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July 7, 2020 - 4:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

New Cases – As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 228 positive cases.
    • One of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • No individuals are hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 267 positive cases.
    • One of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Seven 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.

There are four people in mandatory isolation in Genesee County.

July 7, 2020 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, The Ridge NY, video, music, news, bergen, Le Roy.
Video Sponsor

The band Judah played at The Ridge NY on Thursday night. We recorded one of the songs as part of our series, "The Batavian Sessions."

Judah is: Anthony Blood (vocals/guitar), Brody Schenk (guitar), Joe Fornieri (bass), and Quintin Rich (drums). Rich is a resident of Bergen.

July 6, 2020 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, pembroke, thruway.

exit48_crash.jpg

A Chevy Blazer has reportedly struck a toll booth at the 48a Exit of the Thruway in Lane 5.

Unknown injuries but an ambulance is requested to the scene and entrapment was reported. The subject is out now.

An oil and gas spill is reported.

Indian Falls fire and Pembroke fire on scene. Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.: Only one injury reported. The driver of the vehicle. The driver is conscious and alert, reporting neck pain. 

Reader-submitted photo.

July 6, 2020 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received three new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 228 positive cases.
    • The positive individuals reside in Batavia, Bethany and Oakfield.
    • One of the positive individuals is in their 30s, one is in their 50s, and one is in their 70s.
    • Two of the positive individuals were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Three of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • No individuals are hospitalized
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, maintaining a total of 267 positive cases.
    • Seven 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.
July 6, 2020 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in frostridge, The Ridge NY, Le Roy, news, video.
Video Sponsor

For the first time in 2020, The Ridge NY in Le Roy, had a full slate of activities, including live music, fireworks, and a waterslide. All of this had to be coordinated by owners David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell with social distancing in mind.

July 6, 2020 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.18, which is 1 cent higher than a week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.76. The New York State average is $2.25 – a penny higher than last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.88.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.25 (up 4 cents since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.19 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.15 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.21 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.27 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.15 (no change since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.28 (up 1 cent since last week)

Despite the holiday weekend with many people traveling, gas prices remain steady across the United States and across the local region. In fact, motorists are seeing some of the cheapest summer prices than they have in recent years.

The national average is 58 cents less than last year while the New York State average is 63 cents cheaper than last summer at this time.

AAA continues to see motorists requesting maps and tour books for summer road trips as cars are the most popular form of travel this summer.

From GasBuddy:

"With July 4 behind us, we're now half way through the summer driving season, and the pace of gas price increases has finally hit a wall. As of Sunday evening, it appears possible that we may break the nine straight weeks of rising prices thanks to a drop in demand fueled by COVID-19 cases surging in some states," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"So far this summer, both holidays have seen the lowest prices since 2004, and its possible that if things don't improve much by Labor Day we could see the rare trifecta of every summer holiday setting multiyear lows. For now, I believe we may see increases stall and some minor increases or decreases until we see a solid change in the coronavirus situation. For now, some states will see slight increases, some may see slight decreases, but gas prices are essentially stuck in limbo."

July 6, 2020 - 11:14am
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 re gistered 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.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
July 4, 2020 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Old Hippies, music.

July 4, 2020 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, news, batavia, animal abuse, animal rescue.

A caller reports a dog is locked inside a black GMC pickup truck at Dave's Ice Cream on West Main Street Road, Batavia. An officer is responding.

It is about 82 degrees outside.

Weather Outlook (By Billie) 1:29 p.m.:

According to the National Weather Service in Buffalo, starting tomorrow through Friday there is a Hazardous Weather Outlook in place due to an expected prolonged period of heat and humidity that will build across portions of Western New York. It is expected to get between 95 and 100 degrees during those afternoons.

The temperature inside a vehicle can soar quickly on a hot day. For example, if it's 95 degrees outside, say this coming Wednesday, the air termperature inside a vehicle can reach 114 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes flat; if it's 100 degrees outside, the inside temp goes up to 119.

July 4, 2020 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fireworks, 4th of July, news, video, frostridge, The Ridge NY.
Video Sponsor

The Ridge NY in Le Roy hosted a fireworks display to celebrate Independence Weekend. It is the only professional fireworks display in the county this year.  

Happy Fourth of July! Here is a video of most of the show for your Independence Day celebration. 

For those who tried to watch the livestream last night: Sorry, it just didn't work. There wasn't enough available bandwidth at the campground.

July 4, 2020 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice, news, notify.

dennis_wittman2010.jpg

Dennis Wittman, the founding director of Genesee Justice, the nation's first county-level agency built around the concepts of restorative justice, has passed away.

He was 77.

Wittman was a probation officer and supervisor in the Town of Bethany when newly elected sheriff Doug Call came to him in 1980 and asked him to be the agency's founding director. At first, Wittman said no. The supervisor's position felt like a second full-time job and the last thing he needed, he told The Batavian in 2010, was to become the head of a program that was untested and may not last.

Then one day in 1981, Wittman was summoned to his supervisor's office. There he found Tom Gillis, his boss, Call, Family Court Judge Charles Graney, and County Judge Glen Morton.

"I could see they were going to pound away on me," Wittman recalled. "I said, 'OK, I'll give it a try.' "

While Wittman reported to the sheriff, officials didn't want him hanging out with detectives or attorneys, so he was given a desk in the law library. He had no staff at first.

As a former seminary student, Wittman's attitude toward offenders already aligned with the goal of finding alternatives to incarceration.  

Call's goal was to cut the inmate population in the Genesee County Jail to help avoid the construction of a new facility.

By the time Wittman retired in 2006, 4,959 offenders had performed community service, doing 356,858 hours of unpaid work.

The alternative to jail had also saved county taxpayers more than $5.9 million because those offenders weren't in jail for the 60,000 days they would have served otherwise.

During his career, Wittman was also concerned about caring for the victims of crime. Under his leadership, Genesee Justice became the lead agency for:

  • Victim's Assistance
  • Judicial Diversion
  • Justice for Children
  • Child Advocacy
  • Justice for Women
  • Release Under Supervision (a Probation Department program until 2002)
  • DWI-Conditional Discharge 

The effort at establishing a government agency dedicated to restorative justice made Wittman an in-demand speaker in the restorative justice community. He traveled to 40 states plus Japan and Canada to talk about his work at Genesee Justice. He received another 2,500 invitations to speak in Europe that he was unable to accept.

To read his obituary, click here.

Previously: The Genesee Justice Story

Photo: File photo from 2010.

July 3, 2020 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fireworks, Batavia PD, City Fire, news, video.
Video Sponsor

Press release:

As we approach the  Fourth of July Independence Day Holiday, Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano of the City of Batavia Fire Department would like to remind the residents of the City of what sparkling devices are allowed by law.

“We want to ensure that our residents enjoy the holiday in a safe and responsible manner,” Napolitano said.

According to the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services "Sparking Devices" are considered, “ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke.”

"These sparkling devices can only be bought and sold from June 1st to July 5th and from December 26th to January 1st in any given year," Napolitano said, furthermore, the law states that “Sales of sparkling devices by certified temporary stands or tents can only occur from June 20th to July 5th and December 26th to January 1st in any given year.”

According to the fire chief, allowable sparkling devices under the law are sparkling fountains, sparklers on wooden sticks (not metal sticks), smoking devices, snakes confetti-filled party poppers and paper-wrapped snappers. Non-allowable and illegal devices include firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles and any other aerial devices.

As a result of COVID-19 canceling many public fireworks displays, Chief Napolitano recommends the following alternatives to celebrate the Fourth of July Holiday without fireworks. Furthermore, these alternatives are pet and children friendly.

  • Use glow sticks; they glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler.
  • Use noisemakers; they can be found at a local party supply store.
  • Red, white and blue Silly String.
  • Outdoor movie night. Set up a television or screen and projector.
  • Make patriotic crafts with the family.

Lastly, Napolitano says it is important to take the necessary fire safety precautionary steps when using these devices. Last year there were 18,500 fireworks-related injuries reported in the United States.

If any resident has questions regarding what is allowable or would like information regarding safety precautions, they can call the City of Batavia Fire Headquarters at (585) 345-6375.

July 3, 2020 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news, picnic in the park, batavia, 4th of July.

img_0334.jpg

Press release:

On July 4th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., GO ART! will be holding their 42nd annual Picnic in the Park, virtually, via YouTube Live.

During this event, they will have bands, dance performances, culinary demonstrations, cow plop bingo, muralists in action, and Explore ART! lessons. 

Please subscribe to their YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/GOARTgeneseeorleansart.

Music performances on July 4th will be given by the Batavia Concert Band, No Blarney, Strummerz, Kelly’s Old Timers, Cannon Steel Band, The Old Hippies and Frank Reino (accordion).

Culinary Demonstrations will be performed by Chef Tracy of the Genesee Valley Education Program and Leonel Rosario of Mariachi De Oro. A menu and supply list are on their website at www.goart.org/picnic-in-the-park-july-4.

David Burke will be painting a new mural on one of GO ART!’s interior walls.

Troupe Nisaa Bellydance, The Rosario Family and Shanda Spink will be gracing us with their choreography.

GO ART! staff will be giving art lessons and Uncle Sam will be leading a cow around 500 squares for GO ART!’s first Cow Plop Bingo! More information on the Cow Plop Bingo and a schedule of the days events can be found on GO ART!'s website at www.goart.org/picnic-in-the-park-july-4

GO ART!’s 42nd Annual Picnic in the Park is brought to you by The Batavian, Lamb Farms, City of Batavia, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Friends of Stephen M. Hawley, Stephen M. Hawley & Assoc. LLC -- a division of Great Lakes Insurance Services Group LLC, New York State Council on the Arts, United Way of Genesee County, United Way of Orleans County, Orleans County Youth Bureau, Rotary Club of Batavia, Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, Freed Maxick, CY Farms, Batavia Turf, Lori Goergen, Bob & Linda Knipe, Arc of Genesee Orleans, Paul Figlow, Carrotman Productions, and Albion NY ROCKS.

Photos: American flag that is traditionally hung in Centennial Park for Picnic in the park, which was hung in the park and lit yesterday by Gregory Hallock, executive director of GO ART!

img_7427.jpg

July 3, 2020 - 9:48am
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 re gistered 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.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
July 2, 2020 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia.

adriennebellsnowcones2020.jpg

Vivienne Bellavia, 10, of Batavia, and her friend Anna Di Risio, make up a snow cone as part of a hot-day fundraiser for Golisano Children's Hospital.

The girls hoped to raise $200. By 2:30 this afternoon they had raised more than $500.

adriennebellsnowcones2020-2.jpg

July 2, 2020 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received one new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 225 positive cases.
    • The positive individual resides in Oakfield.
    • The positive individual is in their 20s.
    • The positive individual was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Currently no individuals are hospitalized and no individuals have been released from mandatory quarantine.
  • Orleans County received one new positive case of COVID-19, today for a total of 267 positive cases.
    • The positive individual resides in Clarendon.
    • The positive individual is in their 50s.
    • The positive individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • No individuals have been released from mandatory quarantine.
    • Seven 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.

NOTE: Public health will not release an update again until Monday.

July 1, 2020 - 7:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 224 positive cases.
    • Currently, no individuals are hospitalized and no individuals have been released from mandatory quarantine.
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, today for a total of 266 positive cases.
    • No individuals have been released from mandatory quarantine.
    • Seven 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.

Note: In the chart of cases, Public Health reports four active/mandatory isolation cases and 43 people in mandatory community quarantine.

July 1, 2020 - 2:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in joshua blessed, Le Roy, news, notify.

4c684d8a-a8b5-4242-9290-421f750052f5-medium16x9_geneseotruck1.jpeg

blessedmug2020.jpg
             Joshua Blessed

The Virginia-based trucker whom Le Roy police encountered May 27, starting a perilous chase that eventually led to his death, was a credible threat to cops and civilians, Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said yesterday in a press conference.

The bombs, guns and ammo Joshua Blessed had stored in his private vehicle and the bedroom he was renting in Rockingham County, Va., along with is social media posting, indicate Blessed was planning something big.

But it wasn't part of his plan in May, Dougherty said, to engage with law enforcement on that day.

"Our investigation shows that Blessed really was on the road to Batavia and what prompted this and triggered Blessed this day was the proactive traffic stop by the Le Roy Police Department," Dougherty said.

Blessed's white tractor-trailer, owned by Yurman Express, based in Harrisonburg, Va., was stopped by Le Roy PD officers in the Village of Le Roy for speeding on Main Street. The trailer was empty, which lends credence to the theory, Dougherty said, that Blessed really was driving to Batavia to pick up dairy product.

The search by the FBI of Blessed private vehicle in Virginia turned up three IEDs (improvised explosive devices), an AK-17, 9mm magazines, and $18,000 in cash.

A search of the bedroom he was renting -- Blessed, previously known as Sergia Journev, had apparently not been living with is family for at least 18 months -- found 11 IEDs, an AK-47 with a scope, a .50-caliber rifle, a .338 sniper rifle, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and $130,000 in cash. 

Blessed had made several social media posts attacking law enforcement and promoting violence against police officers. 

"The traffic stop set him off," Dougherty said. "That doesn't mean he didn't have a plan for the future. Based on what was recovered in the vehicle and in the bedroom, he certainly had a plan for the future. What that plan was, I don't have that information."

There is no indication that others were specifically involved in Blessed's planning, Dougherty said. That may be part of an ongoing FBI investigation.

"There are no details showing an immediate concern either here or there," Dougherty said.

Blessed died of a gunshot wound to the head. He also suffered three gunshots to his hip. Two deputies were firing long guns at Blessed at the time the shoot-out came to its fatal conclusion. The bullet that killed Blessed has not been recovered. Dougherty said he would not release the names of the deputies firing at Blessed at the time he was killed.

Blessed fired at least 24 rounds at cops. There were 24 shell casings recovered. His empty magazines indicate he fired at least 29 shots but that doesn't mean he hadn't discarded empty magazines somewhere along the way. A magazine for Blessed's 9mm Glock with seven rounds still in it was recovered, along a magazine containing 17 rounds (the capacity of the magazines Blessed was using).

Deputies from Livingston and Genesee counties returned fire at least 129 times in four different locations along the chase route, with 48 rounds fired at the final standoff location at Route 20a and Morgan View Road.

The incident started at 8:37 p.m. with the traffic stop in Le Roy and ended with Blessed death at 9:27 p.m. The chase went through Le Roy and Stafford before Blessed executed a U-turn and headed back toward Le Roy, going to Route 19 south into Wyoming County and then into Livingston County.

Dougherty said during the chase he remembered thinking that the driver was a danger to the public and to his officers but that he was also a highly skilled driver.

“This is a very unique situation," Dougherty said. "Somebody said to me, ‘that’s once in a career.’ This isn’t once in a career. You could serve multiple careers in law enforcement and never encounter a heavy vehicle, it’s pretty much impossible to stop unless you have a heavier vehicle and then add in an active shooter, a guy who is actively trying to kill cops. That’s something that is more Hollywoodesque than reality."

It was a miracle, with all the bullets flying around, the high-speed chase, Blessed's clear intention to harm other people, that nobody besides Blessed lost any blood.

"Not even a scratch," Dougherty said.

72948962-c4f9-4516-a0f9-843803b974f6-medium16x9_geneseotruck2.jpeg

Photos: Livingston County Sheriff's Office.

Thanks to our news partner 13WHAM for video of the press conference

Previously:

July 1, 2020 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, muckdogs, batavia, notify.

One thing is certain: There will be no professional baseball in Batavia in 2020.

The decision is final, according to numerous news reports that say the Minor League Baseball season is canceled because Major League Baseball teams will not furnish the minors with players in 2020. 

If there is an MLB season, it will likely start later this month, with only 60 games on the schedule. Teams would be limited to 60 eligible players. The 20 players beyond the standard 40-man roster would practice and workout on "taxi squads."

New York Penn League President Ben Hayes, in an exclusive interview with The Batavian a week ago, was still hopeful at that point that there would be a 2020 season for his league and the Muckdogs. We've not been able to reach him for comment today.

While it's quite possible there will never again be a professional baseball game played in Dwyer Stadium, last week Hayes was also hopeful that wouldn't be the case.

Prior to the pandemic hitting, the future of baseball in Batavia didn't look good. The MLB is trying to force the MiLB to accept a contraction, eliminating 42 minor league teams, including the entire NYPL. While there was talk of creating a "dreamers league" of low-level prospects, and Batavia could be a potential spot for such a team, there was no indication at that stage of negotiations on whether Batavia would be part of those plans.  

An ESPN column suggests that the 2020 cancellation and pandemic have effectively eliminated whatever leverage the minor league teams might have had to stop the contraction. Several teams were in a precarious situation financially, not just including the 42 slated for elimination, and now the financial situation is much worse for those teams.

Last week, Hayes said he has communicated his desire to MiLB negotiators to see at least one more season of NYPL baseball, asking that the contraction be delayed until after the 2021 season, which would give cities like Batavia a farewell tour with their teams.

July 1, 2020 - 12:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in skunks, animals, batavia, news, wildlife.

Yesterday evening, Trumbull Parkway resident Ray Tortorice spotted a family of skunks crossing his yard. When they saw him, the family retreated. About 20 minutes later, they came back, emerging from his neighbor's yard on East Avenue, passing through Tortorice's yard and flower bed and east to North Spruce Street, which he captured on video.

"I guess they were on some kind of night 'Recon' mission," Tortorice said.

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