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Howard B. Owens's blog

May 24, 2020 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news.

A house at 12 Union St., Le Roy, has reportedly filled with the odor of natural gas.

Le Roy fire on scene.

Union is closed by Stafford fire police between Wolcott and Summit streets.

May 24, 2020 - 8:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, Bethany, batavia.

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Photo submitted by Dan Street from East Bethany.

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Photo submitted by Lisa Ace from Batavia. Taken in Le Roy.

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Photo by Josh Wallace, Le Roy.

May 24, 2020 - 8:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have received seven more COVID-19 cases. Orleans has six new cases (bringing the total to 200) and Genesee has one (bringing the total to 179). 

Contact tracing has been initiated and all who have had direct contact with the individuals will be notified by Health Department staff.  Five of the Orleans County individuals are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and one is a community member.  Genesee County’s one individual who tested positive is a community member.

The health department was made aware that the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) did swab all residents and employees of The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center. Any questions regarding specific issues should be addressed to The Villages or NYSDOH.

We have also received word of the death of an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was a resident of The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center (now for a total of 24 deaths related to COVID-19 for The Villages and a total of 29 deaths for Orleans County). Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very sad and difficult time.

There is currently no further information to release on ages and locations. Mapping to include the positive cases from the weekend will be updated on Tuesday afternoon due to the Memorial Day holiday.

We ask residents to continue social distancing, mask-wearing, and proper hygiene even in the company whom we trust the most -- like family, friends, and co-workers. We can all show people that we care and respect them by continuing these practices to keep everyone safe.

As the weather warms up, we understand it’ll be hard to stay away from family and friends, but we still have a ways to go before we can get back to normal.

May 24, 2020 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in east bethany, news, birds, outdoors, Pileated Woodpecker.

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Chris Kuehl, of East Bethany, took this photo of a pileated woodpecker.

Her husband, Chuck, who submitted the photo, said and his wife have lived at their residence for 17 years and added, "We see pileated woodpeckers all the time but this is the first time one keeps coming to our suet and boy does he go through it. We live by a very large wooded area and get a very large variety of birds. Just love living here!!"

May 24, 2020 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia First Presbyterian Church, religion, church, batavia.

Message from Pastor Roula Alkhouri, Batavia First Presbyterian Church.

May 23, 2020 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Genesee County Public Health announced this afternoon that are no new positive COVID-19 tests to report in the past 24 hours.

May 23, 2020 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, notify.
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      Anthony Welch

Anthony J. "Science" Welch, 39, of Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, after allegedly being found in possession of crack cocaine following a traffic stop by the Local Drug Task Force.

The charge is premised on the allegation that the amount of the narcotic in Welch's possession indicates he intended to sell it.

Welch was a passenger in a car driven by Steven R. Colombo, 33, of Batavia, who was allegedly driving while his privilege was suspended.

Another passenger, Amy L. Coulson, 33, of Batavia, was also arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

Following the traffic stop, Welch and Coulson were taken to the Genesee County Jail and based on a search warrant they were searched. Welch was allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine that he tried to hide during the traffic stop. 

Welch was also charged with tampering with physical evidence, promoting prison contraband, and criminally using drug paraphernalia.  

Colombo was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd.

Following arraignment, Welch was released under supervision of Genesee Justice and Coulson and Colombo were released on appearance tickets. 

The Task Force was assisted by Batavia PD, Corrections Officers, and the District Attorney's Office.

May 23, 2020 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

  • After meeting contact tracing metric, Mid-Hudson Valley will join Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, which have met the seven metrics required to begin reopening.
  • If number of deaths continues to decrease and tracing is online, Long Island could reopen Wednesday, May 27th.
  • State is partnering with Advantage Care Physicians to establish 15 new testing sites at medical centers Downstate.
  • New York State now has more than 760 testing sites.
  • Reminds New Yorkers to vote in the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest by Monday, May 25th.
  • Confirms 1,772 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 359,926; new cases in 50 counties.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Mid-Hudson Valley is on track to meet all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan starting Tuesday, May 26th, joining the Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions.

The Mid-Hudson Valley has now identified enough contact tracers to meet the state's guidelines, and the tracers are being trained in preparation for the Mid-Hudson Valley entering phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pick up and drop off or in-store pick up; and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

On Long Island, the number of deaths is continuing to drop and contract tracing is coming online, and if this trend continues Long Island could be ready to open by Wednesday, May 27th. Business guidance for phase one of the state's reopening plan is available here. A guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The state's regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is partnering with Advantage Care Physicians to establish 15 new testing sites at medical centers Downstate, including testing centers in low-income and minority communities. New York State now has more than 760 testing sites across the state. The Governor also encouraged eligible New Yorkers to visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov to find a nearby testing site and get tested.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to vote in the state's Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest, which was launched by the Governor on May 5th and is being overseen by his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday May 25th at WearAMask.ny.gov. The winning ad will be announced on Tuesday, May 26th, and that ad will be used as a public service announcement.

"The numbers are going down every day and we're making real progress to stop the spread of this virus, and now we're focusing on reopening," Governor Cuomo said. "Reopening has been different in different regions all across the state, but each region has to meet the same criteria to reopen and we are keeping New Yorkers informed with where each region stands.

"We don't want a region to reopen before its ready, and the Mid-Hudson Valley Region has now met all the criteria necessary to begin reopening on Tuesday. This has been a tough situation, but New Yorkers are tough and we've shown how tough we really are here."

May 23, 2020 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, video, Genesee County Democratic Committee, news.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Michael Plitt, chairman of the Democratic Party in Genesee County.

May 23, 2020 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, nature, outdoors, news.

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James Elmore shared this photo from Thursday morning of an oriole eating some jelly in his backyard.

May 22, 2020 - 3:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, live stream.
Video Sponsor

Press release:

As we move into the Memorial Day weekend, we would like to take a moment to remember those who fought for our freedom and have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. We appreciate each of these individuals and their families who gave so much for this great nation.

Even though there aren’t any public gatherings or parades, it doesn’t stop you from visiting cemeteries and monuments or have your own household time to remember our service men and women as long as you continue to social distance.

This is also the unofficial beginning of summer and we encourage people to be creative on how they can safely enjoy the great weather without putting others at risk of contracting COVID-19. Consider planting a victory garden of flowers, fruits and vegetables, go for daily hikes while social distancing, and/or start up some new hobbies.

Take time to step back and enjoy the slower pace we have found ourselves in during this pandemic. Remember to journal about how you and your family made it through these historic times. We are one day closer to making this a memory, remember this is only temporary.

We can get through this together, without being so close.

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received zero new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 178 positive cases.
      • Three of the previous positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Two of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received 23 new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 194 positive cases.
      • One of the new positive cases resides in Ridgeway.
      • Twenty-two of the new positive cases are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
      • Of the new positive cases one individual is in their 20s; three of the individuals are in their 50s; three of the individuals are in their 60s; six of the individuals are in their 70s; seven of the individuals are in their 80s; and three of the individuals are in their 90s.
      • Two of the previous positive community cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Fifteen of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
      • We are truly saddened to receive word that five of our residents have died related to COVID-19. One of the residents lived at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center and four of the residents lived at Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of each of these individuals during this very difficult time.

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Click here to view the Genesee and Orleans Counties' online map of confirmed cases.

May 22, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

  • Long Island and Mid-Hudson Valley Rregions will be permitted to begin construction staging in anticipation of Phase One of reopening.
  • Launches new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 tests per week.
  • New York State now has more than 750 testing sites. 
  • State is making contact tracing training program curriculum available at no cost to all states through the National Governors Association.
  • Reminds New Yorkers to vote in the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest by Monday, May 25th; 92,000 people have already voted.
  • Confirms 1,696 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 358,154; new cases in 48 counties.

Governor Cuomo: "New York State is starting its own small business relief program, working with private banks. We have over $100 million available to make loans to small businesses. We're going to focus on MWBEs that did not receive federal assistance and focus on really small businesses.

"The federal definition of small business is what many could consider large businesses, but we're going to focus on true small businesses -- 20 or fewer employees, less than $3 million in gross revenues. People who are interested in participating in this program can go to the website."

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo today announced the launch of the $100 million New York Forward Loan Fund to provide flexible and affordable loans to help small businesses, focusing on minority and women-owned small businesses, that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance.

The state will take a smart, targeted approach for distributing these loans, focusing on businesses with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues. Businesses interested in receiving a loan should visit esd.ny.gov/nyforwardloans.

Governor Cuomo also announced the Long Island and Mid-Hudson Valley regions will be permitted to begin construction staging in anticipation of phase one of reopening. If the number of deaths continues to decrease and the tracing is online, both regions could reopen next week.

The Governor also announced the launch of a new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 tests per week. New York State now has more than 750 testing sites across the state. The Governor also encouraged eligible New Yorkers to visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov to find a nearby testing site and get tested.

The Governor also announced that the state is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states through the National Governors Association to speed the process of creating contact tracing programs.

The state partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, to develop this comprehensive online curriculum to train potential contact tracers. Contact tracing is currently underway in seven regions of the state -- the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to vote in the state's Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest, which was launched by the Governor on May 5th and is being overseen by his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday May 25th at WearAMask.ny.gov, and 92,000 people have voted to date. The winning ad will be announced on Tuesday, May 26th, and that ad will be used as a public service announcement.

May 22, 2020 - 6:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A scissor lift with a person inside has tipped over in the parking lot between the Tops mall and Batavia Downs.  

The location is a maintenance shop.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched. 

Mercy Flight on ground standby.

UPDATE 7:21 a.m.: The location was a maintenance area behind Batavia Downs. The patient was extricated and transported to Strong by Mercy EMS.

May 21, 2020 - 7:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Cedar Street, notify.

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While it's not unusual for recently constructed sidewalks to buckle in the heat, the number of faults in the sidewalk along Cedar Street since it was installed in 2013 is unusual, said City of Batavia Public Works Director Matt Worth.

It's also unexplainable. 

Worth -- wasn't appointed public works director until after the project was completed  -- indicated a combination of factors could cause the buckling, including the spacing of the joints, the nature of the subsurface, and the chemistry of the cement.  

The buckling is caused by the cement expanding in the heat of the sun beating down on the pavement.

It's been an issue ever since the project was completed, Worth said. While there are as many as six buckle points along the path now, eventually, the issue will resolve itself as repairs are made and pressure is relieved on the cement.

There's nothing to suggest, Worth said, that the contractor who installed the sidewalks, shares any liability.

City crews will repair the broken sections, he said, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a contractor to do the work.

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May 21, 2020 - 6:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gilliana's Diner, batavia, Jackson Street, news, restaurants, business, notify.

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The middle of an economic lockdown may not seem like the ideal time to open a new restaurant but when it's something you were planning and dreaming about before a global pandemic was announced, that's what you do as soon as you can.

Gilliana's Diner, on Jackson Street, in the former location of Sylvania's, opened yesterday.

"We're super excited," said Jill Antinore, who owns the new eatery with her husband Mark.

Jill said they purchased the restaurant Feb. 1 then the global health emergency hit and the County Health Department wasn't issuing health permits. They had to wait until the Health Department was able to give them the OK to open.

Opened for breakfast and lunch -- except on Friday when they offer a dinner menu -- Jill described the diner as "a breakfast place with Italian specialties."

Available for takeout now are typical breakfast items, such as bacon and eggs, and items such as "The Godfather," which is egg, provolone, Italian sausage, sweet or hot peppers; and "Italian eggs in Purgatory," which is two eggs poached in homemade tomato sauce, with cannellini beans, peppers and onions.

The lunch menu includes tripe, homemade meatballs, agrodolce, and parmesan chicken wings.

Hours are Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. The diner is closed on Wednesdays.

The phone number is (585) 201-7772.

May 21, 2020 - 6:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, batavia.

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City fire's Christine Marinaccio hands out masks to a family that stopped by the city's mask distribution point at the Fire Hall this afternoon. Councilman Bob Bialkowski, to her right, said the distribution started out with 100 cars lined up and there had been a steady stream of cars coming through the drive-thru distribution point.

The masks were acquired by Genesee County Emergency Management and provided to the city for distribution to residents.

More face coverings will be available to the general public Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Police Headquarters on West Main Street.

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City Manager Martin Moore.

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Resident Greg Bruggman gets stocked up with masks and hand sanitizer. 

May 21, 2020 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in restaurants, news, coronavirus, notify, batavia.

As the weather warms, several local restaurant owners, who have been operating under coronavirus lockdown conditions for two months, are looking to outdoor -- al fresco -- dining as a way to attract more customers while maintaining social distancing.

City Manager Martin Moore said he's interested in exploring the idea further. Currently, restaurants won't be able to reopen under the governor's plan for the post-lockdown economy until Phase Three. Moore said he would like to explore giving restaurants a way to serve more diners, besides curbside and delivery.

Several restaurants in Batavia -- Roman's, T.F. Brown's, Islands Hawaiian Grill, O'Lacy's Irish Pub, Center Street Smoke House, for example -- have patios. Settler's has a patio-like space in front of the restaurant and owner John Spyropoulous would like to put it to use. Main St. Pizza Co. has in the past offered seats and tables on the sidewalk and that might be an option for other locations, but with social distancing requirements, restaurants might be looking for more space.

That could mean adjoining or nearby city-owned parking lots or Jackson Square.

Moore said he would have to check with code enforcement about using city property for restaurant use.

Derek Geib, owner of Roman's, Bourbon and Burger Co., and The Coffee Press, is eager to offer outdoor dining. Roman's has an open patio and a patio with retractable windows. While Bourbon and Burger and The Coffee Press don't have patios -- though they can offer sidewalk dining -- both have easy access to Jackson Square. So do Eli Fish, Center Street and the newly opened Gilliana's, but Geib thinks all restaurants that want to participate should have access to diners in Jackson Square.

Matt Gray, the owner of Eli Fish, is also eager to see Jackson Square opened up to diners, with tables spaced at least six feet apart, of course. Gray also owns Alex's Place and he said if there was customer interest, he would explore creating a dining area in the restaurant's parking lot.

The rub for most restaurant owners, however, is the ability to serve alcohol, especially on city property. The would require both the state and the city to make allowances for alcohol service but the state did recognize the importance of alcohol sales to restaurants at the start of the lockdown. Restaurants are allowed to sell alcohol during the lockdown during curbside pickup and delivery.

Moore said if the state would allow it and there is no local law that prohibits it, he is open alcohol sales in Jackson Square or in a designated space in a city-owned parking lot.

“If they give us some kind of ability for our restaurants to have more customers, we’re definitely going to explore every angle to try and make that reality," Moore said.

On a statewide basis, the New York Restaurant Association is supporting outdoor dining and today issued this statement:

“As parts of the state have begun the reopening process and other regions are progressing towards that goal, the New York State Restaurant Association is urging the state to allow restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining during phase two. Just this week, outdoor dining was included in phase one in Connecticut’s reopening.

Additionally, we are formally asking for expanded outdoor dining capabilities, an emphasis on social distancing requirements over capacity limits, and allowing continued sales of alcohol to-go. Just about every restaurant in the state is teetering on the edge of financial hardship, and we need to do everything possible to keep them afloat.

“To do our part, NYSRA, our members, and all restaurants in the state will continue to follow stringent sanitation practices to ensure the safety of our patrons and staff. That’s the promise that we’re making to our guests, who we can’t wait to serve again.”

May 21, 2020 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, bergen.

Press release:

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Guillermo Torres-Acevedo, 23, of Batavia, who was convicted of enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity, was sentenced to serve 84 months in prison (7 years) and 10 years supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who handled the case, stated that on Nov. 25, 2018, the defendant, then a 22-year-old man, had sexual relations with the victim, a 14-year-old girl. Torres-Acevedo was arrested the following day for, among other charges, rape in violation of New York Penal Law.

Following his arrest, the defendant persuaded the victim to travel with him out of state to continue their relationship. On Nov. 29, 2018, Torres-Acevedo picked up the victim from school in Genesee County and drove her to Pennsylvania, where they had sexual intercourse. Under Pennsylvania law, that constituted the crime of statutory sexual assault.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Eric Laughton; the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert. 

PreviouslyBatavia man pleads guilty to rape in Amber Alert case

May 21, 2020 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in golf, sports, batavia country club, batavia.

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A Batavia Country Club today, Dave Barone, an avid golfer for nearly 60 years, sank his first hole-in-one.

The perfect shot came on the 178-yard 17th hole. Barone was swinging a 4 hybrid.

He finished the round at 79 strokes.  

In his foursome were Rod Allen, Johnny Lowe, and Doug Cecere.

Photo and info submitted by Doug Cecere.

May 21, 2020 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received one new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 178 positive cases.
      • The positive case resides in LeRoy.
      • The individual is in their 40s.
      • The newly positive individual was on quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.
      • One of the previous positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Two of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received 0 new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 171 positive cases.
      • One of the previous positive community cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Seventeen of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.       

Click here to view the Genesee and Orleans counties' online map of confirmed cases.
 

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