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May 6, 2022 - 4:15pm
posted by Press Release in Steve Hawley, news, 139th assembly district, unemployment.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, C, I-Batavia) is speaking out following the passage of a bill (A.6666) by the Assembly Majority that would remove requirements for individuals overpaid by the New York state unemployment system to pay back those funds. Hawley believes that the removal of such a requirement could encourage future abuse of the unemployment system and other assistance programs in the future, and that it burdens small businesses whose unemployment insurance costs have skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While it is true people make mistakes, offering a blanket forgiveness to those who received this money and weren’t actually eligible sends the wrong message about how seriously our state tries to protect taxpayer dollars,” said Hawley. “This bill will also hurt the small business owners who are forced to pay more for unemployment insurance. This, in turn, could make it harder for them to hire more people and expand their operations.”

Text of the Bill.

May 6, 2022 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

A motor vehicle accident is reported at the railroad crossing on Townline Road, Bergen.

A minor head injury is reported.

Bergen Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched

Fire police are requested for traffic control.

May 6, 2022 - 8:15am

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School budgets are like teeter-totters, Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith says.

The old kids’ playground toy — that seated a person on each end and they’d push off when their feet hit the ground — is a balancing act. Likewise, school officials try to have a budget with no one end greatly outweighing the other, he said.

“We’re not just pulling pieces out of thin air,” he said during Thursday’s budget hearing at Batavia High School. “(It’s about) having school programs … and what our taxpayers can afford.”

Teeter totter process …
After board budget sessions and a meeting on April 21, the board adopted a proposed 2022-23 budget of $54.8, which is an increase of $2.7 million from the current year’s budget.

A tax levy of just under $20 million will mean a 1 percent tax increase, which Smith believes is a good deal considering all of the program offerings at BCSD, he said.

During his first few months as superintendent, Smith has heard “over and over” how many opportunities there are, from fishing and skating clubs to academic, athletic and other extracurricular activities, he said.

The district’s focus is mainly on getting kids caught up from prior “learning losses” due to the pandemic’s shutdowns and remote and hybrid education methods, he said. As for the offerings, many of them are not mandated by the State Education Department, including art, laptops, musicals, athletics, smaller class sizes, Community Schools, and even school counselors, he said.

Can anyone imagine school without these amenities, he said.

“These are the pieces we don’t have to have,” he said. “Pieces that really make our school our own school.”

Potential tax rate …
A 1 percent property tax increase would add 19 cents to the current tax rate of $19.23 per $1,000 assessed property value. Comparing apples to apples, the property tax for a home assessed at $100,000 would mean an increase of $19 a year. However, if that same property has been reassessed to $125,000, the yearly property tax would increase by $504.50 ($100,000 X $19.23 versus $125,000 X $19.42).

CLARIFICATION: Because of how tax levies actually determine the tax rate, the tax rate, with increased assessments, could actually go down.  For an explanation, see this story.

The district assessing changing enrollment numbers and the teacher-to-student ratio, he said, to be “conscientious” about the needs and expenses of the district. He emphasized that the district isn’t responsible for setting certain items that can upset taxpayers.

‘We don’t control assessments, we don’t control the tax rate,” he said. “We control the tax levy.”

Taxing entities within the district include the schools, city, library and Genesee County. There is a proposed $100,000 Capital Outlay project included in the budget, which would be reimbursed with about 90 cents for every dollar spent, he said.

What about a ‘no’ …
Smith did not mention, or answer the question from The Batavian previously, about what would happen if district residents should vote this budget down. As Benedict said in response to The Batavian’s question, “I am optimistic that our BCSD proposed budget will pass.”

“However, State Education law provides every school district with options if their budget is rejected,” she said after the meeting. “I am hopeful that this budget passes because it best supports the students of the district.”

The New York State School Boards Association lays out the protocol in case the voters reject a school budget. The school board can prepare and adopt a contingency budget or go to the voters again on June 21, the statewide uniform budget revote day.

If the voters have twice rejected a board-proposed budget for a given fiscal year – either the same budget or a second version – the law prohibits submitting a budget or other expenditure propositions to the voters a third time. The school board must then adopt a contingency budget for the upcoming fiscal year by July 1, NYSSBA states.

Boards may pass multiple resolutions to approve contingency budget appropriations, it states, for specific purposes until the board adopts the overall contingency budget. A contingency budget funds only teachers’ salaries and those items the board determines are “ordinary contingent expenses,” the association states.

Ordinary contingent expenses have been defined under law to include legal obligations; expenditures authorized explicitly by statute; and other items necessary to maintain the educational program, preserve property and ensure the health and safety of the students and staff.

Expenditures that do not constitute "ordinary contingent expenses" include new equipment, public use of school buildings and grounds, except where there is no cost to the district, nonessential maintenance, capital expenditures (except in an emergency) and consultant services to review district operations and make recommendations necessary for the creation of the budget.

The school vote is from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 17 at one of two sites, depending on what side of the city voters reside. For more information, go to: bataviacsd.org

Top photo: 2022 File photo of Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith. Photo by Howard Owens.

May 6, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in problem gambling, Batavia Downs, news, notify.

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If pulling on slots, handicapping ponies, scratching tickets, or waging on Sunday's big games has become more important to you than your family or job, you're addicted to gambling.

That's an important issue, according to state officials who visited Batavia Downs Thursday to promote problem gambling awareness and a new QR code system to help problem gamblers get help fast.

"Today's event is entitled, 'What is responsible gaming?'" said Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams (speaking in top photo). "The answer to that question is dependent upon where you stand. For the player, it might mean not using gambling as a source of income, gambling only with money you can afford to lose, or setting time and money limits for gambling."

In an interview later, he contrasted betting with what you can't afford to lose with William Bennett, the former secretary of education in the Reagan Administration.

"It came out while he was doing his Book of Virtues tour around the United States, that his purpose of entertainment was to gamble and he was gambling several hundred dollars on a pull on slot machines, Williams said. "He could afford that. If you can't afford it, or the idea of gambling becomes something that affects your business or the way you conduct your life, and you think about gambling, it's preventing you from doing something at work, it's preventing you from doing something at home, then that becomes a problem."

The vast major of people who wager on slots, card games, sporting events, and lotteries are not problem gamblers, but because problem gambling can devastate people and families, and even communities, the state is trying to raise awareness about problem gambling, Williams said.  

He was joined at Batavia Downs by three other state officials.

"Problem gambling is sometimes referred to as a silent addiction," said OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham. "It doesn't have the visible signs that others do. It can cause disruptions in the lives of people who are impacted and impact physical and mental health. Individuals diagnosed with gambling disorders have higher rates over a lifetime of substance use disorders, as well as mental health disorders. And there's a negative impact on family relationships."

There has long been a hotline problem gamblers or their family members could call for help, and a website, but those resources are not always the immediate help some people seek, Williams noted.  The commission came up with the QR code to connect those seeking help more quickly with problem gambling resources.

"We currently have 31 OASAS-certified outpatient programs specializing in problem gambling," Cunningham said.  "We also have 12 state-operated inpatient programs where people in need of inpatient care for gambling disorders can be treated. Treatment is also available through a network of private practitioners connected to each other."

The QR code will be displayed wherever legal gambling is available in the state and at public events such as county fairs.  It will also be printed on scratch-off tickets.

"It's my understanding that the New York Lottery will be the first in the world to employ such a feature on scratch-off tickets," Williams said.

Batavia Downs takes the issue of problem gambling seriously said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO.  Employees are trained to watch for the signs of problem gambling, such as excessive use of credit cards to fund bets and to listen to customers for statements that might indicate somebody is struggling with responsible play.

"We know our players by name and we interact with them in a way that says we would like you to have fun and find it entertaining here, but we have to pay attention to the major signs that happen,"  Wojtaszek. "To our staff's credit, they do that and they often bring up information to me when we try to interact with our guests and customers and try to help them in that regard. We're trained to see indicators from patrons that may have a problem. The staff takes their concerns to our managers on duty to see if we need to look further into the situation and explain the actual options we have for them."

Council Executive Director Jim Maney noted that the number of people -- media and Batavia Downs staff -- who turned out for Thursday's event was the largest they had seen at any gaming facility in the state for similar events.

"That is so important to raise the awareness of problem gambling in the state of New York," Maney said.  "And why is it so important? Because we talk about wanting to advocate and care about our fellow people, they know when we care about them. And when you say -- you didn't say these exact words -- 'I'm a mom and pop organization,' what it really says is you guys do know your customers. You know each and every one of them by name. And when they know that you care about them, guess what? They care about themselves a little bit more, especially when we talk about addictions."

Photos by Howard Owens

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Henry Wojtaszek

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Jim Maney

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Western PGRC Program Manager Angela DiRosa said, “Ensuring that all New Yorkers are aware of the potential risks related to gambling, as well as how and where to get help if gambling becomes a problem, is more important than ever. Leveraging technology like the QR Code is another way to remove barriers to problem gambling screening, intervention, and treatment, and reduces the stigma associated with seeking those services.”

May 6, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Richmond Memorial Library, batavia, notify.

Nearly 80 percent of Thursday’s voters approved the requested tax levy for the 2022-23 Richmond Memorial Library budget, Director Bob Conrad says.

A tax levy increase of $21,865 — the first such increase in three years — fell under the allowable tax cap at a 1.6 percent increase, he said. Voters approved the proposition for the Batavia Board of Education to increase the annual appropriation from $1,359,604 to $l,381,469 to benefit the library.

“I am pleased to announce that the Richmond Memorial Library's proposed 2022-23 tax levy increase passed with 79.9% of the vote today,” Conrad said in an email Thursday evening. “An increase of up to $61,947 would have been allowed under NY's Tax Cap legislation, but an increase of only $21,865 was sought.”

In his written message to library patrons before the vote, Board President Gregg McAllister said that several initiatives contributed to the “slight increase,” including an expanded team of professional librarians and a new full-time teen librarian, increased hours for a library assistant who focuses on the middle school population, and expanding hours in the Library Visits program.

“We hope to see you at the library to check out the programs or various resources available to our community, or use our online materials or other forms of technology,” McAllister said in the library newsletter. “”We believe the Richmond Memorial Library is a gem for our city and worthy of its reputation as a source of information and assistance, a true community hub.”

Rebecca McGee, who ran unopposed, was elected to a second term on the board of trustees.

Library tidbits …

As of June 2021, there were:

  • 18,722 active library cardholders
  • 316 programs
  • 17,523 reference questions answered
  • 104 meeting room reservations by outside groups
  • 327 people enrolled in the Summer Reading Program

Who was the most popular author for years 2020 and 2021? James Patterson, and a comparison to others was apparently “not even close.”

May 5, 2022 - 10:26pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Frank E. Owen, music, arts, notify.

It was the spring of 1927 when a “very unique”assembly program took place at Batavia High School, Patti Pacino says.

Frank E. Owen had just begun as music director, and he asked students to “sing with me.” Not only did they sing, but the school newspaper described it as something to behold, all due to Owen’s incredible influence, Pacino said.

“Because of his strength and excellence, a score of music groups have grown here,” Pacino, a city resident and councilwoman, said during the Batavia City Schools board meeting Thursday. “I’m here to represent hundreds of alumni, asking you to allow us to honor the man who started here at Batavia High School by naming the BHS auditorium after Frank E. Owen, as a show of respect and thanks.”

The board previously had a discussion about the merit of naming a piece of school property after someone notable. Most board members voiced support of the idea and Board President Alice Benedict opposed it. Owen had been suggested for the high school auditorium, and the public was invited to weigh in on the decision. His prominence has been recognized with a Musicians of Note Award in 2019 and a scholarship in his name for seniors pursuing a degree in music.

Upon his arrival, Owen formed and inspired a girls and a boys glee club, bands, an orchestra, a drumline, musical theater shows and a host of aspiring musicians throughout his time to present day, Pacino said. She wasn’t alone in her zeal to see Owen honored in this way. Melzie Case, a Batavia Middle School music teacher, and middle school band director Sean Williams each endorsed Owen as an appropriate candidate for the auditorium name.

Although Case had never met Owen — he was music director from 1927 to 1964 — she’s had a sense of who he was.

“I can feel Frank E. Owen’s work and spirit in our music department today,” she said. “(Naming the auditorium after him) will allow us to honor all past, present and future musicians.”

Williams first gave a brief history lesson on other well-known city icons, such as VanDetta Stadium named as a “fantastic testament” to the positive accomplishments of Coach Daniel VanDetta. Williams then turned to Owen. “This man graced us for 27 years,” Williams said. He added that it would be only fitting to honor him as so many athletic coaches and athletes have been recognized with the Athletic Hall of Fame.

The board required no more discussion when it came time to vote. The move was approved by a vote of yes from Barbara Bowman, Jennifer Lendvay, Michelle Humes, John Marucci and Chezeray Rolle, and the lone no vote from Benedict. Benedict had previously said she wasn’t against Owen but did not agree that pieces of school property should be named after a particular person. 

She announced the board's next move after the vote.

“We will be dedicating the auditorium to Frank E. Owen,” she said.

May 5, 2022 - 10:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dwi drill, Pavilion Fire, pavilion hs, Pavilion, news.

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Pavilion High School Seniors were asked today to imagine what it would be like to do something that would change their lives and the lives of dozens and dozens of other people.

They were asked to imagine taking another life, however unintentionally, perhaps the life of a fellow classmate, by driving drunk.

Such a decision would not only cost them their driver's license along with thousands in fines and perhaps send them to prison; they would live for the rest of their lives with the knowledge that something they did ended the life of another human being.

That decision would also bring grief to the lives of the families of their victim, and perhaps victims, and hardships and disruptions to the lives of everybody else impacted by that decision.

That was the message today of a Senior Prom DWI Drill at Pavilion High School sponsored by Pavilion Volunteer Fire Department and helped by volunteers from Stafford, Bethany, Wyoming, and Elba, along with Mercy EMS, the Sheriff's Office, and Genesee County emergency dispatches.

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-- more photos after the jump (click the headline) --

May 5, 2022 - 5:18pm
posted by Press Release in Le Roy, Le Roy Ambulance, news.

Press release:

Le Roy Ambulance Service Inc. will be partnering with Scofield Transfer and Recycling to host a scrap metal collection fundraiser! On May 7, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be several roll-off dumpsters located at Le Roy Ambulance, 1 Tountas Ave in Le Roy, to collect all unwanted scrap metal. Clean out your garage, shed, basement, etc., of all old and unwanted metal items and drop them off for disposal at no cost! Examples of items you can drop off include old appliances, gas grills, bikes, hot water tanks, and anything else made of metal. Volunteers will be on hand to assist with unloading your vehicle! Items that cannot be accepted are microwaves, gas tanks, paint cans, food cans, or any electronics. For more information, please contact 585-343-8383. 

May 5, 2022 - 2:39pm
posted by Press Release in GCASA, news, Oakfield.

Press release:

With a track record of success as an advocate for youth, Sheila Harding is equipped to help facilitate drug and alcohol awareness programs as the assistant director of Prevention at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

“Sheila demonstrated her abilities to connect with young people as a prevention educator at GCASA for the past seven years,” said Shannon Ford, GCASA’s director of Prevention. “We’re fortunate that she has accepted the assistant director position. Parents and students in Genesee and Orleans counties will be well served by her ability to lead the department.”

Harding oversees seven prevention educators who present evidence-based programming in five Genesee County schools – Batavia, Le Roy, Byron-Bergen, Oakfield-Alabama, Notre Dame and Genesee Valley BOCES – and two Orleans County schools – Medina and Albion.

“We are in these schools from one to four days a week, offering specific programs that illustrate the dangers of illegal substance use, while also providing student screenings, referral services and other presentations,” Harding said. “Our educators also are available when requested by schools that we do not have contracts with.”

Evidence-based programs offered by GCASA include Teen Intervene, Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence, Active Parenting Now and Active Parenting of Teens. Community presentations include the DWI Victim Impact Panel, Responsible Server Training, Narcan and Opioid Overdose Prevention Training, Accountability Circles, Understanding Addiction and Gambling Prevention.

Harding said that reaching parents continues to be a priority.

“Community outreach, especially finding avenues and ways to communicate with parents, is crucial,” she said. “Currently, we participate in required parent meetings at the schools, but we are looking to develop other opportunities to help parents learn and understand the trends concerning alcohol, drugs and tobacco use.”

Harding was employed as a Child Protective Services caseworker at Genesee County Department of Social Services for 12 years prior to working at GCASA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Brockport State College.

An Oakfield resident, Harding and her husband, Tyler Harding, have two daughters – Kayla, a junior, and Paige, a freshman, at Oakfield-Alabama Central School.

For more information about substance use prevention efforts at GCASA, contact Harding at 585-815-1883.

May 5, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia, notify, Bethany, Alabama, bergen, pembroke.

Jason T. Knickerbocker, 30, of Bethany, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, DWAI combined influence of drugs, operating a motor vehicle with its registration suspended, uninspected motor vehicle, and driving a motor vehicle without insurance. Knickerbocker was reportedly found in a motor vehicle in a parking lot on West Main Street at 11:55 a.m. on Feb. 7 under the influence of drugs. Knickerbocker was allegedly found in possession of several bags of fentanyl. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Stephen Matthew Smith, 33, of Pleasant Street, Le Roy, is charged with failure to register sex offender change of address. He was charged with a Class D felony because of a prior conviction on the same charge. He was arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court and jailed without bail.

Daniel Norstrand, 66, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd and menacing 3rd. Norstrand was allegedly involved in a disturbance on Church Street at 8:56 p.m. April 28. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Jacklyn Ann Collins, 33, no address provided, is charged with petit larceny. Collins is accused of shoplifting from Tops Market in Le Roy at 4:14 p.m. April 26. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Cheyanne Alexis Lauer, 26, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with petit larceny. Laura is accused of skip-scanning items at a retailer on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia (the address and name of the retailer were not included in the press release; The Batavian has submitted a public-information request for release of the information). UPDATE: The location was Walmart, 4133 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

Lazeuia D. Washington, 44, of Batavia, is charged with trespass and harassment 2nd. Washington is accused of trespassing at a business on West Main Street, Batavia, and engaging in an altercation at 9:28 p.m. April 24. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Kyle J. Schroeder, 25, of Pavilion, is charged with criminal trespass 2nd and petit larceny. Schroeder is accused of making forced entry into a residence on Liberty Street at 12:35 p.m. April 23, remaining in the residence and stealing a pack of cigarettes. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Booker T. Ricks, 50, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd and endangering the welfare of a child. Ricks is accused of not adequately supervising his son and allowing him to run outside and into North Lyon Street before being found by a passerby. An order of protection was issued and Ricks received an appearance ticket.

Jolene Y. Stevens, 33, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Stevens was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance.  Stevens also charged with trespass at the Red Roof Inn in the Town of Batavia at 9:26 a.m. on April 30. She was released on an appearance ticket.

John A. Cabrera, Jr., 32, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Cabrera is accused of using Facebook Messenger at 11:22 p.m. on April 22 to send a message to a person he was ordered not to contact. Cabrera was issued an appearance ticket.

Pedro L. Diaz, 38, of Batavia, charged with harassment 2nd. Diaz is accused of punching another person in the chest and stomach at 5:37 p.m. April 24.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Feyza G. Osmancikli, 27, of Batavia, petit larceny. Osmancikli is accused of stealing merchandise from a business on Ellicott Street at 6:47 p.m. April 21. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Macella F. Greene, 37, of Bliss, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, felony DWAI drugs, unregistered motor vehicle; unlicensed operator, and moved from lane unsafely. Batavia patrols responded to a report of a vehicle operating erratically when entering the City at 6:10 p.m. on April 22.  Greene was issued an appearance ticket.

Brian M. Raphael, 34, of Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. Raphael is accused of failing to appear on an appearance ticket for an alleged crime on March 11. He issued an appearance ticket and turned over to the Sheriff's Office, which also had a warrant for his arrest.

Phillip P. Heale, 43, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Heale is accused of trespassing in Dollar General at 2:13 p.m. on April 26.  He was issued an appearance ticket. 

Jonah Harmon Schnettler, 23, of Boneset Trail, North Chili, is charged with DWI and driving with BAC .08 or greater.  Schnettler was stopped at 4:29 a.m. May 1 on Townline Road in Bergen by Deputy David Moore. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Amanda Marilyn Jones, 34, no address provided, is charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Jones was arrested on a warrant, arraigned in Le Roy Town Court, and released.

Joshua Leneir Webster, 35, of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with four counts of criminal contempt 2nd. Webster was arrested on a warrant by Le Roy PD. Webster was arranged in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision. Webster is also charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, menacing 2nd, criminal contempt 2nd, criminal contempt 1st, and strangulation 2nd. The charges stem from an incident reported at 12:06 p.m. on May 1.

Ethelwoldo Galindez, 54, of Alma Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny, conspiracy 6th, and driving without a license. William Anthony Lewis, 36, of Atlantic Street, Sloan, is charged with petit larceny and conspiracy 6th. Galindez and Lewis are accused of shoplifting from Dick's Sporting Goods in the Town of Batavia. Both were released on appearance tickets.

Alan J. Worgo, 59, of Albion,  is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Worgo was stopped by state police in the town of Alabama at 8:24 p.m. May 1. He was released to a third-party.

May 4, 2022 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in birds, outdoors, news.

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Judy Schildwaster submitted these photos of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Baltimore Oriole at her feeder in her backyard.

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May 4, 2022 - 4:23pm
posted by Press Release in corrections officers, Gensee County Jail, news.
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Press release:

On May 5, 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first full week of May would be observed as National Correctional Officers’ Week in recognition of the important role these officers play in our criminal justice system.

The position of Correctional Officer, once considered merely that of a “guard,” has become increasingly more complex and demanding, involving simultaneously custodial, supervisory, rehabilitation, and counseling roles, and that complexity continues to grow. 

The lights on the Old County Courthouse cupola will change red, white and blue to acknowledge this week.  Also, the Genesee County Legislature issued a proclamation at last week’s April 27 meeting recognizing May 1 – 7, 2022, as National Correctional Officers’ Week. 

“The important and difficult role Correctional Officers fulfill is not always recognized or realized by the general public,” stated William A. Sheron, Jr.  “If you know a Correctional Officer, please join me in thanking these men and women for the exceptional service they provide every day.”

May 4, 2022 - 3:43pm
posted by Press Release in GCASA, business.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse continues to be recognized as one of the state’s “best companies to work for.”

For the fifth consecutive year, the New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) has included the Batavia-based substance use treatment, prevention and recovery agency on its list of Best Companies to Work for in New York.

GCASA was one of 23 companies selected in the medium employers’ category (100-249 employees) for 2022. Additionally, 27 small employers (15-99 employees) and 25 large employers (250 or more employees) were honored at a reception last month in Albany.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for a fifth straight year,” said GCASA Executive Director John Bennett. “We were one of four agencies certified by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, with the other three in the large employer category. We actually ranked higher than those other three. This is a testament to our employees, who have shown remarkable resilience and commitment to their profession over a challenging last couple of years.”

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a for-profit, not-for-profit business or government entity;
  • Be a publicly or privately held business;
  • Have a facility in the state of New York;
  • Have at least 15 employees working in New York; and
  • Must be in business for a minimum of 1 year.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Companies to Work for in New York. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company's policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part was worth approximately 25 percent of the total evaluation.

The second part consisted of a survey to measure the employee experience. This part was worth approximately 75 percent of the total. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final rankings.

Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in New York and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

For more information on the Best Companies to Work for in New York program, visit www.BestCompaniesNY.com.

May 4, 2022 - 3:36pm
posted by Press Release in Musicians Of Note, batavia, Batavia HS, music, arts, education, news.

Press release:

Musicians of Note, an event honoring past Batavia High School graduates who have made an impact in music, will host its 3rd annual ceremony on Friday, May 13, 2022, in the Batavia High School Auditorium at 7:00 pm. 

Honorees will be recognized with a video presentation and performance ensembles to celebrate their achievements. A plaque featuring their accomplishments will be displayed on the new Musicians of Note wall at Batavia High School. 

This year’s five recipients of the 3rd annual Musician of Note Award include: 

Lyle Mark: Class of 1938,  

  • US Navy, WWII, Leader of Mellville, Rhode Island Naval Base Dance Band
  • 27-year career as music director for Elba Central School
  • A 34-year member of Genesee Symphony
  • A more than 50-year member of Batavia Concert Band
  • Private music instructor and mentor to area students and musicians

Beth Ann Lambein Hooker: Class of 1963  

  • Julia E. Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, BS Music Education-Voice Major, graduated 1967
  • Taught Grades K-12 Vocal Music Oak field-Alabama, Baldwinsville & LeRoy, New York 33 Years (1967-2000)
  • Methodist Church Youth & Sanctuary Choir Director (16 Years)
  • Directed/Produced/Appeared in 132 Theatrical Productions over 54 years (1968-2022)

Mark Hoerbelt: Class of 1986

  • Baritone In All-State Chorus (1985)
  • Area All-State Chorus and Orchestra (violin) (1983-1985) 
  • Teacher at Alexander High School/Middle School (2005-present) 
  • Music minister at Resurrection Parish (1999-present)
  • Genesee Chorale conductor (2000-2005) 

Jacqueline Siegel McLean: Class of 2002

  • Choir Director at Newfield Central School District (2006-2010)
  • Choir Director at LeRoy Central School District (2010-present)
  • Golden Apple Award Recipient 2018
  • LeRoy Musical Artistic Director of Stars of Tomorrow, award-winning musical program (2010-present)\
  • Proud music educator of several Conference All-State, Area All-State, and All-County students  (2006-present)

Cindy Baldwin: Retired Music Teacher BCSD 1984-2011

  • Batavia String Teacher (1984-2011)
  • Department Chair (2001-2011)
  • NYSCAME President (2006-07)
  • RPO String Educator Of The Year (2008)
  • Active Performer (1964-present)

Tickets for the May 13 event are on sale in the Main Office at Batavia High School for $10. You may also email Jane Haggett at [email protected] to reserve your tickets, which will be available at the will-call table the night of the event. 

May 4, 2022 - 3:12pm
posted by Press Release in broadband, news.

Press release:

Nearly 1,300 Genesee County residents participated in a statewide broadband survey. Locally, the Genesee County Planning Department established a goal of 5% participation. However, Genesee County residents surpassed that goal and finished at a participation rate of 5.3%.

New York State launched its “Mapping Survey to Examine Quality and Availability of Broadband Across the State” in September 2021 and the survey closed in March 2022.

“The Department of Planning extends our thanks to all of the residents who participated in the survey. Genesee County had one of the best response rates among 62 counties across the state,” said Felipe A. Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Department of Planning. “The data collected will help provide a clearer picture and understanding of broadband availability, quality, and affordability in Genesee County.  Broadband access and reliability are important economic drivers, especially for our small businesses.”

Batavia Downs partnered with Genesee County to offer residents completing the survey a chance to win a complimentary, “Dine, Stay & Play Package”. The package included a one-night stay for two at the Hotel at Batavia Downs and $50 towards a meal at Fortune’s restaurant. Byron residents Amada Jack and Nicholas Weibel were the lucky winners.

“On behalf of Genesee County, our thanks go out to Batavia Downs for their generous sponsorship package and to the Genesee Chamber of Commerce for helping us spread the word about the survey throughout the business community,” Oltramari said.  “There is no doubt these efforts helped us surpass our participation rate goal.”

May 4, 2022 - 2:44pm

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Press release:

The Batavia Society of Artists' Member Spring Art Show is in the Richmond Memorial Library's Gallery Room, 19 Ross St., Batavia  till May 26th.  There are 15 artists contributing to the show.  We are showcasing Rick Ellingham as our Featured Artist in this show. There are a total of 60 pieces of art.  The Public is invited to the Free Opening Reception on Tuesday May 10th, 6:30 - 8pm.  The artwork is being Judged by Retired Middle School Art Teacher Kathy Schwank.  Winners will be announced at the opening reception.

We are also having a Silent Auction on a painting donated to the Batavia Society of Artists by Adrian Morris.  He painted this while demonstrating Acrylic Slap & Dash Landscape at our February demo.

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