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Howard B. Owens's blog

April 23, 2021 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, news.

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Photo submitted by JoAnne Meiser of yesterday's sunset in Pembroke.

April 23, 2021 - 10:22am
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 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]
April 22, 2021 - 11:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video.
Video Sponsor

Eric Zwieg, a writer and musician from Batavia, reads "Sometimes We Wake Transformed" by Jason Irwin for National Poetry Month.

April 22, 2021 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Darien.

An injury accident is blocking Route 20 in the area of 1013 Broadway, Darien, between Harlow and Warner roads.

Darien fire and ambulance are on scene.

April 22, 2021 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rochester Regional Health, covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify, masks.

It's Earth Day 2021, the first one we've commemorated while under a mask mandate because of the coronavirus pandemic, so maybe we should talk about what mass mask wearing means for the environment?

A lot, it turns out, according to Mike Waller, Rochester Regional Health’s director of Sustainability, who spoke with reporters this morning about keeping masks away from animals and using masks that do less to deplete natural resources, such as reusable masks.

"I have three kids, and I want to say we probably have like a hundred different reusable masks at this point," Waller said. "They are really not that expensive any longer. But if you are using a disposable mask, there are ones made with more environmentally friendly materials made such as hemp and other natural fibers. If you do dispose of them, there really is no good way to recycle them because they are made from multiple materials. And so disposing of them in the regular trash, as you would any other items, is the best way to go."

It's not feasible financially for recycling companies to break down masks into their component parts so they can be processed into materials to make new products. But if disposables aren't disposed of properly, they're not only an eyesore on our city streets, they become a problem for wildlife. Potentially, a deadly one.

"A lot of turtles like them when they end up in the waterways," Waller said. "I read that mold and algae grow really easily on these masks. When that happens, it just looks like there's a green floating piece of algae. Fish and turtles think it's food and then they'll swallow the whole mask."

"Make sure they go in the trash," he said. "That's definitely the number one thing to do."

Reusable masks can, of course, be used dozens of times (washed between uses) and maybe hundreds of times before they need to go to a landfill. That will cut down on swallowing up the earth's resources to make masks.

While Waller isn't an epidemiologist and can't predict the course of the pandemic, he expects, as a personal opinion, that mask wearing will be with us for a good long time yet.

"I always thought it would take quite a few years," Waller said. "I think of my three kids in school and some of the folks in the school the district, they share, they predict we'll have masks through next year as well in the school. I think that that would probably make sense as well. I hope like everybody else, it's no longer than that.

"But, you know, I notice with my kids, I think it's very interesting, they don't -- my youngest is 3 -- and they don't really care about wearing masks at all. It's really not a big deal to them. And they do a great job of keeping them on. It's usually the adults that have all the issues."

April 22, 2021 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, news, notify.

Genesee County's unemployment rate for March was 6.1 percent according to the NYS Department of Labor, which is a percentage point higher than the previous year, the month local pandemic-related lockdowns started.

While layoffs started in late March 2020, the reported unemployment was 5.2 percent. The layoffs didn't hit the books through unemployment claims until April when the rate jumped to 15.9 percent, the highest local unemployment rate since 1990 (the earliest data available from the DOL). In May, the rate was 11.1 percent and the rate has remained in single digits since then.

The lowest rate for March since 1990 was in 2019 when the rate was 4.6 percent.

The labor force for Genesee County (people who have work or are seeking work) was 28,200 in March, the lowest level since at least 1990. A year ago it was 28,700 and 29,100 in 2019.  

There are 26,500 people living in the county who are employed and 1,700 without jobs who are seeking jobs.

The state's unemployment rate is 8.5 percent and the nation's is 6.2.  

There were 20,700 non-farm jobs reported in Genesee County for March compared to 22,200 in 2020.

Government jobs declined from 5,700 to 5,200 and private sector jobs declined from 16,500 to 15,500.

April 22, 2021 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, bdc, batavia, business.

Buffalo developer Sam Savarino, who has been working for years to close financing on Ellicott Station (former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy's Tire properties), met via Zoom this morning with the Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors and gave the members an update on the progress of the project, which should start with site cleanup soon.

April 22, 2021 - 11:44am
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]
April 21, 2021 - 10:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, bill kauffman, video, elba.
Video Sponsor

Elba resident Bill Kauffman reads 'To a Siberian Woodsman' by Wendell Berry for National Poetry Month.

April 21, 2021 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, football, sports.
Video Sponsor

The Batavia Blue Devils came ready to play Tuesday night, taking on Palmyra-Macedon and then dominating the Red Raiders for a 48-7 victory.

The win keeps them undefeated at 6-0 and slots them as the #2 seed heading into sectionals.

The semifinal game will be against Newark at 6 p.m. Sunday against Newark. The winner of that game will play the winner of Honeoye Falls-Lima vs. Pal-Mac. HFL is the #1 seed and if HFL wins, the championship game will be played at HFL.

Terrez Smith rushed for 204 yards on 17 carries. He scored three touchdowns. Carter McFollins carried the ball 11 times for 86 yards and a TD. QB Jesse Reinhart was 7-12 for 71 yards and a TD.  

Alex Hale caught three passes for 44 yards and a TD.

The Red Raiders were able to intercept Reinhart three times but the Batavia defense held firm after each turnover. Kaden Marucci had 16 tackles, an interception, a blocked punt, and two sacks. Mathew McWethy, seven tackles, Dan Saeva, seven, Garrett Schmidt, six, and Reinhart two tackles and an interception. 

Photos by Steve Ognibene. To view or purchase prints, click here.

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April 21, 2021 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, football, sports.

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The Trojans, at 5-1, are once again playoff-bound after finishing the regular season with a 30-0 win over Cuba-Rushford.

Once again, Brayden Woods gained more than 100 yards on the ground, running for 104 on 11 carries. He scored two touchdowns.

Nick Kramer rushed five times for 41 yards. He was also 7-13 passing for 125 yards and a TD. He gave up one interception. Jay Morrison caught four of those passes for 86 yards and a TD.

Jake Laney led the Trojan defense in tackles with six. Devin Dean and Connor Hollands each had four tackles. Gavin Smith-Crandall recorded another QB sack. Dean and Clayton Bezon each had interceptions.

In other games last night:

  • Geneseo beat Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen 30-13
  • Pembroke beat Perry in eight-man, 42-6
  • Batavia beat Palmyra-Macedon 48-7 (we hope to have photos and video posted this evening)
  • Bolivar Richburg beat Notre Dame 40-0.
  • OAE beat Avon 37-7 (click here for coverage)

Photos by Philip Casper. Top photo: Brayden Woods (5) picking his way through the Cuba-Rushford defenders.

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Eric Cline (9) with the kickoff.

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Jay Morrison (1) diving across the plane for a touchdown.

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Mason Bump (10) charging through the Cuba-Rushford defense.

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Quarterback Nick Kramer (3) walking back from the huddle as Connor Hollands (21) makes his way to the line. 

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Maverick Bump (2) catching the low pass in open field.

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Fullback Devin Dean (24) pushing his way through two defenders.

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April 21, 2021 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oakfield-alabama, elba.

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Oakfield-Alabama/Elba's 2021 return to 11-man football finished on a high-note Tuesday with a 37-7 win over Avon, giving the team a regular-season record of 5-1.

Ty Mott rushed 271 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns. On defense, he also had seven tackles, a sack and an interception returned for a 65-yard TD. He also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.

Gaige Armbrewster carried the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a TD. He also intercepted a pass for a 63-yard TD return.

QB Bodie Hyde was 7-12 passing for 65 yards and a TD.

Kaden Cusmano had three catches for 40 yards and a TD.

On defense, Peyton Yasses had 12 tackles, Dontrell Jenkins, eight, and Zach Howard had an interception.

"While the scoreboard may not suggest it, this was a four-quarter fight for our team," said Head Coach Tyler Winter. "We are incredibly proud of their ability to overcome when adversity would present itself throughout the game.  

"The defense was very impressive tonight," he added. "Coach Corey Winter put together a great defensive game plan for this game. Our team is continuing to live by the 'bend, but don't break' mentality that they've demonstrated time after time throughout the season.

"It seemed like whenever our backs were against the wall and we needed a play, one of our guys would step up with a big tackle or a takeaway. Avon is a well-coached team and we knew we would need to play mistake-free football to put ourselves in a position to win this game. The boys did just that."

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.

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April 21, 2021 - 11:56am

An order has been entered in Michael Tomaszewski's federal bankruptcy case declaring five more debts as the result of the former funeral director's fraud nondischargeable, meaning the debts won't be forgiven as part of the Chapter 7 proceedings.

The five individuals are owed $5,300, $5,300, $15,500, $15,500, and $8,750 for prearrangement deposits they made.

Tomaszewski, arrested last summer, admitted in Genesee County Court a week ago to taking more than $500,000 in funeral arrangement deposits and using the money for other expenditures. The money is supposed to be kept in interest-bearing escrow accounts.

He is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes on July 13 and at which time he will agree to pay restitution to his victims.  

Not all of the victims have had the money they're owed included in the bankruptcy, which is handled by a federal court while the criminal matter and related restitution order is handled by county court.

In his bankruptcy, Tomaszewski listed more than $3.2 million in debts against $1 million in assets.

In his order, Judge Carl L. Bucki cited a section of federal bankruptcy law that says a debtor cannot discharge any debt that was the result of fraud or misrepresentation. 

Previously, Bucki issued a similar order for three other individuals. In all eight cases, the individuals listed in the order receive priority for repayment of the first $3,025 of debt, per person, under federal bankruptcy law.

For prior coverage of Tomaszewski's criminal case and bankruptcy proceedings, click here.

April 21, 2021 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

A 26-year-old driver from Henrietta was cited yesterday for allegedly failing to yield the right of way to another vehicle at a stop sign following an accident reported at 4:17 p.m. at the intersection of Clinton Street Road and Maple Avenue in Bergen.

A.D. Broadhurst was driving a 2021 Toyota sedan was struck by a 2012 Ford sedan driven by 29-year-old Brandon J. Heslor, of Batavia.

Heslor was eastbound on Route 33 and Broadhurst allegedly pulled into his lane of traffic.

Both drivers were injured and transported to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by ground ambulance -- Broadhurst with a complaint of neck pain and Heslor with a complaint of chest pain.

Airbags deployed in both vehicles.

The accident report was prepared by Deputy Andrew Mullen.

(Initial Report)

April 21, 2021 - 11:03am
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]
April 20, 2021 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported at the intersection of Clinton Street Road and Maple Avenue in Bergen.

Injuries are reported.

One vehicle is blocking the roadway.

Bergen fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: A second ambulance is requested to the scene.

April 20, 2021 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, veterans, news, batavia.

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With the help of Kiwanis members in the region, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia has put together 40 care packages for veterans in our community. 

Members of the Kiwanis Club dropped off the "Kare Packages" at the Veterans Services Office yesterday.

Key contributions came from Kiwanis members Joe Van Cura, owner of Mission Coffee in Rochester, and Dave DiFranco, director of VPAC (Veterans-Plus Assistance Corp.).

Photo: Heather Henders, Lt. Gov. of the Genesee Division of Kiwanis, Bill Joyce, veterans services officer, Stefano Napolitano, VP of Batavia Kiwanis, and Peter Guppenberger, Kiwanis past president.

April 20, 2021 - 3:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, water, infrastructure, news, notify.

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The Town of Pembroke is wasting no time in accepting a grant and low-interest loan from USDA's Rural Development division because it is such a good deal.

"I’ve been doing this for many years," said Tom Carpenter, an engineer with Clark Patterson Lee. "This is the best funding package I’ve ever seen from Rural Development. We were requesting about a $2.3 million grant and I forget the interest rate when we were requesting this but it might have been 2 or just over 2 percent. They came back with a grant of $3.7 million and an interest rate of 1.25, that is the best I’ve ever seen."

The bigger grant and lower interest rate will save property owners in the proposed Water District #4 (see map above) about $90 a year from the original estimate.

At the town board's meeting last week, the board voted to accept the package from USDA and contract with Clark Patterson Lee for services associated with getting the water service designed and built.

Typically, there would be a public information meeting about the proposed district but due to COVID-19-restrictions, but Carpenter anticipates newsletters going to residents and business owners in the district along with survey cards to gauge interest in forming the district.

Both Carpenter and Supervisor Thomas Schneider Jr. said they believe there is widespread support for the formation of the district in the community.  

Carpenter said at a previous public meeting where he discussed the district, about 120 people turned out (before the pandemic) and only four or five people there opposed the district.

"You usually get people who are very, very for a district or very, very against it," Carpenter said.

There will be a public hearing on formation of the district at a future date.

Schneider said given the positive feedback he's received from residents, he believes the board will be able to approve the formation of the district with a permissive referendum, which would mean the district would move forward unless affected residents or property owners held a successful petition drive placing the proposal on a public ballot. In that case, voters would need to approve formation of the district.

Schneider said the annual cost of the district for a single, occupied dwelling would be $962 per year. The cost of debt for a residential property that is not developed would be $466 per year. A vacant lot would pay about half that amount. Agricultural properties are exempt from paying for debt service on a water district.

The total cost of the project would be $9,050,000, with $3,744,000 covered by a USDA grant, and the rest by a low-interest loan of $5,306,000.

"I can easily stand up at a public meeting and say there will never be a better funding package available for this project," Carpenter said.

The project would involve installing 109,000 linear feet of 6-, 8-, and 12-inch diameter water mains and providing for 302 water services.

Carpenter said the best-case scenario is the entire project is completed by the end of 2022.

April 20, 2021 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, football, sports.

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Le Roy sustained its first loss of the season Monday, dropping its game at Hartwood Park to Livonia 6-0.

Alex Panepento was 6-14 passing for 79 yards. He also rushed for 52 yards of 15 carries. 

Cole Rauscher had seven tackles, Zach Vanderhoof, six.

The Oatkan Knights finish the regular season 5-1.

Photos by Tim McArdle.

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April 20, 2021 - 10:57am
Video Sponsor

S. Shade Zajac, conductor and musical director for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, reading "Power" by Jim Morrison for National Poetry Month.

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