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March 31, 2021 - 1:33pm

Press release:

Standing at the Bug Jar in Downtown Rochester, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced today that "help is on the way" to the Finger Lakes region as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan Act he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate.

Using the Bug Jar as a backdrop, Schumer explained that even more for New York’s live independent venues which are eligible for their own, DIRECT, federal pandemic relief, thanks to a provision he championed.

Save Our Stages

The Save Our Stages provision included an additional $1.25 billion for independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and included a critical fix that allows venues to access a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Schumer said the additional funding and technical fix would be a lifeline for New York’s independent venues, hard-hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, a venue had to choose between getting a PPP loan or a Save Our Stages grant.

Just last week, SBA announced that the Save Our Stages program will open to applications on April 8th after Schumer’s continued press to implement the program. SBA also released an updated PPP application that now allows venues to apply for a PPP loan as well as a Save Our Stages grant, as Schumer intended with the fix included in the recent COVID-19 bill.

“Independent venues, like theaters, concert halls, and cinemas, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the Upstate economy. These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to fully reopen, costing jobs and leaving a giant hole in the fabric of our communities,” Senator Schumer said.

“That is why I made sure this relief bill included a swan song – additional reliefs dollars to boost the Save Our Stages legislation and a critical technical fix to allow venues to access PPP and flexible grant support. Getting federal dollars into the hands of struggling small businesses, like independent venues in the Finger Lakes, not only makes sense, but it’s the curtain call needed to keep small businesses like the Bug Jar going.”

Schumer said that live venues remain one of the hardest hit industries as the state carefully reopens, and dedicated assistance from the American Rescue Plan will save many venues from permanently shutting their doors to the public. It is estimated that by the end of 2020 live venues across the country lost $9 billion in ticket sales alone.

The senator said the federal assistance was imperative because independent venues not only drive economic activity within communities through restaurants, hotels, taxis and other transportation and retail establishments, but live events provide 75 percent of all artists’ income.

The December package included $15 billion to create the Save Our Stages program after Schumer’s tireless efforts to pass it into law. The program, which will be overseen by the Small Business Administration, provide assistance to independent live venue operators, promoters, producers, talent representatives, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.

Grant amounts equal to 45 percent of gross revenue in 2019 for the venue, up to $10 million, can be used for various costs, including payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases, PPE procurement, and capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines.

To ensure the hardest hit of eligible applicants receive assistance, there are two priority application periods. The first 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 90 percent of gross revenue can apply. The next 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 70 percent can apply. A reserve of 20 percent of overall appropriated funds, $3 billion out of the $15 billion provided, will remain available for all other eligible entities to apply for after 28 days. There is a $2 billion set-aside of funds for eligible entities with 50 or fewer employees to ensure smaller applicants are not left out.

American Rescue Plan's Impact on New York

Additionally, Schumer detailed the American Rescue Plan’s tentative impact to New York as more than $100 billion dollars. The deal includes the additional round of direct stimulus checks for tens of thousands of Finger Lakes residents, on top of aid to help schools safely reopen, vaccine distribution, critical pension relief, an expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, new rental assistance, agriculture and nutrition assistance, direct local fiscal relief to revive the local economy and help solve the Finger Lakes’ budget woes, all of which adds up to essential relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent live venues and small businesses across the state. 

Schumer also highlighted that researchers have said that the American Rescue Plan will cut the child poverty rate in half, which is especially important for Rochester as the city ranks the highest for child poverty among cities of a comparable size, with 48 percent of children living below the poverty line.


  • Makes the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). An estimated 3.56 million children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit, and it will lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line. It is estimated that New York families will receive $7.03 billion in relief from the enhanced CTC.
  • Strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, benefitting 910,000 of these workers in New York. It is estimated that New York families will receive over $786 million will receive in relief from the enhanced ETIC.

Money for the Finger Lakes Region

Sends $22 million in direct payments of $1,400 to over 9 million New Yorkers. That includes approximately $1.4 billion in direct payments for more than an estimated 556,000 households in the Finger Lakes Region: An estimated 344,000 households in Monroe County will receive approximately a total of $858 million; an estimated 41,500 households in Wayne County will receive approximately a total of $104 million; an estimated 51,000 households in Ontario County will receive about a total of $127 million; an estimated 29,000 households in Livingston County will receive approximately a total of $72 million; an estimated 18,500 households in Orleans County will receive approximately a total of $46 million; an estimated 26,500 households in Genesee County will receive approximately a total of $66 million; an estimated 18,000 households in Wyoming County will receive approximately a total of $46 million; an estimated 16,000 households in Seneca County will receive approximately a total of $39 million; and an estimated 11,500 households in Yates County will receive approximately a total of $29 million.

As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion in state and local aid will be going to New York, with more than $566.31 million going directly to the Finger Lakes Region. New York State government will receive over $12 billion, solving the state’s budget woes. 

With 50 percent of Rochester’s rental units currently occupied by tenants spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, Schumer explained that rental assistance, included in the American Rescue Plan, is also a necessary tool of fighting poverty.

This funding is a win-win allowing residents to cover past-due rent and future rent payments while maintaining rental streams for property owners needed to maintain this housing. Without this federal aid, too many families would be unable to make payments, through no fault of their own, and be faced with the prospect of being thrown out of their homes in the middle of a pandemic.

EPPI 2.0 builds and improves upon the success of EPPI 1.0, which was launched last summer thanks to funding Schumer secured in the CARES Act. Changes in the second round of the program include less cumbersome eligibility guidelines to qualify for rent relief; and the ability of landlords to apply for relief on behalf of their tenants with their consent.

Funding for Education

The American Rescue Plan also includes $9 billion for New York’s K-12 schools – these flexible funds will support school districts in reopening safely for in-person instruction and addressing the many needs that students are facing due to the pandemic. Finger Lakes school districts will receive $404.5 million in total in K-12 support funds.

New York’s Colleges and Universities will also receive $2.6B from the American Rescue Plan, half of which must be distributed to students in the form of financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. Finger Lakes colleges will receive $163.8 million in total.

Funding for Transit 

Schumer was able to secure more than $7 billion in transit funding for New York, with $45.5 million going toward the Rochester Transit Services (RTS), $12,061,336 for Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Airport, and $219,000 for other Finger Lakes airports.

Multiemployer Pension Plan Relief

The legislation also delivers critical relief for suffering multiemployer pension plans – which have experienced significant additional challenges as a result of this economic crisis – without cutting benefits retirees have earned. In New York State alone, there are more than 1.3 million participants in multiemployer pension plans, and around 624,600 New Yorkers are participants in plans that are expected to receive relief directly through this legislation.

“As Majority Leader, I fought hard to ensure this deal sent real relief to the tune of $100 billion to New York for workers, families, farmers, healthcare, small businesses, including our hard-hit industries like restaurants, and communities in Ithaca—the things we need to support in order to weather this crisis and then work to recover,” Schumer said. “This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history—second to the CARES Act—and it comes just in time, because Finger Lakes residents still need real help to get through this.”

March 31, 2021 - 1:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in barn home, animal rescue, pets, volunteers for animals, news.

The Volunteers For Animals are seeking a nice barn home for Orangina.

It does not tax the mind to think it is most likely she got her colorful moniker because of her gingery coat.

It is highly unlikely it was bestowed in a nod to the lightly bubbly beverage of the same name created in exotic Algeria in 1936; all the better to rock the Casbah quarter with in a primarily Muslim nation, where a stronger quaff is "haraam" -- forbidden. The concoction is made from carbonated water, 12-percent citrus juice, as well as 2-percent orange pulp, sweetened with sugar, or that ever-ubiqitous high-fructose corn syrup, and added natural flavors.

Alas, amidst the persistant coronavirus pandemic, this young female cat has not adjusted to indoor living, like some people we know -- and their pets, too.

Speaking of people, she's not keen on them either. Frankly, there are humans who aren't people persons. The Batavian knows this to be an indisputable fact.

But as a mouser, the volunteers think Orangina would be great.

She is spayed, tested negative for FIV/FeLV and is up to date with vaccines. There is no adoption fee for her. 

"We ask that she have good shelter, food, water and some human companionship," they write in an email. "It is also necessary to confine her for a couple of weeks to acclimate her to the new surroundings." (C'mon, let's just call it what we know it to be: quarantine.)

If you can give this kitty a nice home, please stop in the Shelter, located at 3841 W. Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia, during adoption hours or email the volunteers at:  [email protected].

Phone: (585) 343-6410

Shelter Hours of Operation

  • Monday & Tuesday:  1 - 3 p.m
  • Wednesday:  1 - 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday:  CLOSED
  • Friday:  1 - 3 p.m.
  • Saturday:  11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Sunday:  1 - 3 p.m.

Photo and information courtesy of the Volunteers For Animals.

March 31, 2021 - 12:00pm

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! You have the right to a 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: hard hat, 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. Click here to visit us online.


March 31, 2021 - 11:21am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs Gaming, news, extended hours of operation.

Press release:

Officials at Batavia Downs Gaming today announced that in accordance with the state’s guidelines for gaming facilities, Batavia Downs Gaming will be extending their hours of operation on April 5th.

Starting on Monday, April 5th Batavia Downs will be open from 8 a.m. 'til 1 a.m. Sunday – Thursday. The facility will be open from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 

As per New York State regulations, all guests of Batavia Downs will undergo a temperature check and must have on a face covering during their visit. Clear markings on the floor will indicate where patrons may go in order to maintain safe social distancing. The Environmental Services team will continue to thoroughly clean throughout the day to maintain a sanitized, safe environment.

“We are grateful to New York State for allowing us to expand our hours of operation,“ said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Batavia Downs. “These extended hours will allow us to hire more hard-working Western New Yorkers.

"With our job fair coming on April 7th we encourage those looking to work in a fun, fast-paced environment to apply. We look forward to providing a safe entertainment area for our guests and continue to contribute monies towards state education.”

March 31, 2021 - 11:11am

Press release:

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today encouraged eligible taxpayers to register for a free virtual tax filing assistance session.

If your federal adjusted gross income in 2020 was $72,000 or less, you qualify to receive free virtual tax assistance from the Tax Department. We can guide you through the process of electronically preparing and filing your 2020 federal and state income tax returns at no cost.

During a prescheduled virtual webinar session using WebEx or Zoom, our department representatives will guide you step by step as needed through the free tax preparation software as you complete and file your own tax return.

The NYS Tax Department extended the filing due date for New York State personal income tax returns to May 17 to match the extended due date for federal income tax returns.

“The Tax Department is offering New Yorkers more time to file because of the ongoing pandemic and free filing services for those eligible,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt. “We encourage New Yorkers to save on tax preparation costs for their federal and state returns by taking advantage of this free assistance.”

Register for a Session

You can register to attend a session directly with the Tax Department or through one of our partners.

Once you register, you will receive an email with a link to the webinar session. You will also receive a link to the free tax software and an intake questionnaire. Please review and fill out the intake questionnaire to ensure you have all the documents needed to complete your return during the session.

To register, see Register for a virtual FSA session.

How to Have a Successful E-filing Experience

Four steps to ensure a quick and easy filing experience:

  1. Have all tax documents and personal information for each person on the return available for the webinar session.
  2. Use the software link to set up an account in the free software.
  3. Plan to spend up to two hours in the webinar session.
  4. Follow up by checking your email within 48 hours once you submit your return.

You can review the documents to have on hand and an explanation of how to create an account to use the free software at www.tax.ny.gov/fsa.

Free File Software

If you’re confident enough to file on your own, you don’t need to attend a virtual session. You can use your own computer, tablet, or mobile device to prepare and e-file your income tax returns whenever and wherever you want using the same secure software at no cost. To learn more and determine if you qualify for Free File, please visit our Free File your income tax return (SpanishChineseRussian) page.

For related information, please see the two-minute video Tax Department response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

March 31, 2021 - 10:43am

Press release:

A new public health tool is tracking childhood obesity trends, helping identify communities across the Finger Lakes Region that are struggling with the issue. Data may be used to guide public investment that supports kids and their families with healthy weight initiatives. 

The Community Health Indicators Report, developed by Common Ground Health, Rochester RHIO, and the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Center for Community Health & Prevention and Clinical & Translational Science Institute, now provides childhood obesity data for 13 counties: Allegany, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.

For the Finger Lakes Region, the overall percentage of children whose weight was at or above the 95th percentile during 2018 was 19 percent. There is variability across the region with counties reporting averages from 17 percent to 26 percent. For comparison, the CDC reports U.S. prevalence of childhood obesity in 2015-2016 was 19 percent.

This population health measure is based on analysis of clinical data managed by Rochester RHIO, the region’s trusted health information exchange. The obesity measures and related information are available on RocHealthData.org, for which registration is free of charge. The website allows individuals and organizations to discover and analyze health outcomes and social determinants of health across the Finger Lakes Region through customizable maps and reports.

Indicators for nine Finger Lakes counties are also included as part of Common Ground’s Regional Health Measures webpage. 

“The ability to use electronic medical records for improving public health is a game changer, and our region is among the best in the United States at doing so,” said Jill Eisenstein, RHIO president and chief executive officer.

“Health professionals know that being overweight in youth and adolescence can lead to significant problems in adulthood. Having access to this childhood obesity data is invaluable to help drive short- and long-term health improvement and reduce care, nutrition and other inequities."

“A family’s ability to support healthy weight for children is inextricably linked to social determinants of health: do they have access to fresh fruits and vegetables; are there safe places to play in the neighborhood; do work schedules allow for home-cooked meals and time to eat together,” said Dina Faticone, director of community health and engagement at Common Ground Health.

“These childhood obesity measures will help us identify populations that are struggling, give us the hard data needed to drive public investment, and allow the region to track progress.”

The childhood obesity measures are part of a growing catalogue of community health indicators that also include county and regional rates for smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and adult obesity. These measures are pulled from more than a million patient observations securely stored by Rochester RHIO. At no time is personally identifiable information made available to the research and data teams.

The newly released indicators are based on records from calendar year 2018. They can be contrasted and compared with 2017 data where available, helping identify and analyze trend lines.

March 30, 2021 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, notify, batavia.
Video Sponsor

A family lost all personal belongings as well as three dogs and six cats in a house fire this morning at 37 Maple St., Batavia.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"A neighbor said a fire and I was going, just 20 different things going on, I didn't know what was going on," said Marlene Hartford about the start of the fire.  

She lived at the house, she said, with her daughter, son-in-law (who wasn't home at the time), and two grandchildren.  

Hartford said the family, which had lived on Maple Street for three years, did not have renter's insurance. Chief Stefano Napolitano said Red Cross will provide temporary shelter, clothing and food.

Press release:

At 10:38 a.m. on March 30, the City of Batavia Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire located at 37 Maple St. The first arriving fire units were on scene at 10:40 a.m.

Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy fire involvement on the southeast corner of the home, extending from the first floor to the attic. Responding crews made an aggressive, coordinated exterior and interior attack and were able to confine and contain the fire to the interior of the home. The situation was called under control by on-scene fire command at 11:21 a.m.

Due to the intensity of the fire, the home received significant heat damage throughout, along with smoke and water damage. Additionally, three dogs and six cats perished in the fire. 

At this time the City of Batavia’s Fire Investigation team with assistance from the City of Batavia Police Department’s Detective Bureau is investigating the fire to determine the origin and cause.

City fire was assisted at the scene by Mercy EMS, City of Batavia Police Department’s road patrol and Detective Bureau, City of Batavia Bureau of Inspection, Bureau of Maintenance and Water Department, along with the Town of Batavia and Darien fire departments, with additional support provided by the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch, National Fuel and National Grid.

(Initial Post)


City Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano comforts Bentley Sherman, who lived at the residence with his mother and grandmother.



March 30, 2021 - 4:32pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, news, coronavirus.

Press release:

Genesee County reporting nine 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 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. 
  • Twelve of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Two of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. 


Orleans County reporting nine new positive cases of COVID-19.  

  • The 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 and 60s.
  • One of the new positive individuals was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • One of the previous positive individuals has recovered and has been removed from the isolation list.
  • One of the current positive individuals is hospitalized.


The State updates the raw positive and fatality data as they receive it and can be seen here. The data is updated on Fridays with the latest data.  

Vaccine Update: As of today, March 30, anyone 30 years of age and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine along with the other priority groups. The state also announced that all residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccines on April 6.

New York State launched the Excelsior Pass, (www.epass.ny.gov/home) a voluntary, free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results. It can be printed or stored digitally on a smartphone. Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for entry. Adults may hold passes for accompanying minors.

Find Revised Skilled Nursing Facility Visitation here.

There are strict guidelines, but below are some highlights.

Visitation can be conducted through different means based on the facility’s structure and residents’ needs.

  • All who enter the facility will be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status);
  • Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred);
  • The use of face coverings or masks (covering nose and mouth); 
  • Social distancing at least six feet between persons;
  • Instructional signage will be throughout the facility and proper visitor education on COVID-19 symptoms, infections control precautions and other applicable facility practices (e.g. use of face covering/mask, specified entries, exits and routes to designated areas, hand hygiene);
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces in the facility often, and designated visitation areas after each visit; 
  • Appropriate staff use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • Effective cohorting of residents (e.g. separate areas dedicated to COVID-19 care);
  • Resident and staff testing conducted as required.

Beginning April 1st, New York State will no longer require quarantine for domestic travelers. International travelers will still need to quarantine. All travelers will still be required to complete the Traveler Health Form. For updated Traveler Guidance click here.

March 30, 2021 - 4:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia, news, scanner.

An accident with injuries is reported at East Main Street and Clinton Street in the city. Police and firefighters are en route along with Mercy medics. It is blocking the roadway.

UPDATE 4:33 p.m.: The exact address is 548 E. Main St. Two vehicles are involved.

UPDATE 4:42 p.m.: A black Buick SUV was parked on the south side of East Main Street and the driver pulled out to make a U-turn and did not see an oncoming black Pontiac sedan and the two vehicles clipped fenders -- driver's side front fender to passenger side front fender. Injuries are minor. Sgt. Mitch Cowen at the scene said he's not sure either driver will require transport to the hospital.

March 30, 2021 - 4:23pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) held the first official meeting of his Agriculture Advisory Committee on Saturday, March 27th.

"In order for me to craft effective policy and ensure the long-term prosperity of our region's farmers and agribusinesses, it is critical to make sure they have a seat at the table," Jacobs said. "We had a productive introductory meeting and discussed many of the pressing issues facing Western New York agriculture. I look forward to continuing our work together."

"We are very pleased that Congressman Jacobs asked to be appointed to the House Agriculture Committee, and the agricultural community lauds Congressman Jacobs' in recognizing the diverse agriculture businesses in his district," said Maureen Torrey, of Torrey Farms Inc.

"His first meeting of his Agriculture Advisory Committee was a major success as all facets of agriculture from dairy, vegetables, apples, grapes, peaches, poultry, flowers, grain, greenhouse, family farms small and large, and agribusinesses had a chance to share trends and concerns about this major economic driver in his district with him."

"The Agriculture Advisory Committee gives all categories of agriculture a voice and representation in matters that directly impact our lives and our family's lives," said Stacie Rogers, of Rogers Dairy. "We appreciate Congressman Chris Jacobs for caring what that voice is and following through with what he says, I can't wait to continue that partnership and collaboration."

"As a farmer in Western New York, I am honored to be part of Congressman Jacobs' Agriculture Advisory Committee," said Jim Bittner, of Bittner Singer Orchards. "His willingness to serve on the House Agriculture Committee demonstrates his commitment to Western New York and the businesses that are its economic engine. Most recently, he supported the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which will benefit every employee on my farm and those around us.

"Congressman Jacobs has also introduced a bill to allow dairy farms to participate in the H-2A Visa Program. This will have long-term benefits which will preserve our industry. As discussions continue, I appreciate his willingness to learn what is important to those who feed our citizens and how to support it through legislation."

"I believe the first meeting went very well, and I hope that the topics discussed give Rep. Jacobs a better understanding as to how crucial these issues are to agriculture," said Bruce Naas, of Naas Farms LLC. "Labor and infrastructure are just two of many ongoing concerns that affect how we can be competitive in today's global environment. I look forward to our next meeting."

“The Agriculture Advisory Committee is very promising, with participants from every aspect of the ag industry represented across NY-27," said John King, president – Niagara County Farm Bureau. "Congressman Jacobs will have a wealth of knowledge to pull from and very active members of the farming community to look to as a resource.

I look forward to providing the Congressman with updates and concerns that NY-27 farmer members have. I think committee’s like this are critical in regard to connecting our needs with Congress to ensure our family farms are represented appropriately going forward.”

The first meeting of the NY-27 Agriculture Advisory Committee was held virtually, and members discussed a wide range of topics and issues facing Western New York agriculture, including dairy and farm labor needs, trade enforcement, infrastructure and rural broadband development, and vaccine eligibility for farm workforces. Each member also provided a brief overview of their business and the commodities they represent.

The NY-27 Agriculture Advisory Committee is comprised of members from across the eight counties of the New York 27th District and includes stakeholders affiliated with farms, agribusiness, academia, and advocacy organizations. Its members produce a large variety of commodities including dairy, cash crops, vegetables, fruits, maple, and poultry.

March 30, 2021 - 4:11pm

BERGEN – Children in Bergen got to take part in an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday in Hickory Park, although it was not in the traditional format.

The event is an annual tradition in Bergen, in which children usually hunt for eggs by age group. 

This year, however, due to COVID-19, children stayed in their cars and parents drove by and the Easter Bunny (aka Tom Tieffel) and his helpers, Village of Bergen Mayor Anna Marie Barclay, Connie Tieffel, Anne Sapienza, and Jody Fisher and Sandy Partridge handed out bags of filled Easter eggs.

Kids got to see the Easter Bunny and then quickly checked to see if their bag contained a Golden Egg. If so, they were driven to the prize table to collect a special surprise.

The Easter Egg Hunt is sponsored by the Bergen Business and Civic Association.

Photos by Virginia Kropf.

Top photo: Easter Bunny, aka Tom Tieffel, waits by bags of prizes in Hickory Park for this year's drive-thru Easter Egg "hunt" in Bergen. 

Below, from left, Village of Bergen Mayor Anna Marie Barclay, Connie Tieffel, the Easter Bunny (aka Tom Tieffel), Anne Sapienza, and Jody Fisher and Sandy Partridge are all decked out and ready for the Easter Egg drive-thru event in Bergen’s Hickory Park on Saturday.

March 30, 2021 - 4:09pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Kiwanis Club, easter egg hunt.


Matt Landers of the Batavia Kiwanis Club hides the 12th Kiwanis Golden Easter Egg today at Centennial Park as part of the service organization's holiday promotion with Oliver's Candies. Landers will hide the final egg on Wednesday.

A note inside the egg tells the story:

Congratulations! You have found one of the 13 Kiwanis Golden Easter Eggs! This entitles you to an Oliver’s Chocolate Easter Bunny! To collect your chocolate bunny, arrive with this note and the Golden Egg at the south side of Centennial Park on Saturday, April 3rd at 10 a.m. We will have all of the prize winners gather for a picture with the Easter Bunny as they collect their chocolate bunny. We hope you had fun looking for the Golden Egg, and wish you and your family a very Happy Easter! (Note: Only one Golden Egg per family can be redeemed and winners must be 12 and under).

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

March 30, 2021 - 1:37pm

Press release:

After announcing that a strategic partnership between Intel and IBM will bring hundreds of new semiconductor R&D jobs to New York’s Capital Region, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer followed up on his efforts to cement Upstate New York as the global hub of the semiconductor industry and pitched Intel’s recently appointed CEO Pat Gelsinger on how Intel should build on its new partnership with IBM and locate their next semiconductor fabrication (“fab”) plant in Upstate New York.

Last week, Intel shared its plans to select a second site for its next U.S. manufacturing facility within a year, following the announcement of the IBM R&D partnership.

Schumer said New York boasts several sites across Upstate ready to be home to Intel’s next Chip fab, or the supply chain Intel would require, from Alabama's STAMP campus in Western New York and the White Pines campus in Central New York, to Marcy Nanocenter in the Mohawk Valley and Luther Forest in the Capitol Region.

Plus, Upstate New York boasts a thriving semiconductor ecosystem as evidenced by the just announced IBM partnership, the state’s top notch universities and world-class workforce, and a diversity of companies across the supply chain. Typically, semiconductor fabs bring thousands of new jobs into a region, a number which Schumer said would be a win-win-win for the local economy, Upstate New York workforce, U.S. competitiveness, and Intel itself.

“Intel’s plans to invest in a second U.S. semiconductor fab offers a game-changing opportunity for Upstate New York and I made it clear to Intel all that New York has to offer to make their U.S. expansion a huge success for the company and the country,” Senator Schumer said.

“With an existing semiconductor ecosystem, including leading R&D companies, premier universities to train the next-generation workforce, a thriving supply chain, and robust utilities that can host advanced manufacturing, Upstate New York is tailor made to be the home of Intel’s new manufacturing facility.”

Schumer added, “An Intel fab in Upstate New York would not only help shore up our domestic production of chips, but it also positions the company to take even more advantage of its partnership with IBM to develop and lead in next generation semiconductor technology, a point I made to Intel’s CEO as they consider further building out their U.S. manufacturing operations in the year ahead.

"I stand ready to give my all out support in helping Intel harness all that the federal government has to offer to continue to lead the tech industry and position New York as a global hub of semiconductor manufacturing, including pushing to fully fund the federal incentives I created in last year’s defense bill so companies like Intel receive support to invest in U.S. competitiveness and create thousands of new jobs.”

Schumer has long emphasized the importance of active federal support for the semiconductor industry. This includes his push to include provisions in the FY2021 NDAA to create new federal semiconductor manufacturing, R&D, and training programs.

He notes that even though the United States revolutionized the semiconductor and broad microelectronics industries and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, by 2030, non-U.S. competitors are projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply. And domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, including from China, and posing huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

In a meeting with then-nominee for Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, Schumer raised the urgent need to fully fund and implement the new Commerce semiconductor manufacturing grant and R&D programs he passed into law as part of last year’s defense authorization. He pointed to this Intel investment as an example for why these federal incentives are such a high priority.

In February, Schumer announced that the Senate would work on a bill in the spring of this year that includes his bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, which would provide a major infusion of federal funds for federal R&D, including for semiconductors.

As part of this competitiveness package Schumer plans to bring to the Senate floor this spring, he will be pushing for emergency funding to implement the federal semiconductor programs created in last year’s defense bill so these critical programs can be implemented to help the U.S. successfully compete with other countries, including China, for new semiconductor manufacturing investment.

Schumer has led the effort to create these historic new federal investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D. Last year, Schumer unveiled his bipartisan American Foundries Act to bolster U.S. leadership in semiconductor and broader microelectronics industries. He successfully added this bill as an amendment in July 20202 to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The new programs included in NDAA will increase federal support for semiconductor manufacturing by providing new federal incentives to conduct advanced research and development of semiconductor technology, including the creation of the NSTC, secure the supply chain, and ensure national and economic security by reducing reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

March 30, 2021 - 1:09pm
posted by Press Release in GCC, 2021 Commencement, news, education.

Submitted photo and press release:

On Saturday, May 22, Genesee Community College will recognize its students during its 53rd Commencement Ceremony, taking place completely online. Honoring this group of deserving achievers, will be keynote speaker, Susan Salvador, Ed.D., former vice president for Student Affairs at Monroe Community College in Rochester.

"Operating in such close-knit communities and working with our small class sizes, our faculty and staff were heart-broken when we had to postpone our traditional in-person commencement and move to a completely online event in 2020," said Genesee Community College President James Sunser.

"As we came to realize the 2021 commencement would also be virtual, our talented teams rolled up their sleeves and got right to work. We all found comfort in putting our best efforts into creating something special for our students, and we are pleased that they will get to hear from Dr. Salvador."

Building on the success from last year's video-style graduation ceremony, GCC is planning a similar online broadcast for the class of 2021. Salvador's address will come to the esteemed graduates as part of their online ceremony. 

Salvador is currently a highly experienced consultant, trainer and speaker on student affairs practices and student learning. In addition to serving as vice president for Student Affairs at Monroe Community College in Rochester, she served in that capacity at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa., and was a search associate for William Spelman Executive Search.

Salvador was a contributing author to "Learning Reconsidered: A Campus-wide Focus on the Student Experience" as well as a member of the National Writing Team to produce the inventory statements for the "Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs," publications sponsored by American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

She has served as a consultant for community colleges establishing housing and residence life programs, an author of articles on the impact and philosophical change of residence halls on two-year colleges, and a lecturer in the Educational Foundations Department at Buffalo State College to teach Community College Administration.

In addition, she served as president of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester Board and as a member of: the Golisano Children's Hospital Board at the University of Rochester Medical Center; the National Advisory Group for the National Technical Institute of the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology; the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House Development Committee; the Young Women's College Prep Public School of Rochester Foundation; the Wegmans Hillside Work-Scholarship Rochester Program Board of Directors; and the Paperclip Communications Community College National Advisory Board.

Salvador was president of ACPA from 2010-2011 and is a Diamond Honoree. She served as an ACPA Educational Leadership Foundation trustee, chair of Commissions and member of the Senior Student Affairs Advisory and External Relations Advisory Boards, among other leadership roles.

Inspiring students throughout her career, Salvador has received: the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society's Distinguished Administrator Award; a Certificate of Merit from the New York State Assembly for significant contributions to the student personnel profession; an Outstanding Contribution to the Profession Award from the College Student Personnel Association of New York State; and the 2004 Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year Award from the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She was an ATHENA Award nominee sponsored by the Women's Council of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and was inducted into MCC's Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

She has a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The University of Michigan, a master's degree in College Student Personnel/Counseling from The Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Siena College.

As Genesee Community College continues to develop its #SUNYGCC21 virtual commencement, details will be made available on www.genesee.edu/commencement.

March 30, 2021 - 12:45pm
posted by Press Release in ghost guns, DOJ, ATF, Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

Press release:

Saying Americans are clamoring for action on the issue of gun violence, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said Monday that under current law, the Department of Justice (DOJ) in concert with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can do something—right now—to tackle the rising threat of untraceable and undetectable firearms known as "ghost guns."

“Amid the pain of another senseless shooting in this country, Americans are clamoring for the feds to do something, and so I’m calling for DOJ and ATF to use their existing authorities to act,” Schumer said.

“The lights are flashing red on the issue of ghost guns and the rising threat posed by these totally unregulated, available-to-anyone, no-background-check-required weapons. That is why we are demanding the feds take action now, before these easy-to-use assembly kits result in another foreseeable and preventable tragedy.” 

Schumer explained that "ghost guns" are sold in pieces or kits and come without background checks, serial numbers, or anything else that the current law demands of legally purchased firearms—despite the fact that only a few simple steps are required to turn these unfinished pieces into fully functional weapons. 

Schumer said New York has already seen ghost guns used in crimes, and that Attorney General Tish James has taken strong action to prevent their flow here, but that using existing authority to close the federal loophole allowing these weapons to proliferate across the country is a commonsense action that the feds can and must take to make New Yorkers safer, right now.

In September 2019, Attorney General Tish James sent cease and desist letters to companies behind a number of websites selling incomplete weaponry pieces—ghost gun kits—to New Yorkers that could be easily assembled into illegal assault weapons. In July 2020, Attorney General James announced that all the companies behind the sale of these firearms or firearms components had complied with her cease and desist letters and ended the sale of these weapons to New Yorkers. 

But Schumer, today, said this hard work is for naught unless the feds stop the unfettered flow of these kits across the country.

“In some states, it is harder to buy cold medicine than it is a ghost gun assembly kit,” Schumer said. “The feds know it, the people who are building these kits know it, and the public should not have to be threatened by it.”

“Ghost guns pose a grave threat to communities across this country,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “We know that these untraceable and undetectable weapons can cause the same immense destruction and harm as traditional firearms, yet they are not subject to the same regulations.

"My office has successfully shut down companies that provide access to these weapons and taken action to regulate them, but far more is needed to protect our families and our children. I thank Senator Schumer for taking the stand that is desperately needed to protect New Yorkers and all Americans.”

Last summer, Nassau County law enforcement officials recovered 22 ghost guns, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition and narcotics and bomb-making equipment, in a crime bust on Long Island.

In February of last year, Schumer wrote to then-Attorney General William P. Barr and Acting Director Regina Lombardo urging the DOJ and the ATF to take action to stem the tide of unmarked, unregistered, and untraceable firearms that continue to proliferate the country.

Schumer said "ghost guns" continue to pose a danger to public safety and have the potential to end up in the hands of convicted criminals, domestic abusers, minors and other individuals that are otherwise prohibited from purchasing handguns under existing federal law.

Today, Schumer said Biden Administration officials, including Attorney General Garland, should do what the Trump Administration failed to do and take prompt action to rectify this regulatory failure and protect Americans lives.

Schumer requested that DOJ and ATF immediately take the following steps to address this eminent threat:

  1. Amend the definition of "firearm frame or receiver" in 27 C.F.R. section 4 78.11 such that it applies to any part of a firearm which provides housing for the trigger group, including any such part (1) that is designed, intended, or marketed to be used in an assembled, operable firearm; or (2) that, without the expenditure of substantial time and effort, can be converted for use in an assembled, operable firearm.
  2. Provide all available data on the frequency with which federal authorities are encountering these so-called ghost guns and efforts on the part of your respective agencies to collaborate with state and local law enforcement within 30 days. Should this information not be readily available, explain why and describe strategies on how to improve collaboration, monitoring and data collection.
March 30, 2021 - 12:34pm

From Jay Lazarony, executive director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board:

On Thursday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the NYS Department of Labor, GLOW Workforce Development Board, ACCES-VR, Rochester Works, and Finger Lakes Works will host the Finger Lakes Virtual Career Fair.

There will be a Preview Day starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

The nine-county career fair currently has 132 businesses registered.

Job seekers are encouraged to preregister for this event here and be sure to upload your resume.

Attending Businesses

  • KanPak
  • Barilla America NY Inc.
  • Arc of Genesee Orleans
  • United States Gypsum
  • Kodak
  • O-AT-KA Milk Products
  • Arc of Monroe
  • LiDestri Food & Drink
  • IEC Electronics
  • Spectrum
  • Cantel
  • Scepter New York Inc.
  • Aerosafe Global
  • Li-Cycle Corp.
  • Career Start
  • DePaul
  • Optimax Systems
  • Thompson Health
  • Arc of Wayne
  • Six Flags Darien Lake
  • Catholic Charities
  • Wegmans Food Markets
  • First Student
  • The Home Depot
  • TruGreen
  • Nurse Connection Staffing
  • And more!

Job Openings Attending Businesses Seek to Fill

  • Maintenance Technician
  • School Bus Driver
  • Chemical Operator
  • Warehouse Associate
  • CNA/ LPN/ RN
  • CDL Driver
  • Home Health Aide
  • Cashier
  • Machine Operator
  • Production
  • General Labor
  • Customer Service
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Cook
  • Carpenter Apprentice
  • Security Officer
  • Forklift Driver
  • And more!

For more information email:  [email protected]

March 30, 2021 - 10:43am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia, notify.

A house fire with heavy smoke and flames showing is reported at 37 Maple St. in the city. Fire crews are on scene. The road is shut down at Jackson and Maple. A resident has told a dispatcher she is going into the residence to retrieve her purse and she was adamently told not to do so. A second alarm is called.

Mercy medics are en route. Command says everybody's out of the house and they have water on the fire.

UPDATE 10:44 a.m.: National Fuel is called to the scene to shut off the natural gas pipeline. Two Town of Batavia engines called to stand by in quarters. Darien Rescue is called for mutual aid and Alexander's Fast team, too.

UPDATE 10:48: Mercy medics are standing by at Maple and Evans streets.

UPDATE 10:57 a.m.: Town of Batavia Engine #24 is called to the scene.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m.: Command asks dispatch to call for an inspector.

UPDATE 11:41 a.m.: A grandmother who has been renting the house for three years says the fire started outside but they don't know how it happened. She was inside with her grandchild, daughter and son and they all made it out safely. She had multiple pets and believes two of her dogs perished in the blaze and she is uncertain about the fate of her cats. She lost everything inside and had no renter's insurance. More T/K.

UPDATE 1:38 p.m.: The scene is turned over to the caretaker of the property and the city assignment is back in service.


City Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano comforts Bentley Sherman, who lived at the residence with his mother and grandmother.

March 29, 2021 - 6:58pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, New York State Association of Counties.

Update: March 30, 1 p.m.

County Manager Matt Landers provided the amount of sales tax that New York State will divert from Genesee County for 2021 to be used for Fiscally Distressed Health Facilities/Other State General Purposes (FDHF-GF) & Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM)-related Payments:

FDHF-GF Sales Tax Diversion

January 15, 2021 -- $251,636

Rest of calendar year 2021 -- $185,632     

Total -- $437,268

AIM-related Payment Sales Tax Diversion

May 2021 -- $69,124

December 2021 -- $234,489

Total -- $303,613           

Grand Total -- $740,881


In the Genesee County manager’s eyes, it seems as though the more New York State gets, the more New York State wants.

Matt Landers today said he supports the New York Association of Counties as it attempts to reverse a recent local sales tax diversion law that, according to NYSAC, is removing more than $59 million a year from communities across the state.

“I’m in full agreement of the push by NYSAC to stop this diversion, especially in light of the fact that the state has been given funding through the federal stimulus to assist with nursing homes,” Landers said. “There really isn’t a need to divert county sales tax to go toward assisting distressed hospitals and nursing homes.”

Earlier this month, Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act and appropriated $23.8 billion to New York, with more than half of that going directly to the state government.

Landers emphasized that sales tax is a major source of revenue for more than half of the NYS counties, and also for towns, cities, villages and school districts that have sales tax sharing agreements with their counties.

In 2019, local governments shared $2 billion in local sales tax revenues, NYSAC reported.

The county manager said some municipalities had their state Aid and Incentives to Municipalities funding reduced or eliminated and then put back in – with sales tax diversion cover their AIM – and some will receive their full AIM.

“The governor’s proposal had it so that the AIM will be covered by sales tax diversion, but the Senate and the Assembly have different versions of that. So, until we see a final bill, I’m not sure what the final impact will be,” he noted. “But the sales tax diversion and the AIM situation are just two more examples of the state taking county sales tax for other purposes."

NYSAC President Jack Marren said local governments, now more than ever, need their full share of sales tax and state Aid and Incentives to Municipalities.

“Strong local governments make for a stronger state, and as New York recovers from the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, it is imperative that those of us who have been serving on the front lines of responding to the crisis be provided with the resources and the flexibility we need for a full recovery,” he said.

In a related development, Landers said he is against the formula being proposed to distribute the 13 percent sales or excise tax attached to the legalization of cannabis.

“The state plans to keep 9 percent of that 13 percent and they’re distributing the 4 percent to municipalities. The problem is that instead of putting it through as sales tax and letting sales tax sharing agreements divvy the money appropriately, they’re providing 3 percent directly to towns, villages and cities, and just 1 percent to counties,” he said.

Landers said that flies in the face of common sense.

“Just think about it? What municipalities are being impacted the most by legalization of marijuana?” he said. “If you look at the services that are delivered, it should go to criminal justice and human services agencies that the county runs – whether it’s the public defender’s office or the DA office, sheriff, the jail, mental health, health department. What does the typical Genesee County town have in services that would be impacted by the legalization of cannabis compared to a county?”

Landers mentioned that he understands some cities are planning to use income from marijuana legalization to pay for programs unrelated to what likely will arise from the increased usage of pot.

“The money should be to fund unintended consequences from the legalization of marijuana. There are going to be public health and other effects – just like the VLT (Video Lottery Terminal) money that was given to municipalities that have gambling in their areas,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that you go and create a new, unrelated program and put the money there. It should be used to offset the societal costs that you’re going to be hit with as a result of that activity.”

He said that some cities have their “wish list” of things that they want to do and now they have a new revenue stream to do that.

“In Genesee County, we would take that money and apply it to whatever effects it had on our budget as a result of the legalization. Unfortunately, though, I think it’s pretty much a done deal and we’ll have to accept the reality.”




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