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October 10, 2019 - 6:48pm

From Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer:

Taxpayer Funded Elections

Your Tax Dollars Could Be Used to Support Political Campaigns

The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission has started to meet and is required to issue its final recommendations by Dec. 1st. The commission was created as part of the disastrous 2019 Budget and one of its major objectives is to determine the future of publicly financing elections in New York State.

The budget also allocated $100 million for the potential public financing system across New York State. I strongly opposed this spending and voted No.

There is a money problem in politics but spending nearly $100 million of taxpayer money on elections will do nothing to fix it. It is comical to think that spending $100 million of taxpayer money on elections will “take the money out of politics.”

Supporters say that spending taxpayer money on elections will help fight corruption. However, New York City already has a public financing system in place and it has done little to curb corruption or build public trust.

If New York State wants to get serious about reducing the money in politics, it needs real solutions that actually address the problem. That is why I am advancing legislation that will actually reduce corruption and the influence of money in politics.

Instead of spending $100 million of taxpayer money to support candidate mailings and phone calls, we should lower contribution limits, require greater disclosure of political advertising by third parties and ban donations from politically appointed individuals. My proposals will do just that.

Please review and share your comments with me on my reform bills. The Commission is due to make its recommendations on Dec. 1st and it is not too late to have your voice heard. To tell the commission that you do not support spending $100 million on political campaigns, please visit my website and sign my petition.

Bill Number Purpose
S1932 Restricts government partcipant contributions
S1933 Restricts certain corporations from participating or intervening in any political campiagn on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office
S1934S1936 Relates to contribution limits for parties appointed to public positions
S1935S1987 Restricts government participant contribution periods
S2350 Expands media disclosure requirements and lowers political contribution limits
October 10, 2019 - 1:55pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, GCASA, GOW opioid task force.


Submitted photo and press release:

The Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force has been selected as the Outstanding Rural Health Program of the Year by the New York State Association for Rural Health.

The award was announced at the organization’s conference from Sept. 25-27 in Niagara Falls.

Nominated by Julie Gutowski, vice president of Clinical Operations and Services for Spectrum Health & Human Services, the task force was recognized for its efforts in developing an emergency department screening process used at local hospitals. It helps to identify people using opioids, then connects patients with a Peer Advocate or Recovery Coach in addition to a referral for treatment.

The NYSARH also mentioned the task force’s tri-county crisis line, which has resulted in a measurable decrease in drug overdose visits to local hospitals as well as opioid related deaths between 2017 and 2018.

“It is truly a great honor for the GOW Opioid Task Force to be recognized as the Outstanding Rural Health Program from the New York State Association for Rural Health,” said Allison Parry-Gurak, task force coordinator. “I am humbled every day by the amount of passion and dedication our tri-county region has shown to ending the opioid crisis for our communities.”

Parry-Gurak said the task force has “embraced a tri-county approach to our mission,” realizing that rural communities thrive when there is grassroots support.

“The task force is a wonderful example of the strength and impact rural communities can have when they collaborate to address public health concerns,” she added. “While we have had great success thus far, our work is not finished yet.

"We accept this award on behalf of our members and our community partners, but also on behalf of our community members that we have lost to the opioid crisis, those who are still fighting, and the family members and loved ones who have been impacted.”

The goal of the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force is to address the growing opioid crisis in the tri-county area. Formed in 2017, it currently has more than 350 members from across the tri-county region.

Members represent various sectors of the community, including: public health; mental health; human services; local government; substance use disorder treatment and recovery agencies; law enforcement; EMS; faith-based groups; health systems and medical practitioners; education; businesses; and concerned individuals, families and individuals in recovery.

There are six active work groups that meet regularly to address the needs of the community.

John Bennett, executive director of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, expressed his gratitude to the task force, which includes several GCASA staff members.

“Congratulations to Allison Parry-Gurak for her great work coordinating the task force and for Shannon Ford’s guidance in assisting her,” Bennett said. “And also to the many staff who sit on or chair a subcommittee of the task force.”

The mission of the New York State Association of Rural Health is to improve the health and well-being of rural New Yorkers and their communities. Functioning as a “voice for rural health,” the NYSARH is a statewide organization that advocates at the national and state levels on behalf of its membership.

Photo at top: The Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force was honored recently by the New York State Association for Rural Health as the Outstanding Rural Health Program of the Year. From left are Matthew A. Kuhlenbeck, president & CEO of Greater Rochester Health Foundation; Paul Pettit, director Genesee & Orleans Health Departments; Charlotte Crawford, Lake Plains Community Care Network; Nicole Anderson, GCASA; John Bennett, GCASA; Allison Parry-Gurak, GCASA; Shannon Ford, GCASA; Holli Gass, Spectrum Health & Human Services; Rosalie Mangino-Crandall, GCASA.​

Disclosure: Mike Pettinella is a GCASA publicist.

October 10, 2019 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wny national cemetery, Veterans Cemetery, veterans, news, pembroke.


Construction has begun on the new Western New York National Cemetary in Pembroke though the initial plan for Phase I construction has been cut back because of budget constraints, Veterans Affairs officials told a gathering of veterans Wednesday in Corfu.

The 132-acre cemetery will accommodate the remains of 96,000 veterans over the next 70 years but veterans at Wednesday's meeting were most concerned about the here-and-now: delays in construction; the need to scale back Phase I; and either budget shortfalls or mistakes by the VA in estimating construction costs.

Congress originally appropriated $36 million for the cemetery but the VA is now asking for an additional $10 million to complete construction.

One of the key legislative supporters of the cemetery has been Sen. Charles Schumer and his regional director, Chris Zelmann told veterans Wednesday that the senator continues to support the project and will fight for more funding once the VA validates the need for the additional $10 million in funding.

"It's paramount to the senator to make sure the VA moves heaven and earth to make good on its commitment to honoring our heroes in Western New York to ensure they can use the benefits they've earned and deserve," Zelmann said.

The vast majority of men and women who served in the U.S. military and received any discharge other than dishonorable are eligible for free interment at a national cemetery. 

Burials at the cemetery are expected to begin as late next year but for veterans who wish to have their remains cremated, their families will have to wait until Phase I-B is completed, perhaps not until 2022.

That phase will contain a columbarium, an arc-shaped area with rows of columns that will hold boxes for cremated remains. 

One woman at Wednesday's town hall said she's been storing her husband's cremated remains for four years.

One reason for the delay in construction said James Metcalfe, the new director of the WNY National Cemetery (top photo), in his experience working with two different contractors -- each phase has different construction contractors -- simultaneously can make it difficult to accommodate funerals. The goal is to get one section open for burials as soon as possible, then finish that construction before the second contractor begins work.

"We want internment and ceremonies taking place while there isn't so much underway at the same time both to maintain safety and a level of decorum," Metcalfe said.

One veteran expressed concern about the plan to use, temporarily, a trailer to house members of the honor guard. He said being an honor guard is physically and emotionally taxing and on days when they are performing services for multiple funerals, the members need a place to rest, relax, eat, and "hang their hat." He expressed concern that a trailer wouldn't be adequate.

Metcalfe said that while he can't provide the exact specifications of the trailer, he assured veterans that it would be appropriate and comfortable for members of the honor guard.

Eventually, the honor guard will have a permanent structure appropriate to their needs.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, while acknowledging the bipartisan support for the veterans cemetery, said it's important for veterans and their families to keep the pressure on federal elected officials to ensure the project is appropriately funded. He said veterans should keep emailing and writing letters in support of funding.

"These are the people who served their country and they deserve a place to be buried with honor and dignity," Hawley said. "I'm not blaming any of you (motioning toward the VA officials). Even though some of us come from different political parties, it doesn't matter when it comes to taking care of our veterans.

"Today, I emailed Senator Schumer and my contact in the Trump Administration. If it's the money, it shouldn't matter when it comes to taking care of our veterans."


Assemblyman Steve Hawley


October 10, 2019 - 12:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, crime.

Nathan Falsone, 35, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief and unlawful imprisonment. Falsone was arrested at 4:34 a.m. on Oct. 9 on East Main Street in Batavia following an investigation into a domestic incident. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on his own recognizance. He is due in city court on Oct. 24. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Jennifer J. Hogan, 28, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree; and open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle on a highway. Hogan was arrested at 8:19 p.m. on Oct. 8 on North Spruce Street in Batavia after a traffic stop investigation. She was allegedly found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana and an open container of Corona beer. She was jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. Hogan was due in Batavia City Court on Oct. 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

David Vega, 54, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with: first-degree aggravated unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle -- with more than 10 suspensions on 10 different dates; and having an unsecured front license plate. Vega was stopped at 8:19 on Oct. 8 on North Spruce Street in Batavia for a traffic violation. It was subsequently found that Vega had a suspended and revoked NYS driver's license. Vegas had 33 suspensions and revocations, of which 30 were on 20 separate dates. He was arrested and put in jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. He was due in Batavia City Court on Oct. 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

October 10, 2019 - 12:25pm

Press release:

Make a Difference Day for all Batavia High School seniors will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

They will participate in the annual Make a Difference Day community service project in various nonprofit agencies throughout the community. 

Participating agencies include: All Babies Cherished, Arc of Genesee Orleans Rainbow Preschool, Batavia Agri-Business Child Development, Batavia Housing Authority, Batavia Peace Garden, City of Batavia Youth Bureau, Crossroads House, Genesee County Parks, Genesee County Youth Bureau, Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, Habitat for Humanity, Holland Land Office Museum, NYS Veterans’ Home, Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, United Memorial Medical Center, VA WNY Healthcare System of Batavia, YMCA, YWCA Children’s Center, and YWCA of Genesee County.

Batavia City Schools is dedicated to helping their over 140 seniors learn and develop the importance of giving back to their own community while helping to foster civic responsibility. This is an integral part of their Batavia High School academic curriculum, and is a component of their graduation requirements.

October 10, 2019 - 12:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in UMMC League, philanthropy, news.

 Photo of "check presentation," from left, UMMC League Charter members Geri Carmichael, Marie Call, Patti Rowbottom and Mary Pat Hancock.

Submitted photos and press release:

The United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) League, a group comprised of volunteers who raise money to support patient care at UMMC, celebrated their 50th anniversary with a brunch at the hospital on Sept. 28.

At the brunch, they announced their latest gift – $100,000 to start an endowed fund that will support ongoing investments in patient care at UMMC for years to come. UMMC also announced a second $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor that will double the size of this new fund.

“I am so grateful for the UMMC League’s 50 years of generosity and service,” said UMMC President Dan Ireland. “From running our hospital’s snack shop and gift shop with a staff of volunteers, to holding craft fairs and social events to raise critical funds, the work they have done is extraordinary and it’s always been driven by the purest kind of motivation – to help others.”

To present the check where four charter members of the UMMC League. Marie Call, Mary Pat Hancock, Gerry Carmichael and Patti Rowbottom helped start the UMMC League in 1969 and remain part of its core today. 

Over their 50-year history, the UMMC League has raised more than $1.2 million for the hospital, supporting everything from ambulances, hospital beds and radiology equipment to baby-warming units and teddy bears.

Below, UMMC League members pose with the new plaque commemorating 50 years of support of United Memorial Medical Center.

Below, members of the UMMC League gathered for their 50th anniversary.

October 10, 2019 - 11:15am

Oakfield-Alabama High School will perform a fundraising concert for its Music Department this evening -- Thursday, Oct. 10 -- at 7 o'clock in the middle/high school auditorium.

The "O-A Broadway Cabaret" immediately follows this afternoon's Open House.

It will feature high school ensemble and soloists.

A dessert reception follows.

Suggested donation to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for students.

The school is located at 7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield.

For questions, contact Danielle Mileham at:   [email protected] or phone (585) 948-5211, ext. 4004.

October 10, 2019 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, running for Congress in NY-27, is calling for Chris Collins, who recently resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI, to return the Congressional salary he has collected since his indictment in August 2018.

McMurray sent a letter to Judge Vernon S. Broderick asking the judge to consider ordering Collins to return his salary and forfeit his pension as a part of sentencing.

While calling Collins’ case “inherently tragic” and expressing sympathy for Collins’ family and victims, McMurray also pointed out that Collins had profited from his deception of voters in his district and deserved to lose his salary as a result.

“Following his guilty plea last week, Mr. Collins has admitted that his actions were in fact illegal; that he knew they were illegal; and that his claims of innocence were false. With his reelection predicated on an admittedly false claim of innocence, I urge that in sentencing, you recognize this fraud on the taxpayers of this nation and the people of New York’s 27th Congressional District and require him, in addition to whatever other penalties you deem appropriate, to repay his salary from the date of his indictment until his resignation and forfeit his taxpayer-funded pension,” McMurray wrote.

After months of proclaiming his innocence, Collins changed his plea to “guilty” last week and admitted in court that he knew what he was doing was illegal.

A copy of McMurray's letter can be seen below:

Honorable Judge Broderick,

I am writing to you to express my thoughts regarding the sentencing of Chris Collins. 

Last year, I ran and lost a race to replace Mr. Collins in the United States House of Representatives. I am proud of that campaign and our opposition to Mr. Collins. I say this to fully disclose any perceived bias or subjectivity. I share my comments with full sincerity and an understanding of the possible consequences of my words. 

First, I want to acknowledge that much about this case is inherently tragic. A district has been denied its due representation in Congress; an individual of great promise, a fellow Eagle Scout no less, betrayed his constituents and will forever have his name tainted; a son followed his father’s request and now stands on the verge of incarceration and a lifetime defined by a criminal act not of his own creation. I have true sympathy for everyone caught up in Mr. Collins’ web of illegal activity and look forward to our district moving on.

Nevertheless, justice must be served, and Mr. Collins’ actions and character must be examined. Following the indictment in August of 2018, Mr. Collins continually lied to voters by proclaiming his innocence and ultimately won re-election. As a member of Congress, Mr. Collins said he worked for his donors—not the people of Batavia, Hamburg, Canandaigua, Warsaw, or the countless other small towns and communities within New York’s 27th District. Following his guilty plea last week, Mr. Collins has admitted that his actions were in fact illegal; that he knew they were illegal; and that his claims of innocence were false. He knowingly abused the trust of the people of Western New York.

I stand with many who are angered by Mr. Collins’ actions, but I find some discomfort celebrating anyone’s demise, even his. However, with his re-election predicated on an admittedly false claim of innocence, I urge that in sentencing, you recognize this fraud on the taxpayers of this nation and the people of New York’s 27th Congressional District and require him, in addition to whatever other penalties you deem appropriate, to repay his salary from the date of his indictment until his resignation and forfeit his taxpayer-funded pension.


Nathan D. McMurray

October 10, 2019 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, volleyball.


Le Roy's volleyball team is now 12-0 on the season after beating Brockport at home Wednesday night in three sets, 25-23, 25-17, and 25-17.

Next up for the Knights: The Waterloo Tournament on Saturday.

Photos and info courtesy Tim McArdle.




October 10, 2019 - 10:52am
posted by Virginia Kropf in marines, batavia, Pavilion, news.

Seeing their teenage son graduate from Rush-Henrietta High School in June was exciting enough for Jakob Bathrick’s family, but three months later they had to say goodbye when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. 

Bathrick, 18, is a son of Rory Bathrick, who lives in Batavia, and Jessica Baltz, of Henrietta, formerly of Pavilion. 

“The day he left was my 39th birthday, and I celebrated by giving my firstborn to the Marine Corps,” Baltz said. “Seeing him off was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve always been close to my three kids and we always support each other."

Although his mother has cried and cried since he left, she knows this is something he wanted to do.

She said Bathrick made the decision to join the military a year ago, while he was on vacation with his grandparents in Washington, D.C. A recruiter had gotten his name through his high school and kept calling him.

“He initially was going to join the Army, but the Marine recruiter convinced him to join the Marines,” Baltz said. “After all, the Marines are ‘the few and the proud.’ ”

The recruits left Batavia’s recruiting substation and were bused to Niagara Falls, where they spent the night in a hotel, after preliminary briefing and time with their families.

The next day, families began arriving at 9 a.m. at the Air Force Base, and after security clearance, were directed to the building where the ceremonies would take place.

Bathrick’s family who came to see him off included his parents; aunt, Ami Quigley, of Pavilion; siblings Cecelia and Andrew Bathrick; grandparents Tom Bathrick, of Varysburg, and Nancy Baltz, of Pavilion; aunt, Jo Page, of Warsaw; family friend, Andy Caven and his grandparents, Bruce and Brenda Serena, of Akron. Brenda Serena is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army and was allowed to perform the swearing-in ceremony for her grandson.

“That was pretty cool,” Jakob’s mother said. “Brenda was my mother-in-law and she’s just been Brenda to me. To see all those military saluting her was really impressive.”

The military is very diligent about seeing parents are wellbinformed about what lays in store for the recruit.

For the first several hours in the morning, while the recruits underwent final procedures, their families gathered in the cafeteria, listening to a representative from the American Red Cross and receiving instructions on what to expect during the next weeks of basic training. 

They learned the only way to communicate with their recruit in time of emergency is through the Red Cross. They were also informed about financial assistance available to the military, their families and retired veterans.

Perhaps the hardest thing for families was learning there would be no communication of any kind with the recruit, especially those joining the Marines, until after they were settled in to basic training.

Marines are the only branch of the military which does not allow recruits to have their cell phone during basic training, and before the recruits boarded a bus for Buffalo International Airport that morning, they handed their cell phones and any other personal belongings over to their family. 

Another hour or so was spent listening to Army Ret. Col. Nancy E. Bird, of Rochester, a volunteer at the Military Entrance Processing Station who does about 35 presentations a year at the base. She mingled with family and friends and briefed them on what their part should be in the coming months.

One thing she particularly stressed was the importance of writing – every day. She urged families to give the recruit’s address to everyone they know and ask them to write a letter.

Shortly after noon, the recruits were ushered out into the driveway, where their bus awaited. Each recruit received a brown envelope with his final instructions.

Jakob’s family was among those who followed the bus to Buffalo International Airport to wait and see him on the plane. They arrived at the airport around 3 o'clock, but the recruits’ plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until 5:30. However, they soon learned the plane had been delayed almost an hour. They were scheduled to land in Charlotte, N.C., then transfer to another plane for the final leg of the trip to Savannah, Ga., where a bus would take them on the two-hour drive to Parris Island, S.C.

Families had been told after arriving in Parris Island, recruits could make a formatted call of about 10 seconds, to let their parents know they had arrived. There would be no other personal conversation. However, because it was 1:30 or 2 in the morning by the time they arrived, Jakob’s family never got the call.

His mother was frantic and was able to call the Marine recruiter and learn Jakob had arrived safely.

“I am still crying,” Baltz said. “I cry because I’m so proud and I cry because I don’t think I can do this. Jakob has enlisted for eight years.”

During the ninth week of basic training, Jakob will be able to send home information from the battalion commander with information about graduation, which will be in the middle of December.

Part of Col. Bird’s briefing was what to expect for the families who plan to attend graduation. The ceremony is outside, and there is no parking close by, she said. She stressed the importance of proper dress.

At the conclusion of graduation, Marines are free to depart Parris Island and begin 10 days of leave – something Jakob’s family can’t wait for. 

His mother is hopeful because their 10-day leave takes them to Christmas Eve, that the Marines will extend the leave to have Christmas at home. 

Top photo: Jakob Bathrick gets congratulations from his grandmother, Ret. Lt. Col. Brenda Serena, of Akron, formerly of Attica, after she swore him into the Marines during ceremonies at Niagara Falls Air Force Base. 

Below: Jakob Bathrick’s entire family drove to Niagara Falls Air Force Base to see him sworn into the Marines in September. From left are: his grandfathers Tom Bathrick, of Varysburg, and Bruce Serena, of Akron; aunt Ami Quigley, of Pavilion; grandmother Brenda Serena, of Akron, a retired lieutenant colonel who swore Jakob in; Jakob’s siblings, Andrew and Cecelia Bathrick; father Rory Bathrick, of Batavia; Jakob; mother Jessica Baltz, of Henrietta, formerly of Pavilion; Andy Caven, family friend; aunt Jo Page, of Warsaw; and grandmother Nancy Baltz, of Pavilion. Grandfather John Baltz, who owns Baltz Concrete Construction in Pavilion, was unable to make the trip.

Photos by Virginia Kropf.

October 10, 2019 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, volleyball, Pavilion.


In volleyball, Pavilion beat Warsaw in three sets on Wednesday. Set scores: 25-21, 25-18, 25-22.

Shannon Campbell had 20 assists. Addy Milligan had eight kills and four aces. Karlee Zinkievich had five kills and six digs. Lauren Kingsley had six kills and four aces. Paige Landers had five kills.

Photos and information by Ryan Paddock.

Top photo: Kodi Beehler serving in Set One.


Shannon Campbell with a backset in Set 2.


Lauren Kingsley up for the kill.


Paige Landers with defensive control of the net.

October 10, 2019 - 8:29am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news.

Pin Points

Two announcements from the United States Bowling Congress dealing with the maximum age of a “youth” bowler and the prevention of minor athlete abuse over the past couple of months have caused a bit of a stir among local association officers and junior program leaders.

For more, click on the logo above or the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

Also, kudos to a pair of Genesee Region USBC bowlers for "making the cut" at the first Tommy Kress 60-and-over tournament and to longtime Batavia bowling supporter Bill Hayes for his contributions to the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso Bowling Center (see photo as part of the Pin Points column).

October 9, 2019 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sales tax, jail, news, batavia.
Video Sponsor

Many months of effort by Genesee County to replace its aging, legally out-of-compliance jail came to a standstill Wednesday night when the County Legislature, by consent, agreed to hold off on new jail plans until Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs sales tax agreement legislation that is necessary for the county to fund the jail.

The jail could cost as much as $65 million, which is money the county must borrow (through bonds) and the county won't be able to get those bonds without the 40-year sales tax agreement that will generate the revenue to pay back the loans.

The county and the city hammered out the agreement over the course of months of negotiations about how to divide the local portion of sales tax collected in the county and both elected bodies approved the agreement. The necessary legislation then went to the Assembly and Senate and was approved.

The bill now sits on the Senate president's desk awaiting a request by Gov. Cuomo to see it.  

He hasn't requested it and nobody knows why. It might be that there are 500 other bills on the Senate president's desk awaiting Cuomo's request, but nobody is sure if that's really the issue. Attempts by local officials to get an answer from any source, including the governor's office, have gone unanswered.

Meanwhile, the city and county don't have a sales tax agreement in place for 2020 and if they're going to have an agreement, absent the governor signing the 40-year-agreement bill, they must act fast.

The two municipalities could agree to extend the current agreement by a year or even extend it for 10 years. Either option could be approved on the State Comptroller's signature, without new legislation, but either option would also delay building a new jail by either length of time.

Once the governor requests the bill, he has 10 days to sign it or veto it, or he could do nothing, which is called a pocket veto. He could also let it sit on the Senate president's desk until Dec. 31, which is also a pocket veto.

If the bill isn't approved before Dec. 31, the whole process of approving a sales tax agreement would need to start from the beginning next year.

Neither the county, of course, nor the city, can wait until Dec. 31 to see if the governor will sign the bill. They need to approve a new sales tax agreement, if this one isn't approved, within weeks so there is time to get it approved by the comptroller's office and have it in place for 2020.

If there's no sales tax agreement, the county and city will not be able to fund normal government operations typically covered by sales tax revenue.

Chairman Robert Bausch is drafting a letter to the corrections commissioners informing them of the bind the county is in and asking if they can intervene with the governor's office.

County Manager Jay Gsell said the commission has been patient with the county over its current substandard jail on the premise that the county has been working toward building a new facility. 

Sheriff William Sheron said that a letter from the county might help extend that patience and at least put the commissioners on notice of the issue the county is facing.

Wednesday's meeting was initially called for the entire legislature to discuss jail plans and decide what would be included in the jail -- such as how many beds and pods construction contractors would be asked to bid on.

Some of that discussion took place, with an apparent agreement being reached on a four-pod jail with 184 beds. That would give jail staff the most flexibility in maintaining order and keeping different types of jail inmates, based on mental health issues and other factors, in appropriate housing.

After that discussion, Bausch brought up the sales tax issue and said he didn't see how the county could authorize the architect to start designing the facility because once the design is done, without a sales tax agreement, the county wouldn't be able to put the project out to bid because it couldn't get the project bonded.

"That would be pretty embarrassing for the county," he said.

October 9, 2019 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in van detta stadium, batavia, City Schools, news.

A policy proposal submitted by Michael Bromley, Batavia City Schools athletic director, received some push back from Board of Education President Patrick Burk at Tuesday's school board meeting after Bromley said community organizations would be able to use the new Van Detta Stadium for free.

It's not that Burk opposes free use of school facilities, he said, but he claimed that to allow free use of Van Detta while groups must pay a fee at certain times to use other school facilities isn't fair.

Burk noted that the school district changed its policy some time ago based on state education law to charge a fee for use of facilities at times when school custodians are not on the premises.

Custodians are at school facilities from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year and until 3 p.m. on weekdays during the summer and on holiday breaks.

"People may think I don't want community groups using Van Detta Stadium but that's not the case," Burk said. "I think there is a double standard if they're allowed to use it for free if others are being charged a fee."

Burk runs a nonprofit dance studio that uses school facilities and must pay a fee. He said the Genesee Symphony Orchester and the Rotary Club, among others, were "forced out" of the school district buildings when the district started charging fees.

Roxanne Choate, chairwoman of the GSO board, confirmed in an email today that the GSO stopped using the high school auditorium because the fee for its use was $500 per concert. The rural districts, in contrast, she said, charge $150. The orchestra does not pay for use of the bandroom for rehearsals since those take place on weeknights during the school year.

Burk reiterated this morning that he isn't seeking a way for the district to collect fees for use of Van Detta. He would rather see no fees charged to any community organization based in Batavia that would like to use school facilities during non-school hours.

"To me, it's a matter of removing the stadium usage fees, then the building usage should fee should also be removed," Burk said.

The Batavian has sought clarity on any such state law from the State Department of Education and has not yet received a response.

The plan presented by Bromley, which was based on conversations with Chris Dailey when he was superintendent and Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping contemplates three tiers of usage for the stadium.

Local groups, such as the Batavia Bulldawgs, could use it for free -- as they have been so far this year. Section V and the state athletic association would pay a fee sufficient to cover all staff costs for regional and statewide championships and other events. High schools from outside the county would also be able to request use of the facility for special events.

If community groups wanted to use the concession stand and benefit financially from concession sales, they would have to provide the staff and their own food and drink, in their own ice chests, for sale. For regional and state events, the school district would run the concessions with the proceeds going to school fundraisers.

The proposal is pending while district officials research what they can legally do regarding outside use of school facilities.

There should not be any effect, while the decision is pending, on planned events, including an anticipate Section V playoff game for Notre Dame on Oct. 26, nor a state championship tournament for eight-man football.

October 9, 2019 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Community College, news, parking lot project.

Above, the Rose Garden on GCC's Batavia Campus.

Submitted photos and press release:

It is finally finished! This past summer the multiyear parking lot project at Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus was completed, which established a new, expanded and safer configuration of the 12-acre parking lot.

Perhaps most significantly, the project introduced a new pedestrian walkway that connects the west and east sides of campus giving those who walk to the new Richard C. Call Arena from the new Student Success Center or main building the opportunity to enjoy an 18,000-square-foot garden space that is approximately 720 feet long. 

Under the leadership of Senior Groundskeeper Dennis Pietrzykowski, the GCC grounds crew took full advantage of the planting season and their in-house expertise to fill five themed garden areas that flank each side of the walkway. Each with a unique theme, the five gardens incorporate plants chosen specifically to create a medley of color, shape and texture for every season.

As visitors walk west from the College's main building to the Call Arena, they will enjoy:

  • Island One -- The Buffering Boxwoods creating a formal garden bed complete with the boxwood hedges and in the spring a bed of crocuses and daffodils will pop up to shake off winter. 
  • Island Two -- The Restful Retreat features locust trees and a quiet cozy area of lawn to invite visitors to slow down and maybe stop to relax and sit upon the provided park benches.
  • Island Three -- The Woodland Garden features eight new trees including the red oaks and American sycamore to provide plenty of opportunity for bird life and shade in the summer.
  • Island Four -- The Butterfly Garden is filled with a wide variety of flowering plants, from spireas to azaleas, hydrangeas to day lilies and dwarf lilacs -- all designed to attract butterflies and other insects throughout the warmer seasons.
  • Island Five -- The Rose Garden at the western end offers bright colors and fragrant blooms in season, and greets incoming traffic and guests as they approach campus from College Road West. Six different kinds of roses are featured, as well as 20 other flowering species.
  • Finally, back at the most easterly edge of GCC's new Garden Walkway are 10 huge planters, each sponsored by a different student club with a variety of plants selected and planted by the students and their advisors.

"In total, the new gardens added 50 large trees in more than a dozen varieties and more than 2,500 plants to the Batavia Campus," Pietrzykowski said. "But my personal favorite is called Harry Lauder's Walking Stick  -- it has curly branches and looks its best in the winter months. Everyone should visit campus to find it. Here's a hint, it's in one of the more formal gardens."

The team introduced more than 130 tons of new top soil to accommodate all of the trees, shrubs, bulbs plants and other materials. In addition, the College was proud to work with all local businesses, contractors and suppliers to complete the project.

"We purchased everything locally," Pietrzykowski said. "I had all the suppliers on speed-dial and they were great."

Below, resealing the parking lots at GCC was another important component of the project.

Below, the GCC Grounds Crew this summer standing near the Rose Garden. From left, Dennis Pietrzykowski, Mikala Bush, Jeff Engle, Kennedy Lampart, Ben Bakos, Ricky Bezon and John Kingdollar.

October 9, 2019 - 2:02pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Office for the Aging will, once again, be holding Medicare open enrollment vendor fairs for members of the community.

These vendor fairs will have representation from local Medicare Advantage insurance companies, AARP Supplemental, and EPIC where you can ask questions and change your plan, should you decide to do so.

HIICAP counselors from the Office for the Aging, who specialize in Medicare, will also be available to give you an unbiased look at your options before you speak to a sales agent.

Volunteers will also be available assisting those wishing to sign up for a MyMedicare.gov account.

All vendor fairs run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For questions call (585) 343-1611.

Thursday, Oct. 17th 

  • Alabama Fire Hall, 2230 Judge Road, Alabama 

Tuesday, Nov. 5th 

  • Our Lady of Mercy Gym, 44 Lake St., Le Roy

Wednesday, Nov. 20th 

  • Darien Center Fire Hall, 10537 Alleghany Road, Darien Center

Tuesday, Dec. 3rd 

  • First United Methodist Church of Batavia, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia
October 9, 2019 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.
   Thomas Moynihan

A State Street resident is being charged with burglary and robbery following a reported strong-armed theft of $344.50 from the Days Inn in Batavia.

The robbery occurred at 11:30 p.m., Sunday. A man entered the business, went into an area designated for employees only, confronted an employee, demanded money, and then fought with the employee before fleeing.

The employee was not hurt in the incident.

Through an investigation, police identified a possible suspect but initial attempts to locate him were not successful.

On Monday, the suspect, Thomas P. Moynihan, 44, was spotted near Batavia High School. The schools on State Street were placed on "lockout." That means students remain inside and entry into the building is extremely limited and only permitted through a security checkpoint.

He is charged with burglary, 3rd, robbery, 3rd, petit larceny, and harassment, 2nd.

He was arraigned in Batavia City Court on Tuesday morning. His bail status was not released.

October 9, 2019 - 12:02pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) and governmental and community organizations are sponsoring a seminar on Universal Design and Aging in Place at Genesee Community College on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The focus is designing communities which meet citizens' needs and behaviors across the lifespan and the ability span. This is achieved by building places which are both functional and attractive for those with and without disabilities. 

We are bringing a nationally recognized expert on the topic, Esther Greenhouse (inset photo, right) from Cornell University's College of Human Ecology, to speak on "Creating Thriving Communities: from Vision to Reality."

Her workshop for professionals and community members will be held in the Conable Building, Room T102, One College Road, Batavia. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with the lecture from 8 to 11:30 a.m.

Refreshments will be provided. The cost is $25 per person. Preregistration is appreciated, not required. 

An environmental gerontologist, a designer, and a built environment strategist, Greenhouse will deliver an engaging and informative presentation on design, planning, aging services, government policy, housing and development.

A breakout session follows, where attendees will explore applying the Enabling Design Approach to benefit the community. Afterward, they will have a powerful perspective as well as resources to apply to development projects, to address policy barriers and levers, and to apply for funding.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available at this event for select associations.

The sponsors of the event include: Genesee County Office for the Aging; Wyoming County Office for the Aging; Independent Living of the Genesee Region, New York State’s long-term-care program NY Connects; and PathStone, a not-for-profit community development and human service organization.

To get more information or to register, please contact: Rae Frank at (585) 815-8501, ext. 406, or email [email protected].


Did you know that the design of your community’s housing and infrastructure creates unnecessary challenges for you, your family, your fellow citizens and your community? ILGR celebrated the 29th anniversary of the monumental Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in July, which barred discrimination against individuals with impairments in a variety of situations.

However, the vast majority of the infrastructure in our nation, public and private, was constructed before 1990, when many stairs, fairly narrow doorways, round doorknobs, cramped bathrooms and poor public transportation were typical, and few other than healthcare facilities had made accessibility a serious consideration.

With the "Baby Boom" generation – about 78.3 million of them -- aging out at an accelerated rate, and the youngest of them now entering their late fifties, there is a need for much greater accommodations.  

Offices for the Aging nationwide have strived for decades to provide services and supports which encourage community living, allowing older adults to remain in the homes of their choice for as long as possible, as independently as possible.

Genesee County’s recent countywide comprehensive housing needs assessment clearly indicated a need for more accessible housing.  Genesee and Wyoming County Offices for the Aging are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort.

Did you know that you have the power to change this for the better? Join us at this workshop to learn how to use design to decrease dependence on services and enable people of all ages to thrive.

Esther Greenhouse has contributed to the PBS series "Design for a Lifetime," is a lecturer in Cornell University’s Department of Environmental Analysis and an industry fellow in the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures. More is available at her website, www.esthergreenhouse.com.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

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