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September 26, 2020 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A Jeep has reportedly hit a tree in the area of 215 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

One person reportedly has a head injury.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:26 p.m.: Alabama back in service. The scene is turned over to State Police.

September 26, 2020 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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Photo taken yesterday evening on Ellicott Street in Batavia behind the Save-A-Lot.

September 26, 2020 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news.

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Frank Capuano shared this photo of last night's sunset that he took in Stafford.

September 26, 2020 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • 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]
September 26, 2020 - 12:55pm
posted by Press Release in marksmanship, shooting tournament, sports.

Submitted photos and press release:

Eugene Jankowski Jr. finished First Place in the Production Division for the match/season and Fourth Place overall at the New York State Precision Rifle Series 2020 grand finale, held Sept. 19 at the Olean Rod and Gun Club.

The 11-stage match challenged competitors to hit numerous different sized steel targets from 300 to 600 yards, off of various obstacles and from awkward shooting positions.

Jankowski also won the first stage of the “Accu-shot One Shot Challenge,” which required the first shot of the match to be fired at a playing card from 100 yards away.

“When I made a near perfect shot on the first shot of the match, I just knew it was going to be a great day!” Jankowski said.

Jankowski now qualifies to be invited to the Northeast region finale, which is scheduled to be held early October in Ohio. If he does well at the regional, then it’s off to the national match mid-December in Oklahoma.

September 26, 2020 - 12:00pm


Welcome home to 208 Ross St., Batavia. This well maintained 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home is in a fantastic location near schools and hospital. This property features a 1st floor laundry, beautiful natural woodwork, formal dining room and large front porch. You don't want to miss this one! OPEN HOUSE this Sunday 9/27 from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Click here for more information on this property.

Welcome home to 32 Porter Ave., Batavia.This home features 4 bed 1 bath updates include: Brand new electric this year, roof 2019, hot water 2017, high efficiency furnace 2017. Walking distance to all major amenities in Batavia with local parks the neighborhood. 32 Porter is ready for you to move in and add your personal touch! OPEN HOUSE this Sunday 9/27 from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Call Sunny today (585) 813-2445. Click here for more information on this property.

September 26, 2020 - 11:15am

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While V.J. Gautieri Constructors Inc. is focused on completing as much exterior work as possible before the snow flies, Save-A-Lot management is overseeing an upgrade to the interior of the store at 45-47 Ellicott St.

Such is the current status of the Ellicott Place project, a $2.3 million renovation of the supermarket that will include 10 market rate apartments on the second floor.

Victor Gautieri, project developer, on Friday said that crews have created a new entry vestibule, with placement moved to the east along the north wall, facing the Court Street Plaza parking lot.

“That allows us room to construct our entrance to the elevator that accesses the second-floor apartments,” he said.

Gautieri said that Save-A-Lot is closed for “some pretty extensive remodeling on the inside of the store.” He believes the store has set a reopening date of Oct. 2.

“(They’re) painting and decorating as well as a lot of mechanical upgrades – coolers and freezers and systems of that nature for their operation,” he said.

The interior enhancements are part of Save-A-Lot's effort to upgrade its branding, Gautieri said.

“They’ve rolled out a different look – reorganizing how the groceries are stocked and the flow of traffic within the stores,” he said. “New signs will be going up as well as a different kind of a logo that will be in place as soon as we are finished completing the work on the front canopy.”

Gautieri said he is hoping to have all construction done by the end of April, weather permitting.

The project, part of the City of Batavia’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, will feature seven one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments on the vacant, 11,600-square-foot second floor, and includes the development of 18,000 square feet of first-floor commercial/retail space.

Other improvements include a two-stop interior elevator, two stairwells, new exterior windows, doors, veneers and roof membrane.

The Save-A-Lot grocery store occupies around half of the ground floor.

Gautieri said his company plans to “roll out some advertising on the apartments by the end of the year,” with the goal of getting some preopening leasing in place.

“We’ve been receiving phone calls, wondering what the status of the project is and what the apartments will be like,” he said. “We want to try to get ahead of the curve and get things ready to go as soon as construction is done and we’ve got a certificate of occupancy in hand.”

Ellicott Place and the Ellicott Station mixed-use redevelopment venture across the street will provide a much-needed boost for that section of the city, Gautieri said.

“It’s going to be good for – we’ll call it the Southside, which has lacked any real new projects or anything of that nature,” he said.

Photo: View of the location of a new entry vestibule (boarded up), which will provide access to the elevator leading to second-floor apartments upon completion of the Ellicott Place project at the Save-A-Lot grocery store on Ellicott Street. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Planning boards to consider Ellicott Place residential/commercial venture special use permits

September 25, 2020 - 5:11pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, Payroll Protection Program.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) delivered a speech on the House Floor yesterday advocating for H.R. 8265, which if passed would allow the hardest-hit small businesses to apply for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans. Currently, there is more than $130 billion in funding available that just needs to be released.

Transcript of Rep. Jacobs floor remarks:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, of the many excellent provisions in the CARES Act, which was passed by this body, undoubtedly one of the most successful was the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program - which literally helped thousands of small businesses and over 50 million jobs be saved during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP was also successful because it partnered with the private sector, utilizing local banks to disperse the PPP loans. Already the banks had relationships with the small businesses in their communities.

"These existing relationships between banks and small businesses were invaluable in getting these funds out on to the street in record speed. Again, saving thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. In my district alone, PPP saved over 50,000 jobs. It is due to the success of the PPP and the significant need for additional PPP funds for small businesses around the nation that I rise in support of H.R. 8265, sponsored by Representative Chabot. This is a commonsense piece of legislation, there is approximately $130 billion in unspent PPP funds.

"This bill simply enables the small business administration to do another round of PPP awards. There is still incredible demand and need for this program. So, this is not an allocation of additional money. As both sides debate a much larger and more complicated new stimulus package, I think this bill is a great first step. It is a program that has shown itself to be incredibly effective in saving jobs and small businesses.

"There is most definitely more demand for PPP loans from small businesses and local nonprofits. The model of awarding the funds has shown itself to be excellent. Finally, it doesn't require an additional appropriation. Mr. Speaker, our small businesses are fighting for their survival and millions of jobs hang in the balance. We can do this. This money is there, and the program works. Thank you. I yield back.”

September 25, 2020 - 5:03pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Bethany.
    • One of the individuals is in their 20s and one is in their 50s.
    • The individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Six new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • One of the positive individuals is hospitalized.
       
  • Orleans County received three new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Carlton and Gaines.
    • One of the individuals is in their 20s, one is in their 40s, and one is in their 60s.
    • The individuals were not on quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Four new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
September 25, 2020 - 4:00pm


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September 25, 2020 - 2:23pm

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The first meeting of Batavia's Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group was largely informational, with most of the conversation led by Police Chief Shawn Heubusch on the history of policing, police training, and an introduction to the department's use of force policy.

Some members of the group asked questions or offered a short comment.

City Attorney George Van Ness led off the discussion with an overview of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order mandating such review committees -- called "stakeholder groups" -- for all municipalities in the state that operate a police agency.

The group is charged with reviewing all local police policies and procedures and making suggestions for possible revisions. The plan that comes out of the group's work will be forwarded to the City Council. The plan will be subject then to public input and comment. The council will be expected to review and potentially approve the plan. Once certified, the plan will be sent to the state's Office of Management and Budget.

The executive order states municipalities that fail to follow through by April 1 could lose state funding.

For more on the composition of the group, which is comprised of city officials, community members, and subject-area experts, click here.

The Evolution of Policing

Recalling policing's evolution, Heubusch started with officers walking the beat on night patrol in big cities checking that buildings were secure and dealing with vagrants and drunks. Soon, officers took on the job of investigating crimes. Then when cars became common, police officers were charged with traffic enforcement, with a later emphasis catching people driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

In the 1990s, there was a big push for officers to deal with domestic violence, including mandatory arrests in some situations. Modern departments also employ officers to deal with juveniles. In the late 1990s, the war on drugs started and officers put more emphasis on finding people selling or taking drugs and arresting them. Now, officers put more emphasis on getting drug users into rehabilitation.

In Genesee County, police officers assist Genesee Justice with curfew checks.

Community policing has always been a part of a police officer's job, Heubusch said. Since he became chief in 2014, he started a community outreach committee in the department that looks for ways to connect police officers with community members. Programs include shop-with-a-cop, coffee-with-a-cop, and foot patrols.

Police officers also need training in dealing with mental health issues and conflict de-escalation.

More recently, police officers are called on to enforce pandemic-related regulations and quarantine violations.

And nearly all those police activities have corresponding paperwork for the officer to complete.

"That's kind of what modern policing looks like," Heubusch said. "It's a lot. It's one of the reasons going through the academy these says is so long, because there's so much to learn."

Heubusch went through the academy more than 20 years ago when the required training took 600 hours. Now it's 800 hours.

Once an officer graduates from the academy, the officer is required to have 640 hours of field training.

Body Cams, Use of Force Policy, Job-related Stress

A member of the group asked about the use of body cams and Heubusch said since 2014 all officers are required to wear a body cam. Activating the device requires the officer to click a button twice and they are supposed to turn it on for every interaction with citizens with exceptions for emergencies that require quick action from the officer.

Asked if there is an issue with officers forgetting to activate the camera, Heubusch said there have been very few times where the department has needed to investigate a complaint or needed video footage for evidence and supervisors discovered the camera has not been activated.

The discussion then moved to the next agenda item, Batavia's policy on Use of Force (you can read it for yourself on the city's website (pdf)).

While the chief discussed the policy briefly, group members are asked to read it before the next meeting, which will feature an in-depth discussion of the policy.

Heubusch noted that decisions about use of force are often split-second at best and in that time the officer must assess the threat level and what the legally appropriate amount of force is necessary to neutralize the threat.

"They have to use reasonable force given the circumstances right in front of them at that moment in time," Heubusch said.

To help officers be better prepared in stressful situations, they go through from eight to 16 hours of reality-based training every month.

Batavia PD puts officers through more reality-based training than most small police departments, Heubusch said, because the training carries some small risk of officers getting injured since it's a physical activity.

Community member Billy Blackshear asked about stress levels police officers faced and where that factored into training.

Heubusch said in recent years, there's greater awareness about job-related stress in law enforcement. The things they see, the situations they deal with, can take a toll.

"That's one reason 20 years is long enough to be on the job," Heubusch said. "That stuff compounds."

When officers are dealing with stress, either because of something that happened on the job or in their personal life, they are taken off of street patrol, Heubusch said.

The Rigors of the Hiring Process

In response to a group member's comment, Heubusch said because of retirements, the current police office is comprised of nearly half of the officers being hired in the past two years. Some of those officers had prior experience, but the average age of the force now is somewhere around 24 or 25 years old.

YWCA Executive Director Millie Tomidy-Pepper asked if officers are subjected to a background check before being hired. That started a long discussion about how officers are hired.

The state's civil service law will only allow the department to consider the people with the top three scores on the civil service exam.

There are exceptions that allow the department to consider a lower-scoring candidate, such as a candidate withdrawing an application, but those exceptions are few. Only in recent years has a police chief had the option of passing over a candidate who failed a psychological exam.

There is a criminal background check but only a felony conviction is disqualifying.

The candidate must complete a 28-page background check questionnaire. 

"You would be surprised how many candidates omit things that they don't think we'll find," Heubusch said.

A detective interviews each candidate. The background check includes contacting former employers and references as well as locating people the candidate didn't name as a reference. The neighborhoods where the officer once lived are canvassed for people who can share relevant information about the candidate. Former spouses and boyfriends or girlfriends are interviewed.

"Anybody we can speak to who can speak to the person's character, we want to talk with them," Heubusch said.

There is a credit history check and a social media check.

Then there is a psychological exam with a specialist in police officer duty in Rochester.

Then a panel interview.

Finally, the candidate must take a polygraph.

"If you don't pass the polygraph, you don't get a job offer," Heubusch said.

The whole process takes several weeks.

Victor Thomas, a community member and representative of Just Kings Social Club, said, "That sounds like a lot. It seems you almost have to be perfect to get a job." Then he got a laugh when he said, "I think you just explained to me why I didn't get in."

Heubusch said, "we're not looking for perfect people. We all have skeletons in our closets. What we're looking for are major issues."

The big problem with the process, Heubusch said, is the state law mandating the department to only consider the top three candidates from the civil service exam. There are often better candidates, including some from our local community, who are not among the top three scorers. He would like to see New York go to a system, like some other states, where the exam is "pass/fail," which would mean, perhaps, if 200 people took the exam, the police department could consider up to 100 candidates, including local candidates.

Community member Michael Henry asked if officers receive cultural awareness training. Heubusch said they do in the academy but he didn't have the curriculum with him.

Anibal Soler Jr., superintendent of Batavia City School District, noted that in none of the material provided to group members nor during the presentation was the issue of race mentioned and he suggested a discussion of race be included in any policy reform, training, and in hiring practices. 

City Church Pastor Marty Macdonald took exception to a comment by Heubusch that suggested past behavior was predictive of how a person might do as a police officer. He spoke at length about the ability of people grow, learn and reform.

Heubusch said he agreed and said his comment was meant to refer to references from former employers.

Blackshear commended the chief for his foresight, mentioning he met with Heubusch some years ago, in addressing community issues and trying to reach young people, including trying to recruit young people to a career in law enforcement.

Beyond Diversity -- Doing the Job Correctly with Accountability

Brandon Armstrong, a small business owner and also a member of Just Kings, said he was going to bring up what he thought would be an unpopular opinion: That the big issue was not the diversity of police departments, but the inability of police departments or the justice system to punish police officers who don't do their job the right way. He noted that there have been black police officers accused of acting just as bad as white police officers in other jurisdictions.

"We do need diversity but if somebody isn't doing the job right, they need to better held accountable for it," Armstrong said. "I don't care what color they are."

The opinion wasn't unpopular at all. Other group members said they agreed and nobody disagreed.

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Anibal Soler Jr.

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Shawn Heubusch

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September 25, 2020 - 1:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Alabama, bergen.

Deirdre A. Louchren, 55, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with abandonment of animals. She was arrested on Sept. 22 for an incident that occurred at 8 p.m. Aug. 25 outside a residence on State Street. Louchren was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. on Jan. 12. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

David L. Hausler, 32, of North Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with making graffiti, a Class A misdemeanor. At 5:17 p.m. on Sept. 17, Hausler was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court for allegedly making graffiti on the outside wall of a local business on Center Street in Batavia at 11 p.m. Feb. 5. He is due in Batavia City Court on Oct. 27 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer John Gombos, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Nateeka M. Gibson, 31, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny -- taking property from a person. At 12:53 p.m. on Sept. 20, Gibson was arrested after she allegedly took money from another person and walked away. She was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 5. The case was handled by Officer Miah Stevens.

Jesse A. Russell, 30, of Alleghany Road, Alabama, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested Sept. 15 at 4:30 a.m. after allegedly punching a person at a residence on Ross Street in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court at 3:42 that afternoon via Skype. Russell was then released on his own recognizance and is due back in city court Nov. 17. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Jordan McGinnis.

Adam M. Jellison, 42, Sierk Road, Attica, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. On Sept. 22 at 9:02 a.m., Jellison was arrested on Columbia Avenue in Batavia after police were responded to a 9-1-1 call. After a brief investigation, it was allegedly found that he was violating an order of protection by being there. Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, he was jailed with bail set at $2,000 cash, $4,000 bond or $8,000 partially secured bond. Jellison is due back in city court Sept. 29. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer John Gombos, assisted by Officer Miah Stevens.

Michael Wesley Flint, 21, of Spring Street, Mount Morris, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested after an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred on Aug. 31 in which he allegedly violated an order of protection. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 29. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman.

Peter J. Ozzimo Jr., 50, of Orchard Street, Perry, is charged with: driving while intoxicated, with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- common law; and no or insufficient tail lamps. Ozzimo was arrested after a traffic stop at 1:53 a.m. Sept. 20 on West Main Street in Batavia. It is alleged an officer observed a traffic violation, prompting the stop. He was released with several traffic tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 30. Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson handled the case, assisted by Officer Jordan McGinnis.

Erica M. Raphael, 35, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Raphael was arrested after Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis responded to Top's Friendly Market on West Main Street in Batavia for a shoplifter reported to be taken into custody by store staff. Raphael was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 8.

September 25, 2020 - 1:40pm

An update of the direction that the Batavia City Council will take in filling the vacant city manager position is on the agenda of Monday night’s Conference Meeting at City Hall Council Chambers.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. previously indicated that the board would make its plan public at Monday’s meeting.

The choices boil down to utilizing a stipulation in a contract with The Novak Consulting Group of Cincinnati, Ohio, to receive a “free professional search” or to hire Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski, who has been serving in that capacity since the June departure of former City Manager Martin Moore.

The Novak Consulting Group assisted in the search to hire Moore in August of 2018. The firm’s agreement with the city included a free search should Moore leave within two years of his employment date.

City Council met in executive session earlier this week to, in all likelihood, discuss the city manager position.

Should Council decide to conduct a full search as it did in the case of the Moore hiring, it would consist of forming a screening committee to evaluate potential candidate resumes and, eventually, conduct interviews.

Jankowski has acknowledged there will be costs associated with the search that would not be covered by Novak’s guarantee, such as advertising in national trade publications and travel expenses.

The board could bypass a manager search and offer the job to Tabelski, who was hired as assistant city manager in August of last year.

In a related development, Council will consider a resolution on Monday’s meeting agenda to give Tabelski $1,000 per month in addition to her regular salary – effective July 20, 2020 – for assuming additional duties and responsibilities in the absence of a city manager. The stipend would continue until the city manager position is permanently filled.

Other agenda highlights include:

  • An application from the Downtown Business Improvement District to hold Christmas in the City from 2 to 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. A parade from Jefferson Avenue to Liberty Street is set for 6 p.m. Estimated costs for the event are $480 for police coverage, $276.42 for public works assistance and $1,425.71 for bureau of maintenance duties.
  • An audit presentation by Laura Landers of Freed Maxick concerning the city’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. Landers and Tabelski met with the City of Batavia Audit Advisory Committee on Aug. 18 to review the documents, and answered questions pertaining to fund transfers, debt service payments, fund balances (including water and sewer), the city’s self-insurance plan and the impact of decreased sales tax revenue.
  • A resolution authorizing a foreclosed house at 50 Oak St. to be transferred (for $1) to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation. If approved, it would be the 11th home acquired by Habitat from the City of Batavia. A memo from Tabelski to Council indicates that Habitat plans to invest between $58,000 and $62,000 to renovate the one-family house, which is assessed at $62,000. The Batavia Housing Authority is partnering with the city in this venture.
  • A resolution to schedule a public hearing on Oct. 26 to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages in I-1 industrial zones with a special use permit. This change stems from a January request by Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvement, to construct an auto service station on the property at 653 Ellicott St. The zoning text change has been approved by the City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee and the Genesee County Planning Board.
September 25, 2020 - 12:25pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Town Board.

The Batavia Town Board has scheduled a special meeting for 5 p.m. Wednesday to distribute the tentative budget for 2021.

Board members will meet for a work session at 4 p.m. Tuesday and also will convene for another work session following the special meeting on Wednesday, Town Clerk Teressa Morasco said.

The special meeting and work sessions will be held at the Town Hall at 3833 W. Main Street Road.

September 25, 2020 - 8:00am

Photo from left: Correction Officers Michael A. Strumpf, Christopher L. Seelbinder, Austin J. Davis, Matthew M.J. Luce, and Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur.
Submitted photo and press release:

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. announces the graduation of Correction Officers Michael A. Strumpf, Christopher L. Seelbinder, Austin J. Davis and Matthew M.J. Luce.

These Correction Officers recently graduated in a class of 18 from the Livingston County Basic Corrections Academy. Correction Officer Davis was one of two team leaders of the class. The six-week training included instruction in the care and custody of inmates, inmate supervision, defensive tactics, firearms training, and other topics pertaining to corrections.

“Congratulations to Correction Officers Strumpf, Seelbinder, Davis and Luce and welcome to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office family,” Sheriff Sheron said.

September 24, 2020 - 5:25pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Western Regional OTB, Batavia Downs.
Video Sponsor

Despite attendance limits at Batavia Downs Gaming and fewer dates on the horse racing schedule, wagering through services provided by the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation is way up.

And officials of the public benefit company say they are amazed.

“In gaming, we’re at 25-percent occupancy rate (due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by New York State) and we’re achieving 90 percent of last year’s numbers,” Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach said following this morning’s WROTB board of directors meeting at the Park Road facility. “This is much better than expected.”

Leach reported a “net win” of $2.2 million since the gaming site reopened on Sept. 9.

“Forty-nine percent of that goes to the state and the rest stays here,” she said, also reporting that the Downs distributed $91,604 in surcharges to municipalities for the month of August.

Wagering has hit remarkable levels at the Batavia Downs harness track and at the corporation’s Off-Track Betting branches as well.

Todd Haight, director/general manager of live racing, said that after 19 of the 42 racing dates, the handle is up more than 57 percent from last year.

“The betting is just off the charts this year; I really never saw this coming,” he said. “Despite having 11 less race cards, the OTBs, which include Batavia Bets, are up over $6,300 in handle, which is amazing.”

Haight said the corporation’s other simulcast sites -- excluding OTBs and EZ-Bets (terminals placed at bars and restaurants) and online betting -- is up 36 percent and total betting, despite a lack of spectators, is up 18 percent.

He said that on Kentucky Derby day, the handle was the second-largest ever at the Downs since OTB purchased the track in 1998.

“It was a pleasant surprise, for sure, but we want to get our spectators back and fill that clubhouse to 100-percent capacity,” he said. “But for now, we’re really excited about the season.”

Sean Schiano, director of branch operations, reported that the Kentucky Derby handle through Batavia Bets, the corporation’s interactive online and telephone wagering platform, was up $53,000 from last year, and that the August handle of $2.2 million was up $755,000 or 53 percent.

Through Sept. 20, Batavia Bets has handled almost $1.4 million, up $757,000 or 119 percent from last year, and year-to-date, the service’s wagering is up almost $2.8 million or 29 percent, Schiano said.

“That’s pretty amazing considering that we were closed for almost two months,” he said. “There were no tracks running anywhere, and when tracks finally starting running, it just picked up. With the closing of the casinos, people have money.”

Schiano said the numbers make him think of how things were several decades ago.

“If horse racing was the only game in town like it was 40 years ago when OTBs were thriving, people will go and bet the horses,” he said. “I wish it would last; I’d love it if the gaming facility and the horse racing was great, but right now, people have the money and they want to bet.”

He mentioned the Kentucky Derby success and predicted similar big numbers for the Preakness on Oct. 3 and the Breeders Cup in November.

“Everyone wants to get through this pandemic, but they still love to bet horses. Sadly, NYS needs to help us out a bit with all the regulations in place really hurt us. But, it’s very nice to see the handle go up,” he said.

In other developments, the board:

  • Voted to raise health insurance co-pays for all employees from $15 to $25 and employees’ contribution to their plan to 5 percent. WROTB CEO Henry Wojtaszek said the co-pay change will enable the corporation to get better rates on their plans.
  • Established a new position on the gaming floor – cage operations supervisor.
  • Approved a contract extension with Upstate Strategic Advisors LLC of Buffalo, a lobbying firm, through Dec. 31, at a rate of $3,500 per month.
  • Authorized a five-year contract with the Bonadio Group, a certified public accounting business based in Buffalo, for professional outside auditing services.
  • Approved closing the Newark OTB parlor at the end of October due to low betting handle numbers.
September 24, 2020 - 4:52pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news, broadband.

Statement from Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

Having access to reliable internet has never been more important. With most households having individuals working from home and students learning virtually, access to internet is critical. Unfortunately, for many in Upstate and Western New York, access to broadband is extremely limited.

For years now, we have heard about the NYS program, Broadband for All. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in improving infrastructure and working to bring high-speed internet access to every mile of NYS, including those without access or underserved.

Sadly, however, there are still over one hundred thousand NY residents, many, right in our communities, without any wired internet options, let alone high speed. During the 2020 Legislative Session, the Senate and Assembly passed a bill that would require the New York State Public Service Commission conduct a study to evaluate broadband access across the State. It has been two months since the passage of this bill. Last week, in the Erie County Legislature, I sponsored a resolution asking the Governor to sign this crucial piece of legislation. I am hopeful that he will realize how important it is to take a closer look at the availability of internet in our State.

We have many relying on internet to make a living, receive an education, and even buy groceries. It is time that we realize having access to reliable internet is a necessity.

September 24, 2020 - 4:42pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • Two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Nine new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
       
  • Orleans County received one new positive case of COVID-19.
    • The new positive case resides in Carlton.
    • The individual is in their 20s.
    • The individual was not on quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • One of the previous positive individuals has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation
    • Five new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

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