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February 10, 2021 - 12:19pm
posted by Press Release in City Schools, schools, education, news, batavia.

Press release:

At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, the Batavia City School District announced its new Community Schools Initiative.

Batavia’s Community Schools Initiative is a transformational researched-based strategy that is focused on the whole child with key participation from school and community leaders, educators, community partners, students, families and residents.

Moving forward, Batavia’s Community Schools Initiative will be rolled out and in place at all four of the district’s schools. Each school will see the community as a resource for learning and development and as a partner in the education of all children.

Batavia’s Community Schools will also develop respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with families, neighborhood residents, agencies, and community-based organizations that are focused on the well-being of children and youth.

Batavia’s Community Schools Initiative will focus on four key areas in an effort to support the whole child:

  • Expanded & Enriched Learning Time

  • Integrated Student Supports

  • Family and Community Engagement

  • Collaborative Leadership Practices

The Batavia Community Schools Advisory Board, which is comprised of various district staff, community-based organizations and partners, has developed the following vision and mission statements to help guide the work and focus of district schools moving forward.

Vision

Build a better Batavia by promoting equitable learning opportunities, cultivating healthier families, and establishing a stronger community.

Mission

Our mission is to unite our Batavia community and schools through shared resources, working partnerships, and open, collaborative communication.

The advisory board also developed a new logo that will help brand and identify events and programs that are directly aligned to the community school’s initiative and also place an emphasis on equity, opportunity and family.

Video supplied by the school district.

Previously: City schools tackling initiative to care for the community in support of education

February 10, 2021 - 11:09am

3943_jackson_st_a.jpg

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night is expected to act on a staff recommendation to approve a site plan submitted by the owner of a Jackson Street building to be renovated with support from the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The monthly meeting will take place via Zoom videoconferencing starting at 7 o’clock.

Jack Waggoner, of Corfu, is looking to change the exterior appearance of the structure that currently houses Gilliana’s Diner (41 Jackson St.) and Michael Anthony’s Hair Salon (43 Jackson St.) on the lower floor and five office units on the top floor.

Waggoner said that a law firm (Block, Longo, LaMarca and Brzezinski, P.C.) will be moving in next month to 39 Jackson St., which had been the site of Art Ah La Carte.

Proposed changes include building out storefront entrances flush to the face of the building, replacing windows, installing exterior down lighting on the face of the elevation, removing existing ridged canopy projections and installing new retractable fabric awnings.

Additionally, the project calls for the installation of a new aluminum-clad wooden door with transoms and side lights on the west and south elevations and new aluminum-clad wood storefronts with transom windows on the west and south elevations.

An architect’s rendering has signage with the name of the business above the retractable awnings, something that Waggoner said is a possibility.

Part of the Downtown Business Improvement District, the building is one of several to receive Building Improvement Fund assistance.

Andrew Maguire, director of economic development for the Batavia Development Corporation, said the project was awarded $100,000 of the $600,000 in BIF money available through the DRI. The BDC is charged with implementing, administering and executing this grant program, which mirrors the Homes and Community Renewal New York Main Street Grant program.

The building at 1 School St., home to Batavia Massage Therapy, is connected to the primary building and may see some improvements as well, Waggoner said.

“Not like the Jackson Street façade, but I’m still working on it – seeing how the budget works out. Possibly, do new doors over there and maybe some windows, but nothing spectacular there,” he said.

Following county planners' review, the referral will be considered by the City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee at its Feb. 16 meeting.

Per the grant program, work on the building is subject to a competitive bidding process. Waggoner said he is in the process of contracting with an architectural firm and hopes to begin renovations in May.

The county planning department staff is recommending approval, noting that the exterior changes align with the city’s design guidelines.

Thursday’s agenda also includes the following referrals:

  • An area variance request submitted by The Daily News, 438 E. Main St., to have Signs by John’s Studio place a 4-foot by 40-foot non-illuminated pole sign identifying itself outside of the required 40- by 40-foot clear area for a corner lot at East Main and Harvester Avenue.

The referral will have to go before the City of Batavia Zoning Board of Appeals for area variances due to the fact that pole signs are not permitted in the Commercial C-1 district and the minimum vertical clearance under pole signs is 10 feet – not 2 feet as proposed.

Submitted documentation indicates that the sign will create no undesirable change in the district and is necessary because the building owner does not permit wall signs on the structure.

The planning department staff is recommending approval as the proposed sign should pose no significant countywide or intercommunity impact.

  • A site plan review and special use permit request Ryan Dewitt Oil Co. of Pearl Creek to place a car wash in a Commercial C-2 district at 13 Lake St. (Route 19) in Le Roy. Previously, it was the location of a gas station.

Planning department staff recommends approval as long as the applicant obtains a driveway permit from the New York State Department of Transportation for the change in use and merges the two parcels into one to avoid the need for variances.

  • A site plan review and area variance referral from Peter Yasses, of Byron, who is proposing to construct a self-storage unit on an acre parcel in a Commercial district on Byron Holley Road (Route 237), near Mill Pond Road.

Variances are needed to allow for less than minimums of lot size, frontage and depth, and front and side setbacks.

The planning staff recommends approval with modifications, which include Yasses obtaining a driveway permit from the state DOT for the change in use prior to final approval by the town, and installing on-site lighting so as to not shine directly onto neighboring properties or cause a hazard for motorists.

  • Zoning text amendments submitted by the Le Roy Village Board to include laundromats in Commercial C-1, Commercial C-2 and Industrial districts upon the issuance of a special use permit and to include business and professional offices to the list of permitted uses in an Industrial I-1 district.

Planning staff recommends approval of both amendments.

At top -- Architect's rendering of improvements planned for 39-43 Jackson St., Batavia.

February 9, 2021 - 6:40pm

With little fanfare, the Batavia City School District staff has taken on a strategy to help families in need as part of an overall effort to care for the whole child and to become a greater asset to the community.

A former kindergarten room at Robert Morris School has been converted into a community center where children and parents can get assistance not just with school work but with many life needs -- from doing the laundry to ensuring everybody has appropriate clothing.

Julie Wasilewski, a district social worker, and Julia Rogers, Batavia High School assistant principal, have spearheaded the effort. They presented the community center idea to the Board of Education during Monday's meeting as part of a presentation of the new Batavia Community Schools Initiative.

The initiative is described as a reform strategy "to promote child well-being, student success, and educational equality."

(NOTE: The school board meeting was held via Zoom and Wasilewski and Rogers were on a shared device and it was impossible to see who was talking when and so quotes are generically attributed to "she said.")

"Community schools are for student education and development," she said. "They are a place where we fundamentally pay special attention to and ensure students' physical, medical, safety, their social-emotional needs are met. When we meet these needs, families can then fully engage in the opportunities afforded by public school education."

A great school is one that cares for the whole town, they said. It involves working with residents throughout the community to support learning. It includes not just educating children but educating parents. 

"We're powered by strong relationships with agencies, businesses, health care providers, clubs and organizations," she said. "Every family and community member can be leveraged as an asset to children's lives. So far, we have 82 of these arrangements with community leaders who are willing to extend the power of their organizations."

The new engagement center is one part of the plan, but so far it's the most concrete effort to serve the community.

"When a family enters the family community engagement center, they are treated with the utmost respect and compassion, regardless of whether they are making optimal life decisions or maintaining a sober lifestyle," she said. "Four hundred and 16 donations have been made to children ... clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, toys, books, housewares, bedding, and food. The closet contains appropriate clothing so an individual can be successful and feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, both in school and in the community."

"There is no Batavia community member who has to skip an interview or a day of work because they don't have appropriate clothing," she said.

Shoes are available to children so they always have something appropriate to wear on the playground or walking outside.

A recent example of how the engagement center assisted community members outside of a school environment was when Tammy Hathaway from United Way contacted the center looking for 30 winter coats. The coats were donated to GCASA because people who are waiting for their methadone treatment are required, because of COVID-19, to wait outside.

The initiative comes at a time when schools are already required to adjust to meet student needs.

"Amid the hardships of COVID-19, community schools have readily adapted to changing conditions and needs, devising innovative mechanisms to deliver food, technology, health care, and other essential services to support student learning and well-being," she said.

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. called it a "win-win" for the community.

"Batavia is one of those communities where you grow up here, you live here, everyone knows everyone, and everyone wants to support everyone, but we don't always have the conduit to do it," Soler said. "So the hope is the school becomes the hub for the conduit. The school becomes the hub for the community."

February 9, 2021 - 5:09pm
posted by Press Release in news, batavia, infrastructure, water main repair.

From Bill Davis, superintendent of city Water and Wastewater:

The water main on the west side of the City Centre has been repaired and water has been restored to the area.

February 9, 2021 - 5:04pm

From Genesee County Board of Elections:

Primary Election Party Enrollment Change Deadline

Any party enrollment change requests must be received at the Board of Elections office by close of business Friday, Feb. 12th in order to be eligible to vote in the Primary on June 22nd or the Early Voting dates beginning June 12th.

You can find a voter registration form to print off from our website.

Be advised that if your registration is being mailed to Board of Elections, County Building One, 15 Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

It must be received no later than Feb. 12th.

Please call (585) 815-7804 if you have any questions.

February 9, 2021 - 5:00pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Data Update –

  • Genesee County received 28 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) 
      • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.  
  • Thirty of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Seventeen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

 

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

  • The positive cases reside in the:
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s and 40s.
  • Two of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Thirteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
February 9, 2021 - 3:40pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in batavia, news, heart and liver transplant.

After undergoing a heart and liver transplant at the Cleveland Clinic last month, former Batavia resident Matt Grammatico was finally discharged Monday, into his wife Rhonda’s waiting arms.

It was the first time the couple had seen each other since Matt was admitted there on Oct. 16. 

He hasn’t been able to have visitors since entering the hospital. Rhonda would sit in the waiting room for hours, just to be near him, until the time came that she wasn’t allowed to enter the hospital at all.

What a long journey is has been, one that actually started when Matt was an infant.

He's the firstborn son of Mike and Mary Jane Grammatico, of Batavia, and his father said they knew at 5 weeks of age something was wrong.

“We thought he had a cold, but our doctor told us we needed to take him to a pediatric cardiologist,” Mike said. 

It was determined at Strong Memorial Hospital Matt had been born with a three-chambered heart with no right ventricle. He underwent surgery a week later and doctors told his parents they didn’t know if Matt would make it.

At the age of 11, matt underwent open heart surgery to make his heart more like a normal one, and until now, he’s made it work, Mike said. The real problem stemmed from a blood transfusion contaminated with hepatitis C that he received unknowingly, which was not detected for more than 20 years.

Mike said it was their faith in the Good Lord which has kept Matt going.

The native of Albion met and married Rhonda in 1997 and they lived in Albion. They moved to Batavia a year and a half ago, then decided to return to live in Albion after Mike was hospitalized.

In a phone call from the Cleveland Clinic two weeks ago, Mike explained his heart defect means he wears out quickly, putting pressure on the liver. 

In spite of this, Matt has been able to work at his auto repair shop and support his family, which includes his 19-year-old son Nate. He said he able to lead a fairly normal life until four years ago, when he learned he would need both a heart and a liver transplant. 

Matt’s dad praises his doctor in Middleport and his cardiologist at Strong, Dr. Michael Joynt, a Medina native and son of former Oak Orchard School Principal Cathy Joynt, for the care they gave him, which kept him functioning until donors could be found. 

Dr. Joynt finally told Matt he needed to get to the Cleveland Clinic.

His dad said Matt has always been a trooper, and Rhonda is a trooper, too.

Rhonda has been staying in a nearby hotel since Matt entered Cleveland Clinic, where he has been bedridden while waiting for his transplants. 

Originally, a donor was found in December and Matt was scheduled for surgery on Dec. 30, but at the last minute, doctors determined the liver was not as good as they first thought and the procedure was canceled.

The family’s prayers were answered however, when another donor was found and Matt went into surgery late in the morning on Jan. 12. The surgery would take 19 hours, ending in the early hours of Jan. 13.

The normal time for a patient to be on a respirator after a procedure like this is a week, but doctors were able to take Matt off in four hours. 

“I’ve cut all their normal times in half,” Matt said. 

Mike said the Cleveland Clinic has done two previous transplants with Matt’s pre-existing conditions, and that they have been studying Matt for the last three years.

In spite of all he’s been through, Matt said God has been good.

Rhonda said Matt has been a fighter his whole life, but he was beginning to lose the battle. 

“These last three years, we watched Matt’s slow and heartbreaking decline,” she said. “But he gave his best effort. And his amazing doctors, all of us, we were all standing by Matt’s side, giving all we could to help him fight. We knew the statistics. We knew the outcome we wanted was not a guarantee.

"There were many dark days, but we made a resolution to trust God’s plan, because we know God is good and He does love and He knows best. We put Matt in God’s hands and we watched and waited. And now, here we are in the middle of an absolutely glorious story.”

For the time being, Matt will have to stay at the hotel in Cleveland with Rhonda so he can report every day to the Cleveland Clinic.

His most immediate wish was to see his wife and focus on getting his strength back.

He said he is looking forward to not being in pain, returning home and getting back to a normal life.

Photos courtesy of Rhonda Grammatico.

Top photo: Matt and Rhonda Grammatico are all smiles after he was discharged from the Cleveland Clinic on Monday. It was the first time the couple had seen each other since October.

Below: Matt Grammatico gives a thumbs up in the ICU at the Cleveland Clinic, where he was recuperating from a heart and liver transplant Jan. 12 and 13.

Below: Rhonda Grammatico stands outside the Cleveland Clinic as she waits for her husband Matt to be discharged.

Below: Matt Grammatico is wide-eyed as he sees his wife Rhonda for the first time since Oct. 16.

Below: Matt and Rhonda Grammatico are happy to be together again.

February 9, 2021 - 3:00pm


New Listing Alert: 1 Lewis Ave., Batavia. A really great city home, super solid, well kept and in a great location! This home has a warm and inviting charm to it with a spacious downstairs with a room for everyone!

Cozy living room with gas fireplace, a really eclectic kitchen with cute built-in bench for your table, overlooking a central dining room with pretty French doors that lead into a room that could be anything from a breakfast room to great home office or toy room or even a first-floor bedroom, if needed as it has a full bath directly off of it!

Pretty wide staircase that leads to second floor with 3 large bedrooms, an awesome second floor laundry room, another full bath and stairs to a semi finished attic area – if you need another place to hang out or more storage! The basement is large and dry and currently used for a game/hang out room. Also tons more additional storage room!

Outside has inviting front porch small well-kept yard, 2-car detached garage, and within steps of Centennial Park if you want to get out and run! This house packs a lot in come see it for yourself! Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today, (585) 344-4663 or click here for more information.

February 9, 2021 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A car has reportedly hit a tree in the area of 6209 Knowlsville Road, Alabama.

Injuries are reported.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 2:58 p.m.: There is one occupant, with an arm injury.

UPDATE 2:59 p.m.: Oakfield fire also responding.

UPDATE 3:02 p.m.: Traffic is not blocked. The patient also has complaints of pain in his neck and back.

February 9, 2021 - 2:10pm

From the City of Batavia Police Department:

Reporting Unemployment Fraud

The Batavia Police Department has received many calls regarding unknown persons fraudulently filing for unemployment benefits in the name of citizens.

These cases are investigated directly by NYS Department of Labor – Office of Special Investigations and not by local law enforcement.

Citizens who are victims of this type are fraud are asked to contact the NYS Department of Labor at 1-888-598-2077 or online here.

February 9, 2021 - 2:00pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been awarded the New York Beef Producers Association 2020 Friend in Government award, which he received Feb. 5 during their annual meeting held virtually on Zoom.

Hawley has been supportive of New York agriculture as a lawmaker and as a citizen for decades. He is a 42-year member of the New York State Farm Bureau, has served as President of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, and has been a member of the New York State Assembly Committee on Agriculture for 15 years.

The award is given to legislators who have been notably vocal advocates for those in the industry of beef production, and Assemblyman Hawley is one of only two legislators to receive this award this year.

“As a former farmer myself, it has been my honor to stand up as a voice for everybody who works in agriculture in our state, including beef producers,” Hawley said.

“I look forward to continuing to champion the causes of our farmers, and even as we face a challenging year ahead I look forward to working with producers to make the best of it and assure their voices are heard in our Legislature.”

February 9, 2021 - 1:36pm

Press release:

In compliance with a new 2021 federal law (pdf) that took effect Jan. 1, Rochester Regional Health has posted a master list of charges and contract rates on its website for provided items and services.

The law requires each hospital operating in the United States to provide clear, accessible pricing information online about the items and services they provide in two ways:

  1. As a comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services.
  2. In a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.

This information will make it easier for consumers to shop and compare prices across hospitals and estimate the cost of care before going to the hospital.

To make this list more accessible to patients, the health system has developed a new easy-to-use tool to foster price transparency.

The new patient estimates self-service tool provides real-time estimates for patients that details their out-of-pocket responsibility.

To access the RRH tool, click here.

February 9, 2021 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, batavia, schools, news, notify.

The doors at John Kennedy School are getting extra checks on a daily basis to ensure they're closing completely after a door that was left ajar was used by an unauthorized individual to gain entry and pull a fire alarm.

The man's name has not yet been released by Batavia PD. He is apparently undergoing treatment and will be charged once he has been released from care.

Det. Eric Hill confirmed the incident took place and that charges are pending.  

The incident on Jan. 28 was discussed by the Batavia City School District Board of Education during its meeting Monday night, following a school review presentation by Principal Brian Sutton.

"The first door he pulled on, it was open," Sutton said. "He entered the building. He was in the building for about less than a minute, 55, 56 seconds. He stopped, looked at a bulletin board, and on his way, walking out of the loading docks, he pulled the fire alarm. We then had a fire drill where we accounted for all the students, all the individuals.

"Mr. Smith, our head custodian, and I went and checked out the alarm and could see it had been pulled. As soon as it was deemed safe, we had a headcount on everyone, we re-entered the building. Mr. Dehm, our security aide, pulled the camera up and we got an image of the individual and contacted our SRO Officer Davis, and they then apprehended the man down the street quite a bit, a few moments later."

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. told the board a man matching the description of the subject at John Kennedy had been seen earlier around Batavia Middle School and police were already in the area looking for him when the call came in from JK.

"He happened to pull on a door that happened to work for him," Soler said. "It was definitely an unfortunate situation. No one was obviously impacted. And we did communicate immediately with families that day of the event."

Sutton said as a result of the incident, the school's custodian is now checking on the doors more frequently each day to ensure the doors are closing after people pass through them.

'It's one of those things where it's a good reminder to make sure we check in multiple times," Soler said. "Now we have an alarm set on them. If they don't close all the way, they'll hear an alarm go off in the main office."

February 9, 2021 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, news, accident.

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A two-car accident is reported in the area of 606 Broadway Road, Darien. The location is west of Harlow Road, near the county line road.

A first responder reports a vehicle is off the roadway in a ditch. A person is trapped, extrication required, possible serious injury.

Darien fire and Corfu fire dispatched.

The westbound lane of Route 20 is blocked.

UPDATE 11:45 a.m.: A second ambulance is requested to the scene for a driver requesting transport.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 11:51 a.m.: The entrapped driver has a minor child who was not in the vehicle, but will need to be transported. There is also a male who ran from the scene and ran into a house. Law enforcement is attempting to gain entry to the house.

UPDATE 12:02 p.m.: Medics have made contact with the entrapped patient and are extricating the person.

UPDATE 12:04 p.m.: Mercy medics are transporting a patient to ECMC.

UPDATE 12:08 p.m.: A total of four ambulances were called to the scene. First responders are still trying to contact the fourth patient, the man who ran into a house.

UPDATE 12:18 p.m.: Two patients were transported to hospitals -- the entrapped driver to ECMC and a child to Children's Hospital in Buffalo. A third patient was a sign-off. Law enforcement was unable to make contact with the fourth patient -- a male who ran from the scene into a house. The Darien assignment is back in service.

Photos courtesy Erie County Blotter.

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February 9, 2021 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Stingers, softball, sports, batavia, Lions Park.

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Press release:

Batavia Girls Fastpitch Softball (BGFS) is overwhelmed with gratitude from the community stepping up with very generous donations to allow for the installation of a brand-new electronic scoreboard at Lions Park, the home of the Batavia Stingers. 

In particular, BGFS wants to give a special thank you to the two lead sponsors of the sign, Batavia’s Original Pizzeria and Batavia Restaurant Supply Inc. These two local businesses understand the importance of youth sports for our community and backed up this belief with critical financial support that made this scoreboard a reality.

When speaking with Batavia’s Original owner, Kathy Ferrara, and Batavia Restaurant Supply owners, Stacey Schrader and Nate Charvella, they were all moved by the disparities in girls and boys sports, and we're excited to help provide the girls with the first electronic scoreboard in Batavia for girl’s softball.

We hope people pay attention to these businesses that give back to our community, as they deserve our support the most!

In addition to the very generous lead sponsorships by Batavia’s Original and Batavia Restaurant Supply, BGFS would also like to give a special thanks to the almost two dozen sponsors that are permanently listed on the banner below the sign at Lions Park.

Three of these sponsors listed as Primary sponsors for their generous donations are the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation, Lawley Insurance, and the Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation. These are more examples of organizations and businesses that value the importance of youth sports.

Lastly, but certainly not least, BGFS would like to give a big THANK YOU to the project coordinator, and guy that pulled it all together, JC Kabel. He spent countless hours fundraising and leading the project design and installation. 

The BGFS Board is forever grateful for helping us have our ladies look up at that beautiful scoreboard and think it is normal for girls to have the same opportunities as the boys.

February 9, 2021 - 10:07am
posted by Press Release in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City Water Department is responding to a water leak on the west side of the City Centre. Water may be turned off from the corner of Alva Place and State Street to Main and Jackson streets. This will affect businesses in the southwest area of the City Centre and the surrounding vicinity.

This could result in low water pressure conditions for some residents and businesses. Other residents in the area may experience discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry, which may be impacted.

February 8, 2021 - 11:32pm

Between the interim city manager’s report and public comments, the Batavia City Council tonight heard about and touched upon several topics beyond the nuts and bolts of scheduling public hearings for the 2021-22 budget, water rates and amendments to the Downtown Business Improvement District Plan.

The Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, which lasted only 25 minutes by the way, included:

  • Discussion of the City of Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group, which is wrapping up its tasks as required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 on community policing reform;
  • Staffing of the Department of Public Works, and the police and fire departments in light of the city’s fiscal constraints;
  • Budgeted funds for improvements at Falleti Ice Arena, which are sorely needed, according to a longtime “hockey mom”;
  • And, barely, an update on the search for a permanent city manager, a process that was prompted by the departure of Martin Moore almost eight months ago.

Furthermore, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski’s report provided some insight on the police station feasibility study (and its effect on the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market), Community Garden on MacArthur Drive, Jackson Square improvement project, and the City Centre feasibility study.

City resident John Roach, a frequent contributor to Council meetings, posed questions regarding the future of the police stakeholder group, city manager search and essential services’ staffing.

Police Advisory Stakeholders Group

On the police advisory group, Roach applauded the city’s intention to continue meeting after the final report is submitted to New York State by April 1, but wanted assurances that any committees would include only city residents.

“I don’t want anyone else outside the city telling us how to run our local police department,” he said.

Tabelski’s response indicated that a “subcommittee” or “focus group” has planned to meet on its own with Chief Shawn Heubusch and the Batavia City School District as needed, so she didn’t think the recommendation would be “to keep that as a standing committee on behalf of the city.”

She and Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. agreed that a concerted effort would be made to make sure city residents only would participate on any ongoing “community engagement committee.”

Professional Search for a Manager

Roach then asked about the status of the manager search, noting the amount of time that has elapsed.

His specific questions: “Have we got any updates on the search headhunter group? Did they find any candidates yet? And while the search is supposed to be free, there are always costs. Have we incurred any costs yet related to the search for the city manager?”

Council Member John Canale, part of the search/screening committee, offered very little in return, continuing an exercise that has been kept away from the public eye. Previously, The Batavian reached out to Canale for a few more details about the search but he did not respond to a telephone call or email.

“In regards to the manager’s search, I will not comment on specifics, but just to let you know that we are engaged with the recruitment company (The Novak Consulting Group of Cincinnati, Ohio) and we’re moving forward with our national search and we’re in that process right now,” Canale said in response to Roach. “There will be more to come.”

The search/screening committee advertised in national publications prior to a Dec. 30 deadline – about six weeks ago -- for candidates to submit their resumes.

Moore and the city mutually agreed to part ways on June 20. At that point, Tabelski, who was the assistant city manager, moved into the top spot until a permanent manager was found. She has since revealed that she has applied for the job.

Moore’s leaving prior to serving two full years also triggered a provision in its contract with Novak to obtain a “free search” for his replacement. Nonetheless, the city is anticipating some expense, including the cost of placing job vacancy notices.

Public Works, Police, Fire Staffing

On DPW, police and fire staffing, Roach said he wanted to know the number of employees and vacancies in each department, and asked, “If there are future vacancies, do you intend to fill them or just keep letting the numbers drop because of the budget?”

Tabelski replied that there are four vacancies in the fire department, with one to be filled and three to remain vacant “to achieve our budget number.”

She said the police department is down two employees.

“Contractually one of the vacancies will stay frozen for three years through a retirement incentive and the other, if and when there is funding to fill that, we’ll look forward to doing so,” she said.

DPW Superintendent Ray Tourt said there are 16 employees in his department – down one position (which is frozen this year) at the Bureau of Maintenance. He added that DPW has 14 primary pieces of equipment with one in the process of being repaired.

“One is kind of part-time,” he said. “That’s the old girl that broke down this weekend, but we’re putting her back together for the next one.”

Funding Improvements at the Ice Rink

Council heard from two city residents who wrote letters of support in favor of implementing budgeted capital improvement funds for upgrades at the Falleti Ice Arena on Evans Street.

One was from Mary Ellen Reardon, a “hockey mom” who noted that she has seen no improvements in many years and called the facility “the most poorly maintained rink in the Western New York region.”

She wrote that she has worked at the rink, her husband played in the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association as a youth and then in the Batavia Men’s Hockey League, and their three sons currently play hockey at various levels.

Other topics covered during Monday night's meeting:

  • Police station feasibility study -- Tabelski said Heubusch has provided much information and is prepared to work on preliminary items that “may require us to be on that site (Alva Place parking lot) over the summertime, leading into the meetings that I’ve had with the Public (Farmers’) Market Treasurer Sharon Brant.”

The Farmers’ Market has operated at the Alva Place parking lot for the past five years.

Tabelski said she hopes the market will be able to find a site downtown this summer and a long-term location downtown as well, but they need to identify the appropriate place.

“At the end of the day, it is their choice where they operate,” she said. “If there are only one or two city locations and they are not – they don’t see those as valuable – they may not be in the downtown, but I hope that we can find a way to make it work.”

  • Community garden on MacArthur Drive -- She said the project is going forward this year, adding that Tourt and the DPW are coordinating communications with the garden board.
  • Jackson Square DRI project -- Tabelski said a public engagement meeting for the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative project at Jackson Square, located between Jackson and Center streets, is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 18 via Zoom videoconferencing.

“It’s an opportunity for citizens to hear about the project and help shape what that project would look like. It’s probably one of the best community spaces we have and we want to use it more often with more events,” she said.

In December, Council voted in favor of a $114,720 contract with Architectural Resources of Buffalo for engineering services to renovate and enhance the Jackson Square entertainment venue.

  • City Centre feasibility study -- “The City Centre feasibility study is being finalized and will be posted on the city website very soon, and we will be submitting for reimbursement for that grant,” Tabelski advised. “That will help inform us on how to move forward with the City Centre DRI $1 million project.”

------------

As expected, Council scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 22 on the budget, a $16.79 million general fund budget spending plan that currently calls for a 1.38-percent increase in the property tax rate. The annual property tax increase on a home assessed at $100,000 will be about $13.

Public hearings to establish new water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees, and to amend the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District Plan also were scheduled for Feb. 22 at the same time.

A public hearing about the Community Development Block Grant, a program of the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal, took place tonight, but no one from the public or Council commented. The city seeks to obtain a CDBG grant to fund infrastructure projects.

February 8, 2021 - 4:13pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, news, coronavirus.

Data Update – including data covering the weekend

  • Genesee County received 33 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) 
      • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.  
  • Fifty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Eighteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

Orleans County received 26 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday.

  • 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, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
  • Six of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Forthy-four 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 of The Villages of Orleans Health & Rehab.
  • Three of the new positive individuals is an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility.
  • Orleans County is currently seeing an increase of positive cases in non-county regulated facilities, which is increasing the daily positivity rate.
February 8, 2021 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, pembroke.

Patrick Thomas Fuhr, 61, of Union Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with: unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree; reckless driving; aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree; failure to stop at a stop sign; and a red light violation. He was arrested on Feb. 4 after a police pursuit that occurred at 9:15 p.m. Jan. 29 in the City of Batavia and towns of Batavia and Pembroke. It is alleged that he fled in his vehicle from Genesee County and Livingston County deputies. Fuhr is due in City of Batavia Court on March 10 and Town of Batavia Court March 11. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Christopher John Raymond Diers, 38, is charged with third-degree burglary and petit larceny. He was arrested at 3:46 p.m. Jan. 5 for allegedly stealing property from Walmart then running from store security personnel when he approached the exit. He was put in Genesee County Jail until his arraignment at 6:15 p.m. in Genesee County Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Christopher P. Thomas, 38, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with dog running at large. He was arrested at 10:25 a.m. Jan. 29 on the Batavia Municipal Code violation for allegedly allowing his pet German shepard to run at large on a neighbor's lawn. He is due in Batavia City Court on March 30. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Connor Borchert.

Zachary John Wayne Marrow, 29, of Manhatten Avenue, Batavia, is charged with failing to appear in Batavia City Court after being given an appearance ticket. He was originally arrested at 12:30 a.m. Nov. 16 at on East Main Street and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated. He was arrested on the city court warrant for failure to appear at 9:10 p.m. Feb. 2. Marrow is due back in court March 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

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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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