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September 25, 2018 - 12:04pm

Public Health Column from the Genesee County Health Department:

Do you have small children or grandchildren? Are you pregnant and getting your older home ready for your new baby? Do you live in a house or send your children to a day care center built before 1978? Do you know the last time your child was tested for lead poisoning?

If you don’t know the answer to the last question, talk with your primary care provider or contact your local Health Department and ask about testing.

Lead is a metal that can harm children and adults when it gets into their bodies. Lead can be found in dust, air, water, soil, and in some products used in and around the home. Most homes built before 1978 have old lead paint, often under newer paint.

If paint peels, cracks, or is worn down, the chips and dust from the old lead paint can spread onto floors, windowsills and all around your home. Lead dust can then get onto children's hands and toys, and into their mouths.

Generally there are no signs or symptoms to help you know if your child has lead poisoning. A person with lead poisoning usually does not look or feel sick. The best way to find out if your child has lead poisoning is by testing.

The most common test is a quick blood test. It measures how much lead is in the bloodstream. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, delayed development, and academic achievement.

New York State requires doctors to test all children with a blood lead test at age 1 year and again at age 2 years. At every well-child visit up to age 6, health care providers must ask parents about any contact their child might have had with lead.

If there's been a chance of contact, providers are required to test for lead again. Parents can ask their child's doctor or nurse if their child should get a lead test, and what the lead test results mean.

“Children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands and/or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans Counties.

In addition to children, pregnant women should be tested for lead as well.

“Expectant mothers who live in an older home and are exposed to lead dust can inhale the particles and pass it on to their baby," Bedard said. "Your doctor should discuss proper prenatal care to reduce your exposure to lead during your pregnancy and how to prevent lead exposure to your baby once he/she is born.”

The good news is that you can protect your family from lead poisoning. Talk to your healthcare provider about potential lead sources in your house or anywhere your kids spend long periods of time, such as a daycare or a relative’s house.

Here are some ways to reduce or eliminate your exposure to lead/ lead dust:

Fix peeling lead paint and make home repairs safely.

  • Keep children away from peeling or chipped paint.

  • Before making repairs in a home built before 1978, call your local health department to learn how to work safely and keep dust levels down.

  • Children and pregnant women should stay away from repairs that disturb old paint, such as sanding and scraping. They should stay away until the    area is cleaned using wet cleaning methods and a HEPA vacuum (not dry sweeping).

Wash dust off hands, toys, bottles, windows and floors.

  • Wash your child's hands and face after play, before meals, and before bed.

  • Wash toys, stuffed animals, pacifiers and bottles with soap and water often.

  • Mop floors often, and use damp paper towels to clean window wells and sills.

Be careful not to bring lead home on clothes, toys, or jewelry.

Keep lead out of your food and tap water.

Serve foods that have calcium, iron, and vitamin C.

​Lead is in some children's jewelry, toys, keys, and old furniture. Sign up for children's product recall alerts at www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.

Some jobs and hobbies can involve contact with lead. These include: painting, plumbing, construction, car repair, or working with firearms, stained glass or pottery.

To lower lead dust, change work clothes before going home; take shoes off at your door; wash work or hobby clothes separately; wash face, hands and uncovered skin before going home.

  • Let tap water run for one minute before using it, if it hasn't been run for a few hours. Town and well water could have lead from old plumbing.

  • Only use cold tap water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Boiling your water does not get rid of lead.

  • Use lead-free dishes. Don't serve or store food in pewter, crystal, or cracked pottery.

These foods help keep lead from being stored in your child's body:

  • Foods with calcium: milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and green, leafy vegetables.

  • Foods with iron: beans, lean meat, fortified cereal and peanut butter.

  • Foods with vitamin C: oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, tomatoes, green peppers.

For information about Health Department services contact: Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

September 25, 2018 - 12:00pm

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! You have a right to safe workplace. Federal laws state that your employer must provide a work area with no known health or safety hazards. You also have the right to: 

  • Be protected from toxic chemicals
  • Request an OSHA inspection, and talk with the inspector
  • Be trained in a language you understand
  • Work on machines that meet safety regulations
  •  See copies of the workplace injury and illness log
  •  Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
  •  Be provided required safety gear, including but not limited to: Hardhat, gloves and harness
  •  Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records If you or someone you know has been injured or fallen ill due to unsafe work conditions. 

Call Dolce Panepinto at 716-852-1888 immediately. We understand how life-altering a work injury can be, and we are here to help.


September 25, 2018 - 11:44am
posted by Billie Owens in Boy Scouts, batavia, troop 6006, news.

Photo: Thomas Ognibene, right, of Batavia Boy Scout Troop 6006, lights the Eagle Candle during his Eagle Scout initiation ceremony on Sunday. His father, Steve Ognibene is standing behind him. Photos courtesy of Rick Franclemont.


Here's the text of the speech that Thomas Ognibene, of Batavia, gave after being designated an Eagle Scout on Sunday:

"Wow, this is great. It is amazing how much support (I get) from family and friends that are here today. I’d like to go over some highlights of my Boy Scout journey.

First of all, I’d like to give thanks to the First United Methodist Church for supporting our troop and two years ago when we had our 100 year celebration. That was a milestone that not many troops accomplish.

Starting six years ago, back in March of 2012, Mr. and Mrs. Bartz introduced me to Scouting at a Cub Scout meeting by the invite of Shane Moak and Pack 69. And with the help of Mr. Crowley, those leaders gave me a base foundation, to get me quickly to cross over to become a Boy Scout within one month while I was in fifth grade.

When I came into Troop 69, I met Evan Bartz who became my friend and today this friendship continued through Scouts and school. We went to Brown Sea, which is a great experience, which every incoming Scout should attend right away their first summer camp. Along my journey I had to make a transition from Troop 69 to Troop 6. I felt like I needed to get a new direction in Scouting and when I did it was the help of the leaders that are here today.

When I came to Troop 6006, Dylan Scroger was the Senior Patrol Leader, under his leadership along with the new boys who welcomed me in, I began my next phase of Scouting. With there teaching and direction, I earned Second Class.

The biggest challenge I had to overcome in Scouting was one of the requirements for my next upcoming rank, First Class, and that was to successfully complete the BSA swimmer test. I had many challenges leading up to this and with the help of Mr. Mountain, Mr Geiger, and Mr. Jess Markel who came to my assistance, after many months of training going back and forth in the pool, practicing the breaststroke and resting backstroke, I was able to complete the BSA swimmer test and since then I have been a great swimmer ever since and achieved First Class Scout.

As a Star Scout, one of my memorable moments was when Mr. Gaus had this great steak that he cooked and little did I know later on, when eating a third serving, that it was deer meat. Another moment was when my dad got real excited when Mr. Grover offered him a Paula’s Donut, and when he opened the box there was nothing in there! There are many humorous moments in Scouting that I will always cherish. Along these campouts, Mr. Gaus helped me with different merit badge requirements that later on helped me achieve Star Scout.

Over the years, I was heavily involved in the popcorn sales that benefited the counsel and helped raise money toward summer camps, going to the National Jamboree, and other activities. I’d like to thank my customers who supported me over the years and my dad, 'the popcorn kernel,' who took me door-to-door to sell popcorn.

As a Life Scout, three other boys from this troop and I attended the 2017 National Scout Jamboree held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

In Scouting, as in life, adventure takes on many meanings: high adventure, learning, camaraderie, and simply being part of something bigger. 'Live Scouting’s Adventure' was the theme for the jamboree that year. The four of us met people from all over the country, activities we did consisted of patch trading, zip lining, mountain biking, shooting sports, scuba diving, and so much more.

The experiences we had will stick with us forever and we were able to share this with our troop at the end of the summer that year, and told the boys that It is worthwhile to attend if they wish to do so when the next jamboree is taking place.

About a year after the jamboree, I continued to work on requirements and merit badges for the rank of Eagle Scout, I had to plan, develop, and give leadership, to a service project. That’s when I first met with Mr. Jacobs, the buildings and grounds manager at John Kennedy School here in Batavia.

I came to him with a plan to expand the present memorial garden, which is behind the school where the bus loop is, that had two trees and a shrub already planted there. The garden was originally created in memory of Mike Houseknecht and the Raines teachers. In this current project, I expanded and enhanced the garden which included adding dirt, mulch, flowers, another shrub, a stone wall, a brickwork of pavers on the outside borders of the garden, and a small square paver area in front of the stone wall, which has a plaque in the middle of that area.

The garden is a symbol of remembrance to the people who have played an important role and dedicated their time to help the students at John Kennedy School. I’d like to thank my fellow scouts, adult leaders, and members of the community who came to donate their time, on that day of the project.

Before I conclude my speech, I would like to talk about someone who had a major impact on me through the scouting journey. During my time as Senior Patrol Leader, Webmaster, and other leadership positions that I held, this adult leader has given me the instruction, guidance, and advice throughout my time in the Boy Scouts.

What I have learned from him, has shaped me into becoming a better individual, scout, friend, and family member and will continue to throughout the rest of my life. This adult leader is most deserving of the mentor pin. I would now like to give the mentor pin to my Scoutmaster, Mr. Ron Bernard.

Once again, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for coming out today, and I hope your all enjoy the rest of today's ceremony."

From left, Scoutmaster Ron Bernard, Thomas Ognibene and Steve Ognibene.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 6006.

September 25, 2018 - 11:13am
posted by Billie Owens in elba, education, news.

Press release:

The Elba Central School District’s Board of Education has named three finalists for the district’s next Superintendent.

Michael Augello, Elba Central School District’s Board president, said he is pleased with the high-quality candidate pool and enthused about the potential the three finalists have to offer.

“Selecting the best superintendent for Elba Central is the Board’s top priority,” Augello said. “This was a difficult decision especially with the number of qualified candidates who applied. BOE has narrowed the search to three finalists. We look forward to the next round of interviews where the finalists meet with our various stakeholders.”

The three finalists are Jason Smith, Ned Dale and Matt Stroud.

Jason Smith

Smith currently serves as the superintendent of Schools for the Lyndonville Central School District, where he has served since 2011. Through his fiscal leadership, Smith has developed and secured the passage of eight district budget votes, and established a long-term reserve plan. Smith facilitated the development and implementation of long-term District and School strategic planning with diverse stakeholders. He also successfully negotiated four collective bargaining contracts and non-union employees’ contracts prior to agreements expiring. Smith led the implementation of a $10.6 million capital improvement project focused on security upgrades and energy efficiencies.

Smith began his career in 1994 as a Social Studies teacher at Albion High School. Over the next 10 years, he became dean of students, and assistant principal at Albion Middle School. From 2004 until 2011, he served as secondary principal for grades 7-12, elementary principal and Pre-K-12 principal at the Elba Central School District. During this time, Smith attained graduation rates between 92 and 100 percent, and also planned and implemented teacher professional development.

Smith received a Bachelor of Arts in History from SUNY Geneseo and a Master of Science in Education from The College at Brockport. He earned a certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from The College at Brockport and also holds certifications in Social Studies 7-12 and as a School District Administrator.

Ned Dale

Dale currently serves as the principal of Cosgrove Middle School, Spencerport Central Schools, a position he has held since 2007. Dale began his career in education in 2000 as a school counselor/teacher leader at Spencerport High School. He continued his career at Spencerport Central Schools serving as the assistant principal of Cosgrove Middle School.

During his career at Spencerport Central Schools, Dale has developed three tiers of Response to Intervention in English Language Arts and Math in collaboration with other administrators and stakeholders.

Through his leadership, Cosgrove Middle School was designated as a School to Watch based upon the collaboration of the New York State Education Department, New York State Middle School Association and National Forum to Accelerate Middle Level Reform. As president of the Spencerport Administrators and Supervisors Association, Dale has successfully negotiated three 3-year contracts for the entire association. He also established an approved APPR plan for principals that was accepted by the New York State Education Department.

Dale earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. John Fisher College, and a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Development from the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. He completed the New York State Superintendent Development Program at SUNY Oswego and holds permanent certifications in School Counseling, and as a School District Administrator.

Matt Stroud

Stroud is the principal of Alexander Elementary School, where he has served since 2007. As principal, Stroud oversees the hiring, evaluation and supervision of more than 50 instructional and support staff. He plans and leads staff development at both the Alexander elementary and high schools. During his tenure as principal, he serves as the administrative representative for the district’s APPR plan negotiations. He leads and or serves on multiple district-level committees including Teaching and Learning, APPR, and Response to Intervention. He oversees the budget preparation and monitoring including BOCES services for Alexander Elementary School. Stroud coordinated efforts for the creation of a national certified outdoor classroom.

Previously, he served as an English teacher at Letchworth Central School District from 2001 until 2007. During this time, he wrote and implemented New York State standards for grades 10-12 and created and taught three college-level courses. Stroud received the Teacher of the Year Award in 2005.  

Stroud earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Houghton College, and a Master of Arts in English from the College at Brockport. He also earned an Advanced Certificate in Educational Administration from The University of Rochester. Stroud holds permanent certifications in English 7-12 and as a School District Administrator.

The Next Step

The Board of Education will conduct the final round of interviews with the three candidates in early October at the Elba Central School District. The BOE expects to appoint the final candidate by Nov. 26.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, who is acting as search consultant, said the Board has developed and implemented a process that will help determine the best candidate.

 “This is a rigorous search process,” MacDonald said. “Finalists are interviewed by several stakeholder groups, and concludes with the Board meeting to make a final decision.”


The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

September 25, 2018 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, news.


Press release:

Darien Lake, a Six Flags Theme Park, will unleash the biggest and scariest Fright Fest® in park history. As part of the bone-chilling lineup, seven brand new nightmarish attractions leave no tombstone unturned to deliver what guests want most…an all-out terrifying experience.

This brand new event features three electrifying mazes and four dare-to-enter scare zones, along with hellish, roaming zombies around every corner. To take fright to the extreme, Darien Lake will add a sinister element to some of the theme park’s monster coasters by turning off the lights, leaving riders to face their fears in total darkness.

“Darien Lake is thrilled to bring top-level, terrifying thrills to our guests with an incredible lineup of truly frightening attractions and entertainment,” said Park President Chris Thorpe. “Fright Fest is the ultimate national Halloween event and we are excited to present our biggest and scariest event yet.”

New this Year, three haunted attractions (at an additional charge) incorporate state-of-the-art makeup, props, and special effects:

  • Hotel Terror: 7 Deadly Sins: Tour the horrific hotel where sinful guests are condemned to a life of suffering. Beware, they do not take kindly to visitors.
  • Jungle Apocalypse: Immerse into this forsaken island filled with ancient ruins, secrets and a tribe of worshippers looking for their next human sacrifice.
  • Camp Scumshine: Visit the winding paths of death and despair that once was Camp Sunshine. The Boogeyman is real and tonight he could be playing a little trick on YOU!

Four additional scare zones around the park leave guests nowhere to hide and screaming to get out unscathed:

  • Passage of the Damned: Walk through the passage of the soulless keepers that ensure that no living enter the world of the dammed
  • Creep Show Freak Show: The area of rejected and demonic circus performers. This circus troop was banished to the outer world for their misdeeds during their mortal lives.
  • Voodoo Curse: Pass through a marshy inlet but be careful not to be enshrouded by those who have been cursed to roam these mucky waters. These swamp dwellers will unleash their voodoo magic and indulge in the fear of unsuspecting victims
  • Screampunk: People here have been experimented on by a delirious inventor who thought it would be a brilliant idea to mechanize mankind

Big Top Freaks is headlining the entertainment with a nightly show that is NOT for the faint of heart. Freaks showcases four entertainers that specialize in dangerous, scarring, grotesque, and hard-to-watch feats of physical endurance. Additional frightful entertainment includes:

  • Direct from Las Vegas, Zamora the Torture King will cause most to shield their eyes as he subjects his body to numerous skewers being thrust into his arms, face and neck.
  • The Great Throwdini, internationally known as ‘The World's Fastest and Most Accurate Knife Thrower’, will subject his human target to multiple razor sharp knives thrown at dizzying speeds avoiding body parts by only a few inches. 
  • Red Stuart is the oldest sideshow entertainer, oldest sword swallower and holds nine world records for his craft. Armed with nothing more than a kilt and a microphone, he will swallow swords of increasing length, swallows a car axle, and tops it off with swallowing multiple swords at once.
  • Ziggy Artist of Oddities will perform his own signature blend of modern extreme fire eating as well as treat his head like a block of wood by driving a large nail right into his cranium. 

For the little monsters, a Trick or Treat Trail and Halloween crafts round out the activities during the day.

Fright Fest Operating Hours and Days:

  • 6 to 11 p.m. Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26
  • 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27
  • 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28
  • 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 8

For more information on Darien Lake’s Fright Fest, visit website at www.darienlake.com.

Darien Lake 2019 Season Passes are currently on sale. For a limited time, purchase four or more Darien Lake Season Passes and receive a free upgrade to GOLD on each Pass. GOLD Passes include free Parking Passes and extra Bring a Friend Free days. Additional Season Pass perks include admission to all Six Flags-branded theme parks, park admission to Fright Fest plus all of 2019 which includes more than 100 days of thrills. Season Passes can be purchased online at darienlake.com.

September 25, 2018 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs and Miami Marlins have announced a two-year extension to their Player Development Contract (PDC). The previous agreement expired following the 2018 season. With this affiliation extension, Miami Marlins Prospects will continue their development in Batavia through the 2020 season.

“After an improved season on the field, we are excited for the future of the Miami Marlins and are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the extension of our Player Development Contract for the next two seasons,” said Batavia’s Dave Chase. “As we continue our affiliation with the Marlins, we’re focused on further enhancing the ballpark and creating a first-class experience for Marlins prospects and our loyal fans." 

The Miami Marlins and Batavia Muckdogs original affiliation agreement began in the 2013 season. In the six seasons since arriving in Batavia, there have been 12 former Muckdogs to make their Major League debut.

“This extension allows our future Major Leaguers to continue their development in Batavia against top-level competition in the New York-Penn League,” said Miami Marlins Director of Player Development Dick Scott.

September 25, 2018 - 10:21am
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.



September 25, 2018 - 9:44am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Fire Department, fire prevention week.


FIRE PREVENTION WEEK: Batavia City Council member Kathleen Briggs reads a proclamation Monday night declaring Oct. 7-13 as Fire Prevention Week as, from left, Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano, Lt. Greg Ireland, Lt. David Green, Firefighter Sean Huggins, Firefighter Chris Morasco and Firefighter Ryan Whitcombe look on. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 25, 2018 - 8:42am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.

(Photo of vehicle that was carjacked this morning in the city, courtesy of Alex Feig of WBTA.)

A white Chrysler Sebring with a black top occupied by just its driver crashed at the VA Medical Center after a wild chase through city streets. The driver is in custody. He may have a firearm. What prompted the chase is not clear.

A medic is responding. At least three Batavia PD patrols were pursuing the vehicle. VA police are being notified; property at the facility is damaged.

UPDATE 8:55 a.m.: City fire just arrived in non-emergency mode with speedy dry absorbent and a pad to cover a storm drain from leaking fluids; the vehicle is on fire. Asked if the suspect has any facial or hand tattoos, an officer's response is no, but there are on the arm(s).

Shortly after this incident began, there was a call of a possibly armed suspect driving the vehicle southbound on Liberty Street. A patrol was a Ellicott and Jackson, and Liberty and Main. Then the suspect vehicle headed northbound on Summit Street toward the hospital going 65 mph, then went westbound toward State Street, got on Oak and the Thruway Authority was notified as it was believed to be headed to I-90. Then it crashed at the VA.

UPDATE 9:06 a.m.: This was a carjacking. More T/K.

UPDATE 10:22 a.m.: Shortly after the incident ended, Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch held a press conference outside the VA Medical Center. Alex Feig, of WBTA, provided the audio from which the following details were taken:

Officers initially responded to the Kwik Fill at 99 Jackson St. in the city after a report of a vehicle theft. The use of a weapon -- a gun -- was threatened, but one was not displayed, nor recovered after the suspect was taken into custody. Police caught up with the vehicle, which sped off when they pursued it. Speeds reached around 65 mph on city streets and then the driver failed to navigate near the VA Medical Center and crashed. The vehicle caught fire and the fire department responded, but the car did not "burn up." The driver/suspect was able to get out of the vehicle on his own and did not appear to be injured. The victim, who remained behind at the Kwik Fill, was not physically injured. Authorities at the VA were assessing damage to property, which includes a sign knocked askew and off its foundation, a tree, and possibly some fencing. Asked if the incident was related to some other crime commited, the chief said no. The suspect was taken into custody by the VA without incident.

September 24, 2018 - 9:53pm


Batavia City Council is prepared to enter into a partnership to develop Teen City, an afterschool program for kids from the ages of 9 to 16 to be housed at the City Church-owned St. Anthony’s campus on Liberty Street.

The board, at its Conference meeting tonight at City Centre Council Chambers, reacted positively to a presentation by Jocelyn Sikorski, executive director of the City and Genesee County youth bureaus, by agreeing to let her and Acting City Manager Matt Worth continue their negotiations with City Church to move the City Youth Bureau from its present MacArthur Drive location.

“(The former St. Anthony’s School) gives us much more space than we could have ever imagined,” Sikorski said, explaining that the youth bureau staff will be working with the Genesee Area Family YMCA to provide a setting that “will incorporate active play, educational space, and health and wellness while fostering community service.”

Sikorski (in photo above) said St. Anthony’s would offer a classroom/tech room, recreation room, gaming room, cafeteria, kitchen and full gymnasium during program hours, which are set at 2:30 to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday during the school year and 1 to 6 p.m. during the summer.

The youth bureau and YMCA have secured more than $110,000 thus far, she said, with the United Way of Genesee County pledging $50,000 for renovations and start-up and an additional $10,000 annually for five years to maintain the program.

Bullet Aid ($30,000), Greater Rochester Health Foundation ($17,600), Ralph Wilson Legacy Funds ($11,000) and Rotary Club of Batavia ($5,000) also are supporting the project, Sikorski said.

The plan is contingent upon the facility being rezoned from residential to commercial, a process that has moved along and will be determined by a vote of the City Planning & Development Committee.

Other things that need to be done before the program starts include information technology upgrades, renovations in line with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and a security policy to be “modeled after the Batavia City School District’s,” Sikorski said.

City officials have begun to talk about a lease agreement with City Church, but no terms have been reached yet, Worth said.

 “We haven’t really had that defined yet. We’ve had very front-end conversations on how the structure might be, but the actual financial parts of it have not been nailed down yet to give specific numbers,” Worth said, adding that necessary investments by City Church will weigh into the terms.

The ultimate goal, he said, “is for it to be a net-zero cost (to the City) compared to how the youth bureau is being operated now.”

Worth said that if the City School District opts to use the existing Youth Bureau, leasing terms for that site would be negotiated.

“(The district) could take over the utilities, something like that,” he said. “But that’s too much detail from where we are at the moment. Hopefully, in a month from now I would have a better answer.”

Council Member John Canale said his idea would be to "convert it (the current Youth Bureau) back to a pool house and put the (City) pool back in there."

Sikorski said the timeline is one “you may call ambitious” as they hope to have Teen City opened by January.

In other action, Council moved the following measures to its Business meeting on Oct. 9:

-- A resolution to continue stipends above and beyond their normal salaries to Worth, James Ficarella, Ray Tourt and Lisa Neary through the pay period ending Jan. 4. All four have taken on additional duties during the months the City has been without a manager or assistant manager.

Worth would continue to be paid a stipend of $1,000 per month, while Ficarella (superintendent of water and wastewater), Tourt (superintendent of maintenance) and Neary (deputy director of finance) would keep getting a $750 stipend.

Council Member Robert Bialkowski called their effort “a bargain.”

“Since we haven’t had a manager or assistant manager, it really isn’t costing the city taxpayers,” he said.

His colleague, Rose Mary Christian, however, looked at the request differently, saying she opposed extending the stipends past October – the month that new manager, Martin Moore, assumes his duties.

She was the only one to oppose the extension as the rest of the group agreed that two additional months would be needed to ensure a successful transition.

-- Two resolutions dealing with City Fire Department programs – the implementation of an external Emergency Medical Technician class to be offered on an annual basis and the acceptance of a $1,500 state grant to continue a child safety seat initiative.

Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano said there about 27 people who wish to take the class, which is designed to train citizens interested in becoming EMTs for their own personal benefit as well as those who offer their services to other fire, rescue or Emergency Medical Service agency.

Napolitano requested a budget transfer of $15,000 to deliver the class, and said he expects that tuition fees will return that amount and likely $4,000 more back to the City.

-- A resolution to solicit bids to repair the silo entries of the City Centre Mall and segments of the roof near Sunny’s Restaurant and the hallway adjacent to City Hall.

The repairs are part of the settlement agreement between the City and Mall Merchants Association.

“These two areas (of the roof) are where the vast majority of the proverbial buckets are sitting,” Worth said.

September 24, 2018 - 9:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in Stafford, news, fire.

A fire is reported behind apartments on Horseshoe Lake Road in Stafford. Stafford Fire Department is on scene.

September 24, 2018 - 7:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in p.w. minor, batavia, news, notify, business.

P.W. Minor this morning filed a notice with the NYS Department of Labor of possible layoffs and a possible plant closing but that doesn't necessarily mean anybody will lose their job, according to Brian Benedict, the company's VP of sales.

He said CEO Hundley Elliotte is in town this week working with management on a restructuring plan. Some of the options include both keeping the plant open and retaining all current employees, Benedict said. 

"As of today, there have been no layoffs," Benedict said. "By filing the warn (notice) we were just following the letter of the law."

All of the work crew today was sent home and they are not expected to return to 3 Treadeasy Ave., Batavia, tomorrow. Benedict said at this point he doesn't know when they will start working again.

"We will know a lot more by Wednesday afternoon," Benedict said.

In the Warn Notice, P.W. Minor informed the state potential layoffs could mean a loss of 42 jobs, or all 82 jobs at the plant and cited "economic reasons" for the potential layoffs.

Elliotte's investment firm Tidewater + Associates acquired the shoe company from Pete Zeliff in February. Zeliff and then partner Andrew Young saved the 151-year-old company from certain ruin in 2014.

September 24, 2018 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, news, notify.

Jennifer Serrano told a deputy she was looking for a girlfriend's house in Darien and was lost after nearly hitting the deputy's car on Route 77 in the early morning of Aug. 11.

The 48-year-old Serrano has been accused of hitting and killing Connor Lynskey, 18, of Hinckley, on Sumner Road about 25 minutes before her encounter with Deputy Robert C. Henning. The encounter led to her arrest on a drunken driving charge but she never revealed to Henning or any of the court or jail officials she met that morning that she may have been involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Lynskey had been reported missing by the time of her arrest but his body wouldn't be found until 11:30 in the morning. A day after his death was reported, Sheriff's Officers investigators developed leads and identified Serrano as the suspected driver of the hit-and-run vehicle. She was located at her sister's house in Amherst. Deputies also seized the vehicle they believe she was driving at the time of the accident about 12:30 a.m. and her subsequent arrest for DWI at 12:55 a.m.

After the near collision on Route 77, Henning flipped on the emergency lights of his patrol vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. In his report of the incident, he said he could detect a strong odor of alcohol and that Serrano's eyes were glassy, according to a report he wrote and attached to the arresting document on file with the Genesee County Court.

The Batavian requested the document after District Attorney Lawrence Friedman discussed it during Serrano's last court appearance Sept.12. Judge Charles Zambito granted the request at a hearing, where neither Serrano nor her attorneys appeared to object to the document's release, this past Thursday.

According to Henning's report, Serrano failed multiple parts of a field sobriety test but her demeanor even before the test began indicated she may have been intoxicated, according to the report.

"Jennifer was swaying back and forth and leaned into the tire on the back of the vehicle multiple times to keep her balance while I was talking to her," Henning wrote. "Jennifer was also fidgeting while speaking with me. She was constantly moving her hands and rubbing them together."

Henning attempted a roadside Alco-sensor test but after Serrano blew once and it didn't register a reading, she wouldn't blow again. She also refused a Datamaster test at the Batavia Police Station and she refused three separate requests to submit to the test at Darien Town Court.

During the field sobriety tests, Henning reported Serrano swayed back and forth and had a hard time keeping her head still.

At one time during the test, Serrano reportedly said, "Am I moving my head? I can't even tell."

She wasn't able to complete a balance test without hold her hands out and she couldn't successfully walk heel-to-toe, according to Henning's report.

After the walk and turn, she reportedly told Henning, "I failed."

The report also reveals there was a passenger in Serrano's vehicle, though the person isn't named and if police obtained a witness statement from the passenger, it's not included in the court file.

Serrano said she drove from Silver Lake to Darien Lake to pick up her passenger after the Jason Aldean concert, according to statements Serrano reportedly made to Henning.

When Henning asked Serrano about consuming alcohol that night, Serrano reportedly said, "I had some earlier."

"What's some?" Henning asked.

The report says Serrano then said, "Umm, I didn't have any."

After informing Serrano he would conduct some tests, Serrano reportedly told Henning, "Well, listen, can you just let me hang here? You just let me hang here. You just all did your thing. You walked around. Could you just call my cousin, like talk to my cousin and just let me know."

Later she reportedly said, "My girlfriend's house is on this street. I pulled into the wrong driveway. I pulled out in front of you. Could you just do a solid, you know, like I promise you. Can we call my, you call my cousin and we follow you, and you follow me."

While trying to convince Serrano to submitted to a breath test, he told her, "It's another ticket if you refuse," and Serrano reportedly told Henning, "It's not another ticket if I refuse. "It's, it's, I'm doomed."

When Henning informed her she was under arrest, Serrano reportedly said, "Really? I've been kind to you. Oh, my God."

Later, after Serrano said she really didn't understand what was going on, Henning said he told her, " I believe that you are intoxicated to the point where you should not be driving a motor vehicle, OK? So I arrested you for that. Now you admitted to drinking. I don't know what. I don't know how much but that's basically what the field tests and the Datamaster can prove it."

Serrano said, "I don't understand how this is going to work out for me, like, you keep saying, 'it's going to be OK.' "

"It will," said Henning, who at the time didn't know about Lynskey. "It's not the end of the world. Look, the end of the world could have been that you got in a head-on collision tonight and either hurt yourself, hurt the passenger, or hurt someone else." 

All Serrano reportedly had to say at that point was, "I just pulled out of a driveway in front of you. I was looking for my girlfriend's house."

Lynskey, a promising medical student, according to his family, had attended the Jason Aldean concert with friends and family. They were all camping at Darien Lakes State Park. Lynskey was walking with members of his group when he decided to run ahead on Sumner Road and catch up with a friend. That was the last time anybody saw him alive.

September 24, 2018 - 5:55pm

The Pearl Street Road woman accused of failing to provide proper food and care for her 3-year-old Labrador retriever mixed breed named Maya was a no-show in Town of Batavia Court today, along with her attorney Michael Ranzenhofer.

The case of Becky L. Frens, who is about 56 years old, was on this morning's court docket for 10:30 and nearly two hours later Judge Michael Cleveland called her name and got no response from the gallery. The court clerk said earlier that the court had not heard from Frens or Ranzenhofer, nor had they appeared in court today.

Cleveland said Ranzenhofer had asked him for a second postponement in the case -- it had been delayed once on Aug. 27 until today -- but he denied the request, saying the reasoning for another postponement was not specific enough. Cleveland did not say when Ranzenhofer made the request, but he made it clear he had not heard from Ranzenhofer or Frens today and that they were due in court.

Next time, bench warrants

First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini said she would not ask for a bench warrant to be issued for either the client or attorney in this case, although she could, because she is giving Ranzenhofer the benefit of the doubt. Since he was not present, perhaps there was a miscommunication, she said. But if it happens next time, a bench warrant(s) will be sought.

The people are ready for trial, Cianfrini said.

Cleveland set the matter on the docket for 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, for either adjudication or to set a trial date, one or the other.

Frens was arrested on July 10 by troopers from the Batavia Barracks of the State Police after she went to the Genesee County Animal Shelter to retrieve her dog.

The day or so before Maya had gotten out and somehow managed to walk many, many yards on sore paws -- with nails so overgrown they were chewing into the pads -- down the Frens' gravelled driveway to the edge of the Pearl Street Road pavement. It was there that neighbors across the street saw the dog and coaxed it into their yard, where they gave it cat food and balogna and whatever nutrition they could round up. Emaciated, Maya scarfed it all down along with three bottles of water.

Then the neighbors called the law.

Frens is charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal; and failure to provide proper sustenance under the state Agriculture & Markets law, Article 26, Section 353, which is a Class A misdemeanor. If found guilty, a defendant faces jail time of more than 15 days but not greater than one year. In addition, a fine of up to $1,000 can be imposed.

Update on Maya

Meanwhile, Maya had a big day today.

According to Volunteers for Animals' Lynette Celedonia, who aided Maya from day one, she was to be spayed today and the last knots of scar tissue from infection due to demodectic mange was to be surgically removed from her back and shoulder area.

Since July, Maya has made amazing progress, Celedonia said. Gina Lippa, also with Volunteers for Animals, agreed. They came to court today to hear the Frens' case and afterward were happy to report how well Maya is doing.

"Her coat has grown in and thickened up and she's put on weight; her hip bones and ribs are no longer showing," Celedonia said. "Her infections have cleared up. And her muscles are stronger from playing and running -- which in her case is more like hopping -- and she's been adopted by the best family possible."

A public health nurse and her husband adopted Maya and share their home with her and two other doggie companions, plus avian and feline companions.

Celedonia has a recent picture on her phone of Maya, snoozing on big comfy sofa, taken after an afternoon of romping around in her new yard, plumb tuckered out and looking like a different, healthier dog.

September 24, 2018 - 4:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in city fire department, hydrant flushing, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will flushing hydrants on Wednesday, Sept. 26, and Thursday, Sept. 27, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the areas south of Main Street and west of Jackson Street.

Homes and businesses will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in the area. Please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you experience a discoloration of you water, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear.

September 24, 2018 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Le Roy, Alexander, pembroke.

Brenda Yvette Colon-Cruz, 45, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs, as a felony, with two prior convictions within the last 10 years; holding more than one driver's license; and operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a highway. On Sept. 13 at 4:06 a.m., she was arrested following a complaint in the area of Lake Street Road in the Town of Le Roy. She was arraigned then released under supervision of Genesee Justice. She was due back in Le Roy Town Court on Sept. 20. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein.

Charles Kibicho Kairu, 37, of South Valley Lane, Springfield, Mo., was arrested at 6:25 p.m. on Sept. 22 on Main Road in Pembroke following a traffic stop. He allegedly operated a commercial vehicle while intoxicated. He is charged with: unregistered motor vehicle; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree; DWI -- first offense; aggravated DWI -- having a BAC of .18 percent or more; drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle; and operating with brakes out of service. Kairu was arraigned in Town of Pembroke Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond. He is due back in Town of Pembroke Court on Oct. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Mathew Clor.

Nicholas F. Kerwin, 18, of Route 77, North Java, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief and fifth-degree conspiracy. Following a property damage complaint of damage to a motor vehicle on Molasses Hill Road in Alexander at 1:30 a.m. on June 10, Kerwin was arrested and released on an appearance ticket. He is due back in Town of Alexander Court on Oct. 9. He allegedly caused damage to the vehicle in excess of $250. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

Three youths were arrested by the Le Roy Police Department in connection with a nighttime residential burglary in the village on Sept. 10. It was reported by the homeowner that unknown an unknown or persons entered the residence during the late night or early morning hours and stole multiple packs of cigarettes while the resident was sleeping. A follow-up investigation allegedly determined three youths ages 16, 13 and 12 were involved and some of the cigarettes were recovered as evidence. The 16-year-old, who was already on a court-ordered, 24-hour curfew due to unrelated prior criminal conduct, was charged in Le Roy Town Court with one count each of second-degree burglary, a Class C felony, and petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor. The 16-year-old was jailed and an undisclosed amount of bail was set. The two younger suspects were "petitioned to the Genesee County Youth Court."

Kevin M. Fossum, 52, of Batavia, was arrested by State Police from the Warsaw barracks on Sept. 15 and charged with driving while ability impaired and unlawful possession of marijuana. During a traffic stop on Route 246 in the Village of Perry, troopers detected an odor of marijuana coming from Fossum while being interviwed. Field sobriety tests were issued and he was taken to Warsaw for processing, then issued an appearance ticket for Village of Perry Court at a later date. He was released to a sober third party.

September 24, 2018 - 1:18pm

Submitted photo and press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

Early this year, Genesee County was selected to be the recipient of technical assistance and funding to develop a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program with resources made available through the NYS Senate and allocated to the NYS Office of Mental Health.

The Office of Mental Health (OMH), Division of Forensic Services, is managing the crisis intervention services initiative.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is a program that has been developed to help police officers in situations involving individuals with mental illness. The concept of CIT began in Memphis, Tenn., in 1988, and has become nationally known as the “Memphis Model” of pre-arrest jail diversion for those in a mental health crisis. 

A Crisis Intervention Team is a group of experienced police officers who volunteer to receive an additional, one-week training in mental health-related issues.

Last week, local law enforcement officers from the Genesee and Wyoming County sheriff's offices, the City of Batavia Police Department, Village of Le Roy Police Department, Village of Attica Police Department, and Genesee and Wyoming county probation offices participated in training.

The training will prepare officers so that when they are the first responders to an incident, they have the knowledge, skills and support to de-escalate situations and divert individuals from the criminal and juvenile justice systems, when it’s appropriate to do so.

Among the goals of CIT programs are to reduce the number of arrests of individuals with mental illness, refer them to treatment facilities or other support services, and eliminate adverse incidents between law enforcement and those with mental illness. CIT programs involve ongoing collaboration and partnerships between, and among, law enforcement, the mental health system, and consumer and advocacy groups.

Photo: Local law enforcement officers from the Genesee and Wyoming County sheriff's offices, the City of Batavia Police Department, Village of Le Roy Police Department, Village of Attica Police Department, and Genesee and Wyoming county probation offices who participated in CIT training.

September 24, 2018 - 8:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

We've always had a policy of disclosing when things going on in our lives might disrupt news coverage, even when those events are medical in nature.

This is one of those times.

Since August of last year, I've had afib and this morning I'll be admitted to Unity Hospital in Rochester where, after some tests and if those tests go well, doctors will administer a medication that may correct it. The potential side effects of the medication require that I remain in the hospital where I can be monitored for at least three days.

So, until perhaps Thursday morning, I won't be in town. Billie will be here monitoring the scanner as usual. We have some coverage lined up. I'm expecting some documents that will enable me to write a couple of stories while I'm in the hospital and I can do any other stories that come up that don't require me to travel, but I won't be available for breaking news or event coverage. We'll do our best to get these covered through other means while I'm gone.


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