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October 15, 2020 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, news, batavia.

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If you see an Auburn Fire Department ladder truck rolling down the City of Batavia's roads, it's not lost.

City fire's Ladder 15 is taking a break from service for routine maintenance and the City of Auburn, which just put a new ladder truck into service, has loaned its 1991 ladder truck to Batavia.

A couple of years ago, the City of Rochester loaned Batavia a fire truck. Chief Stefano Napolitano said the truck loans are an example of how fire departments in the region support each other.

"We try to help each other out when we can," Napolitano said.

October 15, 2020 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, batavia, news, Batavia Cemetery, schools, education.

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St. Joe's teacher Anne Marie Starowitz got to take her class on a field trip for the first time since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic today, walking her students over to the Batavia Cemetery to visit the gravesites of many of the historically important people buried or memorialized there.

Students are undertaking projects that include researching and writing about these people as well as created related artwork.

Above, students learn about Philemon Tracy, who was a colonel in the Confederate Army. His uncle, who lived in Batavia, had his body disguised in a Union officer uniform and transported to Batavia to be buried here. He's the only Confederate officer who died in action who is buried north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Below, students visit the William Morgan monument, a one-time Batavia resident who disappeared under mysterious circumstances after publishing a book that purportedly revealed Masonic secrets. His death helped ignite the Anti-Masonic Party.

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October 15, 2020 - 6:00pm


229 Vine St., Batavia. Solid city ranch in great location. Close to schools, library, shopping, college and the Thruway! This home features an extra-large kitchen with lots of cupboards, pantry closet, built-ins and small desk area for home office and bill paying. Plus, a new kitchen floor! The kitchen also has a laundry area, if you want all one floor living!

Living room is oversized with great built-ins for collectibles and decorating! All bedrooms are good sized with closets and hardwood floors throughout that with a little refinishing will be great! Basement is huge, and would be great space for all the rest of your storage needs or hobbies or great space to convert into more living area if needed! Two-car attached garage and a pretty yard with a fully fenced in back yard!

Great home and with your decorating skills and upgrades its a keeper! Call Lynn at Reliant Real Estate today, call (585) 344-HOME (4663) or Click here for more information.

40 North Lyons St., Batavia: How cute is this home? There is such great use of space in this home many nooks that have been used so creatively! This home has way more space than you could imagine from the road -- definitely worth the look!

Three bedrooms, three full baths! Large Livingroom formal dining room and super cute newly refinished kitchen with peekaboo pass through to dining room! Off kitchen is cute morning room that has slider to large deck for morning coffee or there is a pantry/wine/bar nook your choice;) Basement has been partially finished with large play space for adult or child, full bath, and once upon a time there was a small kitchenette for those that like the extra cooking and canning space. There is also utility/laundry area as well.

Back yard has been fully fenced and super private -- extra large deck with a self made play/entertaining area with pergola -- can easily be turned back to full drive with one-car detached garage. This one is well worth the look! Click here for more information on this listing.

October 15, 2020 - 5:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in spiritual connections, Oct. 15 2020.

"Spiritual Connections" -- The Batavian will post updates to connect people with their places of worship, religious services, fellowship opportunities, and/or spiritual advisors, etc. There is no charge for this.

If you have information to announce, please email:    [email protected]    OR    [email protected]

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Arbor House, 350 Bank St., Batavia, is a community of believers and disciples of Jesus Christ, founded to be a place of safety, refreshment, and renewal. Each week we gather to hear the spoken Word, eat from the Lord’s Table, and enjoy fellowship with all who come. Sunday morning service is being held inside the sanctuary at 10 o'clock. Preregistration is required, visit northgatefmc.com to register. For more information about Arbor House visit arborhousefmc.com.

Batavia First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., Batavia. Join us for worship online Sundays at 9 a.m. In-person services follow at 10 a.m.  We practice coronavirus courtesy. Visit our website or on Facebook Live

Byron First Presbyterian Church, 6293 W. Main St., Byron. In-person worship services at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays. The church doors are open, with all of the health precautions you would expect. The service is also available via Zoom at 9:45 a.m. For Zoom access codes, please contact the church office at (585) 548-2800.

City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, is open for Sunday morning services at 8:30 and 10, and Thursday evenings at 7 o'clock. Everyone is welcome to join us for worship and a message. We also have a noontime Sunday service at our St. Anthony's location at 114 Liberty St. in Batavia. You can also connect with us online, through our Facebook page, or our YouTube channel.

Cornerstone Church of East Pembroke, part of American Baptist Churches USA, is located at 2583 Main Road, East Pembroke. Our Sunday service is at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Glenn Bloom preaching. Bible Study is every Wednesday at 10 a.m. We are a small church and welcome new members; we are following social distancing rules and masks must be worn. Saturday, Oct. 31st, we are holding our Trunk-or-Treat event from 5-7 p.m. outside, where individual bags of candy will be distributed.

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 190 Oak St., Batavia. Join us for inside service at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Bible Studies are available at 9:45 Sunday mornings as well. All are welcome and we hope you will visit and decide to become part of our family! If you have any questions please email us at [email protected] or call (585) 343-4905. We livestream the services on our website and Facebook.  

First Baptist Church in Batavia, 306 E. Main St., Pastor David Weidman, "Christ the Center, Love for All" is our theme with a full-gospel worship service at 10 a.m. on Sundays and a warm welcome to all! After services, all are invited to have refreshments and once a month a delicious potluck lunch. Every Wednesday at 11 a.m. there's Prayer Fellowship followed by lunch and Bible Study at noon. "Lydia's Kitchen" is open Monday - Friday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. with free delicious lunches in our Fellowship Hall. Questions? Call us at (585) 343-9002 or email:   [email protected]

First Baptist Church Elba, 31 S. Main St., Elba, is open for main service in person at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. For more information about our church go to www.fbcelba.netPastor is Michael Davis. Email:   [email protected] / Phone (585) 757-2722

Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., Batavia. “Navigate: Laziness is Tempting” from the book of Proverbs. Services are at 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday, with Grace Kids classes up to age 5 for both services. Or join us for the 9 a.m. service livestreaming online at www.gracebatavia.org. On Sat., Nov. 14th at 10 a.m. – noon there will be a “Life After Loss During the Holidays” free workshop open to the community. You may call the church Tuesday through Friday to register at (585) 343-0729. Email us at:   [email protected]

Indian Falls Methodist Church, 7908 Alleghany Road, Corfu. Reverend Karen McCaffery will hold Worship Service inside the church sanctuary at 10 a.m. Sundays. Due to COVID-19 regulations, please be sure to wear your mask. If you have a fever or other symptoms, please join our service via Facebook Live or on YouTube by searching for IFUMC TechTeam. Weekly Online Bible Study and Prayer Services are held on Wednesday night at 7 o'clock via Facebook Live on “Pastor McCaffery's” page.

North Bergen Presbyterian Church, 7068 N. Bergen Road, Bergen, is open for in-person services at 10 a.m. Sundays. Phone is (585) 494-1255.

Northgate Free Methodist Church, 8160 Bank Street Road (North Campus), Batavia. In-person services Saturday at 6 p.m.; Sunday at 9:30 and 11 a.m. We ask that you preregister, to do so go to our website here or call the office (585) 343-4011. You can also join us online on Saturdays at 6 p.m. or Sunday mornings at 9:30. What is a church made up of? The people, a building, the staff? It goes much deeper than that. At the heart of any church lies their Core Values. These values aren’t who we hope to be someday, they are who we are, and who we will be. Join us for the eight-week series “DNA” as we unpack Northgate’s Core Values.

Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church, 2210 Judge Road, South Alabama, has resumed Sunday services -- Bible School for all ages at 9:45 a.m. & Worship at 11. OABC continues to post a daily "Encouragement from God's Word" devotional video and Sunday sermon video on YouTube and Facebook. Email:  [email protected] or call the church office at (585) 948-9401.

Our Lady of Mercy & St. Brigid Parishes, Lake Street, Le Roy. All Masses livestreamed Saturday at 4:30 p.m.; Sunday mornings at 7:15 & 9 & 10:45. Daily Masses are livestreamed at 7:30 a.m. Monday-Friday; 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. Saturday. View on YouTube and Facebook. Visit Fr. Matthew’s special COVID-19 updates and links at the parish website.

Resurrection Parish (St. Mary and St. Joseph churches in Batavia). Services via livestreaming on Facebook, or view on YouTube by searching for Resurrection RC Parish. Personal attendance is also allowed. St. Mary's Weekend Schedule: Saturday  5:30 p.m.; Sunday 7:30 a.m. & 9:15 a.m. / St. Joseph's Weekend Schedule: Saturday at 4 p.m.; Sunday at 11:30 a.m.; Weekday Masses (Mon. - Fri.) are at 8 a.m. at St. Joseph's Church. No weekday Masses at St. Mary's.

St. James Episcopal Church, 405 E. Main St., Batavia. Service of the Holy Eucharist is held at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays, followed by the Faith Discussion Group at 10:30 a.m. Masks are required. For more information, or to reserve an in-person spot, call or text (585) 343-6802.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1 E. Main St., Le Roy, holds in-person services each Sunday at 10 a.m.Visit the church’s website / Facebook page Email:   [email protected]. (585) 768-7200

St. Padre Pio Parish, 56 Maple Ave., Oakfield. Weekend Masses are celebrated: Saturday 4:30 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. and at 10 a.m. in the Oakfield Church Site, 56 Maple Ave., Oakfield. Weekday Masses are celebrated Monday 6 p.m. in Elba (Our Lady of Fatima Church, 65 S. Main St.); Tuesday at 8 a.m. in Elba; Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Oakfield; Thursday at 8 a.m. in Oakfield; Friday at 8 a.m. in Oakfield.

St. Paul Lutheran Church, 31 Washington Ave., Batavia. Worship services held in the Sanctuary with limited seating, along with virtually live worship through Zoom. The pews have been marked off for safe distancing. Hand sanitizing is required upon entry of the building and a mask is mandatory within the building until seated. Masks are required while singing and must cover both mouth and nose. Zoom will continue to be offered each week for those who are still not ready to return in person. Login information is available on our website at stpaulbatavia.org or you can contact the office by email: [email protected]com. Phone (585) 343-0488. Announcements & the Worship Service will be posted on the website for viewing. Communion will be offered on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

Trinity United Methodist Church in Attica and Darien United Methodist Church. In-church worship has resumed with strict precautions. Trinity at 10:45 a.m. / Darien at 9 a.m. Service is also Zoomed at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. For a connection invite, email [email protected] before that time. Prayer requests may be left at Trinity's voicemail (585) 591-1549 or with Pastor Pam at (716) 560-0290.

October 15, 2020 - 4:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Thomas Edward Ditzel, 65, Belvedere Lane, Batavia, is charged with attempted grand larceny in the third degree, a felony. He was arrested as a result of an investigation into the misappropriation of funds as a Power of Attorney at 3 p.m. Dec. 24, 2018. Ditzel allegedly attempted to take almost $17,000 by closing an investment account of a family member and have the check sent to an address where he allegedly planned to retrieve it. However, another family member intercepted the check. "The duties of a POA, amongst others, is that the POA must act in the principal's best interest, rather than their own," says the police report. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Christopher A. Parker.

Ifrah Hajimusse Armstrong, 41, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree grand larceny and four counts of offering a false instrument for filing, all Class E felonies. Armstrong was arrested after allegedly not reporting income that she was earning and also filing an application that is used to determine eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits without including the income. The application process was started on Aug. 1, 2017. As a result, it is alleged Armstrong received $5,208 in SNAP benefits that she was not entitled to. The investigation was conducted by the GC Department of Social Services Investigator Dakota Nicholson and she was arrested Oct. 13 by GC Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

Ana Marie Uribe, 27, of Willow Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, both Class E felonies. It is alleged that at the time of her application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on May 1, 2019, she did not report income she was earning, which is used to determine eligibility. As a result, she allegedly received $3,218 in SNAP benefits that she was not entitled to. The investigation was conducted by the GC Department of Social Services Investigator Dakota Nicholson and she was arrested Oct. 14 by GC Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

October 15, 2020 - 4:13pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

New Cases – As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received four new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Batavia and Pembroke.
    • The individuals are between the ages of 0-20, 30s, 50s and 60s.
    • None of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • We are diligently working on reporting the numbers from the previous days. A complete count will be reflective on the GOW COVID-19 interactive map by tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 16. Thank you for your ongoing patience.
  • Orleans County received four new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Albion and Carlton.
    • The individuals are in their 20s, 40s, and 50s.
    • None of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • One of the previous positive individuals has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation
    • Four new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
October 15, 2020 - 3:50pm

Press release:

Families are invited to visit the Hollwedel Memorial Library “Trunk-or-Treat” on Halloween day for a fun drive-thru event. Kids can show off their costumes and pick up some treats as they drive through the loop in front of the library. 

Visiting “Trunk-or-Treaters” are asked to stay in their cars for the safety of all. Treats will be delivered to each car in the loop. 

The library is open for the "Trunk-or-Treat" and regular library services that day from 10 a.m. to noon

Information about this family-friendly event, as well as the other programs and services available at the library, can be found on the library’s website at www.HollwedelLibrary.org.

Residents with questions can also contact the library by phone at (585) 584-8843.

The library is located at 5 Woodrow Drive in Pavilion.

October 15, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Press Release in news, scams, U.S. Marshals, crime.

Press release:

The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals. In the past few weeks, there have been several reported scam calls to Rochester-area citizens. Law Enforcement is urging people to report the calls the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.

During these calls, scammers have attempted to gain banking information and credit card numbers. Telling the victims that their Social Security number has been used in a criminal act and this information is needed within an hour or they will be arrested.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, a report was made to the U.S. Marshals office in Rochester. The victim reported that a caller told him there was a warrant for his arrest. The victim was told to transfer funds and if he did not comply, he was threatened with arrest and seizing of his property.

Additional incidents reported this month to Law Enforcement where Scam Calls attempted to collect a fine in lieu of arrest due to a claim of identity theft, failing to report for jury duty or other offenses, or even threating to seize property. Imposters tell victims they can avoid arrest by withdrawing cash and transferring it, purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and reading the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine, or by depositing cash into bitcoin ATMs.

Scammers use many tactics to sound and appear credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller IDs as if they are calling from a government agency or the court.

In March 2020, The Department of Justice launched the National Elder Fraud Hotline, which provides services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. Case managers assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed.

The hotline’s toll free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).

If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and to the FTC.

Things to remember:

  • U.S. MARSHALS WILL NEVER ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers, or to make bitcoin deposits for any purpose.

  • NEVER divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.

  • Report scam phone calls to your local FBI office and to the FTC.

  • You can remain anonymous when you report.

  • Authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.

    -- Related article on SSN scams can be found at Inspector General Warns Public About SSA Impersonation Schemes or www.ssa.gov/scam
    -- More information on the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center can be found at www.ic3.gov

    Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov

October 15, 2020 - 3:22pm

From Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator R. Pete Welker:

Genesee County Residents:

I am writing in support of re-electing William A. Sheron Jr. as the Sheriff of Genesee County.

I am a 25-year veteran of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, having served as a Corrections Officer, as a Uniformed Deputy Sheriff and, for the last 20 years, as an Investigator.  

With the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office being a relatively young department, including many officers in new supervisory positions, combined with all the new challenges due to New York State reforms being thrust upon the law enforcement community, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t need change; it needs stability that comes through experience and proven leadership. Leadership that comes from 43 years of experience within the same department; leadership that comes from serving 20 years as the Undersheriff; and leadership that comes from already serving as Sheriff for over 3 years now.

During my entire career here at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Sheron has served in multiple supervisory positions: first as Chief Deputy (Road Patrol), then as the Undersheriff for 20 years (with former Sheriff Gary Maha), and finally as the Sheriff since January 1, 2017. Before my time here, Sheriff Sheron also served as a Dispatcher, a Deputy (Jail), a Deputy (Road Patrol), a Sergeant (Road Patrol/Drug Task Force), and as an Investigator.

With 43 years of law enforcement experience, all served within the same department, and after climbing through the ranks, Sheriff Sheron has acquired comprehensive knowledge regarding every aspect of the daily operations at our office. Sheriff Sheron oversees well over 100 employees from the Sheriff’s Office, the Jail, the Dispatch Center, the Animal Shelter, Genesee Justice, and the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.  

In addition to all of this, Sheriff Sheron also made a sound decision naming Brad Mazur as his Undersheriff. Brad Mazur served for 20 years at the Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy and then as a Sergeant and was consistently one of our most productive officers. Undersheriff Mazur exhibited great leadership qualities during his time as the Sergeant in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division as well as the Drug Task Force. Brad Mazur has impeccable character and has shown constant professionalism throughout his 20-year career. Brad is not only well respected within the divisions that fall under his supervision, but also within the community. I cannot think of anyone within our department that is better suited or more qualified to hold the position of Undersheriff than Brad Mazur.  

As a result of numerous retirements in recent years, the Sheriff now leads a very young department. We have a great group of outstanding new Deputies and about half of them were hired within the last 5 years. The most noteworthy changes came in the last two years when our two Chief Deputies retired with over 80 years of experience between them.

There are also new challenges facing law enforcement with the new bail and discovery reform laws in New York State. It won’t be a simple task learning to navigate through this new set of complications for law enforcement. It will not only affect the day-to-day operations of our patrols, but will also present new budgetary concerns due to the need for added personnel to handle the new discovery demands. With the time that these challenges will demand, it will be imperative that the person occupying the position of Sheriff already possess a proficient working knowledge of all the normal day-to-day operations of the multiple divisions that fall under the supervision of the Sheriff.  

I encourage the citizens of Genesee County to continue to support the professional law enforcement leadership in Genesee County by re-electing William A. Sheron for Sheriff.

Respectfully,

Investigator R. Pete Welker

October 15, 2020 - 12:00pm


This listing is PRICED TO SELL! Welcome home to 32 Porter Ave., Batavia. This home features four bedroom, one bath updates include: Brand-new electric this year, roof 2019, hot water 2017, high efficiency furnace 2017.

Walking distance to all major amenities in Batavia, including local parks in the neighborhood. 32 Porter is ready for you to move in and add your personal touch!

Call Sunny today (585) 813-2445. Click here for more information on this property.

October 15, 2020 - 9:55am

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Genesee County leaders are advocating a spirit of togetherness as they take a divide-and-conquer approach to fulfilling the requirements of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203 on community police reform and reinvention.

On Wednesday night at the Old County Courthouse legislative chambers, the Genesee County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative met for the first time, with 15 of the group’s 19 current members attending either in person or via Zoom videoconferencing.

County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein put out a call for unity and respect as she welcomed those who are tasked to address the policies and procedures of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office per the Executive Order issued on June 12.

“Together … we have an opportunity to learn from each other … to improve and manage public safety … through thoughtful, respectful and robust discussions,” Stein said. “Step by step by step, we will do this together.”

Stein emphasized that each member of the committee – from public officials to representatives of social or minority groups -- was important to meeting the governor’s directive.

“Each community must envision for itself the appropriate role of the police,” she said, “and policies must be developed to allow the police to do their jobs to protect the public and the policies must be with the local community’s acceptance.”

Following her opening statement, Stein introduced Robert Bausch, former County Legislature chair, who will serve as moderator for the group. After that, the committee members who were social-distanced throughout the room said a few words about themselves.

County Manager Matt Landers then read highlights of the Executive Order, focusing on the section that outlines the 15 different policing strategies that must be analyzed by Sheriff William Sheron and the community stakeholders.

Landers distributed a 10-meeting timeline (on Monday nights at 6:30), with five of those meetings dedicated to reviewing those 15 strategies as follows:

  • Nov. 2 – Use of force policies, procedural justice, any studies addressing systemic racial bias or racial justice in policing;
  • Nov. 16 -- Implicit bias awareness training, de-escalation training and practices, law enforcement assisted diversion programs;
  • Dec. 7 -- Restorative justice practices, community-based outreach and conflict resolution, problem-oriented policing;
  • Dec. 21 -- Hot spots policing, focused deterrence, crime prevention through environmental design;
  • Jan. 4 -- Violence prevention and reduction interventions; model policies and guidelines promulgated by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council; standards promulgated by the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

Sheron is scheduled to give a report on his department to legislators and the committee during a regular meeting of the legislature on Oct. 28, and will answer questions afterward.

Last night, the sheriff pointed out that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office recently was reaccredited by New York State, which means that the agency has met or exceeded 133 standards as set forth by the state. The department was initially accredited in 2000.

Accreditation aside, Sheron said he would appreciate members' input, adding that "constructive criticism" is a vehicle "to making it better for our citizens."

The remainder of the collaborative’s meeting timeline indicates: a review of the draft report on Jan. 18; presentation of the draft to the public for feedback on Feb. 1; review and vote on the final report on Feb. 15; submission to the county Ways & Means Committee on March 3; adoption by the full county legislature on March 10; and delivery to the state Division of the Budget prior to April 1.

The Executive Order stipulates that the reform plan must be submitted to the state by April 1 or else it could jeopardize the locality’s state aid.

Landers said that the timeline isn’t etched in stone and that he is open to adding to the group’s number, especially if the interested person represents “another perspective or opinion.”

He added that the county’s Information Technology staff will be recording the meetings and the public is invited to attend in person (adhering to COVID-19 guidelines) or via Zoom.

Members present at last night’s meeting -- along with Landers, Stein and Sheron -- were:

  • Community members Julie Carasone, Perez Dinkins, Barb Starowitz, Tyrone Woods; Genesee Community College international student Rachel Gelabale;
  • Nonprofit community group member Lynda Battaglia, Genesee County Community Mental Health Services;
  • Faith-based leader John Keller, Northgate Free Methodist Church;
  • Educational group member Rachel Siebert, Genesee Valley BOCES;
  • Local elected official Gregory Post, Town of Batavia supervisor; Genesee County Public Defender Jerry Ader;
  • Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman;
  • Genesee County Sheriff’s Department Officer Howard Carlson.

Other members (who did not attend) are community member Leandro Mateos; John Bennett, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse; Millie Tomidy-Pepper, YWCA of Genesee County; and Genesee County Undersheriff Bradley Mazur.

The collaborative includes several persons of color and a cross section of people who have deeper views of societal issues through their interaction with minorities in their fields of employment, such as farm ownership, social and mental health services, substance use counseling, pastoral guidance, cultural competence and athletics.

Photo: The first meeting of the Genesee County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative took place Wednesday night at the Old County Courthouse. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

October 15, 2020 - 7:15am
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, eastridge, girls tennis, sports.

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The Batavia Varsity tennis team evened its record at 2-2 with a 7-0 victory at Eastridge. It was the Blue Devils' second straight win after starting the season 0-2. 

Winning at singles were Kylie Tatarka, Lidia Pehrson, Dallas Lama and Savannah Freeman. 

Doubles winners were Maya Schrader/Casey Tatarka, Hannah Carney/Katelyn Witherow, and Mikalina Pellegrino-Scott/Lilana Espinoza.

Batavia will take on division rival Brockport on the road Thursday.

Story submitted by Head Coach James Fazio.

To view and or purchase prints, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

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October 14, 2020 - 10:06pm

A decrease in the Genesee County property tax rate and a much smaller than anticipated increase in the Town of Batavia property tax rate.

That’s the latest word from the managers of both municipalities who shared developments from today’s meetings with the legislature and town board, respectively, concerning their 2021 budgets.

“We’ve had several budget meetings with our county legislature and at this point and time I’m ready to propose a county budget that has a decrease in the (property) tax rate of approximately 31 cents down to $9.80 (per thousand of assessed value) from $10.11,” said first-year County Manager Matt Landers.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post had encouraging news as well, reporting that his current budget calls for about a 39-cent increase – from $2.45 per thousand to $2.84 – which is considerably less than the potential 88- or 89-percent increase that was bandied about a couple weeks ago.

“Everyone should thank the county legislators for their hard work to make it possible for the revenue distributions they have just made,” Post said, referring to a final 2020 payment of $6 million and a pledge to distribute $10 million in 2021 to the county’s 13 towns and six villages. “Now, we feel much better about taking $550,000 from our fund balance to make this happen.”

Both budgets are tentative and subject to change, but in all likelihood any modifications should be slight at this point.

Holding the Line Paved the Way

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said she was hoping that her colleagues and management would be wrong in August (when they predicted a dire outcome).

“I’m glad we were, so we could increase this amount up to 10 million dollars,” she said of the 2021 revenue distribution, which is $2 million more than previously announced. She then applauded the efforts of everyone involved, noting that she appreciated their “work and consistency and your sticking with us.”

Landers echoed her sentiments, pointing out that the moves the legislature has made over the past six months, under the direction of Stein and former County Manager Jay Gsell, “have helped put us in a (good) position and helped me to put together this budget.”

“We’ve been able to fund our roads and bridges to the level that I’d like to fund them in 2021 … and they made a lot of good decisions … on furloughs, hiring freezes, deferring capital projects, deferring acquisitions.”

In order to lower the tax rate, Landers is proposing using about $2.3 million of the county’s $15 million fund balance. He said that is necessary due to a projected 20-percent (or more) cut in aid from New York State.

“We still don’t know if there’s going to be a stimulus for governments,” he said. “The stimulus isn’t anything I am looking toward for revenue replacement; the stimulus would benefit Genesee County primarily in that it would provide revenue to the state, and the state would not have to cut us.”

A 20-percent cut in state aid translates to a $2 million hit to the county’s budget, which will come in at around $144 million.

Sales Tax Numbers Better Than Anticipated

“As you saw in the resolution tonight (at the legislature meeting where the revenue allocations were approved), we’re going to budget $10 million of revenue distribution to our towns and villages in 2021,” Landers said. “We are projecting a small reduction in sales tax, but not anything that we would have thought six months ago. There were estimates that sales tax would be down 30 to 40 percent, but now we’re projecting a 5- to 10-percent reduction in sales tax.”

With sales tax numbers better than expected, the county is able to provide $10 million next year to support the towns and villages.

Landers said he and department heads went through the budget line-by-line during a couple Saturday morning workshop sessions and he “feels comfortable at this point submitting a budget that has roughly a 31-cent decrease in the tax rate, with a levy increase of approximately $400,000 (due to an increase in the county’s assessed value).

“I wish we could do more; I wish we could reduce taxes more,” he said. “It’s one of those (situations) where I’m glad we could come to a consensus with the legislature. I’m glad that we’ve got a balanced budget that I’m going to be proposing and once it goes from my hands to the legislature, it's their ability to modify it and amend it as they see fit.”

He said he expects the legislature to “tweak a thing or two,” but is relieved to have made it this far in the budget process.

“I’m glad to get through my first budget session. I never envisioned putting one together in a pandemic and a financial crisis, but I am glad that we are able to have a stabilized tax rate for Genesee County citizens,” he said. “I understand that it is going to utilize a little more fund balance than we like to, but that’s what the ‘rainy day’ fund is for. If we potentially didn’t have a 20-percent reduction in our state aid, we might have been able to have the possibility of further reductions (in the tax rate), which would have been great.”

Landers said the county’s fund balance is at 12 to 13 percent of its general fund expenditures – the proper level according to guidelines from the state Comptroller’s office.

The spending plan will be presented at a public hearing scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Old County Courthouse. It is slated to be adopted by the legislature on Nov. 23.

Town Supervisor Breathes a Bit Easier

Post said he expects to get a good night’s sleep tonight for the first time in months after coming out of a budget workshop this afternoon at the Batavia Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

The town received word that it would be getting another revenue check from the county in the amount of $1 million this year and just shy of $1.7 million from the county in 2021.

While the $1.7 million is less than what board members originally had hoped for, it is enough for them to be able to allot $550,000 from the fund balance to lower the tax rate.

“That, plus the fact that our investments are beating the market rate by a factor of six times, puts us in position to do that,” Post said, letting out a sigh of relief.

He attributed the town’s ability to weather the economic storm to its collaboration with the county, City of Batavia and Genesee County Economic Development Center that has resulted in developing “multiple streams of income.”

“This all started 12 years ago … by incentivizing businesses that provide sales tax revenue,” Post explained. “All of these entities have collectively applied those principals to our community and we’re reaping the benefits.”

The town board has indicated it will conduct a special work session at 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, prior to adopting a preliminary budget on Oct. 21. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Nov. 4.

October 14, 2020 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

New Cases – As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County Due to ongoing technology/internet issues, we do not have an update for Genesee County.  We expect to report more information on these cases tomorrow. We apologize for the inconvenience.
    • Monday there was one new positive case.
    • Tuesday there were two new positive cases.
    • Wednesday there are two new positive cases.
    • Since Oct. 9, 37 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
  • Orleans County received two new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Albion.
    • The individuals are in their 20s, and 30s.
    • Both of the individuals were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Fifteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
October 14, 2020 - 3:06pm
posted by Press Release in business, batavia, Legacy Insurance Group.

Press release:

Legacy Insurance Group will be having a Grand Opening & Open House at their new office location 212 E. Main St., Batavia, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 20th.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 o'clock. Social distancing and masks required.

Legacy Insurance will be a local resource for Medicare Advantage plans through UnitedHealthcare, as well as several life insurance options, and can help with navigating health insurance choices on the NYS of Health Marketplace. As of now, due to offsite events and individual appointments, hours will be by appointment or by chance.

Agent Diana M. Wagner resides in Stafford with her husband, Ron, and two of her three children, Bobby and Rachel.

She greatly enjoys the relationship that she builds with her clients, being a local point of contact, and being a resource in the community.

Most Fridays during market season, Wagner can be found with a Medicare information table set up at the Genesee Country Farmer's Market. She is also on hand at local retailers such as Walgreens and Tops, as well as senior residences like 400 Towers, and various other venues to bring Medicare information and answer questions. 

Please stop by to enjoy some cider, donuts and coffee!

October 14, 2020 - 2:34pm

A drive-thru chicken barbecue to benefit the Elba Volunteer Fire Department will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25 at the fire rec hall on Route 98 in Elba.

It starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until sold out. Cost is $12.

Coronavirus protocols will be observed. Please wear a face mask and remain in your vehicle.

"Because of the (COVID-19) shutdown, last month was the first chicken barbecue we held this year," said an organizer, Barbie Starowitz, of Star Growers Farm LLC. "It sold out so fast! Now that we can be outside again we wanted to do another one. We're hoping for a nice (weather) day."

The address of Elba Firemen's Recreation Hall is 7143 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98).

Top Items on Batavia's List

Apartment For Rent

Village of LeRoy One bedroom upper Water and sewer included. $650.00 plus electric Call 585-815-5793

Social Welfare Examiner Civil Service Exam

Social Welfare Examiner Civil Service Exam is scheduled for December 5, 2020. Please visit the Genesee County website for instructions on how to submit your application by the deadline of October 28, 2020. Current vacant position to be provisionally filled at Department of Social Services by candidate approved for the exam.

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