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Tenney backs legislation to support law enforcement officers

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) voted in favor of seven pieces of legislation focused on supporting our law enforcement officers and ensuring they have the resources and tools they need to keep our communities and themselves safe.

These bills all passed the House of Representatives with Tenney’s support:

H.R. 354, the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) Reform Act, broadens the ability of qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms in areas such as school zones, national parks, federal facilities open to the public, and state, local, or private property open to the public.

H.R. 8146, the Police Our Border Act, requires the Attorney General to report detailed information on how Biden’s border crisis impacts our law enforcement, including exposures to fentanyl, injuries sustained, financial burdens, and operational strains.

H.R. 7343, the Detain and Deport Illegal Aliens Who Assault Cops Act, requires that illegal aliens who assault law enforcement officers are quickly arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until they are removed from the United States.

H.R. 7581, the Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act of 2024, requires the Attorney General to assemble reports on violence against law enforcement officers and the effectiveness of programs meant to provide law enforcement with wellness resources and protective equipment so we may comprehensively enhance the safety of police officers.

S. 546, the Recruit and Retain Act, expands the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program to include recruitment and retention efforts and establishes the COPS Pipeline Partnership Program to support partnerships between local schools and law enforcement agencies to improve recruitment.

H. Res. 1213 addresses violence against law enforcement officers by condemning calls for defunding police and anti-police sentiment that have increased violence against police, acknowledging the mental and physical impacts such violence has on police, and expressing condolences and appreciation to the families of fallen law enforcement officers.

H. Res. 1210 condemns President Biden’s border crisis and the dangers and burdens it has created for America’s law enforcement officers and urges the Biden Administration to support the law enforcement officers defending our homeland.

“Our courageous law enforcement officers risk their lives every day for our communities, and they deserve to have the tools, legal protections, and support they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “Yet thanks to the ‘defund and demoralize the police’ movement perpetuated by President Biden and the Left, assaults on our law enforcement officers have hit a ten-year high. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have abandoned these brave men and women, choosing instead to support dangerous illegal immigrants and criminals. During National Police Week, House Republicans reiterated our support for our men and women in blue and passed multiple bills dedicated to combating skyrocketing crime and protecting our police officers. I will always Back the Blue and support our nation’s law enforcement officers!”

GO Health reminds public about diabetes prevention

By Press Release

Press Release:

According to the New York State Department of Health Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System 2021 report, Genesee County has 13.4% of adults and Orleans County has 11.4% adults diagnosed with prediabetes. 

People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Genesee County Health Department has reviewed feedback from a recent survey and will be hosting the Lifestyle Change Program starting Wednesday, June 12 from 5 - 6 p.m. at the Town of Oakfield Community and Government Center, 3219 Drake Street Rd., Oakfield. 

If your healthcare provider told you, you have prediabetes or are at risk of prediabetes; if you have been told you are overweight; if you have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes; if you had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds; this program may be for you.

The Lifestyle Change Program group meets for a year — weekly for the first 6 months, then once a month for the second 6 months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “The Lifestyle Change program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

Participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes.

Now is your time to take control of your health and lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Register for the class now to claim your seat for better health: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GeneseeNDPP2024 , e-mail sherri.bensley@geneseeny.gov, or call 585-344-2580 x5528.

For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at: 

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at GOHealthNY. 

Resources:

Shifting community schools program to fit budget needs, vote on May 21

By Joanne Beck

A community schools program at Batavia City School District initially promoted as a strategy to help with each child’s well-being, success and educational equality is being realigned with a reduced coordinator position that will be responsible “for the most critical elements of the program,” Superintendent Jason Smith says.

The program that was implemented in 2021 by district social worker Julie Wasilewski and then-Batavia High School Assistant Principal Julia Rogers was centralized at Robert Morris, where Rogers was later relocated and made full-time community schools coordinator. 

The adopted $60,294,755 million 2024-25 budget — which will go up for a vote on May 21 — includes some staff changes, including making the coordinator a part-time position. One of the job’s responsibilities has been to forge relationships with outside agencies and organizations to serve as resources for students and families and have a presence at vendor fairs that were held at Robert Morris and other public sites. 

Smith said that other staff will be there to help fill the gap.

Jason Smith

“BCSD currently employs five social workers who will continue to foster positive relationships with our families and community providers/agencies,” he said.

During a presentation to the school board in 2021, Wasilewski and Rogers talked about how Robert Morris was converted into a community center for children and parents to obtain assistance for school work and many additional other life needs, from laundry to filling the gaps of clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, toys, bedding, food and other missing items in their households. 

The Batavian asked Smith if community schools offerings would remain or how they might shift with the staffing change. Those life needs resources have been collected and provided at Robert Morris through a community closet in the Heart of Kindness Center. 

“At this point, the district intends to maintain the critical elements of the Community Schools program, which could include things like the Heart of Kindness Center,” Smith said. “All BCSD schools and programs have strong connections to our community. Schools host programs throughout the year, such as Family Fun Nights and Reading Nights, which are well attended. 

“We are exploring different ways to integrate community vendors into these robust school-based activities to provide the most value and assistance to our families and partners,” he said. “Given the budget challenges this year, it was imperative for the Board of Education and district to focus on the core elements of our academic, extracurricular, and social-emotional programs.”

During this week’s budget presentation, which drew even less than the one attendee who asked questions last year, Smith referred to his teeter-totter scenario of how trying to balance out the budget to serve the needs of both sides. 

“As you know, this was a particularly challenging budget year for many school districts, we were not the exception,” he said. “There were several extenuating circumstances, issues with state aid, foundation aid, COVID funding. So all of those are taken into account.”

He emphasized that foundation aid remained flat. It did not increase, though it also did not decrease; that aid remained at $24,191,855. The transportation contract calls for a $556,263 increase of $3.3 million, a 20 percent increase, a general support increase of $514,943, and an employee benefits increase of $313,405 for a total hike in expenses of $1,323,981.

The budget also includes a tax levy increase of $450,345, for a total levy of about $20.3 million. District voters will be asked to consider a property tax increase of 39 cents per $1,000 assessed value, or $48.75 more per year on a home assessed at $125,000. 

Other personnel changes include reducing seven grant-funded positions due to a nearly $6 million COVID-related grant drying up by this fall and five more through attrition but retaining seven other positions by moving them out of the general fund and into other ongoing grants. 

While that’s the good news for those seven, it’s “going to be challenging next year,” to figure out how to continue funding those, Smith said. A mental health grant will reestablish three social-emotional learning positions and three instructional coaching positions, he said. 

He pointed out the nonmandated items that made the list — those things that really make “a school a school” but aren’t required to be offered — such as music lessons, social workers, drama club, the technology program, art shows and exhibits, interscholastic activities, school resource officers, girls flag football, Link Crew, Advanced Placement and college credit courses, and summer programs.

There is a capital project for $100,000 at Robert Morris tucked into the budget for door security work, which is state reimbursed at a 92% rate, he said. He referred to a small city comparison review for how the district has held up in grades three through eight in math, numbers that administrators take pride in, he said. The graduation rate took a dip from 2021’s 95% to 2023, at 87%, and the average class size was 19.

There are 21 public schools serving 7,900 students in Genesee County and, according to Public School Review for 2024, Batavia High School ranks third place, with math in the 85 to 89 percentile, and reading at or greater than 50%.

John Kennedy Intermediate comes in at No. 14, with math at 35% and reading 50%, with Batavia Middle School at 17, with math at 23% and reading at 50%, followed by Jackson Primary, with math at 50 to 54% and reading at 40 to 44%, making those at the bottom 50 percent. (Pembroke Intermediate School came in first, with math scores at 68% and reading at 66%.)

The ballot includes Proposition #1 to approve a general budget of $60,294,755 and to vote for three board members with candidates Michael Bromley, Korinne Anderson, Jen Lendvay and John Reigle running. 

The vote is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 21 at Batavia High School, 260 State St., and Robert Morris School, 80 Union St., depending on the voter’s residence.

For residents living north of Route 5 (Main Street), vote at Robert Morris, 80 Union Street  (Multi-Purpose Room). Enter on Union Street at the entrance across from Notre Dame.

For residents living south of Route 5 (Main Street), vote at Batavia High School, 260 State Street (High School Library).

If you need clarification on where to vote, check the street-by-street guide on our website or call the Business Office at 585-343-2480, Ext. 1002.

Tractor-trailer vs. car accident reported at Jackson and Ellicott, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
ellicott accident may 2024

A tractor-trailer and car have collided at Jackson Street and Ellicott Street, Batavia.

Injuries are reported. 

Traffic is blocked.

City Fire responding.

UPDATE 9:37 p.m.: Two patients critical, both pinned. 

UPDATE 11 p.m.: Capt. Bob Fix said both patients appeared to be in serious condition following the accident and were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by ground ambulance. At least one of them may have been transported by Mercy Flight crews hadn't been grounded by weather. The Sheriff's Office Crash Management Team was requested to the scene to conduct a thorough investigation. In the preliminary stages, Batavia police officers have no information on what may have occurred leading to the accident.  The truck driver was not injured. There were only two people in the passenger vehicle.  

Photos by Howard Owens.

ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024

Photo: Puddles of fun in Pavilion

By Howard B. Owens
pavilion flood swim
Photo by Shari Joy.

Localized flooding in Pavilion created a swimming opportunity for two kids in their own front yard on Perry Road, said Shari Joy, who spotted the kids having fun in the large puddle on Friday afternoon.

Garage fire reported on Summit Street in city

By Joanne Beck
Summit St. fire
Photo by Howard Owens

Town of Batavia and Le Roy fire departments have been called to assist with manpower and an engine at 21 Summit St., Batavia at approximately 7:40 p.m. Friday for a garage fire.

UPDATE 7:52 p.m.: The fire is out, and an overhaul has begun. Any responding units have been informed to respond in nonemergency mode.

The City of Batavia Fire Department responded to the scene, and a second alarm was put out for Town of Batavia's fast team and Town of Le Roy Fire Department.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Capt. Jamie Call said the cause of the fire appears to be accidental. It was contained to the back of the structure and there is no structural damage.

Tenney’s End Zuckerbucks Act advances in Ways and Means

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24), co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, announced the End Zuckerbucks Act passed the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 23-17.

Tenney’s bill, the End Zuckerbucks Act, amends the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from directly or indirectly providing funds for the purpose of the administration of elections.

In the 2020 election, Mark Zuckerberg used a non-profit organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to distribute $350 million to local boards of elections in left-leaning county governments in Texas, Ohio, Nevada, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania under the guise of “making voting safer amid the pandemic.” Yet less than 1% of those funds were spent on PPE or other measures to implement safety protocols at voting sites and were provided with little to no oversight on spending. 92% of the funds went to left-leaning districts, where reports say they were used to fund advertising, vehicle purchases, and other activities unrelated to the pandemic.

“Twenty-eight states have banned Zuckerbucks, prohibiting partisan bureaucrats, billionaires, and corrupt special interest groups from interfering in our election process. It’s time for the federal government to follow suit,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “As the founder and co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, I am pleased to see this common-sense election integrity bill advance in the Ways and Means Committee and move one step closer to being signed into law. We must restore confidence in our self-governing Constitutional Republic by ensuring that Americans in every state and territory have free, fair, accurate, and transparent elections.”

“During the 2020 election cycle, we saw private donations worth hundreds of millions of dollars laundered through 501(c)(3) organizations into Democrat-run cities and counties in swing states that appeared to favor one political party over another,” said Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith. “The U.S. Tax Code should not be used to support the electioneering efforts of wealthy private donors. Rep. Tenney’s bill, the End Zuckerbucks Act, protects the integrity of our elections by prohibiting charitable tax-exempt organizations from providing direct funding to official election organizations.” 

Sponsored Post: Reliant Real Estate: Open House tomorrow - 3220 Broadway Road, Alexander

By Sponsored Post
Reliant Real Estate
3220 Broadway Road,  Alexander. Fantastic solid country ranch ready to go! This well taken care of home was completely gutted and remodeled 10 years ago so has little to nothing for the new owner to do but move in. Home has great curb appeal with double wide drive and open front porch and attached garage. When entering you are welcomed into oversized tiled mud room with first floor laundry, large pantry closet and half bath! From there you step into BEAUTIFUL open kitchen with gorgeous hickory cupboards and granite counter tops and oversized kitchen island for meal prep and entertaining! Bright and open large living/dining area with pretty hardwood floors throughout which leads you to screened enclosed back porch overlooking very pretty back yard and patio area! This home is located in Alexander School District and is perfect for starters or downsizers and is conveniently located for quick and easy commute to Buffalo or Batavia and with all the rural charm and peacefulness that you are looking for! Delayed negotiations until Monday May 20th at 7:00.

Borrello honors mental health professional Sue Gagne as 2024 Woman of Distinction

By Press Release
image.png
From left to right: Senator Borrello, Sue Gagne, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman to lead the New York State Senate, and Neil Gagne, Sue’s husband.
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

Mental health professional Sue Gagne was honored this week as a New York State Senate 2024 “Woman of Distinction” at a ceremony in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, alongside fellow honorees from across the state. The award program honors women who've made remarkable contributions to their professions, and their communities and serve as inspiration for others.

“With extraordinary expertise and compassion, Sue Gagne has devoted her career to helping vulnerable individuals access the services they need to build stronger, better lives,” said Senator Borrello. “It’s difficult work, particularly in rural communities like those in my district. Resources are scarcer and the fear of being stigmatized can prevent people in need from seeking help until they’ve reached a crisis point. We are fortunate to have such a committed, effective and courageous professional on the front lines.” 

“Sue’s work in the fields of mental health and recovery has truly been a calling for her. At a time when we are seeing mental health crises reach unprecedented levels, Sue’s dedication is an inspiration,” said Senator Borrello. “It was a privilege to honor her in Albany along with extraordinary women from across the state. I am grateful to Sue and all of our honorees for their contributions.”

Starowitz Road culvert replacement project to begin Monday

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Highway Department announces a temporary closure on Starowitz Road, effective May 20. This closure is necessary to facilitate a ten-week-long large-span culvert replacement project. Traffic will be unable to pass through the affected area during this time.

This project reflects a commitment to enhancing Genesee County's infrastructure. The long-term safety and durability of this road segment will be ensured by replacing the culvert and improving water flow.

Memorial Day events in Genesee County

By Press Release

Press Release:

On May 18 at 2 p.m. the Western New York National Cemetery, 1254 Indian Falls Rd. Corfu, will be holding its Flag Up, which is the installation of the yearly "Avenue of Flags" display. Then on May 25 at 10 a.m. they will be holding their Memorial Day Ceremony, public is invited.

Memorial Day (May 27) Schedule of Ceremonies:

  • 7 a.m. - Genesee Co. Park - Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVA #193)
  • 8 a.m. - Williams Park W.W. I Memorial (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 8:30 a.m. - Batavia VAMC
  • 8:45 a.m. - NYS Veterans Home
  • 9:30 a.m. - Harvester Ave. Plot (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10 a.m. - Upton Monument (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10:30 a.m. - UMMC–Jerome Center (Memorial Day ceremonies: Invocation; Nat’l Anthem w/Batavia Concert 
  • Band; G.A.R. Order of the Day; Veterans Service Organizations Commemorations; Wreath Laying w/Gold Star Mothers; Honor Roll w/drum roll; Rifle Salute; Taps; Benediction; “God Bless America”)
  • 11:30 a.m. - Glenn S. Loomis Grave - Elmwood Cemetery (Legion #332)
  • 12 p.m. - Hansen Bros. Grave – Grandview Cemetery (MCL #951)

Participating Organizations:

  • Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post # 1602 
  • Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193
  • Sons of Union Veterans Abraham Lincoln Camp #6

Post events after ceremonies:

  • Open House VFW Post 1602 Veness-Strollo, 25 Edwards St. Batavia.
  • Luncheon for veteran participants of the ceremonies ALG Post 332, 8960 Alexander Rd. Batavia.

2024 Memorial Day Ceremonies:

Alexander: Parade starting at 10:15 a.m. beginning at the Rec Hall traveling to the Alexander Village Cemetery (a.k.a. Railroad Avenue Cemetery) with the ceremony at 11 a.m.

Batavia: Parade starting at 9:30 a.m. beginning at the East Town Plaza traveling west along Main Street and ending at Alva Place.

Bergen :Parade starting 9 a.m. from Buffalo Street to Hickory Park with the ceremony to take place at Hickory Park at 9:30 a.m.

Byron: Parade starting at 11 a.m. from Terry Street to Byron Cemetery with ceremony to take place following the parade.

Corfu: Parade at 12 p.m. from Corfu Fire Hall on Rt. 33 to the Intermediate School on Rt. 77. Ceremony to take place following the parade.

Elba: Ceremony at Maple Lawn Cemetery at 10 a.m.

Le Roy: Parade at 10:30 a.m. from the American Legion to Trigon Park with a ceremony at Trigon Park at 11:00 a.m. immediately following the parade.

Standardized procedures, recruitment push among key strategies to fix fire, emergency response issues: Yaeger

By Mike Pettinella
Tim Yaeger

The task force charged with finding ways to stabilize fire and emergency medical service in Genesee County has identified eight priority measures from a list of about 100 recommendations provided by an independent consulting firm.

County EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger (photo at right) on Thursday said the task force is meeting regularly in an effort to implement these strategies, with a focus on developing standards that all local fire departments or companies can follow and finding efficient ways to recruit potential volunteer firefighters.

In July 2022, the Genesee County Comprehensive Fire & Emergency Medical Service Implementation Plan (Fire & EMS Plan) was finalized. Since that time, the task force received feedback on the recommendations from Municipal Resources, Inc. of Plymouth, N.H., and has decided to start with the low-hanging fruit – items that won’t take years to put into practice.

Yaeger said that two key recommendations fall into the fire operations category.

From the task force report:

-- The Genesee County Fire Advisory Board, working collaboratively with the Genesee County Emergency Services, should form a committee to begin the development of a comprehensive County-wide Standard Operations Procedures/Guidelines (SOP/SOG) manual utilizing existing SOPs/SOG’s as a starting point. They should also consider the development of County-wide operational manuals based on the Northern Virginia Regional Fire Services manuals. This could even be pursued as a regional endeavor with the other counties in the GLOW region.

-- The Genesee County Fire Advisory Board, working collaboratively with the Genesee County Emergency Services, should adopt a standardized SOP/SOG form.

“Right now, we operate, I would call it regionally,” Yaeger said. “There’s not many calls that the single fire department handles by themselves. Most incidents are now handled by two or more fire companies. So, it makes sense to be basically operating off the same sheet of music. That approach in other parts of the country has had very good success.”

Yaeger said having the same strategies and tactics for all fire departments is “really a safety component.”

“By doing this, we want to make sure that we're all providing a better level of service while maintaining the safety of the firefighters.”

Another of the eight recommendations deals with volunteer recruitment and retention. 

From the task force report:

-- The Genesee County Emergency Services Task Force and Genesee County Fire Service Advisory Board, assisted by the Genesee County Department of Emergency Services, should establish, and recommend the use of a uniform application and screening process for all new members of the fire and EMS services throughout Genesee County. Although these personnel are volunteers, they still enjoy all of the rights of full-time public safety personnel and possess the same high ethical and moral character.

The report states that all volunteers must have a valid driver’s license and submit to background and credit checks, and drug testing.

“The operations group is looking at ways to streamline the application process and the onboarding process of volunteers into the EMS system, or fire and EMS system, and is looking at better ways to market and advertise the need for volunteers,” Yaeger said.

Rounding out the priority recommendations:

-- The Genesee County EMS Council should be reactivated to meet monthly with representatives from local fire departments, Genesee County Sheriff's Department 911 Dispatch Center, Genesee County Emergency Services, Mercy EMS, and LeRoy Ambulance. This group would meet and discuss any documented concerns or thoughts from the previous month to help enhance services in the future. The EMS Council should not be considered as a forum just for the airing of any grievances but an open forum for communication and feedback to improve the quality of EMS service to Genesee County.

-- Working collaboratively, the Genesee County Fire Advisory Board and the Genesee County Emergency Services should develop a plan to deploy several daytime quick response units; fire apparatus staffed with an officer and three firefighters, positioned strategically around the County in fire stations that wish to host them.

-- Genesee County's fire and EMS providers should consider the implementation of a reward, recognition, or incentive program for members that attain a level of more than 25 percent response. An example would be to provide gift certificates for local restaurants, concerts, or other entertainment as a reward for attaining a high level of response.

-- Working collaboratively with their partners at Genesee County, the Genesee County Emergency Services Task Force and Genesee County Fire Advisory Board should explore the feasibility of standardizing many of the tools and equipment utilized by the County's fire departments to allow for cost savings generated by group purchasing arrangements.

-- The Genesee County Legislature should consider funding regional or county positions that would reduce the overall burden on local fire and EMS organizations and enhance operational capability and efficiency. Examples of those positions are training officer, fire operations officer, health and safety officer, fire prevention officer, recruitment and retention officer and human resources officer.

Yaeger said he is encouraged by Genesee County’s move to contract last fall with Le Roy Ambulance and Mercy EMS.

“It seems to have stabilized both organizations, and we consistently continue to monitor their performance because it's fragile,” he said. “The whole EMS system is extremely fragile –both statewide and nationwide. So, we're hoping that the subsidies that the county’s providing to both agencies will be sufficient enough to sustain that reliability, performance and staffing level that we're expecting from those two agencies.”

He also pointed to the significance of having “elected officials at the table with fire service officials,” something that Genesee County EMS is facilitating.

“It’s so important that the elected official understands what's going on in the fire service and the fire service understands where the elected officials are coming from,” he said. “So far, these meetings have been very, very successful.”

Yaeger said he plans to update the Genesee County Legislature on the task force’s work, possibly as soon as next month.

Batavia beats Greece Olympia in flag football semifinal 24-0

By Howard B. Owens
batavia flag football

In its second year, for a second time, Batavia's flag football team has a shot at a sectional title in Class B1 after beating Greece Olympia/Odyssey on Thursday 24-0.

The championship game will be played on Tuesday at Monroe Community College, with a game time of 5 p.m., against Greece Athena.

Batavia is the #1 seed in the tournament, and Athena is the #2 seed.  Athene won its semifinal game over Monroe 33-0.

On Thursday, Anna Varland was 16-24 passing for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Varland also ran for 91 yards and a TD.

Ella Radley rushed for 117 yards and a TD.

Isabella Walsh had six catches for 55 yards.

Jaimin McDonald, five receptions, 51 yards and a TD.

Kylee Brennan, six flag pulls and an interception. Grace Parker also snagged an interception.

Photos by Mike Ognibene.

batavia flag football
batavia flag football
batavia flag football
batavia flag football

Vehicle strikes Colonial West Motel

By Howard B. Owens

A vehicle has reportedly struck a building at 3910 W Main Street Road, the Colonial West Motel, in Batavia.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:32 a.m.: The driver was reported unconscious but a chief on scene reports the driver is conscious. He's backed his vehicle away from the building. There is no damage to the building. The chief requests a medical evaluation for the driver.

Mruczek surpasses 450 career strikeouts for Batavia

By Staff Writer
Batavia softball

Giana Mruczek, a senior at Batavia High School, recorded her 450th career strikeout on Wednesday against Pittsford-Mendon.

With 13ks in the game, she now has 462 career strikeouts.

The Blue Devils lost the game 5-0.

Masse touts experience, strong relationships as he begins tenure as GCEDC president/CEO

By Mike Pettinella
Mark Masse

Earlier this week, the Genesee County Economic Development Center issued a press release on the promotion of Batavia resident Mark Masse from senior vice president of operations to president and chief executive officer.

Masse, 51, (in file photo at right) is a lifelong Genesee County resident, growing up in Stafford, graduating from Le Roy Central School and spending some of his spare time at Adam Miller Toys & Bicycle on Center Street in Batavia – a business started by his grandfather and later owned by his mother, Joyce, and uncle, Gary Miller.

An avid golfer and bowler, Masse joined the Polish Falcons leagues in both sports in 1995 and has been participating ever since. The start of his 30th year in the bowling league will be delayed a bit, however, due to a scheduled hip replacement in October.

He has a daughter, Grace, and 6-month-old granddaughter, Kennedy, and a son, Jack.

Masse is a certified public account who worked for Freed, Maxick & Battaglia for 15 years before being hired by the GCEDC. 

On Thursday afternoon, Masse sat down with The Batavian to talk about his expanded role with the agency, which will be official on Aug. 1. He succeeds Steve Hyde, who guided the organization as president and CEO for the past 21 years.

Q. You’re succeeding Steve Hyde in the lead role with the agency. Is that something that you had been discussing with Steve after he announced his retirement last month?

A. I think it was just a natural progression, to be honest. When I started here, the position was created to help Steve with the number of projects that we had ongoing and STAMP (Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama) was just getting off the ground at the time. Over the years, it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing and I learned a lot from Steve. When it came time for him to retire, I was here with the right kind of experience and knowledge to be able to hopefully step in and continue on what he had started.

Q. Your title was senior vice president of operations. Have there been any other changes now in (employees’) titles. Has anyone moved into the VP/Operations position?

A. No other changes at this point in time but that’s not to say there couldn’t be some in the future. But for now, no.

Q. Steve Hyde has left a big imprint on this corporation with everything that he has done over the years, not just with the STAMP site but throughout the county. You have big shoes to fill. What are your thoughts about trying to fill those shoes and do you have specific things that you’re looking to do?

A. Obviously, we want to continue the momentum we've had in the past … such as our corporate business parks that are almost full. We’ll be starting to look at some other future parks. But we do face some significant challenges, especially the water capacities in the county and it’s no secret. That’s a large issue that the county is diligently working on, but it could be a few years before we get those capacities. I think the electric grid is seeing significant challenges as well --with the shutdown of fossil fuels -- and alternative energy generation projects coming on. We’re running into a lot of issues with capacities on the utility lines. We want to develop a few more corporate business parks but until some of those capacity issues get addressed, it's going to be difficult. But fortunately, we have STAMP that we can continue to work on and can continue to attract tenants to and build out.

Q. Now that you brought up STAMP, you’ve had some legal issues there with trying to push wastewater to Oak Orchard Creek (in Orleans County). Where does that stand now and do you feel that you will be resolving that issue?

A. So, one of the lawsuits was resolved, the one with Orleans County on the article 78, that was ruled in our favor. The eminent domain one was heard on April 16. And we're waiting to hear back on that. I think there are opportunities to come back together and discuss things and try and work things out. Ultimately, we are also looking at other options; we have to look at other alternatives that might be available to us. I'm confident one way or another, we'll figure out a solution. One of the things that we've always done is we've been able to figure out a way to get things done. And I think that's emphatic of what Genesee County is, right? We're resilient. We're determined, and to some extent, we're all a little stubborn.

Q. How is the agency’s relationship with Orleans County? Has it been hampered or hurt because of this Oak Orchard Creek issue? Do other alternatives include working with the Town of Oakfield?

A. We are looking at a short-term solution, potentially for sanitary sewer to go the Oakfield treatment plant. I don't want to say that, you know, Orleans County relations are hurt. I mean, people, neighbors fight all the time, siblings fight all the time. And I think that after some time, after we've had a chance to kind of settle down, I think there's an opportunity to get back together and see if we can work it out.

Q. One of the criticisms you hear on social media, from the so-called experts, is that the GCEDC just hands out money. Those who cover the GCEDC know that there’s a formula involved (for determining tax abatements), but how to you fight and overcome that perception?

A. One thing that we always try to do is meet with our stakeholders as much as we can and we try and explain the process. I present to the Leadership Genesee class every year about who we are, what we do, and my three top slides that are we don't give out money. So, it's an abatement and I don't think people truly understand how that works. They feel like we're subsidizing a company. But if you look at the way tax rates are and the municipal services that corporations draw versus municipal services that residents draw, corporations are generally around 70 cents or so let's say out of $1 for services while residences are like $1.20. So, even if a corporation comes in -- number one, the fire district fees are never abated, those are always paid 100 percent. So those corporations are helping to offset those costs of services that municipalities offer that the residents use. It's not too often that those corporations draw down those services. The PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) revenue that's being generated is usually significantly more than what the vacant land or the previous land was generating for those municipalities as well. Not to mention that you're creating jobs locally that those people are going to spend their money here; you've got a company that's going to buy from local companies or bring in other revenue from outside the community.

Q. Do you have a one-year, five-year, and 10-year strategic plans? What are some of the strategies going forward?

A. That’s a process that the board (of directors) is going to undertake and we (staff) will undertake with them. Shortly, we'll examine what's out there and see what land is available, where it would make sense to potentially look at another corporate business park and what other sectors we want to try and get involved in. I think one of the areas we've seen where there's a bit of a shortfall is in workforce training and workforce development. I think there's an untapped market for us to be able to assist our local ag farmers in trying to find some skill sets and trainings for some of their employees. A lot of what their employees do are the skilled trade work on a regular basis that we've seen a significant decline in over the years, and we're trying to get kids excited about and get back into.

Q. The GCEDC has been pretty active in the Pembroke area. Are there other areas in the county that are untapped, so to speak?

A. A lot of that is going to be driven by the location and the size and the capacities and the infrastructure that's there. Unfortunately, the majority of large scale water, large scale sewer and electric is generally around where the Thruway exits are. However, there is a significant need for single-family housing market rate apartments in our communities. And we've reached out to a few of the outlying communities about what opportunities might be there, if they've got areas identified for housing because that seems to be what they are interested in -- is trying to attract people. In the most recent census, I think Genesee County's lost like 1,500 people over the last couple of years. So, we aren't growing and we need to figure out a way to do that. And one of the keys is to have housing here for people.

(The GCEDC’s corporate park sites include Apple Tree Acres in Bergen; Buffalo East Tech Park in Pembroke; Gateway I & II, Genesee Valley Agribusiness Park and Upstate Medtech Park in the Town of Batavia; and Le Roy Food & Tech Park).

Q. Are you connected with the apartment complex that is going on next to you (on College Road)?

A. Yes, that’s a market rate apartment complex that a gentleman will be renting those units out. It’s called Medtech Landing. We did sell the land, obviously, that was part of our Medtech Park. We did incentivize that with a PILOT and sales tax and mortgage tax abatement on there as well. And then part of those funds are going to be used to fund our Batavia Home Fund, which will help with some programs within the City of Batavia for housing. We just recently had our first draw on that for a gentleman who replaced the roof on his house and got a grant from the Batavia Home Fund to cover 50 percent or 60 percent of the cost of replacing his roof.

Q. Speaking of the City of Batavia, there's a something sitting there called Ellicott Station, which has not been completed and could be considered as an embarrassment to the city. What is GCEDC’s role in getting tenants in there?

A. The GCEDC board terminated all of its benefits that were awarded to that -- the PILOT, the sales tax and mortgage tax.  I think our board's position is that unless it's going to be market rate., we don’t have a desire to participate in that project. Now, where it stands, I don't know. That's up to (Buffalo developer) Sam Savarino.  People have said there's been work on going out there. I don't really know what's going on. We haven't been contacted by anybody who's been interested in trying to acquire it and using our any of our incentives that we have.

Q. What do you feel your strengths are – things that you have already brought to the company – and what are some of the things you need to work on?

A. I definitely think I have an extensive background from accounting with a wide variety of businesses and learning how to interpret financial statements and how to work with a company and how to work with people. I do think that my people skills are good. You know, I think that people know that I care and know that I work hard. And I truly believe in what I'm doing here. And everybody here believes in what we're doing here and trying to move our county forward and make it a better place. Working with Steve, he's brought me along. So, I have a lot of those key relationships with stakeholders as well. We do need to work on things like public perception. I think there’s some messaging we can get out there. Not everybody's going to believe it. But I think there's opportunities out there to try … and engage people and provide that information.

Q. Getting back to STAMP, there was a big presentation by Senator Schumer a couple years ago about Plug Power coming there. Right now, the company’s stock has bottomed out and they just received a $1.66 billion conditional loan from the Department of Energy. Is Plug Power going to make it?

A. They’ve told us they have full intentions of finishing their project at the STAMP site. They have put it on pause temporarily. Beyond that, I think any other questions would be for them directly. I don't ever like to speak for a private company and what they've got going on. They've received incentives no different than most other companies. And we do have triggers in there similar to like with Savarino that if things were to go bad, that there are opportunities for us to not only cancel those, but potentially claw them back. But there's been nothing done to date that would lead us to go down that path. 

Q. Is there a company operational now at STAMP?

A. No, Edwards Vacuum has just broken ground and they're under construction. They’re in the semiconductor supply chain. They make dry vacuum pumps, which means there's no oil lubrication in the pumps at all. So they're used in the semiconductor industry in the sub floor to help regulate gases and clean the air within clean rooms. Basically, they're the premier pump manufacturer for most semiconductor manufacturers. These particular pumps were only made overseas. So, by building in the U.S., they're significant cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by locating closer to their potential customers and their current customers and to be able to truck those pumps to them. They intend to complete construction by June or July of next year. (Edwards Vacuum is owned by Atlas Copco, a worldwide company).

Q. Did you get a raise? It’s public knowledge. What is your salary?

A. (After a hearty laugh), It will be in the contract and I would prefer not to (disclose it now) but if you ask for it later, we’ll have to provide it.

(According to the GCEDC, Masse’s compensation in 2023 was $129,369, while Hyde earned $263,161. Masse said his new salary is less than what Hyde was making).

I’m very, very fortunate not only for the salary but the opportunity and the confidence that the board and our local communities have put in me and the people I work with put in me to be able to continue this going forward. 

Sorochty records 600th career K in ND's 13-0 win over Albion

By Press Release
notre dame softball

Press release:

Norte Dame ace pitcher Loretta Sorochty finished her regular season career in style on Wednesday, reaching the 600 career strikeout mark in the second inning of tonight's game, and then went on to set a new ND record for strikeouts in a game with 20.  

Sorochty pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout. In addition to striking out 20 hitters, she assisted on the only other out in the game by throwing out a batter in the 7th inning who bunted to her.  

Offensively for the Lady Irish, Sorochty, Emma Sisson, Mia Treleaven and Gianna Falleti each had 2 hits.  Sorochty had a triple, scored three runs and added two RBIs; Sisson scored two runs and had three RBIs. Treleaven scored a run and added an RBI, and Falleti scored a run and added an RBI.  In addition, Katie Landers, Hannah Tenney, Olivia Gillard and Amelia Sorochty each added base hits.

Notre Dame finishes the regular season at 15-3 and clinches the #2 seed in Class D. They also finish the regular season with a perfect record in the Genesee Region at 12-0 and won the Genesee Region Division title.  

Submitted photos.

notre dame softball
notre dame softball
notre dame softball
notre dame softball
notre dame softball

Sponsored Post: OPEN HOUSE this weekend - 20 Ellicott Street, Batavia! Call Priya Rathod today for more details

By Sponsored Post
Priya Rahtod

20 Ellicott Avenue, Batavia - Open House: Saturday (5/18) 1-3pm, Sunday (5/19) 12-2pm. Step into this exquisite Victorian residence on the beloved Ellicott Ave. A spacious kitchen with Corian countertops, a farmhouse sink, and a central island welcome you upon entry. Adjacent to the kitchen, discover a versatile space suitable for a bedroom or office. Next, find a charming full bath, featuring a claw foot tub. The spacious living room provides access to the enchanting wrap-around porch, perfect for serene evenings. Ascend to the 2nd floor and be greeted by a magnificent wooden foyer with leaded stained-glass windows. The sizable primary bedroom boasts an attached sleeping porch. Explore further to uncover a kitchen reminiscent of the home's past life as a triplex. For investors, you’ll find this property can easily be converted back. Continuing on, you’ll find a 2nd floor bathroom, featuring a newly tiled shower, a luxurious jacuzzi tub, and ample space to indulge in self-care. Laundry becomes a breeze with abundant storage and amenities. Finally, on the 3rd floor, discover two generously sized rooms, brimming with potential and awaiting your creative touch! Viewings start 5-16 (10am) offers due on 5-22 by 5pm. 

Top Items on Batavia's List

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Full-time Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee (Salary $23.65/hr.) This is a trainee position involving responsibility for learning the duties and routines in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment plant.  The work is performed under the immediate supervision of a qualified operator. Does on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water treatment plant. Does related work as required. Applicant must be a graduate of a senior high school or possess a New York State high school equivalency diploma. Please submit a completed Civil Service Application to Human Resources, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or tdean@batavianewyork.com. Background check, psychological assessment, physical and drug testing are required. Candidate must become a resident of Genesee County or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO. Applications can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us
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