Local Matters

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February 5, 2021 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rachael Tabelski, batavia, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

We plan to speak with Rachael Tabelski, Batavia's interim city manager at 2:30 p.m.

The livestream will appear right here on The Batavian's home page. Or you can view it on YouTube at this link, where you can ask questions in the live chat and we will try to get them answered for you. Or you can go to The Batavian's page on Facebook and watch the interview there and ask questions through that chat.

February 5, 2021 - 11:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in matt landers, live stream, video, genesee county.
Video Sponsor

We're planning on talking with Matt Landers, county manager, at 1 p.m. We'll talk about the status of county government, tax revenue, COVID-19 response, and other topics.

At 2:30 p.m., we're scheduled to talk with Rachael Tabelski, interim city manager.

February 5, 2021 - 11:36am
posted by Press Release in LandPro, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors accepted an application for incentives for a $7 million capital investment development project on 14 acres of land on West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia at its Feb. 4 board meeting.

LandPro Equipment LLC proposes to acquire and develop a 14-acre parcel on which it would build a 50,000-square-foot facility for a full-service John Deere Agriculture and Turf Dealership. The facility would primarily be used for operations and training, with a portion of the facility used for retail.

The project proposes to create up to five new jobs and retain approximately 60 jobs in Genesee County.

“We are encouraged to see more companies growing in Genesee County with the goal of expanding their operations and increasing training capacity,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Genesee County has the workforce talent and developable properties aligned to accelerate a company’s facility construction and successful operations.”

A public hearing will be scheduled, as LandPro Equipment LLC is seeking property, sales and mortgage tax abatements totaling approximately $731,000. It is anticipated that with every $1 of public sector investment will generate a return of $7 of private sector investment.

February 5, 2021 - 11:28am

Press release:

The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Foundation has expanded its scholarship program this year beyond the high school student pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Foundation officials announced that four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded, as follows:

-- One to a Genesee County resident;

-- One to an Orleans County resident;

-- One to an adult student pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree;

-- One to a technical/trade school student pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree.

The GCASA Foundation Scholarship is open to Genesee and Orleans County students entering college in the fall of 2021. Completed applications must be postmarked by March 5.

The scholarship was established to provide financial support to individuals pursuing their education at an institution of higher learning in the fields of human services or social services for the purpose of contributing to improving community health.

Scholarship criteria and information includes:

  • Applicant must have their primary residence in Genesee or Orleans County;
  • Applicant must be accepted at an accredited college or university and enrolled in or matriculated in an eligible program/major;
  • Eligible programs or majors include: Social Work, Nursing, Health Science, Mental Health Counseling, Psychology, or Human Services;
  • Current GCASA employees, board members and GCASA Foundation board members are NOT eligible, although relatives of GCASA employees, board members and GCASA Foundation board members ARE eligible;
  • Applicant must provide academic history such as high school and/or college transcripts, as well as two letters of recommendation from someone who knows the applicant’s work/volunteer/academic history. Letters from relatives will not be accepted;
  • Applicant must provide a resume or personal biography including work history, volunteer experiences, and extracurricular activities, and an essay that addresses educational and employment objectives as they relate to the mission of GCASA. Financial need, volunteerism, employment history and civic involvement will be given careful consideration.

The recipients will be announced at GCASA’s annual membership meeting in May 2021 upon verification of acceptance into an accredited college or university. Funds will be awarded upon completion of the fall semester. The award recipient must provide a copy of their transcript demonstrating at least a 2.0 GPA.

Applicants should send their contact information and name of the college or university they plan to attend or are enrolled, along with their course of study or program to: Diane Klos, Prevention Secretary, GCASA, 430 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

For more information, contact Klos at (585) 815-1883 or at [email protected].

February 5, 2021 - 11:02am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, chamber of commerce, YMCA.

fixunitedway2017.jpg

Erik Fix believes that the numerous relationships he has forged through his prior professional experience will enable him to successfully navigate the day-to-day tasks as the next president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

“Absolutely,” Fix said, when contacted this morning after the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced that he will succeed Tom Turnbull, who is retiring after seven years at the helm. “(My former positions) have given me the experience that I have needed -- being involved with the ins and outs of a nonprofit as well as being community based, and I expect to utilize my connections in the community with the Chamber of Commerce.

“I get an opportunity to do that at M&T in some regard, but as far as being involved in the entire county and having a role, there is something I’m looking forward to.”

Currently, Fix is the manager of M&T Bank’s Oakfield branch. He previously served about seven years as the regional executive director of the United Way of Genesee County.

Prior to that, he held several positions with the Genesee Family YMCA, including serving as Genesee YMCA branch manager and director of camping services at Camp Hough in Perry. He began his employment with the YMCA after graduating from Roberts Wesleyan College with a bachelor of science degree in organization management.

A member of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2009, Fix is involved in several community organizations, including the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, the YMCA New Branch Development Committee, Genesee County Youth Bureau Board of Directors and the City of Batavia Police Advisory Committee.

He also serves as a volunteer coach for the Byron-Bergen-Le Roy high schools swim team. Fix lives in Le Roy with his wife, Susan, and sons Brady, Jackson and Carter.

Fix said he holds the Chamber of Commerce “in high esteem” and seeks to “continue what Tom had done and his legacy, and move it forward.”

“By starting on the 22nd, this will give Tom and I a week of overlap,” he said. “Tom’s already putting together an orientation packet and things like that to ensure a smooth transition. This is a difficult time, so we want to make sure that we’re moving forward.”

In a press release, Board Chair Danielle Rotondo said the Chamber board is “excited to work with Erik.”

“He brings a wealth of knowledge to this position and a history of commitment to our community. We would like to extended our deepest gratitude to Tom for serving our community for the past seven years,” she said.

Photo: File photo of Erik Fix from 2017.

February 4, 2021 - 7:31pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing the following statement after voting to remove Rep. Greene (R-GA-14) from her committee assignments.

“I am very troubled by a number of Rep. Greene’s statements and assertions. As someone who has spent over 25 years fighting for children and increased educational opportunity, I was particularly shocked by the video of Rep. Greene harassing a survivor of the Parkland school shooting. I believe her actions, whether out of extreme callousness or ignorance, disqualify her from serving on the House committee overseeing education policy.

“Some will say this action is unfair as other members have made outrageous and offensive statements and have not faced similar consequences. That is very true. It is my hope that starting today, we will hold all members to the same high standard of civility and decency. I believe it will dramatically improve the impact this Congress will have on the betterment of this nation.

February 4, 2021 - 5:17pm
posted by Press Release in city of batavia fire department, Adopt a Hydrant, news.

Press release:

With another impending winter storm approaching coupled with the snowfall already received Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano and the members of the City of Batavia Fire Department are encouraging residents to “adopt a fire hydrant” near their home or business this winter season. 

The department is asking residents and business owners for their assistance in keeping fire hydrants clear of snow and debris. Also, this is an informal program and therefore it is not necessary to advise the department about which fire hydrants you will be keeping clear.

Napolitano added “if possible, we ask that the 'adopted' hydrants be uncovered of snow after each snowfall and provide a clear path of approximately three feet around the hydrant. This path will allow firefighters to quickly locate the hydrant and obtain a water supply used in firefighting activities."

Delays in locating and securing a water source can hamper fire suppression activities, raising the risk of injury and furthering property damage.

Additionally, please consider helping a neighbor who may be elderly or may need assistance in keeping the fire hydrant clear near their residence.

“Together we can help keep our City safe this winter season," Napolitano said. 

Lastly, the department asks residents and business owners to contact fire headquarters at (585) 345-6375 if they require assistance in clearing their hydrant or notice damage to the hydrant or the reflective marker attached to the hydrant.

February 4, 2021 - 4:13pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Data Update –

  • Genesee County received 18 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) 
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 50s and 60s.
  • Seventeen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Twenty-three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

 

Orleans County received 33 new positive cases of COVID-19.  

  • The positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
  • Five of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Seventeen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Seven of the new positive individuals are residents at Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
  • Three of the new positive individuals is a resident at the Villages of Orleans Health & Rehab.
  • One of the new positive individuals is an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility.
February 4, 2021 - 3:59pm
posted by Press Release in weather, news.

From Tim Hens, superintendent, Genesee County Highway Department:

There is an increasing likelihood that Genesee County will be the target of a significant lake effect snow band from early Friday evening until late Saturday night.

The worst conditions are anticipated in the western half of the county, but all areas are likely to receive significant snow coupled with strong winds.

Understandably this is “Just winter in WNY” but driving conditions are expected to be treacherous in this lake effect event primarily due to high winds and low visibility. There is a solid base of snow already on the ground, so significant drifting into roadways will also be a problem.

Plan ahead and stay home if you can.

If you must go out, please check for conditions, drive slowly and do not crowd the plows.

Please be responsible and do not wait for “Travel Advisories” or “No Unnecessary Travel Advisories” to be issued as these are often done reactively after first responders are already swamped with cars off the roads.

February 4, 2021 - 3:12pm

Press release:

Due to COVID-19, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide tax preparation program had to make significant changes for everyone’s safety. Ultimately, it has resulted in a much smaller program this year. 

At this time, all available appointments are full. It is hoped that additional appointments can be added, but again, the demand will likely exceed the offering.  Should more appointments become available, we will send out a press release.  

Individuals seeking free tax services may visit the AARP.org website to locate other Tax-Aide program locations nearby in Erie and Monroe counties. 

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide also offers taxpayers several options to prepare their own returns. Available options include self-preparation using free software, and facilitated self-preparation involving assistance or coaching from Tax-Aide IRS-certified Counselors. Self-preparation options are available by visiting this website.

Others may qualify for free-filing of federal returns by visiting http://www.irs.gov.  

For those without computer access, the Office for the Aging staff is able to provide additional tax preparation resources and can be reached at (585) 343-1611.  

We are fortunate to have a way to safely operate this program, even at reduced capacity. The program will continue to do all it can to serve the community.  

This AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is made possible through the dedication of AARP Foundation/RSVP AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers, in partnership with the Genesee County Office for the Aging.

February 4, 2021 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is putting out the following statement regarding the vote today on the budget resolution to begin the budget reconciliation process. 

"Two weeks ago, President Biden preached unity, cooperation and bipartisanship. However, his actions have failed to match his promises. In addition to the more than 40 executive orders and actions he has signed, Democrats in the House and Senate are now working with his blessing to advance a massive, partisan COVID-19 package. 

"We passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package one month ago. While I agree there are still important issues to address, such as funding for local governments and boosting vaccine distribution, this unilateral approach to relief legislation is damaging and unproductive. 

"I was encouraged the President met with Republican senators this week about a deal. While I oppose using the reconciliation process for COVID relief, I am ready to address these challenges and will work with the administration and congressional Democrats if they meet us at the negotiating table."

NOTE: Republicans in Congress have opposed providing assistance to local governments who have lost revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ten GOP senators met with President Biden to discuss a compromise relief bill, one that wouldn't include relief to local governments, but after the meeting, Biden rejected the GOP offer. Three days ago, we contacted a representative of Jacobs and asked for the congressman to clarify his position on aid to local governments and to explain the policy reason, not the political reason, Republicans oppose aid to local governments. This was the only response we've received, which doesn't really answer either question.

UPDATE: A member of the congressman's staff said he is working on an answer to my questions. This was not meant to be that answer.

February 4, 2021 - 3:00pm


Open House this Saturday - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.!  5216 E. Main Street Road, Batavia (Town). Meticulous, tasteful, solid, well done are just a few things to be said about this lovely ranch home.

This three bedroom, two full bath home has literally just nothing for you to do but move in and enjoy. So much has been done to this home in the last five years -- roof, siding, flooring, and painting throughout just to start the list!

The main bath recently remodeled and I promise, you will find many reasons to shut the door and stay awhile-so pretty and even has heated floors!

Nicely finished hardwood floors, large kitchen with plenty of newer cabinetry and new stainless appliances with attached dining area with a sliding glass door to let the sunshine in!

The basement in this house adds a whole other layer of living with a great home office leading into large family room area that has small kitchenette and a second full bath. There is also large utility area and a separate storage room for all your extra stuff -- so much great usable space!

There is an extra-deep attached garage, which leads out to fully fenced back yard with an additional fenced in area and large utility shed! Outside is landscaped with loads of perennials so you can ease right into sunny weather -- make an appointment today or click here for more information on this listing.

February 4, 2021 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in scanner, news, elba.

An unoccupied car "drove into a house" at 5069 Hundredmark Road in Elba. Elba Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. "Negative injuries at this time."

UPDATE 3:04 p.m.: The car reportedly "bumped into the house at a low rate of speed." A first responder on scene calls for another unit to respond with a lock-picking kit. "The keys are in the vehicle that's pressed against the house," he says. "No injuries."

UPDATE 3:43 p.m.: A deputy reports that code enforcement went to the house and evaluated the situation and determined there are no code issues regarding structural damage to the house. The Elba assignment is back in service.

February 4, 2021 - 2:43pm

Press release:

Le Roy Central School District Universal Prekindergarten registration began today (Feb. 4)!

Pick up a registration packet between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Wolcott Street School Main Office, 2 Trigon Park, Le Roy.

An “eligible child” is a child residing in the Le Roy district and who will be 4 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2021. If the student will be 5 years old before Dec. 1, 2021 they are not eligible for the program.

  • We do not offer transportation.

  • UPK classes will be held for half days:  9 - 11:30 a.m. (morning session) and 12:15 - 2:45 p.m. (afternoon session).

  • Completed applications will be accepted up to March 5 on a first come, first served basis.

  • For more information visit www.leroycsd.org, click on Wolcott Street School and go to Universal Prekindergarten in the left-hand column or call Kelley Caffo, Wolcott Street School building secretary at (585) 768-7115.

February 4, 2021 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in Stafford, Announcements, Groundhog Day.

For the record, people of Genesee County please know that at least one couple residing here takes issue with the 2021 foretoken of the season's weather revealed Tuesday.

That would be Stafford denizens Walt and Kathleen Kershenski.

"My Wife and I are going to dispute Punxsutawney Phil’s Prognostication regarding six more weeks of Winter," Walt declared in an email to The Batavian.

They have evidence, they claim, that puts the lie to the outlook of a world-famous woodchuck in the state below ours.

As everyone knows, on Feb. 2 furry Phil is awoken early by members of his "inner circle," all dressed to the nines, at Gobbler's Knob, borough of Punxatawney, Jefferson County, Pa. The rodent, a member of the family Sciuridae (belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots), manifests itself outside his earthen den to see if he can see his own shadow.

If the little seer does, as was the case the day before yesterday, lore has it that the end of this drear is not near.

In fact, there's suppose be a winter storm tomorrow and Saturday, dumping up to nine inches of lake effect snow, with wind gusts up to 45 mph, prompting the staunchly prescient Kershenskis to, hypothetically, yodel in unison "Pshaw!"

"To our surprise, on Groundhog Day this week we saw a flock of birds land in our crabapple tree next to our bird feeders," says Walt. "It was a flock of at least 20 to 25 robins. They stayed for a while and feasted on the crabapples and then left. Unfortunately I did not have my camera nearby, so I could not get a picture."

But we can imagine it nonetheless.

And know that monotonous chill will give way to green and warmth, that forsythia will suddenly sprout -- yellow as Harvey Ross Ball's original Smiley Face, and we'll be the happier for it.

"We just wanted to boost people's spirits," Walt says, adding hopefully "and maybe there will be an early spring after all?"

February 4, 2021 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, Anibal Soler, live stream, video, education, schools.
Video Sponsor

We're scheduled to start at noon. We will be talking with Superintendent Anibal Soler about how things are going in Batavia city schools, get a COVID-19 update, talk about "high-risk" sports starting up, reopening Robert Morris, his experience on the Batavia PD stakeholders' group, and the district's new equity policy.

NOTE: The post has been updated with an edited version of the video that cuts out the technical problems at the start of the interview.

February 3, 2021 - 6:26pm

Last week it was Samsung. Now, it’s Plug Power.

According to a story in today’s edition of The Buffalo News, the Albany-based Plug Power has disclosed plans to erect five “green hydrogen” plants in the United States, including a $264 million facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

The plant, which would produce green hydrogen for freight and materials handling equipment, is expected to be in operation by 2024, per the published report.

Previously, it was reported on The Batavian that Samsung is considering the placement of a $17 billion semiconductor plan at STAMP, a venture of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde, responding to an inquiry from The Batavian, issued the following statement, without specifically mentioning Plug Power:

“The Genesee County Economic Development Center recently reached out to our various public sector partners, including the Genesee County Legislature, the Town of Alabama among other local and state partners requesting that the GCEDC take on the role as lead agency for an environmental review of a potential project at STAMP.

“As a result, the GCEDC has completed extensive site readiness for the 1,250-acre STAMP site, including all site-level environmental, archeological, wetland delineation, and zoning requirements. This enables site selectors and prospective tenants to conduct effective due diligence as they evaluate projects at STAMP.

“We are very excited about this significant economic development opportunity for our community and look forward to working with our public sector partners during the due diligence by Project Gateway, as we have on dozens of other economic development projects in Genesee County over the last several years.”

Currently, there are no tenants at the 1,250-acre business park, although county officials have indicated that many companies are looking at the site.

Other highlights of The Buffalo News story:

  • Plug Power would begin construction this March, with an expected completion in December 2022, creating 62 full-time jobs with an average salary of $75,000 plus benefits;
  • An award of $1.5 million to support the venture has been recommended by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board;
  • In its application, Plug Power said it uses a process called electrolysis … leading to “zero-emission freight transport and logistics handling equipment utilizing fuel-cells and clean energy manufactured in New York.” The company said it will be the first of its kind in the Northeast, and would lead to other businesses moving to STAMP.
  • Plug Power will request $2 million from Empire State Development, and a package of sales and property tax abatements through the GCEDC.
February 3, 2021 - 5:57pm

Whether you call it “refunding” or “refinancing,” Genesee County stands to save a pile of money by consolidating a couple loans and reworking the payment plan.

Speaking at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting via Zoom videoconferencing this afternoon, County Treasurer Scott German said the municipality may have the opportunity to save more than $20,000 in interest costs over the next 13 years.

“It’s called refunding, but for us, regular folks, it’s refinancing,” German said. “We’re going to refinance two of our existing debts.”

The two debts in question, both Public Improvement Serial Bonds, are from 2009 and 2014, totaling $2,050,000 and $4,745,847, respectively.

German said there are four years left on the 2009 debt, but “doing that one by itself wouldn’t be worth it because the cost would be prohibitive.”

So, working with Financial Advisors of Syracuse and the bond counsel firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe of New York City, the county is prepared to put the two loans together and, if interest rates are favorable when the time comes to refinance in September, it could result in a net savings of $263,819.63.

“We technically can’t refinance that until September, so all we’re doing right now is taking care of all the paperwork – getting that out of the way – so when the market looks good in September, we’ll go to market,” he said. “If the rates go up between now and then, we won’t do it. We’ll just pull it.”

Committee members approved a resolution authorizing the debt consolidation with the goal of realizing a savings in interest fees.

In other action, the committee recommended approval of an affiliation agreement with Brockport State College for Rebecca Nigro to participate in and complete an internship that will help her complete her master’s degree in Public Administration.

It was reported that Nigro is in her last semester and is carrying a 3.95 grade-point average.

The college approved the internship as long as the county had someone with a master’s degree to oversee Nigro’s activity. Nigro works for the county, serving as the supervisor/cluster care for the Department of Social Services.

February 3, 2021 - 5:45pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is reiterating his demands for legislative hearings into the Cuomo Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes following a press conference held by legislative colleagues today regarding a bombshell report from the Attorney General’s Office.

It revealed the department was undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, “Fox and Friends” co-host Janice Dean and a Capital Region family who lost their loved one to COVID-19 in a nursing home last April were all in attendance.

Additionally, Hawley is demanding a termination of the governor’s emergency powers, and also requesting that his colleagues in the Majority compel administration officials to attend legislative hearings on the matter by issuing subpoenas against them.

“I am hopeful that seeing the real pain the governor’s wrongdoings brought to an everyday family will be an eye-opener for my colleagues in the Majority and compel them to take getting to the bottom of this matter seriously,” Hawley said.

“It has become too obvious to ignore that efforts were made to actively hide the severity of this tragedy, and I am hopeful this week’s shocking developments will spur those in the Majority to do what’s right for those who lost their loved ones.”

Top Items on Batavia's List

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

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

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