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Motorcyclist crashes into mailbox in Basom

By Billie Owens

A "motorcycle versus mailbox accident with injury" is reported at 1018 Lewiston Road, Basom. The operator is conscious, alert and sitting down. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. The location is between Casey and Crosby roads.

Alexander CSD pitches budget to voters that reduces spending, increases tax levy

By Howard B. Owens

A reduction in state aid for the Alexander Central School District is contributing to the district's need to raise property taxes by 38 cents per thousand of assessed value for 2018-19 even though overall spending will be reduced from this academic year.

Voters in the district will be asked to approve the proposed budget May 15.

The district is asking to spend $17,704,810 next fiscal year, a reduction in operational spending of $293,367.

State financial aid, which makes up more than half the district's budget, is being reduced by $193,685. Building aid is being reduced as well by $565,851.

The proposed tax levy, the total amount collected through property taxes, is $6,159,675, compared to $6,050,850 this year, an increase of $108,825.

That levy would put the property tax rate at $21.51, or 38 cents more than this year, per thousand of accessed value.

Catherine Huber, Ed.D., superintendent of schools, said the budget is responsible and meets the needs of students.

"We always, of course, focus on developing fiscally responsible budgets," Huber said. "To talk a little bit about a fiscally responsible budget and the things we were able to do with our last budget. With that budget, we were able to maintain staff and programs.

"With that budget we were able to build capacity in our school district by bringing on a school social worker, by bringing on an ESL teacher to build the capacity for when students come to us with varied needs their needs can be met."

With the proposed budget, the district will also be able to build capacity.

"If anybody was at our last board meeting, you heard about the expansion of our agriculture program," Huber said. "It's an exciting expansion for Alexander. We also are proposing the addition of an instrumental music teacher. Did you know that we have 300 students in grades four through 12 -- out of 800 students in the school system -- (who) participate in music?

"We just had a sampling tonight of what the quality of our programming is, so to expand that program is something we can sustain over time and something we're really proud of."

A key proposal in the budget is the addition of a school resource officer. An SRO is a member of law enforcement -- in this case, a deputy from the Sheriff's Office -- who is posted at a school full time throughout the school year.

Sheriff William Sheron attended Wednesday's public hearing and encouraged voters to approve the proposal.

He said in this day and age, an SRO isn't a "nice to have." It is a "must have."

"The officer protects the individuals here, the students, the faculty, the visitors that come in here," Sheron said. "He will interact with all the children. He will also be a mentor with the children in the school."

The SRO program has worked out very well at BOCES and Byron-Bergen Central School, Sheron said.

"The SRO is a resource for children go to when they don’t feel comfortable going to a teacher or an aide," Sheron said. "You create those relationships and those children will come to you. They’ll have faith in you. They’ll have confidence in you and they’ll share things with that officer that they wouldn’t share with anybody else."

Some budget highlights:

  • Regular classroom spending increases from $4,829,106 to $4,977,365;
  • Special education and vocational education spending is up from $2,868,973 to 2,920,888;
  • Athletics increases from $436,585 to $532,316;
  • Transportation increases from $776,134 to $818,087;
  • Maintenance for building and grounds decreases from $321,575 to $278,058;
  • Central administration spending will increase from $167,612 to $190,048;
  • School administration will increase from $585,069 to $609,329.

Tim Batzel, the district's finance director, said at Wednesday's hearing that in June the district will make its final payment on a $17.9 million bond that was financed in 1998 primarily for addition of the Middle School. As a result, next year's budget reflects a 66-percent ($530,000) drop in bond payments and a 21-percent drop in interest payments ($23,303).

Lighting upgrades continue to reduce the cost of utilities, Batzel said, and for the second year in a row, the district is benefiting from a 9- to 10-percent reduction in workers' compensation insurance.

After the hearing, during what the board calls "the roundtable," Board Member John Slenker made a statement with an apparent reference to recent school board meetings where multiple parents used public comments to voice complaints and concerns about child safety issues and whether the Code of Conduct is fairly applied. The story was reported by The Batavian.

"I would just like to remind parents that the school board is a very important function," Slenker said. "It is also voluntary. We’re not paid. The people who sit up here take the safety and education of your children very seriously. We have 15 current, future and former children among us. The other part I would like to say, it’s been an absolute honor serving with Reed Pettys and working with Catie. They are some of the best people I have ever met."

Pettys, currently board president, is stepping down following the completion of his term in June.

  • Besides the budget, there are four other ballot measures for voters to consider May 15:
  • Proposition #2: Authorize the purchase of two school buses at a cost of $305,470.
  • Proposition #3: Purchase a new marquee sign for the front of the school at a cost of $29,595.
  • Proposition #4 and Proposition #5: Establish capital reserve funds.

There is also one open seat on the school board up for election and only one declared candidate. The candidate is Sara Fernaays. The Batavian attempted to interview Fernaays after Wednesday's meeting. We wanted to ask her thoughts on the budget, the SRO, and other issues and Fernaays declined. She said she feared granting an interview would cause trouble with the school district.

The school district has a policy that prohibits school board members from speaking individually with reporters.

Reminder: GC Women's Republican Club hosts Spring Breakfast at Ascension Parish May 19, must RSVP by May 7

By Billie Owens

The Genesee County Women's Republican Club will host the 2018 Spring Breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, at Ascension Parish Hall in Batavia.

Enjoy a full breakfast buffet catered by the Dibble Family Center.

Cost is $20 per member and $25 per nonmember; you can sign up for membership at the event.

The parish hall is located at 15 Sumner St.

This year's "Caring for America Charity" is the Alzheimer's Association.

For more information, contact Melissa M. Haacke at 314-4501.

RSVP by May 7 to:

Michele Smith

20 Canterbury Lane

Bergen NY 14416

or via email at:

Msmith1548@frontiernet.net

Lost dog found running with little canine buddy on West Main Street near Settler's

By Billie Owens

Reader James P. Bradman sent us a photo of this female dog found running around West Main Street in Batavia near Settler's restaurant. "Apparently there was another small white dog with her that we were unable to find," he says.

An animal control officer has taken this one with the jaunty pistachio-colored bandana kerchief to the shelter. The shelter's phone number is 343-6410.

Scratcher pays $1 million for Batavia couple

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Twenty-seven-year-old Marquele Tomlin, of Batavia, has been playing the Lottery since he turned 18. The auto shop bodywork expert said he never won more than $50, but kept playing because he thought, “Maybe someday I’d have a day like this.” Tomlin and his girlfriend of eight years, Amber Blackshear, recently claimed a $1,000,000 top prize on the $1,000,000 Double Sided Dollars scratch-off game. Tomlin purchased the couple’s ticket during a quick stop at their local Rite Aid to wire some money to his mother.

“I had a $20 winner that I exchanged for 10 $1 tickets and two $5 tickets,” he said. “I bought the tickets home and we scratched them just standing around the kitchen Island. She ended up with the big one.”

“We brought it back to the store to be sure and even the machine said ‘Big Winner,’” Blackshear said. “I got all excited; maybe too excited because Marquele told me I had to calm down.”

Blackshear, 23, said she believes fate had a hand in the couple’s windfall. “After eight years together, we broke up for awhile. The day we won was our first day back together as a couple.”

The couple opted to receive their prize as a one-time lump sum payment in the amount of $400,000 each. They will each receive a net check totaling $268,720 after required withholdings.

The two plan to use their respective shares of the prize to invest in a house for their growing family, which includes two toddlers. “I’d like one with a pool,” said Blackshear.

When asked what it felt like to be a Lottery Millionaire Tomlin said simply, “Ahhhhhhhhh. We did it!”

Blackshear said the win is a dream come true. “Now we can do anything as individuals or as a family,” she said. “It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

The winning ticket was purchased at Rite Aid at 601 E. Main St. in Batavia.

The New York Lottery contributed $13,874,189 in Lottery Aid to Education to school districts in Genesee County during fiscal year 2016-2017.

Music and visual arts popular with Alexander students

By Howard B. Owens

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There are more than 1,000 pieces of student artwork, from middle and high school students, on display in the foyer of the Alexander Central School Auditorium and Wednesday's school board meeting, Trustee Rich Guarino drew attention to it and to the jazz ensemble that performed prior to the meeting.

He said he's heard over the years how students who perform music and participate in fine arts do better academically and he said that may just be anecdotal but he tends to believe it.

"I see the kids who are in the music program or the visual fine arts program and those are often the kids I see in other activities that the school has and it’s great to see," Guarino said.

Actually, there is some evidence that students who play music tend to do better academically. That seems to apply across artistic disciplines.

According to Guarino, more than half the students in the elementary grades are learning to play a musical instrument.  

"That's a huge percentage and it's great," Guarino said.

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Arc of Genesee Orleans honors volunteer, inducts new board president

By Howard B. Owens

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Peggy Schreck was awarded Volunteer of the Year at the annual dinner of the Arc of Genesee Orleans. The award was presented by Shelly Kurdish, director of Rainbow Preschool, where Schreck volunteers.

Debrah Fischer, co-owner of WBTA, assumed the office of president of the board of directors for Arc (next photo, and bottom photo, with board of directors).

More than 400 people attended the dinner and awards program at Genesee Community College's new field house.

Photos and info courtesy our news partner, WBTA.

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UPDATE: Added additional photos submitted by Arc Genesee Orleans and added the press release below.

Also, besides Debrah Fischer, president, this year's officers are: Jane Scott, VP, John Huber, treasurer, and Marlene Hill, secretary.

Press release:

“Each year the Arc of Genesee Orleans honors an individual for their commitment to outstanding volunteerism for making a difference in the lives of others. Volunteers are the cornerstone of our agency and are vital to raising awareness of the great work the Arc provides in the communities in which we live and work. This year the Arc of Genesee Orleans has selected Peggy Schreck as the Volunteer of the Year.

Peggy Schreck began volunteering at Rainbow Preschool in Albion in 2012, and before that Peggy participated on various Arc committees. Peggy actually began her career in the very same building that Rainbow Preschool is now, when it was the Arnold Gregory Memorial Hospital and she was a lab technician.

Peggy and her husband moved to this area so her husband could complete college at GCC and Brockport where he then went on to become an elementary teacher. Peggy also enjoyed the educational setting and was a teacher aide for several years at Medina schools. Peggy later moved in to a position at Medina Savings and Loan where she retired 2010. She wanted to still be a part of the classroom and that is when Peggy began volunteering at Rainbow Preschool.

It is very obvious to the staff, students and families that Peggy thoroughly enjoys her time in the Rainbow Preschool classrooms and the time spent with the children. Peggy states she most enjoys watching the children’s growth and success during the school year, such as hearing a child’s speech develop or their gross motor skills expand. She also enjoys all the children’s smiles and hugs when she gets to the classroom. Peggy notes she enjoys the structure of the classrooms and this is a good fit for her with her prior classroom experience. Peggy says she has also developed many friendships with the staff and families from her volunteer role and she enjoys these new relationships within the community.

Peggy feels she is utilized in the classroom and enjoys the hands on activities and responsibilities she is provided. The teachers and aides all comment what an incredible addition Peggy is to the classroom and she brings such compassion and care to her work. She does special projects with the children and brings fresh ideas to the classroom. Peggy treats all the children as she would her own grandchildren, and she enjoys this because she does not get to see her own grandchildren because they live far away in Georgia where her son is located for his profession. The children call her Miss Peggy or Grandmom and this warms Peggy’s heart with happiness and brings her joy.

I am so pleased to present this year’s award for Volunteer of the Year to Peggy Schreck and to give her on the behalf of everyone at Rainbow Preschool and the Arc of Genesee Orleans our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for her years of dedicated volunteerism at Rainbow Preschool."

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Seated: Brandi Kinnicutt, day habilitation specialist; Carolyn Dawson, chief administrative officer; Dylan DeSmit, direct support professional; Jim Henning, trash collection/recycling driver. Standing: Jennifer Conklin, Special Education teacher; Kim Austin, Culinary Arts manager; Kaelie Grazioplene, supported work assistant manager; Carl Jones, trash/recycling/transfer station manager.

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Mary Anne Graney Scholarship Recipients with Scholarship Committee Chair Molly George: Riley Seielstad -- Albion Central; Abigail Klos -- Oakfield – Alabama; Hannah Duhow -- Medina Central; Kathleen Dessert -- Le Roy Central.

Voters approve Richmond Memorial Library budget

By Howard B. Owens

Voters tonight approved the Richmond Memorial Library's 2018-19 budget with an 88 percent yes vote out of 214 votes tallied.

The budget increases spending by $24,878.

There were 30 no votes.

Gregg McAllister was elected to a five-year term on the library's Board of Trustees, filling a vacancy to be left by Jennifer Reardon at the expiration of her term next month.

Photo: Wound care unit wins second award for patient treatment

By Howard B. Owens

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The second consecutive year, the team in the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at UMMC received the Robert A. Warriner III, M.D., Center of Excellence Award.

UMMC achieved patient satisfaction rates of higher than 92 percent and a healing rate of at least 91 percent in less than 30 median days to heal. The award was presented by Healogics, the nation's largest provider of advanced wound care services.

Pictured are: Emily Casaceli, Dr. Samar Alami, Lisa Albanese, Monika Ghise, Alicia Ryan and Holly Siverling in the first row. In the back, Alecia Grandy, Teresa Conti, Dr. Joseph Canzoneri, Dr. John Wickett and Sharon Grimes.

People on Porter Avenue reportedly throwing bricks at the jail

By Howard B. Owens

A corrections officer has requested a response from Batavia PD to deal with a group of people on Porter Avenue who are reportedly throwing bricks at the Genesee County Jail.

No description available.

The C.O. says a supervisor is out on Porter Avenue now.

UPDATE 8:48 p.m.: A responder just drove up Porter and didn't see anything.

UPDATE 8:49 p.m.: A supervisor was out with two females. The women have moved on. An officer says they may have been girlfriends of inmates trying to get their attention. 

Security threats, increased workload stretching county's IT department beyond capacity

By Howard B. Owens

The workload for the County's IT department continues to increase and the need for reliable cybersecurity continues to grow, so Information Technology Director Steve Zimmer told county legislators on Wednesday that he needs more help.

He needs a deputy director immediately and another security analyst to work in the Sheriff's Office in 2019.

It appears he's getting both of his wishes. The committee approved a recommendation that a current vacant position be upgraded to deputy director at an additional cost of $20,000 for the remainder of the year (anticipated salary for the position is more than $70,000 annually).  

Committee members also encouraged Zimmer to start his search to hire a new security specialist in July so the new hire can start on the first day of the next budget yet, Jan. 1.

Zimmer pointed to major cyber attacks and ransomware infiltrations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Lincoln County, Ohio, and at ECMC, which cost the hospital $10 million in remediation.

“We’re spending a considerable amount of time looking at our logs, looking at our firewalls, our anti-virus appliances, trying to make sure we’re doing our due-diligence," Zimmer said. "I’m losing time every day to this stuff."

He said public safety needs at least two full-time people and right now he has one full-time person there and one person who has been taken away from other duties to help.

That means, he says, other IT tasks are being delayed.

Another major headache, Zimmer said, is the situation over at the Department of Social Services, which has long been part of the state DSS network but now the state is pushing much of the infrastructure off on the county.

There are three IT employees there who are not part of Zimmer's department holding together an outdated computer network.

"It is one of two DSS agencies in the state that doesn’t digitize anything," he said. "It’s all paper."

The state delivered 100 "zero-client" computers (meaning all software is on a server, not on the desktop) to DSS but they can't be deloyed because the network won't support them unless it's upgraded to 100 megabits. Currently, it's five megabits.

"(The upgrade is ) never going to happen, so this stuff is going to sit on a pallet shrink wrapped until the cows come home or we get together with state IT and figure out how to upgrade that network or we can get them on our network," Zimmer said. 

Problems like these, he said, he doesn't have time to deal with because of so much time of his time is spent monitoring security threats.

Businesswoman says she will challenge Ranzenhofer for Senate seat

By Howard B. Owens

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Press release:

A statement from Joan Elizabeth Seamans:

There is always a lot of talk about changing Albany in election years. Yet, the only way to truly change Albany is to stop sending the same old politicians back.

We have a diverse district, with people from many walks of life. This district has multimillion dollar homes, a rural community, and families living in poverty. Taxes are high and the needs of our communities are great.

Our great state can meet the needs of New Yorkers and at the same time be fiscally responsible. The question will always remain, “Who or what is benefiting from our tax dollars?”

Wealthy developers downstate continue to fund my opponent's campaign while receiving tax breaks in the hundreds of millions. Corporate welfare takes money from our communities here in WNY. My opponent is the protector of the LLC loophole and this is just one of the reasons he needs to be replaced.

We need to invest in our people. Invest in stellar education for our children. Invest in workforce training and trade schools. If we invest in people, our economy will grow. We need to replace worry with hope. We need to put people before politics. We need to change Albany and I am ready to do it.

Darien Lake announces new ride, fun summer events

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Darien Lake showed off its newest roller coaster, Tantrum, on a hard hat tour just prior to the park’s opening day, Saturday, May 5. The nearly $5 million addition will be Darien Lake’s seventh coaster that will take riders on a signature beyond-vertical drop that hasn’t previously been offered to park guests.                                                                               

Tantrum, the first coaster of its kind in New York State and Ontario, Canada, is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend. When complete, the coaster will embark riders on a 98-foot vertical lift at a 90-degree angle – straight up the coaster’s first hill. In a matter of seconds, upon reaching its apex, the train plummets into a 97-degree drop and pretzel inversion. Reaching speeds of 52 mph, the coaster snakes through the structure over a bunny hop, keeps riders wondering which way is up or down during an Immelmann turn, and finishes with a tilted loop.

“There is more time to ride the new Tantrum roller coaster and establish new family traditions with an extended operating season from May 5 to October 28,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “Season Pass holders visiting the park during opening weekend will even receive a bonus free friend ticket!”

Some of the other events in Darien Lake’s vibrant 2018 event line-up include:

·         Season Pass Holder Appreciation Weekend – May 5-6

To open our 2018 season, we are inviting all season pass holders to be the first in line to process their passes and kick off the summer with a free souvenir mug, three free friend tickets, free parking and a bonus free good any-day friend ticket.

·         Father’s Day Car Show and Beer Festival – June 16-17

Classic cruisers and specialty cold brews combine for an unforgettable weekend at our annual car show.

·         Kingdom Bound – July 29-Aug. 1

The 32nd annual Christian music festival will return with performances by multiple artists and speakers plus, family-friendly activities. Mandisa, for King & Country and Danny Gokey are just a few of the musical acts slated to perform.

·         Harvest Fest – Sept. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23

Food trucks, microbrews, live music and fall activities including crafts, pumpkin painting and beer slides will lead us into the extended Halloween season.

·         Jack-o-Lantern Jamboree – Sept. 29-30, Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28

The five weekends of pumpkin-themed entertainment will include specialty foods, costume contests, a trick-or-treat trail, a pie-eating contest and a brand-new laser light show. In addition, park guests will have the unique opportunity to bring a carved jack-o-lantern to help Darien Lake break the Guinness World Record for most carved pumpkins in a line. For guests 12 and under, bringing a carved pumpkin will earn them free park admission.

For more information on any of Darien Lake’s events or to purchase park admission, accommodations or a season pass, visit DarienLake.com.

Legislators seem to favor self-financing energy savings contract

By Howard B. Owens

Rather than borrow $4 million with a 20-year payback to finance several energy-saving projects at county buildings, which was meeting some stiff opposition from some members of the County Legislature, a new plan for the county to loan itself the money for the contract with Johnson Controls went over well Wednesday at the Ways and Means Committee meeting.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens presented the proposal yesterday and was told to return at the next Ways and Means meeting with a resolution the committee can vote on.

The plan would: use $1.1 million that the county needs to spend anyway on some need capital improvement projects; use $1 million from the building equipment reserve; and borrow $1.8 million from the infrastructure fund.

The county would pay its money saved from the lower energy costs to pay back its infrastructure fund at 2-percent interest. Over the 10-life of the loan, the county would pay itself more than $200,000 in interest that would flow back into the infrastructure fund.

That's a lower interest rate than proposed for the original $4 million loan, which is 3.5 percent, and lower than the 5-percent interest County Treasurer Scott German estimated a municipal bound would cost.

Over the 20-year life of the contract with Johnson Controls, by paying off the entire cost of the contract in the first 10 years, the county will realize the benefit of an additional $800,000 in energy savings in that second 10 years. That money would have been paid toward the loan if the whole $4 million was financed by Bank of America.

Hens also discussed another proposal floated by some members of the legislature two weeks ago, that the county put down $1 million on the loan. That would also save the county money, but not as much as the self-financing option.

"I think it is a good deal for the county under all three scenarios," Hens said. "The self-funding option is by far the most beneficial to the county in terms of savings to the county and return on the investment."

Most of the opposition to the original proposal came from legislators Gary Maha and Andrew Young. Young could not attend Wednesday's meeting and Maha didn't express any objections -- nor strong support -- for the revised plan.

Marianne Clattenburg, Shelly Stein, Bob Bausch and Gordon Dibble all seemed to react favorably. Greg Torrey didn't express an opinion either way.

Legislator John Hilchey was particularly enthusiastic.

"There are very few times that a government can spend money and have it pay for itself," Hilchey said. "You can put a new road in; you can put a new bridge in; you can build a new jail. They don’t pay for themselves. This is an opportunity to make an expenditure that will pay itself back. To me it makes sense."

Sponsored Post: Price Reduction - 66 Clinton Street, Batavia

By Lisa Ace


Just a real awesome ranch at the City's edge! There is curb appeal galore with this large corner lot that has an adorable private back yard....stepping stones, pond, landscaped and cute storage shed with decked patio. Inside bright and airy with gorgeous hardwood floors throughout -- all freshly painted walls and woodwork.

This home features super-spacious bedrooms, dining area and living room with huge bay window and end wall that has pretty gas fireplace with lots of built in shelves for all your keepsakes!

There is oversized side entrance/utility area with laundry and an absolutely HUGE attic area that will surprise you with all its room. Easily could be that hideaway space to hang out or just an abundance of storage space -- you choose!

This is truly an amazing patio home with no maintenance! Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate 344-HOME or click here for more information on this listing.

Free weekly workshop series on Chronic Disease Self-Management starts May 11, must register by May 9

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging and Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) will be holding a FREE six-week Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM) workshop for the community, beginning on Friday, May 11.

Those who attend the CDSM workshops will be shown practical steps to gain control of their daily health concerns.

Participants will learn about healthy eating, problem-solving, action plans, medications, weight management, physical activity, sleep, and relationship communication skills.

The workshop information is relevant for those experiencing chronic conditions such as: arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and eating disorders.

The workshop is taking place at 2 Bank St., Batavia, at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, from 9:30 AM to noon over six Friday’s; the dates are May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 and June 15th.

Participants who complete the series will receive free materials and a gift card.

Preregistration by Wednesday, May 9, is required.

You can receive more information, and sign up for the workshop by contacting Donna Becker at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411.  

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.

Collins invites Vietnam veterans to pinning ceremony at Batavia City Hall May 11, must RSVP

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) will host a ceremony to honor any Vietnam era veteran from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday May 11th at the Batavia City Centre.

Veterans who are interested in receiving a pin from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration are encouraged to contact his office to confirm their eligibility and RSVP for the ceremony.

“This year we commemorated the first National Vietnam War Veterans Day to recognize the brave individuals who served in our nation’s military during the Vietnam War years,” Collins said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to meet Vietnam veterans in my district and distribute these special pins.”

Any veteran who served in Vietnam is eligible for a pin and should contact Alex Gould in the Congressman’s office at (716) 634-2324 for more information on obtaining one.

May 11
4 o'clock
Batavia City Hall, Board Room
1 Batavia City Centre
Batavia, NY 14020

Legislature meets new compliance officer

By Howard B. Owens

With grant applications for state and federal funds becoming increasingly complex, often with requirements that last years after grants have been awarded, counties throughout New York are adding a new position -- compliance officer.

The Genesee County Legislature approved such a position in the 2018 position and yesterday, the county's new compliance officer, Kimberly Mills, was introduced to the Legislature at the Ways and Means Committee meeting held at Genesee Community College's new Student Success Center.

As soon they met her, the committee also agreed to a proposal from County Manager Jay Gsell to increase her new duties. She will also be the county's privacy officer.

Mills is a graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School, started her college education at GCC, earned her bachelor's degree in Accounting at Roberts Wesleyan University, and her master's in Accounting from the University at Buffalo School of Management.

She's originally from Alabama and now lives in Oakfield.

One reason the job interested her, she said, is she has a passion for Genesee County.

"It’s a new position," Mills said. "I knew it would be a lot of work but I’m always one for new projects and working on new things."

Prior to becoming the compliance officer she was an accountant with Freed Maxick CPAs.

New Mercy EMS headquarters about ready for move-in day

By Howard B. Owens

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A new, spacious headquarters for Mercy Flight/Mercy EMS will serve as a much-needed home away from home once the ribbon is cut on the new facility off Route 98 in Batavia on May 21.

"I’m looking forward to the crews being able to move into a home," said Bill Schutt, business development manager for Mercy EMS. "That was the whole gist of this thing --  give them a home while they were at work.

"They spend a lot of time here. They spend a lot of shifts here. They spend a lot of time together, probably more so than families. Holiday time when we’re home enjoying our family, they're here still working."

The 12,000-square-foot facility has bays for ambulances in half the space and the other half contains offices, storage, showers, a workout area, a day room, a quiet room, a kitchen suitable for crews to enjoy meals with their families, and a large conference room.

"The space is large enough to house the ambulances, keep them out of the weather and to provide everything the crews need throughout their 12- or 24-hour shifts," said Scott Wooton, VP of finance for Mercy Flight. "If they’re here for a 24-hour shift, they need to be able to prepare food. They need to be able to wash their uniform if they come back from a call where their uniform is soiled.

"They need to be able to rest. They need to be able to sit down and chart stuff. This has been a need right from the start. It’s only that it’s taken nine years for us to put all the pieces together and make it happen."

The $2.5 million facility was largely financed through assistance from M&T Bank and the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which was able to provide tax-exempt financing.

That assistance was critical to making the new building possible, Wooton said.

"We certainly don’t have that much cash on hand so we couldn’t do it without the financing and being able to do it in a tax-exempt way keeps that interest rate more manageable for us and spread it out in a way that the monthly payments are more manageable," Wooton said.

David Ciurzynski, business development manager with Manning Squires Hennig, said one of the key features of the new building is its energy efficiency. The large garage doors that are all glass will allow a lot of natural light into the ambulance bays and all lighting throughout the building is LED. The energy efficiency will help Mercy EMS reduce its operating costs.

The pre-engineered building also helped reduce costs and accelerate construction time.

"We were able to keep the construction period tight so they can get in and get it in use as quickly as possible," Ciurzynski said. A pre-engineered building allows you a lot of flexibility on time because components come quickly but it also gives you a very handsome building they can use for years to come and it’s exapandable."

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