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April 3, 2020 - 7:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, national guard, ventilators, steve hawley, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has called out the executive order signed by Gov. Cuomo that requires the National Guard to transport extra ventilators from hospitals in Upstate New York and bring them to Downstate hospitals.

He is also fighting against the increased transport of COVID-19-infected patients from Downstate to Upstate hospitals.

“I am absolutely dumbfounded at the steps the governor has taken today to leave Upstate New York as vulnerable as Downstate has been during this health crisis,” Hawley said. “Not only will Upstate hospitals now be left with fewer ventilators for our citizens who need them, but an increase in transport of coronavirus cases to Upstate almost certainly means the virus will spread even quicker in our districts.

"It’s the worst possible management of this crisis I have seen thus far, and I am asking the governor to rescind his Executive Order. Upstate and Western New York lives matter.”

April 3, 2020 - 6:55pm

Press release:

There are many families within the greater Genesee region that, during normal circumstances, don’t know where their next meal may come from. During this time of uncertainty, it becomes clearer that as a community, it is our call to help those around us.

Have you felt that urge to help, but just can’t figure out where to plug yourself in?

  • FOOD COLLECTION: Northgate Free Methodist Church will be assisting The Salvation Army with food collection. They are setting up a drop-off point for donations on Monday, April 6, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at their North Campus (8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia).

The Salvation Army is in need of the following items: canned meats, peanut butter, jelly, soups or chili in cans, pastas, rice, beans, breakfast items, snack items for kids and shelf stable milk.

There will be volunteers available to unload items from your vehicle, and safety precautions will be made to maintain social distancing.

  • FOOD DISTRIBUTION: Beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8, The Salvation Army, along with the assistance of FoodLink, will oversee a “Pop-up” Mobile pantry at Northgate's North Campus (8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia).

This will be done as a “drive thru” distribution to insure social distancing and proper hygiene. Residents are asked to pull into the church lot and go around the back of the building via the north side.

Pull up to the pallets and volunteers will load the items for you. Do not get out of your car or attempt to help. This will continue until all the product is gone. Items vary. Please arrive no earlier than 9 a.m.

There are NO residency or income requirements.

In a time where we are being asked to remain apart, let’s do what we can to help those who are in need right now.

April 3, 2020 - 6:15pm

Above: Byron-Bergen Central School District staff at food distribution site. Photo courtesy of Mickey Edwards.

Submitted photos and information from Byron-Bergen Central School District:

BERGEN -- In the wake of school closings, mandatory social distancing, and the economic downturn, food insecurity is a rising concern. Byron-Bergen Central School District has organized meal pickups to provide breakfast and lunch to school-aged children five days a week, but some local farmers decided to take it a step further.

On Thursday (April 2) a trailer piled with potatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage pulled into the Byron-Bergen High School parking lot -- a gift to the community from five farms in Genesee County: Mortellaro Farms, Star Growers, Stymus Farms, Torrey Farms, and Triple G Farms.

The produce was distributed directly to community members during their regular school meal pickups for about 300 students at the High School bus loop.

The drop-off was organized with the help of Byron-Bergen Central School District's kitchen manager Rozanne Klycek, who got the idea from a family member at Star Growers in Elba, Barbara "Barbie" Starowitz.

The Byron-Bergen alumna has been in contact with other local farmers, eager to help in these uncertain times. Since the District was already distributing food, the farmers thought it was the perfect way to reach community members in need.

"It's just all of us farmers helping each other out," Starowitz told The Batavian this evening. "We always help out the community in times like this. It's not unusual. It's what we do."

In the space of a mere week, hundreds of pounds of produce has been donated by the farmers help people fight food insecurity -- at the giveways at Northgate Church in Batavia, to help stock Harrington's Market and local food pantries, which many seniors increasingly rely on. They plan on donating to Elba Central School on Monday.

“This community never ceases to amaze me,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “I am truly humbled by the generosity of these farmers. It was an honor to help carry 10-pound bags of potatoes out to cars, knowing the relief it will provide to our families.”

Below, produce donated by local farmers being prepared for distribution. Photo courtesy of Susan Kuszlyk.

Bottom: Byron-Bergen kitchen manager Rozanne Klycek and Adam Starowitz from Star Growers during produce drop off. Photo courtesy of Susan Kuszlyk.

April 3, 2020 - 5:53pm

"Spiritual Connections"-- The Batavian will post updates to connect people with their places of worship, religious services, fellowship opportunities, and/or spiritual advisors, etc.

If you have information to announce, please email:    [email protected]    OR    [email protected]

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Trinity United Methodist Church in Attica and Darien United Methodist Church will have a joint service for Palm Sunday on ZOOM at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 5th. For an invitation to join us, please email [email protected],com or [email protected] before that time. Prayer requests may be left on Trinity's voice mail at 585-591-1549 or to Pastor Pam at 716-560-0290.

The Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church in South Alabama is posting a daily "Encouragement from God's Word" devotional video and its Sunday services on their YouTube channel. You can access these videos on their Facebook page here and on YouTube here. If you live in the Oakfield community and are in need of assistance, please call the church office at (585) 948-9401 or email: [email protected]

Byron Presbyterian Church and North Bergen Presbyterian Church are currently gathering online for worship services. The Sunday service is at 9:45 a.m. via Zoom Conferencing. Pastors Jim Renfrew and Dave Fish invite you to participate. Worship bulletins are sent out earlier in the week by email, and those without internet receive it by U.S. mail. In addition to Sunday services, the churches are also having Holy Week services on Maundy Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Good Friday at 6:30 p.m. When we can't come to church, we must be the church! For more information, please call (585) 548-2800.

Batavia First Presbyterian online worship will be held on Facebook Live at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 5. You may go to it from the church's website or by clicking this link. If you use the Facebook link, around 9 a.m. on Sunday a thumbnail will appear that says LIVE, click on that and you will be able to join the Facebook Livestream. Join us as we celebrate Palm Sunday together!

First Baptist Church Elba has moved their services online. Sermons are posted each Saturday for the regular Sunday service time. We encourage you to check out our recent sermons while you are at home during this time. The church is closed during normal services times between 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sundays. The church office is not open to visitors, however the office phone is answer from 9 a.m - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Please call if you need assistance and live in the town limits of Elba. Pastor is Michael Davis. The office phone is 585-757-2722, and the email address is:   [email protected]

St. Paul Lutheran Church in Batavia is now posting its Sunday and Lenten weekday bulletins with worship service and sermons on their website. The Church office is not open to visitors but office staff is on hand to take calls during normal office hours 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday for any questions or needs of the congregation. A phone tree has been put in place to check on those that might be home and unable to go out publicly to retrieve necessities. If you do not receive a call, and have a need for assistance, please call the main office at (585) 343-0488. Email address is:   [email protected]

April 3, 2020 - 5:30pm

Press releasse:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today announced that USDA is opening a second application window for funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program.

“Due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, USDA is providing an additional window for those who cannot complete applications prior to the first application deadline,” Brand said. “This action will provide more time for applicants to complete their funding requests. Access to distance learning and telemedicine makes it easier for thousands of rural residents to take advantage of health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances or be among large groups of people.”

Electronic applications for window two may be submitted through grants.gov beginning April 14, 2020, and are due no later than July 13, 2020. Paper applications will not be accepted under the second window. Additional information on how to apply will be available April 14.

USDA opened the period for the first application window on Feb. 10. That application deadline is April 10.

Applicants eligible for DLT grants include most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses.

Rural Development was provided an additional $25 million in CARES Act for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program. USDA will make a separate announcement in coming weeks when these funds are available.

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about Rural Development’s COVID-19 response, click here.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

April 3, 2020 - 4:40pm

Press release:

The Batavia Tops Friendly Market is overwhelmed with gratitude after receiving a phone call they never expected from a Batavia resident representing the Redfield Drive Association.

It comes as no surprise when this one block community, comprised of 60 homes, embarked on a campaign to help their fellow neighbors. It’s in their nature to spread goodwill. Spearheaded by one of its members, an email went out to help not only its local restaurant owners, but its local Tops Friendly Markets.

It was just a few days ago when Batavia Tops store manager Kris Ponzi was first contacted about the Redfield Association wanting to show the community's gratitude for all that Tops and its associates are doing during these unprecedented times and that they wanted to “pay it forward.”

The organizer went on to explain that the community has started to collect funds from the neighborhood so they can buy the Tops entire store team lunch, all while also supporting the local restaurants in Batavia.

“It's probably the nicest gesture ever in my 30 years of working for Tops," Ponzi said. "It will be so meaningful to our associates.”

The community not only raised enough for lunch for Tops associates, but also dinner!

So tomorrow (April 4) Tops associates will be treated to food catered by Los Compadres Taqueria, located at 40 Oak St. in Batavia, and T.F. Brown's, located at 214 Main St. in the city. The restaurants will provide enough food for both the day and evening shifts.

Meals will be dropped off at 10:30 a.m. at the Batavia Tops at 390 W. Main St.

Organizers in the Redfield Drive Association encourage other block clubs and associations to follow their lead, to stay connected with one another through their social and email channels, and see how they too can help give back to essential workers and help one another during these uncertain times.

April 3, 2020 - 4:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in ILGR, GOW, covid-19, coronavirus, news, disabilities.
Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), the largest organization of, and for, people with disabilities in the GOW counties, continues to stay open, using today’s technology. 

Concerns raised by the need to limit the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-2019) pandemic have changed how it serves the community. We are running support groups online and we are doing “face-to-face meetings” but they are now just over the computer or phone, to empower people with disabilities, including established consumers, new referrals, and others that have just discovered us.

Here are just some of the avenues that have been developed to connect with the community:

  • The drivers of Independence Express van transportation service are delivering food, paperwork and medicine to people with disabilities who are unable to get to and from stores, offices, and businesses, free of charge.
  • Working from home, Peer Counselors are providing person-to-person contact, offering relief for the isolation of dozens of individuals trapped in their homes.
  • Independent Living Specialists, Peer Advocates, and Health Home Care Coordinators are insuring that people with disabilities continue to receive their Benefits; participate in government programs and services; are given instructions on Independent Living Skills like cooking, cleaning, money management and other aspects of organizing a person’s life. 
  • The Medicaid Application Assistance Program is working to make sure that individuals who are blind, over 65 years old, or disabled can acquire and/or maintain the appropriate health insurance. People with disabilities will not be forgotten during this time when monitoring one’s health is critical.
  • Our Taking Control Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program has been identified as an “essential program”, ensuring: that people with disabilities in need of in-home health care are receiving the service; that their Personal Assistants (PAs) are given proper orientation to perform the job; that hours and work benefits are managed appropriately, that the PAs are paid on time, and are reliable.
  • NY Connects works with State and local Offices of the Aging or Senior Services to enable the elderly, persons with disabilities and caregivers to access needed information and services during this time of anxiety.
  • Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service’s volunteer readers provide current news and information, as well as respite from the hour-by-hour stress of the pandemic, by broadcasting the printed word 7 days per week, 24 hours per day to people with a print disability.

Assisting their brothers and sisters with disabilities to stay safe and healthy while remaining in the community, the men and women of WNYIL are not only overcoming their own functional limitations but are giving back to the communities in which they live, work, and now fight for all of us.

If you know someone who is in need of any of these services, call ILGR at (585) 815-8501; or go to our website at www.wnyil.org/ILGR  Be aware that you are not alone nor helpless.

April 3, 2020 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, live stream.
Video Sponsor

The briefing is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received 4 new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of 21 positive cases;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the central part of Genesee County;
    • Three under the age of 65 residing in the eastern part of Genesee County;
    • In Genesee County, the four positive cases were previously under mandatory quarantine and have tested positive. They are now under mandatory isolation at home;
    • Orleans County: three new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of nine;
    • All reside in the central part of Orleans County, one is over 65 and two are under 65;
    • One of the three is under isolation at the hospital and the other two are under mandatory isolation at home;
    • None of the Orleans positive cases were under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms become present).
  • If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus.
  • When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts

Cumulative Data

New mapping platform – will be updating daily during the week. Link will be available on our web sites. Monitor both and individual county or both along with current and total numbers

covidcharteapril32020.png

  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Due to test kit availability, we are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Be on the lookout for "GO Health Minutes." These short video clips will feature different guests within the health departments as well as legislative members, businesses, organizations and some of our neighbors to highlight important information pertaining to COVID-19. We will frequently be releasing new videos so be sure you are subscribed to our GO Health NY YouTube channel and check our websites and our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Social distancing must be practiced in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means canceling events such as parties, celebrations, and neighborhood gatherings where people congregate together.
  • This also means that children and adults should not play contact sports.
  • These are temporary requests that will help stop the spread of the virus so that we can resume normal activities.
  • If you must go to the store, always maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and other people and wash hands frequently.
    • Stores are not to be utilized as a social event. It is important people limit their trips to the store, choose a designated shopper and if at all possible leave the children home. Keep a 6 foot distance between other shoppers.
    • Take out / food trucks are not a gathering place. Keep 6’ space between other customers.
  • Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others.
  • If you work with a vulnerable population, self-monitor prior to going to work, if you become sick while at work, contact your supervisor immediately and leave the premises to decrease the risk of contact with others. When not working, follow social distancing and limit time in public.
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher risk categories – elderly and immune compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected – some are over a week or more. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is back
  • Older Adults:  Be alert for scams, including government grant scams. What to look for:
    • Do not accept unsolicited phone calls or e-mails from someone claiming to be an official from the Federal Grants Administration, which does not exist, or a nonprofit organization like the National Residential Improvement Association offering grands or funding for repairs.
    • Don’t click on social media messages or posts from people excited to share thousands of dollars, free grants, etc.
    • The scammers may try using utility companies to access your information. Contact the utility using the number you have on your monthly bill not what the potential scammers have given you.
    • Let calls you don’t recognize go to voice mail, most scams won’t leave a message, however, don’t return unsolicited calls.  Write down the number and check online or have someone check for you to make sure it is legitimate. If you are unsure, or if it sounds too good to be true, ignore it and talk with a family member, the Office for the Aging, the Better Business Bureau or your local police.

Asking that folks be respectful and accommodating of health care workers and responders. They are doing their job to protect you and our community. 

  • Anxiety, Depression, Fear: If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.
April 3, 2020 - 3:16pm

LE ROY -- Generations of children and their families have grown accustomed to the yearly Easter Egg Hunt at Hartwood Park. This month, plans have changed but Le Roy's community spirit has not, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing.

At high noon on Saturday, April 11th, a drive-thru distribution of prepackaged bags of candy-stuffed eggs will take place at Trigon Park in the village, a site selected for its ability to handle the large volume of expected traffic.

The folks putting this thing together aren't fooling around.

An estimated 8,000 eggs with 24,000 pieces of candy have been sequestered since April 1st.

They will be given out to an estimated 800 children who've all had their childhoods disrupted. As luck would have it, three Easter baskets will be given to the occupants of the 50th, 100th and 150th car in line.

Also, several bags will contain a highly coveted "Golden Egg" -- with special instructions for a Special Prize.

The outsized Easter Bunny will be there, as always, flopsy-eared front and center, assisted by at least 10 members of the Rotary Club of Le Roy and their families, wearing latex gloves and masks 2020 style. The pros at the Le Roy Police Department will handle vehicle traffic and safety.

Many hours of work and strategic planning by volunteers, village officials and civic-minded citizens makes this possible.

Earlier this year, the Le Roy Business Council put the Rotary Club of Le Roy in charge of the project, and they formed a committee, led by Shannon Karcher.

The committee explored avenues to safely distribute the treats. But when schools and a backup location closed due to "New York On PAUSE" mandates, the event was in jeopardy and its cancellation considered.

Working with the Village of Le Roy Board and using the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State, the Rotary Club of Le Roy hatched its plot to put safety first while using a village street and park for a massive distribution of seasonal goodies.

Taking the trouble to do this matters because American traditions matter here.

Nearly 30 years ago, through the efforts of the Le Roy Business Council, they started holding an Easter Egg Hunt on the Saturday before Easter at Le Roy Central School’s Hartwood Park.

The date of Easter itself varies. It is observed on the Sunday following the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon that occurs on or after the March 21 spring equinox. So Easter will always occur on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25.

This year Easter Sunday is April 12. And the day before, a midday queue of automobiles in Le Roy might in itself be a testament to something unseen, like COVID-19, but way bigger.

Distribution will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rain, shine or high water.

Information used in this post was provided by the Le Roy Rotary Club.

Service Above Self Mission Statement: The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

April 3, 2020 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, live stream, news, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

We're talking with Jason Barrett, founder, and president of Black Button. Black Button, a distillery, is making hand sanitizer and recently donated a batch to the Genesee County heriff's Office.

Here's the link to the GoFundMe page for Black Button's hand sanitizer distribution program.

As discussed in the interview, Black Button is producing the hand sanitizer and making it available to governmental organizations and those nonprofits that can afford it at cost; however, the GoFundMe fundraising effort is to help defray the cost of distributing the hand sanitizer to organizations that can't afford to pay for it.

April 3, 2020 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, news, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Today, NY-27th congressional candidate Nate McMurray voiced his opposition to a delayed sentence and potential pardon for former GOP Representative Chris Collins.

Yesterday, a federal judge granted a two-month delay for the prison surrender of Collins, who in January was sentenced to serve 26 months in prison for conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI. Collins’ lawyers argued that he has a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“No average citizen would be allowed this preferential treatment over and over again," McMurray said. "Collins’ high-priced lawyers bought him another two months of freedom. Chris Collins broke the law numerous times and disgraced Western New York and he has left this region without a leader during an unprecedented crisis.

“Collins’ legal team is attempting to seek a pardon for after the June 23rd election. My opponents Chris Jacobs, Stefan Mychajliw and Beth Parlato must stand up and say this is wrong. All three of them were either silent when Chris Collins ran or openly campaigned for him. Such behavior has to end now.”

April 3, 2020 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NYS budget, news.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced highlights of the FY2021 Enacted Budget, which advances the Governor's Making Progress Happen agenda. The budget is balanced, includes no new taxes, continues to phase in tax cuts for the middle class, enacts the strongest Paid Sick Leave program in the nation, and advances other progressive priorities including the legalization of gestational surrogacy.

The Budget also enacts the "Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act" — named in memory of the Monsey stabbing victim who passed away this past Monday — defining hate-fueled murder with the intent to cause mass casualties as an act of domestic terrorism with penalties equivalent to other acts of terrorism.

The Budget closes a loophole to prohibit individuals who commit serious offenses in other states from obtaining a gun license in New York. It also allows judges to ban high-risk sexual offenders and those who assault MTA employees from accessing the MTA subway, bus and rail systems.

The Budget promotes public health by banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and capping insulin co-payments at $100 per month.

The Budget also prohibits gender-based pricing discrimination by eliminating the "pink tax."

The enacted budget will also permanently ban hydrofracking in state law to ensure we protect our natural resources.

The budget also authorizes a reduction in spending by $10 billion to account for the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a moment in history unlike any other, and government needs to function and deliver results for the people of this state now more than ever — and that's exactly what we did with this budget," Governor Cuomo said. "That the legislature and the Executive got this budget done with all of these policy initiatives is an extraordinary feat, and I praise Speaker Heastie, Leader Stewart-Cousins and every member of the legislature.

"It would have been very easy to say, 'Oh, this is an extraordinary year; let's just do the bare minimum and go home.' We did the opposite. We said there is a lot of need and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, and we stepped up to the plate and we got it done. That it was done this year is really extraordinary."

2021 MAKING PROGRESS HAPPEN ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Working New Yorkers: To further empower New York's workers and protect all consumers in the State, the FY 2021 Enacted Budget enacts a paid sick leave program for working New Yorkers. Businesses with five to 99 employees will provide their employees at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year and businesses with 100 employees or more will provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per year. Smaller businesses, with four or fewer employees, will guarantee five days of job-protected unpaid sick leave to their employees every year. Small businesses already providing paid sick leave will be able to so.

Legalizing Gestational Surrogacy in New York State: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget legalizes gestational surrogacy in New York State once and for all, helping LGBTQ couples and couples struggling with infertility. The legislation will also establish criteria for surrogacy contracts that provide the strongest protections in the nation for parents and surrogates, ensuring all parties provide informed consent at every step of the process, and will create a Surrogates' Bill of Rights, which would ensure the unfettered right of surrogates to make their own healthcare decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy and that surrogates have access to comprehensive health insurance and independent legal counsel of their choosing, all paid for by the intended parents. The legislation included in the Budget will also create a streamlined process for establishing parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent, a process known as "second-parent adoption."

Passing the "New York Hate Crime Anti-Terrorism Act": The FY 20201 Budget establishes a "domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate" crime as a new A-1 class felony punishable by up to life in prison without parole.

Closing the Out-of-State Gun Loophole: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget includes legislation to prohibit individuals from obtaining a gun license who commit serious offenses out-of-state that would disqualify them from obtaining a gun license if committed in New York. This will provide greater consistency in New York's licensing scheme and ensure individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm are not able to do so. The Enacted Budget also includes legislation to require all state and local law enforcement agencies in the state to opt in to the ATF's crime gun trace data sharing program and submit crime guns recovered through the ATF's eTrace system. Additionally, the Enacted Budget includes legislation to amend the Mental Hygiene Law to allow New York to share reports of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others with other states.

Housing and Services for People who are Homeless, Including Those with Mental Illness: New York's homeless community and those with mental illness are among the hardest populations to help. The FY 2021 Enacted Budget includes an aggressive strategy and additional support to provide housing and services to these vulnerable populations.

Enact a Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy. Governor Cuomo has taken unprecedented steps to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers by combatting the use of harmful tobacco and nicotine products. The Enacted Budget prohibits the sale or distribution of e-cigarettes or vapor products that have a characterizing flavor unless approved as part of an FDA pre-market approval; prohibits the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in all pharmacies; restricts the delivery of e-liquid products only to NYS-licensed vapor retailers; restricts the public display of tobacco and vapor products near schools; requires manufacturers of vapor products to disclose to the DOH Commissioner and the public, information regarding the ingredients, by-products, or contaminants in vapor products, whether intentional or unintentionally added; bans certain carrier oils if they are determined to be harmful; bans coupons and manufacturer discounts and displays in shops; and increases penalties for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.

Prescription Drugs: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget includes a three-part plan to lower prescription drug costs for all New Yorkers. The Budget caps insulin co-payments at $100 per month for insured patients to help address the rising cost of insulin that has resulted in diabetes patients rationing, skipping doses and not filling prescriptions. Finally, the Enacted Budget establishes a commission of experts to study the feasibility and benefits of a Canadian drug importation program and submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for review.

Banning the "Pink Tax":The FY 2021 Enacted Budget prohibits gender-based pricing discrimination for substantially similar or like kind goods and services. The legislation would require certain service providers to provide price lists for standard services upon request and notice that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under state law. Businesses that violate the law would be subject to civil penalties.

Authorized the creation of a $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act: The Budget authorizes the creation of a Bond Act to fund critical environmental restoration and climate mitigation projects in every corner of the state to ensure New York is able to adapt to the intensifying impacts of climate change, and reduce emissions, while creating jobs and local economic development. As part of the larger Restore Mother Nature Initiative, the Bond Act will be a key source of funding for projects focused on reducing flood risk, investing in resilient infrastructure, restoring freshwater and tidal wetlands, preserving open space, conserving forest areas, and reducing pollution from agricultural and storm water runoff. It will also fund up to $700 million in projects to fight climate change, including green buildings. It also aims to spend 35 percent of the funds on projects to benefit underserved areas of the state. The Budget Director will assess the state's finances and the economic outlook later this year and make a determination as to whether to move forward with the Bond Act.

Permanently Banning Hydrofracking: The Enacted Budget codifies Governor Cuomo's ban on the Department of Environmental Conservation approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing as a means to complete or recomplete a well. In addition, it places a moratorium on future gelled propane hydrofracking applications until the Department can conduct an analysis of the impacts of this completion method. This will protect the health of New Yorkers and ensuring permanently that our environment is not harmed by this practice.

Continuing Middle-Class Tax Cuts: This year's Enacted Budget continues to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. In 2020, the third year of the multi-year tax cuts enacted in 2016, income tax rates have been lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.09 percent for taxpayers in the $43,000-$161,550 income bracket, and to 6.41 percent in the $161,550-$323,200 income bracket. These cuts are expected to save 4.7 million New Yorkers over $1.8 billion this year. Furthermore, income tax rates will continue to drop to 5.5 percent for taxpayers in the $27,900-$161,550 tax bracket and 6 percent in the $161,550-$323,200 bracket. When the cuts are fully phased in, middle class taxpayers will have received an income tax rate cut up to 20 percent, amounting to a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State's lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.

Increasing and Modernizing Emergency Response Capacity: Over 60 percent of New York counties have been flooded twice in the past 10 years. We must be ready to handle these increasing, life-threatening, emergency situations. It is a new and growing challenge for our state operations. The FY 2021 Enacted Budget sustains $12 million in capital funding to increase and update the State's emergency response capacity so our brave women and men have the right equipment to do their jobs.

Addressing Veteran and Law Enforcement Suicides: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget invests $1 million to partner with organizations to help veterans, law enforcement and first responders with suicide prevention efforts. The Budget also directs state agencies to expand suicide prevention strategies for veterans, law enforcement, correctional officers and first responders, including a new campaign by the Office of Mental Health to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Additionally, the State will convene a panel of stakeholders and experts at its annual Suicide Prevention Conference to develop and implement strategies for preventing suicide among these special populations.

Adding E Pluribus Unum to the State Coat of Arms: Our founding fathers said clearly that the idea of unity was the key to America's future. In 1782, on the first seal of the United States, they said it in three simple words - E pluribus unum, out of many one. This federal government and our nation seem to have forgotten that essential American principle. In this time of turmoil, New York State will remind the nation of who we are by adding E pluribus unum to the State's coat of arms as part of the FY 2021 Enacted Budget, proclaiming at this ugly time the simple truth that without unity we are nothing.

GREEN ECONOMY & ENVIRONMENT

Accelerating Renewable Energy Projects and Driving Economic Growth as Part of Nation-Leading Climate Agenda: The Enacted Budget includes the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, which will dramatically speed up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects, combat climate change and grow the state's green economy. The State will also accelerate renewable transmission delivery. The Act will create a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy projects across New York while delivering significant benefits to local communities. "Build Ready" sites will be pre-approved, permitted and auctioned to developers to prioritize the re-use of abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, landfills, former industrial sites, and otherwise underutilized sites. These actions will accelerate progress towards Governor Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy and climate goals - including the mandate to obtain 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources - as identified under the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Banning the Distribution and Use of Styrofoam: The Enacted Budget prohibits the distribution and use of expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, single-use food containers. It also bans the sale of expanded polystyrene packaging materials known as packing peanuts. This is the strongest statewide ban in the United States and will go into effect by January 1, 2022.

Enacting Comprehensive E-Bike and E-Scooter Legislation: To get more people out of cars, the FY 2021 Enacted Budget includes comprehensive legislation to legalize and expand the e-bike and e-scooter network without compromising on public safety.

Green Economy Tax Credit: The budget creates a new refundable, discretionary Green Jobs Tax Credit totaling up to 7.5 percent of wages for each net new job created fostering the expansion of green economy businesses and position New York State to further capitalize on significant projected green economic growth. The State will also create a refundable, discretionary Green Investment Tax Credit totaling up to 5 percent of qualifying new capital investments in connection with qualifying green economy projects and increasing to up to 8 percent of eligible investment for research and development in qualifying green economy projects.

BUILDING A NEW NY

Reimagining the Erie Canal: Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, the New York Power Authority, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, will invest $300 million over the next five years to integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal through a new program that will stimulate tourism and economic development, address environmental challenges unknown a century ago, and create an asset that will improve the quality of life in communities along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal. A first phase of funding will start this year that will have two parts: a $100 million economic development fund to invest in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area. The remaining $135 million of the plan's funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutions related to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.

Developing an Innovative Strategy to Build High-Speed Rail in New York: Governor Cuomo will convene a team of forward-thinking experts and engineers to reexamine past high-speed rail plans, question and rethink every assumption and method and recommend a new plan for how to build faster, greener, more reliable high-speed rail in New York.

Investing in Roads and Bridges: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget supports $6 billion for the Department of Transportation capital plan in FY 2021, including $2.6 billion for Upstate roads and bridges.

Regional Targeted Investments

Transferring Pier 76 Tow Pound to Hudson River Park for Reuse: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget requires the long-deferred transfer of Pier 76 from its use as a tow pound for the NYPD to the operational control of the Hudson River Park Trust to integrate into the park complex, maximizing green space, recreation and community access and market potential. As part of the legislation, the NYPD must vacate Pier 76 by the end of 2020.

Transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block: Supported by the FY 2021 Enacted Budget, the State will develop Buffalo Canalside's North Aud Block and improve access to the city's waterfront, featuring mixed-use residential and commercial buildings and a piazza for public use, based on community and stakeholder input. This also includes the rail station that is forthcoming in Buffalo and its coordination with the new North Aud Block neighborhood.

Creating the State's First Comprehensive Education and Training Center in Syracuse: To meet the emerging science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics demands in Syracuse, the FY 2021 Enacted Budget supports the creation of the State's first regional Comprehensive Education and Workforce Training Center in Central New York. Administered by the Syracuse City School District in partnership with SUNY Empire State College and other local colleges and universities, the Center will provide specialized educational opportunities and state of the art workforce training programs in advanced technologies to students and residents throughout the region. The State will reimburse 98 percent, or $71.4 million, of the cost to renovate the building that will house the Center. The Syracuse Comprehensive Education and Workforce Training Center is scheduled to open in 2021 and will serve ultimately 1,000 students, as well as residents of the community.

Expanding High Technology Companies in Rochester: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget supports the expansion of three industry-leading high technology companies in the City of Rochester that will further grow the Finger Lakes regional economy as part of the Governor's continued commitment to growing the high-tech ecosystem in and around Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone. The expansion of these companies will create more than 700 jobs in and near Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone.

Job Training for the Future: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget supports first-in-the-nation Future of Work Centers that will build on the success of the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo and establish two nation-leading Future of Work Centers. These Future of Work Centers will partner with the private sector, community organizations and SUNY/CUNY to create new short-term, non-degree credential and micro-credential programs to quickly address employer skill needs, both for existing workers as well as new workers.

COMBATING DIVISION AND ENSURING PUBLIC SAFETY

Banning high-risk sexual offenders from accessing the MTA subway, bus and rail systems: The Budget includes a new measure authorizing a judge to prohibit individuals who engage in unlawful sexual conduct against an MTA passenger or employee or a crime involving assault against an MTA employee from using MTA transportation services for up to three years, or as long as on probation if less. Anyone who violates that condition can have contempt sanctions brought against them. The Governor proposed this measure in response to a number of recent MTA incidents involving repeat sex offenders.

Funding for State Police Hate Crimes Task Force: The State Police Hate Crimes Task Force was established by the Governor in 2018 to address the increase in bias-motivated threats, harassment and violence throughout New York State. The FY 2021 Enacted Budget includes $2 million to support the Task Force's ongoing work and to bolster the monitoring of digital media which promotes violence, intolerance, selling of illicit substances and terrorism.

Removing Guns from Domestic Abusers: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget authorize law enforcement to remove guns from the scene of a domestic violence incident. It would also establish a domestic violence misdemeanor to ensure abusers lose access to firearms immediately upon conviction. Further, it would authorize law enforcement officers to seize weapons from the home of an individual who becomes subject to a protective order arising out of a domestic dispute.

Banning Fentanyl Analogs: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget explicitly designates certain fentanyl analogs as controlled substances in New York State. This gives police and law enforcement the authority to prosecute the manufacturing, sale and distribution of these drugs to the fullest extent of the law. The measure also gives the State Department of Health Commissioner the authority to add additional analogs to the list of controlled substances, enabling the State to stay in front of these deadly substances as they appear on the market.

Adjustments to 2019 Criminal Justice Reform Law: The budget also makes adjustments to the 2019 bail reform law that addressed inequities in the criminal justice system. The budget clarifies the 2019 law to make sure judges know all the options available to them with respect to non-monetary conditions for release; enhances the options upon which a judge can condition release, including mental health referrals and requirements to attend counseling; and it adds several offenses that can be bail eligible, including sex trafficking offenses, money laundering in support of terrorism in the 3rd and 4th degree, child pornography offenses, repeat offenders, and those who commit crimes resulting in death.

PROTECTING OUR DEMOCRACY AND BUILDING TRUST IN GOVERNMENT

Requiring Automatic Manual Recounts in Close Elections: To fortify confidence in the integrity of election results in every race around the state, the FY 2021 Enacted Budget includes legislation establishing statewide standards for when automatic ballot recounts are triggered and the process for how such recounts will be carried out. The legislation requires automatic, manual recounts in all statewide elections in which the margin of victory for a candidate or ballot proposition is 0.2 percent of all votes cast in the contest. It also requires an automatic manual recount in all other elections in which the margin of victory for a candidate or ballot proposition is 0.5 percent of all votes cast.

Counting Every New Yorker in the 2020 Census: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget provides additional funding to ensure a fair and complete count of every New Yorker in the upcoming 2020 census. This funding builds on the statewide campaign to inform the public about the Census, encourage residents to complete the questionnaire and reach hard-to-count communities.

Strengthening Disclosure Laws: In June 2016, amid an increased lack of transparency in politics, Governor Cuomo advanced ethics reform legislation to address the landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that resulted in strengthened campaign finance regulations. Upon passage of ethics reform bills by both the Senate and the Assembly, the Governor signed New York Executive Law § 172, requiring disclosures of political relationships and behaviors widely recognized to be influential but which operate without exposure. The FY 2021 Enacted Budget Governor Cuomo strengthens this law by streamlining the reporting process for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations.

PROMOTING PUBLIC HEALTH

Establishing the SUNY Curing Alzheimer's Health Consortium. The Consortium will work to identify genes that predict an increased risk for developing Alzheimer's and collaborate with public and private research institutions on projects and studies to identify opportunities to develop new therapeutic treatment and cures for Alzheimer's. The goal of the Consortium will be to map the genetics of 1 million people, suffering from or at-risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, over 5 years. This new wealth of data will support researchers as they work towards developing new treatments and cures for the disease.

Medical Transparency Website Increasing Transparency in Healthcare Costs to Empower Patients: To enable consumers to more easily search for healthcare services, the FY 2021 Enacted Budget supports the creation of a consumer-friendly, one-stop website, called NYHealthcareCompare, where New Yorkers can easily compare the cost and quality of healthcare procedures at hospitals around the state. The website will be created by the Department of Health, the Department of Financial Services and the New York State Digital and Media Services Center.

Student Mental Health Program: The Budget provides $10 million in funding for grants to school districts to address student mental health in light of recent school closures. These grants are intended to improve student access to mental health resources and assist students who have experienced trauma that negatively affects their educational experience. This program will be administered by the Office of Mental Health and developed in consultation with the State Education Department.

INVESTING IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND PROTECTING STUDENT BORROWERS

Investing in Opportunity Programs: More than just developing programs to assist with tuition, the Governor supported and created additional programs to address the cost of attendance and help students with unique educational challenges. This includes a significant increase in opportunity programs in Open Educational Resources to reduce or eliminate some of the costs of textbooks and expanding food pantries at SUNY and CUNY. The FY 2021 Enacted Budget will make $213 million available for higher education opportunity programs and training centers, a 57 percent increase since FY 2012.

Requiring Transparency and Accountability for For-Profit Colleges: The FY 2021 Enacted budget includes for-profit college accountability initiative that is focused on transparency and outcomes to ensure that our students are well served in these schools. Numerous studies have found that for-profit colleges correlate to negative outcomes for students, especially low-income, minority and female students. For the $45 million in taxpayer funds going to these institutions, we need a higher level of accountability and transparency. The Budget will require for-profit schools to demonstrate positive outcomes for their students and include basic disclosure of funding and financing, including compensation packages of senior leadership and ownership, including any relevant bonuses and incentives. In addition, to further protect New York's veterans from unscrupulous schools that target them for their education benefits, the Governor will work with the Department of Veteran Services to bring more transparency to for-profit schools, identify opportunities to clarify state and federal commitments to education and ensure New York State's veterans will be protected in the for-profit education space.

Expanding College Student Enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits: The Governor has acted to reduce food insecurity among college students, so they are better able to focus on their studies and successfully graduate. To continue these efforts, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will establish policy to make more community college students eligible for essential SNAP benefits by establishing a state policy that community college students engaged at least half-time in career and technical education courses of study are exempt from the requirement to work 20 hours weekly to qualify for SNAP. This policy change will increase the participation of low-income college students in SNAP, providing them with essential nutritional benefits so they are more likely to obtain their college certification or degree.

Stopping Abusive and Deceptive Practices from Student Loan Debt Relief Companies: Governor Cuomo has championed financial assistance and debt relief for New York students, establishing the Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program—the nation's only state-sponsored need-based loan forgiveness program and enacting regulations prescribing standards of conduct for student loan servicing companies. However, additional protections are needed to protect New Yorkers from student debt relief companies that have had a poor record of serving their customers. These companies typically charge student loan borrowers substantial upfront fees and promise to assist them with consolidating multiple student loans into a single loan or alternative repayment arrangements. Borrowers, however, can often achieve the same results through free government programs. The Budget includes legislation setting standards for the student loan debt relief industry in New York.

CONTINUING OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SOCIAL PROGRESS

Prevailing Wage: Requires that workers on private projects receiving a significant public subsidy will be paid a prevailing wage. Private projects larger than $5 million where at least 30 percent of construction expenses are supported by public grants, tax credits, or certain other incentives will be required to pay prevailing wage, extending important worker protections to even more components of New York's largest-in-the-nation building program.

Making the "New York Buy American" Act Permanent: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget makes the Buy American Act, which is set to expire in April 2020, a permanent fixture in New York State. The Buy American Act requires State agencies to use high-quality American-made structural iron and steel, continuing to support the State's steel and iron industry, create union jobs and ensure our infrastructure projects will last long into the future.

Expanding Access to Safe and Affordable Banking Services, Credit and Financial Education: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget invests $25 million in new funding over five years to support New York's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI). CDFIs are often the sole providers of banking services in low-income areas and underserved communities across the state. CDFIs will leverage this funding to an aggregate $30 million in targeted investment in these communities. This funding is part of the Governor's sweeping financial access and inclusion agenda that builds on the work his administration has done to expand access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education. The Budget also creates a statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment, based at the Department of Financial Services, to meet the financial services needs of low- and middle- income New Yorkers across the state.

FY 2021 ENACTED BUDGET FACT SHEET

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented negative impact on the global economy, the Enacted Budget maintains vital services and programs, while ensuring sustainability to weather this downtown, authorizes a reduction in spending by $10 billion and empowers the State Budget Director to develop a plan for across the board reductions and implement that plan as necessary over the course of the year. The budget also puts in place mechanisms to control spending through the year if revenues fall even further, and raise spending if either revenues come in higher than expected or the federal government delivers support that offsets the state's revenue losses. All funds spending is estimated to total approximately $177 billion and state operating spending is authorized up to $105.8 billion, however, in the absence of additional federal assistance or a faster than anticipated economic recovery, spending will initially total $95.8 billion.

Realigning School Aid

Due to the extraordinary challenges from our COVID-19 health crisis, creating a $10 billion loss in revenue to the State, support for schools will remain nearly flat for a total of $27.9 billion in school aid.

Redesigning Medicaid and Health Care

The FY 2021 Enacted Budget advances reforms to the Medicaid program that will ensure it remains financially viable for the future so it can continue to provide high-quality care to more than six million New Yorkers.

Medicaid spending will increase by 3 percent, or about $500 million ensuring continuing high-quality care for 30 percent of New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid for health care. Spending growth is now back in line with targets established by the Governor in 2012 that kept New York State's Medicaid spending growth to less than half the national average, saving taxpayers more than $19 billion.

Many of these reforms were developed and unanimously endorsed by the Medicaid Redesign Team II, a cross-section of health care providers, labor, local government and other industry stakeholders. They were tasked with reforming the system, and their recommendations stuck to the Governor's guidelines that they must have zero impact on local government and zero impact on beneficiaries.

The reforms included in the FY 2021 Enacted Budget include a transformation of the hospital reimbursement structure to better support services to the uninsured, increases investments in primary care to avoid more costly hospitalizations and new requirements that enhance oversight of managed care and transportation.

April 3, 2020 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mooney's Bar & Grill, Le Roy, news.

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Mooney's Sports & Bar Grill in Le Roy, which in 2019 went through a pubic health crisis that forced it to close for awhile and is now, like all restaurants, forced to reduce services because of another public health crisis, has announced on its own sign that it is for sale.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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April 3, 2020 - 1:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release from Chris Jacobs, NY-27 Republican Congressional candidate:

“For decades China has been able to conduct itself without recourse or responsibility. Their actions have threatened the economic stability of the world numerous times, and their manipulating has caused weakened global security; all while continuously committing human rights atrocities. Their handling of the COVID-19, lying and covering it up, has directly resulted in the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

"I applaud Rep. Stefanik for her leadership in introducing legislation to finally hold China accountable for their atrocities, and I urge every member of Congress to join her in supporting this measure. We need to send a loud and clear message that China’s actions will no longer be tolerated, and I plan on joining my future colleagues in Congress in supporting similar future measures. This is a matter of global security.”

April 3, 2020 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Briefing.

April 3, 2020 - 11:56am

Press release:

Isolation due to the COVID-19 can be especially difficult for those struggling with gambling problems. Extra time, stress and anxiety, access to gambling on the internet, and an increase in online gambling options are a recipe for trouble.

People struggling with gambling problems, or in recovery from problem gambling, may find this isolation to be especially difficult.

If you have noticed extra stress, anxiety, anger, uncontrollable urges to gamble or an increase in gambling activities there are options for help. If your loved one is struggling to control their gambling, help is available for you, too.

Contact the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center at (716) 833-4274.

April 3, 2020 - 10:29am

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Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, GOW Opioid Task Force and local police/public safety departments have come together to offer an innovative program for Genesee County residents dealing with substance use disorders.

The City of Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, Village of Le Roy Police and, most recently, the City of Batavia Fire Department have signed on to participate in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI).

This is a nationwide effort to provide support and resources to help law enforcement agencies create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.

“We wholeheartedly believe in a ‘multiple pathways to recovery approach’ and PAARI is an important component in that philosophy,” said John Bennett, GCASA executive director. “The commitment of local law enforcement and now the Batavia City Fire Department to this program expands the spectrum to access services.”

The City of Batavia Fire Department is the first fire department in New York – and one of only a few in the nation -- to enlist in PAARI.

Fire Chief Stefano “Steve” Napolitano said he is proud to unite with the other Genesee County agencies already in the program.

“As a fire-based emergency medical services provider within the City of Batavia, we have firsthand knowledge of the opioid dilemma within our community,” he said. “In an effort to assist with this problem, we have designed an intake location within fire headquarters to provide a safe and judgment-free place where a person can come and seek assistance and interventional services. This, in turn, can prevent an overdose death and increase the safety of responding crews by having a safe setting in which to assist.”

Napolitano added that PAARI “aligns with our department’s mission to provide life safety services to all in need and, hopefully, our involvement acts as a catalyst for other fire departments to join in this endeavor.”

The foyer inside the public entrance to the fire headquarters on Evans Street has been renovated with funding from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, a major sponsor of the GOW Opioid Task Force.

City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, who chairs the law enforcement work group of the GOW Opioid Task Force, has been instrumental in making the PAARI program a reality in Genesee County.

“The City of Batavia and Batavia Police Department have taken a proactive approach to assisting with the opioid epidemic by becoming part of the county-wide PAARI program,” Heubusch said. “This allows those suffering from substance abuse disorder to come to the police station, anytime of the day or night, to ask for assistance. We will then, no questions asked, contact a peer support advocate and connect that individual.”

He added that his department is “proud to do our part to help stem the opioid crisis by getting those community members that are in need into services, and by helping reduce the stigma of substance abuse.”

 “It’s important that the community knows that this program is here and that recovery is possible,” said Christen Ferraro, GOW Opioid Task Force coordinator. “On behalf of our hundreds of task force stakeholders, I would like to thank law enforcement for participating in PAARI and other initiatives and, especially, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation for its continued support.”

Ferraro noted that peer advocates are currently available for telephone and internet support during the COVID-19 situation, with normal face-to-face interventions to resume as conditions warrant.

Photo: City of Batavia Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano stands next to the plaque designating fire headquarters on Evans Street as a Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative location.

Disclosure: Story and photo by Mike Pettinella, GCASA publicist.

Top Items on Batavia's List

Elba Village Clerk-Treasurer

Elba Village Clerk-Treasurer The Village of Elba is accepting resumes for the position of Village Clerk-Treasurer. Duties of this position include maintaining the Village’s financial accounts, water and sewer billing and payments, Village tax billing and payments, Village elections, preparation of fiscal reporting documents, in addition to other assigned duties. Qualifications:  Associate’s degree, preferably in accounting with 3 years of business experience, or an equivalent of training and/or experience.  Send resumes to: Village of Elba 4 South Main St.

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