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Howard B. Owens's blog

June 26, 2020 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, news, schools, education.

Video by Le Roy High School Principal Tim McArdle.

June 26, 2020 - 10:44am
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]
June 25, 2020 - 6:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dogs, animals, news, batavia.

A dog has reportedly been locked in a blue Chevy Equinox for more than 30 minutes in the parking lot behind Settler's Restaurant.

Batavia PD is dispatched.

June 25, 2020 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 218 positive cases.
    • One of the new positive individuals resides in Batavia and one resides in Le Roy.
    • One of the individuals is less than 20 years old and one individual is in their 40s.
    • The new positive individuals were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Four of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • One of the total active cases is hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received 0 new positive cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 264 positive cases.
    • Ten of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility.  We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
    • We are saddened to report the death of one of our county residents. This person lived at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very challenging time.
June 25, 2020 - 12:52pm

img_7717icecream.jpg

The Ice Cream Social at the Indian Falls United Methodist Church is the church's largest fundraiser -- of two -- they do each year.

This year, as primarily a drive-in event, it went big in an unexpected way.

"We usually do about 400 chicken dinners but it takes us all night," said Celinda McQuiston. "We did 400 chickens in an hour and 10 minutes."

The volunteers also served up 300 strawberry shortcakes. They also grilled hot dogs.

The Ice Cream Social -- this was its 76th year -- normally includes a bake sale and auction but because of social distancing restrictions those events were canceled this year.

 

June 25, 2020 - 12:37pm
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]
June 25, 2020 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

COVID-19 Phase Four Briefing with Public Health Director Paul Pettit hosted by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce

June 24, 2020 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received one new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 216 positive cases.
    • The new positive individual resides in Elba.
    • The positive individual is in their 20s.
    • The new positive individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • One of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • One of the total active cases is hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received one new positive cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 264 positive cases.
    • The new positive individual resides in Albion.
    • The positive individual is in their 50s.
    • The new positive individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Thirteen 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.
June 24, 2020 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, sports, baseball, notify.

muckdogsfiedljune2020.jpg

It would be "very, very sad" way for baseball to end in Batavia and 41 other minor league cities if the baseball season were canceled and a new agreement between Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball eliminated those small franchises, said Ben Hayes, president of the New York Penn League.

Professional baseball in Batavia was under threat of extinction before a pandemic hit, and news reports have indicated Minor League Baseball has conceded to the MLB's request to consolidate leagues across the nation. Still, Hayes said today that negotiations continue and nothing has been finalized.

Even better news, he isn't giving up on playing NYPL baseball in 2020. The season is indefinitely postponed, but Hayes said he and league owners and officials want players in parks and fans in seats this season if at all possible, including in Batavia.  

The NYPL operates in eight states, and there are only two stadiums so far that are in regions where COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted enough to allow fans and ballplayers into ballparks.

"There's nobody at the Major League level or the Minor League level that has said this season is over and done," Hayes said. "Nothing has been canceled at either the full-season or short-season level."

If a decision was made to play ball, the MLB has suggested it would take players two or three weeks to get ready for the rigors of professional baseball.  

Hayes is currently traveling around the league, including a planned stop in Batavia, and league owners have been holding regular conference calls so they can be ready for the day when there can be baseball again.

Every team is developing plans to ensure social distancing is maintained; there is plenty of personal protective equipment for personnel; there are plans for thorough and regular cleaning and sanitizing in place, and to ensure that hotels and busses are safe and clean. 

"Everybody has a plan right now," Hayes said. "We're following the guidelines to make sure our players are safe but also our fans and stadium staff or safe. Right now, it's just a waiting game."

If the season is washed out, Hayes said he has already communicated with the Minor League's negotiating committee to request that any new agreement that could potentially eliminate teams would be delayed at least a year so that fans in those cities losing their franchises could get a farewell season before shutting down.

"That's my hope," Hayes said. "We voiced that to our representatives on the negotiating committee," Hayes said. "There are 42 clubs out there that if that plan were to go through, they would have never gotten a chance to have a last season, and that would be very, very sad."

As for the current operations of the Muckdogs, if you call the office, the phone is disconnected. It's not possible to get in touch with General Manager Brendan Kelly.  

Hayes said shutting down operations was purely a cost-saving measure and not an indication of the status of the ballclub.

"We're just trying to save money," Hayes said. "We're trying not to accrue costs simply because of the financial situation of the Muckdogs."

Meanwhile, except for the city mowing the infield and outfield grass, the playing surface is not being maintained. Weeds are sprouting up all over the diamond that Cooper Thomas has beautifully manicured over the past couple of seasons. 

None of that is a worry, Hayes said. 

"We can get that back in shape in two or three weeks once we get a grounds crew in there," Hayes said. 

The weeds maybe a little bigger but the situation now isn't much different than it would be in a typical year when crews start preparing the field for high school players in the spring.

"It's amazing what an edger and a lawnmower and a little bit of fertilizer and weed killer can do," Hayes said. "It makes a huge difference and you can really turn a field around quickly."

Whether Thomas will return in 2020 to lead that effort -- assuming the NYPL gets to play baseball -- is up in the air, Hayes said. He would love to have Thomson back and Thomas wants to come back, he said, but President Trump's current moratorium on worker immigration because of COVID-19 could prevent Thomas from making the trip from Australia to Batavia.

Top Photo: Weeds growing in the Dwyer Stadium infield.

muckdogsfiedljune2020-2.jpg

Yesterday, the Dwyer Stadium scoreboard was lit up with "Reds 0 / Pirates 0 / PPD."

June 24, 2020 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, video, Angry Charlie Carolina BBQ.
Video Sponsor

Chuck Martin was born and raised in the eastern part of North Carolina, where he not only learned to BBQ but fell in love with the art and craft.

As a New York resident for more than 10 years, he's been making BBQ for friends and since he loves it so much, he decided to make it his profession.

He promises authentic Carolina-style BBQ with pulled pork, ribs, beans, and coleslaw along with his how "Angry Charlie Burger."

Martin said his BBQ trailer, parked at 355 W. Main St., Batavia, will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

June 24, 2020 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, TA Travel Center, news.

A caller reports two toddlers -- ages about 2 and 3 -- have been left unattended in car seats in the back of a vehicle at the TA Travel Center in Pembroke.

The caller states the children have been unattended for at least 20 minutes.

A deputy is responding.

June 24, 2020 - 7:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, news, Chris Jacobs, Nate McMurray, Beth Parlato, Stefan Mychajliw.

In walk-in voting on Election Day in Genesee County, Chris Jacobs far outpolled his opponents in the special election race to fill the vacant NY-27 race, getting 4,536 votes in the unofficial tally to 1,565 for Nate McMurray and 155 for Duane Whitmer.

Jacobs has declared victory in the NY-27 race and McMurray has said that with far more absentee ballots to be counted than were cast on election day it's premature to say who won and who lost the race.

In the GOP primary for the same seat, Jacobs received 2,473 votes from Genesee County residents to 1,099 for Darien resident Beth Parlato and 340 votes for Stefan Mychajliw.

Districtwide, the Buffalo News reports that Jacobs garnered 70 percent of the walk-in votes to 28 percent for McMurray and has a 30,639 vote lead with 65,509 absentee ballots to be counted.

That count could take a week or more but the Jacobs campaign contends it is mathematically impossible for McMurray to close the gap.

In the GOP primary, Jacobs currently has 25,668 votes to 8,644 for Parlato and 7,190 votes for Mychajliw.

Jacobs, McMurray, and Mychajliw have all issued statements about the election results. We've not received a statement yet from Parlato nor Whitmer.

Jacobs:

Chris Jacobs has declared victory in the Special and Republican Primary for New York’s 27th Congressional District and is releasing the following statement: 

“We did it, it has been a long, challenging and ever-changing election, nevertheless the people of Western New York made their voices heard overwhelmingly for strong, conservative leadership! With the commanding lead I have amassed; I am confident in declaring victory in both the Special and Primary elections.

"Now I am looking forward to getting to Congress and getting right to work fighting alongside our great President for the people of Western New York. I would like to thank all the volunteers, supporters, party leaders, and elected officials who have worked so hard to make this happen, and I would especially like to thank President Trump for his early and consistent support throughout this entire election, I am deeply grateful.”

McMurray:

Tonight, with thousands of ballots left unopened across the 27th Congressional District, millionaire Chris Jacobs declared a premature victory. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a historic number of absentee and mail-in ballots still need to be counted. Absentee counting in most counties will not start until July 1st, and likely won't be completed for at least two weeks. 

 “How can you declare victory before the ballots are counted?” Nate McMurray said on Tuesday night. “There are more ballots still out there, uncounted, than people that voted in-person today. As we have always said, we will fight for every single vote. Chris always wanted to be crowned. The coronation will have to wait. They had to bring the whole Trump family into this to help drag him across the finish line. He can peacock. We will talk in two weeks.”

Mychajliw:

Congressional candidate Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. released the following statement on the New York 27th Congressional District election results:

“I called Chris Jacobs a few minutes ago to congratulate him on his victory in the Republican Primary. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received in this race. We said it was important to let voters decide, and they have. While not victorious, I’m proud of the race we ran. We stayed above the fray, and ran a positive campaign on the issues. I’m a loyal Republican – always have been, always will be. Just like I have in the past, I will work hard to keep NY-27 in Republican hands in November."

UPDATE: Statement from Parlato:

"I got in this race to give every voter in NY-27 a choice, and that is exactly what we did. Although not victorious, I am grateful for each and every vote, prayer and supporter. We ran a tough campaign, and I’m proud of all that were involved. I look forward to campaigning for President Trump as we fight harder than ever to protect our freedoms and conservative values."

June 24, 2020 - 7:05am
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]
June 23, 2020 - 8:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, election, news.

gccpollingreadersub.jpg

If you're going to Genesee Community College to vote and enter the campus from the main entrance, you will encounter barriers that will keep you from getting to the Richard C. Call Arena, where voting is taking place (until 9 p.m.).

These barriers prompted a reader to contact The Batavian to complain that voting at the campus was being disrupted and that perhaps some people may be confused and wind up not voting.

She also indicated she had contacted the Board of Elections.

In an interview with Dick Siebert, the Republican election commissioner, earlier today, Siebert mentioned there had been a complaint about confusing access at the campus and that Lorie Longhany, the Democratic commissioner, had driven to GCC to see what was going on.

Longhany this evening that she found the entry to the Call Arena -- by that, she means the secondary road on the west end of campus -- unobstructed and with good signage directing voters where to go.  

"I felt it was easy access for me and I get lost going in a straight line," Longhany said.

She said she contacted a maintenance supervisor at GCC about the barriers and he said the barriers had been placed to protect the recently striped portions of the parking lot.

Photo: Reader-submitted photo.

June 23, 2020 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

The National Weather Service reports a strong thunderstorm is moving through Genesee County at 35 mph.

Winds from the storm could exceed 40 mph.

Torrential rainfall is possible and may cause localized flooding.

June 23, 2020 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in unemployment, jobs, news, notify.

After hitting an unprecedented 14.4 percent in April, Genesee County's unemployment rate fell sharply for May, dropping to 10.1 percent.

That is a level more in line with the area unemployment rate at the depth of the great recession when unemployment topped out at an even 10 percent January and February of 2010.

Of course, the May 2020 unemployment rate is much higher than the 3.4 percent of a year ago.

At the same time, there are also more people participating in the workforce in Genesee County than a year ago, an increase of 200 workers who either have employment or are seeking employment, from 29,300 to 29,500.

The total number of local residents considered unemployed is 3,000, compared to 1,000 a year ago, 4,200 a month ago, and 1,400 two months ago.

The state's unemployment rate is 14.2 percent, up from 3.6 percent a year ago, and the U.S. unemployment rate 13 percent. Nationally, it was 3.4 percent a year ago in May.

June 23, 2020 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 215 positive cases.
    • Two of the positive individuals reside in Batavia and one resides in Byron.
    • Two of the individuals are in their 40s and one is in their 50s.
    • Zero of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Zero of the new positive individuals was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • One of the total active cases are hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 263 positive cases.
    • One of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Thirteen 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 now 10 active cases in Genesee County.

June 23, 2020 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, news.

votingjune232020-2.jpg

The old joke is: Vote early and vote often.

In 2020, it's more than a joke.  

Voters in Genesee County received more than 7,000 absentee ballots over the past several weeks, and with elections that would normally be on different days consolidated into a single day, both Republicans and Democrats have multiple ballots to cast.

The turnout at local polling places today, said Dick Siebert, Republican election commissioner, has been light. That is likely due to all those voters who requested absentee ballots.

Siebert doesn't have a count on how many ballots have been returned so far, but while some in politics have expressed concern about the prospect of voter fraud from mail-in ballots, Siebert said there is no indication of fraud in Genesee County.

"I hear that nationally there have been reports in other counties, but not in Genesee County, of one person or one group asking for 350 ballots," Siebert said. "We don't have that problem in Genesee County. No representative or candidate has asked for as many as 15 or 20 ballots."

The potential problem with absentee ballots, Siebert said, is that there is no opportunity to check an ID of a voter the way polling workers could for a person voting at a designated polling place. That doesn't mean there isn't a way to help protect against voter fraud with absentee ballots but it's a lot more work, Siebert said.

Workers must pull the registration card for every voter who submits an absentee ballot and check the signature at the time of registration against the signature on the envelope containing the ballot.

For this election, even with an anticipated turnout of the more than the 25 to 30 percent that might be typical, it's going to take county staff some time to sort through all those ballots before they can be counted.

Siebert is worried about the general election in November when turnout is expected to top 80 percent. If the pandemic is still raging and people must still maintain social distances the number of absentee ballots to be verified and counted would be well beyond anything local officials ever had to deal with before.

"That would be a disaster," Siebert said. "The workload, the time it would take, if the same thing happens in the fall, we're going to be overwhelmed."

As it is, residents should not expect final election results tonight. This evening, results for today's in-person voting will be released after polls close at 9 p.m. but the absentee ballot count won't be finished until July.

If you haven't voted yet and go to a polling place today, masks are required.

Also, if you haven't dropped your absentee ballot in the mail yet, it's too late; however, you can drop it off at your neighborhood polling location.

votingjune232020.jpg

June 23, 2020 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Pavilion.

img_1795pavilion.jpg

A traffic accident in the area of 6895 Ellicott Street, Pavilion, has apparently knocked out power for 104 customers of National Grid, including Pavilion Town Hall.

The accident was reported at about 11:30 a.m.

The ETA for power restoration is 1 p.m.

No word on injuries in the accident.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: A spokesman for National Grid confirmed the accident caused the power outage. The new ETA for power restoration is 3 p.m.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: The road is reopened. The Pavilion assignment is back in service.

UPDATE: Reader-submitted photos

img_1797pavilion.jpg

June 23, 2020 - 10:47am
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]

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