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Howard B. Owens's blog

November 15, 2020 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, Deal of the Day.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
November 14, 2020 - 7:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, football, flag football, batavia, Williams Park.

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Enough players showed up at Williams Park in Batavia this afternoon for an eight-team informal flag football tournament.

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November 14, 2020 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Great Kutz, batavia, business.

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When Natalie Cervone's boyfriend first proposed that she become the owner and operator of her own hair salon, Great Kutz in Valu Plaza, she resisted the idea.

Her boyfriend, Ryan Pyatt, is a local entrepreneur -- a real estate agent and owner of WNY Powerwash. He's always looking for business opportunities. He saw that Great Kutz was for sale and suggested Cervone seize the day and go into business for herself.

The more she thought about it, though, the more it made sense. She could walk into an established business doing what she already knew how to do.

"I’ve been in small salons the past eight years," Cervone said. "This is the biggest place I’ve been in and I’m loving it so far"

Great Kutz was opened in 2009 by Byron and Chris Ariyaratnam to primarily provide haircuts and stylings to a walk-in clientele. Cervone said the shop will continue to serve those who prefer walk-ins to appointments but she is looking to focus more on appointments, more coloring, and more specialized service.  

"We want the girls building up their clientele because they’re all very talented," Cervone said.

Currently, there are six stylists working at Great Kutz with a seventh joining the crew in December.

Great Kutz is located at 4152 W. Main St. Phone is (585) 201-7070. 

November 14, 2020 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, soccer.

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Bryn Luckey became Le Roy's all-time leading scorer in girls soccer last Saturday and she was honored last night at home before the Knights' quarterfinal sectional game against Waterloo in Class B2.

Luckey's road to 80:

  • 2016-13
  • 2017-22
  • 2018-21
  • 2019-13
  • 2020-11

Le Roy beat Waterloo 5-0 to advance to the semifinals.

Photo and information submitted by Tim McArdle.

November 14, 2020 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, batavia, arts, entertainment.

This is "So Beautifully" written by John Del Plato and recently recorded by Sage Melcher and The Laura Dubin Trio of Rochester. Carmen Del Plato said The Laura Dubin Trio is a regular performer regularly performs at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

November 14, 2020 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, east pembroke.

A deputy has been dispatched to East Pembroke to try and locate a male subject who became upset at an employee over the issue of wearing a mask inside the store.

The man walked away but has repeatedly called her on the phone, according to dispatch, cussing at her and threatening her.

November 13, 2020 - 7:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, news, batavia, City Schools.

Students and staff have adjusted well to very stressful circumstances, Batavia Middle School Principal Ashley John Grillo told trustees Monday night at the Batavia City Schools board meeting.

Grillo provided the board with a regularly scheduled report about the status of his school concentrating on adjustments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Students are wearing masks, not complaining about guidelines," Grillo said. "They've really done an outstanding job of adapting to the new guidelines for this year. I'm really proud of that. They deserve the biggest round of applause because they're really the ones most affected the most by the whole thing."

Grillo gave his report before two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 requiring 50 students who had close contact into mandatory quarantine for two weeks.

There are 127 students whose parents chose 100-percent virtual learning for this school year, Grillo said. 

In the cohorts that are splitting time between virtual learning and attending classes, with 246 in the first cohort and 208 in the second. There are also 78 students who are on campus every day.

Teachers conduct online classes that are dedicated to that role, Grillo said, with none doing both online learning and in-class learning.

"We decided to do that at the middle school level," Grillo said. "We didn't want to overwhelm the kids or overwhelm the teachers."

During the first two weeks of school, the emphasis was on getting students accustomed to being back in school after six months away from the classroom environment and getting them familiar with the new routines.

Homeroom has also been extended. In the past, homeroom has lasted 10 to 15 minutes before the first period. It's been extended to accommodate a video stream into the classrooms for morning announcements. The students get help getting their assignments and schedules organized for the day. They turn in their lunch orders. And there is some theme that primes them for learning. In the first weeks, it was Hispanic culture, then anti-bullying, and now veterans are being highlighted with students and staff providing photos of veterans from their families for the video stream.

"It helps them get their day organized and start on the right foot," Grillo said.

There is a team of teachers dedicated to social and emotional learning who meet regularly to review the school's progress and needs. There are also activities on campus for staff, such as yoga and meditation and team-building activities.

"This is not an easy job and we're trying to find ways to balance that," Grillo said.

There are also regular faculty meetings and training that focuses on professional learning. They're also working on better ways to track student progress and identify students who need extra attention.

"We do that every year," Grillo said, "But we're not letting this year hinder us. We're continuing to improve our process."

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November 13, 2020 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, byron.

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A driver suffered only a minor injury, and did not require transport to a hospital, after the driver's car struck a utility pole along Route 262 just west of Bank Street around 10 a.m.

Byron and South Byron fire along with Mercy EMS responded.

Powerlines were down.

The roadway remains closed while National Grid completes repairs.

Reader-submitted photo.

November 13, 2020 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
November 12, 2020 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

A lack of staffing because of the spread of COVID-19 in the community is forcing owner Kathy Ferrara to close Batavia's Original for the weekend.

Ferrara will evaluate staff availability on Monday to see if she can reopen.

Five workers at the pizzeria have tested positive and because of close contact, several more are in mandatory quarantine for two weeks and can't come to work.

None of the five who have tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus at work, Ferrara said. Three had been to Halloween parties and one hosted a card game and the other contracted it from a family member.

Ferrara emphasized that she's required employees to wear masks at all times. She said they've been diligent about it. They've also been diligent about sanitizing every surface in the restaurant. 

In fact, Ferrara is frustrated because she's made it clear over these many months of the coronavirus pandemic that her employees need to follow CDC guidelines at work and in their personal lives as well.

She said she isn't sure a lot of young people get how serious the disease is and she tries to tell her employees they may feel young and healthy but they come into contact with their parents and grandparents and they could get them sick if they're not careful.

"A lot of people seem to think it's over and it's not over," Ferrara said. 

With the recent resurgence of the disease, Ferrara is concerned not enough people are taking seriously the need to slow the spread.

"I just don't know what the solution is," Ferrara said.

November 12, 2020 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, State Street, news, batavia, notify.
Video Sponsor

A fire gutted a home at 162 State St., Batavia, this morning, claiming the lives of three cats and a dog.

The residents were not home at the time of the fire, which was reported by multiple callers to emergency dispatch at about 8 a.m. The residents arrived on scene shortly before 11 a.m., Chief Stefano Napolitano said.

An off-duty firefighter, according to the chief, was passing by the residence and spotted the flames. He stopped and was informed a person might still be inside the residence, so he attempted to gain entry to the house and was beaten back by flame and smoke.

Firefighters arrived on scene and quickly knocked down the flames, which had already consumed much of the interior of the house, and made a first and secondary search of the residence and found no people inside.

No firefighters were injured.

The cause and origin of the fire are still under investigation.

November 11, 2020 - 5:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Veterans Day, veterans, news, batavia, UMMC.

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The men and women who have served the United States in military service were honored by local veterans today, Veterans Day, in services at the County Park, the VA Hospital, the State Veterans Home, and the Upton Monument.  

These photos are from the ceremony at the St. Jerome's War Memorial.

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Below: A video submitted by UMMC of Dan Ireland, the hospital's CEO, delivering a Veterans Day message.

Video Sponsor
November 11, 2020 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in coroner, plane crash, corfu, news.

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County Coroner Jeff McIntire received a commendation yesterday from the Genesee County Legislature for his tireless work -- more than 260 hours -- along with a team of responders -- to an airplane crash site in Corfu.

The Oct. 2 plane crash into a swampy, wooded area near Boyce Road claimed the life of Buffalo attorney Steve Barnes and the life of his niece Elizabeth Barnes, who was a government attorney.  

McIntyre received the commendation from Legislator Marianne Clattenburg.

Here's a copy of the commendation:

WHEREAS, On the morning of October 2, 2020 an airplane crash occurred in the Genesee County Town of Pembroke resulting in two tragic deaths and significant wreckage, and

WHEREAS, The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Services, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Coroners and countless volunteers from several local Fire Departments worked together to provide a comprehensive response, and

WHEREAS, Genesee County Coroner Jeffery McIntire was called to the crash scene where he took command of a full experienced recovery team including New York State Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners President Scott Schmidt, Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Pheiffer, Homeland Security Member & fragmented remains logistical supervisor Randy McIntire, and forensic photographer, logistician, deputy coroner and safety officer Cynthia Reynolds who provided crash victims’ families with loved ones’ remains and closure, and

WHEREAS, the value of comprehensive incident training and experience was made evident by the professionalism, compassion and commitment demonstrated by lead Coroner Jeffery McIntire, and

WHEREAS, seamless leadership was provided to multiple federal, state and local agencies who all played a role in the response, investigation, recovery and clean-up, and

WHEREAS, the elevated level of support and outstanding coordination of effort was acknowledged by the National Transportation Safety Board in their letter dated October 13, 2020, Now, therefore, Be it

RESOLVED that The Genesee County Legislature recognizes the contributions of Genesee County Coroner Jeffery McIntire, the Office of Emergency Management Services, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Coroners, and the Volunteer Fire Departments who provided professional services following the traumatic plane crash.

November 11, 2020 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]com
November 10, 2020 - 9:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, batavia.
Video Sponsor

Previously: Barn fire reported on East Road in Batavia

November 10, 2020 - 3:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to include Scaffold Law reform in his next budget proposal. Specifically, Congressman Jacobs called for implementing a comparative liability standard for gravity-related injuries.

“Reforming the burdensome Scaffold Law is long-overdue in New York State," Jacobs said. "As we are staring down a massive budget deficit and a stalled economy, reforming this archaic law is an excellent first step.

"Meaningful reform to the Scaffold Law would unleash our economy, attract new investment into our state, and lower the cost of living for all New Yorkers. We are the last state in the nation to have such a regulation, and there has never been a more urgent time to reform it.”

Currently, New York is the only state in the nation with a liability regime like the Scaffold Law, which imposes an absolute liability standard for gravity-related injuries on construction sites. This has resulted in a projected 8- to 10-percent increase to all construction costs – a cost that is handed down to taxpayers and deters investment in New York State.

For example, complying with the Scaffold Law is expected to add an additional $180 to $300 million to the Gateway Program and added an estimated $400 million to the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Congressman Jacobs introduced the Infrastructure Expansion Act in September. This legislation would exempt federally funded projects from the Scaffold Law and instead require a comparative liability standard for gravity-related injuries. Because the Scaffold Law is a state law, a bill passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo would be the most direct way to repeal or reform it.

November 10, 2020 - 2:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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A worker apparently severed a two-inch gas line at 556 E. Main St. in the city, the site of an affordable apartment construction site this afternoon. It caused a gas leak that required from seven to 10 businesses and residences to be evacuated.

Chief Stefano Napolitano said National Fuel crews are working to seal off the pipe on both the east and west ends of the line. It was a two-inch line inside of an older four-inch line. Napolitano didn't have an estimate for when the gas will be shut off.  

Thirty minutes ago, the odor of natural gas was still strong in the air and you could hear the hissing of the leak.

The roadway is partially blocked.

UPDATE 2:24 p.m.: City assignment back in service.

November 9, 2020 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in city centre, batavia, news.

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Two local reporters, including The Batavian's Mike Pettinella, detected unusual odors at City Hall this evening just as Monday's City Council meeting was about to start.

The reporters alerted the firefighters in the hallway who were there to check the temperatures of people entering the meeting and the firefighters agreed the odors were suspicous.

City fire was dispatched for the smell of natural gas.

Capt. Bob Fix said firefighters determined the odors were a combination burning leaves nearby and a cleaning solution being used in the adjacent dental office. There was no natural gas detected in City Centre by meters used to detect the gas.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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November 9, 2020 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia, notify.

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A pedestrian who was struck while crossing East Main Street on Friday night has been identified by Batavia PD as 45-year-old Casey Nutting, of Batavia.

Nutting, according to witnesses, was running across the street, about 50 yards east of Liberty Street, from south to north when he was struck by a minivan.

The driver of the minivan, whose identity has not been released, has not been charged and police said no charges are anticipated.

Previously: Car vs. pedestrian accident reported in the city at East Main and Summit

November 9, 2020 - 12:33pm

News that a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by Pfizer is 90-percent effective represents "light at the end of the tunnel," according to two doctors involved in vaccine trials at Rochester Regional Health. But there are many difficulties ahead before this or any other vaccine can be widely distributed they cautioned.

Participating in a virtual press conference this morning with reporters from throughout the region were Dr. Ed Walsh and Dr. Ann Falsey. Walsh is the leader of the study at RGH and head of Infectious Diseases at RRH and Falsey is an infectious disease specialist at RRH and URMC codirector of Vaccines Trial Unit.

UMMC in Batavia is part of the RRH network of hospitals and care providers.

Pfizer announced early-stage trial results this morning. The company has not been part of the Warp Speed initiative by the Federal government to develop and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19, nor has it received government grants for the development of a vaccine, according to a spokesperson for Pfizer.

"We need to be cautious but I think it's actually a reason for optimism that the vaccines will work," Dr. Falsey said. "And I guess what I would say to the public is, you know, maybe this is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's even more reason to wear your masks and do social distancing because I worry that fatigue sets in -- pandemic fatigue. 'It's hopeless. We're never going to get out of this.' And people develop a sort of fatalistic attitude. But I think vaccines are on the horizon. It's going to take a little while yet. But I think this is very encouraging news. I was very happy to hear it."

A story by the medical news website Stat News suggests the early results provided by Pfizer are robust, but also notes there has been no peer-review and Pfizer hasn't released a paper, known as a pre-print, with more scientific analysis. 

There is a lot we don't know about the vaccine, Walsh and Falsey acknowledged, including how long it will confer immunity to the disease since today's news is based on only two months of data.

Pfizer's trial is based study of people who received the vaccine in which 94 people contracted the disease. Pfizer did not reveal how many of those 94 people received the vaccine or a placebo (neither the participants nor the doctors administering it would have any way of knowing which injection they received in a double-blind study). 

"The expectation (of the public) should be that this is an interim report, and I think we all saw this on the news as well,the current guideline for safety analysis requires a longer period of time following the receipt of the second dose of the vaccine in order to feel comfortable with safety," Walsh said. "This is just two months of safety data, which is a good thing, but a final report, obviously, and assessment will be made both on safety and efficacy as they go along."

So far, only minor side effects, such as aches and a fever, have been reported from the vaccine. 

Typically it takes 12 to 18 months to bring a vaccine to market but given the high fatality rate of COVID-19 and the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to spread rapidly in some circumstances, along with the dire economic consequences of the pandemic, scientists and government officials are moving quickly to find an effective and safe vaccine.

Walsh suggested that by the time the vaccine is ready for distribution -- if it ever is -- and at the earliest date distribution might start, meaning perhaps January, we will have greater confidence in its safety, especially balanced against the risk of the novel coronavirus.

"You're really weighing a risk-benefit issue," Walsh said. "We're looking at a pandemic that is potentially going to result in, if left unchecked, hundreds of thousands of more deaths in the U.S. and certainly millions worldwide. And so you try to make your best judgment as to what kind of side effects might you be missing in an early decision to deploy a vaccine. If it's been four months or five months, that's an encompassing period of time when you're generally going to see almost all of the side effects that might come from a vaccine and this type or of any type."

We're now in a period of increasing infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths but the Pfizer results seem to have come from a period when there was a low prevalence of the disease and it's still possible SARS-CoV-2 doesn't spread as easily in warmer weather. Asked if that might skew the results of Pfizer's study Walsh said he hadn't yet thought of that question and would need some time to think about it.

If the vaccine is approved for the wider public, distribution will be a challenge.

The Pfizer vaccine must be administered in two doses three weeks apart. 

It also must be stored at -112 Fahrenheit. That makes production distribution a challenge, but it also means that the vaccine can only be stored and administered from locations that a freezer capable of maintaining such a frigid temperature. That means neither your local doctor nor the pharmacy is going to be able to provide the vaccine.

A spokeswoman for RRH said it's way too early to know if UMMC is a potential distribution location. If it isn't, people in Genesee County seeking the vaccine will likely need to visit a hospital in Rochester or Buffalo.

It will take time to ramp up production of the vaccine -- though Pfizer has reportedly already started production -- and distribution will take time, so the people eligible to receive the vaccine will be prioritized in tiers with front-line healthcare workers at the front of the line followed by elderly, vulnerable people.

There's no guarantee the Pfizer vaccine will make the grade in its next phase trials but there are at least 11 other promising vaccines in development. Walsh said that's a good thing whether Pfizers proves ultimately effective or not because if there are more successful vaccines that will help supply and distribution.

The 90-percent efficacy rate for the Pfizer vaccine, if it holds up, is exceptional, Walsh said. Not all vaccines are as effective. He noted the measle vaccine is the most effective viral vaccine with an effective rate of 96 percent.

While there is much to learn yet about SARS-Cov-2 and how to vaccinate against it, both Walsh and Falsey struck upbeat notes about vaccines in general and the ability to find a vaccine to fight COVID-19.

The history of vaccines has been generally, and not universally but generally, extraordinarily successful," Walsh said. "The benefit of the vaccines that have been released over the years, over the many, many years of vaccines and going back to the 1950s, is the benefit has far outweighed any risks. I think there is that history to rely on though it is no guarantee, of course. But I think this is important, too, to recognize it and education will be important (to acceptance of the vaccine)."

Falsey added, "A lot of the vaccine hesitancy in recent years has been because vaccines have been so successful that they have nearly eradicated the terrible diseases. And so people don't understand the true impact of some of these infections and they start fixating on potential threats from a vaccine. I think with this pandemic, we can look around and see friends and family members who have been devastated.

"And so everything is risk-benefit. In addition to educating people about misinformation and the true side effects of vaccines, we can also ask them to think about risk-benefit ratios and that with 100,000 cases a day and a thousand deaths each day in the U.S., there's a significant risk to not getting vaccinated. So choosing to not accept the vaccine or not do anything is a decision, and that also carries significant risk."

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