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covid-19

April 2, 2020 - 4:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, covid-19, news.
Public Notice

 

All Town of Bethany meetings are cancelled for the month of April at this time due to the COVID-19 issue under this State of Emergency.

The Town offices are closed to the public until further notice but are minimally staffed during the Towns normal work hours.

Bethany Town Court is closed until further notice.

If you have to make a payment or need something please call so we can safely fulfill your needs.

Remember self quarantine and keep your distance. If you do not have to venture to the store stay home. It may save someones life.

If there are seniors or shut- ins in the Town of Bethany that need assistance please contact the Town Supervisor and we will make arrangements to help.

Carl Hyde Jr.

Bethany Town Supervisor

April 2, 2020 - 4:43pm


For additional support, to apply for a loan, or to deposit your check from your mobile phone, please visit www.tvfcubatavia.com today!

April 2, 2020 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received one new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of 17 positive cases
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the central part of Genesee County
    • Orleans County: Has no new cases and is at a total of six positive cases
    • The new positive case was not under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms become present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus. When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts

Cumulative Data

covidbriefapr22020.png

  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • We are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Social distancing must be practiced in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means canceling events such as parties, celebrations, and neighborhood gatherings where people congregate together. This also means that children and adults should not play contact sports. These are temporary requests that will help stop the spread of the virus so that we can resume normal activities. If you must go to the store, always maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and other people.
  • Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. If you work with a vulnerable population, self-monitor prior to going to work, if you become sick while at work, contact your supervisor immediately and leave the premises to decrease the risk of contact with others. When not working, follow social distancing and limit time in public.
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher risk categories – elderly and immune compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.
  • Older Adults: The Office for the Aging in both counties continues to operate. They are still providing meals to their residents and are working with their vendors to provide the potential increase in meals to the residents they serve.
    • For Genesee County: NYConnects / Office for the Aging call (585) 343-1611 Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    • For Orleans County: Older Adults in Orleans County can contact Arc of Genesee Orleans Nutrition Program at 589-5424 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Office for the Aging staff members are coordinating with Meals on Wheels to ensure meal delivery to seniors in need. The staff are keeping their spirits up to stay safe and still deliver smiles with nutrition. There is a suggested donation for meal delivery, but do not let cost get in the way of asking for this help. If you have concerns about not having enough food call NY Connects/Office for the Aging at 589-3191.
  • Anxiety, Depression, Fear: If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.
April 2, 2020 - 3:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, office for the aging, news, handyman program.

From the Genesee County Office for the Aging:

Handyman Program Update

The Handyman Program for Genesee County residents age 60 years and older will be limiting services during this time.

Due to the guidance provided by the State* and to protect the safety and well-being of the service recipient, requests for IN-HOME Handyman services will be prescreened and a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outdoor repairs will continue.

Requests for Handyman services may be made by calling NY Connects/Genesee County Office for the Aging at (585) 343-1611.

The Handyman Program is funded by the Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging and is administered by the PathStone Corporation. 

*UPDATED by Governor Cuomo's office at 4:01 p.m. today (April 2) NYS on PAUSE Extended: it mandates that nonessential workers work from home, and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Get the facts.

April 2, 2020 - 3:13pm

A Batavia author has penned a paean to The Stumblin' Inn in Elba, the storied landmark that burned down two years ago this summer.

Daniel J. Crofts was to speak at the Holland Land Office Museum April 23 about his fictional short story "Ignis Invictus,* a Eulogy for the Stumblin' Inn" as participants noshed pastries and sipped hot coffee during the kaffeeklatsch known as Java with Joe E., cancelled because of coronavirus, naturally.

"I worked in Elba for a little over five years, and had passed by the Inn every day," Crofts said in a recent email. "But it wasn't until reading The Batavian's coverage following the July 2018 fire that I learned just how important it had been to the Elba community.

"I have always been interested in storytelling, and felt that a short story that would function as a sort of memorial for the Stumblin' Inn would be appropriate and, perhaps, welcomed."

Crofts said his tale is about a man from out of the area who drives into Elba, sees the wreck of the Stumblin' Inn (after the fire had occurred but before the debris was cleared), and treats it disrespectfully.

Then he meets a mysterious, supernatural guide (like the ghosts of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," or Virgil from Dante's "The Divine Comedy") who takes him on a journey through the history of the Stumblin' Inn, its predecessors, and Elba in general (insofar as it is relevant to the Inn).

Of course, Crofts' book ($10.50) is stocked at the Holland Land Office Museum, which is temporarily closed because of the pandemic.

HLOM Offers Online Book Sales

It is among a number of intriguing titles in the HLOM bookstore inventory, which are available for purchase online.

Also on the list: "The Story of the Muck as Told By Those Who Worked There," ($12) written by the late William F. Brown Jr., and researched by Anne Marie Starowitz; and "Up South -- Folk Stories Whispered on the Summer Wind and Seen Through the Green Leaves" ($24.99), by Lynda Breckenridge Gaetano; and "Transfiguration and Hope -- A Conversation About Time and Hope" ($21.99) by D. Gregory Van Dussen, about spiritual journeys infinite and eternal, and the power of grace.

There are battlefield maps for purchase and titles about wars and veterans, baseball, the Erie Canal, Buffalo gangsters, Native Americans and pioneers, railroads, Genesee County architecture, haunted places, leading citizens, lore, and WNY amusement park rides.

A tiny brass cannon collectible can be had 10 bucks. It spurs remembrance of the actual cannons that stood outside the museum for more than a century. Last November, those were carefully dismantled and sent to Altoona, Pa., for a $20,000 period-accurate restoration, half paid by the museum and half through funds from an ongoing fundraising campaign called "Ready. Aim. Donate."

And if you need some soap to wash your hands good and clean of COVID-19, the bookstore's online inventory also lists prettily wrapped, handmade goat's milk soap, three cakes for $12, with fragrances such as green tea, rose hip, and lavender mint.

Meanwhile, HLOM is using this time of closure to take stock of its operation and programs and is asking people to complete a survey to help them better serve the community.

(Ignis Invictus is Latin for: Fire or Passion + Invincible or Undefeated, etc.)

Editor's Note: Below is a YouTube video of the Stumblin' Inn fire July 8, 2018, by Elba resident Lucine Kauffman, along with our news partner WBTA:

Also, video of the cannons being loaded for their restoration trip.

Video Sponsor
April 2, 2020 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Gov. Cuomo's briefing for April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, live stream.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Teresa VanSon, director of the Genesee County Job Bureau.

UPDATE: Oops, I messed up and didn't save the code for the video player right prior to the interview. Sorry. Here's the recorded interview.

UPDATE: Here are resources mentioned during the interview:

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Genesee County Job Development Bureau

April 2, 2020 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, video, district attorney.
Video Sponsor

This morning we're talking with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman about how social distancing and quarantines are affecting the justice system.

UPDATE: This is a reposted recording of the live stream interview to fix a dropped signal at the beginning of the interview.

April 2, 2020 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, education, news, micro-credential, digital badge, covid-19.

 

Press release:

Today's competitive workforce is in a constant state of evolution even before the COVID-19 Pandemic. The introduction of new systems, products and services, and the drive for improved efficiencies in an ever-challenging marketplace require employers to evaluate, update and realign teams to best meet the changing demands of their industry.

To help employees build their skill sets and keep up, Genesee Community College is excited to open enrollment for its first micro-credential programs available this fall semester, which begins Aug. 31.

Micro-credentials are academic programs, similar to degree programs that have been dramatically trimmed to just nine to 15 credit hours that include only core courses relevant to specific skills, training and knowledge in that discipline.

Designed to be earned in as quickly as one semester, a micro-credential is the ideal way to build a resume to take advantage of career advancement opportunities, get started in a new industry, or even to explore a career path without the commitment of an expensive or time-consuming four-year degree.

GCC's micro-credential programs offer students a high-quality education in a reduced time frame and limited cost -- only course tuition plus course-related books and fees.

The first micro-credential programs GCC has made available for enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester are:

  • The Human Resource Management Micro-Credential focuses on human resources including legal compliance, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, recruitment, retention and much more!
  • The NYS Coaching Certification Micro-Credential provides a solid first step toward becoming a coach, athletic instructor or trainer. It also satisfies the requirement for anyone seeking a coaching career in any public school in New York State.

"Since its inception, Genesee Community College has prioritized the needs of the communities we serve by helping to ensure our graduates and their employers benefit from the most current and relevant technologies available," said Kathleen (Kate) M. Schiefen, Ed.D., provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

"Micro-credentials allow us to deliver on both of those priorities in a very big way. For many people, from incumbent workers to those facing layoff, a micro-credential in one or two semesters with incredibly reasonable tuition and 100-percent online access can change a career trajectory and help secure a whole family."

The online learning component of the new micro-credentials is another way the programs enable student success, particularly for those who may be juggling the responsibility of family, healthcare needs, transportation issues or jobs.

Upon completion of a micro-credential program, students receive an official college transcript that documents their earned academic credit as well as a specific digital badge that highlights those core skills and competencies that employers search for on resumes, LinkedIn pages and other social media channels.

The digital badge, representing the earned micro-credential, sets a GCC candidate apart from the rest.

Additionally, earned micro-credentials generate SUNY academic college credits which are transferable and can be applied toward additional academic degrees in the future including:

  • GCC associate degrees and certificates;
  • SUNY to SUNY Pathways and Seamless Transfer programs;
  • GCC's many (150+) transfer agreements with baccalaureate institutions;
  • Most colleges and universities nationwide.

Individuals who are interested in earning a micro-credential in Human Resource Management should contact, Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., GCC assistant professor and director of Business and Commerce, [email protected], 585-343-0055, ext. 6319.

To discuss the NYS Coaching Certification Micro-Credential, contact Becky Dziekan, GCC professor and director of Health and Physical Education, 585-343-0055, ext. 6424 and [email protected].

"GCC is excited about developing additional micro-credential programs in the near future," Schiefen added. "While these are ideal for working adults looking to advance in their careers by attaining the skills necessary to keep up with their changing job duties, micro-credentials are also perfect for young adults to help them qualify for entry level positions or to explore brand new career paths."

April 2, 2020 - 10:27am

From Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer:

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has severely damaged many small businesses and left thousands of hardworking Western New Yorkers unemployed. As your State Senator, I am working to provide critical support to employees who are out of work and struggling small businesses. 

Recent changes have been made to the New York State Unemployment Assistance Program as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, more residents -- including some small business owners -- are eligible for benefits.

Below is information that may be helpful in answering any questions you may have.

​In addition, the state is waiving the seven day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.  

Those who need to apply for unemployment can do so here.

Please continue to check my website, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov, or connect with me on facebook for the latest updates regarding the resources available to employees and employers.

April 1, 2020 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

New Cases

  • As of 2 p.m. today:
    • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 16 positive cases;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the central part of Genesee County;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the western part of Genesee County;
    • One under the age of 65 residing in the western part of Genesee County;
    • For Orleans: Has no new cases and is at a total of six positive cases;
    • In Genesee County, two individuals that were under mandatory quarantine tested positive and are now under mandatory isolation.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all the new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms become present). If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus. When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts. Some in the community continue to voice requests about knowing the locations of individuals who have tested positive, those who are being monitored and where they have been in the county so that they may know where to avoid. The current situation is that every place is potentially a location that you could catch the virus. If would be a disservice to our communities to share specific locations that could indicate that there is any area in either county that is unaffected by the threat of COVID-19. Please stay at home as much as possible, please stay home if you are sick, please encourage others to do the same and please show kindness to others.

Cumulative Data

covidchargeapril12020.png

  • Healthcare providers are advising patients undergoing swabbing that are symptomatic (based on availability and screening for high-risk) for COVID-19 to self-isolate until test results are received and COVID-19 is ruled out. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Currently, NYS clearance protocol for discontinuation of mandatory isolation for persons with confirmed COVID-19 is the following: it has been at least seven days since the initial positive test for COVID-19, at least three days without fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, and improvement in the signs and symptoms of the illness. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine/isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time. We will be announcing further information on this as local capacity increases.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Please remain home if ill, even if a person has a negative COVID-19 result it is important to continue to limit physical contact. Flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. If you work with a vulnerable population, self-monitor prior to going to work, if you become sick while at work, contact your supervisor immediately and leave the premises to decrease the risk of contact with others. When not working, follow social distancing and limit time in public.
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. Swabbing will be based on those who are in higher-risk categories – elderly and immune-compromised and those with underlying health issues.
    • Swab sample results are coming back slower than expected. With more testing, we expect this will continue. Whenever anyone is swabbed for potential COVID-19, self-isolation is advised until the test result is received.
  • Take media breaks: If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fear about this outbreak call the Care + Crisis Helpline at 585-283-5200, text 741741 or call the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 884-863-9314, they have trained listeners available 24/7 to help you through this.
  • Nature Breaks and Parks: We are getting reports of groups not practicing social distancing. This is not a time for playgroups. Parents remind your children they are to keep their distance from non-household members to limit the spread of disease. State Parks are free with limited services available. Local parks may close or limit access to adhere to state guidelines.
    • Fore guidance on Responsible Recreations During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis, click here.
    • For Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation COVID-19 Updates, click here.

FRAUD ALERT – Watch out for Scams!

  • At this time there are no FDA-approved drugs or treatments for COVID-19.
  • There are also no over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. If you get an email, phone call, offer by mail or other solicitation for these scams, hang up and ignore them.
  • This is a very important warning to reinforce for every County resident.
  • The best medical advice for you comes from your healthcare provider.

NEW YORK STATE CASES / RESTRICTIONS / GUIDANCE

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at his press conference there are now a total of 83,712 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in NYS.
  • 12,226 (15 percent) COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
  • The Governor has extended NY PAUSE program (nonessential workers down to 0 percent) until April 15; this will be evaluated every two weeks.
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health within 60 days of losing coverage. https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/
  • The President and CDC have ordered a travel advisory (NY, NJ & CT) – this is not a lockdown, these federal actions support state actions to date. It is OK to be outside in your yard, ride bikes, visit a state park for walks, to take rides in your vehicle, however congregating and taking the family shopping does not comply with social distancing (keeping 6 feet from others, limiting time out in public).
April 1, 2020 - 3:36pm

Press release:

In an effort to assist its employees with unexpected financial burdens faced during the current COVID-19 crisis, Tompkins Financial is offering a discount loan program to non-executive Tomkins employees who have encountered increased expenses or decreased income. These include spouse or domestic partner’s job loss, and unexpected costs for elder care or child care.

In addition, Tompkins has instituted a premium of up to 25 percent additional pay for employees whose essential work requires them to be on-site.

“Banks have been deemed to provide an essential service to our customers and communities and this is a way we can show our appreciation to our employees,” said John McKenna, president and CEO. “We understand that while we as a company are fortunate enough to maintain our workforce during this time, our team members may have spouses or partners who experience job loss.

"We also appreciate that they may experience unexpected costs related to the pandemic. We want our team members to know that Tompkins is standing by them in the same way they are standing by our customers.”

The premium pay model will apply to both exempt and non-exempt non-executive employees whose work requires them to report to a Tompkins location to perform essential job duties.

About Tompkins Bank of Castile

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 15 offices in the six-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. In addition, insurance is offered through an affiliate company, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Wealth management, trust and investment services are provided through Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information about the bank is available on its website, www.bankofcastile.com.

April 1, 2020 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • Governor Cuomo: "The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that's not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don't think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal. Right? Like we're seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place.
  • "Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let's make sure we're taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson.
  • "The question is, how do you get up? ... We are in control of that. And we have to start to think about that. We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again? And something like this will happen again."

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:

"As a society, beyond just this immediate situation, we should start looking forward to understanding how this experience is going to change us, or how it should change us, because this is going to be transformative. It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis. We're never going to be the same again. We're not going to forget what happened here.

"The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that's not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don't think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal. Right? Like we're seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place.

"Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let's make sure we're taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson.

"You could get wary of intimacy, and contact, and density. "Social distancing, don't go near anyone." What a terrible thing to live with as a human being. What a cruel torture. "Isolate yourself from other people. Be afraid of hugging someone." Just think how emotionally and personally repugnant that concept is, right? We crave human connection, and now we're being told that could be dangerous. You can't kiss. You can't hug. You can't hold hands. So how we come out of this, and making sure that it's positive and not negative. How do we learn from this? And how do we grow from this, right?

"Society, life -- you will get knocked on your rear end. You will deal with pain. You will deal with death. You will deal with setback. You will deal with suffering. The question is, how do you get up? First, do you get up? And second, if you get up, how do you get up? Do you get up smarter? Do you get up wiser? Or do you get up bitter, and do you get up angry? And do you get up fearful? We are in control of that.

"And we have to start to think about that. We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again? And something like this will happen again. 'Oh, no, this is a once in a lifetime, never again.' Something like this will happen again. We're seeing it in the environment. We're seeing it with floods, we're seeing it with hurricanes. Something like this will happen again. You can't just turn off the economy like a light switch.

"How do governments work together? You can't figure it out on the fly -- what the federal government does, what the state government does, what the local governments do. Figure it out before. Learn the lessons from this. Telemedicine, and tele-education. We have closed the schools. Well, why weren't we ready with a tele-education system? Why weren't we better with telemedicine? Why didn't we have the capacity to have that's lines on people coming in to give the same basic diagnosis and the same basic advice? Why don't we have medical supplies made in this country? Why are we shopping in china for basic medical supplies? Why don't we gear our medical research to these types of threats and challenges, which we know are on the horizon? We know these viruses are changing. We know they mutate. Why don't we get ahead of it?

"You still have to run society. Let's talk about first responder capacity. We now have first responders who are getting sick, and the workforce is dropping. That was inevitable, right? That was going to happen. What's the backup to that situation? And let's talk about societal stability, and engagement at times of crisis. You can't just tell everyone, "go home and lock your doors and sit on your couch and order takeout," for the foreseeable future. That's not who we are. It's not even a mental health issue. It's just, it's a personal health issue. It's how we relate to one another. We're not built to be isolated for long periods of time and not have human contact. So how do we deal with that?

"And these are the types of questions that we have to start to think through. But not today. That is the next challenge, I believe. And that is what we're going to have to think about soon. But for now, one crisis at a time, as they say. And we are planning to handle the current crisis, preparing for the battle on the mount, which is what we are doing every day. And that's what we are doing. And not only are we doing it, but we have to succeed at it. You know? Government process is very good at saying, 'well, we're trying. We're working on this. We're doing our best. We're doing our best.'

"Winston Churchill, 'it is no use saying we're doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.' Tad harsh goes with that expression, which I think you could say, a tad harsh. Handsome, but a tad harsh, but it's true. And that's what I say to my team every day. This is beyond best efforts. This is beyond, 'I'm working very hard.' We have to get this done. We have succeeded. We have to find a way. We have to make it happen because too much is at stake."

April 1, 2020 - 3:25pm

Press release:

VA Western New York Healthcare System is committed to providing high-quality care while keeping veterans safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures and out of concern for our veterans, we are honoring current social isolation and distancing guidelines,” said Michael J. Swartz, executive director, VA Western New York Healthcare System.

“Through VA’s virtual care tools, we are able to leverage available technology to make sure that our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.”

To help us address our Veterans’ most-urgent needs first, VA Western New York Healthcare System asks that Veterans use our online tools for routine or non-urgent questions.

Here are some examples:

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans can receive care at home — either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets.

To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans may also call, but VA is requesting that veterans only call with urgent needs at this time.

To learn more about VA Video Connect, click here.

Prescription Refills – Veterans can request prescription refills and order and ship medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19.

This application helps Veterans monitor for symptoms and can assist if they need to contact their VA facility for care. Enroll at mobile.va.gov/annie.

Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to your VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov.

For more information about VA’s Connected Care technologies, visit connectedcare.va.gov or buffalo.va.gov.

April 1, 2020 - 3:04pm
Press release:

The City of Batavia's Law Street Yard Waste Station will open with temporary hours beginning on Monday, April 6th for City residents to dispose of yard waste. 

Until further notice, the yard waste station will open at 8 a.m. and close at 2 p.m., Monday through Friday during normal business days for the City of Batavia.

All customers are asked to the abide by social distancing policies put forth by the Genesee County Department of Health, New York State Department of Health and the CDC.

Specific instructions include:

  • Use the Law Street entrance to enter and exit the City Yard Waste Station only.
  • Distance yourself at least six feet from any employees or other customers.
  • Do not visit the Yard Waste Station if you are sick and/or have COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath).
  • Please wash your hands thoroughly before and after your visiting the Yard Waste Station.
  • Sanitize containers or vehicles used to transport yard waste.

As a reminder, the City does not provide spring curbside pickup of yard waste materials (grass, leaves and limbs) and City residents are encouraged to bring these material to the Law Street Yard Waste Station as needed.

The following items cannot be accepted at the station:

  • Tree stumps;
  • Building materials
  • Rock;
  • Fill (soil and stone), and other debris.

Yard waste needs to be free of trash (paper, plastic, bottles, cans…etc.), as this material cannot be processed. All containers (totes, boxes, bags, etc.) need to be taken back with the customer.

April 1, 2020 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, covid-19.

From the Genesee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors:

Like many of you, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the effect it is having on our community and around the world.

We’re dedicated to creating a safe environment for our patrons, musicians, and volunteers to enjoy beautiful music.

As a result of recent events, we have decided to make the following changes to our upcoming event calendar:

  • The String Workshop scheduled for March 28 is cancelled;
  • The Young Artist Competition scheduled for May 2 is postponed until further notice. Applications are on our GSO website. Katharine Wilson is the contact person:  [email protected]

We will continue to work with students andteachers from around the area to find opportunities for interested musicians to participate in future GSO events.

  • Our recital featuring Music Director and Conductor S. Shade Zajac and Brian Preston scheduled for April 19 will be postponed until further notice.
  • Our concert scheduled for May 3 at the Elba Central School Auditorium will be cancelled.

We are working diligently with musicians and special guests to find a time to perform this program for you in the near future, and as we make progress through this trying time we will keep everyone informed.

Our GSO would ask that you consider any of the Season Tickets which you purchased earlier be considered your donation to the orchestra’s yearly operating fund. If you request a ticket refund, please e-mail:   [email protected]

  • The GSO's drawing for its annual raffle, “Canandaigua Culinary Experience,” scheduled for Sunday, May 3 has been postponed. We will reschedule the drawing to coincide with Maestro Zajac’s recital in late May, and we will inform our patrons when a final date is selected. If you have purchased raffle tickets, they are in a safe place until the drawing takes place. Musicians and Board Members still have tickets to sell until the recital.

Lastly, Summer Serenade is still scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23rd, at The LeRoyan. More information/details will be coming as August nears.

The GSO will continue to work with relevant community leaders to operate in a manner consistent with recommendations from health offcials, government, and our event-hosting venues. Every decision we make is with you in mind.

We look forward to continuing to provide our community with wonderful music for years to come.

Thank you,

GSO Board of Directors

******************************************************************

From GSO Music Director and Conductor S. Shade Zajac:

"...These are indeed uncertain and troubling times, but we will work hard to make next season’s concerts all the more special. I would like to thank you for your continued support of this incredible and special orchestra.

"It is in times like these when music is most needed and so I hope you will keep us in your thoughts and music in your hearts. I wish you all health and I know we will see each other soon!

April 1, 2020 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news, arts, entertainment, covid-19, coronavirus.

GO ART! and The Batavian are teaming up to bring you a live arts event with an art contest, presentation of the Genean Awards, live performances, and a virtual tour of GO ART's gallery on April 15.

From GO ART! Executive Director Gregory Hallock:

GO ART! is seeking artists and heroes of all age levels to create a piece of art, in any media or size, in the theme of "Quarantine" and email a picture with the creator's name, grade level -- UPK - K, 1 - 2, 3 - 5, 6 - 8, 9 -12, college students, and adults (ones not doing the school thing anymore) -- to [email protected] by April 10th.

Pictures will go live on GO ART!'s Facebook page on April 11th. The one with the most likes between April 11th and 14th will win the grand prize. A jury will also pick a winner from each grade-level category.

Winners and prizes will be announced live on The Batavian at https://www.thebatavian.com between 7 and 8 p.m. on April 15th.

I promise ye will like them.

The winners of the Genean Awards, GO ART!'s Arts and Culture Awards, live performances, a tour of GO ART!'s galleries and Genean's (GO ART!'s) birthday will all be a part of the hour-long event on April 15th. Artists, heroes, and villagers are all invited to attend.

Watch the video and see Hallock read a COVID-19 version of Kelly DiPucchio's children's book, "Dragon was Terrible."

April 1, 2020 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, video, crossroads house, news, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Jeff Allen, executive director of Crossroads House. 

In the interview, Allen talks about the decision to pause resident care at Crossroads House while continuing to provide services to the community.

He also fills us in on plans for the "Corona Convoy" organized by Bruce Scofield. Allen, who is trained in disaster response and crisis care, also shares his advice for the community and individuals.

If anyone wants to join the convoy on Sunday, contact Scofield at (585) 704-7482.

March 31, 2020 - 7:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

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In early March, the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, told Americans to stop buying masks.

With very good reason: if the general public buys up the supply of masks, especially all of the N95 masks (the best at blocking airborne viruses from entering your respiratory system), there wouldn't be enough for the people who really need them, such as doctors and nurses.

But many health care experts have been questioning recently the rest of the surgeon general's message: That masks are ineffective at protecting you from coronavirus.

Now the Center for Disease Control is considering rescinding its recommendation against general public mask wearing.

Before we discuss why it might be a good idea for all people in public to wear masks, let's remember the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is:

With that knowledge, should you worry about package delivery? The experts say, "no." The risk is very low.

What about food delivery and take out? Again, the risk is very low, and COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and even if it were to enter your digestive system, it wouldn't survive to infect you.

However, it's always good to remember when dealing with other people or touching surfaces, maintain social distancing and wash or sanitize your hands immediately.

Service workers should sanitize their hands after every exchange.

Now, about masks.

It's important to know, masks by themselves won't protect you. Even the best N95 mask is imperfect protection and surgical mask, the kind that loosely covers your nose and mouth, is designed to protect others from germs you might be spreading, not to protect you. Because they don't form a tight seal around your nose and mouth, air (which can contain droplets containing the virus) flows around the edges of the mask into your respiratory system.

Here's the argument for masks:

  • You can contract coronavirus and be infectious without showing any symptoms or showing only minor symptoms. That means you could potentially be a carrier of COVID-19 and not know it. If you go into public you can spread SARS-CoV-2 to other people and never know it. If you're wearing a mask, you present much less of a risk to other people, people who might be much more susceptible to the disease.
  • There is much that scientists don't know about COVID-19 but there is a theory that viral load (how much virus a person breaths in before the infection takes hold) affects health outcomes. There is some speculation that wearing a mast might reduce the viral load if you are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2. We don't know, but as one medical journal noted, the lack of evidence for effectiveness isn't proof of ineffectiveness.
  • If more people wear masks in public, it will reduce the social embarrassment or stigmatization associated with wearing masks. 
  • And as Dr. Neil Aberneth noted in our discussion today, maintaining your mental health is important during this pandemic and if wearing a mask makes you feel more comfortable and safer in public, you should wear a mask.

Do you know where mask wearing is common? In South Korea, which, even though that country had its first official case of COVID-19 on the same day as the United States, has had far fewer positive cases and fewer deaths. 

So, should you go out and buy face masks? Well, even if you wanted to, good luck finding them. Surgical masks on Amazon.com won't be available until at least May. Besides, whatever supply of professionally made masts might be available should first go to health care professionals. That leaves, "Do It Yourself (DIY)." Below are some videos on making your own face mask.  

If you do wear a face mask here are some important guidelines from healthline.com:

  • Wearing a mask alone will not prevent you from getting a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Careful handwashing and social (physical) distancing must also be followed.
  • Wash your hands before you put on your mask.
  • If you are wearing a mask, avoid touching it the front of it. You can transfer the virus from your hands to the mask.
  • You can also transfer the virus from the mask to your hands. Wash your hands if you touch the front of the mask.
  • Know how to put on and remove a mask by touching the elastic ear straps only.
  • Do not wear a mask if you are healthy and in self-quarantine.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. This may help prevent spreading the virus to others.
  • If you think you may have the SARS-CoV-2 infection, wear a mask. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have any symptoms.
  • Wear a mask if you are caring for someone who may have a SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease. It may help prevent you from catching the infection.
  • Don’t write your name or initials on your mask as that will inactivate it.
  • Do not reuse a worn mask. It may have the virus on it.
  • Throw away used masks in a closed bin.

Related Links:

Here are a couple of videos from YouTube about making face masks at home. There are dozens of others if you search for them. There are a lot of options. Just remember, don't buy them (you probably can't anyway), make them.

And if you're willing and able to make them for other people, drop me a line, [email protected], with information on how people can get them, and we'll compile and publish a list.

March 31, 2020 - 5:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Le Roy, our lady of mercy, bells.

Press release: 

On Sunday, Dec. 8th, 10:30 a.m. the bells at Our Lady of Mercy rang out for the first time since spring of 2017, after extensive work to replace the mechanisms that ring the bells, including the motors, the striker, and controller. The ceremonial ringing included a blessing of the new system by Fr. Matthew H. Phelan, O. de M., pastor.

Since that time, each day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the bells have tolled in clock tower fashion at the top of the hour with a single toll at the bottom of the hour. In addition, the Angelus bell — a call to prayer for Catholics — has rung at noon and 6 p.m. [The traditional 6 a.m. ring is bypassed out of respect for local codes.] On weekends, a call to prayer rings 5 minutes before each Sunday Mass.

This past weekend, a request was made by some neighbors to alter the ringing schedule out of consideration for health care professionals who were working overnight hours due to the COVID-19 crisis. The pastor decided to temporarily silence the bells in order to consult with the pastoral council and weigh the opinions of parishioners and the citizens of Le Roy. After a weekend of consultation, lively discussion through social media, silence, and prayerful consideration, it has been determined that bells shall be programmed according to the following parameters:

While the COVID-19 (coronavirus) social distancing guidelines are in place for the State of New York:

  • The church bells will continue to ring the Angelus at noon and 6pm.
  • In addition to the Angelus, the bells will ring a traditional “death knell,” or funeral tollat 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to call to mind those who of have died due to this pandemic and as
  • reminder to pray for all those who place their lives in danger for others.

The first day social distancing guidelines are lifted:

  • The bells will ring in celebration at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

  • The funeral toll will ring at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  • The Angelus will ring at noon and 6 p.m.

Following this day of both celebration and prayer, the bells will return to the previous ringing pattern that followed the repairs.

Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 44 Lake St., Le Roy, is a ministry of the Order of the B.V.M. of Mercy - Mercedarian Friars.

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