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November 9, 2020 - 12:38pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county legislature, covid-19.

The Genesee County Legislature has decided to conduct business remotely in response to a recent surge in the number of positive COVID-19 cases.

Legislative Clerk Pam LaGrou this morning issued a media advisory stating that “due to a resurgence of positive COVID-19 cases and caution for all citizens, the Genesee County Legislature will meet remotely until further notice.”

The next meeting of the legislature is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, but instead of meeting at the Old County Courthouse, participants will be admitted via Zoom videoconferencing.

“This decision is being made given the increased number of COVID-19 cases in not only Genesee County, but the region and state as a whole,” County Manager Matt Landers said. “This is a proactive measure taken by the legislature to try and do everything possible to limit the spread further.”

Public Health Director Paul Pettit said the supports the board’s decision.

“We have seen a significant increase in cases and activity over the past couple weeks, with many of these cases and exposures being driven by nonessential gatherings without masking and social distancing by those present,” Pettit said. “The other driver is folks working while symptomatic.”

Pettit advised that this time of the year presents a higher level of challenges because colds and other seasonal ailments have similar symptoms to COVID-19.

“With the numbers increasing, changes like moving meetings to remote/distance platforms are practical ways to continue the work while helping to reduce risk,” he said.

Pettit offered the following “reminder/education” points to consider:

  • More people are having gatherings, but even at keeping them under the 50 people limit it still only takes one person to spread this virus. We are encouraging people to rethink their socialization to limit any nonessential gatherings of non-household members no matter what the size. Also, many of the gatherings are moving indoors which increases the potential for spreading the virus and can limit physical distancing.
  • Limit time at any functions/gatherings. The longer people are in confined places or near non-household members the higher the chance of spreading the virus. It seems more people are attending gatherings and going to work while being symptomatic. The numbers are showing that people are gathering and some who are symptomatic are attending events, gatherings and work. People should be checking their baseline health...you know what is normal for you. If something feels a little off and different from what your norm is STAY HOME!
  • Be diligent about keeping your distance from those who are non-household members of at least 6 feet ... more if you are engaging in physical activity, speaking loudly, singing, etc. 
  • Wear your mask/face covering! The masks are to be used in conjunction with physical distancing.
  • Wash/sanitize your hands and frequently shared items to decrease the transfer of germs. Washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water or using at least a 60-percent alcohol hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available helps.
  • The Finger Lakes region is showing an increase in hospitalizations and admissions to ICU because people are not following the guidelines. Many people are saying they are "tired" of not being able to do what they want to and are being careless around other people who may have underlying health issues. For those who are diligent about following the guidelines, we appreciate their compassion and caring for those they don't even know.
November 9, 2020 - 12:33pm

News that a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by Pfizer is 90-percent effective represents "light at the end of the tunnel," according to two doctors involved in vaccine trials at Rochester Regional Health. But there are many difficulties ahead before this or any other vaccine can be widely distributed they cautioned.

Participating in a virtual press conference this morning with reporters from throughout the region were Dr. Ed Walsh and Dr. Ann Falsey. Walsh is the leader of the study at RGH and head of Infectious Diseases at RRH and Falsey is an infectious disease specialist at RRH and URMC codirector of Vaccines Trial Unit.

UMMC in Batavia is part of the RRH network of hospitals and care providers.

Pfizer announced early-stage trial results this morning. The company has not been part of the Warp Speed initiative by the Federal government to develop and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19, nor has it received government grants for the development of a vaccine, according to a spokesperson for Pfizer.

"We need to be cautious but I think it's actually a reason for optimism that the vaccines will work," Dr. Falsey said. "And I guess what I would say to the public is, you know, maybe this is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's even more reason to wear your masks and do social distancing because I worry that fatigue sets in -- pandemic fatigue. 'It's hopeless. We're never going to get out of this.' And people develop a sort of fatalistic attitude. But I think vaccines are on the horizon. It's going to take a little while yet. But I think this is very encouraging news. I was very happy to hear it."

A story by the medical news website Stat News suggests the early results provided by Pfizer are robust, but also notes there has been no peer-review and Pfizer hasn't released a paper, known as a pre-print, with more scientific analysis. 

There is a lot we don't know about the vaccine, Walsh and Falsey acknowledged, including how long it will confer immunity to the disease since today's news is based on only two months of data.

Pfizer's trial is based study of people who received the vaccine in which 94 people contracted the disease. Pfizer did not reveal how many of those 94 people received the vaccine or a placebo (neither the participants nor the doctors administering it would have any way of knowing which injection they received in a double-blind study). 

"The expectation (of the public) should be that this is an interim report, and I think we all saw this on the news as well,the current guideline for safety analysis requires a longer period of time following the receipt of the second dose of the vaccine in order to feel comfortable with safety," Walsh said. "This is just two months of safety data, which is a good thing, but a final report, obviously, and assessment will be made both on safety and efficacy as they go along."

So far, only minor side effects, such as aches and a fever, have been reported from the vaccine. 

Typically it takes 12 to 18 months to bring a vaccine to market but given the high fatality rate of COVID-19 and the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to spread rapidly in some circumstances, along with the dire economic consequences of the pandemic, scientists and government officials are moving quickly to find an effective and safe vaccine.

Walsh suggested that by the time the vaccine is ready for distribution -- if it ever is -- and at the earliest date distribution might start, meaning perhaps January, we will have greater confidence in its safety, especially balanced against the risk of the novel coronavirus.

"You're really weighing a risk-benefit issue," Walsh said. "We're looking at a pandemic that is potentially going to result in, if left unchecked, hundreds of thousands of more deaths in the U.S. and certainly millions worldwide. And so you try to make your best judgment as to what kind of side effects might you be missing in an early decision to deploy a vaccine. If it's been four months or five months, that's an encompassing period of time when you're generally going to see almost all of the side effects that might come from a vaccine and this type or of any type."

We're now in a period of increasing infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths but the Pfizer results seem to have come from a period when there was a low prevalence of the disease and it's still possible SARS-CoV-2 doesn't spread as easily in warmer weather. Asked if that might skew the results of Pfizer's study Walsh said he hadn't yet thought of that question and would need some time to think about it.

If the vaccine is approved for the wider public, distribution will be a challenge.

The Pfizer vaccine must be administered in two doses three weeks apart. 

It also must be stored at -112 Fahrenheit. That makes production distribution a challenge, but it also means that the vaccine can only be stored and administered from locations that a freezer capable of maintaining such a frigid temperature. That means neither your local doctor nor the pharmacy is going to be able to provide the vaccine.

A spokeswoman for RRH said it's way too early to know if UMMC is a potential distribution location. If it isn't, people in Genesee County seeking the vaccine will likely need to visit a hospital in Rochester or Buffalo.

It will take time to ramp up production of the vaccine -- though Pfizer has reportedly already started production -- and distribution will take time, so the people eligible to receive the vaccine will be prioritized in tiers with front-line healthcare workers at the front of the line followed by elderly, vulnerable people.

There's no guarantee the Pfizer vaccine will make the grade in its next phase trials but there are at least 11 other promising vaccines in development. Walsh said that's a good thing whether Pfizers proves ultimately effective or not because if there are more successful vaccines that will help supply and distribution.

The 90-percent efficacy rate for the Pfizer vaccine, if it holds up, is exceptional, Walsh said. Not all vaccines are as effective. He noted the measle vaccine is the most effective viral vaccine with an effective rate of 96 percent.

While there is much to learn yet about SARS-Cov-2 and how to vaccinate against it, both Walsh and Falsey struck upbeat notes about vaccines in general and the ability to find a vaccine to fight COVID-19.

The history of vaccines has been generally, and not universally but generally, extraordinarily successful," Walsh said. "The benefit of the vaccines that have been released over the years, over the many, many years of vaccines and going back to the 1950s, is the benefit has far outweighed any risks. I think there is that history to rely on though it is no guarantee, of course. But I think this is important, too, to recognize it and education will be important (to acceptance of the vaccine)."

Falsey added, "A lot of the vaccine hesitancy in recent years has been because vaccines have been so successful that they have nearly eradicated the terrible diseases. And so people don't understand the true impact of some of these infections and they start fixating on potential threats from a vaccine. I think with this pandemic, we can look around and see friends and family members who have been devastated.

"And so everything is risk-benefit. In addition to educating people about misinformation and the true side effects of vaccines, we can also ask them to think about risk-benefit ratios and that with 100,000 cases a day and a thousand deaths each day in the U.S., there's a significant risk to not getting vaccinated. So choosing to not accept the vaccine or not do anything is a decision, and that also carries significant risk."

November 9, 2020 - 9:40am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.11, down 2 cents from one week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.62. The New York State average is $2.22 – down 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.70.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.18 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.18 (down 2 cents since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.18 (no change cent since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.22 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.30 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.14 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.28. (down 1 cent since last week)

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that gas demand decreased again while total domestic stocks increased – pushing pump prices down. With demand remaining low, American drivers should expect pump prices to continue to decline.

Domestic crude prices fell last week due to market concern about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand as countries impose new restrictions that will likely limit oil consumption. The drop in crude prices occurred despite EIA’s report showing that total domestic crude inventories dropped. Crude prices are up slightly this morning, so AAA will continue to monitor that activity.

From GasBuddy:

"As expected, previous weakness in oil has continued to translate into falling gasoline prices nearly nationwide as motorists cast their ballots last week, but the six-week trend could reverse on optimism that President-elect Biden may move quickly to get organized and Sen. Majority Leader McConnell has said stimulus is high on his agenda, aiding the economy and oil demand," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"As of late Sunday, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up over 8 percent compared to just last Monday, a solid rally that may eventually halt the decline in gasoline prices, should the optimism continue even against a backdrop of a continued global rise in coronavirus cases.

"It remains challenging to predict how the Presidential transition may occur, and if it drags the economy down, I could see pessimism and lower prices return, but for now, it appears that a solid dose of optimism may soon drive prices up."

November 9, 2020 - 9:27am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Bowling.

Press Release:

A pair of 298 games and a 788 series highlighted Genesee Region USBC league bowling action this past week at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

In the Antique World Tuesday Coed League, 22-year-old right-hander James Townsend continued his stellar bowling this season with 246-276-266 for 788 on lanes 17-18.

The Walmart automotive employee rolled nine strikes in game one, 10 in game two (including the first nine in a row) and the first eight strikes in game three. He needed two strikes in the 10th frame for an 800 series but fell short, getting nine spare and eight on his final ball.

Steve Krna of Alexander flirted with perfection, rolling the first 11 strikes before leaving two pins on his final ball for 298. He finished with a 703 series.

In the Toyota of Batavia Thursday League, Devon Leach posted 11 in a row before leaving the 4-9 split for a 298. He finished with a 686 series.

In the Mancuso Real Estate Monday Night League, Jeremy Vallance led the way with 753.

At Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, Warsaw lefty Kevin Gray Jr. made it three straight 700 sets with 266--750 in the Thursday Owls League, while Rodney Jopson stayed in the groove with 256--725 in the Wednesday Night Handicap League.

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

November 9, 2020 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
November 8, 2020 - 8:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia, notify.
Video Sponsor

A fire with flames showing is reported at 3 Walnut St., between South Main Street and Walnut Place in the City of Batavia.

"Looks like a pretty good header in the air," says a first responder.

Flames showing from the second story of the two-story wooden residence.

It's gone to a second alarm.

City fire is responding along with mutual aid from Darien, Town of Batavia and Alexander fire, plus Mercy Medics.

"Engine #11 has water on the fire," a firefighter reports.

UPDATE 6:58 p.m.: "Fire knocked down," says command.

UPDATE 8:59 p.m.: City Engine #12 is responding.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: City Engine #12 is on scene.

UPDATE 9:07 p.m.: Alexander #101 on scene. City #17 en route to 3 Walnut. "Fire is out," reports command. "Overhauling."

UPDATE 9:10 pm.: City #17 is on scene. Darien is told to continune in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 10:11 p.m. (By Howard): The cause of the fire is still under investigation said Chief Stephen Napolitano. There were no injuries. All residents evacuated before firefighters were on scene. The upstairs apartment, where the fire started, was occupied by two adults and an infant. The downstairs apartment was occupied by one adult and a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old. One family can stay with friends or family; the other family will be assisted by the Red Cross. There is heavy smoke damage and the utilities to the building have been turned off. Video will be posted later.

UPDATE 10:34 p.m.: A police patrol has been asked to search the area of the Walnut Street footbridge for a beagle with a leash attached. The dog was last seen running from the fire in that direction.

img_3384-preview.jpg

Photo by Andrea Stasko.

November 8, 2020 - 5:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news stafford.

A rubbish fire near a barn is reported at 9997 Fargo Road in Stafford. Stafford command reports the fire needs to be extinguished ASAP or the barn could catch fire.

Stafford firefighters are on scene along with mutual aid from Bethany, Darien and Corfu. A passing train slightly delayed some responders. 

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: Fire is out. Stafford assignment is back in service.

November 8, 2020 - 3:09pm

As a Williamsville architectural firm conducts a feasibility study on the construction of a new Batavia Police Department headquarters on the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street, a representative of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market continues to seek an “open dialogue” with City Council on the future of the seasonal produce business.

In 2020, the privately owned market, which has been at several locations over the past 15 years, conducted business on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 5 through Oct. 30 on the Downtown lot across the street from the City Centre Mall.

The market has been a hot topic of discussion in recent days following Market Manager Elizabeth “Betty” Carr’s public comments at City Council’s Oct. 26 meeting. At the meeting, Carr asked city leaders to reconsider its decision to build a new police station on the Alva Place parking lot.

Since then, although no formal meeting between farmers’ market board members and City Council has taken place, the open dialogue that Carr was hoping for has come in the form of remarks on the website of The Batavian and its Facebook page.

On one side, there is City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. consistently stating the municipality’s position that since the city already owns the Alva Place lot – which was deemed the No. 2 choice by a police facility task force that met in 2015 – erecting a new police facility there would result in a significant cost savings.

The first choice, a parcel on Swan Street, was not a city-owned property. When city leaders inquired about its availability, they were told it was not for sale.

While no official budgetary figures have been released (that will happen at the conclusion of the feasibility study by Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville), previous cost estimates were in the $9 million to $12 million range. City officials are hopeful that the building they are proposing will cost less than that based on similar completed projects in the Town of Clarence and Town of Greece.

Jankowski: City Saves Money as Property Owner

“Here’s the thing about the farmers’ market,” Jankowski said. “We’re saving $500,000 by building the station on our own property. The farmers’ market manager in her emails and in her comments on Facebook, which some of them were out of line, is expecting us to just give them a $500,000 value or more lot in the middle of town. We’ve already been given a walkability study that says we have too many parking lots. Those lots were designed for buildings to be put there.”

Jankowski said Carr is advocating for the city give to the market taxpayer-funded property at no charge.

“And I don’t know who is going to pay for the building they want to put on there. I’m thinking she expects the city to pay for the building as well,” he said. “She wants us to build and give her a piece of property, and then we need to go buy another piece of property, take that off the tax rolls and build our police station on some third, fourth or fifth choice that we can come up with so she can have the farmers’ market there.”

On the other side is Carr, who said she is simply looking for City Council to allow directors of the farmers’ market to present pertinent information about the markets’ customer base and nutritional needs in an era of COVID-19.

“Mr. Jankowski says we are taking a hard line? The only hard line is that this was dictated to us,” she said. “We were never in agreement and we were never asked to have a conversation. We were told from day one that we would have to move.”

Carr said that Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski informed market officials that they could stay in their current location through 2021.

“It always was with the intent that we would have to move, which is why I spoke in front of City Council and asked for open dialogue, so we could talk about this,” Carr said. “And I was shocked at how Mr. Jankowski handled himself the next day. He printed lies. He said that we’re trying to steal property from the city and that we were already in agreement to this move.”

Carr Takes Exception to Facebook Post

She also said that Jankowski insulted (Farmers’ Market Treasurer) Sharon Brent, posting a Facebook comment that read “How can anyone buy from this woman?”

“We have no idea how that has hurt her business, and she has been in her business for 45 years,” Carr said.

A review of the numerous statements on The Batavian’s Facebook page reveals that Jankowski’s actual post was as follows: “The market is now demanding the city turn over that property to them for permanent use for free. It’s very disappointing that the market is trying to steal a piece of property from the taxpayers valued at over $500,000. After this behavior who would want to do business with them at this point?”

Carr admitted that the farmers’ market has no right to dictate city policy, but at least should be respected enough -- considering that it does bring people and revenue to Batavia – to be invited to the table to talk about its fate.

“The city has never had any conversation with us,” she said. “We are a bunch of farmers. I’m new to the market. Who are we to say we want the city to build a building for us? Who is saying that? We are not.”

As far as the feasibility study is concerned, Public Works Director Matt Worth said he has sent utility and survey information, and boundaries and dimensions of the Alva Place lot to the architectural firm, while architects have made some on-site visits and are reviewing operations of the existing police facility – the 165-year-old former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St.

“We’re pretty much on the front end of it. We’re in the information gathering process, I would say at this point,” said Worth, who expects the study to take another six months or so.

Worth: Feasibility Study is Determining Factor

Worth said the feasibility study will determine the configuration of the facility – one- or two-story, shape, provisions for parking, etc. – and is anticipating a price point that fits within the city’s plans to finance it over a 20- to 30-year period.

“We’ll have a really good idea once this is done. The original task force numbers were very conceptual and we didn’t have a lot of confidence that it was going to be that costly,” he said. “And that’s really where we made the connection with Architecture Unlimited. They were involved with a state police/sheriff’s facility that was built in the Town of Clarence, and so we were able to get some numbers that they had for that as well as the new police facility that was built in the Town of Greece.

“Looking at those and how the building could be configured, it became apparent that it seemed like it could be done for quite a bit less than that and make it more affordable.”

Worth said the feasibility study is costing the city $41,200.

Carr, when advised that the feasibility study was underway, said that was “new information” to her and questioned if Batavia residents were on board with such a long-term financial commitment.

“I’m not sure if the citizens want a police station there or if they really want a police station,” she offered. “It could be that citizens want to revisit how they’re tax dollars are to be used … and judging from comments on Facebook and The Batavian comments, about the location of the police department and if it is necessary.”

She then asked how city leaders set their priorities.

“Then I would ask of the city, during this feasibility study, what’s their measurement of success? In other words, who are they serving? Are they going to do something that’s going to ... how do they determine what best serves the citizens? They’ve got the farmers’ market.”

Would Relocation Affect Business?

Carr did agree that the current police headquarters is inadequate, but said that placing a new one would on the Alva Place lot would devastate the farmers’ market.

“If the market moved to Angotti’s (Beverage Corp.) parking lot on School Street … well, 73 percent of our customers walk or bike and (right now) no one crosses Main Street or Ellicott Street. You might as well put us on an island, all by ourselves,” she said.

“Seventy-three percent of our customers may not come because they’d have to cross those busy streets. Senior citizens with their walkers and motorized scooters – they’re not going to cross those busy streets. And we’d be that much farther removed from other customers we currently serve, such as the employees of the hospital and the YMCA.”

Jankowski said a new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department is long overdue.

“The facility is not proper right now – we know that – and it’s falling apart,” he said. “We need a building on our own property and we need a building where we can save money.”

The retired City of Batavia police officer then pointed out some of the problems with the current police station.

“Who is going to benefit from it? People in the community that are arrested. They’ll have a better facility to be housed in temporarily when they’re interviewed – in a proper area,” Jankowski said. “Evidence will be stored in a proper safe facility and not contaminating people with the fumes coming off it. You’ve got blood evidence, you’ve got drug evidence. That stuff is locked in an old safe now; there’s no ventilation in there. When those guys (police officers) walk in there, they’re taking a breath and inhaling that stuff. It can’t be healthy.”

Current Police Station is Lacking

Jankowski said the city has to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements.

“We’re not making this stuff up,” he said. “When you’re a victim of a crime or domestic abuse, we have a safe place to go and you’re not being yelled at by your abuser because you’re in the same room and there’s a door there and he’s yelling through the window at you.”

The council president said he has received no complaints from the public until “Ms. Carr gets hired by the farmers’ market and now she is demanding that we turn over this lot to them at no charge and create a permanent place for the market.”

“I love the market … but nobody said it was a permanent deal. It was land that was not being used and we said, ‘Sure, you can use it temporarily.’ I do know that when they were moved there, it was not my impression that they were moved there permanently.”

Jankowski said the city would like to help them find another location, preferably close to downtown. He also said the farmers’ market has the option to purchase city-owned property at the fair market rate and erect its own structure, adding that nonprofits such as Genesee/Orleans Council on Substance Abuse and Alcoholism and YMCA invest their own money to construct their own buildings.

He suggested moving it behind the YMCA.

“They’re going to be having a big wellness thing there (Healthy Living campus) and maybe the best place is to move across the street and be right behind the Y,” he said. “We’re trying to help them find a location, but from what I’m told, they want the place they’re at now and nothing we offer is acceptable to them at this point. Personally, the way they’re acting, I have lost interest in the farmers’ market being there even another year.”

Who are the Bullies in This Situation?

While Jankowski contends the farmers’ market is trying to “bully” the city, Carr said it is the other way around.

“We are being bullies by asking for conversation? A bully is someone who dictates terms and that’s what the city is doing to us. We’re in a totally reactive position. We have no clout,” she said.

Carr said she seeks to inform Council members of information that needs to be considered.

“I’m bringing to their attention a New York State Field & Fork survey that shows groundswell that that area is the perfect location for the market – as 73 percent of the customers are able to walk and bike (to get there),” she said. “In addition, in 2018 across the nation was the beginning of a movement (that) everyone wants more local produce from their farmers’ markets. And just recently, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) issued an RFI (request for information) stating that by the year 2050, 40 percent of all locally grown produce must come from locally grown in order to reduce the carbon footprint by 50 percent.”

She also said that people need to be educated on the relationship between COVID-19 and healthy eating.

“How can you make decisions with such game-changing facts in front of you based on data that’s five years out of date?” she asked. “COVID is the game-changer here. It’s a known fact that eating more produce increases your immunity and it’s from only your locally grown produce where you get optimal nutrition. These changes are taking place and they have been going on for quite a while and you’ve missed this data.”

Carr said directors of the farmers’ market plan to meet on Nov. 16 to discuss their options, mentioning that she has reached out to Congressman Chris Jacobs to see if he could assist in helping them to locate some funding independent of the city.

“As far as the farmers’ market and the reception that the farmers’ market received, including Mr. Jankowski slamming our lead farmer, why wouldn’t we just pack up and move to Batavia Downs or get someone to underwrite us and go elsewhere?” she asked. “What’s the point in staying Downtown because the city doesn’t want us there? They’ve been kicking us around, year to year, going on the 12th time in the course of 15 years, without conversation. Does that seem right?”

Previously: Farmers' market treasurer provides information in response to City Council's queries

Previously: Farmers' Market manager asks Council to reconsider placing new police station on Alva Place lot

Previously: Placement of 'nomadic' Genesee Country Farmers' Market is up in the air once more

November 8, 2020 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, Announcements.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
November 8, 2020 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A fence is reportedly on fire, flames showing, at 21 Trumbull Parkway, Batavia.

City fire responding.

November 8, 2020 - 2:09pm
posted by Lauren Leone in Just Kings, social justice, batavia, news, notify.

Batavia, New York, residents young and old donned Halloween costumes of all colors, shapes, and sizes at the Trunk or Treat event hosted by Just Kings Social Club, a newly formed racial justice group that advocates for community members of color. Outreach events like Trunk or Treat are part of the organization’s initiative to mobilize for criminal justice reform, a political issue at the forefront of the 2020 election.

Though the group is not affiliated with Black Lives Matter, Just Kings has shown its solidarity with nationwide police reform movements following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Just Kings has organized outreach events like the June 7 “March for Justice” protest in downtown Batavia and Juneteenth “Teach Thy Neighbor” celebration at the YWCA of Genesee County.

Over 400 demonstrators attended the March for Justice, and the organization has received an outpouring of community support on its Facebook page. In addition to large gatherings, Just Kings works with those in need of financial assistance and emotional support on an individual basis. 

“From giving free haircuts and back-to-school bags to selling chicken barbecues to put on things like [Trunk or Treat], the community’s responded, and it’s been awesome,” said Just Kings member Otis Thomas. “They’re enjoying the movement, and we’re going to keep pushing forward and hoping for bigger and better things.”

Eventgoers spoke highly of the grassroots organizing work that Just Kings is doing to bring all Batavia and Genesee County, New York, residents into a cohesive discussion about racial justice.

“Every single member of Just Kings really has their heart put into this,” supporter MaKayla Armstrong said. “They’re really trying to make Batavia a better place, a safe place.”

Vocalizing Underrepresented Concerns About Police Reform

Three Just Kings members are on the City of Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group, a board of local leaders and residents tasked with reimagining the city’s policing practices. One of the original objectives of Just Kings was to join the board. Group members said it is meaningful to be engaged in dialogue with the Batavia Police Department.

“To be invited, to have a few of our members on that board, was a huge accomplishment for us, not for the clout but for the actual voice that we can have in the community,” Just Kings member Haven Armstrong said.

As one of the first community groups for people of color in Genesee County, which is a predominantly white, conservative region, Just Kings has been spearheading efforts to gain representation for Black and brown residents and confront the racial disparities that exist in local policing policies.

“We felt for years being from here and living here so long that our voice was kind of suppressed,” he said. “Having the members that we know that are out doing the right things or trying to make an actual reform happen … was huge for us and the community.”

Gaining Representation and Reform Through the Vote

Criminal justice reform has also been taking place at the polls. Encouraging voting among its supporters is a component of Just Kings’ work to educate youth and raise awareness of racial inequalities at the local level.

“When it all comes down to it, this is a good place to be,” Just Kings member Oraid Edwards said. “We want to prove that but, at the same time, make changes so that way equality spreads throughout.”

To facilitate those changes, Just Kings has shared voting resources with its supporters so they are informed about how to cast their ballots this election season.

“We believe the local government — your governor and your local things in your city — is what’s really going to matter for us right now,” Thomas said. “… Get out and vote. Push the [police reform] issue. If you’re 18 or over and you have that voice, use it.”

Lauren Leone is a journalism student at Ithaca College, a graduate of Batavia High School, and a former intern for The Batavian. This article originally appeared in Ithaca Week.

Video Sponsor

Bottom video by Howard Owens/The Batavian. The video was runner-up in the Best Multimedia Competition in 2020 sponsored by Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION).

November 8, 2020 - 1:44pm

Photo: Paul Marchese, founder and president of Marchese Computers, has written his first book, “Business Owner’s Guide to Cyber Security." 

A Batavia businessman with a passion for computers since he was in high school has written his first book.

Paul Marchese, founder and president of Marchese Computers on Ellicott Street, is author of the recently released “Business Owners Guide to Cyber Security.” His goal is to keep clients safe from the increasing and sophisticated hackers of today.

Marchese was at a peer-training seminar about a year ago where they talked about what things they could do in their industry to help clients.

“Someone said they had written a book, and that got me thinking,” Marchese said. “I decided to share my years of knowledge and expertise to help people understand what cybersecurity is and how to protect themselves from the cyber bad guys in this world.”

He said today’s hackers are not the 14-year-olds in the basement any more.

“I consider them worse than the Chicago mob,” Marchese said. “Hackers are getting more intelligent every day.”

Marchese was born and raised in Batavia. His favorite subjects were always math and science. While a senior at Batavia High School, he and several friends spent a good part of the year developing a program to compile information and rank students. The school was paying a full-time individual $30,000 a year to do that, he said. The program he and his friends developed took half a day to enter the data and minutes to print out the rankings.

“At that time, the technology in our high school was a teletype machine connected to Wayne/Fingerlakes BOCES,” Marchese said.

In his senior year, he was pulled out of class to accompany school personnel to the Apple store in Rochester to help them choose what computer program to purchase. He also taught computers to students in the Excel Program during study hall. 

Marchese graduated from Batavia High School in 1982 and entered the University of Rochester to study Chemical Engineering. Half way through, he switched majors, getting a degree in the college’s first Computer Science program. 

Marchese had started his company in 1981 at age 17 and ran it part time while he finished school and college.

“I soon realized it was in my best interest to do this full time,” he said. “I’m blessed I got into it at the beginning stage. I’ve been in the business longer than anyone else in the area.”

Marchese Computers is now one of the oldest full-service computer stores in Western New York, having grown to seven employees. In the late 1990s, early 2000s, Marchese Computers offered E-Z Net dial-up to almost 30,000 subscribers, making it the largest such provider in Western New York.

He helped pioneer the current voice-over IP (Internet Protocol) system, and did beta testing with Multi Tech. Today, Marchese Computers offers a suite of products, such as telecommunication, internet, phone systems and installation of New York State authorized alarm systems, video protection systems and fire protection alarms.

“My goal as a company is to remove the burden of IT (Information Technology) from a business person’s plate so they can concentrate on growing their business and better serving their customers. That is what has driven me for 39 years. I’m always looking for better technology that better serves our clients.”

Writing his book is another step toward that goal.

His book addresses why business owners can’t ignore cybercrime and why a particular business may be the target of a cybercriminal. He explains how a cybercriminal can attack one’s network without the business owner or employee even clicking on a site. Then he explains what to do to protect a business’s network and how to prevent identity theft. 

Another chapter discusses staying secure while working from home, which many people have been forced to do during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I tried to make the book as well-rounded as possible,” Marchese said. 

Copies are available at his store at 200 Ellicott St. or on his website at www.mcpinc.com

“What makes me happy with my choice of career is I’m in an industry which changes every day,” Marchese said. “There’s not a day goes by that I don’t learn something.”

Photo by Virginia Kropf.

November 8, 2020 - 1:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

Photo: Mr. Euroman N with driver Billy Davis Jr.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Fresh off a late closing victory in the top pace at Batavia Downs last week, Mr. Euroman N found himself right back in the winner’s circle once again after capturing the $8,500 Open I Handicap pace at the Downs on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 7). 

Mr. Euroman N (Billy Davis Jr.) got away fourth as Tullow N (Ray Fisher Jr.) took the lead by the quarter and then paced smartly to the half in :57. At that point Davis had Mr. Euroman N out and moving first-over into the third turn and drew alongside Tullow N by the three-quarters. Davis and Fisher then commenced rocking and knocking around the far turn with Mr. Euroman N getting an advantage heading down the lane that he would keep all the way to the line where he won by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54.3. 

It was the third Open I win in the last four stars for Mr. Euroman N ($4.80) and owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice trains the winner.

(Above, Stratosphere with driver Drew Monti.)

The $7,500 Open II pace went to Stratosphere (Drew Monti) who dropped down from Open I company this week and led throughout the entire mile before holding off the tripped-out Percy’s Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the light to win by a neck in 1:54.1. It was the sixth win of the year for Stratosphere ($5.80) who is owned by his driver and trained by Darrin Monti. 

Billy Davis Jr., Drew Monti and Jim Morrill Jr. all had three driving wins on Saturday while trainers Darrin Monti, Jerry Nugent Jr., Gerry Sarama and Lee Dahn all had two wins apiece. 

When racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 11) there will be a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager that day.

The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on both the USTA and Batavia Downs website early next week.

Post time for Wednesday is set at 5 p.m.

November 8, 2020 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, news, notify, schools, education, batavia.

Two employees at Jackson Primary School tested positive for COVID-19 and were symptomatic while on campus so Superintendent Anibal Soler today announced that the school will be moving to 100-percent virtual learning for the next two weeks starting tomorrow.

Jackson, with pupils in grades pre-kindergarten through second, is the only school in the City School district moving to virtual learning for the time being.

"This has caused a growing number of students and staff to be identified and deemed in “close contact” and they will need to quarantine for a 14-day window immediately," Soler said. "Staff and students who have been identified as 'close contact' will be notified by both school administration and the Genesee County Health Department starting today."

Virtual learning will be in effect until Nov. 30.

"This decision was extremely difficult as I know the impact that this has on our students and families," Soler said. "As positive cases continue to grow in our Genesee County region, please know that this decision was done out of extreme caution to protect our youngest learners, families, and staff."

Letter to parents and staff:

I am writing to provide you an important update regarding COVID-19 and Jackson Primary School.  

I have been notified and in contact with the Genesee County Health Department and the District’s Medical Director that there have been two positive COVID-19 cases on the Jackson Primary campus. The employees were in school while exhibiting symptoms. As a result, this has caused a growing number of students and staff to be identified and deemed in “close contact” and they will need to quarantine for a 14-day window immediately. Staff and students who have been identified as “close contact” will be notified by both school administration and the Genesee County Health Department starting today. 

Out of an abundance of caution, we will be moving Jackson Primary School to 100-percent Virtual Remote Learning effective immediately and will return back to our hybrid in-person learning model on Monday, Nov. 30.

This decision was extremely difficult as I know the impact that this has on our students and families. As positive cases continue to grow in our Genesee County region, please know that this decision was done out of extreme caution to protect our youngest learners, families and staff. 

This extended period of in-person learning closure is our attempt to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 on our Jackson Primary campus and will hopefully avoid us having multiple interruptions or closures to our school programming as we continue to await additional test results.

Please also note, all non-identified staff will report to work tomorrow as normal to continue to teach and support students remotely. Access to meals including breakfast and lunch, will continue to be provided daily for any individual 18 and under in the household.  

New York State has launched the “School COVID Report Card” site, where you can view COVID-19 data associated with all schools in New York. To protect the privacy of students and staff, we will never release personally identifiable information.

Please continue to be vigilant in your efforts and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19. For additional reliable information on preventing the spread of COVID-19, please go to www.cdc.gov or www.health.ny.gov

Please also don’t hesitate to contact Jackson Primary School or the District if you have any questions or concerns. 

Better Together… WE are Batavia!

Anibal Soler Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

November 8, 2020 - 1:18pm

Press release:

County Manager Matt Landers is pleased to announce that Assistant County Manager, Tammi Ferringer (inset photo left) successfully completed the High Performance Leadership Academy, a partnership of the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The High Performance Leadership Academy features a robust curriculum developed by the Professional Development Academy in partnership with Fortune 1000 executives, public sector leaders, and world-renowned thought leaders, including retired four-star General Colin Powell and executive leadership coach and author Marshall Goldsmith, Ph.D.

The High Performance Leadership Academy focuses on five essential skills; leading, organizing, collaborating, communication and delivering. It emphasizes real-time instruction, small-group learning and knowledge exchanges.

“This training will enhance Tammi’s leadership skill set and help benefit Genesee County as a whole," Landers said. "I am thrilled that the Manager’s Office will be able to utilize these enhanced skills in leading County government forward in these challenging times.” 

More than 2,489 professionals from more than 1,343 counties across the country completed the Leadership Academy since 2018.

File photo.

November 7, 2020 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, batavia, Joe Biden.
Video Sponsor

A small group of local residents drove through Batavia this evening, honking horns in cars adorned with political signs, to celebrate the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris victory in the 2020 presidential election.

November 7, 2020 - 11:39am
posted by Billie Owens in news, fire, Bethany.

Fire in the woods behind a house is reported at 5455 Jerico Road in Bethany. The location is between Bethany Center and East roads.

Pavilion Fire Department is rerouting a tanker from a mutual aid call in Wyoming County to the Bethany fire incident. Stafford is asked to stand by in their quarters with a tanker. Alexander is called to the scene with a tanker.

York is asked to stand by in their hall in case Bethany calls for their mutual aid.

UPDATE 11:41 a.m.: Attica Fire Department, with a tanker en route to the scene, is asked to "drive by" in case they are needed. Attica says it can also send a brush truck if warranted.

UPDATE 11:49 a.m.: The fire is mostly out, command says, and they are working on hot spots now. Stafford is put back in service. Alexander is on location. Attica is continuing to the scene in non-emergency mode.

November 6, 2020 - 8:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents, news, notify, scanner.

A car vs. pedestrian accident is reported at East Main and Summit streets in the City of Batavia. The victim has a head laceration. Mercy Flight #7 is put on ground standby in the Batavia hangar. Mercy medics are on scene along with city police, and city fire is responding.

East Main Street will be shut down at Ross Street.

UPDATE 8:09 p.m.: The patient is reportedly in cardiac arrest.

UPDATE 8:22 p.m.: The victim will be transported by ambulance to the hangar in Batavia and then via Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m. (By Howard): Based on witness accounts gathered by police at the scene, it appears the person who was struck ran across the street and was struck by a minivan. Unconfirmed by police but according to witnesses at the scene, he may have been with another person who fled the scene.  The victim was administered CPR at the scene. He may be transported to Strong by Mercy Flight but he was first taken to UMMC where he apparently remains under treatment. The driver of the minivan, an older gentleman, appeared uninjured but was transported to UMMC for evaluation. His wife arrived on scene after the accident and comforted him. The Crash Management Team for the Sheriff's Office is on scene to assist with the investigation.

The victim has not been identified.

UPDATE 12:19 a.m.;  Press release:

At approximately 8:02 p.m. on 11/06/2020, the Genesee County Dispatch center was notified of a car/pedestrian accident that occurred on East Main Street just east of Summit Street. Officers from the Batavia Police Department, along with the City of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy Medics, responded where the male pedestrian was found with severe injuries, laying in the middle of the roadway. The pedestrian was transported to UMMC where he was later pronounced dead.

The preliminary investigation shows the vehicle was heading east on East Main Street when the pedestrian entered the roadway just east of Summit Street. The pedestrian was on the south side of the roadway and heading north. The vehicle struck the pedestrian as he was crossing the road. The investigation is still ongoing and no further updates should be expected until 11/09/2020. The identity of the pedestrian is being withheld at this time at the family’s request.

Anyone with information in reference to the case may contact Detective Sergeant Lutey at (585) 345-6311 or the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350, the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

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