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January 7, 2021 - 3:25pm

The Batavia City Council on Monday night will be asked to consider a proposal from the owner/operator of the Elmira Pioneers, a team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, to place a PGCBL club at Dwyer Stadium for the 2021 summer season.

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski this morning informed The Batavian that Robbie Nichols will make a presentation during Council’s Special Conference session to take place via Zoom videoconferencing at 7 p.m.

It will be followed by a Business Meeting where the board – if it likes the idea – is expected to vote on a lease agreement with Nichols’ enterprise, known as CAN-USA Sports LLC. Nichols and his wife, Nellie, also own the Elmira Enforcers of the Federal Prospects (Ice) Hockey League.

“Robbie Nichols has been approved by the (PGCB) League to start and operate a team here in Batavia,” Tabelski said. “He has been interested in putting together a second team in the league and, with things happening the way they did with Major League Baseball, he actually had reached out to the (New York-) Penn league, and the NY-P put us in touch with him.”

Tabelski said representatives of other teams contacted her, “but none had league backing already -- nor a record of success in owning a team in this league.”

According to a memo from Tabelski to City Council dated Jan. 4, the terms of a new lease agreement to use Dwyer Stadium are as follows:

  • A five-year lease;
  • Rent from Year 1-3, $1; Year 4, $7,500 (placed into the Dwyer Stadium Capital Reserve Fund); Year 5, $10,000 (placed into the Dwyer Stadium Capital Reserve Fund).
  • Operator pays for the field maintenance and utility costs to operate.
  • Operator will allow use of the field, as appropriate, to community groups, Little League, high schools, etc.

The City has had long history with a Batavia professional baseball franchise, starting in 1939 with the Batavia Clippers as an original member of the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York (PONY) League.

The Batavia team later was named the Indians, Pirates, Trojans and Clippers (again) before taking the Muckdogs name in 1998 based on a fan poll that chose the nickname and logo.

In 2019, Batavia celebrated its 80th anniversary as the only founding member of the league still in existence.

Since then, MLB has taken control of Minor League Baseball and discontinued short-season competition, with the Muckdogs not among the teams invited to remain as a Major League affiliate.

Tabelski wrote that the PGCBL was founded in 2010 by eight summer baseball teams across Upstate New York in conjunction with Perfect Game USA, baseball’s premier scouting service. The league’s eight founding members were in Albany, Amsterdam, Cooperstown, Elmira, Glens Falls, Mohawk Valley, Newark and Watertown.

Per its website, current teams are located in Watertown, Adirondack (Boonville), Newark, Mohawk Valley, Utica, Oneonta, Albany, Saugerties, Geneva, Elmira, Amsterdam, Glens Falls and Jamestown.

Due to COVID-19, the league cancelled its 2020 season.

For more information about the league, go to www.pgcbl.com.

A telephone call to Nichols was not returned at the time of the posting of this story.

January 7, 2021 - 3:20pm


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January 7, 2021 - 1:25pm
posted by Press Release in Chuck Schumer, President Trump, 25th Amendment, news, impeach.

Press release:

Washington, D.C. -- Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today (Jan. 7) released the following statement calling for the President to be immediately removed from office:

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the President. This President should not hold office one day longer.

“The quickest and most effective way -- it can be done today -- to remove this President from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the President.”

January 7, 2021 - 5:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A vehicle is off the road and down an embankment in the area of 9166 Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia.

A first responder reports a subject is complaining of a possible broken arm and extrication will be required.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 5:08 a.m.: A responder on scene says extrication may not be needed.

January 6, 2021 - 9:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Conservative Party.

Press release:

We at the Genesee County Conservative Party denounce all violence that happened today in Washington, D.C.

While we understand the right to peacefully protest, we do not condone trespassing onto the Capitol, putting police officers' lives at risk, and destroying and stealing property. Political violence is never the answer. 

We strongly support the First Amendment and the ability to speak your mind, peacefully assemble, and protest. We encourage all Americans to stand up for their constitutional rights, voice their opinions, and demand change. 

The way to make change is to get involved with your local elections, make your voice heard, hold our politicians accountable, and most of all, VOTE. 

We will be a stronger country if we work together instead of working against each other.  

Thank you to our law enforcement for keeping us safe and for putting their lives on the line every day. Our prayers go out to the family of the woman killed today, our law enforcement personnel, and most of all, for ALL of America.  

Julie Carasone, Chairwoman, Genesee County Conservative Party. 

January 6, 2021 - 9:30pm
posted by Press Release in NY-27, news, Chris Jacobs.

Press release:

The verdict of the American people is clear and resounding: Joe Biden will be our President, and Kamala Harris will be our Vice President. Every single state has certified its results, and no court has found any of those certifications invalid. Despite repeated Republican accusations of fraud, Republicans have been unable to produce an iota of evidence to support, much less prove, their accusations. Despite that failure, several Republican members of the House and Senate have tried to interfere today with the counting of electoral votes, a ceremonial ritual, today.

Yesterday Rep. Chris Jacobs (NY 27) dodged repeated questions from press and constituents about what he planned to do in the House today. Since his votes will be publicly recorded within hours, though, Chris Jacobs has finally revealed his intentions. Shamefully, he is standing with those who would overturn the will of the American voters and the voters of New York. Rather than standing for democracy, he has aligned himself with the demagogues who refuse to accept their loss and are inciting violence.

We, the county Democratic Chairpersons of New York's 27th Congressional District, condemn Congressman Jacobs' decision in the strongest possible terms. No one who refuses to accept election results deserves to hold elective office. Once again, the Representative of NY 27 is bringing shame upon the people of this district.

Jeremy Zellner
Chair, Erie County Democratic Committee

John Jacoby
Chair, Niagara County Democratic Committee

Jeff Lewis
Chair, Orleans County Democratic Committee

Michael Plitt
Chair, Genesee County Democratic Committee

Cynthia Appleton
Chair, Wyoming County Democratic Committee

Judith Hunter
Chair, Livingston County Democratic Committee

Zach King
Chair, Monroe County Democratic Committee

John Hurley
Chair, Ontario County Democratic Committee

January 6, 2021 - 5:40pm
posted by Press Release in news, batavia, Washington, D.C., violence.

Statement from Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr.:

“I fully support peaceful protest as allowed by our constitution and condemn any form of unlawful violence or destruction of property. I understand that many in the country are frustrated, but there are safe and legal ways to address a grievance in our system and government.

"Forcing your way into the Capitol building is the wrong way to go about it. We don’t always have to agree with each other but we should learn to get along with and respect each other. Hopefully as a nation we can learn from this and strive to do better.”

January 6, 2021 - 5:33pm
posted by Press Release in steve hawley, news, Washington, D.C., violence.

A statement this afternoon from Assemblyman Steve Hawley about violence in the nation's capitol today:

"We have our First Amendment for a reason, violence is never acceptable regardless of what you believe politically. We are a people of one nation, regardless of political beliefs."

January 6, 2021 - 5:28pm
posted by Press Release in news, Genesee County Democratic Committee.

Press release:

The Genesee County Democratic Committee is looking for people who may be interested in serving their community be it as a candidate for office, an election inspector, a Democratic Committee member, or those just wanting to find out more about the Democratic Party in Genesee County.

Anyone can run for office and we can show you how. All that is needed is a desire to serve and some hard work. Want lower taxes, concerned about the environment or want a say in the future? We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact the Genesee County Democratic Committee: geneseedemocrats.net or [email protected]

GCDC is actively seeking candidates for the following positions:

  • Genesee County District Attorney
  • Genesee County Judge
  • Genesee County Coroner

Genesee County Legislators:

  • District 1 Pembroke & Darien
  • District 3 Oakfield & Alabama
  • District 4 Batavia (town) & Stafford (unexpired term)
  • District 5 Le Roy
  • District 7 City of Batavia wards 1 & 6
  • District 9 City of Batavia wards 4 & 5

City of Batavia -- Three City councilpersons at Large

Alabama -- One justice, two town board

Alexander -- Two town board

Town of Batavia -- Supervisor, two town board, highway superintendent 

Bergen -- Supervisor, two town board

Bethany -- one justice, two town board

Byron -- Supervisor, town clerk, 2 town board, highway super

Darien -- town clerk, two town board

Elba -- Supervisor, two town board

Le Roy -- One justice, two town board

Oakfield -- Supervisor, town justice, two town board

Pavilion -- Two town board

Pembroke -- One justice, two town board

Stafford -- One town clerk, two town board, highway superintendent

January 6, 2021 - 5:19pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, coronavirus, notify.

Press release:

Data update for Jan. 6, 2021:

  • Genesee County received 53 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) 
      • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • Forty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Twenty-five of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Sixteen of the new positive cases are residents at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. 
  • Seven of the new positive cases are residents at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility.
  • Two of the new positive cases are residents at Genesee Senior Living. 
  • One of the new positive cases is a resident at the New York State Veterans’ Home at Batavia. 
  • We are saddened to report the COVID-related deaths of two residents, one whom resided at Genesee Senior Living and one whom resided at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Both of the individuals were over 65 years old. We will not be releasing any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of these individuals during this difficult time.

 

  • Orleans County received 34 new positive cases of COVID-19.
  • The new positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby) 
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre) 
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • Six of the individuals was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Forty-two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Seventeen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • We removed one individual from yesterday’s total due to the person is not a resident of Orleans County.
January 6, 2021 - 5:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, scanner, accidents, batavia.

A car vs. pedestrian accident is reported at 26 Harvester Ave. in the city. Possible minor injuries; the pedestrian is up and walking around. City fire is on scene with police and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: The pedestrian was treated at the scene for a cut on the wrist. The assignment is back in service.

January 6, 2021 - 4:46pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

“I condemn the violence and destruction that is taking place in our nation’s capitol in the strongest possible terms. While our country cherishes peaceful protest, this current behavior is unacceptable and has no place in a democracy.

"I urge all protestors to immediately and peacefully leave the Capitol building and the surrounding area and to follow the instructions of law enforcement personnel.”

January 6, 2021 - 4:19pm

Update: 5:30 p.m.

The Ways & Means Committee did approve the resolution as indicated below, sending the measure to next Wednesday’s meeting of the full Genesee County Legislature for final approval.

Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg praised Brooks Hawley’s work during his time on City Council.

“I think he has a good grasp of local government and I’m looking forward to working with him, as we all are,” she said.

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said that the leaders of the towns of Batavia and Stafford came together to give their “unanimous support” to Hawley.

--------------

If all goes according to plan at this afternoon’s Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, Brooks Hawley will be one step closer to returning to a position in local government.

A resolution on the Ways & Means agenda has Hawley filling the vacancy on the legislature that was caused by the recent resignation of Andrew Young, who now is a Batavia Town justice.

Hawley is expected to be appointed to represent the towns of Batavia and Stafford (District 4), effective Jan. 13 -- when he will be sworn in at the full legislature meeting -- and running through 2021.

He will be eligible to run for election in November and, if elected, would serve the final two years of the District 4 term.

“I’m very excited to represent both towns and am looking forward to serving my community,” said Hawley, 44. “Having lived in the Town of Batavia for about four years now, I have joined the Batavia Republican Committee and last year became an alternate member of the Town Planning Board.”

It was in December 2016 when Hawley stepped out of the political arena by resigning his Councilman-at-Large seat on the Batavia City Council due to relocating his family out of the city and into the home of his late grandfather, state Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley, in the Town of Batavia.

At the time, the former City Council president said, “I'm not leaving and going away to never be heard from again” – a statement that is proving to be true.

Hawley is employed as a recreation director at Geneseo State College. He and his wife, Rhiannon, have three children, Ayla, 14; Troy, 11, and Quinn, 8.

State Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley is his father.

In other action, Ways & Means:

  • Approved a memorandum of agreement between the county and Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Genesee County that supports CCE in the amount of $338,548 for 2021 – the same dollar figure provided in years 2017 through 2020.
  • Extended a contract with e3communications of Buffalo through February for public relations and social media services to disseminate information in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The county will pay the firm up to $8,000 for the two months.
  • Supported the appointments of Christi Waldron and Francis Roswick to the Office for the Aging Advisory Council, and James Sunser and Stefano Napolitano to the STOP-DWI Advisory Board.
January 6, 2021 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, notify, 2020 presidential election.

Rep. Chris Jacobs, who previously issued a statement rejecting an attempt to overturn the presidential election, today said he will object to certification of the Electoral College results. 

When Texas filed a lawsuit attempting to invalidate election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Jacobs said he would not sign onto the effort because he respected federalism and states' rights.

Today, in a statement, Jacobs contradicted that stance saying, “There is no question the presidential election was contentious and conducted under trying circumstances, leading several states to make unprecedented changes to their electoral systems without the authorization of their respective state legislatures as the Constitution dictates."

There have been multiple lawsuits contesting changes in state voting procedures in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. All of them have been rejected by their respective courts, primarily because the plaintiffs did not file their lawsuits prior to the election but instead waited until after residents in these respective states voted in good faith under the guidance provided by state officials.

States such as Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas -- states Trump won -- also made accommodations for voting during the coronavirus pandemic but Republicans are not contesting the results in those states. 

Jacobs said disputes over the election have not been adjudicated; however, 59 lawsuits have been thrown out by state and federal courts either because of timeliness or lack of evidence, including two that reached the Supreme Court. The current composition of the court includes a majority six Republican-nominated justices, including three appointed by Trump.

Today, both bodies of Congress are meeting in joint session to open and tally the electoral college votes, which have been certified by states, giving Joe Biden a 306 to 232 vote victory. Jacobs will not be the only Republican refusing to accept the results of the election. Several senators and other House members are joining in.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been a strong ally of the president over the past four years, criticized that effort in a floor speech today.

“Voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken — they’ve all spoken,” McConnell said. “If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.”

In opposing Biden's victory, Jacobs breaks with fellow Republican from the Southern Tier, Tom Reed.

"It is clear to me that the U.S. Constitution calls upon our elections for president to be done at the state level, and that if there are issues of fraud, if there are issues of whether or not those elections are carried out lawfully, they are to be adjudicated at the state level," Reed said. "No state legislature has asked us to intervene in Congress in this process, and that being said, I will not be objecting to the state electors tomorrow, based upon my commitment to the U.S. Constitution."

Here is the full statement from Jacobs:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement regarding the objections to the certification of the Electoral College.

“There is no question the presidential election was contentious and conducted under trying circumstances, leading several states to make unprecedented changes to their electoral systems without the authorization of their respective state legislatures as the Constitution dictates.

This troubling fact, along with countless reports of election irregularities, has left many Americans with valid concerns about the integrity of the November 3rd presidential election because these concerns have yet to be properly adjudicated.

“I have a duty to represent my constituents and a constitutional duty to ensure the security and integrity of our elections. I do not take this decision lightly, but for these reasons feel it necessary to object to the certification of the electoral votes from contested states.

“The American people must have confidence in their elections, and I intend to work to restore that trust. As such, I will support efforts to achieve a full review of the actions taken by states that have led to the widespread distrust that now exists. I feel it is imperative to allow for this crucial national conversation to be debated in public on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

January 6, 2021 - 2:10pm

An attorney representing The Batavian is leaving the door open for an appeal after a Niagara County Family Court justice ruled against the online publication’s request for a transcript of a portion of a Genesee County Family Court hearing that dealt with a potential conflict of interest situation involving current Batavia City Court Judge Durin Rogers.

“We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision and are considering our options for appeal,” said Heather E. Murray, managing attorney for the Local Journalism Project at the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic.

The Dec. 24 ruling by Niagara County Family Court Judge Erin P. DeLabio pertains to a hearing on Nov. 26, 2019 when DeLabio closed her courtroom to reporter Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian.

After he was locked out of the hearing, Owens sought to obtain a transcript as he believed the public’s right to know outweighed any other factors since Rogers, representing the Genesee County Attorney’s office, also was serving as a sitting, part-time City Court judge while a defendant in the Family Court matter also was facing criminal charges in City Court.

Rogers was elected as the full-time City Court judge in November 2019 and sworn in Dec. 20, 2019.

Attorney Thomas Burns, who was representing a woman accused of hitting her child with an object, filed a motion alleging Rogers’ conflict of interest as the latter had access to City Court documents and was able to interact with other members of the county’s criminal justice system.

DeLabio, in her ruling, cited “confidentiality” concerns that outweighed The Batavian’s contention – as outlined in its “moving papers” – that the public has a right to know if an elected official is acting in an inappropriate manner.

The judge also wrote that it was “disconcerting” that the publication’s motion “was never served upon the very attorney (Rogers) who is the subject of the motion” and … as such, “service of this motion was defective.”

Owens said that DeLabio’s ruling has not changed The Batavian’s position on this issue.

His complete statement follows:

“As a local news publisher, I believe one of my roles in the community is to stand up for the First Amendment and public access to the public’s business, whether that’s through the state’s open meeting laws, public information laws, or the state’s provisions for ensuring courtrooms and court documents remain open to the public.

“Democracy does not work if the government can operate in secret.

“All of New York’s courts, including Family Court, are open to the public and the law is very clear that a courtroom can only be closed based on specific findings based on supporting evidence revealed in an open hearing on the matter.

“It’s been our position all along that Judge Erin DeLabio failed to follow the law when she closed her courtroom on Nov. 26, 2019. It is undisputed that the judge did not hold an opening hearing when she closed her courtroom.

“Since the portion of the hearing The Batavian sought to monitor involved an accusation made in court documents of a possible conflict of interest involving a public official, one who is no less than an officer of the court, we felt this matter was of significant public concern.

“And though this hearing happened more than a year ago, The Batavian’s position on this issue has not changed. With the help of the Cornell First Amendment Clinic, we appealed DeLabio’s ruling and felt we made a strong case.

“All we requested was a redacted transcript (to protect the privacy of the family involved in the case) so we were surprised and disappointed in DeLabio’s decision. As to her position regarding notice of service of Durin Rogers, this is a technical legal issue we will leave to our attorneys to address in our appeal. 

“Most troubling in her ruling is her statement, ‘The motion was heard AFTER (her emphasis) the local elections. Reporting anything that the (sic) Batavian thinks is relevant to the election after the fact, would have no impact on the election …’”

“Judge DeLabio is not employed by The Batavian. She is not an editor. She is a judge. It is not her place to pass editorial judgements on what is newsworthy.

“The public concern of this case has little to do with the election and everything to do with the fact that Durin Rogers is a public official in a position of public trust. This is why we reported on the issue in the first place and continue to maintain interest in the issue until it is publicly resolved. The public has a right to be informed on all matters involving a public official being accused of a conflict of interest. It is not incumbent upon Judge DeLabio to determine what is editorially relevant and her statement in the ruling amounts to prior restraint.

“We are appealing this ruling for the very fact that until the transcript is released, it remains a matter of public concern and is therefore newsworthy. It is newsworthy today and it will remain newsworthy in six months or two years, or however long it takes for justice to be served.

“We wish to see New York’s laws ensuring open courtrooms protected for the good of all citizens of New York.”

Previously:

Motion asks deputy county attorney to be removed from case over alleged conflict of interest

Judge blocks press from covering conflict-of-interest motion

January 6, 2021 - 2:02pm

Press release:

Public workshops have been scheduled for the Genesee 2050 Comprehensive Plan and Recreation Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan update will help Genesee County craft a new vision for its future and strategies to realize that vision. The new Recreation Plan will help the county better respond to residents’ wants and needs for recreation facilities and better connect existing assets with residents.

Both planning processes will be discussed at the public workshops. Interactive activities will help draw participants out on how they want the county to develop and allow everyone to bring their ideas to the projects.

Public engagement is a crucial element of the process to ensure residents and stakeholders are aware of the planning process and that everyone has ample opportunity to weigh in. The workshops have been scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 19 and at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 20.

The workshops will be held virtually on the Zoom platform. The content of each is identical, so participants need not plan on attending both, although they are welcome to do so. Everyone planning on attending either meeting must register in advance. Registrations are accepted by email to Eve Holberg at: [email protected]. Zoom meeting login information will be distributed to registrants via email before the meetings.

Information about the meetings as well as about the projects as a whole are posted online at www.Genesee2050.com. This site also includes links to surveys including the Genesee 2050 Comprehensive Plan survey, recreation plan survey and shorter mini-surveys on specific topic areas.

The meetings and surveys are open to anyone who cares about the future of Genesee County. Everyone is urged to participate.

-------------

For more information contact County Planning Director Felipe A. Oltramari by email at: [email protected] or phone (585) 815-7901.

Training Credits for Planning and Zoning officials available upon request.

January 6, 2021 - 12:17pm

Press release:

Out of nearly $20 million ESL Federal Credit Union reinvested in the Greater Rochester community in 2020 through its philanthropic efforts, more than $10 million was dedicated to supporting the pandemic response through grants to nonprofit agencies across the community.

As the pandemic continues into 2021, the full-service financial institution, with a branch in Batavia, is prepared to carry on its commitment to support nonprofit agencies throughout the community and the people these agencies serve.

“Nonprofits have been experiencing critical financial hardships throughout the pandemic and that is expected to continue well into 2021,” said Faheem Masood, president and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union.

“To support the stability and resiliency of these agencies so they can continue to provide critical services, nonprofit and corporate funders need join together to lift up these organizations for the benefit of the people in the greater community.

"Our purpose at ESL is to help our community thrive and prosper, and thanks to trust and loyalty of our members, we are ready and able to do our part to reinvest in the community as we all work together through this public health crisis.”

Some of the grants ESL provided in 2020 to support the coronavirus pandemic response included:

  • $4 million to 20 nonprofit agencies distributed through United Way of Greater Rochester to ensure funding for these agencies remained whole due to a decrease in workplace campaign donations throughout the year;
  • $2.5 million donated to the Community Crisis Fund organized and managed by United Way of Greater Rochester and Rochester Area Community Foundation;
  • $385,000 through United Way in Livingston, Ontario, Wayne and Genesee counties to housing agencies in these counties for rent relief;
  • $350,000 to Rochester City School District to address the Digital Divide among students and provide WiFi access;
  • $345,000 to Urban League of Rochester for sustaining small businesses and COVID-19 relief;
  • $300,000 to PathStone Enterprise for COVID-19 business recovery, supporting minority-owned small businesses;
  • $250,000 to Child Care Council, which provided $1,000 grants in three counties to child care centers;
  • Approximately $190,000 to Action for a Better Community to address the Digital Divide. This grant matched a federal grant for internet devices and years’ worth of internet connectivity for approximately 150 families;
  • $100,000 to The Children’s Institute to address the Digital Divide for Pre-K students (3-5 year olds).

“The critical issues our community faces because of this pandemic and beyond are best addressed when organizations come together and collaborate for the greater good,” said Ajamu Kitwana, vice president/director, Community Impact, ESL Federal Credit Union.

“This level of collaboration will continue to be a necessity in 2021 and ESL is prepared to learn from our work in 2020 and understand where funding needs are greatest as we move forward.”

ESL’s Community Impact team was created in an effort to support the building of a healthy, resilient and equitable Greater Rochester. The Community Impact efforts of ESL focus on expanding individual opportunity, building strong neighborhoods and strengthening organizations and systems.

Over the past three years, ESL’s philanthropic reinvestments in the community have totaled more than $40 million.

January 6, 2021 - 12:07pm

Press release:

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the more than $3 million “Raising the Bar” Restaurant Recovery Fund to assist restaurants in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This grant funding has been made possible through financial donations led by Diageo North America and supported by Coastal Pacific Wine & Spirits (a division of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits) and will be implemented by the nonprofit National Development Council (NDC).

The “Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund” will help eligible restaurants adjust their operations to the impacts of COVID-19 and adherence to New York State’s public health and safety measures during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “The restaurant industry is a critical component of our state's economy -- encompassing hundreds of small businesses who employ thousands of New Yorkers.

"This industry has been among the hardest hit by the devastating effects of COVID-19, working hard to stay open, serve customers and keep employees safe. This fund is designed to help establishments adapt during this unprecedented time with assistance to sustain their businesses during the winter months to come." 

“Raising the Bar” grant funding can be used for COVID-19-related improvements and equipment that will allow the business to: comply with social distancing guidelines; expand take-out/delivery operations; or accommodate outdoor dining such as plexiglass barriers/partitions; signage promoting social distancing and hygiene protocols; heaters, heat lamps, weatherization upgrades and insulated delivery bags; improvements that will allow the business to continue operating through the winter months such as filtration system upgrades and food heaters to maintain temperature for to-go orders; and purchasing PPE and sanitation supplies necessitated by the pandemic; and COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.

Qualifying purchases and expenditures must be from Sept. 1, 2020 onward to be eligible. Initial round of grants are up to $5,000. 

Initial grant funding will be awarded based on the received applications and dispersed independently by NDC, an experienced national economic nonprofit that has been in operation since 1969. 

“Diageo is committed to supporting restaurant owners, particularly those in underrepresented communities, who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19,” said Debra Crew, president, Diageo North America.

“We are honored to serve as a founding contributor of the ‘Raising the Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund, providing much needed relief to an important industry that serves as a vital part of the economic engine of local communities. We encourage other organizations and businesses that also call New York ‘home’ to join us in this endeavor to make the impact of the program even stronger.”

“The hospitality industry in New York needs help now more than ever and we are here for them like they’ve always been here for us,” commented Wayne E. Chaplin, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

“The Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund provides an essential lifeline to restaurant owners so they can continue to operate safely, and stay afloat during this critical time. We are proud that our Coastal Pacific Wine & Spirits division is working with the State of New York, our valued supplier, Diageo, and the NDC to provide this much needed and urgent financial support.”

"At NDC, we are eager to get moving on this restaurant grant program," said Dan Marsh, president of National Development Council. "Having worked on numerous loan and grant programs in New York and across the country, what we have seen is that smaller restaurants -- especially minority and woman-owned establishments -- are not getting the help they really need. A tailored grant program specific to this industry is critical."

Eligible businesses consist of New York State restaurants that have no more than $3 million in 2019 revenue and are engaged in providing food services and meals prepared on-premises to patrons who traditionally order and are served while seated, including certain on-premises food and drinking establishments licensed through the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and which need funding to adjust to COVID-related impacts and protocols.

Establishments providing take out or grab and go food services due to COVID-19 restrictions are also eligible to receive the grant from NDC. Additionally, these establishments must have been in operation on or before March 1, 2019 and certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.

All businesses must continue to comply with the New York Forward reopening guidance and Cluster Action Initiative guidance, as applicable. Restaurants can apply to the “Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund” starting Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. For more information visit the ESD website.

January 6, 2021 - 11:49am
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, Oak Orchard Health, vaccine.

Press release:

New Yorkers who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine -- currently that includes healthcare workers -- should check as soon as possible with their organizations or employers to see if they qualify.

The vaccine may be available to you for only a limited time period, before it gets redistributed by the state, so please act immediately.

“We encourage as many as possible to receive the vaccine—we may have only a short time to stop the virus, and it depends upon as many people getting vaccinated as possible, as soon as possible,” said Nancy Ciavarri, MD, chief medical officer, Oak Orchard Health.

Oak Orchard Health has received a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine from NYS Department of Health. We are allowed and directed to provide the vaccine for certain types of workers in the communities we serve but must follow strict guidelines provided by NYS DOH.

Oak Orchard Health

Originally founded in 1966, Oak Orchard has grown from a migrant health project into an integrated health center with multiple locations providing health care services for everyone located in the communities we serve. Currently serving over 23,000 patients at eleven locations, Oak Orchard Health is a recognized patient-centered medical home and 501(c) nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located inthe towns of Albion, Alexander, Batavia, Brockport, Corfu, Lyndonville, Hornell and Warsaw.                                    

January 5, 2021 - 10:22pm

Understanding the importance of traffic flow -- especially along a busy Route 98 north of the Thruway exit, engineers will be putting their heads together to devise the best plan for vehicles to enter and exit the four-story medical office building being proposed by Rochester Regional Health.

Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain, speaking after tonight’s Batavia Town Planning Board meeting, said there is “a little more work to do” to correctly mitigate any potential traffic issues and to ensure the traffic pattern is designed to accommodate future growth.

“We’re in the reviewing phase and acting upon a few comments from the (New York State) Department of Transportation,” Mountain said, adding that the project will include the installation of a traffic signal on Route 98, connecting Call Parkway with Federal Drive.

He also emphasized that anything done for this project must allow for the possibility of the construction of another traffic lane along Route 98.

Thus, the planning board signed off on a State Environmental Quality Review (a negative declaration) and approved the site plan contingent upon final approval by town engineers and the clearing up of any mitigating factors.

“This keeps the project moving forward while we set up meetings with the developer’s engineers and DOT officials,” Mountain said.

RRH plans to construct an 140,000-square-foot medical office facility at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), a plan already recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board.

Additionally, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals approved an area variance related to the building height.

United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia is part of the RRH system, which has similar multi-specialty buildings in the Rochester area and also in Geneva.

RRH has contracted with the CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) engineering firm of Rochester. CPL engineers previously reported that 90,000 square feet will be allotted for office space and that 360 parking spaces will be available – with 63 of them in a first-floor parking garage.

UMMC President Daniel Ireland has said that RRH will disclose information about the specific services as the project progresses.

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