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May 18, 2022 - 5:58pm
posted by Press Release in news, Batavia City Schools, Universal Pre-Kindergarten.


PRESS RELEASE:

BATAVIA, NY—The Batavia City School District is still accepting registration applications for universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) and kindergarten programs for the 2022-23 school year. 

BCSD will be offering four full-day UPK programs at Robert Morris and one half-day program at a community-based organization. 

As previously announced, the BCSD UPK program will be relocating to the Robert Morris building (80 Union St.) but will still be considered part of Jackson Primary.

The BCSD kindergarten program will continue to reside at the Jackson Primary building (411 S. Jackson St.).  

UPK students must be four years old on or before December 1, 2022. 

Kindergarten students must be five years old on or before December 1, 2022.

Pick up and return your registration packet to the BCSD Registration Office at the Robert Morris Community Schools Building (80 Union St., Vernon Ave. entrance). 

You can also download your packet here

Any questions can be directed to Deb Conroy in the Registration Office at [email protected] or by calling 585-343-2480 ext. 1010. 

Registration will remain open until all spots in each program have been filled. 

May 18, 2022 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, pembroke hs, sports, United Basketball, basketball, notify.

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Pembroke High School held a special "assembly game" of its United Basketball team against the Pioneer Panthers, of Section VI, on Wednesday afternoon.

Unified Basketball, sanctioned by the NYS High School Athletics Association and Special Olympics, brings together teams of students with disabilities and those without to compete regionally.

"The purpose of an Assembly Game is to help spread the word about Unified sports and encourage more involvement, as well as provide some student-athletes with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to compete before a packed gymnasium of their peers," said Principal Nathan Work.  "This is a pretty big deal in the world of Special Olympics and Unified Sports."

Pembroke won 44-38.

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May 18, 2022 - 4:00pm

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After Town of Batavia Planning Board members gave the final approvals to Benderson Development for two new commercial buildings in the former Kmart parking lot on Lewiston Road, they had but one question: "who is it?"

The rep from Benderson wouldn't say.

He said he couldn't release the names until leases are signed. He said that lease signing could come soon for at least one potential tenant, with construction to begin on that building in July.

Benderson is planning:

  • A 4,000-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru and bypass lane to be located in the southwest corner of the property;
  • A 6,752-square-foot retail/restaurant building with a 2,000-square-foot endcap coffee shop with drive-through in the southeast corner of the property.

On Tuesday, the planning board approved the project's environmental review, special use permit for a drive-through, and site review plan.  With those final approvals, Benderson is ready to sign agreements with the intended tenants of the buildings.

Before the vote on the special use permit, Chairwoman Kathy Jasinski noted that the only opposition had come from pizza shop owner Jerry Arena, who objected to the entire project.  She said it was her understanding that Arena had modified his position and town engineer Steve Mountain said that is correct. 

"He's not here tonight so I'm assuming that he's okay with that," Jasinski said. "So we really don't have any opposition." 

May 18, 2022 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mega Properties, batavia, news, Gateway II.

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Mega Properties is planning another massive warehouse for the Gateway II industrial park east of Route 98 in the Town of Batavia.

This time it will be a 200,000 square-foot warehouse available for area retailers to store inventory overstock.

Lucas Bushen, with Marathon Engineering, presented initial plans to the town planning board on Tuesday.  

He said there will be few employees at the warehouse at any one time, so only about 20 parking spaces will be needed.

A full environmental review is required for the building, and the planning board approved a resolution to be the lead agency on the review.

The 22-acre parcel is off of Call Parkway. It will be a Butler Building with typical remanufactured metal building elements: concrete foundation, metal siding, and sloped roof. 

The building will be constructed in phases with Phase One including 71,000 square feet of warehouse space and 3,200 square feet of office space.

There are two ponds on the property. In order to construct the building, one of the ponds will be relocated. There are also two federally designated wetlands on the property.  The wetlands will not be disturbed.

Mega Properties intends to invest more than $3 million into the project.

Mega Properties has long-standing ties to Batavia, having launched in Batavia’s Harvester Business Incubation Center more than 30 years ago. The business is currently based at the Gateway I Corporate Park in the Town of Batavia.

In 2020, just prior to the start of the pandemic, Mega Properties sought financial assistance from GCEDC for the project.  At the time, they were seeking approximately $558,497 in assistance, including a property tax exemption of $400,497, a sales tax exemption of $128,000, and a mortgage tax exemption of $30,000.

There was a public hearing on the request but the application did not go any further because of the disruption of the pandemic.  No announcement has been made yet on when the GCEDC board will next take up the application.

Top photo: Lucas Bushen presents plans for a warehouse off of Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia to the town's planning board. Photo by Howard Owens.  Below, drawings of the project from planning documents.

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May 18, 2022 - 3:00pm


Call Reliant Real Estate today, 585-344-HOME (4663) or click here for more information on this listing!

May 18, 2022 - 11:18am
posted by Press Release in creek road, batavia, news.

Press release:

Buckeye Partners will be performing maintenance on their pipeline on Creek Road in Batavia beginning Monday, May 23. The road will be closed from 7 a.m. to -5 p.m. and will be reopened every evening to regular traffic. The work is being performed on Creek Road just north of Dorman Road and will last approximately two weeks.

May 18, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, notify.

Applications have been coming in for the vacant assistant city manager position as Batavia City Manager Rachael Tabelski formulates the role’s top priorities.

The interview process is set to begin in the next few weeks, she said.

“I’m looking at neighborhood revitalization. It's a very long-term look, but I'm trying to coalesce all the information I've gathered in the different years of working with the county and in the city, and bring this project forward,” Tabelski told The Batavian on Monday. "We'd like to have someone in place by the end of July."

Earlier this month, Jill Wiedrick submitted her resignation letter after being assistant manager for just about a year. She had announced that she was leaving for another job in Fairport.

Tabelski has ideas about what she’d like to assign to the future assistant, and reinvigorating city neighborhoods is the theme. Her top two goals are to preserve the tax base and eliminate blight, she said.

“The ideas I have about neighborhood revitalization include the possibility of looking at our zoning, looking at flood properties, and how we can bring more value to southside neighborhoods,” she said. “Understanding if there are problems in neighborhoods, and what changes in our code could be implemented to help mitigate those types of problems, helping residents stay in their homes and not be foreclosed on.”

She’d like that new person to understand the various types of programs available for assistance to property owners, and know where “zombie” properties are, along with working with banks to stabilize those properties on a “path to homeownership,” she said.

The term zombie properties was coined for those sites that become stagnant due to the prior owners defaulting on payments and the banking institution locking it down in ongoing legal procedures before the city can claim foreclosure. That has also created issues with landscape maintenance -- or lack thereof -- as the particular property remains in limbo with no one specifically responsible for it.

“Because they do cause a drastic effect on neighboring properties when you do have a vacant property in your neighborhood,” Tabelski said. “And lastly, looking into different land banks and how other communities have used those to move property forward, as well as continuing to work with Habitat for Humanity.

"So this is a very multi-prong strategy and (the future assistant is) going to have other ideas than the ones I presented. And that's what I want their first big job to be, is coming up with defining the strategy today, a strategy which would have multiple paths on it to help Batavia’s neighborhoods, and then starting the execution of those plans into the future.”

 

May 18, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, comprehensive plan, notify.

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Post-Covid conditions, higher wages, a smaller pool of candidates and veteran worker retirements makes being an employer all the more difficult, Rachael Tabelski says.

“It's just something for investors, government officials and the business community alike to be aware of. We're seeing inflation, you see interest rates rising, we're seeing rising wages and across all sectors, making it very difficult to be in the business of government, where you're hampered by union negotiations and contracts and set wages,” she said during Monday’s City Planning Board meeting. “We're seeing competition for jobs that's different than we've ever seen before. There are so many issues facing employers today. We’re living through a time like no other.”

Her point was not to dole out a big bowl of doom for the city, but to lay out the issues that have become more prevalent. Tabelski’s presentation was an update of the city’s comprehensive plan from its last draft in 2017.

COVID aftermath …
Easing up COVID mandates has also meant the end of child tax credits, remote jobs and direct stimulus checks and resuming rent and utility payments for tenants, evictions and foreclosures, she said. The city has also experienced what she dubbed “the silver tsunami,” a term to describe the retirement of three experienced members of the Public Works Department, and their replacements “trying to get up to speed.”

“And you know, my question that none of us can find the answer to is, will this change the workplace permanently? We just don't know,” she said. “I wanted to just remind everyone on the framework of what we're dealing with in the city.”

Leading the way on lead replacement …
One “enormous” task — that’s an understatement — will be replacing lead water pipes, she said.

“This is an emerging issue that's going to take a lot of time away from our staff, and including myself, to work on a communication plan with the residents and try to (help them) understand,” she said. “So you have the water main, and then you have a lateral that goes through a curve box; this is all city-owned. Then you have the line that goes into your residence, that's all residential owned. So if there's a lead or galvanized pipe in any portion of that system, it now needs to be replaced.”

No, this isn’t happening tomorrow,  she said but must be done at some point. Communication with affected residents, obtaining grant monies, understanding the full scope of the project, figuring out financing and viable funding sources all need to be done before pipe replacement can occur. The city of Buffalo has committed in the neighborhood of $15 million for its replacement project, she said.

“This is something that is going to be an enormous project for the city to undertake … it's something we're working on. And we are going to be starting with (former City Manager) Jason's plans. So again, this wasn't something we knew about in 2017. It wasn't on our radar. But I think it's very important that it's on the radar now,” she said.

And the upside …
All of that being said, she also pointed to the positives of city projects, total investments and being able to track those investments as part of a “$100 million I’m all in” initiative that began with former City Manager Jason Molino. In 2017, the city committed to creating at least $100 million of investment by 2022 to revitalize downtown and “reclaim the vibrancy of Batavia.”

“And the goal of this was to try to extract the investment from not only the commercial and residential building projects that went on in the city, but also any public infrastructure monies that were spent in the city,” she said. “We have $132 million invested, and that includes the completed investments and those currently under construction added together. So I think the city has done a wonderful job of fostering this investment and also tracking it. I don't know that any other city has a similar tracking system as we do.”

The most significant contributing properties to the city’s tax base are all downtown, she said, which demonstrates the importance of focusing on that segment of the city. Of the entire city base with 5,700 properties, 75 percent of those are taxable, with 25 percent being tax-exempt nonprofit and government sites. Current taxable value is at $669 million, with $220 million tax-exempt. She reminded the board that those tax-exempt properties “still pay water and sewer costs.”

The city lags behind the town of Batavia with a growth in assessed value at 26 percent to 49 percent, respectively. Completed projects from the 2017 comprehensive plans include Ellicott Trail, a downtown revitalization initiative, the commencement of the Ellicott Station project, securing infrastructures grants, building Liberty Square apartment complex, and focusing on upper floor apartments.

“We secured a lot of infrastructure grants over the last few years. Liberty Square was built so that addresses housing for all different types of populations. Our upper floor apartments have been built, a lot of the building fund projects that were part of the DRI and through another subsequent Main Street Grant,” she said.

Projects that are in-progress and not yet completed include tree management — ensuring to replace trees that are removed from the city landscape with trees of varying species and are appropriate for the local climate; creating an inclusive venue at Austin Park so that “all children” can play there; integrate “traffic calming techniques” for busy roadways such as Route 63/Ellicott Street; lead pipeline replacement; and reimagining properties within the flood plain, she said. Yet to be tapped are plans to design decorative crosswalks, pedestrian scale lighting, create a park and recreation master plan and update zoning to reflect comprehensive plan recommendations.

“I think tonight was nice to give an update to the planning committee who worked on the comprehensive plan,” Tabelski said after the meeting. “And just showing how much progress has been made in the last five or six years here in our city. But yet, there's a lot more things that still need to be done. And this group really has been through many of the planning initiatives and are here to help with the execution as well.”

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Top photo: City Manager Rachael Tabelski presents an update on the comprehensive plan during Monday's Planning Board meeting. Photo by Joanne Beck. Above illustrates the varying percentages that city residents are taxed, from 23 percent for city property taxes to 53 percent for school taxes. Image provided by the City of Batavia.

May 17, 2022 - 11:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Batavia PD responded to Subway, 412 E. Main St., at 5:56 p.m. after receiving a report of a robbery in progress, and upon arrival learned the suspect had fled in an easterly direction.

After obtaining a description of the suspect, officers located a man matching the description at an apartment complex on East Main.  He was taken into custody and identified as Benito A. Gay, 34, of Batavia.

He is charged with robbery and another unspecified charge. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held without bail.

There were no weapons displayed during the robbery, police said. 

Additional evidence was recovered after Gay's arrest, according to police. 

He is scheduled to appear in City Court again at 1:30 p.m. May 19.

Gay has other prior arrests in Batavia, most recently in March when he was accused of stealing three beers from the Kwik Fill at Jackson and Ellicott.

May 17, 2022 - 11:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sunset, news, pembroke.

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This evening's sunset somewhere in Pembroke by Joanne Meiser.

May 17, 2022 - 10:55pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, public schools, 2022-23 budget vote, notify.

Though votes were reported as unofficial this evening, it’s apparent that Batavia City Schools’ $54.8 million budget and a related 1 percent tax levy increase passed with a vote of 301 to 108.

It was one of eight districts to report a passed 2022-23 budget. 

The other proposition on Batavia’s ballot was the election of board members for three vacant seats. Chezeray Rolle came out on top with 368 votes, followed by John Marucci and Korinne Anderson, each with 346 votes.

Alexander Central’s budget and related tax levy passed 83 to 44. Prop 2 of two bus purchases passed 92 to 35; Prop 3 to spend $56,958 from the equipment capital reserve fund passed 97 to 31; Prop 4 to establish a capital reserve fund passed 86 to 38;  Prop 5 to establish a school bus reserve fund also passed 85 to 39.

Molly Grimes received 94 votes to fill the five-year board member term, and there were several write-in suggestions for the position.

Byron-Bergen Central School’s budget passed with a vote of 244 to 98. Proposition 2 of a bus purchase was also approved 252 to 89; Prop 3 of a school vehicle reserve passed 245 to 95 and school board candidates Kimberly Carlson received 292 votes, Heidi Ball 284 and Jeffrey Cook 287.

Elba Central’s budget passed by a vote of 100 to 17. Superintendent Gretchen Rosales shared her gratitude for the positive outcome.

“I am thankful for our supportive community,” she said.  “These results demonstrate the trust the Elba community has in the district, not only to educate the students, but also to be good financial stewards of their resources.”  

Elba’s Prop 2 to purchase a school bus passed 102 to 15; Prop 3 to expend up to $100,000 on a capital outlay project through a reserve fund passed 104 to 12, and board members Travis Torrey and Mercy Caparco won a five-year term on the school board with votes of 100 and 106, respectively.

Le Roy Central's general budget passed 474 to 137 and the library budget by 509 to 103. Candidates Peter Loftus and Rachael Greene each won a three-year term on the school board with votes of 458 and 464, respectively. Jason Karcher, with 382 votes, will fill a two-year term.

Oakfield-Alabama Central’s $23.5 million budget passed 187 to 35. The district also approved the addition of a student ex-officio board member 180 to 40. Matt Lamb, with 205 votes, and Justin Staebell with 209 were each elected to three-year terms on the school board.

Pavilion Central’s budget passed 106 to 23, as did a reserve resolution by 107 to 20. Marirose Ethington received 116 votes to fill a five-year school board term.

Pembroke Central’s budget passed 272 to 98, while a school bus proposition passed 276 to 93. Ed Levinstein garnered 332 votes for a five-year school board seat and Amber Winters received 312 for a four-year board seat.

Corfu Public Library election results gave Jessica Doctor the most votes of 336 and John Conti two write-in votes, each for a three-year trustee seat; Matt Steinberg received 334 votes for a two-year trustee seat.

 

May 17, 2022 - 10:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, roundabout, news, notify.

A decision by the Alabama Town Board in April 2019 to oppose the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Ledge Road and Route 77 has led to a lawsuit filed by an Oakfield woman who sustained severe injuries in an accident at that intersection on Oct. 2, 2020.

Marianne Molaro sustained permanent injures, "including but not limited to, a fracture of the cervical spine at the C-2 level," according to the suit filed in November by attorney Bradley D. Marble of Lockport on her behalf.

Also named is Genesee County; the other driver, Amber M. Messervey, of Naples; the owner of the car Masservey was driving; and Victor Chase, of Rochester. 

The amount of damages, if the plaintiff prevails, are left up to a jury, the suit states.

At the time of the accident, the DOT had not yet announced its decision to drop its proposal for a roundabout, or a traffic circle, at the intersection.  That decision wouldn't be made public until May 2021.

It's not clear that Molaro can recover damages from the town since Route 77 is property of New York State, and the Town has no authority to install or block a traffic circle at the intersection. Marble did not respond to a request for comment on the suit.

The state is not named in the suit.

The town's insurance agent is handling the legal response to the suit.

The suit seeks to hold both the town and the county liable for "negligent reckless and careless" action in "failing to provide a safe roadway" and in failing to "correct a known safety risk," in failing to "perform an adequate highway safety plan study; in failing to abide by a highway safety plan that provided a reasonable basis for the decisions made; failing to follow the guidance of the NYS DOT to install a roundabout at the location of the collision" and to fail to take any other reasonable action that could help prevent serious accidents at the intersection.

In 2019, the town sent a letter to the Department of Transportation opposing a proposed $1.8 million roundabout out of concern that "while it may decrease high-impact accidents, it will increase low-impact accidents, which will, in turn, increase the amount of emergency calls for our volunteer firemen."

The letter raised concerns about farmers moving equipment through the roundabout, plowing it in winter, increased noise from trucks slowing and applying their jake brakes, and the danger of traffic slowing as vehicles approach the roundabout.

"The proposed roundabout will be approximately 30 feet from a residence," the letter stated. "This poses a significant safety hazard to this property owner."

Supervisor Janet Sage signed the letter, along with Deputy Supervisor Kevin Fisher, board members Gordon Linsey, Jill Klotzbach, and William Cleveland.

The county is named in the suit even though the County Legislation declined in May 2019, when the Town of Alabama requested the County to join Alabama in opposing the roundabout.  Members of the Legislature listened to Highway Superintendent Tim Hens when he outlined why roundabouts help save lives.

Traffic engineers generally support roundabouts, they say, because roundabouts lead to a 60 percent reduction in all types of accidents and a 99 percent reduction in fatal accidents because they eliminate head-on and right-angle, high-speed collisions. 

On Oct. 2, 2020, Molaro was driving northbound on Alleghany Road when her vehicle was struck by one driven by Messervey, according to the suit, when she failed to stop for a stop sign in the eastbound portion of Ledge Road.

The Batavian requested a copy of the accident report, which is public record, from State Police, which, contrary to the state's open records law, declined the request.

During the state's proposal process for the roundabout, the DOT stated that between April 1, 2013, and May 31, 2018, there were 56 crashes in the area and 31 of them at the intersection. Two of the accidents were fatal.

The DOT said at the time of the proposal for a roundabout that they did consider alternative solutions and had implemented minor safety enhancements, such as upgraded signs and modified striping, but proposed a modern roundabout as the best solution to the propensity for accidents at the intersection. The engineers proposed an elliptical-shaped roundabout.

May 17, 2022 - 7:00pm


PALERMO & BATAVIA DOWNS TEAM UP for BRUCE in the USA CONCERT BRUCE in the USA is The World’s #1 Tribute Band to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as they team up with the Ricky Palermo Foundation and Batavia Downs Gaming on Friday, June 10. Donations from our event will be going to our local UMMC Hospital (Rochester Regional Health’s-Batavia Branch) and our FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) Bike Program that will be part of the brand-new Batavia YMCA, which is expected to be breaking ground any day now.

We are honored to be partnering with Batavia Downs Gaming, so if you would like to have a fun night and pitch-in to support our local Hospital and brand new YMCA, come and join us at Batavia Downs Gaming.

Now in its fifth year as a concert venue, Batavia Downs has been averaging about 3000 to 5000 concertgoers per show as part of their Rockin The Downs Concert Series. Although our Concert is not part of this series and tickets must be purchased separately, we are hoping to draw the same kind of crowd with our Nationally recognized headliner Bruce In The USA and local guests including 97 Rock’s Dave “DJ” Jickster and Comedian Nick Marra. As an added bonus from our friends at Batavia Downs everyone that buys a ticket will receive a $15 free play. Tickets from $15 to $75. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if a bunch of the concertgoers went back inside at the end of the night and won lots of money, with their free play”?

Tickets are selling nicely so if you want to look into joining our concert you can go to my site www.RickyPalermofoundation.org OR go to EVENTS while looking on the Batavia Downs concerts website. Check out our poster and if you have any questions, contact Ricky at: 585-739-8522 or [email protected]

 

May 17, 2022 - 5:14pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Genesee County Jail, batavia, notify.

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Aside from the brick-and-mortar details of constructing a new, 184-bed Genesee County jail facility, Senior Project Superintendent Randy Babbitt offered a reminder Monday about what’s most important.

“My top priority is safety. Safety, safety, safety is paramount with me. I want everyone returning home the same way they show up every day. And we all have families, kids, grandkids. So that's one of the biggest things I stress to the guys: safety first,” Babbitt said during the first update given to the Public Services Committee. “And then I go into quality and a lot of other things, but my main concern for my walk is to be safe every day. So please be assured that's gonna be on the top.”

Most of the contractors have provided their own site-specific safety plan, reviewed and approved by Pike company's corporate safety director, Bollin said. It's also been reviewed and approved by Senior Project Manager Carl York.

“They did submit one to us, and we kicked it back because they didn't address a few things that we want to address,” Bollin said. “They are complying with their safety plan that they have submitted, and everything is off to a good start.”

York outlined work that has been completed and future ongoing collaboration.

“We're collecting everybody's detailed schedules that will go in … we’re gonna start having our project manager meetings every week, starting next week, and our coordination meetings with the contractors coordinating all of the MEPs for all the buildings are also starting next week. And both of those will go on every week until their coordination tasks are completed,” York said. "Randy's on-site superintendent meetings will probably start in about another two, three weeks or so when there's a few more subs working on site. Everybody's very eager to get as much done before the snow flies. We're all very excited to be here. And I'm very eager. You're going to see it's smooth (moving) forward.”

Work has begun at the site of the new larger jail on West Main Street Road next to County Building 2. Equipment at the site will be a mainstay for several months, with a final completion date to be in March 2024, Bollin said. 

He reviewed what’s already been approved — six prior packages with contractors Bayside Paving for site work, LeChase Construction Services as general contractor, Joseph Flihan Company for food services equipment work, Thurston Dudek for plumbing and fire protection, Bell Mechanical Contractor for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Kaplan-Schmidt for electrical and security electronics work and a seventh contract with CME Associates, which is to provide special inspections and testing.

Bayside paving began “mobilization” earlier this month, with temporary fencing, soil erosion control, clearing and grubbing construction entrances that were completed on May 13. Stripping topsoil began that same day, Bollin said.

The notice to proceed was issued to all contractors on Monday, he said.

“It was dated today. Based on the timeframe that we gave the contractors to complete the project, a substantive date for substantial completion will be Jan. 14, 2024. The date for final completion is March 15, 2024,” he said.

Given this has been a project in the making for at least five years, it was a drum-roll moment as he announced an official groundbreaking ceremony date has been set. Genesee County officials will celebrate the jail’s formal inception at 10 a.m. on May 26.

All private contracts have been fully executed and both Genesee County and the contractors have signed them, he said. The latest agreement with CME Associates is being drafted, he said. All forms, payment bonds and insurance have been provided by all of the contractors and have been “carefully reviewed by Genesee County’s insurance agent and Pike's risk management department,” he said.

He said the contracts are signed for a total project cost of $57,272,800. 

Top photo: 2022 File photo by Howard Owens

May 17, 2022 - 5:03pm
Video Sponsor

The intersection of Route 77 and Indian Falls Road is deemed safe in that it meets or exceeds all state and national design standards, according to a draft report released this week by the Office of Veterans Affairs.

The latest report is based on data and a study by an independent engineering firm, Larson Design Group.

The location is outside the Western New York National Cemetery, which opened a year-and-a-half ago and where two veterans (Christopher Rowell and Arnold Herdendorf, both of Lockport) were killed in a motor vehicle accident in September of 2021.

Glenn Elliott presented the report at a meeting hosted Monday in Corfu by Rep. Chris Jacobs. Elliott is the environmental director in the office of facility planning, construction and facility management at the VA.

"The draft study concludes that the intersection meets NYSDOT standards for sight distances and the US Federal Highways Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," Elliott said. "This is the standard used by roadway managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways and private roads open to the public."

He also said, "It finds that the sight distance is at the State Route 77 in Indian Falls Road intersection for greater than design criteria. Concluding sight distances do not propose a safety issue for traffic turning off Indian Falls Road. It concludes neither an all-way stop nor a traffic signal are required for the applicable criteria of METCB. It finds the expected crash frequency not significantly higher than the predicted crash frequency. Therefore safety performance is consistent with what is expected at this intersection. Since November 2020, when the cemetery opened, the crash frequency incident rate did not increase."

And, "The study finds that the expected crash frequency is not significantly higher than predicted crash frequency. Therefore, the safety and performance of the intersection is consistent with what is expected for this type of intersection."

However, because of the interest within the veterans' community in the safety of the intersection, the report reviews seven potential changes to the intersection.

  • Eliminate the existing departure passing zones at the Indian Falls Road intersection.
  • Install a flashing intersection control beacon or alternatively install side-mounted flashing warning devices along Route 77 intersection warning and involves road stops.
  • Install rumble strips on the shoulder and centerline on State Route 77.
  • Eliminate the existing departure and passing zone mentioned earlier.
  • Installed larger right and left stop signs with reflected posts on Indian Falls Road, including placards for cross traffic does not stop at stop pavement markings on Indian Falls Road.
  • Install larger intersection signs on State Route 77.
  • Install a roundabout at the intersection of route 77 and Indian Falls Road.  

None of the possible changes are explicitly recommended though flashing beacons, signage and pavement markings, and a roundabout all score the best when mathematically weighted for effectiveness in reducing accidents.  Roundabouts reduce accidents by 60 percent and fatal accidents by 99 percent.

One suggestion by the study explicitly deemed ineffective is reducing the speed limit approaching the cemetery.

Jacobs said he organized the meeting in order to give community members a chance to review the report and make their own comments about it and potential changes to the intersection. 

"It is clear that more needs to be done to make this intersection safer for our veterans and our families who come to pay respects to our fallen heroes," Jacobs said. "I am committed to working with the veteran community to ensure meaningful changes are made."

For more details and for comments from among those who attended, watch the video above.

May 17, 2022 - 12:00pm


Public online auction of a single family 2 bedroom residence located in Darien Center, NY. Situated on 1.4 country acres, this home features hardwood flooring in the living room, detached garage, deck overlooking a spacious yard, and a heated work room in the basement. There is still time to see this property before the bidding closes on May 24th. The auction is located at bontragerauction.com. View the auction, read terms and conditions, or bid here: https://bit.ly/3LiVBDb

May 16, 2022 - 11:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in lunar eclipse, news.

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Philip Casper made this composite of photos he shot of last night's lunar eclipse.

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May 16, 2022 - 11:20pm
posted by Press Release in sports, Bowling.

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Press release:

The three men who were inducted into the Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame on Saturday night shared a common theme – “giving back to the sport that has given them so much” over the years.

Tom Fluker of Batavia and William VanAlst of Stafford, both in the Meritorious Service category, and Tim Fonte of Dansville, in the Achievement Veteran category, were enshrined at the local bowling association’s annual banquet at Batavia Downs Gaming.

Ninety-six people attended the event, which also included the presentation of the Barbara J. Kreiley Scholarship Award to Alexis Patterson of Dansville, a standout youth bowler at Mount Morris Lanes who will be attending Canisius College in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies.

Fluker, 51, served on the GRUSBC board for 12 years, including six as president. He was instrumental in promoting youth bowling, establishing the Genesee Region Youth Travel League and developing the association’s generous awards program. He also is a United States Bowling Congress Level I bowling instructor and traveled around the Northeast to conduct clinics for those wanting to teach the sport to kids.

About 40 of his former youth bowlers, their parents, family and friends on hand to celebrate his induction, Fluker thanked all of them and congratulated the members of the teams that advanced to the New York State Youth Team Championships on two occasions.

A Pepsi-Cola sales executive, Fluker said he “his competitive spirit” drives him to be the best he can be in all walks of life. An accomplished bowler with 11 perfect games, he said he got more satisfaction from watching his youth bowlers thrive.

“I sacrificed going to many tournaments because I was coaching,” he said. “And to me that was priority one. The kids knew Saturday morning was their time … and I got more enjoyment out of their success than mine.”

He said he encouraged his youth bowlers to put in the practice time to improve.

“I wanted to give them every opportunity to succeed, letting them know that today is the day to seize it because they might not have it tomorrow,” said Fluker, who was nominated and presented by Mike Pettinella, GRUSBC association manager.

VanAlst, 71, has been a fixture at Le Roy Legion Lanes for the past 48 years as a member and current secretary-treasurer of the Tuesday Night League and previously as coordinator of the youth bowling program and Le Roy Junior Travel League. He also served as secretary-treasurer of the former Genesee Valley Youth American Bowling Alliance that included nine bowling centers.

In his speech, he said he never has shied away from helping out when needed, but still didn’t imagine he would be involved in the same league for nearly 50 years.

He joked that Don Laurie “railroaded me into that spot (secretary) in 1977 and I’m still here today … and once you get elected to it, it’s pretty hard to get out unless you leave the area or pass away. Fortunately, I haven’t done either.”

VanAlst, a partner in a Rochester engineering firm for the past 49 years, thanked all of his fellow bowlers and his wife, Karen, who provided much assistance in compiling the scores and keeping the standings from the youth programs. He said they both got involved when their sons, Scott and Matt, were little.

“I wanted them to learn how to bowl correctly, how to keep score and how to play as a team member,” he said. “Bowling is a sport that you can enjoy year round and you can enjoy for your entire life. And it's good to know the proper way to do that.”

VanAlst was nominated by GRUSBC Director AJ Allenbrandt and presented by his son, Scott VanAlst, who shared that his father’s legacy is one of “dedication, commitment, loyalty, caring and kindness.”

Fonte has been an association member for 47 years – averaging over 190 consistently in the era before high scores and over 200 for nine of the past 10 seasons. He rolled a 300 game in 1997 and an 806 series in December of 2021 at the age of 73. His tournament victories include the Lilac City in Rochester and Wild Irish Rose in Canandaigua, and he placed second in the GRUSBC Senior Masters in 2019.

He also worked at the pro shop at Mount Morris Lanes for 25 years, serving as manager from 1994-2003, and coached youth bowlers there for 15 years.

A Vietnam veteran, Fonte said he started bowling and working at Panorama Lanes in Rochester, remembering the day he found a fingertip ball on the rack that proprietor Marcel Fournier said that he could have.

“That started by career,” he said, stopping to thank the Hall of Fame committee for inducting him and “Jesus Christ, my Savior, who made all of this possible.”

Fonte said he underwent 10 major surgeries after returning home from Vietnam, and found “that the only sport I could do was to bowl.” He then found his way to Mount Morris Lanes, where he joined a league and eventually learned how to drill bowling balls at the pro shop there.

He was nominated by GRUSBC Director Karen Bonner and presented by his son, Kris, who called his father and bowling teammate his “hero.”

Ray DiSanto Sr. of Rochester, a Batavia native and member of five bowling and sports halls of fame, was the keynote speaker.

DiSanto, 92, spoke about his numerous bowling tournament achievements – he averaged 200 at the age of 14 – and his career as a respected bowling coach and longtime owner of Bowlers World Pro Shop in Henrietta.

He also offered some tips to today’s bowlers, noting that creating ball speed is essential to achieving high scores with the technologically-advanced bowling balls.

In the modern game, he said, bowlers need to learn to be “late at the line to create more power and more ball speed.”

“The weight of the ball is not as important as it was years ago, when 16 pounds was the norm,” he said. “Today, 15s, 14s and even 12-pounders. So, if you think the ball is too heavy and you’re rolling it too slow, don’t be afraid to go down in weight. These balls are extremely powerful.”

Re-elected to three-year terms on the GRUSBC Board of Directors were Karen Bonner, sergeant-at-arms; and Frank Jarkiewicz, Joann Van Duser, John Wood and Gary Kuchler.

Champions of the GRUSBC Association Tournament also were recognized with plaques, as follows:

Open Team -- Jason Quilliam, AJ Allenbrandt, Michael Lambert, Mike Johnson, Batavia, 3,061;
Women’s Team -- Montana Bzduch, Joann Van Duser, Rachel Huntz, Katy Bzduch, Perry, 2,339;
Open Doubles -- Geoff Harloff and Ed Doody, Batavia, 1,504;
Women’s Doubles -- Christine Bovee and Karen Henry, Dansville, 1,276;
Open Singles – Ricky Daniels, Albion, 838;
Women’s Singles -- Donna Wolff, Batavia, 690;
Open All-Events -- Brian Cline, Middleport, 2,295;
Women’s All-Events -- Donna Wolff, Batavia, 1,997.

Seasonal league leaders received plaques, as follows:

High Series, Men – Brian Cline, Middleport, 847; High Average, Men – Curtis Foss, Medina, 240.

High Game, Women – VJ Frew, Piffard, 300; High Series, Women – Amy Allis, Medina, 735; High Average, Women – Amy Allis, Medina, 203.

High Game, Boys – Dominic LaPiana, Mount Morris, 268; High Series, Boys -- Gavin Baney, Albion, 690; High Average, Boys -- Ryleigh Culver, Medina, 197.

High Game, Girls -- Alexis Patterson, Dansville, 231; High Series, Girls -- Juliana Allis, Medina, 613; High Average, Girls -- Gracelin Mahnke, Medina, 175.

Winners of the annual grand prize drawing were David Lohmer of Canaseraga, Jason Quilliam of Batavia and Robert Nolan of Albion, $500 each, and Rick Pernicone of Dansville, Chris Huntz of Castile, Eric Sickles of Perry and Roger Allis of Medina, $25 each.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Top photo: Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame inductees, from left, Tim Fonte of Dansville, William VanAlst of Stafford and Tom Fluker of Batavia.

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GRUSBC President Mike Johnson of Batavia congratulates Alexis Patterson of Dansville on being the recipient of the Barbara J. Kreiley Memorial Scholarship. 

May 16, 2022 - 11:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sunset, indian falls, news.

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This evening's sunset in Indian Falls.

Photo by Joanne Meiser.

May 16, 2022 - 10:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Society of Artists, batavia, arts, news.

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The Batavia Society of Artists' Member Spring Art Show opened last week at the Richmond Memorial Library's Gallery Room, 19 Ross St., Batavia.

The event included awarding the Virginia Carr-Mumford Scholarship to Ben Wilkins.

Submitted photos.

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Richard Ellingham, 1st place and two honorable mentions.

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Adrian Morris donated his painting to raffle off for the BSA.

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Brian Kemp, 3rd Place

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Julie Lambert, honorable mention

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Nicole Greenbaum, honorable mention

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David Burke, honorable mention

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Julie Jensen, honorable mention

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