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March 27, 2020 - 1:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A two-vehicle collision with minor injuries is reported in front of Miss Batavia Diner at 566 E. Main St. in the city. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

March 27, 2020 - 10:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mental Health Association, news, video, live stream, COVID-19.
Video Sponsor

This morning we're talking with Tom Christensen, executive director Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans.

Our apologies to anybody who tried to watch this live. The live feed didn't go through to YouTube for some reason. But we did record the call so here is the full video of the interview.

Tom Christensen mentioned some helpful phone numbers during the conversation. Here are the numbers:

  • MHA in Niagara County Peer Information Line: 716-433-5432 (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday)
  • MHA of Genesee & Orleans Counties WarmLine: 585-813-0072 (5 – 8:30 p.m. daily, including weekends)
  • Crisis TextLine: text MHA to 741-741 (24/7)
  • GCASA Peer Recovery Advocates: 585-815-1800 (24/7)
  • Genesee/Orleans Care and Crisis HelpLine: 585-283-5200 (24/7)
March 26, 2020 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Steve Hawley, COVID-19, news, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

We're talking with Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

March 26, 2020 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, COVID-19, news.

Video of this morning's briefing by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Accompanying press release:

  • The goal is having a 1,000-Plus Patient Overflow Facility in each NYC Borough and Downstate counties.
  • An additional 12,000 health professionals have signed up to volunteer as part of the State's Surge Healthcare Force since yesterday -- bringing total number of volunteers to more than 52,000;
  • More than 8,600 mental health professionals have now signed up to provide free online mental health services;
  • Confirms 6,448 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 37,258; new cases in 39 counties;

Governor Cuomo: "Our goal is to have a 1,000-plus overflow facility in each of the boroughs Downstate in the counties, Queens, Brooklyn, the New York City boroughs, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester, and Rockland, so every county has a 1,000-plus-bed overflow facility and that's what we're working on at the same time, as well as increasing the capacity of the existing hospital system.

"During this difficult time let's listen to the voices of our better angels as individuals, as families, as a community, and as a society. We're going to get through this. The only question is how we get through it and when we get through it. But let's make sure at the end of the day that we can say we are the better for it and our children are the better for it -- and I believe they will be."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state is scouting additional new sites for temporary hospitals, with a goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each NYC borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

These new additions, together with the temporary hospitals that are being built at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center, are aimed at building thousands of new beds to bolster existing hospital capacity, with the goal of being open to patients in early -- to mid-April. The state is also preparing college dormitories and hotels for emergency beds.

The Governor also announced that an additional 12,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state's surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total number of volunteers to more than 52,000.

Additionally, more than 8,600 mental health professionals, including individuals from other states, have now signed up to provide free online mental health services. New Yorkers can call the state's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good morning. Top of the morning to you. The people with us today, to my right is James Malatras, president of the SUNY Empire College, to my left Melissa DeRosa, to her left, Robert Mujica, budget director, back of the room, my daughter Cara, who is doing a great job.

Let's talk about what's going on today. First, what I try to communicate in these briefings are the facts of the situation. Facts can be uplifting, they can be depressing at times, they can be confusing at times, but I think facts are empowering. You know, in a situation like this, not knowing the facts is worse because that's when feel out of control or when you feel that you're getting selective facts, or you're being deceived by the information you're getting. That is actually the worst situation.

So what I say to my people in every situation, just give me the facts first and then let me understand what the situation and the reality is and then we'll go from there, so that's what I try to do.

The facts on this situation are increasingly important on two levels: public health but also the economic facts. We've been focusing on the public health facts and the response of the public health system to the virus. More and more we now have to deal on two fronts. We have to deal with the public health situation but we also have to deal with the economic situation and I'll get to that in a moment.

Public health, we've had a two-prong agenda, which we've been pursuing aggressively. We still are flattening the curve so you reduce the flow into the hospital system. At the same time increase the hospital capacity. What we're looking for is not a reduction in in the number of cases. We're looking for a reduction in the rate of the increase in the number of cases. That's what comes first when you're starting to make progress. The rate of increase should reduce, as opposed to the number of absolute cases. So that's what we're looking for.

The optimum is when they talk about the apex of the curve is not to have an apex and that's what the flattening is, not to have that spike because the spike is where you would overwhelm the hospital systems that try to get down that rate of increase so you can actually handle it in the hospital system and that's what they talk about by the flattening of the curve.

Just as an aside, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been so kind and helpful to me. I speak to healthcare professionals all across the globe literally but Dr. Fauci I think is just brilliant at this and he has been so personally kind. I called him late at night. I called him in the middle of the night. I called him in the morning and he's been really a friend to me personally and the State of New York.

So this is all about getting that curve down and not overwhelming the hospital system. Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current health care system so little reality -- keep the curve down as low as you can but you cannot get fit curve down low enough so that you don't overwhelm the hospital capacity.

So any of these scenarios we have to increase the hospital capacity and that's why we're literally adding to the hospital capacity everywhere we can. That's what the Javits Hospital is about, that's what the Stony Brook hospital is about, that's what Westchester Convention Center, that's what the Old Westbury additional site is.

We're also scouting new sites now all across, primarily the downstate area of this state, for possible sites. Our goal is to have a 1,000-plus overflow facility in each of the boroughs downstate in the counties, Queens, Brooklyn, the New York City boroughs, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester and Rockland, so every county has a 1000-plus-bed overflow facility and that's what we're working on at the same time, as well as increasing the capacity of the existing hospital system.

As we've said the hospitals have a 53,000-bed capacity. We're trying get to 140,000-bed capacity between the hospitals and the overflow facilities. We've mandated that the hospitals increased their capacity by 50 percent. We've asked them to try to increase it 100 percent but they have to increase it 50 percent. We're also scouting dorms, scouting hotels for emergency beds and that's going well.

Equipment and PPE is an ongoing issue. Right now we do have enough PPE for the immediate future. The New York City hospital system confirm that so we have enough in stock now for the immediate need. Ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. I didn't know what they were a few weeks ago besides the cursory knowledge. I know too much about ventilators now. We're still shopping for ventilators all across the country. We need more.

We have approved the technology that allows one ventilator to serve two patients -- what they call splitting. Which is when you add a second set of tubes to a ventilator to do two patients. It's not ideal, but we believe it's workable. We're also converting anesthesia machines to ventilators. We have a couple of thousand anesthesia machines in our hospitals and we're converting them to work as ventilators.

Why is there such a demand on ventilators? And where did this come from? It's a respiratory illness for a large number of people. So, they all need ventilators. Also, non-COVID patients are normally on ventilators for three to four days. COVID patients are on ventilators for 11 to 21 days. Think about that. So you don't have the same turnaround in the number of ventilators. If somebody is on ventilators for three or four days, that's one level of ventilators you need. If somebody is on for 11 to 21 days, that's a totally different equation and that's what we're dealing with. The high number of COVID patients and the long period of time that they actually need a ventilator.

We're also working on equalizing and distributing the load of patients. Right now, the number of cases is highest in Downstate New York. So we're working on a collaboration where we distribute the load between Downstate hospitals and Upstate hospitals. And we're also working on increasing the capacity for Upstate hospitals.

Shifting now to a totally different field: the economic consequences of what's going on which have just really gelled after what the federal government has done and we were waiting for the federal action to determine where we were from a point of revenues and economics.

What's happening to a state government -- any state. It's happening to a city government, is a double whammy. You have increased expenses because of the COVID virus and you have a tremendous loss of revenue because all those businesses are closed and all those people are out of work. People are out of work, they're not earning income, they're not paying income tax. Businesses are closed, they're not making money, they're not paying business revenue.

March 26, 2020 - 4:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, notify, COVID-19.

Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported today by the Genesee County Health Department and the department is also reporting that two people with coronavirus are now hospitalized.

It's unclear from the news release if the two new positives are the two cases hospitalized or if one of the previous positive cases (there were two as of yesterday) is now hospitalized.

One of the new positives is under age 65 and resides in the central part of Genesee County. The second positive case is over age 65 and also resides in the central part of Genesee County. Based on the investigation so far, these cases are not connected.

Contact tracing has been started on both new positive cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine. People placed on mandatory quarantine must remain in quarantine for 14 days. If they become symptomatic, they are tested for COVID-19.

If the test is positive, the patient is placed in mandatory isolation. If two tests come back negative, the mandatory quarantine is lifted; however, ill patients are still expected to avoid contact with other people.

In Genesee County, there are 18 people under precautionary quarantine and 26 people are under mandatory quarantine.

Yesterday, there were 21 people under mandatory quarantine.

It's unknown if any of the people who were previously placed under mandatory quarantine are among the new positive cases.

There have been 61 negative test results in Genesee County.

The Health Department does not provide a breakout of how many people have been tested by the Health Department and how many have been tested by private health providers. Most of the tests being conducted are being conducted by private providers, we have been told previously.

Private providers are required to instruct patients who are tested to self-quarantine until test results are returned. If the result is negative, the patient is asked to continue to self-quarantine for until a total of 14 days have been reached from the last date of travel or last exposure.

Orleans County has one new positive case in the past 24 hours with four people total in mandatory isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, and one of those cases is hospitalized.

In Wyoming County, there are seven positive cases but one resident is out of the county and had no close contacts with anybody in Wyoming County.

The full press release:

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19
    • Orleans County received one new positive case.
  • For Genesee: One positive case is under the age of 65 and resides in the central part of Genesee County. The second positive case is over the age of 65 and also resides in the central part of the county. Based on the ongoing investigation, these cases are not connected. These two individuals are under mandatory isolation and are in the hospital.
  • For Orleans: The new positive case is under the age of 65 and is a resident of the central part of the county. This individual is being isolated in an adjacent county
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all the new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms becomes present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated.

Cumulative Data

  • To Date: Genesee County has received 61 negative test results and Orleans County has received 61 negative test results for COVID-19.
  • Orleans County: Six people are under precautionary quarantine, eight people are under mandatory quarantine, and four people are under mandatory isolation one of whom is hospitalized and three are recovering at home (one out of county).
  • Genesee County: 18 people are under precautionary quarantine, 26 people are under mandatory quarantine, and two people are under mandatory isolation at home and two people are under mandatory isolation and are hospitalized.
  • Healthcare providers must advise patients undergoing testing for COVID-19 to self-isolate until testing is resulted and COVID-19 is ruled out.
    • If COVID-19 testing results are positive, patients must be continued on mandatory isolation as noted below:
    • IF a patient was on mandatory or precautionary quarantine when tested and results for COVID-19 are negative, healthcare providers must advise patients to continue quarantine until 14 days after last travel or exposure to a known case (per public authorities).
    • If a patient was not previously on quarantine and was tested for illness consistent with COVID-19, once the result is negative and COVID-19 is ruled out, the patient may be advised that they need not be on quarantine.
  • Currently, NYS clearance protocol for discontinuation of mandatory isolation for persons with confirmed COVID-19 is the following: it has been at least seven days since the initial positive test for COVID-19, at least three days without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, improvement in the signs and symptoms of the illness and two negative swabs at least 24-hours apart. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine / isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time.
  • Please remain home if ill, with all of the directives regarding social distancing that are still be in place, especially if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to limit physical contact. The flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. Do not be afraid of people because they may be coughing or sneezing, they may have allergies, but continue to keep your distance (at least 6 feet).


  • If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are at higher risk categories – elderly and immune compromised and those with underlying health issues.
  • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.

RETURNING SNOWBIRDS / Those at Higher-Risk

  • We encourage people to seek creative ways to keep in touch, especially for those who are returning home from their winter residences and those who are older and/or have underlying health conditions. If you have access to the internet there are several applications that you can use for free to "connect" with family and friends.


  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his 11:30 a.m. press conference there are 6,448 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 37,258 positive cases in New York State.
  • 5,327 (14 percent) COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
  • NYS is seeking volunteers to work as part of the state’s surge healthcare force, so far 40,000 have volunteered. To volunteer go to: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help
March 26, 2020 - 4:07pm

Press release:

New York’s farmers are among the best in the nation when it comes to supporting people in need through their regional food banks. This week, American Farm Bureau Federation recognized New York Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program for its efforts to donate more than 7.3 million pounds of food to the regional food banks across the state last year.

That was the second highest donation total in the country, behind Florida. In addition, the county Farm Bureau YF&R committees throughout New York raised $14,421 in monetary donations and performed 223 of volunteer work for their area food banks in 2019.

The food is collected through the “Harvest for All” donation program, a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB’s YF&R Committee and Feeding New York State administer the statewide donation partnership. The food is then distributed among the 10 Feeding America food banks throughout the state.

NYFB’s YF&R Committee also received the Most Innovative Award from AFBF for its efforts to use Livingston County Farm Bureau’s popular Farm Fest event last September to assist with food collection efforts. Attendees helped pick sweet corn that was then delivered to the Avon Food Pantry. Sweet corn seed was generously donated by local dealer, Seedway, LLC. The host farm, Mulligan Farm, then planted and maintained the sweet corn throughout the summer.

Two planting dates were scheduled in hopes of the corn being ready for the day of Farm Fest. The event had volunteers at each station who assisted with picking and placing the corn into bags so it could later be transported. NYFB’s YF&R program was awarded two $250 checks for its efforts that will be donated to Feeding New York State.

Last year was a difficult one weather wise for New York agriculture. Spring rains delayed planting for farms in every region of the state, by several weeks in some instances, which in turn delayed harvest and overall food production. Some farms were unsure if they would have enough product to donate.

Despite the challenges, farmers came through in a big way. These efforts are continuing in 2020 with gleaning projects being planned for harvest season to secure fresh produce for the food banks. Unfortunately, the demand for food will likely be higher this year as the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing more New Yorkers who are out of work to turn to their food banks and local pantries.

Christina Kohler, New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers chair, said, “The YF&R members are proud to support the Harvest for All program for more than 15 years. In that time, farms in New York have given almost 106 million pounds of food to support the work by the regional food banks in our state. That translates into more than 88 million meals.

"Our members also volunteer with gleaning projects and fundraisers to make more fresh food accessible to New Yorkers in need. We look forward to continuing this partnership, and we encourage farmers across the state to remember their local food banks as an important way to give back or when they have excess product that would otherwise go to waste.”

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president, said, “Despite all the challenges farmers faced last year, their donations of more than seven million pounds of food is still a significant number. It reflects that even when times are tough, farmers step up to care for their neighbors and provide for their communities.

"We are proud to continue this great partnership with Feeding New York State and our outstanding regional food banks. I would like to thank all the farmers who have given during this past year and the regional food banks for helping get the food from the farm fields to people in need.”

Dan Egan, executive director of Feeding New York State, said, "The food banks of New York State are deeply grateful for the generous donations of fresh food from New York's farmers. It was a difficult year, but once again New York farmers stepped up and provided high quality food to our neighbors in need.

"In communities large and small, there are hungry people who would not otherwise be able to eat fresh food were it not for New York's farmers. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts."

For more specific information on local food donation projects, please contact your regional food bank.

March 26, 2020 - 3:23pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Meals on Wheels, COVID-19, news, Matilda's Law, elderly.

While the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with normal life across the country, recipients of Meals on Wheels in Genesee County can rest assured their meal delivery will continue.

Paul Saskowski, director of Business Services for the Arc of Orleans and Genesee, said they have had to make adjustments, but their employees are taking things in stride, and all recipients are receiving their meals as usual.

He said for the most part they have had no trouble receiving food from their supplier, although he said the supplier has found it more difficult to get food, as the food chains are demanding more.

“The only trouble we’ve had is getting one of our whole wheat breads, but we were able to find a suitable substitute,” Saskowski said.

He said drivers are taking extra precautions, wearing gloves, keeping their distance and using hand sanitizer after every delivery. He said Emergency Management offices in both counties have been very helpful, providing hand sanitizer they had in reserve.

Both congregate meal sites in Orleans and Genesee counties were forced to close and five people in Orleans County and 30 in Genesee County, who relied on the meal sites, were transferred to home meal delivery.

Saskowski said they have a goal to provide each Meals on Wheels recipient with extra meals, so they have a stockpile of food in their house.

“It is our goal in Orleans County to provide each household with 10 extra meals, in case we are pulled off the road for any reason,” Saskowski said. “We are very close to that goal.”

In spite of all the adjustments, Saskowski praised his staff, saying their attitude through all of this has been wonderful.

In Genesee County, Office for the Aging Director Diana Fox and services administrator Dorian Ely weighed in on the situation.

“We are working to build emergency services here so we can provide two extra meals per recipient,” Fox said. “We are also very committed to keeping the personal contact with our clientele. Those who, for one reason or another, do not receive a meal that day get a call from us to make sure they are all right.”

Their drivers also wear masks and leave the meal just inside the door, unless the recipient needs it put in a more convenient place. Then the driver will put it where the client needs it to be, keeping his distance, Ely said.

Before starting out, volunteer drivers are encouraged to take their temperature to make sure they are all right.

Recent passing of Matilda’s Law by Albany has placed more hardship on the program, as many of their volunteers are elderly themselves, Fox and Ely added.

“The law sets a strict set of rules for the vulnerable populations, like senior citizens or people with underlying conditions,” Ely said. “Many of our volunteers fall into that category.”

Fox said Matilda’s Law* affects all seniors in Genesee County and it’s important everyone understands the law and how it pertains to them. The law states that these people must stay inside, not visit homes with multiple people and maintain six feet of distance from others.

The Arc delivers Meals on Wheels to about 120 homes in each county.

*Editor's Note: Matilda's Law, named for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's mother, was announced last week as part of the "New York on Pause" Executive Order, which took affect at 8 p.m. Sunday. It includes the following rules for vulnerable populations:

  • Remain indoors;
  • Can go outside for solitary exercise;
  • Prescreen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature and seeing if person is exhibiting other flu-like symptoms;
  • Do not visit households with multiple people;
  • Wear a mask when in the company of others;
  • To the greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask;
  • Always stay at least six feet away from individuals; and
  • Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary.
March 26, 2020 - 3:07pm

Press release:

EAST BETHANY -- York State’s first county forest -- Genesee County Park & Forest -- has an Environmental Education Assistant Internship position open for May – August.

The position is administered through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and is located at Genesee County Park & Forest in East Bethany. Applicants must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED and a U.S. citizen.

Environmental Education Assistants develop, organize, plan and lead environmental education programs to audiences of all ages in a wide variety of settings under the guidance of park staff. Environmental Education Assistants also coordinate the efforts of park volunteers.

Job duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting programs for schools, summer rec groups, scouts and the general public;
  • Providing customer service to park visitors and program participants;
  • Planning volunteer and park events;
  • Writing articles for the parks seasonal newsletter;
  • Marketing of park events, programs and resources;
  • Scheduling and coordinating volunteers to assist with park events and projects;
  • Providing training and orientation to new park volunteers.

SCA interns earn a stipend of $125/week while serving and are eligible for an education award of $1,612 that may be used for student loans, tuition, classes or future college costs.

This position requires 16 weeks of 40 hour/week of service from May until August. Hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Flexibility is given in order to cover the prescheduled programs that are outside of the normal working hours within the 40-hour work week.

Additional benefits:

  • First Aid/AED/CPR training provided;
  • Experience and on-the-job training in environmental education and volunteer coordinating;
  • Deeper knowledge of natural history and ecology;
  • Job duties include volunteer outings (kayaking, hiking)
  • Networking with professionals in Environmental Science and Education

The application deadline is April 10.

To apply: Apply online here.

For additional information contact Shannon Lyaski, Conservation Education Program coordinator at:   [email protected]

March 26, 2020 - 2:46pm
Press release:

The Salvation Army in Genesee County in cooperation with FoodLink and Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia announce two upcoming distribution dates for a “Pop Up” Mobile Food Pantry.

We know that many in our community have relied on the once monthly Mobile Food Pantry hosted at The Salvation Army’s Main Street location. Due to current events, this will not be possible for the foreseeable future.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 27th, and again on Wednesday, April 1st, The Salvation Army will oversee the food distributions at Northgate Free Methodist Church, located at 8160 Bank Street Road.

This will be done as a “drive-thru” distribution to insure social distancing and proper hygiene.

Residents are asked to pull into the church lot and go around the back of the building via the north side. Pull up to the pallets and volunteers will load the items for you.

Do not get out of your car or attempt to help. This will continue until all the products are gone.

Items vary but always include fresh produce. We cannot guarantee any particular items or quantities of items.

There are no residency requirements or financial restrictions in order to take part in this distribution.


Please arrive no earlier than 9 o'clock as the lot will be closed. We will need time to set up and organize.

We will open the lot at 9 in the morning and begin as soon as we are set up and ready.

March 26, 2020 - 2:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in Town of Alexander, State of Emergency, news.

Public Notice

David Miller, supervisor of the Town of Alexander, declared a State of Emergency at 10 a.m.. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and issued Emergency Orders effective at 10 a.m. March 25, 2020.

Town of Alexander Town Offices and Highway Garage are closed to the public for five  days unless rescinded earlier or renewed in five-day increments.

Taxes, dog licenses and other payments or applications may be placed in the drop box located near the front door of the Town Hall, or mailed to the Town Hall at 3350 Church Street, Alexander, New York 14005.

Receipts will be mailed to you after they have been processed.

The Alexander Town Clerk is also available by email at:   [email protected]

David Miller

Supervisor of the Town of Alexander

March 26, 2020 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, history, news, video, batavia.
Video Sponsor

We're talking with Genesee County Historian Michael Eula about the 1918 global flu pandemic, better known as the "Spanish Flu" and its impact on Batavia.

We had technical difficulties -- we're going to try again.

March 26, 2020 - 2:01pm

Press release:

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is alerting consumers about scammers taking advantage of the novel coronavirus.

Scammers are using techniques that typically arise with a major global event such as: falsely claiming to be online sellers of popular goods; setting up fake charities; sending fake emails and texts that contain harmful links designed to steal your personal information; and using robocalls to pitch novel coronavirus treatments and work at home schemes.

People should be on the lookout for scammers looking to take advantage of public fears surrounding this issue.

“Unscrupulous scammers never take a break and they are now trying to cash in on the news of the novel coronavirus by trying to lure people into unknowingly providing their personal information,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “During this public health emergency, there are simple steps you can take to avoid novel coronavirus scams that can help protect your hard-earned money and your identity.”

“New York State’s coordinated multi-agency response to managing the novel coronavirus includes raising awareness about deceptive and dishonest attempts to take advantage of people during this outbreak,” said Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses involve proven precautions, like washing your hands, sneezing or coughing into your elbow and staying indoors when you feel sick to help prevent the spread of infection all year.”

Below are tips to protect yourself from novel coronavirus scams:

  • Research online sellers before placing an order. Check out the seller by searching online for the person or company’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction.
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t knowIt could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and antivirus software on your computer is up to date.
  • Be aware of emails coming from unknown senders. Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts claiming to have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in New York State, visit the New York State Department of Health website.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the novel coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
  • Be aware of emails asking for donations. Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding Don’t let anyone rush you into donating. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
  • Be alert of high prices on critical goods. Any New Yorker who sees excessively priced consumer goods and services that are used primarily for personal, family or household purposes to prevent or respond to novel coronavirus should file a complaint with DCP. New Yorkers can now report sudden and unexpected increases in consumer goods such as hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, or other health and sanitation related products by calling the consumer hotline toll free at 800-697-1220.
  • Hang up on illegal robocallers. If you receive a call about scam novel coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes, hang up. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.

New York State is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus. For up to date information on the novel coronavirus, visit the New York State Department of Health website or call the Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the State’s consumers. For more consumer protection information, call the DCP Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or visit the DCP website. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook.

March 26, 2020 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, yard waste station, news, COVID-19.

Public Notice

The opening of the City of Batavia's Yard Waste Station on Law Street has been indefinitely delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Due to the precautions related to COVID-19 all nonessential operations have been suspended for the time being.

When suspensions are lifted the City will provide additional information as to when the Yard Waste Station is opening. Normally, it opens April 15th each year and closes for the season as weather permits in late November or early December.

March 26, 2020 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in Tops, news, batavia, Le Roy.

Press release:

Beginning as early as today (March 26), Tops will be rolling our additional safety measures at all of its 162 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. There are two Tops stores in Genesee County, in Batavia and Le Roy.

Those safety measures include installing plexiglas shields on as many of their front-end registers as possible. Where plexiglas cannot be affixed because of equipment limitations, associates will be provided with protective face shields which will also be used by Tops associates working in our pharmacy department and at our customer service desk.

This installation process will take place over the course of the next few weeks.

These safety measures are in addition to Tops existing PPE (personal protection equipment) procedures, which include providing gloves for their associates, hand sanitizer and wipes for their associates and customers respectively; and the newly instituted Comfort Zone areas at the registers providing more social distancing between customers as well as the customer and Tops associate.

Additionally there is an associate assigned at each store specifically in charge of sanitization of the front-end registers, check stands, conveyor belts, customer service desks, point-of-sale devices and other frequently touched surfaces most accessed by customers on a continual basis during operating hours.

March 26, 2020 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, live stream, news, kathy hochul.
Video Sponsor

Scheduled for 1:40 is a short interview with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

March 26, 2020 - 1:09pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Downs Gaming, WROTB.

The president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. today said he will be exploring all avenues to recoup operating revenue lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to take whatever steps we can to make sure the corporation is made whole,” Henry Wojtaszek said today, following a teleconference board meeting at which directors unanimously voted to pay employees of the public benefit company that oversees Batavia Downs Gaming through the pay period ending April 11.

Wojtaszek and Comptroller Jacquelyne Leach reported that WROTB has significant cash reserves to meet the April 11 payroll requirements and said they will be talking to directors regarding compensation beyond that date.

“The cash reserves enable us to make sure the employees are taken care of and we’re hoping that the stimulus bill – working with the state and federal government – makes what is intended to happen actually happen,” Wojtaszek said.

Leach said that because WROTB has had a “such a strong year thus far, which is due to the work of our employees, we are in position (to pay them) in this time of hardship.”

During the meeting, it was reported that payroll expenses for the April 11 pay period were $512,000.

Batavia Downs has been closed since March 16 due to orders mandated by New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Wojtaszek said that security, surveillance and maintenance employees continue to work on a rotating basis, and that some staff members are working from home.

“Everyone is on call here,” he stated.

He said that while he is “trying to be as frugal as possible” during the shutdown, he did authorize $1,750 in advertising to promote Batavia Bets, the corporation’s online interactive wagering platform.

The board also voted to allocated $5,000 to sponsor for the second year the “GLOW with Your Hands” career exploration event for Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming county students exploring careers in Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Skilled Trades.

Wojtaszek said WROTB has paid about a quarter of the $250,000 contracted with the artists scheduled to perform during the 2020 Summer Concert Series, which is set to begin on June 19.

“The concert series is still a go, subject to the rules set by New York State,” he said, adding that if it were cancelled, WROTB would take legal action, if necessary, to receive reimbursement.

March 26, 2020 - 11:51am

Information from Rochester Regional Health:

Rochester Regional Health added tents at three locations this week, including the ones at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, as an extension of primary care services.

The other tent sites are at Unity Hospital in Greece and Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic.

The sites are designed to keep patients and individuals safe while decreasing the potential of exposure to COVID-19. They are for general patient evaluation of medical issues and evaluation of potential COVID-19 patients, not just for COVID-19 testing.

Contact Primary Care Provider First

Patients, especially those who are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness, are still urged to call their primary care physicians first -- before coming to the locations. The UMMC tents are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

This is a multi-tent “drive-thru” system set up to support primary care, urgent care and the hospital system in a manner that allows for social distancing. It is designed to further protect patients, employees, and the community by decreasing the chance of exposure, therefore reducing the risk of further community spread. 

The multi-tent “drive-thru” system does not guarantee patients will be tested for COVID-19. Patients will receive an evaluation and then it will be determined if they need to be tested based on clinical criteria.

For more general information regarding COVID-19, visit rochesterregional.org/COVID19 or call 922-INFO.

March 26, 2020 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lipson Cancer Institute, UMMC, news, batavia.

When patients complete treatments at the Lipson Cancer Institute, there is a bell the patient rings inside the institute. But with social distancing restrictions, there are few people around to hear it. This morning, when Jody Breslin, who is also radiologic technology at UMMC, completed her treatments, staff lined Summit Street to ring handbells to celebrate the end of her treatment.

March 26, 2020 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCASA, news, video, live stram, COVID-19.
Video Sponsor

We're talking with John Bennett, executive director of GCASA.

March 26, 2020 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news, video.
Video Sponsor

On Tuesday, the Town of Stafford officially kicked off its bicentennial celebration year with a small ceremony.


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