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March 14, 2019 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mr. Batavia, news, schools, Batavia HS, batavia.


Video Sponsor

The seventh annual Mr. Batavia show is set for 7 p.m., March 21, at Batavia High School in the Auditorium. 

There are 12 seniors in this year's competition, each representing a different charity in the community. 

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the winner's charity. Last year, $4,400 was raised and in seven years the student-run event has raised $20,190.

Tickets are $8 and are available at the school's main office and tickets will also be available at the door until sold out.

This year's contestants and their charities are:

  • #1 - Harley Radley -- Pancreatic Assoc. of WNY
  • #2 - Will Palmer -- 25 Neediest Fund
  • #3 - Taiyo Iburi-Bethel -- All Babies Cherished
  • #4 -  Cameron Austin -- Batavia VA
  • #5 - Terelle Spinks -- Volunteers for Animals
  • #6 - Griffin DellaPenna -- Michael Napoleone Foundation
  • #7 - AT Thatcher -- GO ART!
  • #8 - Kris Kuszlyk -- Juvenile Diabetes Research of WNY
  • #9 - Alec Frongetta -- Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • #10 - Cameron Bontrager -- Batavia Players
  • #11 - John Bruggman -- Crossroads House
  • #12 - Sam Rigerman -- Habitat for Humanity


March 13, 2019 - 7:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news.

A Statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on the Assembly Majority’s one-house budget wish-list:

 “While I do support restoring the governor’s cuts to municipalities and funding of the Extreme Winter Recovery infrastructure program, I will not stand for a $5.7 billion tax increase as was proposed by New York City politicians today.

“There was no mention of unfunded mandate relief or breaks for small businesses, and even through all those taxes, Assembly leadership still chose to gut counseling services for veterans – an awful decision.

“Included was also an additional tax on rental cars which disproportionately affects Upstate as many in New York City use public transit to travel.

"It’s ironic that Downstate politicians want to further tax rental cars – that may be the last and final tax many families pay as they are leaving our state for the last time.”

March 13, 2019 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia city school district, batavia, news, schools, education.


Dr. Joseph Zambon and Mrs. Paula Fischer are Outstanding Community Members
In recognition of their work to include our students’ families in the Give Kids a Smile Day, Dr. Joseph Zambon and Mrs. Paula Fischer were nominated to receive Outstanding Community Member Awards.

While Dr. Zambon was unable to be present, Mrs. Fischer was presented with the award by Board of Education president Patrick Burk at the BCSD Board meeting on March 12.

They were nominated by Julia Rogers, district coordinator of Assessment and Instructional Services, who wrote:

"Dr. Zambon, dean of the UB School of Dental Medicine, and Notre Dame alumnus, and Mrs. Fischer, director of School-Based Programs at the UB Dental School, and BHS alumna, coordinated the partnership between the Batavia City School District and the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine for their annual Give Kids A Smile Day.

"The event, for children 1-18 years of age, took place on Feb. 9. They coordinated with Fidelis Care to offer free transportation to UB for families to attend if they needed it. The UB Dental’s Give Kids a Smile event offered free dental care -- including exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions, orthodontic consultations (braces), hearing and vision screenings, and healthy eating demonstrations.

"Every child and parent received oral health supplies and lunch bag. We are so grateful to UB Dental for their inclusion of BCSD families in this event.”

March 13, 2019 - 6:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in strongman, sports, Darien, powerlifting.


Darien resident Lucas Birkby came home Sunday with five medals from a powerlifting competition in Mamaroneck sponsored by United States Strongman Inc. 

Birkby set official state records for the axle clean and press at 320 pounds, the 18-inch deadlift at 700 pounds, deadlift at 650 pounds, the log press at 310 pounds, and the atlas stone, at 360 pounds. The axle clean and the 18-inch deadlift are also national records for the heavyweight teen division.

His father, Scott Birkby said, "In addition to training at home, Luke has been training twice a week at Iron and Stone Strength gym in Clarence. His trainer is Tony Kalisz. We found this Strongman gym through a Google search since Luke's ultimate dream is to become the world's strongest man.

"I've got the feeling that the fellows there raised an eyebrow when we wrote to them and said that a teenager (he was 17 and just turned 18 this February) wanted to do strongman, but they said: 'go ahead and send him in.' That was about 10 months ago. Luke and the guys (and girls!) at the gym have had a great time since he showed up. 

Birkby has qualified to compete at the nationals in June in Columbus, Ohio.

Scott said his son is PED-free (performance-enhancing drug), adding, "Our grocery bill has taken a pretty big hit for this."

Photos and info submitted by Scott Birkby.


March 13, 2019 - 6:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, news, notify.

A grand jury stenographer has allegedly been audio recording grand jury proceedings, which isn't legally permissible, and the attorneys for Jennifer L. Serrano think the stenographer's actions are enough to get a second-degree vehicular manslaughter charge dismissed.

The 48-year-old Serrano was charged following the Aug. 11 death of 18-year-old Connor Lynskey after a Jason Aldean concert in Darien.

"I was not aware of the recordings until recently and as a matter of an ethical obligation, I notified the defense attorneys involved," said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

While attorneys Frank LoTempio III, and Jack Sanchez have filed a motion seeking dismissal of the grand jury indictment against Serrano, Friedman doesn't believe the recordings jeopardize the case.

"We do not believe, regardless of what the court decides, it will result in the dismissal of the indictment or lead to anything that would delay the case."

Friedman has until April 5 to file his answer to the motion with the court and Judge Charles Zambito may conduct a hearing on the motion April 25 at 1:30 p.m. LoTempio and Sanchez have asked to put the stenographer on the stand at the hearing. It will be up to Zambito to decide if there should be a hearing and whether to call the stenographer to the stand.

The recordings, if made, are a potential violation of New York's Judiciary Law, though Friedman disagrees with the analysis by LoTempio and Sanchez that the recordings rise to the level of a misdemeanor. Friedman isn't anticipating any charges in the case.

Friedman's office had no prior knowledge of the recordings and did not benefit from the recordings. The stenographer is an independent contractor and is not employed by the District Attorney's Office.

The stenographer was using a shorthand machine manufactured with the recording capability built right into the device, which is why the DA's office was not aware of the recording being made. Such a mahcine may be permissible in other legal proceedings but in New York, not in a grand jury proceeding.

Assistant District Attorney Shirley Gorman discovered the fact that the recordings were being made and brought it to Friedman's attention.

Friedman and the ADAs in his office have notified defense attorneys about the recordings but he didn't have a count for how many cases that might involve. As for as his own cases, only one other defense attorney has filed a motion related to the recordings.

"The bottom line, I really believe, is this is not going to be an issue that is going to impact cases," Friedman said. "We’re not concerned that we’re going to have indictments dismissed or any that severe as a result of this."

As for Serrano, if the case does go to trial, LoTempio said the defense is ready to proceed. They plan to bring forward an expert witness who will testify that Lynskey was intoxicated and either walking or running in the lane of traffic when he was struck.

The defense will argue that Lynskey was at fault in the accident, LoTempio said.

They also believe there is evidence to indicate that Serrano didn't know she had struck a person and therefore didn't have the requisite knowledge to be charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

The accident occurred Aug. 11 on Sumner Road. Lynskey was with friends and family at the Aldean concert at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. They were camping at Darien Lakes State Park. After the concert, the group started on foot back to the campground. The Sheriff's Office report of the accident indicated Lynskey decided to run ahead and catch up with a friend. When both groups were back at the camp, they realized Lynskey was missing. Law enforcement searched the area that night but did not find Lynskey. His body was found the next day in a ditch by the side of the road.

Serrano had been stopped and charged that night with a DWI. The accident may have occurred about a half hour before she was arrested. Through leads, Sheriff's investigators identified her as a suspect in the fatal accident.

March 13, 2019 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, news, arts, entertainment.


Le Roy High School presents the musical "Once On This Island" this weekend.

A description of the story:

Ti Moune, a peasant girl, rescues a wealthy boy from the other side of the island, Daniel, with whom she falls in love. Unbeknownst to Ti Moune, the pompous gods who preside over the island make a bet with one another over which is stronger, love or death, the stakes being Ti Moune's life.

When she pursues Daniel, who has returned to his people, Ti Moune is shunned because of her lowly status. Her determination and capacity to love, though, is not enough to win Daniel's heart, and Ti Moune pays the ultimate price; but the gods turn Ti Moune into a tree that grows so strong and so tall, it breaks the wall that separates the societies and ultimately unites them.

Lead cast members:

  • Ti Moune -- Marlena Pencille
  • Daniel -- Lukas Austin
  • Agwe -- Xach Carr
  • Asaka -- Alexis Pfendler
  • Erzulie -- Hailey Grasso
  • Papa Ge -- Megan Privatera
  • Mama Euralie -- Emily Overacker
  • Ton Ton Julian -- Daniel Ferrara
  • Little Ti Moune -- Ashlyn Puccio

All show times are at 7 p.m., opening tomorrow with shows on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at leroycsd.org or at the door.








March 13, 2019 - 5:04pm

Press release:

Spring is in the air and so is chicken BBQ season! Mary Immaculate Parish in East Bethany announces its 2019 chicken BBQ schedule:

  • Sunday, March 17
  • Sunday, April 28
  • Sunday, May 19

Meals are available starting at 10:45 a.m. until sold out.

Meals include: a half chicken (barbecued to perfection on our outdoor grills), a baked potato, vegetable, coleslaw, roll, coffee, tea, with piece of cake or pie for dessert.

Cost is $11 for adults; $7 for children 12 and under.

A $7 chicken-only take-out is also available.

The church is located at 5865 Ellicott St. Road (Route 63) in East Bethany.

March 13, 2019 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

Senate Democrats advanced their one-house budget resolution today. State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) voted against it. 

Senator Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“Today’s budget resolution takes more hard-earned dollars from taxpayers. It hikes taxes by $2 billion in the first year alone. It also imposes many new and increased taxes, including on Internet purchases, paper bags, prescription drugs, driving, and real estate purchases. 

“Under this misguided budget proposal, New York State will continue to experience the steepest population loss in the United States. This irresponsible plan will exacerbate Upstate’s economic challenges and force even more Upstate residents to leave for more affordable states.

“All of these taxes will make it more expensive to live, work and retire in our state. Simply put, this plan doesn’t work for the residents of our community.”

March 13, 2019 - 4:38pm

Press release:

"Music in Our Schools Month" will be celebrated this year by the Batavia High School Music Department’s annual Music In Our Schools Concert. It will be held in the High School (260 State St.) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26th and will feature music from every school and grade level in the district.

It is free and open to the public.

Emily Caccamise, a graduating senior, has performed in this concert for many years.

“I think the concerts are fantastic!" Emily said. "I love performing for my school and my district, but I especially think it is important that younger kids get to see what is possible.

"They watch the older kids play and, if they stick with it, they will grow and get better with practice.”

Freya Mellander and Lily Burke are both Middle School students who will be performing that night.

Lily said, “It’s really fun when you’re a younger kid and you get to play for and alongside the older kids! It’s great to see where you’re headed and exciting to see what you’ll do and grow into!”

Freya added, “One favorite memory was when I saw Mary Murphy (a senior) as a singer. I’ve only known her from Winter Guard, so it’s fun to see kids that you know perform on their instruments when you usually don’t hear them in that way!”

Jane Haggett is a strong advocate for the music program at Batavia. As department head, she strives to find many ways for music to enrich the community. She points out that the National Association for Music Education -- AKA NAfME, states “All Music All People,” that everyone is affected by music not just during the month of March.

March 13, 2019 - 4:36pm


The Child Advocacy Center in Batavia has a new forensic camera that cost about $16,000 thanks to the generosity of the folks at Chapin Industries.

Every year, Chapin hosts a golf tournament and proceeds from the tournament go a local charity. Last summer's tournament was a fundraiser for the CAC.

Justice for Children/Child Advocacy Center is a government program but it is entirely funded by grants and donations. Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children, said the camera is more advanced than what the center could normally get through grant programs so the donation was most welcome.

The camera is able to take higher resolution photos to document evidence of physical and sexual abuse, which may not be apparent with a standard camera.

The center is also undergoing a major renovation. The renovations will cost about $250,000 and Sheriff William Sheron said there is a possible funding shortfall of $50,000. He's asking members of the community to step up and help fill that gap. To donate visit www.justiceforchildrenadvocacycenter.org.

Photo: Bill Kegler, Sheriff William Sheron, Theresa Asmus-Roth, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, Norm Hubbard, and Ian Weatherbee.

March 13, 2019 - 4:27pm

Press release:

Every second, three new businesses "startup" in the United States. In the time it takes the average reader to finish this paragraph, nine new companies will be born, according to the 2018 GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) national report.

Conversely, the Small Business Administration tells us that 50 percent of those will fail during the first four to five years; but why is that? Do half of the entrepreneurs in the country have lousy ideas? Actually, among the leading causes for startup failure is a lack of basic business experience.

In lieu of losing thousands of investment dollars, today's entrepreneurs have found another way to gain that experience before launching their startup -- education.

"If you don't educate yourself, you'll never get out of the starting block because you'll spend all your money making foolish decisions," said Daymond John, investor on "Shark Tank," a reality television show on ABC in which contestants pitch their business ideas to a panel of potential investors in hopes of launching their retail dreams.

Genesee Community College offers both degree and certificate programs in Entrepreneurship to prepare emerging business owners and investors for success. To further open up learning opportunities to both students and the public, GCC teamed up with the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center) to sponsor the second annual Business Idea Pitch Competition.

The competition will be held Tuesday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building at the Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus.

The deadline for competitors to register to participate is April 5.

Registration requires the participant to submit an Executive Summary of their business idea, and attend at least one of the preparation workshops listed below. Participating high school students are not required to attend a workshop.

The competition is limited to 25 participants who will be selected based on their Executive Summary submissions and announced on April 5.

Executive Summary criteria and submission instructions are available by contacting Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., at [email protected]

The GCEDC's StartUp Genesee Networking Group has donated cash prizes which will be awarded at the Pitch Competition on April 30. Prizes of $100 for first place and $75 for second place will be awarded to the most outstanding competitors in the "most likely to succeed" and "most creative" categories. Pitches will be judged by local business leaders.

To help participants pursue their passions and take their first entrepreneurial steps, GCC will host three preparation workshops. 

  • Starting a Business -- Tuesday, April 9, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in room T121
  • Business Plan Basics -- Tuesday, April 23, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in room T121
  • Idea Pitch Practice -- Thursday, April 25, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in room T122

These workshops are free and open to anyone participating in the Business Idea Pitch Competition. To sign up for a workshop, please contact Lina LaMattina , Ph.D., at [email protected].

March 13, 2019 - 4:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, crime, batavia.

Josselyn A. Scott, 57, of Back Creek Road, Boston NY, is charged with driving while intoxicated with a previous conviction within the last 10 years, and driving with an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle while on the highway. Scott was arrested at 5:31 p.m. March 10 for felony DWI and drinking in her car after she was allegedly observed leaving the scene of a property-damage accident on the Thruway, then seen sitting in the parking lot of 200 Oak St., Batavia, with her vehicle running. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court then jailed without bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Timothy D. Eastridge, 41, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with: endangering the welfare of a child; unlawful possession of marijuana; and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree -- previous felony conviction. Eastridge was arrested following a Child Protective Services home visit at 11:24 a.m. on March 8. Eastridge allegedly had smoked marijuana in close proximity to his children and he was allegedly found to possess a .22-caliber rifle. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence.

Stephanie M. Hartgrove, 30, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She was arrested at 11:24 a.m. on March 8 after a Child Protective Services investigation where Hartgrove allegedly allowed her live-in boyfriend to smoke marijuana in close proximity to "their children in common." She was issued an appearance ticker and is due in Batavia City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence.

March 13, 2019 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, news.


June Rouse was sorry to see it go -- the planter she has lovingly cultivated for 10 years around her mailbox on Lyman Road, Byron.

She learned just a day ahead of time that a new water line being installed on Lyman was going right through the side of the road her mailbox is on.

She tried to save what she could with a tractor, digging up big frozen clumps of earth with her bulbs in the dirt. She hopes she can replant everything this spring.

Photo submitted by June Rouse.

March 13, 2019 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, batavia, news.


Since a property tax cap was imposed on local governments in 2011, New York taxpayers have saved $25 billion in additional taxes, said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday during an appearance at Genesee Community College.

"I think people like that," Hochul said. "I think if you're a resident or a business owner, you like that."

Hochul is visiting communities throughout Western New York to drum up support for making the tax cap permanent and end periodic efforts to undo one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's landmark accomplishments.

Keeping the tax cap is important to attracting new business to the state, Hochul said.

"Any business can go anywhere they want in the nation and we're working had to bring them to Upstate New York," Hochul said. "If you're going to lure them from low-tax states, we need to be able to say to them, 'you can count on what your tax rate is going to be because it's permanently locked in at this number.' "

Hochul, herself once a town board member in Hamburg, acknowledged that living within a 2-percent cap on the property tax levy is a challenge for local governments but she thinks it's worth the effort.

"We had a reputation for being a high tax-and-spend state and the governor on the first day he took office, he said we deserve that reputation," Hochul said. "That's been our legacy for the past 40 years."

Cuomo, Hochul said, has been focused on helping Upstate New York recover from decades of neglect and has directed $44 billion in economic development to Upstate, for things like roads and airports and railroads, and industrial and agricultural parks.

The effort is paying off, Hochul said, as the evidence in Batavia shows, where downtown is being revitalized and another $10 million is being invested in additional improvements downtown.

As part of her tax justice talk, Hochul also discussed the elimination of deductions of state and federal taxes. Reinstating the deductions is a matter of tax fairness, she said, because people wouldn't be taxed twice on the same income.

The elimination of the deductions is costing New York taxpayers $15 billion a year.

Submitted photo.

March 12, 2019 - 4:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Le Roy, crime, notify.

On March 10, the Le Roy Police Department arrested 22-year-old Andray P. Bair of Thorold, Ontario, Canada (inset photo) and charged him with one count each of: vehicular assault in the first degree (a Class D felony); vehicular manslaughter in the second degree (a Class D felony); driving while intoxicated and driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more (unclassified misdemeanors); speed not reasonable and prudent and moving from lane unsafely (violations).

The charges stem from a fatal motor-vehicle accident, which occurred on Feb. 24 at about 3:30 a.m. at the intersection of Wolcott Street and Clay Street (Route 19) in the Village of Le Roy when the vehicle Bair was driving left the roadway and struck the house at 79 Clay St.

The vehicular manslaughter charge alleges that Bair, while operating a motor vehicle and as a result of intoxication or impairment by the use of alcohol, operated a motor vehicle in a manner that caused the death of Handel Jamal Love, age 22, also of Canada, by veering his vehicle out of the driving lane and crashing it into the house.

The charge of vehicular assault alleges that Bair, while operating the motor vehicle while intoxicated and as a result of such intoxication or impairment, operated the motor vehicle in a manner that caused serious physical injury to more than one person, specifically the two passengers, Anuoluwa T. Makinwa, age 22, of Canada, and Handel Jamal Love, by veering the vehicle out of the driving lane and crashing it into the house.

At the time of the collision, Love was pronounced dead at the scene, while Bair flown to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight and Makinwa was transported by ground ambulance to Strong Hospital.

Bair was released from the hospital on March 10 and arrested and arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash/$50,000 bond.

Makinwa was transferred from Strong Hospital to a Canadian hospital for continued medical treatment.

The Le Roy Police Department was assisted at the scene by the Le Roy Fire Department, Le Roy Ambulance Service, Caledonia ambulance, Mercy Flight Ground Ambulance and Helicopter, New York State Police Crash Management, Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Genesee County Coroner and the Genesee County District Attorney's Office.

March 12, 2019 - 4:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, local produce, news, business, Taste NY.

Press release:

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that Taste NY Farm Markets will begin at New York State Thruway service areas for the 2019 season on Monday, April 1.

The Taste NY Farm Markets will promote the world-class food and beverage products found around the State. The Thruway Authority and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets are continuing this annual offering of the finest locally grown produce from New York's farms. 

"Taste NY is an economic engine in every corner of the state and has expanded New York's booming agriculture industry," Governor Cuomo said. "These farm markets at Thruway service areas will provide farmers and producers a unique opportunity to showcase their products to millions of tourists, supporting the growth of farms and small businesses across the Empire State." 

"From maple syrup, to dairy, to fruits and vegetables, New York produces an amazing variety of high-quality agricultural products," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Our Taste NY program showcases the best we have to offer, and we are looking forward to another season providing travelers with fresh, locally-grown products at stops along the Thruway."

The New York State Thruway features outdoor farm market locations at service areas across its 570-mile system. In 2018, a dozen local producers from regions across New York State participated in the markets at 20 service areas, reaching millions of visitors who travel the Thruway throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall.

Customers will have access to locally grown fruit, vegetables, honey, maple syrup, nuts, butter, cheese and more depending on availability. Only produce grown or produced in New York State may be sold. Market days and hours of operation are dependent on product availability and weather.

Motorists are encouraged to visit thruway.ny.gov for locations, hours, participating farms and available products.

Genesee County vendors interested in selling food products at Taste NY Farm Markets should email [email protected] for more information on how to participate this season.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said, "We thank Governor Cuomo and Executive Director Driscoll for supporting Taste NY and providing our farmers and producers with a platform to showcase their top-notch products and reach new markets.

"The start of the farm market season is a reminder of our rich and longstanding tradition of agriculture and its economic impact in New York State." 

Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "Our service areas offer a unique setting which can reach millions of people from across the state, country, and world. The Thruway Authority is proud to support the Taste NY initiative by providing a venue where our local farmers and producers can sell their goods to the traveling public." 

About Taste NY

The Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth and recognition since it was created in 2013 by Governor Cuomo. The program reported sales of $1.5 million in 2014, tripled those figures to $4.5 million in 2015, and $13.1 million in 2016.

In 2017, Taste NY saw producer sales grow to a record $16.1 million. Taste NY, which is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at a variety of venues throughout the State and at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park.

It has also helped the farms and companies participating in the program to reach more customers, increase online sales, and, in many cases, expand the processing capacity of their business. Taste NY's food and beverage businesses also support the State's farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products. 

Today, New York products sold under Taste NY branding are available in more than 70 locations throughout the State as well as the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

March 12, 2019 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, child lead poisoning, Public Health.

Press release:

Genesee County public health officials today expressed concern that a critically important proposal to better protect children from lead poisoning will be impossible to effectively implement without an appropriate commitment of new flexible state resources.

The proposal, which passed the NYS Assembly and is also contained within the Executive Budget, would lower the acceptable blood lead level in children from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dl) to 5 μg/dl.

Local health officials conservatively estimate that implementing and sustaining the program would increase costs to local health departments by $35 million annually. The Executive Budget proposal allocates just $9.4 million in funding, which is insufficient in both dollar amount and funding structure.

Any and all funding for this proposal must be located within the existing Lead Prevention appropriation to allow for nurses and staff to intervene. Without the proper funding struc- ture, local health departments will not be able to hire staff to meet the demands of this policy.

“Lowering the acceptable blood lead threshold is good policy, but it will trigger an avalanche of intervention demands on local health department nurses and staff,” said NY-SACHO President Paul Pettit, who also serves as Public Health director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

State Health Department data from the three years most recently reported show that nearly 500,000 children under the age of 6 had been screened for lead poisoning. In 2015 alone (the most recent year reported by DOH) 1,800 children tested above 10 μg/dl.

These children and their families required services from local health department staff to engage in the clinical and environmental response strategies necessary protect the entire household from continued lead exposure. Depending on the magnitude of the poisoning sources and required mitigation, these interventions can last days, weeks and even months.

Lowering the limit to 5 μg/dL, while sound public health policy, will dramatically increase the number of children and families who would require similar services.

Based on the five-year average incidence (from 2011-2015), if the lower limit is adopted, approximately 18,000 additional children could require services. Local health departments would be unable to respond to an increase of that scale without a commensurate increase in resources that can be used to hire staff.

“Effective public health policy requires public health resources,” Pettit said. “We will continue working with our state leaders to craft a final proposal that will deliver on its promise of better protecting our children from lead poisoning.”

March 12, 2019 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in St. Patrick's Day, STOP-DWI, news.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator, Matt Landers, announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on March 15th and will end on March 18th. St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is a notoriously deadly period for impaired driving due to the number of celebrations and drivers on the road.

New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across the board effort to reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and deaths.

The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by STOP-DWI NY and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This partnership has allowed local programs to significantly increase their enforcement and public awareness efforts.

The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have made great strides in reducing the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers.

You can do your part to become part of the solution by downloading our FREE mobile app “Have a Plan” at www.stopdwi.org/mobileappand may the luck of the Irish be with you!

March 12, 2019 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in DEC, burn ban, fire season, news.

Press release:

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today reminds residents that with spring approaching, conditions for wildfires will become heightened and residential brush burning is prohibited March 16 through May 14 across New York State.

“While many people associate wildfires with the Western United States, the start of spring weather and the potential for dry conditions increases the risk for wildfires in New York,” Commissioner Seggos said.

“New York prohibits residential burning during the coming high-risk fire season to reduce wildfires and protect people, property, and natural resources. The ban has been extremely effective in reducing the number of wildfires, and we're encouraging New Yorkers to put safety first.”

Even though much of the state is currently blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise.

DEC posts daily a fire danger rating map and forecast during fire season on its website and on the NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App available on DEC's website. Currently, wildfire conditions in the state are low risk.

Historically, open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris, dead grass, and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. State regulations allow residential brush fires in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents during most of the year, but prohibit such burning in spring when most wildfires in New York occur.

Since the ban was established, the eight-year annual average number of spring fires decreased by 42.6 percent, from 2,649 in 2009, to 1,521 in 2018.

Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but people should never leave such fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.

Wildfires can be deadly and destructive, and the national annual cost of their consequences can range anywhere from $71.1 to $347.8 billion, according to recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Last year’s Camp Fire in northern California destroyed the city of Paradise and killed more than 80 people, making it the nation's deadliest wildfire in more than a century.

This year, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the launch of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign, the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history.

“Smokey Bear has educated generations of Americans about their role in preventing wildfires,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Smokey’s words are still an urgent and relevant reminder for all of us to follow—‘Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires.' ”

Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack and Catskill parks, are designated "fire towns." Open burning is prohibited year-round in these municipalities unless an individual or group has a written permit from DEC.

To find out whether a municipality is designated a "fire town" or to obtain a permit, contact the appropriate DEC regional office. A list of regional offices is available on DEC's website.

Violators of the state's open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's website.


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