtaszek and the board.”

“And, by the way, OTB has been doing very well through the pandemic and now afterwards with their various ventures. So, we think this is nothing more than a political hit job that’s going to fail.”

Going forward, Oliverio said once his clients are served, he likely will have an opportunity to make a motion to dismiss the case outright. Should that not happen, it will enter the discovery phase where depositions will be taken again, including a statement from Nolan. From there, the court could grant a summary judgment or call for a jury trial.

“Either way, it’s fine with us,” he said, adding that the court will set a schedule for him to respond, usually around 30 days. “A court is going to adjudicate this -- not Mr. Nolan or his lawyers in press conferences -- according to a jury."

Previously:  Lawsuit seeks $14.5 million for former WROTB officer

August 19, 2021 - 10:19am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, Park Road Reconstruction Project.

Catco Construction of Alden is the apparent low bidder to be the general contractor for the $4.3 million Park Road Reconstruction Project.

Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain reported a “favorable” bidding process, in which 11 applications were submitted to take the lead role in an extensive rehabilitation of the road from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98).

“We will be looking to finalize the awarding of the contract over the next month,” Mountain said, adding that construction could start this fall depending upon the availability of materials. “We’ll be doing the utility work first and then the road work.”

The project consists of the following:

  • Installation of new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road;
  • Overlaying of pavement and installation of sidewalks on one side of the road from Richmond Avenue to Route 98;
  • Installation of new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

Funding from New York State will cover most of the cost, except for the $900,000 it will take to replace the water main. The Batavia Town Board recently passed a resolution calling for the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $975,190, offset by any federal, state, county and/or local funds received.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. has agreed to pay up to $395,000 for additional property enhancements near Batavia Downs Gaming.

On another front, Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said highway crews are about 10 construction days away from completing culvert pipe on South Main Street Road at the intersection of Wortendyke Road – a project that has closed South Main Street Road to motorists for several weeks.

“We should be on scheduled to open it to traffic prior to the school bus season,” Post said.

Also, the Batavia Town Board on Wednesday night approved a resolution to contract with the Clark Patterson Lee engineering firm to prepare a report and provide other information for the Pratt Road Sewer Study. The $24,000 cost of the study is being paid for by an Engineering Planning Grant.

August 19, 2021 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, batavia, news, notify.

Richard Andrew Auguliaro, 53, of Mumford, is charged with grand larceny 4th.  On Aug. 15, the Sheriff's Office received a report of a wallet, containing a debit card, stolen from a location in Le Roy. Auguliaro was arrested and charged following an investigation by Deputy Robert Henning and Investigator Ryan DeLong.  He was released on an appearance ticket.

Michael Wesley Flint, 22, of Spring Street, Mount Morris, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Flint was allegedly found in possession of heroin at the time of his arrest on a violation of probation warrant.  Flint was issued an appearance ticket and then turned over to the Livingston County Sheriff's Office on the warrant.

Corey Amber Knapp, 19, of North Street, Medina, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Following a traffic stop at 7;23 p.m., Jan. 1, by Deputy Jacob Gauthier, Knapp, who was a back seat passenger, was allegedly found in possession of fentanyl and cocaine.

August 19, 2021 - 8:20am
posted by Press Release in community garden, batavia, news.

Press release:

Fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers abound right now at the City of Batavia Community Garden. In its ninth year of operation, the garden started small and has expanded each year and now has almost 50 beds available for lease.

If you’d like to learn more about it and see it first hand, the Garden Advisory Board and current gardeners are hosting an open house to take you on a tour.

Join us on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, any time between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 

There are currently plans to expand the garden next year. There will likely be plenty of ready-to-plant raised beds available for lease at a reasonable cost. 

Master Gardeners are on hand to assist with gardening tips and tricks and pest management. Gardeners are expected to help maintain common areas if they can.

Join our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BataviaCommunityGarden/ page or visit the City of Batavia website for further information. https://www.batavianewyork.com/community-garden

Top Items on Batavia's List

Fabricator/Welder

We are looking for a fabricator/welder. Ability to read and interpret blueprints and drawings is essential. Must have experience with electrical and manual tools, knowledge of safety standards and willingness to use protective gear. Hours are Monday-Thursday 8:00AM-5:00PM. Pay based on experience. Resumes may be emailed to [email protected] or delivered in person to Tri-County Welding, Inc, 649 E Main St, Batavia, NY.
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Housing Coordinator

Housing Coordinator position available immediately. Provisional appointment pending civil service examination. Responsible for working with homeless population, tracking and entering data, working with local housing agencies/landlords. Please send Civil Service application/resume to: Genesee County DSS Attn: Carla Mindler, 5130 East Main St, Batavia, NY 14020. Application found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/humanresources/openpositions.php.
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PART TIME CHAUFFEUR

PART TIME CHAUFFEUR position available immediately. Work involves responsibility for the safe and efficient operation and care of passenger vehicles, and the rendering of assistance in other appropriate ways, to augment the mobility of a wide array of clients. Does related work, as required. Must possess valid NYS Driver’s License. Please send resumes to: Genesee County Department of Social Services, Attn: Commissioner, 5130 East Main St. Rd., Batavia, NY 14020
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Social Welfare Examiner

Social Welfare Examiner position available immediately. Provisional appointment pending Civil Service examination. Responsible for determining/authorizing benefits for public assistance clients. Must be detail oriented, organized and work well with the public. Two year degree or equivalent experience required. Please send applications and resumes to: Genesee County Dept. of Social Services, Attn: Carla Mindler, 5130 East Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.
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Cleaning Position Open

Cleaning Services Unlimited is looking to hire a cleaner/porter for a Batavia office complex. Applicants should have neat & clean appearance, some cleaning experience with attention to detail, & good communication skills. Schedule is 4 days per week from 9:30am-2:00pm. Rate of pay is $13.50 per hour. Duties include disinfecting, restocking restroom supplies & light dusting in common areas. BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIRED ! Contact : email resume to [email protected]
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