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July 13, 2021 - 2:51pm
posted by Press Release in WNYIL, Disability Pride Week, ADA 30th anniversary.

Western New York Independent Living Inc. (WNYIL), and several other disability services providers, are inviting all our friends to join us for our annual Disability Pride Celebration, a weeklong virtual series of activities from July 26th to 30th.

It celebrates the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. It was signed into law by then President George Herbert Walker Bush and discrimination against people with disabilities became illegal.

Highlights of the week will include: the history of the disability rights movement; features on disability rights today; youth with disabilities-focused content; as well as entertainment throughout the week.

Activities will be featured on the Disability Pride Facebook page, as well as WNYIL’s YouTube page.

Sponsors of the event include: The Independent Consumer Advocate Network (ICAN), National Grid, Independent Health, and People Inc.

Other community partners assisting in the week’s events include: the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities, Deaf Access Services, People Inc., theCantalician Center for Learning, and WNY Adaptive Water Sports.

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

July 13, 2021 - 2:23pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Rochester Regional Health is expanding its partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), the nation’s largest medical school.  Rochester Regional Health will become the medical school’s largest clinical campus.

This partnership will enable Rochester Regional to dramatically increase clinical rotations and feature locations in addition to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia where its program began.

Now, as part of this 10-year agreement between Rochester Regional Health and LECOM, approximately 100 third- and fourth-year students will be on clinical rotation across the health system each month.

“This partnership will offer remarkable opportunities for LECOM students to gain exceptional, hands-on training in a variety of settings with a nationally recognized leader in integrated health care,” said John Ferretti, D.O., LECOM president and CEO.

“Further, with such a large number of our students entering Rochester Regional Health’s clinical rotation program at facilities across western New York, LECOM will be furthering its goal of improving healthcare for residents and communities in underserved areas.”

“LECOM is a great partner and we are honored to expand our partnership,” said Eric Bieber, M.D., president and CEO of Rochester Regional Health. “As an integrated health care delivery system, these students will gain invaluable experience from Rochester Regional Health’s clinical teams, as they move through different areas of medicine.

"This collaboration will strengthen our network of care and help Rochester Regional solidify its position as a leader in healthcare locally, regionally, and nationally.”

Medical school graduates often continue their post-graduate training and establish residency in the geographic area they trained. Rochester Regional Health currently offers 23 residency and fellowship programs for medical students post-graduation.

The health system is continuing to expand on those programs with multiple new residencies and fellowships under development.  

“There is a shortage of primary care physicians throughout the country and LECOM produces more primary care physicians than any other medical school in the country,” said Richard Alweis, M.D., associate chief medical officer of Education for Rochester Regional Health. “By expanding this partnership, we are investing in our community and its healthcare needs.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Rochester Regional Health to offer critical clinical education for our medical students,” said Richard Terry, D.O., associate dean of Academic Affairs, LECOM at Elmira.

“This collaborative agreement offers a unique opportunity for students from the Rochester area, the Southern Tier and Western New York to pursue their collegiate premedical training with local colleges and universities affiliated with LECOM, and then complete their clinical training with the Rochester Regional Health system.

"This agreement will also secure a steady, locally trained supply of future physicians for the greater Rochester region, as well as all of Upstate New York.”

For more on Rochester Regional Health’s residency programs visit Residency.RochesterRegional.org.

Top photo: The woman lying down is Tammy LeSane; on the right is Robert Russo, DPM, Podiatry specialist; and resident in the middle is Kristopher Zainer, DPM.

July 13, 2021 - 1:57pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley will be joining Sen. George Borello (SD-57) and attorney James Ostrowski via Zoom in discussing different ideas for granting the Greater Western New York region more autonomy in its political affairs.

This virtual town hall meeting is entitled "Imagine an Independent Greater Western New York" and it starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15.

Hawley will defend the merits of making the region its own state; Borello will discuss the benefits of making the area an autonomous zone within the state; and Ostrowski will detail the benefits of following a path of nullification of disagreeable laws by local sheriffs and elected officials. 

Those who wish to attend must register using this link.

WHO: Assemblyman Steve Hawley

           Sen. George Borello 

           James Ostrowski

WHAT: Virtual Town Hall discussing proposals to secure greater independence for Greater Western New York

WHEN: Thursday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Zoom

HOW: Preregistration required to get Zoom link, attendees may register using this link.

July 13, 2021 - 1:36pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county youth court, news, GC Youth Bureau.

Press release:

Calling all eighth to 11th graders, the Genesee County Youth Court is recruiting new members!

Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement.

Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers. Three youth judges listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition. The goal of youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior.  

Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement; develop group decision-making, leadership and public speaking skills; participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense and bailiff. 

Genesee County eighth to 11th graders who are interested can go online to download an application from the website www.co.genesee.ny.us, where you will find a link on the Youth Bureau page.

Applications are due by Aug. 2nd.

Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August and September with the training to begin in October. 

For more information on the Genesee County Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Elliott at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

July 13, 2021 - 8:23am

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A frequent contributor to the Batavia City Council scene is suggesting that a package deal combining the current Batavia Police Department headquarters and Genesee County Jail parcels may be the ticket to attracting a potential developer in light of the city’s intention to build a new police station at Alva Place and Bank Street.

City resident John Roach, during the public comments portion of the board’s Conference Meeting on Monday night at the City Centre, asked if anyone was talking to Genesee County leaders about their plan for the jail at the corner of West Main Street and Porter Avenue.

The county is exploring its options as it faces a state mandate to build a new jail, with a site near County Building 2 on West Main Street Road as the proposed location.

“You might get a better deal as a combined parcel,” Roach said. “Find out what they’re going to do and it could have an impact on what to do with the Brisbane building.”

The Brisbane building that he referred to is the former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St. that sits next door to the county jail. That building -- which may be eligible for classification as a historic landmark -- has housed city police for many years but has deteriorated considerably.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, responding to Roach’s inquiry, said she thought it was a “great idea to speak with the county and understand their plans.”

“The front of the jail is certainly an amazing historic building that I hope would be preserved by the county through their transition, but I believe it hosts Genesee Justice and I don’t want to speak for the county and I’m not sure what they’re actually planning,” she said.

Tabelski also said she wasn’t sure if the timelines for a new county jail and new city police station would line up, but it was something worth looking into.

She pointed out the drawbacks with the Brisbane Mansion, notably that there is no American with Disabilities Act accessibility and there are problems with the layout that hinder the ability of the force to conduct day-to-day business.

“We went over the presentation two meetings ago and we looked at the timeline. The city has been wanting to address this for over 20 years,” she said. “We’ve come forward with a proposal and a feasibility study to use the parking lot at Alva and Bank Street.”

The city manager underscored the importance of finding a “reuse” for the building, adding that the city has no intention of moving staff into that structure.

“So, we’d like to pursue a path where we put it out for RFP to a developer to take that on and bring that on to the tax rolls,” she advised. “To do that in the best manner possible, you want to make your property attractive to the marketplace and by understanding all of the historical elements inside the building, and having technical assistance reports done of the structure itself and the historical elements …”

For those reasons, she forwarded a resolution – which was later passed by Council – to allow the Batavia Development Corp. to apply for a 2021 Consolidated Funding grant under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

“I think it is City Council’s wish and I know it is the certainly the wish of many in our community to preserve that building as a historical element in our downtown,” she said. “… if (the grant is) awarded, we would go ahead and do that study. We had a plan to reuse the building at the time we move the police department.”

Tabelski said that the grant-funded study would uncover whether the building would qualify as a historic landmark.

If so, that could open the door for a NY Main Street grant, which the city has been successful in obtaining for the Eli Fish Brewing Co. building on Main Street and Theater 56 at the City Centre.

On another topic, Roach asked about the status of a road project to rehabilitate Harvester and Richmond avenues, which is scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt said it is currently in the design phase.

In May 2020, City Council appointed the engineering firm of T.Y. Lin International Group of Rochester to provide preliminary and advanced designs with the expectation that they would be completed by the summer of this year.

T.Y. Lin International Group was involved in the city’s Walnut Street Reconstruction Project, the Ellicott Street streetscape project and all of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District streetscape initiatives.

Batavian Robert Radley, PE, is the company’s senior vice president and U.S. East Region director.

Plans call for renovation of Richmond Avenue from State Street to Oak Street and for the entire length of Harvester Avenue (from East Main Street to Ellicott Street). City officials previously reported that 95 percent of the $2 million project will be covered by CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and Marchiselli Funding* streams.

Tabelski also reported that Jill Wiedrick, the new assistant city manager, will be starting on July 21, and the city is advertising for a permanent Department of Public Works director.

*Given the significant backlog of preservation, rehabilitation and replacement of transportation infrastructure needs that exist at the local level, NYSDOT has initiated a process with metropolitan planning areas and municipalities to revise and align local transportation planning and project selection processes with engineering and economic-based preservation strategies. As part of this initiative, NYSDOT will provide priority consideration for State matching funds, under the Marchiselli program, to federal-aid projects that embrace the Department’s asset management based preservation strategy. Municipally sponsored federal-aid projects considered to be beyond preservation treatments may be considered for Marchiselli funding on a case by case basis. Municipal requests for projects that are considered beyond preservation will be reviewed by NYSDOT’s Comprehensive Program Team (CPT).

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Photo at top: Batavia Police Department station (former Brisbane Mansion); Photo at bottom: Front of Genesee County Jail, which currently houses Genesee Justice.

July 12, 2021 - 9:09pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Centennial Park, disc golf.

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Despite receiving prior assurances from several Batavia City Council members that Centennial Park was off the table as a possible location for a disc golf course in the city, representatives of the “Save the Park” committee weren’t taking any chances.

About 16 of them made their way to tonight’s City Council Conference Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, with five of those people urging the board to maintain the aesthetics of the 14-acre natural setting by finding another place to put a nine-hole disc golf layout proposed by Batavia resident Phillip Boyd.

On May 24, Boyd attended a City Council meeting, hoping to persuade local lawmakers to let him and other enthusiasts of the sport set up a course at a city park. At that time, he stated that his group preferred Centennial Park, which is surrounded by Ellicott Avenue, Park Avenue, Richmond Avenue and State Street.

In recent days, residents in that area inundated Council members with emails and phone calls – and had “Letters to the Editor,” signs and other forms of communication ready to publicize their views.

Fast forward to tonight, even before they had a chance to protest, Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. informed them that Centennial Park is “off the list … and not even a consideration.”

Council Member Rose Mary Christian quickly remarked, “I’ll second it.”

Jankowski explained that the process of attempting to accommodate Boyd had just begun and required the “vetting process” involving police, fire and the Department of Public Works to see if it was a good fit for the city.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski added that she had spoken to Boyd, who said he understood residents’ concerns about having it at Centennial Park and agreed not to pursue that location.

“We may not have a park big enough” for a disc golf course, Jankowski said, but added that they will work with Genesee County officials to see if it could be situated somewhere else.

Council Member John Canale acknowledged that his phone and email “were on fire,” and appreciated the feedback, and also commended Boyd for “realizing it wasn’t a popular choice.”

“I hope we can find a spot for him,” Canale said.

Still, the Centennial Park supporters had come there prepared to speak and five weren’t leaving until they had their say.

Communicating that Centennial Park was established about 150 years ago in conjunction with the New York State School for the Blind, Ellicott Avenue resident Carl DeLuca emphasized that putting a disc golf course would occupy about two-thirds of the park.

“Those who have the freedom to choose an activity would be restricted to use of just one-third of the park’s area,” he said. “The proposed installation of disc golf would be a permanent impediment to the freedom of use for the general community.”

DeLuca, a retired teacher, mentioned several “negative impacts” of disc golf, including safety issues from the hurling of hardened plastic discs, excessive car parking, noise and large crowds.

“Also of importance are city budget constraints,” he contended. “This could mean that taxpayers would be unfairly burdened by paying for potential damages caused by a few.”

He cited articles that spoke of the unintended consequences of disc golf courses in inappropriate settings, with the demographics of those who participate in the sport mostly unconcerned of its environmental impacts.

Linda Daviau, who lives on Park Avenue, thanked Council for responding to her emails – “I really didn’t expect to hear from so many of you,” she said – but added that she wasn’t convinced that the board would have taken Centennial Park out of play “without hearing from so many citizens.”

She then shared a bit of history of the park, mentioning the NYSSB and the influence of Dean Richmond, and pointed out that for “over 40 years … we still enjoy seeing people enjoy the park.”

“The face of the park is great the way it is,” she concluded.

Judy Sikora, another Park Avenue resident, also thanked Council members and Tabelski for responding to the residents.

Stating that she had a petition with 150 signatures, Sikora spoke of Centennial Park’s grass and trees and “lovely flowing terrain” and called it a “lifesaver for many of us during COVID.”

“It really is a treasure,” she said. “Many cities would be envious.”

Sikora urged Council to not change the nature of what makes the park unique, and to continue the freedom of its use by all citizens.

She suggested finding a nonresidential area with adequate parking for the disc golf course.

“We’re not here to oppose disc golf but to support a park that we love,” she said.

Judy DeLuca, Carl’s wife, spoke of the health benefits of the park’s green space.

She referred to a National Institute of Health report that indicated that the use of urban green space was important to community health during times of stress, and asked Council members to take green space into account when they consider policy issues.

Finally, Karen Vasser of Lincoln Avenue said that her family has been part of that neighborhood for 67 years and that she has participated in the seasonal activities, including Picnic in the Park.

“We love this park,” she said, “and it deserves to be as pristine as it is today.”

Photo: Word that a disc golf course could be placed at Centennial Park prompted about 16 residents of that area in the northeast section of the city to find their way to tonight's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

July 12, 2021 - 5:55pm

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Having supported a loved one’s multiyear battle with addiction, Allie Hunter said she is uniquely qualified and motivated to help deliver others throughout the United States from the clutches of substance use disorders in her role as national executive director of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative.

Hunter drove from her Cape Cod, Mass., home today to meet with leaders of the PAARI chapter in Genesee County at the Batavia Fire Department station on Evans Street in preparation of her keynote address at Tuesday’s event showcasing the local program.

The Genesee County chapter is called Public Safety Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, a slightly altered version of the nonprofit organization’s official name due to the fact that the Batavia FD is the first fire company in New York State to join the effort to lead people to treatment and recovery without the threat of being arrested.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Batavia Police Department and Le Roy Police Department – all supported by the Genesee County Health Department – are current participants in the local PAARI.

Tuesday’s event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and was open to the public on a preregistration basis. Christen Ferraro, program coordinator, said that about 50 people are expected to attend.

Hunter said her sister’s struggles with substance use have given her a deeper understanding of addiction – as well as treatment and recovery – and have motivated her to reach as many individuals and families as possible.

“My younger sister, Nicole, for several years struggled with addiction,” Hunter said. “She experienced several overdoses and it was really tough for my family during that period of time.”

She said she was close to her sister and “oftentimes, I was the person that she would call when she overdosed or when she got into some type of challenge and I always tried to answer my phone anytime she called to help her out.

“It’s tough as a family member. You don’t know who to talk to about it or what resources are there. I didn’t know what I know now, and that motivates me, too, to try to support family members who have been impacted by it.”

About eight years ago, Nicole decided to start the recovery process, Hunter said.

“She has been doing really well. Now 32, she works as a recovery coach at a community health center nearby; so, we kind of work in the same field now, which is pretty cool,” she said.

Hunter said that her sister now takes part in some of the PAARI trainings and has responded with a police department on calls for help on Cape Cod.

“It’s great to have her doing so well and have that inspiration of how recovery is possible even though at the time – when somebody is struggling – there feels like there’s no hope,” she said. “But there’s always hope. So, that kind of motivates me as well.”

Unfortunately, there was no PAARI program at the time of her sister’s addiction, but things have changed considerably as the program’s numbers have increased from 100 departments when Hunter took over as executive director to about 650 today.

“How amazing would it have been if eight years ago there was a police department she could have walked in to because there were so many missed opportunities where she didn’t have the right insurance or couldn’t get a bed or couldn’t get a ride?” she asked. “Even on those overdoses, thank goodness there were officers carrying Narcan that were able to revive those. But it also highlights that there is more to be done.”

The goal, Hunter said, is to have PAARI become a standard “police in practice” offering.

“That’s the vision that we’re working towards but I think in the last five years we’ve grown a lot and have gotten about 30,000 people into treatment through our law enforcement partners,” she reported. “Still, overdoses are on the rise and we know that there is so much work to do.”

Hunter, who travels extensively around the country to trainings, chapter launches and conferences, said she is excited about the program’s development in Genesee County.

“For me, it’s really rewarding to get to be a part of local program launching and thinking about the ripple effect that will have on families and individuals that have been affected by addiction,” she offered. “For me to be able to be here in person and to meet the people behind it and see how PAARI has been part of that is really rewarding and exciting.”

PAARI’s funding comes mostly through grants and a “couple of federal organizations,” Hunter said, mentioning the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that manages the AmeriCorps program.

The Genesee County PAARI program is sponsored by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, GOW Opioid Task Force, and a grant from the health department.

For more information, contact Ferraro at [email protected].

Disclosure: Mike Pettinella is a publicist for GCASA.

Photo: Allie Hunter, executive director of PAARI, meets with public safety officials at Batavia Fire Department headquarters. From left are John Bennett, GCASA executive director; Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger; Hunter; Fire Captain Greg Ireland; Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Frieday; Batavia PD Assistant Chief Chris Camp; Sgt. Emily McNamara of the Le Roy Police Department was also part of the discussion. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

July 12, 2021 - 4:43pm

Press release:

The Attica Lions Club has announced the recipients of their club scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The purpose of these scholarships is to provide financial assistance to senior students from both Alexander Central School and Attica Central School who have a genuine desire to further their education.

Applicants must be academically qualified to the extent that they meet the entrance requirements of the institution to which they seek admission.

Lion Ron Cole announces the following recipients:

Alexander

  • Mikayla Hickey
  • Colton Judd and
  • Kiersten Pryzbylski

Attica

  • Alexis Dimick
  • Makenna Jarnot
  • Cassidy Pajda
  • Alesis Wright and
  • Abigail Zymkowski

Other awards presented by the club went to Nicole Hume, of Alexander, who receives the Ted Harding Jr. Award and to Andrew Cusmano, of Attica, who receives the Lions Citizenship Award.

July 12, 2021 - 3:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, byron, bergen.
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        Melvin Huntley

Melvin A. Huntley, 40, of Wilkinson Road, Batavia, is charged with: predatory sexual assault against a child; course of conduct against a child in the first degree; first-degree rape; first-degree sex abuse. Huntley was arrested after an investigation into him sexually assaulting a child/children over an extended period of time. He was arraigned July 8 in Town of Batavia Court and put in Genesee County Jail without bail. The investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected. No additional information will be released at this time. The case was investigated by Sheriff's Investigator Howard Carlson, assisted by Deputy Kevin Forsyth.

Donald Ray Read Jr., 49, of Mill Pond Road, Byron, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- with a previous conviction; and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- an explosive. At 10:09 a.m. on July 6, following the investigation into the alleged possession of a pipe bomb, Read was arrested on the charges. It is alleged that he possessed a knife with metal knuckles on the handle and a separate set of metal knuckles. He was arraigned in Stafford Town Court for Byron Town Court and put in Genesee County Jail. Read is due in Byron Town Court this afternoon at 4 o'clock. Assisting with the investigation was the GC Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division, the GC Drug Enforcement Task Force, the ATF, FBI, Erie County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad, and the GC Probation Department.

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        Brandon Dodd

Brandon Dodd, 34, is charged with second-degree burglary and petit larceny stemming from an investigation into a residential burglary at 8:22 a.m. June 28 on Swan Street, City of Batavia. Dodd is accused of entering another person's apartment and stealing property including an air conditioner and television. This burglary occurred about four hours after Dodd's arrest for stealing an air conditioner from another property on Jackson Street. Dodd was put in Genesee County Jail on $5,000 cash bail, $5,000 bond, or $10,000 partially secured bond.

Brandon Dodd, 34, is charged with petit larceny. It is alleged that at 6:39 p.m. June 29 that Dodd entered a business on East Main Street in Batavia and stole about $300 worth of cigarettes. He was issued an appearance ticket while incarcerated in GC Jail on unrelated charges. He is due in Batavia City Court on July 27 to answer this charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Brandon Dodd, 34, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. At 4:42 a.m. June 28, Dodd was arrested on Ganson Avenue after an investigation into an allegation that he took an air conditioning unit out of a window on Jackson Street in the City of Batavia. While being searched by a Batavia Police officer, a crack pipe was allegedly found on Dodd's person.

Ernest J. Parry, 40, is charged with trespass. He is alleged to remained on the premises of a business of Park Road in Batavia at 10:20 a.m. July 2 after being told to leave by security staff several times during out outdoor concert. He was issued a ticket to be in Batavia City Court July 13, no time provided, then released.

Andrew Martin, 43, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He responded to BPD headquarters at 5:04 p.m. July 3 and was issued an appearance ticket after an alleged violation of an order of protection. He is due in city court on July 21.

Tierance Davis Sr., 34, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court stemming from an incident June 9 in which he was allegedly located at a residence of a person who had an order of protection against him. He was released under supervision of Genesee Justice and was due in court today (July 12); time not provided.

Michael Jackson Jr., 40, is charged with: second-degree assault; third-degree assault; second-degree strangulation; criminal obstruction of breathing; and unlawful imprisonment in the first degree. He was arrested July 2 in connection to an incident at 1:30 a.m. on June 10 on Hutchins Place. He was located by Greece PD with two warrants for his arrest out of Batavia City Court. He was arraigned in city court, held at GC Jail and is due to return to city court on July 29.

Robert Gerety, 48, is charged with aggravated family offense. He was arrested at 9:48 p.m. Feb. 28 on West Main Street, Batavia. He responded to Batavia PD headquarters on his own accord after allegedly violating a stay away order of protection while involved in a traffic stop. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court July 2 then released on his own recognizance.

Samantha Lawrence, 31, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. She was arrested June 29 after an investigation into an incident at 10 a.m. June 27 in which she is accused of violating an order of protection. It is alleged that she showed up to a protected party's workplace and that she had contact with the protected person. She was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on an unspecified date.

Christopher J. Wiegman, 32, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree -- criminal possession of a hypodermic needled. Wiegman was arrested July 3 at 10:12 a.m. in Bergen stemming from an incident May 10 on Raymond Avenue following the results of a drug report from the Monroe County Crime Laboratory. It is alleged that he possessed nine hypodermic needles and cocaine residue after a Genesee County Probation home search. Wiegman is due back in Batavia City Court on July 20.

Rae Cook, 32, is charged with second-degree harassment. She was arrested at 1:55 p.m. July 6 on North Lyons Street in the City of Batavia following an unspecified incident. Cook is due on July 27 in city court.

Crystal Marsceill, 40, is charged with petit larceny. Marsceill was arrested at 4:22 a.m. June 28 following an incident outside a Batavia residence on Jackson Street. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 13.

Jose Castro, 36, is charged with unlawful possession of fireworks.He was arrested at 8:30 p.m. on June 29 on Willow Street in the City of Batavia after allegedly setting off fireworks. Castro was issued an appearance ticket  for a later date, unspecified, in city court.

Matthew Zakrewski, no age provided, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration. Zakrewski was arrested on a warrant stemming from an incident at 9:26 p.m. June 28, 2019, on Osterhout Avenue in the City of Batavia. The original charge is based on an incident where the defendant allegedly fled from officers in an attempt to avoid arrest. He was scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court on July 6.

Jon Charles Brooks, 51, of Vroom Road, Spencerport, is charged with: aggravated DWI: per se -- with a BAC of .18 percent or more -- no priors; driving while intoxicated -- first offense; and failure to keep right on a two-lane road. At 3:18 p.m. on July 10 on Clinton Street Road in Bergen, Brooks was arrested after a traffic stop for a vehicle and traffic law violation. He is due in Town of Bergen Court on Aug. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

Gregory Solomonidis, no age provided, is charged with driving while intoxicated. He is accused of driving while having a BAC of .08 percent or more at 5:02 a.m. July 3 on East Main Street in Batavia. During the investigation, it was allegedly revealed that he was involved in an altercation and that he was intoxicated. Solomonidis was arrested, then issued traffic tickets and released.

John Wesley Harding, 64, of West Bank Street, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Harding was arrested at 3:40 p.m. July 9 at Walmart in Batavia after deputies responded there for a reported larceny complaint of $27.72 in merchandise. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Batavia Court on July 26. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre.

July 12, 2021 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tractor pulls, Alexander, Alexander Fire, sports.

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Dozens of pulling tractors and modified diesel trucks with the Empire State Pullers and Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League put on a show Saturday to a completely packed house at the Annual Alexander Fire Department Tractor Pulls. Red Creek brought the party and played to a crowd of hundreds in the beer tent to finish off the night.  

Class winners from the pulls are as follows:

  • SF: Frank Payne, Pure Luck
  • LSS: Roy Metz, Git-R-Done
  • MOD: Tom Durfee, Thumber 2
  • LPSDT: Jennifer Pushlar, Hellfire
  • HSS: Henry Everman, Final Decision

Photos and information by Philip Casper.

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July 12, 2021 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, clay target shooting.

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Le Roy's Aaron Leone finished out his high school trap shooting career with his third appearance at the USA Clay Target National Championship in Mason, Mich.

On the first day of the competition, he shot 97/100. On the second day, 98/100 with a reverse run of 81 straight hits to finish 32nd of 1,684 competitors.

Information and photo submitted by Tim McArdle.

July 12, 2021 - 1:53pm
posted by Press Release in news, Six Flags Darien Lake, project ed, hiring initiative.

Press release:

Six Flags Darien Lake, the Thrill Capital of New York, today announced the formal launch of Project Ed. This hiring initiative is an opportunity for all educators and school employees to earn extra cash this summer, free tickets, and school supplies for their classroom in the fall.

Participants will: be paid premium wages and those who work an average of 24 hours for eight weeks in a variety of leadership roles; have the opportunity to earn more than $3,000; and will automatically be entered into a raffle to earn up to $250 in gift cards for supplies in their classrooms.  

“Six Flags Darien Lake is committed to providing a fun work environment for job–seekers,” said Park President Mark Kane. “Our team members are our greatest asset and we hope our local educators will look at this opportunity as a great way to enjoy their summer and earn some extra money for their classroom.

"Educators and school employees went above and beyond this past school year and it’s our pleasure to offer this opportunity for them.” 

Six Flags has been recognized for the fifth year in a row as one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®, and was recently listed by Forbes Magazines as one of the country’s top 500 employers for diversity. 

To apply for positions, visit www.sixflags.com/darienlake/jobs for immediate openings.

July 12, 2021 - 1:52pm

diana_kastenbaum_.jpgThe Genesee Community College Board of Trustees tonight will welcome its newest member – Batavia native Diana Kastenbaum, who has been appointed to the eight-member board by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Kastenbaum, chief executive officer of Pinnacle Manufacturing Co. Inc., a Batavia business for more than 45 years, was notified of the gubernatorial appointment on June 1.

She will join the Board of Trustees for the first time tonight at the college’s Annual Meeting.

“We are excited to welcome Diana Kastenbaum to our Board of Trustees," said GCC President James Sunser, Ed.D. “Diana's experience as a local business leader is vital to our goal of supporting workforce development in our community via talented GCC graduates.

“We thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for making this appointment to our Board.”

Kastenbaum said she is thrilled to have been selected and is eager to help the board advance its mission.

“I’m very honored and feel very privileged that the governor chose me,” Kastenbaum said. “I’m very excited about working on the board. It’s certainly the biggest appointment I’ve ever had.”

Kastenbaum will complete the term of Laura Bohm, who relocated to Rochester. The term ends in June 2022, and at that time she would be eligible for reappointment.

A graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she earned her bachelor of arts degree, Kastenbaum took the helm of her family business in 2014. She is one of only a handful of women CEOs in the manufacturing field of tool and die casting in North America.

Additionally, she owned her own tech consulting company for 25 years.

Kastenbaum has been active on the political scene, including a 2016 campaign as the Democratic candidate for the 27th Congressional District seat. She also has served as vice president of the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council Board of Directors and in the same position of the Landmark Society of Genesee County.

She is married to actor and comedian Hiram Kasten. The couple has a daughter, Millicent, who is a student at Fordham University School of Law in New York City.

July 12, 2021 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA: 

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.15, up 2 cents in the past week. One year ago, the price was $2.20. The New York State average is $3.19 – up 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.26. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $3.16 (up 2 cents since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $3.12 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $3.18 (no change since last week)
  • Rochester -- $3.16 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $3.25 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $3.16 (no change cents since last week)
  • Watertown -- $3.21 (up 1 cent since last week)

Gas demand is on the rise. In a recent report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that gas demand jumped from to 10.04 million barrels per day.

The estimated rate, which will likely be revised in a few months after verified data is available, is the highest weekly gas demand estimate released by EIA since 1991 and only reflects one day of the Independence Day holiday weekend.

Higher demand and a 6.1-million-barrel decline in total gas stocks over the holiday last week have pushed pump prices higher. If these trends continue, while the price of crude remains above $70 per barrel, American drivers can expect gas prices to continue climbing during the busy summer driving season.

From GasBuddy:

"While the national average has seen a slight rise over the last week, we may see some stabilization coming to the pump as oil prices hold just under their 2021 peak from last week," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"Without additional crude oil supply coming online in the weeks ahead, we could see oil test $80 per barrel in the next couple of weeks. However, with U.S. gasoline demand falling slightly last week, we may have already seen peak consumption with the July 4 holiday.

"While the jury isn't quite in on that just yet, we're potentially only four to six weeks away from gas prices beginning a seasonal decline that we're likely all eagerly awaiting."

July 12, 2021 - 12:23pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Department of Social Services today (July 12) announced that the Federal government, through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, is providing funding to support eligible former foster youth through the coronavirus pandemic with financial assistance. The awards range from $5,000 to $12,000.

According to the New York State Department of Children and Family Services those eligible include young adults, 18 through 26 years of age, who were formerly in foster care in New York State after the age of 14. Funding awards are available through Sept. 30, 2021.

Funding awards available through Sept. 30, 2022 for young adults, 18 through 20 years of age, who were formerly in foster care in New York after the age of 14 and otherwise eligible for funding from New York State.

Any 20-year-old currently in foster care or 21 years old who remains in foster care can access the additional fund awards. Other youth currently in care can receive services, resources and financial assistance through local counties' annual allocations.

“We encourage any Genesee County resident who fulfills the criteria to visit the website created to apply for these awards,” said Ben Dennis, director of Social Services at Genesee County. “The pandemic has deeply impacted so many people, including the foster care population and people should know there are resources to help them as we emerge out of this public health crisis.”

It should be noted that eligibility requirements are subject to change without prior notification.

The link to apply for the cash awards is here.

July 12, 2021 - 11:08am

Governmental leaders in the towns of Darien and Pembroke and Village of Corfu say they will be putting their heads together to determine how to proceed in connection with Genesee County’s new sales tax and revenue distribution proposal.

“We will be having a discussion in the coming days,” said Pembroke Town Supervisor Thomas Schneider Jr. this morning as he contemplates the pros and cons of the county’s offer to either share a fixed $10 million in sales tax revenue with towns and villages, or a combination of sales tax and other revenue over the next 38 years.

As indicated in a story on The Batavian on Friday, Genesee County Manager Matt Landers and Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein presented their plan to town supervisors and village mayors last Wednesday at a meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

The amended strategy currently boils down to two options:

  • The first one being a $10 million annual distribution of sales tax revenue, contingent upon all the county’s towns and villages opting into an updated water supply agreement by mid-August;
  • The second one being that without universal update water supply agreements, the county would allot $7 million in annual sales tax distributions and pass annual revenue distribution resolutions for another $3 million – minus water surcharges to the municipalities that do not opt in.

Darien, Pembroke and Corfu have yet to agree to the revised plan.

Schneider, noting that the Town of Pembroke is proactive in “generating as much new business growth as possible,” said it is vital for his town to receive as much as possible in sales tax and/or revenue sharing.

“However, I don’t really like the fact that it’s a locked amount for 38 years,” he said. “With that, we don’t get to share in the growth, and we do include sales tax revenue in our budgets. We really don’t have a lot of power since we can’t collect sales tax.”

He said he also would like to see changes in the county’s Smart Growth plan, mentioning situations where some property owners are unable to hook into nearby water lines.

Schneider did acknowledge that the county is open to sharing more revenue over that period of time if conditions allow.

“I would think that if the county keeps more sales tax, then it would lower the tax rate or share more with the towns to take pressure off of the taxpayers,” he said, adding that Landers and Stein are scheduled to talk with Pembroke Town Board members at their workshop on July 22.

Darien Town Supervisor Steve Ferry Jr. mentioned that over the past 20 years, those three municipalities have been paying more for water than the other towns and villages due to the fact that the county has to buy water from Erie County “to supplement that because they can not move enough water efficiently through the county to get to us.”

“At this point in time, we’re paying $1.14 more (per 1,000 gallons) than what the rest of the county is paying,” he said, adding that no action has been proposed to provide an equalization rate to Darien, Pembroke and Corfu.

Ferry said that stabilization of the water rate would go a long way toward the Darien Town Board signing the new agreement.

“But as it stands, the agreement is a little tilted unfairly for the western side of the county,” he said.

Stein said that she spoke with Ferry over the weekend to clear up any misconceptions that he may have had.

“In a sales tax agreement, a distribution has to be straightforward and there can be no reductions to make the county whole for that water surcharge. There’s no allowance for that in a sales tax agreement per the (state) Comptroller,” she said.

As far as the $3 million figure set aside for voluntary revenue sharing based on the taxable assessed value of all the municipalities, Stein said that amount ensures there will be enough to secure the water surcharge from Darien, Corfu and Pembroke and the growth going forward for 38 years.

Stein said the county has to make sure it can make the debt payments on the bond due to the Monroe County Water Authority for bringing more water into the county as “unfortunately, there are still areas in our county that do not have access to public water.”

She said the most important aspect of the plan is that the county and City of Batavia are open to bringing towns and villages back into the sales tax agreement.

“This means that they have, for 38 years, a foundation of funding for their communities that currently they do not have,” she said. “This is a big win for every single town and village, and it allows for flexibility far forward into our future.”

Previously: Genesee County leaders present plans to distribute $10 million in sales tax/other revenue to towns and villages

July 11, 2021 - 6:38pm

With it looking more and more as though a new City of Batavia Police Department headquarters will be constructed on the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street, city leaders are trying to figure out the best course of action for the current station at 10 W. Main St.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, in a memo dated July 2, is recommending that City Council pass a resolution to support the Batavia Development Corp.’s submission for a 2021 Consolidate Funding Application under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

The item is part of the agenda for Monday night’s City Council Conference and Business Meetings at the City Hall Council Board Room, starting at 7 o’clock.

Tabelski wrote that the grant, if received, would be used to hire a design firm “to prepare building reuse analysis, renderings and cost estimates for the reuse and rehabilitation of the historic former Brisbane Mansion.” That report would set the stage for the application of a future NY Main Street building renovation grant.

Per the memo, the BDC is interested in helping ensure proper historical renovation and restoration of the building,

CLICK HERE for a history of the Brisbane Mansion written in 2015 by Larry Barnes, city historian. Relocating the police force has been a topic of discussion even before that year.

Tabelski wrote that the goal is to find a private developer to purchase the property, rehabilitate it and eventually return it to the tax rolls.

Deadline for the CFA grant submission is the end of this month.

Phone calls to Sharon Burkel, chair of the City Historic Preservation Committee, for comment were not returned by the time of the posting of this story.

In a related development, replacement of the current police station’s flat roof is moving forward in the form of a resolution that, although not complete, provides City Council with an update on the project.

According to a memo from Maintenance Superintendent Ray Tourt to Tabelski dated July 1, the roof sections over the 1960s addition and over the rear vestibule have deteriorated to the point that the roof is no longer waterproof and the insulation has become saturated.

Last month, Council approved the use of $100,000 from the facility reserve fund to replace these sections.

Tourt advised that the Department of Public Works is in the bidding process and will recommend a contractor in the near future.

The resolution would authorize Council to award the contract to the responsible low bidder.

Other agenda items:

  • Resolutions accepting a pair of awards from Genesee County STOP-DWI to the Batavia Police Department – one for $32,981 to fund enforcement nights, training, equipment/supplies and calibration/repairs related to driving while intoxicated enforcement and the other for $2,400 to fund high visibility checkpoints during the July 4 (which has passed) and Labor Day (Aug. 20 through Sept. 6) holiday periods.
  • A public hearing concerning the application of a Community Development Block Grant to help fund an estimated $1.36 million project to replace 4- and 6-inch water lines on Jackson Street with 2,250 linear feet of 8-inch water main. Tabelski previously indicated that the grant, if received, could fund up to 90 percent of the project cost. Council is expected to vote on the resolution during the Business Meeting.
  • A resolution to set a public hearing for Aug. 9 to formally (and finally) approve the rezoning of the 211 and 211 ½ E. Main St. parcels from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) to accommodate the Healthy Living campus project of the GLOW YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center. The City Planning & Development Committee recommended the rezoning for both properties on May 18 and June 15, respectively, stating that the C-3 designation is consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2017.
  • A request from Batavia Brewing Co./Eli Fish Brewing Co. for an Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 18, starting at 4 p.m., at Jackson Square. A 20- by 20-foot tent with a dozen picnic tables will be set up for the event, which will feature food, beverages and the sounds of The Frankfurters, (photo below), a German music band out of Buffalo that also is known as “The Best of the Wurst."

frankfurters_.jpg

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