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

img_2961.jpg

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.

img_2959citycentre.jpg

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.

img_2960citycentre.jpg

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

img_2943ped.jpg

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."

November 9, 2020 - 9:10am
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 8, 2020 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, Announcements.

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 8, 2020 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A fence is reportedly on fire, flames showing, at 21 Trumbull Parkway, Batavia.

City fire responding.

November 8, 2020 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, news, notify, schools, education, batavia.

Two employees at Jackson Primary School tested positive for COVID-19 and were symptomatic while on campus so Superintendent Anibal Soler today announced that the school will be moving to 100-percent virtual learning for the next two weeks starting tomorrow.

Jackson, with pupils in grades pre-kindergarten through second, is the only school in the City School district moving to virtual learning for the time being.

"This has caused a growing number of students and staff to be identified and deemed in “close contact” and they will need to quarantine for a 14-day window immediately," Solar said. "Staff and students who have been identified as 'close contact' will be notified by both school administration and the Genesee County Health Department starting today."

Virtual learning will be in effect until Nov. 30.

"This decision was extremely difficult as I know the impact that this has on our students and families," Solar said. "As positive cases continue to grow in our Genesee County region, please know that this decision was done out of extreme caution to protect our youngest learners, families, and staff."

Letter to parents and staff:

I am writing to provide you an important update regarding COVID-19 and Jackson Primary School.  

I have been notified and in contact with the Genesee County Health Department and the District’s Medical Director that there have been two positive COVID-19 cases on the Jackson Primary campus. The employees were in school while exhibiting symptoms. As a result, this has caused a growing number of students and staff to be identified and deemed in “close contact” and they will need to quarantine for a 14-day window immediately. Staff and students who have been identified as “close contact” will be notified by both school administration and the Genesee County Health Department starting today. 

Out of an abundance of caution, we will be moving Jackson Primary School to 100-percent Virtual Remote Learning effective immediately and will return back to our hybrid in-person learning model on Monday, Nov. 30.

This decision was extremely difficult as I know the impact that this has on our students and families. As positive cases continue to grow in our Genesee County region, please know that this decision was done out of extreme caution to protect our youngest learners, families and staff. 

This extended period of in-person learning closure is our attempt to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 on our Jackson Primary campus and will hopefully avoid us having multiple interruptions or closures to our school programming as we continue to await additional test results.

Please also note, all non-identified staff will report to work tomorrow as normal to continue to teach and support students remotely. Access to meals including breakfast and lunch, will continue to be provided daily for any individual 18 and under in the household.  

New York State has launched the “School COVID Report Card” site, where you can view COVID-19 data associated with all schools in New York. To protect the privacy of students and staff, we will never release personally identifiable information.

Please continue to be vigilant in your efforts and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19. For additional reliable information on preventing the spread of COVID-19, please go to www.cdc.gov or www.health.ny.gov

Please also don’t hesitate to contact Jackson Primary School or the District if you have any questions or concerns. 

Better Together… WE are Batavia!

Anibal Soler Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

November 7, 2020 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, batavia, Joe Biden.
Video Sponsor

A small group of local residents drove through Batavia this evening, honking horns in cars adorned with political signs, to celebrate the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris victory in the 2020 presidential election.

November 5, 2020 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, alexander.

A driver pulling onto Route 98 in Alexander was struck by a northbound vehicle leading to a minor injury accident at 1:19 p.m., Tuesday, according to a Sheriff's Office accident report.

Dawn M. Meyers, 60,  of Halls Corners Road in Attica was cited for alleged failure to yield the right-of-way.  She was driving a 2019 Ford SUV.

Meyers was transported to UMMC for evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.

Robert Seymore Jr., 52, of Broadway, Darien Center, was driving a 2015 Jeep and was uninjured.  His passenger, Jennifer G. Seymore, 46, was treated at the scene for a minor injury.

Deputy Kevin McCarthy investigated the accident.

November 5, 2020 - 12:41pm
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 4, 2020 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford.

A car and motorcycle accident is reported in the area of 9732 Roanoke Road, Stafford.

No word on injuries.

Stafford Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: A chief on scene reports three motorcycles in the road, none of them down, a rider is down. A dispatcher informs a deputy that the patient is conscious and alert.

UPDATE 2:44 p.m.: The patient is conscious and alert with a complaint of rib pain.

November 3, 2020 - 10:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, notify, election.

These results do not include absentee/mail-in ballots (there are more than 3,000) and have not yet been certified.

President:

  • Donald Trump -- 17,340
  • Joe Biden -- 7,048
  • Joe Jorgensen -- 412
  • Howie Hawkins -- 83
  • Brock Pierce -- 45

State Supreme Court Justice, 8th District:

  • Gerald Greenan -- 16,186
  • Amy Martoche -- 7,229

NY-27 Congressional District:

  • Chris Jacob -- 17,126
  • Nate McMurray -- 6,497
  • Duane Whitmer -- 480

61st State Senate District:

  • Ed Rath -- 17,937
  • Jacqui Berger -- 5,671

139th Assembly District:

  • Steve Hawley -- 20,594
  • Mark Glogowski -- 1,614

Genesee County Sheriff:

  • William Sheron -- 17,086
  • David Krzemien -- 6,962

Batavia City Council At-Large:

  • Jeremy Karas -- 2,755
  • Sam DiSalvo -- 2,119

Alabama Town Council:

  • Kevin Veazey -- 465
  • Terry Thompson -- 295

Le Roy Town Council:

  • Ron Pangrazio -- 1,752
  • Write-in -- 965

Pavilion Highway Superintendent:

  • James Cleveland -- 794
  • Todd Hackett -- 282
November 3, 2020 - 10:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in William Sheron, David Krzemien, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

In results tabulated by Genesee County election officials, though still unofficial, incumbent Sheriff William Sheron beat challenger David Krzemien 17,096 to 6,067 votes.

With a more than 11,000-vote lead and too few absentee ballots left to count, Sheron said tonight he felt comfortable declaring victory.

We were unable to reach Krzemien tonight. 

Sheron said, "I'm very pleased with all the people who supported me. Genesee County is my home. I love the community and I believe it's the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Law enforcement has been calling for me from a very young age. Of course, I've been able to surround myself with great people. I'm thrilled with the results."

Krzemien ran an aggressive race, which Sheron recognizes.

"Any time you have a challenger, people told me, you need to take them seriously," Sheron said. "I wouldn't say I was nervous. It was concerning. But any time you have opposition you have to take it seriously."

Sheron vowed to continue the tradition in Genesee County of providing outstanding law enforcement to local residents.

November 3, 2020 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news.

img_3065staffordvoting.jpg

Election Day is finally here and to commemorate it, the Stafford Historial Society erected a display at the Town Hall, where citizens are voting today, in honor of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Above, Sandy Swanson, a poll worker today, adds a small American flag to the display.

November 3, 2020 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Mausoleum, Batavia Cemetery, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

Restoration work on the Richmond Mausoleum was recently completed by the Batavia Cemetery Association.

November 3, 2020 - 11:12am
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 2, 2020 - 8:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news.

Genesee County's early voting poll at County Building #2 has seen a steady flow of voters but turnout numbers so far are not matching the high turnout in battleground states.

In Texas, for example, the number of votes cast in 2020 already surpass the 2016 numbers. Nationally, more than two-thirds of the number of voters who voted in 2016 have voted so far in 2020.

In Genesee County, we're at about 23-percent turnout of registered voters with early voting and absentee ballots returned so far. The turnout locally for 2016 was 73 percent. By the end of Election Day, whether we pass that 73-percent mark is yet to be seen.

There are 40,567 registered voters in Genesee County.

According to Lorie Longhany, a Genesee County election commissioner, the turnout of early voting (not including absentee) by party:

  • Dem – 2,030
  • Rep – 2,831
  • Conservative – 223
  • Green – 65
  • Working Families – 35
  • Independent – 404
  • Libertarian – 29
  • Other – 102
  • No party affiliation – 942

These numbers don't include the more than 3,000 absentee ballots cast.

November 2, 2020 - 8:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Duane Whitmer, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Duane Whitmer, Libertarian candidate for Congress (NY-27), wrapped up his Campaign of Ideas today with a speech called “Liberate the Farmer,” in which he made six proposals to get the government off the backs of farmers.

He previously gave major addresses of substance including on the following topics:
1. The illusion that the two major parties provide a real choice and the failure of the lockdown;
2. Why he will vote against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker;
3. Allowing young people to opt out of Social Security;
4. Calling for an end to Selective Service Registration;
5. A landmark speech concerning how American government has harmed blacks since 1619 and continuing; and

Whitmer promises that, no matter how the election turns out, the Libertarian Party will continue to eclipse the Democrats and Republicans in producing specific proposals for real change to reverse the long-standing decline of Western New York.

Links to the text and video of each speech are available at https://duanewhitmer.com/campaign-of-ideas-speeches.

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