Local Matters

Community Sponsors

June 21, 2021 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC, UMMC Foundation, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) has been gifted the largest donation in its history of more than 100 years. Marian Ransom, who lived in LeRoy, left her entire estate of more than $1.2 million to the hospital upon passing away last year. In honor of Marian Ransom and her generous contribution, the second-floor medical wing at UMMC has been renamed the “Marian Ransom Medical Unit.”

“Its contributions like Marian’s that make such a profound impact on the community,” said Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center. “We are beyond grateful for Marian’s contributions and what it will mean for the hospital, our patients, and the community. With the support of her donation, we’ll be renovating the intensive care unit (ICU), which will also have a significant impact on the newly named Marian Ransom Medical Unit.”

The ICU project is still in the early stages of development, but when complete will improve patient, visitor access, and flow to both the ICU and the Marian Ransom Medical Unit. The ICU will get a new waiting area and greeting area and also, clinical support spaces for both units. 

“Marian desired to make a difference at the end of her life and so bequeathed her entire estate of more than $1.2 million to United Memorial Medical Center," said Michael T Welsh, Marian’s attorney. “This humble and philosophical woman has left a legacy which will benefit so many of our citizens for years to come.”

June 21, 2021 - 5:02pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau is seeking applicants for the Genesee Youth Lead Program. Applicants should be a Genesee County high school student entering their freshman through senior year.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 3.

The eight-month program is focused on developing leadership skills within an individual through each specific session and through hands-on experience.  Each session will have a different focus on our community and leadership.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at GVEP BOCES beginning Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be held once a month on the second Wednesdays of each month except for November due to the holiday.

The program dates are: Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9, April 13, and May 11.

Youths who complete the program are encouraged to use the skills and information gained through their experience to support the communities in which they live.

The selection process will be done through an application and interview process by the staff. The class size is limited.

The program will cost $75 for each student. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

Applications for the program can be found here

Please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585)344-3960 or at:   [email protected].

June 21, 2021 - 3:49pm

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and the Batavia Community Schools initiative are joining forces to present a “School’s Out for Summer!” informational fair from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Recovery Station at 5256 Clinton Sreet Road.

Shannon Ford, GCASA’s director of Communications/Development/Prevention, said the event is set up to provide available resources, such as summer activities and educational opportunities, for both parents and youth.

“GCASA’s Prevention Team is very excited to partner with Batavia Community Schools to host this event at The Recovery Station,” Ford said. “After a long, challenging school year, we want to make sure parents and youth have the resources they need to stay healthy and safe. We’re hoping families will stop by, have some fun and get some important information that we plan to share.”

Batavia Community Schools is a new program developed by the Batavia City School District. Its mission is to unite the Batavia community and schools through shared resources, working partnerships, and open, collaborative communication.

Julia Rogers, coordinator of Community Schools, said the event with GCASA “aligns nicely with our vision of building a better Batavia by promoting equitable learning activities, cultivating healthier families and establishing a stronger community.”

Thursday’s activities include Hidden Mischief (a hidden-in-plain-sight experience) for adults from 6:15-7:15 p.m. and special games for children during that time. Attendees will be able to tour the facility.

Refreshments will be available from Pub Coffee Hub.

Other participants include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hillside Children’s Center Young Life, The ACT Program.

It isn’t too late for other community agencies or organizations to participate, Rogers said, adding that she can be reached at (585) 343-2480, ext. 1004.

CLICK HERE for more information about Batavia Community Schools.

June 21, 2021 - 2:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in centenarian, 100th Birthday, elon spink, Attica, Le Roy, Milestones.

Above, Elon Spink and his granddaughter, Tammy Charbonneau.

Written by Thomas Spink.

LE ROY -- Le Roy Village Green resident Elon Spink is Genesee County's newest centenarian!

Elon was born 100 years ago on June 19, 1921 in Attica to Ida and Harry Spink. He was the fourth of five children.

At an early age, he was diagnosed with polio, but thankfully he recovered, and he was able to get back his mobility and live a remarkably long life. Having had polio prevented him from enlisting to fight for his country in World War II, which disappointed him as he wanted to help defend his country from the Germans.

During his lifetime, Elon held many jobs. He transported farm equipment, construction materials, worked as an accountant for his brother Tom’s business and then started driving bus. He finished up his career delivering beer and beverages, retiring in 1983 at the age 62.                                        

He moved to Rochester in the 1950s where he would meet and marry the love of his life -- Fern Elizabeth Sherman.  Fern had three children, Patrick, Lucinda and Susan, who have known Elon as Dad for the past 60+ years. Elon and Fern had one child together, Thomas.

Elon and Fern were married for  51 years. Fern passed away in 2006, and Elon continued living ON HIS OWN until December, 2020. At the age of 99 and a half, in the middle of COVID-19, he had a fall and he and his family realized it was time that he needed assistance, which is when he moved to Le Roy Village Green.  

Many of Elon’s most cherished memories are related to sports. Elon was a pretty good bowler. He won team championships in Rochester in the '50s and '60s. Elon is a diehard Rochester Redwings fan and through his son, Pat, (who worked in broadcasting for the Red Wings), he got to meet and befriend several players over the years.

In June of 2001, to celebrate his 80th birthday, he traveled to New York to watch the Yankees play on a Saturday and then rode down to Philadelphia to watch the Batavia Muckdogs parent team take on the New York Mets that following Sunday.   

He is an avid Buffalo Bills fan, and one lifetime experience for Elon was going to the Buffalo Bills first Superbowl in Tampa in 1991. He had the opportunity to meet Bills' owner Ralph Wilson at a Bills game. Ralph asked him how old he was, and when Elon said he was 83, Ralph chuckled and said that he was 86. Later that year, Ralph signed a picture of the two of them saying, “You're still not as old as me.”

The Buffalo Bills are Elon’s favorite team by far. He jokingly comments all the time, “I don’t know if I will ever see them win the Big Game.” Well Elon, maybe Josh Allen will do what your favorite quarterback, Jim Kelly, tried so hard to do four times in a row – and you may get to see a Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl victory this year as you work your way toward 101!

We all wish you the happiest 100th birthday!

Photos courtesy of Margaret Sheelar.

Below, Elon Spink and his son, Thomas Spink.

June 21, 2021 - 12:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Christopher P. Thomas, 37, was arrested June 11 and charged was endangering the welfare of a child. It is alleged that at 6:37 p.m. on May 13 that Thomas allowed three children to engage in a physical fight with another person on Lewis Place in Batavia. Thomas was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on June 22.

Nicole R. Griffin, 39, was arrested June 12 and charged was endangering the welfare of a child. It is alleged that at 6:37 p.m. on May 13 that Griffin allowed three children to engage in a physical fight with another person on Lewis Place in Batavia. Griffin was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on June 22.

Brandon Crawford, 19, was arrested June 15 and charged with petit larceny. It is alleged that at 6 p.m. on June 1 on Kingsbury Avenue that Crawford took a sum on money from residence while he was house sitting for a family on vacation. He was processed, issued an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court July 6, and then released.  

Tierance J. Davis Sr., 34, was arrested at 5:52 p.m. June 8 and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He was arrested after a physical altercation that day with a juvenile female on North Lyons Street in Batavia. Following his arraignment in Batavia City Court, he was released on his own recognizance. He due to return to court July 15.

Angie Maniaci, 39, was arrested at 3:37 p.m. June 12 by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post on Chandler Avenue in Batavia and charged with second-degree harassment. It is alleged she struck another person after a brief argument. Maniaci was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court and is due there June 22.

Shawn P. Wolcott, 38, was arrested at 11:30 p.m. June 11 on West Main Street Road in Batavia and charged with second-degree criminal contempt and resisting arrested. It is alleged that he violated a stay away order of protection by coming to the protected party's residence. Wolcott then allegedly resisted arrest when officers attempted to take him into custody. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due back in court July 1.

Robert Williams Sr., 30, was arrested at 1:51 a.m. June 13 on Hutchins Street, Batavia. He is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI common law; aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree; and operating/using/leasing/renting, or was loaned, a vehicle without a required ignition interlock device. The arrest follows a traffic stop after a patrol allegedly observed traffic violations. Williams was released with traffic tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on June 22.

Danielle Weldon, 19, was arrested at 9:24 p.m. June 10 on West Main Street in Batavia and charged with second-degree harassment. Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Weldon after an unspecified incident at a local restaurant. She was issued an appearance ticket and was due in Batavia City Court on June 15.

Jacob Hernandez, 26, was arrested by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post June 9 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court. It stems from an unspecified incident at 5:52 a.m. Sept. 22 on Jackson Street in the City of Batavia. After his arraignment June 9, Hernandez was released on his own recognizance. He was due back in city court June 17.

Heather Holbrook, 36, was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court at 9 a.m. June 2 on West Main Street in Batavia. Holbrook is accused of failing to appear in court May 12 for an unspecified incident that occurred Jan. 14. She was issued an appearance ticket for a later date (unspecified) and then released.

June 21, 2021 - 11:43am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee County Planning Department, Genesee 2050.

The road to updated Genesee County Comprehensive and Recreation plans is much more demanding than the proverbial “walk in the park” but County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari is hoping an event of that name helps move the municipality closer to its goals.

Oltramari is inviting county residents to come to the DeWitt Recreation Area at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 10 for Walk in the Park!, an interactive gathering featuring a walking tour of the Cedar Street site, workshops, question-and-answer session, and available food and refreshments from Pub Coffee Hub.

Representatives of Prospect Hill Consulting LLC, of Buffalo, the firm coordinating the plan revisions, and Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, of North Tonawanda, a subcontractor, will be attending.

“We’re trying to come up with a new framework (of plan components), with the main thing that we want to do is see if we can modernize the way that we present it to the public,” Oltramari said. “That is why having this Genesee 2050 website is important. It will be a hub where people can get information and we can share across departments. We want to use technology more instead of having just in-person meetings and PowerPoint presentations.”

He also said a second piece of the puzzle is creating a countywide recreation plan.

“With that, we can look at potential trails, gaps in our park system and recreational activities that we want to have or encourage; sort of set us up for more grant funding in the future,” he said.

Oltramari said planners, legislators, community members and consultants have been updating the comprehensive plan every year since 2000 – utilizing focus groups and steering committees – but now they want to update the entire plan.

A comprehensive plan is a long-range guide for future development and resource protection that considers land use regulation, zoning code revisions and future ordinances. It consists of the following elements:

  • Demographics and Socio-Economics
  • Land Use, Environment, & Place Making
  • Agriculture and Food Production
  • Arts, Culture, Parks & Recreation
  • Housing Opportunities
  • Transportation & Mobility
  • Technology & Utilities
  • Community Wellness
  • Economic & Workforce Development
  • Safety, Security, and Justice
  • Education and Government Administration

“We had some funding set aside for the recreation plan capital project and we didn’t have any luck getting a grant to help pay for it,” Oltramari said. “So, in 2019 we decided to try for a grant for both the comprehensive plan and the recreation plan together, and we were successful in getting that grant.”

On Wednesday, the legislature is expected to vote on a resolution to add a $40,000 grant from New York State Empire State Development to the Comprehensive/Recreation Plan Capital Project.

The grant stipulates that Genesee County provide a cash match of $45,000 and in-kind contribution (personnel, ancillary costs) of $15,000 for a total project cost of $100,000.

Other resolutions on Wednesday’s agenda include:

  • Accepting $157,927 from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to fund improvements and modernization to the infrastructure that directly supports cybersecurity, Public Health, Mental Health and Emergency Management Services departments.
  • Extending two temporary full-time clerk typist positions, three temporary full-time COVID-19 response specialists and one temporary full-time epidemiologist until March 31, 2023 ,with salary and fringe benefits funded by the expanded COVID-19 grant funds ($342,558) and allocated in the 2021, 2022 & 2023 budgets.
  • Contracting with Flynn-Battaglia Architects P.C., of Buffalo, for an amount not to exceed $38,000 to update construction documents to reflect the current condition of the former Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Jail building at 14 Main St. so it may be repaired. It has been reported previously that the stone work on the front portion of the historic building continues to deteriorate and requires emergency repairs. The consultant services will be paid from the Genesee Justice Stone Work capital project.
  • Reappointing Phillip DiMartino, of Batavia, to the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2028. DiMartino has served on the board since July 1, 2019.
June 21, 2021 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.07, down 1 cent in the past week. One year ago, the price was $2.13. The New York State average is $3.13 – up 2 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.23.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $3.08 (no change since last Monday)
  • Buffalo- - $3.07 (up 3 cents since last Monday)
  • Ithaca -- $3.11 (up 6 cents since last Monday)
  • Rochester -- $3.10 (up 3 cents since last Monday)
  • Rome -- $3.20 (up 3 cents since last Monday)
  • Syracuse- - $3.12 (up 6 cents since last Monday)
  • Watertown -- $3.17 (up 2 cents since last Monday)

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by one cent to $3.07. In its latest report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted growth in gasoline demand and stocks. The increase in total supply, even as gas demand increased, has helped to limit pump price fluctuations this week on the national level.

However, local motorists aren’t seeing much relief at the pump, and rising crude oil prices could mean higher prices later this month.

As of this morning, oil prices remain over $71 per barrel. Until two weeks ago, crude prices hadn’t crossed the $70/bbl threshold since mid-October 2018. 

From GasBuddy:

"The ferocious rise in gas prices has finally started to cool as gas prices have eased across a majority of the country for the first time in months," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "There have been some challenges in pockets across the country as demand remains very healthy, and stations in some areas where demand is very high struggle to keep up with demand thanks to the truck driver shortage.

"As we head toward the July 4 holiday, I'm optimistic that we'll continue to see prices slowly drift lower before possibly rising in later July or August should we see any disruptions from hurricane season. But for now it seems most Americans are simply happy to be getting outside and back to some sense of normal."

June 21, 2021 - 10:19am
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]
June 20, 2021 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Pavilion, baseball, scanner.

Law enforcement is called to the Pavilion Baseball Field for a complaint that 10 to 12 parents are arguing. The location is 11302 S. Lake Road.

UPDATE 1:03 p.m.: "We're gonna hang out here a bit," says a deputy. "It's apparently heated on both sides."

UPDATE 11:08 p.m. (by Howard): We received the following email from Tim Kingdon.

Hi Howard this is Tim Kingdon president of pavilion youth baseball. I'd like for you to update your story you posted earlier today with what happened. First, there were no Pavilion parents kids or teams involved it was two softball teams one from Arcade the other from Arkport who were playing in tournament using our field as a neutral site. There wasn't even a Pavilion team in the tournament. The way your post is titled makes it out to be that it was an incident between Pavilion parents and another town and it couldn't be any further from the truth. Thanks.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Nowhere in the post or the headline does it suggest Pavilion parents were involved. The headline and post both say the incident occurred in Pavilion without any mention of where the parents might be from. We are happy however to clarify that no Pavilion parents were involved.

June 19, 2021 - 6:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in missing pets, lost pets, animal rescue, batavia.

Do not be afraid. The cat with the seemingly luminous laser eyes is not possessed by evil spirits, but he is on the loose. Fear not, it's only "Spot."

Beyond the dazzling backlit eyeballs is an ordinary housecat who has scampered away from home at the corner of State Street and MacArthur Drive in Batavia, just in time for tomorrow's Summer Solstice -- the year's longest day of sunlight.

His markings are distinctive -- the black teardrop nose, the prominent snowy bib, and what appears to be a black cat's arm stretched around his head and under his chin, with paw resting on the right side of his mouth. Charming.

Another unique thing about Spot is his front legs are shorter than his back ones, kinda Manx-like, kinda rabbity.

"He's only ever been out of the house once and (this time) he snuck out and wouldn't come back," pouts owner David Austin, astonished by his pet's willfull disregard for the Official Handbook of Household Rules.

All cats apparently would have us believe they only got out once -- once -- on a Sunday morning to hang out in the church parking lot before rushing home straightaway once the congregation was dismissed. Never another defiant act! Yea, right...

If you see this rapscallion, email David Austin at:  [email protected]

June 19, 2021 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, news, schools, education, Oakfield, Alabama.

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Oakfield-Alabama held its 2021 graduation ceremony on Friday.

Above, Karly Smith delivers her Valedictorian speech.

Zachary Hall, below, was the Salutatorian.

Photos by Kristen Smith.

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June 19, 2021 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Onion Queen, elba, news.

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Taylor Augello was crowned the 2020 Onion Queen in a ceremony in the Elba Village Park on Friday evening.

The 2021 Onion Queen will be crowned in September.

  • Madison Harrington was first runner-up.
  • Lily Thompson was second runner-up.
  • Fanny Venegas was third runner-up.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

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June 19, 2021 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in juneteenth, Williams Park, batavia, news.

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Sponsored by the Just Kings Social Club, Batavia's Juneteenth celebration is taking place in Williams Park today. The celebration of freedom continues until 7 p.m.

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June 19, 2021 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in busking, news, Pok-A-Dot, batavia.

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Chris Humel and Julio Morales busking this afternoon outside the Pok-A-Dot at Liberty and Ellicott. 

June 19, 2021 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in volunteers for animals, animal shelter, batavia, news.

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The Volunteers for Animals collected a dumpster full of scrap metal today, an annual fundraiser for the organization.  

You have plenty time yet to donate your old metal items. You can either drop it off this evening, placing it as close to the dumpster as possible, or tomorrow between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

June 19, 2021 - 3:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc of Genesee Orleans, Challenger Baseball, news, batavia, muckdogs.

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The annual Challenger Baseball game was held at Dwyer Stadium this afternoon with the Batavia Muckdogs hosting clients of Arc of Genesee Orleans.

The Muckdogs play a home game tonight at 7 o'clock against Jamestown.

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June 19, 2021 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, scanner, Le Roy.

A third rekindle of hay bales at 9420 Warsaw Road prompts Le Roy Fire Department to respond. The location is between Perry and Cole roads.

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: "It's going to be the sawdust that is burning," says command, not the hay bales.

June 19, 2021 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Tractor Pull, sports, news.

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Tractor pulls are back with a competition going on all day today in Alexander at the WNY Steam Show grounds.

The event started at 9 a.m. with the deadweight pull. This afternoon and evening include the Class 5500, 6500, 7500, and 8500 stock and enhanced pulls, then the 9500, 10500, 12500, 14500 stock and enhanced pulls, followed by the 4x4 wheel drive truck diesel pulls and then the gas trucks.

Admission: $10 adult; children 5-12 $5; 4 and under free. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

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June 19, 2021 - 12:37pm

Incumbent Julie Scheuerlein is pointing to her 19 years of service in the Town of Stafford as she seeks to fend off a challenge from Barbara Radley, who has been endorsed by all four town councilmen and the Stafford Republican Committee, in Tuesday’s primary election for town clerk.

Apparently, the battle lines have been drawn as the councilmen are calling for a change due to job performance issues. They believe that Radley, currently a deputy clerk for the Town of Byron and a former Stafford deputy clerk in Scheuerlein’s office, is the best choice.

Scheuerlein, however, disputes the board members’ and Republican committee’s position, stating that in her four years on the job – following 15 years as the municipality’s court clerk – she has served the town well despite the board’s failure to provide her with adequate training and support.

Major points of contention, per the town board, are that the Town of Stafford has not collected its own taxes over the past two years -- relinquishing that task to Genesee County after errors in the tax roll were discovered in 2019 -- and that Scheuerlein has not provided accurate and timely meeting minutes.

Early voting by registered Stafford Republicans for their next town clerk continues from noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the ARC Community Center, 38 Woodrow Road, Batavia, and concludes on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Stafford Town Hall.

At stake is an opportunity to represent the party in the November election. The position, which requires a commitment of 30 to 35 hours, lists a salary of around $33,000.

TOWN BOARD ISSUES A STATEMENT

Town board members issued a statement, that has made its way onto Facebook, endorsing Radley:

“It is rare for town board members to make an endorsement of a candidate. It is even rarer for all four board members to endorse the same candidate. Bob Pacer, Ron Panek, Don Mullen and Jim Duyssen have all endorsed Barb Radley.

“The Town Board needs a clerk that has a plan for a defect-free submission so that they can confidently bring back the taxes from the county. Stafford is the only town in Genesee County that has had to outsource their tax collection.

“The Town Board needs a clerk that can provide timely and accurate recording of the proceedings and propositions of each meeting. These records need to be made available to the public within two weeks of the meeting.

“The Town Board needs a clerk that provides error free services to minimize customer complaints.

“The Town Board is confident that Barb Radley can turn around the clerk’s office on these three issues.”

PANEK POINTS TO ‘ERRORS’

Contacted by The Batavian, Panek said errors in the minutes are the “biggest issue,” adding that they are finding 10 to 12 major corrections a month.

“There would be missing motions, and sometimes the motions would be listed as just the opposite of what we’d voted on,” he said. “And sometimes carrying over, using the old minutes as a carryover format, and who was actually at the meeting would be mixed up.”

Panek said that he spent time researching the New York State law, and found that “the town clerk should attend all board meetings and should record the proceedings and the propositions that are presented at the meeting.”

“Some wives’ tale that people believe is that you can only put down the motions and that’s adequate. Well, that’s not true because the law says you’re supposed to do the proceedings,” he said.

He said the town’s previous clerk, Walt Kershenski (who served from 2004-18) set the standard, “perfectly striking a balance between enough information and not enough information.”

“Now, the problem is that if they record the meeting, we get the minutes so late – sometimes two days before the next meeting. I think what is done is that they are left until the last minute and they try to use the recording to piece it together and they can’t remember exactly what took place,” he said.

STAFFORD CONTRACTS WITH COUNTY

On the tax collection issue, he said the Genesee County Treasurer’s Office found “all kinds of errors” in the 2019 roll, and had to “invest a ton of time – I know over 100 hours – into fixing the tax roll.”

After that, Genesee County took over the duties, charging the town $2,500 in 2020, and $5,000 for the just-completed 2021 collection.

Panek said the town board withheld a raise for Scheuerlein because of that – and actually cut her pay for the original $2,500.

“I had told her when she was complaining about not getting a raise that we need a plan on how you’re going to bring it back. Who are you going to get to train you? Who are you going to get – an experienced clerk – to help you through it? We got nothing,” he said.

“It’s already cost us $7,500 and now we’re hoping that the voters of Stafford will give us somebody who can do taxes.”

REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE STATEMENT

The Stafford Republican Committee, which is chaired by Panek’s wife, Mary Alice, also endorsed Radley after interviewing candidates (Scheuerlein, Radley and an undisclosed third person) in January.

Its statement is as follows:

“Barb Radley provided a presentation which gave the committee confidence they were providing the best candidate:

“1 – The county took over the tax processing due to the submission failing the audit of the tax roll. Barb’s presentation gave the committee confidence that the town board could bring the tax processing back under her direction.

“2 – Her presentation demonstrated her experience in providing a defect-free process in an environment where information must be right the first time.

“3 – Finally, the committee was confident that Barb would provide a friendly, customer-oriented environment.

“Based on this presentation, the decision was made on a single ballot with a unanimous (11-0) vote. The choice was clear.”

CHAIR: A UNANIMOUS DECISION

Mary Alice Panek said committee members voted 11-0 to endorse Radley. She said it was a combination of Radley’s experience and “some of the issues with the present day town clerk” that gave Radley the nod.

She, too, mentioned board minutes’ inaccuracies, the fact that the minutes are not posted to the town’s website in a timely fashion and “multiple errors in licensing.”

“This was from members of the committee who had encountered mistakes and had to go back to the town hall several times for marriage licensing, hunting licenses, dog licenses,” she said. “There was an issue with the handicapped parking sticker that had the wrong dates put on it and an issue where one of the funeral directors came in for a death certificate because he had to bury the person and she (Scheuerlein) told him that she was busy and he’d have to wait a couple days.”

Mary Alice Panek also said the committee talked about the tax returns, citing multiple errors and having to pay the county for the service.

The committee chair applauded Radley’s varied work history, as an employee of the Le Roy Central School District, U.S. Postal Service in Stafford and other area locations and, currently, as the deputy clerk for the Town of Byron.

“Byron submits its taxes on time and there haven’t been any issues. She certainly has a valid and successful experience as a deputy town clerk,” she said.

SCHEUERLEIN: ‘INTEGRITY ATTACKED’

scheuerlien_2.jpgScheuerlein, part of a family of 11 who grew up in Le Roy before moving to Stafford, said that things are being blown out of proportion and faults the town board for not providing her with the tools she needed to excel after transitioning from the court system to the clerk’s office.

“When I started this job, I was never trained at all,” she said. “You would think the board would come in and ask, ‘What do you need?’ No, no, no. And then I heard from somebody at the Stafford Trading Post telling me what they were going to do with me concerning the tax issue. How do you muddy somebody’s name like that?”

She said it has come to a point where her opponents are attacking her integrity.

“At this point, it has turned into a defamation of character. How do you become a court clerk and then a town clerk, and now all of a sudden, you can’t handle a job? That’s what they’re doing,” she said. “What they’re doing doesn’t negate that I know how to do my job.

“That indicates that I started this job and didn’t know it. There are two variables here. I had a support system in the court, which is totally different than the board. Not one of those board members … come down to the office all month long; the only person who is there every day is (Supervisor) Robert Clement."

Calls yesterday to Clement for comment have not been returned.

A ‘TAXING’ SITUATION

When asked about the tax collection situation, Scheuerlein said it was a board decision to contract with Genesee County.

“There was one bounced check that caused the problem. Barb (Radley, her deputy clerk at the time) had assured me that she had secured the funds for that check,” she said. “But we didn’t have that money. It was like $1,700, off the top of my head.”

Scheuerlein said that she eventually recovered the funds after threatening to take the matter to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

She said her mistake was that one check, “plus I counted on the person working for me.”

“That was my mistake, and what it tells me is that I shouldn’t have depended upon her.”

She said Radley abruptly quit the job in September 2019 after a year’s service.

As far as having a plan to regain tax collection responsibilities, Scheuerlein said the board has not asked for one.

“You show me where they’ve asked for that. That has never been said. What has been said is that has been taken away, and the supervisor said that he has two people right now that will handle the taxes – and one of them is extremely efficient and the other one will be just fine,” she offered.

County Treasurer Scott German said that an accounting firm recommended finding an alternative to having the town do the tax collection after the problems in 2019, but also indicated that no money was missing and there was no official audit.

A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Scheuerlein contends that the disclosure of information pertaining to her job by Ron and Mary Alice Panek, in the roles as town councilman and Stafford Republican Committee chair, is out of line. She also sees a conflict of interest, something that Mary Alice Panek disputes.

“As far as talking to one board member, Ron Panek, he is married to Mary Alice and there is a conflict of interest,” Scheuerlein said. “How can you, with your husband being on the town board, say the things about town business that you’re saying in public?”

When asked if her role on the Republican committee could be perceived as a conflict of interest, Mary Alice Panek replied, “Not at all. I’m not an elected official. I’m not elected by any general election. I’m just elected by the Republican committee.”

Scheuerlein also said there have been instances of board members inappropriately talking about town business in public, and took exception to having her salary reduced because the town had to pay the county for the tax services.

“This is part of what I feel is discrimination that is going on,” she said. “How can you take salary from me to pay for the tax bill? The first year that I went in, they told me to prove yourself. I said OK. The second year, they put me at one price and then they didn’t raise me the third year. And the fourth year, they took away what they paid in taxes (collection).”

She also said councilmen are “nitpicking” over the minutes -- “I know what I am writing down,” she said – and has been mostly on her own for the past year and a half. Currently, she has a part-time deputy clerk, working about four hours a week.

CLERK WANTS TO ‘BE AVAILABLE’

Beyond the social media back-and-forth, Scheuerlein said she has served the Town of Stafford proudly (she also assisted courts in Darien, Bergen and Byron) and “wants to be continue to be available in the office for the town residents.”

“We’re looking at the home stretch. Nobody can take my 19 years away from me. I never thought small town politics would go this way,” she said.

“I love my town. I’ve met a lot of nice people – going door to door and hearing what they feel. The pandemic wasn’t conducive for that. Now that we’re out of it, I’m very grateful that we can move forward with things.”

She said she is well known in the community and is confident in her abilities.

“As far as the town people, I have a lot of residents that have been supportive of me from the beginning,” she said.

RADLEY TOUTS EXPERIENCE

barb_radley_1.jpgRadley, one of a family of eight, also grew up in Le Roy and his lived in Stafford for more than 40 years. She emphasizes her track record of successful employment in various venues, starting with food service work at Le Roy Central School for 18 years.

She said she supervised nine employees at the school, where she also served on the Character Education Committee.

From there, she worked at the Stafford Post Office for 12 years, through 2016, with the first 10 years as postmaster relief. She also spent two and a half years as the officer in charge at the Mumford post office, streamlining the operation, and also worked at the York and Warsaw post offices.

A former executive director of Stafford recreation and town hall building committee member, Radley said she worked for Scheuerlein for a year. After she left, she quickly was hired as Town of Byron deputy clerk and continues to work in that capacity.

Addressing circumstances surrounding the tax collection issue, she said, “I did as I was told.”

“As deputy, I accepted many checks that came in. And it’s up to the clerk to check and make sure that everything is in line,” she said. “As deputy clerk, I assisted her with the tax collection and would add up the daily receipts and she took it from there. It is the clerk’s responsibility to take care of taxes from there and it is the clerk’s responsibility to sign for them and make up the final tax roll. The deputies just assist.”

When asked if she left on good terms, she replied, “I felt that I wanted to leave and wanted to learn a different perspective.”

As for the election, Radley said she has “the experience, am known in the community and am knowledgeable, and I will save the town money by taking back the tax collection (should the town board vote that way).”

June 19, 2021 - 11:46am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, city centre.

citycentrewhitestreaks.jpg

The white streaks on the facing of the City Centre are back – and City of Batavia Manager Rachael Tabelski said this could be a once-in-a-decade problem.

In August 2020, according to a story on The Batavian, City Council approved spending $31,500 with a Buffalo masonry company to replace 46 windows and sills with material that won’t run and create new streaks.

All Council members at that time agreed it was an eyesore that bothered city residents.

Those white marks have returned (see the photo above) but Tabelski said the cause may be different this time around.

“DPW (Department of Public Works) is going to follow up with the white streaks appearing on City Hall again,” she said. “From my untrained eye, it looks like the mortar from the bricks this time and not the window sills, however, I will wait for a professional analysis.”

There’s a chance this could be a recurring situation.

“This might just be an issue the City has to deal with every 10 years or so at the City Hall building,” she said.

In August 2010, the city spent $31,000 to eliminate the white streaks on City Centre. Now they're back (see attached photo).

Previously: Council approves repairs to eliminate white streaks on City Hall

Photo by Howard Owens.

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