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Hawley announces distribution of free weatherization kits

By Press Release

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, C, I-Batavia) recently announced that his office will be distributing free fuel weatherization kits courtesy of National Fuel Gas at select libraries in Orleans, Genesee, Monroe and Erie counties. These kits will help New Yorkers to better afford the costs of heating their homes this winter.

“I am pleased to assist the constituents of my district to be better prepared for the winter this season,” said Hawley. “Living in this region for many years, I understand how difficult it can be to escape the temperatures of Western New York. I hope that these kits will help to protect families from the long winter to come.”

Byron Bergen Public Library
13 South Lake Ave.
Bergen, NY

Corfu Free Library
7 Maple Ave.
Corfu, NY

Haxton Memorial Library
3 North Pearl St.
Oakfield, NY

Richmond Memorial Library
19 Ross St.
Batavia, NY

Woodward Memorial Library
7 Wolcott St.
Le Roy, NY

U of R Medical Center to temporarily halt services in Batavia

By Joanne Beck

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Frozen pipes that ended up bursting and spilling water at the newly built University of Rochester Medical Center are being repaired; however, the site will not be open this week for patients, Kim Hally-Hettrick says.

Multiple pipes were involved, causing a lot of water to flood the building at 7995 Call Parkway, Batavia. Bitterly cold temperatures caused the freezing pipes, a condition reported by business and residential folks this past weekend.

Patients will be redirected to offices in Le Roy, Brockport and Brighton, Hally-Hettrick said.

“They’re researching what caused that to happen,” she said to The Batavian Tuesday. “The floor was 90 percent covered with water, but it was mostly floor damage and not the walls.”

To keep patients safe, the walls are also being checked out to ensure there is no water seepage or related damage before reopening the center, she said. Project management firm Gallina Development Corporation has been working on the repair and research and has been “very helpful” in the effort, she said.

The situation is being evaluated for when the doors will open again for patients, and it is recommended that they call their respective doctors to reschedule appointments. Practices include Primary Care 585-345-1779; Allergy and Immunology 585-486-0930; Medical Oncology 585-602-4050; Neurosurgery 585-225-5767; Otolaryngology and Audiology 585-758-570; and Urology 585-275-2838.

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens

Weekend recovery and celebration efforts in the city

By Joanne Beck

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The Buffalo Bills made it back safe and sound after the team's victorious trip to defeat the Chicago Bears 35 to 13 Saturday. However, with Thruway closures, the team apparently took a slight detour down Route 5 in the city, Manager Rachael Tabelski said.

As a result, some local fans decided to celebrate the win as a bus parade drove past City Hall on Sunday. Fire engines blared horns at the passing entourage traveling west from Rochester.

The City of Batavia Fire Department came out on a subzero Christmas morning to make sure the Buffalo Bills felt the love from Batavia!" Tabelski said. "We believe they had to travel through Batavia because the 90 was still closed." 

Firefighters were also busy helping out at the city fire station. The state's Department of Homeland Security had delivered 14 pallets of supplies that were awaiting distribution to 11 warming shelters throughout Genesee County. The shelters were opened after Winter Storm Elliott crashed into the western county area and swamped motorists and rescue vehicles with blinding snow and wind.

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Top Photo: City of Batavia firefighters park an engine next to City Hall Sunday to greet the Buffalo Bills as they pass through downtown en route to Buffalo; 14 pallets of supplies rest at the city fire station before getting distributed to area warming shelters after a hard hit by Winter Storm Elliott this weekend. Photos submitted by the City of Batavia.

Weary traveler thanks staff at travel center for calm, warmth, and rest during the storm

By Howard B. Owens

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Amber M. King of Rochester was quite impressed by how well the management of Dennys at the Flying J in Pembroke treated stranded motorist during the blizzard on Friday and Saturday.

"I was stranded there for two days after trying to get back to Rochester," she told The Batavian in an email. "There were more than 150 people sitting inside at any given time from New Hampshire, Nova Scotia, Toronto,  Queens, Pennsylvania and many other locations. They provided us with a place to eat, stay warm, to close our eyes for a bit or use the bathroom.

"The staff at both places busted their butts to help in any way they could, but mostly to keep us safe."

She said many in the group tried to repay the kindness by helping with dishes, clearing tables, taking out trash and keeping the coffee flowing.

"I'm grateful to them all; many of us are," she said.

She sent us the info so the staff could receive a public "thank you." 

"A few of their names are Juanita, Jenni, Johnny from Denny's and Todd at the Flying J, Nikki and all the other crew," she said. "They kept the pumps cleared so we could always get gas to keep cars running so we could sleep. The sidewalks cleared so we could get in and out. They were even pet-friendly so the doggies wouldn't freeze. There were maybe 10 employees running the whole place, and they did a great job."

Submitted photos.

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Rollover accident reported in Alabama

By Howard B. Owens

A rollover accident is reported at 1081 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Entrapment reported.

Alabama Fire Dispatched.

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: Oakfield is assisting with Alabama's call. Town of Batavia to fill-in for Oakfield.  An Oakfield responder also reported a vehicle off the road near Bliss Road.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: All occupants are out of the vehicle and in a nearby residence. The vehicle is on its roof.  Traffic control requested. "I've got tons of cars here."

UPDATE 2:52 p.m.: There were three people in the vehicle. One minor injury. All units can continue non-emergency.

House reportedly filling with smoke on Lewiston Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

A house is reportedly filling with smoke at 7736 Lewiston Road, Batavia.

No flames showing.

Town of Batavia dispatched with mutual aid from Oakfield.

UPDATE 1:59 p.m.: A chief on scene reports nothing showing, house evacuated.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: An interior crew reports no smoke in the basement.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: No fire.

Alishia Foss, Chris Armijo find perfection at Mancuso's

By Mike Pettinella

Mancuso Bowling Center league bowler Alishia Foss overcame the “10th frame jitters” last week to record her first United States Bowling Congress-certified perfect game.

Admitting that her hands were trembling as she picked up her Storm Phaze III ball, Foss, a 30-year-old Brockport resident, nonetheless came through with a 12th consecutive strike in the second game of the Toyota of Batavia 4-Man League on Thursday night.

The 300 game surpassed her previous high game of 244 by a wide margin. Foss, who entered competition that night with a 186 average, finished with a 638 series.

Foss, a child resource and referral specialist for Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, said she wasn’t thinking about a perfect game until the ninth frame. But after that ninth strike, nervousness set in.

“When the 10th frame came along, I kept thinking to myself just keep the ball on the lane,” she said. “The first ball was just like the other strikes (in the 1-3 pocket), so I was able to smile and take a deep breath.”

As other league bowlers gathered around lanes 13-14, Foss said she got the 11th ball a bit wide of her mark but it came back strong for another strike.

“Now for the last ball, my nerves were getting to me I started thinking about how this is the real deal,” she said. “I picked up my Phaze III, noticing my (right) hand was trembling trying to hang on to the ball. I went to my normal position spot on the line got set and went for it.

“The ball left my hand and I kept thinking get to the pocket. Everyone was yelling get there and it hit between 1 and 3 pin but started to push through the pocket leaving the 4-7. But then another pin slid across … and wiped out the 4-7 just enough to knock them over.”

She credited her cousin, Curtis Foss, for drilling the ball out of his shop at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, and her boyfriend, Corey Winters, and family for their support. She bowls on the LandPro team with Marshall Merle, Chase Cone and Sean McClellan.

The 300 was the first by a woman in the Genesee Region USBC since V.J. Frew’s perfect game at Mount Morris Lanes on Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Chris Armijo, a professional drywaller and Warsaw resident, spun his first 300 game on Monday night in the Mancuso Real Estate Doubles League.

The 35-year-old left-hander’s games were 300, 171 and 213 for a 684 series – upping his 186 average. He said he was using a Storm Axiom ball.

"It was probably one of the quietest 300 games ever," Armijo said, noting that everyone kept on bowling and didn't realize that he had nine consecutive strikes entering the 10th frame on lane 5.

His previous high game was a 298 last season in the T.F. Brown's Adult-Child League at Mancuso's.

  • In the Wednesday Community League at Medina Lanes, Mike Schepis hit the 800 mark for the first time -- registering a 296 game en route to 800 on the nose.

For a list of high scores for the week, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of the home page.

Photo: Overnight downtown snow clean up

By Howard B. Owens

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At 2 a.m. in the early morning after Christmas, City of Batavia workers were out and about Downtown clearing away snow from streets, sidewalks, and parking lots.

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County lifts travel ban, advisory remains

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee County Manager L. Matthew Landers has rescinded the State of Emergency for Genesee County.  All roads are open.  The travel ban has been downgraded to a travel advisory effective immediately for all of Genesee County.

A travel advisory means that no unnecessary travel is advised.  A trip which could wait until the advisory is lifted should not be made. 

City lifts State of Emergency

By Press Release

Press release:

The Local Emergency Order, pursuant to Section 24 of the State Executive Law 2B, issued at 1200 hrs. on December 24th 2022, is hereby rescinded for the City of Batavia. Other executive orders and County Travel Bans may still be in effect, and travel conditions to the West and North of Batavia may still be dangerous. Please use discretion when traveling in the region. 

Gratitude aplenty during brutal winter storm

By Joanne Beck

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There have been so many donated items of homemade and restaurant foods, grocery store staples, blankets, cots and beverages, that the list is exceeding more than two dozen.

While some people, in particular, may have been mentioned in news articles, the city and county plan to issue a public thank-you to all of the generous donors when Storm Elliott has finally made his exit from Genesee County, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said Saturday. 

People from all corners of the county have come forth with needed supplies to feed the estimated 550 people at warming shelters and to provide them with blankets, a place to rest and, most importantly, safety from single-digit temperatures and blizzard conditions. 

Rescues by countywide personnel have been constant since Friday morning into the night. That includes a Batavia City Police MRAP vehicle that dared the elements to rescue 30 stranded motorists in the Oakfield-Alabama area, Tabelski said. 

Both city and county leaders and staff have been on duty to assist with any and all needs, and to get supplies out to the shelters.

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Photos of a Batavia City Police rescue Friday night in the Oakfield-Alabama area. Submitted photos by City of Batavia.

A caring community gets to work in the kitchen, donates supplies for county's warming shelters

By Joanne Beck

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Even though there have been lots of variables and treacherous moments these last two days, one thing is for sure: the City of Batavia community has been rich in response to the needs of strangers.

All day long has been filled with gifts from a “friends and family” initiative to ensure that motorists stranded at one of the 11 warming shelters, and the emergency responders that rescued them, are warm and fed, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said. She, city and county staff, including Manager Matt Landers had been manning the effort all day at the city fire station.

“There have been a lot of family donations. Matt got a ton of deliveries,” Tabelski said Saturday evening. “He’s going to be getting a ton of pots and pans back.”

Landers had contacted about 20 friends seeking food for the more than 550 visitors that got stuck after being diverted from the Thruway Friday. Motorists have been from near and far — Lockport, Canada, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Maryland, to name a few — and found themselves at a fire hall, church or hotel lobby seeking refuge from the bitter cold.

“I’m doing what I can to help; I’m not out there rescuing people, so I’m doing what I can,” he said. “We were getting low on food at the shelters and for responders. I texted 20 friends and colleagues, and they texted others.”

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He drove to about 15 homes to pick up their offerings — from a ham and tray of potatoes from County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg and eight to 10 trays of food from Settler’s Restaurant to Mike Ficarella’s chili, food items from City Council President Eugene Jankowski, to tuna casserole, ziti and sweet treats from city schools board member Alice Benedict.

Other donations from at least two dozen individuals, groups, schools and churches also included blankets, cots, soups, mac ’n cheese, bottled water, and the countless deliveries from emergency responders.

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A shelter opened at Grace Baptist in Batavia, the only one in the city, has been “doing a very good job” with providing care, Tabelski said. And they have room in case anyone has lost power or is stranded in the city, she said.

"Thank God Grace Baptist Church took my family and others who were stranded in,” motorist Nick Bankovic texted to friend Bill Hume. “Batavia’s Original pizza donated pies here for everyone, and a bunch of locals have been dropping off food ’n drinks. This definitely got travelers in high spirited moods. I think this also brought excellent exposure to the entire city of Batavia to all these travelers."

As for city streets, the second surge predicted to hit earlier Saturday kept getting pushed back, Tabelski said, but staff was ready. The travel ban was to keep city streets cleared for snowplowing and emergency vehicles, she said, but it was most likely confusing for another part of the county.

“Half of our county looks great,” she had said in late afternoon. “It isn’t bad now, but could get bad really quickly. We can plow more and keep it cleared Our goal is to keep the city functional and operational.”

Several tractor trailers that had been moved off the Thruway were parked alongside local roads, and the plan was to get them into the Wal-mart parking lot, she said.

“We’re really just support right now, and trying to get food out,” she said. “The travel ban is to keep those 18-wheelers off city streets, and to keep the roads open and clear.”

City hotels booked up to capacity Friday, though stragglers that got caught in the storm were given shelter in hotel lobbies. Jolene emailed The Batavian to praise the job being done by Quality Inn staff, Rich Kress in particular.

“I just wanted to write to tell you I think there are some pretty amazing people that need to be recognized for their actions during the storm. We were completely booked early on in the day yesterday, but the staff and residents here are amazing for the most part. They stayed up the entire night letting people come in off the streets,” she said. “They refused no one. Every corner of our lobby was full. They made coffee all night long and put out food that was meant for the free breakfast for residents. They gave people pillows and blankets and even brought out cribs for infants. None of them had to do any of that.”

Jolene didn’t respond to an email for further details, but her sentiment was well received.

“I think it's amazing and I feel that they should be recognized. (Rich Kress) stayed up the entire night running around collecting furniture from other floors and rooms for people to be able to rest in the lobby. He is actually still down there now with the displaced people,” she said. “It's not often you come across people like these guys. They really do give a damn.”

Weather and travel bans/advisories will be posted as received. If more food is needed this weekend, that appeal will also be posted on The Batavian.

Meanwhile, Landers will be trying to track down the owners of soup pots, pans and slow-cookers.

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Top Photo: City Manager Rachael Tabelski, right, and city staff work to take in and distribute food donations Saturday at the city fire station; emergency responders occasionally get a break to nourish themselves; bags of goods went out to warming shelters; the community was generous with donations of food items.

Photos submitted by City of Batavia.

Winter Storm Elliott: update from Hochul

By Joanne Beck

Gov. Kathy Hochul talked on Saturday about the relentless winter storm moving throughout New York State. She toured portions of the state and will be giving assessment updates throughout the weekend. She ordered the National Guard to move into Buffalo to assist due to "the blinding snow, the zero visibility, absolute whiteouts," adding that Elliott "may go down as one of the worst in history."

There are about 73,000 customers without power in this region, including 5,000 in Genesee County, she said. 

In addition to the Statewide State of Emergency, Hochul will also be asking for a federal emergency to be declared, she said in a press release issued Saturday afternoon.

"People are comparing this to the dreaded blizzard of '77, where Buffalo first got its reputation for having an unprecedented amount of snow. We broke that record again a month ago," she said. "So it's very clear to me that the effects of climate change are wreaking havoc everywhere from the streets of Queens with flooding, all the way up to the City of Buffalo.

"But it is life-threatening, what is going on as we speak in Buffalo. Getting calls through the night from frightened neighbors where the temperature's been off for many, many hours - over the course of a day, day and a half.

"So that seems to be the epicenter of this storm that just doesn't seem to be moving on, she said. It is concentrated there," she said. "And so the National Guard had to come in to help with medical emergencies, people who cannot get to the hospital if necessary, to help doctors and nurses get to their jobs in hospitals and health care facilities, as well as helping our seniors who are stranded.

"So we have had people stranded on the highways. I understand that the New York State Thruway, which remains closed in the Western part of the region, we had over 20 people stranded in a very small stretch up until just a short time ago, as well as several hundred who've been stranded on various roads throughout the region.

"What happens in those circumstances? People literally trapped in their cars overnight. Fortunately, our State Police were able to make contact with every single individual, and we literally had snowplows going up to the vehicles and rescuing people, taking them out, and getting them into warming centers because it is absolutely dangerous for anyone to be on the roads - and that includes our emergency vehicles," she said. "So our National Guard, our first responders, our ambulances, our fire trucks are all getting stuck in the snow as well. In fact, almost every fire truck in the City of Buffalo is stranded, it is stuck in snow. And we're just getting through releasing of about 14 or so ambulances that were stuck as well."

More locally, Genesee County's various police, fire, and emergency crews have been out now for two days, retrieving people from snowbanks and ditches or otherwise were stranded due to no visibility. 

The basic message is that warming centers will remain open while people are encouraged to stay home. Roads are closed throughout Western New York and will be, probably through Christmas Day, Hochul said.

Her press release included:

And it's really sad for all the individuals who have not been able to see family members - airport delays, and not able to be driving because of driving bans. But it is more important that people stay safe. You'll have your holiday with your loved ones over New Year's and into the next year. But this is a weekend where it is absolutely dangerous in some parts of our state, particularly the Western part, to be out there. So we want to encourage people to stay where they are.

In addition to having a statewide Emergency Declaration, I'll be asking the federal government for a Declaration of Emergency that'll allow us to seek reimbursements for the extraordinary expenses of all the overtime and the fact that we've brought in mutual aid from other parts of the state. We've deployed individuals, whether it's the utility crews have come, but also making sure that we have all the vehicles we need. But literally, they cannot get through right now, no matter how many emergency vehicles we have, they just can't get through the conditions as we speak.

So that is what's happening in other parts of the state. At this point, I'll be asking Kathryn Garcia, the Head of Statewide Operations who's been embedded with all of us in our command centers monitoring what's going on throughout the state.

But I did want to put a special spotlight right now on the City of New York. It got through some tough circumstances, with the high winds, the ice, the freezing cold. And it is still a dangerous situation. We want to confirm that just because you see clear skies and the rain has stopped and the flooding seems to have abated, that it is still vulnerable because of the icy cold temperatures which can be life-threatening.

 

 

 

Loader fire reported on fire in a hay barn on York Road, Le Roy

By Howard B. Owens

A loader is reported on fire in a hay barn at 9290 York Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire and Pavilion Fire are dispatched.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m. Second alarm. Engine from City of Batavia, Stafford, Pavilion and Bergen all requested to the scene. The closest hydrant is East Main at York.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: The loader has been moved from the barn. The fire in the barn is out.

UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: The assignment can be held to what is currently on the road. Second alarm responding units canceled. 

Weather-related closures and cancellations

By Howard B. Owens

New closers and cancellations are being announced.  For the previous list, click here. Email your closures and cancellations to news@thebatavian.com

  • Empire Tractor is closed today
  • Northgate Church to cancel Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services Scheduled services that were to take place on Saturday and Sunday at Northgate Church (8160 Bank Street Road) and Arbor House (350 Bank St) have been canceled due to travel bans and current weather conditions. There will be an online service available beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday. To view the online service, visit northgatefmc.com or Facebook.com/northgatefmc
  • Batavia First Presbyterian Church. With the continued storm and travel ban in our county, we have made the decision to cancel in-person worship and go to an online option. The online Christmas worship will go live at 7 pm today, December 24. It will have a mix of prayers, readings, and music. Here is the link to use: https://www.facebook.com/fpcbatavia/videos/.
  • The East Bethany Presbyterian Church Candlelight Service scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. is canceled. 
  • Services at St. Padre Pio Parish are canceled tonight and tomorrow.
  • Byron Presbyterian Church has canceled tonight's and tomorrow's services.
  • All Christmas masses canceled at Resurrection Parish 
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport is closed until 11 a.m. Monday.
  • St. Paul's UCC Attica has canceled Christmas Eve services at 11 p.m. tonight.

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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to Crossroadshouse.com to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email Ashleymanuel@crossroadshouse.com
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