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January 26, 2021 - 9:28pm
posted by Press Release in Section V, sports, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. members of the Athletic Council, the governing body of Section V Athletics, voted on many items related to the authorization of high-risk sports to begin on February 1, 2021, pending approval from local departments of health.  Any section of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has the authority to determine a later start date than what is provided by NYSPHSAA.

All high-risk sports will need approval from their local departments of health before they can proceed.  Section V Athletics reaches twelve different local departments of health and the request for approval has been made to each of them as of Monday, January 25, 2021.

Winter high-risk sports are Basketball, Ice Hockey, and Wrestling.  The Winter high-risk sports season will begin on Monday, February 1, 2021, pending department of health approval.  The regular season must end by Saturday, March 6, 2021, and sectionals will conclude by Sunday, March 14, 2021.  Our leagues are now responsible to determine the regular-season schedule within the dates mentioned above. 

For the Winter High-Risk sports season, the sectional tournaments will be a closed sectional format to be determined and all events will be hosted at the higher seed.  The Fall II sports are Competitive Cheerleading, Football, and Volleyball.  We will finalize start and end dates for the Fall II sports season in the coming weeks

Spring sports are Baseball, Boys Golf, Boys Tennis, Lacrosse, Softball, and Track & Field.  The NYSPHSAA Spring sports season start date is Monday, April 19, 2021.  We will continue to be sensitive to Spring sports that have already missed a complete season and sectional/state championship last year due to the pandemic. 

At this time, only two spectators per athlete are permitted according to the New York State Department of Health, but local departments of health can be more restrictive.  Section V will make every attempt to livestream events as they were in the previous seasons. 

January 26, 2021 - 4:46pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and his colleagues in the Assembly Minority have written a letter to Gov. Cuomo, Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie and New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins demanding they do not use the budget process to legalize marijuana.

Hawley believes substantial matters of public policy such as the legalization of marijuana should not be advanced through the budgetary process, and should instead be debated and discussed as any other legislation would be. 

“This policy matter is deserving of meaningful scrutiny and debate, something we haven't seen much of since the Governor was granted his prolonged and egregious executive powers,” Hawley said.

"Legalizing marijuana is a decision for our state that would come with consequences worth discussing, and I am fearful as usual the Governor will care more about acting quickly to please activists and special interests than examining legalization in earnest and what it would really mean for New York."

January 26, 2021 - 4:28pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Data Update –

  • Genesee County received 26 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, and 70s. 
  • Thirty-two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Twenty-one of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • One of the new positive cases is a resident of the Batavia VA Medical Center. 

We are saddened to report the loss of two individuals who are both over the age of 65. One individual resided at Genesee Senior Living and one individual resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center. We do not provide any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends during this very difficult time.


Orleans County received 23 new positive cases of COVID-19.  

  • The 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, and 70s.
  • Correction: The following case was determined not to be an Orleans Resident and has been retracted from today’s data; Case in his/her 30s from the West Region. 
  • Three of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Twenty-eight of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Ten of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Two of the new positive individuals are residents at the Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
January 26, 2021 - 4:21pm

If you’re looking to see the value in the Batavia Development Corporation, look no further than what was accomplished through the Eli Fish Brewing Company and Newberry Lofts project that rejuvenated the former JJ Newberry building at 109-111 Main St.

That’s was the centerpiece of a PowerPoint presentation by Andrew Maguire, director of economic development for the city-supported agency, during Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting.

Maguire said his mission was to highlight the BDC’s “history of success through various programs and the economic impact they carry, current projects the BDC is working on in the city and future goals and continued economic development.”

Regarding the Eli Fish venture, Maguire called it a “transformative” project and outlined the ways the BDC played a part in its success:

  • Built in 1881, it was the original home of JJ Newberry’s store for more than 60 years. Its assessed value in 2015 was $250,000;
  • Vacant for several years, it needed substantial rehabilitation;
  • It was purchased in 2015 with the goal to rehabilitate the building and create a brewery, restaurant and seven market-rate residential apartments on the upper floors;
  • The BDC secured a $500,000 NY Main Street Anchor Grant for the proposed project and sought other funding sources, including a $100,000 National Grid grant and then secured a $67,835 USDA Rural Business Development Grant for a project inside of this project.

“It was a first of its kind in our area – two restaurant incubators inside of brewery, coined FreshLabs, which offered cooking competition to entrepreneurs and the two winners receiving a grant, loan and incubator space inside the Eli Fish brewery to help them start their business,” Maguire said.

He reported that the project – which turned out costing more than $2 million – began in 2016 after all of the funding was secured, and that the BDC played a “critical role in project setup, capital stack (funding), and project and grant administration to see the project through to completion.”

As a result, the project was completed in 2018 and features a brewery, three restaurants and four market-rate apartments created in the vacant, historic building.

Maguire said the proof of the project’s worth is in the increase of the assessed value to $987,000, while sales tax has increased, tourism has been generated and more than 30 jobs have been created.

The Eli Fish project is one of several being facilitated by the BDC through the NY Main Street Grant, Downtown Revitalization Initiative Building Improvement Fund and Downtown Revitalization Grant, Maguire said.

He revealed a chart showing 28 projects received $11.3 million in grants but generated $54.4 million in private investment. Included are 103 residential units and 96 commercial units.

Maguire said the BDC continues to pursue other grants, such as the revolving loan fund grant, National Grid grants and USDA Rural Development Block grants, and also have attracted NYS Empire State Development Restore New York and Brownfield Opportunity Area Study grants.

These projects have increased the assessed value of the parcels by $5.79 million, Maguire reported, and noted that the Main Street Theater 56 project will generate more than $44,000 of annual rent revenue after moving into underutilized vacant parcels from the City of Batavia.

“These projects and programs create a vibrant city people want to work in, live in and play in,” he said. “… The results we have obtained and the future goals we shall obtain will carry a positive impact on our city’s quality of life for generations to come. It is critical that we do not lose sight of this and we continue to have boots on the ground to help these projects from the starting line to the finish line and continue this process for years to come.”

Afterward, Council Member Rose Mary Christian asked Maguire about the status of the Ellicott Station DRI project on the former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy’s Tire Sales property on Ellicott Street.

He said the developer, Savarino Companies, is “poised to close by the end of this quarter (March) … and plan on construction starting in early spring 2021.”

Christian praised V.J. Gautieri Constructors for their work on renovating the Save-A-Lot building across the street, but called the condition of Ellicott Station “deplorable.”

January 26, 2021 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is announcing that he is returning to the House Committee on Agriculture for the 117th Congress.

“Western New York’s economy and communities are directly supported by our agriculture industry,” Jacobs said. “Our farms, processing facilities, and agribusinesses provide thousands of good-paying jobs and present major opportunities to set our region up for future prosperity. It has been my mission to support our farmers in Congress – I made it a priority to be seated on the Agriculture Committee in July when I was first elected and look forward to carrying my work there into the 117th Congress.”

Announced earlier this year, Rep. David Scott (D-GA) will serve as Chairman, and Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) will serve as Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture for the 117th Congress. The Committee is charged with reviewing, developing, and advancing policies and proposals to support, improve, and further the needs of American farmers, agricultural businesses, and rural communities.

As of 2017, Western New York had more than 4,400 farms producing over $1.1 billion in products, representing 22 percent of all NYS agriculture sales.

“Serving on the Agriculture Committee puts me in the best possible position to advocate for our farmers and their needs,” Jacobs said. “These past few months alone, I was able to work with my colleagues to ensure the Commodity Credit Corporation was allocated necessary funding, increase investments for the USDA ReConnect Broadband Program, and pass COVID-19 relief legislation with direct support programs for farmers like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).”

“This term, there are major priorities that must be addressed. Our region needs improved broadband infrastructure, the agriculture sector needs new and younger farmers to ensure the longevity of such a critical industry, and we need to protect and support our farmers from unfair trade practices so they can access expanded markets and grow their businesses,” Jacobs said. “Finally, we will be in the beginning stages of developing a new Farm Bill early this year. I will be working diligently to ensure that the needs of Western New York farmers are met in that legislation.”

January 26, 2021 - 4:05pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in covid-19, news.

Mike Hodgins may have just won the biggest battle of his life.

The Medina resident is the husband of Kathy Hodgins, chief clinical officer at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse in Batavia. On Monday, Kathy and their children, Greg Hodgins and Alisha Duffina, picked up Mike when he was discharged from Buffalo Mercy Hospital, after spending two months there battling COVID-19.

Mike, 59, is also a heart transplant patient of 30 years, and when he entered Buffalo Mercy on Nov. 28, doctors said he would need a miracle to survive.

“The last time I saw Mike was when I dropped him off at the door of Medina Memorial Hospital two days after Thanksgiving,” Kathy said. “Because of COVID restrictions, I couldn’t even go in with him.”

Mike was transferred to Buffalo Mercy that night, the only hospital in the area they could find with a bed in ICU available.

He spent the first three weeks on a ventilator, during which time his blood pressure would drop dangerously low, and doctors feared kidney failure. He also developed abdominal bleeding and his epiglottis became paralyzed, making him unable to take any nourishment by mouth. He still has had no food or beverage and gets his nourishment from a tube in his stomach.

Kathy said Mike contracted COVID from her, and she isn’t sure where she got it.

When she learned Mike was well enough to leave Mercy but would need a week to 10 days of rehab at Medina Memorial, she was insistent that she pick him up and transport him there.

She and Mike sat in the back seat, hugged and held hands all the way to Medina, while daughter Alisha drove.

Kathy said it was their faith that brought Mike through his ordeal. Even in his sedated state, she said she knew he could hear her voice, and she would call the hospital every day and ask the nurse to put the phone to Mike’s ear. 

“I called him every single day he was on the respirator and told him I loved him,” Kathy said. “Then I prayed with him every day.”

She said not being able to see your loved one who is so sick is the most powerless feeling in the world, and although Mike has lost a lot of weight and looked unkempt with a beard, long hair and untrimmed fingernails, he never looked better to her. 

“It’s been quite a journey,” she said.

The family was joined by Mike’s brother and sister after he got to Medina Memorial Hospital, where they could wave to him in the window.

Top photo: Greg Hodgins watches as his mother Kathy Hodgins, chief clinical officer at GCASA in Batavia, waves as she spots her husband Mike being wheeled out of Buffalo Mercy Hospital on Monday afternoon. 

Below: Mike Hodgins has tears in his eyes as he sees his wife Kathy, for the first time since Nov. 28. Mike spent two months in Buffalo Mercy Hospital recovering from COVID-19.

Bottom: ​The Hodgins family gathers around Mike Hodgins as he is released from Buffalo Mercy Hospital. From left are son Greg Hodgins, wife Kathy, chief clinical officer at GCASA, and daughter Alisha Duffina. 

January 26, 2021 - 3:44pm
posted by Press Release in Rochester Regional Health, news, vaccinations, covid-19.

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health continues to vaccinate as many people as possible with the approved COVID-19 vaccines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our region. We have vaccinated more than 15,000 members of our vast workforce and nearly 3,500 eligible patients in essential categories.

Help our community slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing your mask, practicing hand hygiene, staying socially distant, and avoiding gatherings.

This week’s Health Hive stories discuss what you can do once you're vaccinated, what to expect at your vaccination appointment, and how they’re being scheduled, what our experts know about the new coronavirus strain, insight into why adults over 65 years of age are the first community members to be eligible for vaccinations, and guidance on when kids may start getting vaccinated.

Looking for COVID-19 testing? Wait times at our Immediate Care locations are now updated live online.

January 26, 2021 - 3:31pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Three Correction officers recently graduated in a class of 12 from the Niagara County Basic Corrections Academy. 

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 Stewart, Sherwood and Jacques. We look forward to your future in Corrections at the Genesee County Jail,” said Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

Photo, from left: Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur; Correction officers Tyler J. Stewart, Marissa R. Jacques (Class President), Trevor J. Sherwood; Jail Superintendent William A. Zipfel.

January 26, 2021 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news.


GO ART! held a Buffalo Bills logo coloring contest for area children. To view all of the entries, click here (Facebook).



January 26, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Statement State Sen. Ed Rath:

My comments and intention of reaching out to our local Board of Elections Commissioners, both Democrat, and Republican, is not in relation to the presidential election. New York State has the only unresolved congressional race in the nation, which is extremely concerning. In addition, there were several local elections that were not decided until weeks after Election Day. I have heard concerns raised in the days and weeks after Election Day of long lines, understaffed and underfunded Board of Elections.  I am simply looking to do an analysis and decide what can be improved upon or what is already working well. The hearing I reference in my original statement is a bipartisan hearing, being headed by a Democratic Senator. Having input from our local experts has been and continues to be my main concern.  

Previously: Rath calling on election commissioners to ensure systems are secure

January 26, 2021 - 3:16pm

Press release:

In order to earn funds for tuition assistance, St. Paul Lutheran School of Batavia is “hosting” a Carryout for a Cause Fundraiser through the local Applebee’s.

The event will run all day on Wednesday, Jan. 27 (11 a.m. until close at 10 p.m.).

Supporters simply have to order To Go, online via applebees.com or the Applebee’s mobile app and use Promo Code “DOINGOOD” at checkout.

Orders must be placed for pick-up at the restaurant, located at 8322 Lewiston Road, Batavia.

View the menu here.

More information on St. Paul Lutheran School’s fundraiser here.

Carryout for a Cause is a takeout-only fundraiser where supporters order their Applebee’s favorites online at applebees.com or via the mobile app on a designated day. In return for promoting this “event” to their supporters, the nonprofit organization like St. Paul's earns 15 percent of sales, before tax and gratuity

More information on the Carryout for a Cause fundraiser, in addition to all community support programs, can be found at tlcneighborhood.com. To request a “Carryout for a Cause” event, groups can submit here and will receive a response in 2-3 business days.   

T.L. Cannon Companies has a long history of giving back to the communities they serve. The foundation of its business is commitment to the community and making a positive impact on the neighborhoods it serves. In 2019, the organization provided more than $1.6 million in support of local charities and organizations, and more than $26.4 million since 2008.

About T.L. Cannon Companies

T.L. Cannon Companies is a private owner/operator of 59 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in Upstate New York, Connecticut and Sayre, Pennsylvania. In 2020, the company was recognized within the Applebee’s system for the eighth time as “Applebee’s Neighbor of the Year” for their support and involvement in the neighborhoods they serve. For the past thirteen consecutive years, the company was awarded the New York State Restaurant Association’s “Restaurant Neighbor Award” for their community-based programs. In 2015, T.L. Cannon was recognized at the national level for the industry with the National Restaurant Association’s “Restaurant Neighbor Award” for their support of community.

January 26, 2021 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, Le Roy.

Four adults were displaced by a late-night fire in Le Roy on Monday but Le Roy Chief Craig Johnson credited volunteers keeping things from getting worse at 95 Summit St. after a fire was reported to an upstairs bedroom.

"Our guys did a great job of getting in there quickly and getting the fire knocked down," Johnson said. "They definitely saved the house."

The fire contained to the bedroom. There is some water damage and smoke damage on the second floor. 

The four adults were able to relocate with family members and Johnson said because power was cut to the house because of the fire, it will be some time before the house can be occupied again.

No injuries were reported.

The residents did not have any pets, Johnson said.

Along with Le Roy, responding agencies included Bergen, Stafford, City of Batavia, Pavilion, and Town of Batavia was a fill-in at Le Roy's hall.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

January 26, 2021 - 3:00pm
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 re gistered 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]
January 26, 2021 - 3:00pm

New Listing: 268 Maple Road, Pembroke.
Here you go; super solid, well laid out ranch home in the Pembroke School System! This home is conveniently located -- close to all major routes. Minutes from the I-90 if needed, down the road from the County line with access to downtown Buffalo quickly but ALLLLL the goodness of country living!

Quiet rural road, deep pretty backyard with horseshoe pits ready for summer parties and great neighbors! Inside the home is well laid out, with an extra large living room, good size bedrooms (with hardwood floor throughout), and not seen from road an awesome heated step down room off of master bedroom with full bath and great view of backyard and woods!

There is a full basement, that once upon a time, was a rec area and could easily be again -- giving you extra spread out room if needed or just a really great basement storage area! There is an attached extra deep three-car garage with a work space and a half bath and an additional outside storage shed if needed!

Also there is screened in patio room off of garage leading to large deck...there really is a lot of great space here -- come see what you can do with it! Call Lynn Bezon today, call (585) 344-4663 or click here for more information.

January 26, 2021 - 2:35pm

Going on for nearly a year now, COVID-19 has created a dilemma for downtown business traffic in Batavia. But better days are ahead, according to Beth Kemp, executive director of the city’s Business Improvement District.

Kemp, speaking at Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting, reported that one of the BID’s biggest projects is nearing completion.

“We continue to work with Spectrum Charter on bringing free Wi-Fi to the entire BID area,” Kemp said. “We have had several stakeholder meetings over the last year, bringing all of the property owners that will be working with Spectrum on essentially allowing them access to their buildings.”

Kemp said the BID has moved to the implementation phase of installing and connecting of all the nodes in the downtown area to activate the Wi-Fi.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 that has been put on hold until the end of February. Several engineers come from out of state so we have a tentative date to move forward on that,” she said.

Kemp explained that the new Wi-Fi network will feature multiple channel controls – actually five per the agreement with Spectrum.

“One of those channels is designated for the free Wi-Fi downtown and we will have time restrictions,” she said. “So, each will have a maximum of four hours per day to use the Wi-Fi. Certainly, a perk for all residents and visitors here.”

She said that additional channels could be utilized by the City of Batavia Police Department or emergency personnel.

“The BID is also interested in using one of those dedicated channels for possible music downtown,” Kemp said, adding that officials are looking at wireless speaker systems to attach to the light poles. “(Music) would bring a positive vibe.”

Other projects planned for 2021 include:

  • Updated banners and signage, including those that go on the downtown light poles;
  • Snowflakes to go on light poles that are showing their age;
  • Hanging baskets and flowers for baskets;
  • Fall decorations such as cornstalks, pumpkins and hay bales as well as garland options for light poles around the holidays.

Kemp said the BID’s marketing plan will include free advertising opportunities for small businesses, commercials, print advertising, social media assistance and radio opportunities – either at a discounted rate or free to small businesses.

She said that the agency looks to promote Tasty Tuesdays once again to support restaurant takeout orders, and the Downtown Bingo initiative featuring giveaways for participants who complete their boards.

On the events side, she said the BID seeks to continue the scarecrow and wreath contests, and Shop Small Saturday following Thanksgiving.

January 26, 2021 - 2:27pm
posted by Press Release in city of batavia, news, streetlights.

Press release:

There have been reports of many streetlights within the City of Batavia that are not operating properly.

If you see a light that is out or appears to not be operating correctly, please send as much information to the city as you can: street, pole number, and nearest house address.

The city will determine if it is a city-owned light and make repairs as soon as we can. If it is a National Grid light we will notify them of the issue.

National Grid also has a direct website that you can put the information of the streetlight into.

Winter conditions may cause a few weeks for repairs to be made.

Please send information to:

Email:  [email protected], or call (585) 345-6325.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Bill Davis

Superintendent of Water and Wastewater

January 26, 2021 - 1:45pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Pembroke Girls Basketball team is currently organizing their 10th annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game in support of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, no official game date has been set; however we're considering various alternative ways in which to maintain this benevolent tradition as we work alongside our county health department.

Over the past nine seasons our small community has raised more than $152,000 for cancer research at Roswell Park. 

This year we hope to get creative, utilizing virtual alternatives to try and make a difference in our community. We would greatly appreciate your support in sharing our "Shooting For A Cure!" mission with the community. 

We’re currently on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as well as the Team Roswell website. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via e-mail, phone or social media if you have any questions for us or would like to get involved.

We thank you for your continued support and hope that in the weeks ahead we can solidify a game date and additional details as they relate to fundraising and prizes that will be raffled off.

-- The Pembroke Girls Basketball Team & Event Coordinator Michael Wilson

Both photos, from left, are the three seniors who will be participating in this year's event: #32 Emily Peters, #10 Serene Calderõne and #23 Nicole Von Kramer.

Letter from Roswell Park Alliance Foundation:

Dear Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Lady Dragons JV & Varsity Basketball:

Congratulations! I am happy to inform you that the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation has approved your request to host a fundraising event to support Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The information we have authorized for your event is:

  • Event: Shooting for a Cure!
  • When: Spring 2021
  • Where: Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School
  • Why: To support cancer research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park

We are grateful and honored that you have chosen the Alliance Foundation to be the recipient of your fundraising efforts. It is donors, like you, that make it possible for Roswell Park to continue our mission to eliminate cancer s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope.

Welcome to Team Roswell!

January 26, 2021 - 1:18pm

Batavia City Council members called out the Batavia City School District over the timing and the focus of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative on Monday night -- following a somewhat strained 25-minute discussion – before approving a resolution to support the program designed to enhance educational and vocational opportunities for boys and young men of color.

“What have we been doing for five years if we knew this and why haven’t we been helping these children five years ago?” asked Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. during the board’s Conference Meeting at City Hall Council Board Room.

Jankowski was referring to the My Brother’s Keeper program introduced by former President Barack Obama about six years ago.

“If I remember correctly, President Obama brought this to light in 2014-2015 and New York State adopted it in 2016, and now you’re telling me the studies already show that we have youth in our own community that are identified as having concerns or troubles, and they’re not at the same level?” Jankowski said.

“What are we doing in the school system right now to help these kids – persons of color or others that may need it – and why are we waiting a week before the deadline and trying to force this through without public input when we knew about this in 2016 since this grant was out there?”

Jankowski said his concerns centered upon the amount of money the city would be required to support the initiative through mentorships and homework assistance at the Liberty Center for Youth afterschool program and if it was really necessary since the school district is responsible for educating its pupils.

“How did we drop the ball on this especially, although it’s not your concern, (since) I get complaints from people all the time about why their taxes are so high and the school taxes are a major part of it,” he said. “And they’re expecting a service for the children of our community and I’m a little upset that we’ve not done anything for five years for these kids.”

Christian: What About Girls, Other Students?

Prior to Jankowski’s observations, Council Member Rose Mary Christian objected to the program’s targeted focus on boys and young men of color.

“How come girls aren’t included in this and all students?” she asked, directing her query to Julia Rogers, assistant principal at Batavia High School, who was in attendance. “You’re singling out a group.”

Rogers said the program is based on data that shows that students of color – children, young men – do not have the same opportunities as other groups.

“It would be one of those programs that is focused for students of color but a lot of the ideology … for instance, the mentorship – we would be continuing with other students,” she said. “My Brother’s Keeper is a program that is offered through many districts, and basically, it shows a partnership to help these students in Batavia.

"Our numbers in the UPK (Universal Pre-Kindergarten) program are low for students of color. And to work with families from birth to school age to encourage that education and teaching how to educate your children at home. There are a lot of components to that mentorship.”

Rogers said services would be provided throughout students’ school years and could “lead to educational opportunities at the college level and also to business opportunities.”

“So, it’s basically bridging that gap – interagency possibility – for students to have opportunities,” she added.

While acknowledging Christian’s viewpoint, Rogers said that “in reality, those students are the ones who are having difficulties, and there are major gaps for those students.”

“So, what we’re looking for is to have this program and to be able to bridge from it so that our students in all aspects of school … can have a better opportunity.”

Christian wasn’t persuaded, however.

“You’re going to allow anyone to participate because if not, I find it discriminating and it bothers me,” she said. “I’m not a racist person by no means, and this bothers me. So, otherwise, I am going call tomorrow to the Civil Liberties (Union) because I want to make sure that there’s nothing that anyone is denounced in here for any person.”

Tabelski: Municipal Support Required

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski proposed the city join forces with the school district in a memo dated Jan. 22, and emphasized that the grant had to be submitted by the end of this month. That’s why it was on the agenda of both the Conference and Special Business meeting that followed last night.

She said that the district obtaining a municipal partner was one of the requirements set forth by the New York State Education Department.

“The program, from my understanding of it … is to support residents of color from birth to graduation of high school to achieve better outcomes through mentorship, through community involvement, through college preparation and all other aspects,” Tabelski said. “It is a targeted program; it’s new for Batavia. I don’t believe we ever had this before and we’re asking that the city sign on and say, ‘Yes, we support this and we think it’s a good idea.’ ”

Tabelski said that the city’s commitment would include advertising on its bulletin boards, introducing students to other community groups they might need to partner with, providing opportunities for students to meet with mentors at the Liberty Center for Youth and providing the homework assistance “that we do at our free afterschool program when it is running at Liberty Center for Youth.”

She also revealed that initial talks about the grant were between the school district and the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

“There was once a conversation with folks from the County Youth Bureau and the youth director. I came in last minute, so forgive me. I’m just trying to help them move this through,” she said. “But originally the plan was to partnership mainly with the county-run programs – the Youth Court and the Youth Leadership program … and to let them know that the city – we do direct programming, we don’t actually run those programs although we participate.”

Tabelski said the agreement was amended to highlight the city’s potential involvement.

“I am the one who suggested that these programs would be something that we would be willing – the City as we move forward, depending on COVID, depending on budget, depending on staffing -- to partner and to allow that center to be a place where the mentors and mentees, and homework can continue to happen.”

Bialkowski: Who Will Provide Homework Help?

Council Member Robert Bialkowski, citing the city’s role in the partnership that includes providing homework assistance, asked who would be providing this service.

Tabelski responded that the city already does this at the Liberty Center for Youth.

“So, whether we contract with the contracting agency in the (proposed) RFP (request for proposal) or we have our own city staff there, it’s already going on. It’s a continuation of what we already are doing,” she said.

Bialkowski then mentioned that city youth services are on hold at this point, and suggested language in the contract that shielded the city from financial obligations if the money wasn’t there.

“We could certainly add that language in there,” Tabelski said, but City Attorney George Van Nest disagreed, saying he didn’t think it was necessary because any private sector agency (or an entity such as a school district) would be subject to any government restrictions in place.

Jankowski said he thought it was “odd” that the school district is the fiscal agent but was asking the city for in-kind support.

Rogers replied that the district already has a “multi-care system approach” to education and mentioned its “great graduation rates.”

“This is another program that we felt would assist us as a school district and as a community to bridge that gap and offer more opportunities to students,” she explained. “It is a program that helps bridge the gap and enhance and cultivate those educational, workforce opportunities for students.”

Jankowski: Why is This Being Pushed Through?

Jankowski noted the school’s budgetary shortfall and, again, questioned why this was “getting pushed through tonight and we haven’t even done our budget yet. We’re voting on this resolution to partner in a grant and these things might not be here.”

Council Member Al McGinnis called it an important issue and encouraged public input before voting to support it.

““We need public input on this. I don’t think we can proceed without having public input, and I’d like the language changed to say all children,” he said.

Again, Jankowski voiced his displeasure with the last-minute notification that put Council on the spot.

“The timing is the problem here,” he said. “We don’t even know what our budget is like. As far as supporting it and moral support … I’m comfortable with that part of it. I don’t know where we’re going to end up from here (with the budget). I don’t what them to apply for that grant and then something comes up beyond our control, and now we’re not able to meet our obligations.”

Council Member John Canale asked Tabelski if there would be any additional cost to the city once the youth center gets up and running. Tabelski said there wouldn’t, prompting Canale to urge his colleagues (Jeremy Karas and Paul Viele were absent) to vote to support it, contingent upon available funding.

That seemed to change Jankowski’s mind as he then commended the program’s priorities and benchmarks, while noting that “people of color” encompasses a larger group of people than just those of African-American descent.

Pacino: If We Can Help, Then Let's Help

Then Council Member Patti Pacino, a longtime educator, spoke in favor of the initiative.

“For all this time, before this came along, we take care of kids who come from families who are Muslim, kids that come from parents who only speak Spanish, kids that come from Black families that have no money. That’s all been going on,” she said. “Now, we can say wait, here’s another program that we can add to our programs.”

“Yes, this one belongs to Black young men that happens to be one where these kids are having problems and these kids are getting into trouble. That does not mean that other kids aren’t. It’s an expansion – one more great thing to do for kids. I’m all for saying we support it and we’ll come up with the money if we can come up with the money. It’s not that we’re taking it over, and it’s not that they haven’t been doing it.”

After Jankowski asked how many students would participate in the program (Rogers said she estimated around 100), Canale said this was an opportunity to “invest in our youth to improve our youth in Batavia -- some of these underprivileged, underserved youth that will stay in Batavia, (and) will be more productive community members as they become adults.”

The resolution was then moved to the Special Business meeting where Christian tried to proposed an amendment to include girls and any students of any color.

That was dismissed, however, due to the parameters of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

A vote to support the school district was taken with all Council members except Christian voting in favor of it. McGinnis said he was voting yes, “with reservations.”

In other action, Council:

  • Forwarded resolutions concerning the 2021-22 budget ordinance and tax levy; establishment of new water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees, and amendment of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District Plan to its Feb. 8 Business meeting, with expectations that public hearings for all these measures by scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 22.

Currently, the budget calls for a 1.38-percent increase in the property tax rate, from $9.59 to $9.73 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value, with a tax levy of $5,864,597.

A budget workshop took place following last night’s Business meeting and another is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Monday.

Water rates and quarterly meter service fees are projected to increase by 3.5 percent, with quarterly capital improvement fees increasing by 10 percent.

Amendments to the BID Plan focus on three capital projects in the pipeline for 2021-22 -- downtown marketing banners ($9,000), downtown music equipment ($30,000) and downtown Christmas decorations ($38,000) – and the amount of the BID’s assessment charge to its members.

  • Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 8 to apply for a 2020 New York State Community Development Block Grant through the state Office of Homes and Community Renewal. Applications are due by March 5 for public infrastructure, public facilities and planning.

Tabelski said the city is looking at obtaining grant funding for “several infrastructure projects,” specifically mentioning rehabilitative work at the fire station and bureau of maintenance, and a water line project.

  • Appointed Lydia Schauf, a former city youth bureau employee, to the City Youth Board advisory group for a term extending through Dec. 31, 2023.
January 25, 2021 - 10:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, news.

A house fire is reported at 75 Summit St., Le Roy.

A caller reports a fire in a second-floor bedroom.

Le Roy fire and Bergen fire dispatched. City's Fast Team dispatched.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Second alarm. Stafford, Pavilion dispatched. Town of Batavia to fill in at Le Roy station.

January 25, 2021 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, news.

Batavia High School's Athletic Director, Michael Bromley, said he's beyond excited that high-risk sports, delayed because of COVID, might be able to start their seasons on Feb. 1.

That could mean basketball, hockey and wrestling could all start next week but final approval for practices to begin must come local health departments. 

Public Health Director Paul Pettit said he has been on conference calls with health officials from the Finger Lakes Region, with more to come, as they work to develop a uniform approach to restarting specific high school sports.

Statement from Pettit: 

Genesee and Orleans counties are working with the other local health departments in Western New York and the Finger Lakes.  As a region, the local health departments are in support of reopening high-risk sports, but want to make sure it’s done safely and uniformly. As a region, we will be discussing and reviewing the state guidance with our school partners to ensure a consistent, regional approach.  

Bromley said he's also been on conference calls as athletic directions from throughout Section V work to figure out how they will piece together seasons that are starting weeks behind the normal schedule and just weeks before the normal spring schedule begins. And it will likely be a spring with a twist since football can possibly start back up March 1.

The regular spring sports schedule is slated to start April 19.

"The Section V COVID-19 task force and Winter/Fall II sports coordinators have already been communicating to finalize plans with membership," said Shaun Jeffers, spokesman for Section V. "Section V Athletics has 12 different health departments to coordinate with and will communicate with them throughout this process."

Also eligible to begin seasons are boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, and volleyball.

Bromley said his response after learning on Friday that high-risk sports were given the go-ahead, "I was so happy for the committed athletes and coaches in our district! We have proven in our fall season that we could successfully host events. Our winter athletes are currently involved in 'open gym' type activities following all COVID-19 protocol. I believe we are ready to safely begin the state-designated 'high risk' sports! Go Devils!"

Click here for the latest guidance (PDF), just released this evening, from NYS Public High School Athletic Association.

Top Items on Batavia's List

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

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



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