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October 31, 2021 - 4:56pm

eugene_jankowski_jr-162x203.jpeg

Eugene Jankowski has served two terms as councilman-at-large and president of Batavia City Council. A firm believer in fiscal responsibility, Jankowski wants to serve as a guardian of the taxpayer’s money to ensure the city gets the best bang for its buck. A former officer and K-9 officer with Batavia City Police Department, Jankowski earned the 2013 Kiwanis Club Criminal Justice Award, is an active member of National Tactical Officers Association, New York Tactical Officers Association, FBI National Academy Association, International Defensive Pistol Association, US Practical Shooting Association, 3 Gun Nation (semi-pro), and a NRA Endowment member. He lives with his wife Leanne.

Q: What do you feel is your responsibility as a councilman-at-large?
A:
It is the council at large. I can tell you, what I have done is I've made myself available to assist other ward council members when they need help with a project or are concerned about their neighborhood. I'm available citywide to any person who lives here or has a problem and needs help with something. I'm available, so I'm not limited to one ward where, if they contacted me and I said, I'm sorry, that's not my ward, you have to contact such and such. I can, you know, I jump in and assist wherever I can. And in my role, it’s also as council president. I run the meetings and I take care of the paperwork and some of the other council business so that, you know, I'm available during the day to sign paperwork and get that stuff done and set the agenda. So that's an additional responsibility that's only given to a council member-at-large. Council-at-large is one of three people that can be elected council president by the City Council. That's what I believe my role is, to assist, where necessary, pay attention to the larger picture and, you know, assist any constituent that needs it and also be involved at the meeting and be informed and help to make decisions and help to vote properly so that everyone's represented.

Q: What do you think is going right in Batavia?
A:
What's going right is we have a good city manager in place and projects are starting to move forward. The DRI was delayed … A lot of our small businesses took a hit during COVID and everybody and City government and City Hall have worked really hard to get that back on track, and that seems to be working well.

Our income is improving, our tax income is improving, our revenue sources are improving and the city employees and the government departments are working together to provide the services that people expect, and our police department is actively involved in public safety. Our DPW is keeping the roads repaired within reason within our budget because we have to keep our budget low because of COVID. So we're still cautiously optimistic. And roads are getting repaired and grants are getting approved, and hopefully, the Savarino properties will be constructed soon and the City View apartments, that went off good.

So I would say the investment in our downtown and our community. Our economic development is coming back. Our economy is coming back. Still more work to do to keep small businesses involved and make it easy for them to do business in our community. So I think there's a lot, there's so much going on. I could spend the whole hour just talking about all the good things that are going on in youth services that have been improved. Parks program has been improved, although the time is cut back a little bit due to COVID, we've improved. Using the Y has definitely made an improvement in the services to our youth. The mall is getting cleaned up and we got a roof on it, and we're working on the next phase of that project. So there's a lot of, I think there's a lot of good things going on in the community.

Q: What could use some improvement in Batavia?
A:
Well, whenever you put a lot of focus on one section, then you know, something else might suffer a little bit due to the budget and COVID, and all the requirements that are involved with city employees, the health department, and so on. That's sucked a lot of energy out of our other projects and the other day-to-day activities that we normally need to pay attention to, like code enforcement and things like that. The court system, which wasn't even handling cases for the longest time unless there were very serious cases. And all that had weight, whether we like it or not. So all that, I think, needs to get restarted back up.

I want to see more attention in the neighborhoods. And help the Elliott Street businesses, Main Street has gotten all the attention. I think it's time to start directing some attention towards our streets, and it's not going wrong, I’m just saying it's been delayed because of circumstances beyond our control. And I'd like to get that accelerated.

Q: What's your what's your top priority for 2022 should you get re-elected?
A:
Our biggest priority is to make sure we're going to be doing our first budget like we should have done. So we did a budget and we had a COVID budget that had to get totally mangled, and now we'll be into our normal tight budget. So we don't, nobody has any idea what that's going to look like. They're still trying to put that together. So that's going to be our biggest challenge, is to keep taxes low and spending low and live within our means as a city, and provide the services we can provide within our means and keep the taxes as low as possible. So that's going to be all done during the next budget process. It's going to be very important and it's going to take a lot of effort on all our parts to make sure that we make sure we cover all the bases and make sure we leave no stone unturned to make sure that we're giving the best services to our community for the lowest cost.

Q: Why should you get a resident’s vote?
A: 
Because I don't know, that's a good question. I don't know. I'm not really a narcissistic person that would think about why I would need the vote. I just would look at getting supported by the people that I serve. So in my mind, I'd like the opportunity to serve another term. I've done it for 33 years as a police officer, and the city was very good to me, helped me, you know, live in a nice home and feed my family all those years. And now it's time for me to give something back and I'd like to keep serving and to help improve my community wherever I can.

Q: How will you contribute to city operations if you get re-elected?
A:
I would do my due diligence by paying attention to city operations and making sure that the budget is done properly and efficiently, and that any citizen problems or concerns are addressed by city staff. They shouldn't have to go to a council member to file a complaint. They should be able to go right to the city staff, and there's a mechanism in place for them to handle those complaints, just like a police officer answering a complaint if there's a sewer problem or a sidewalk problem, city staff is well trained and well able to resolve those situations. So as a council member, it's my job to pay attention to make sure that is being done and keep their due diligence. Make sure that everyone is on the same page, communicating among themselves and … getting things done for the people that live here.

Q: Do you feel that Batavia needs more housing? 
A: Yes Batavia needs more houses and apartments. There is presently more demand than housing available.

Q: Does Batavia need more downtown businesses? And if so, what types would you like to see?
A: Yes, the downtown revitalization projects are underway and I think it’s important to maintain opportunities for all businesses to be successful.

Q: I know a decision has already been made about a new police station, but how do you feel about it and the location?
A: The police station has been under serious discussion for many years. The site has been chosen and plans are in place to construct a new building, as well as preserve the old building with private investment.

Q: Regarding the police department itself, do you feel that the police could use more, less, or status quo as far as funding for what they need to do?
A: The same. They are fully funded and staffed. And there’s a system in place for the department to ask for more money.

Q: Do you think city taxes are fair for the amenities that city residents receive?
A: Yes. We can always do better, but for the services they provide: the pandemic emergency, police, fire, DPW, city staff, yes they’re fair.

Q: Do you feel that you said what you wanted to say as far as running for council? 
A: I've served the community for two terms now. I think my past behavior would be indicative of what my future behavior would be. And so I ask the tough questions. I make sure that we constantly are paying attention to what's going on so that, you know, nothing gets out of whack and everything stays going forward. Progress moving forward. Getting these projects done. Keeping the city in proper repair. You know, keeping the citizens in the right services that they expect and treating them with respect. So, you know, that's all-important, to stay attentive to what's going on. Stay involved.

I’ve learned, you know, long ago is if you want to get good at public speaking, become the expert in what you're talking about, right? So that way, you never have to worry about being up there at a loss for words. So that's important for me if I'm going to do this job. I take it seriously and I represent the people of the city and I want to do my best and put my best foot forward and do my absolute best job because 15,000 people are counting on it. It's important to them. It's important to me. So oftentimes we really pay attention and try to really make sure I know what's going on so that nothing gets by us. So we don't make a major mistake with a lot of money, that would be catastrophic. So, not on my watch.

October 31, 2021 - 4:42pm
posted by Joanne Beck in city council, election, council-at-large, news.

bon_bialkowski-162x203.jpegNext week’s election includes a race for three vacant council-at-large seats on Batavia’s City Council.

Newcomer Erica O’Donnell is vying to be the only Democrat in the group come 2022, as she and Republican incumbents Bob Bialkowski, Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Jeremy Karas run for three open seats.

Organized alphabetically, Bob Bialkowski’s interview with the Batavian is first up to cover everything from city businesses and police funding to taxes and why he deserves a vote. Bialkowski is running for his second term and believes he knows how to be successful as a member of the City Council: Represent all of the people in the city of Batavia.

F. Robert “Bob” Bialkowski has served nine years on City Council, with stints from 2008 to 2011, was appointed to fill a vacancy for a year in 2017 and 2018 to present. A Batavia native, Bialkowski has served in the New York Army National Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which he presently serves as an aircraft commander. His business ventures include as the founder of Inland Aero Service, Inc. and Great Lakes Aviation, Inc. He has served on the Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, Neighborhood Improvement Committee, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Bob and Madeline, his wife of 53 years, have one son, Robert.

Q: What do you feel is your responsibility as a councilman-at-large?
A:
We represent all the citizens. It's sort of a check and balance function because you have council members that represent their communities; council-at-large represents the entire city.

Q: What is going right with Batavia?
A:
Oh, I think it's going well. I mean, there's, you know, the bottom line, and we have an administration that's working pretty hard. The administration has been pretty streamlined because we've had retirements and everything else. People aren't jumping out of the woodwork to apply for jobs right now. But I think our administration is really, really going the extra mile, and I think it's all working as is demonstrated. We just got through the pandemic and we didn't bankrupt the city, and thanks to the city that we didn’t come to a grinding halt. We got through it pretty well when we had our council meetings, so we actually had a couple of meetings, but we had, basically, meetings continued on. So I think we have a pretty, pretty good government, pretty functional government, that's for sure. And you know, we don't always agree on everything and we don't always disagree on everything. But we hammered it out, got through it.

Q: What could use some improvement in the city?
A:
Well, a lot of things could use improvement, but this starts out with earnings, like saying what could use some improvement on your home and office? We all need improvements. And you know, there’s our core staff for finances to infrastructure, where you have a lot of infrastructure issues, but a lot of them were on top of it, you know …  we spent a lot of money on sidewalks every year and on-street repairs.

We're doing a lot of upgrading right now. I mean, we have a lot of things in the works for next year to be upgraded. And so those are all going on now, and a new police station’s in the works and that'll be happening long overdue by about 50 years. And you know, it's too bad that existing buildings are in such disrepair. But it is what it is, it’s something we can't go back in history. You can only learn from history. You can't go back and change it.

Q:  What would be your top priority for 2022 if you're re-elected?
A:
My top priorities are the same priorities I've had for the last nine years of being on councils: to represent the people, be a voice for the people. And one of the things that I've been quoted on, I've done it many, many times. Some people call, they have concerns, but that's a bigger concern. I ask them to please come and speak to our council, take five minutes out of your life. I respect the council and to make all this work make us aware of your feelings, your thoughts. And also the media will be there. The media will pick up on it and you will get action if you come and speak to the council. That's the best way to get action. I mean, as far as just calling your individual councilperson, they will resolve it. But the only reason I'm in this is to represent the members of the committee, and I have no personal gain by doing any of this.



Q: How do you feel that you personally will contribute to city operations? 
A: I tell you, I'm quite outspoken as you know. So, you know, I get the message out there. I represent the people that are out there. I do my homework. I always research everything. I'm not afraid to make phone calls. I call state agencies. We recently had an issue come up here earlier in the year, and those people came and spoke at the council meeting and they expressed their concerns. It was about disc golf at Centennial Park. And after they spoke, I contacted the state Parks Commission and spoke to the state park managers for Western New York. I contacted each one individually … about the cost, hazards, everything else, and I did contact and could speak with the western New York Regional Parks Commissioner about the issue. And you know, for sure, for all our neighbors had concerns and we should know this isn't for Centennial Park. And I think it's kind of, we haven't heard it back since it was handed off to them to see what kind of potential there is to do it in another park. But this is typical, just the way I operate. I guess I just do the work involved.

Q: Why should you get a resident’s vote?
A:
Why should I get a vote? They want somebody that's going to work hard for them. I don't care about party affiliation, political views or whatever. I work for the residents. It's that simple. If you want somebody that's going to work for you, I'm curious. I'm not in there for my own personal agenda. I'm not in there to promote walking on the Moon or anything like that. I'm just standing there to represent the community, the citizens of the city, I’m trying to improve our community. And I feel people really need representation.

Q: Do you feel that Batavia needs more housing? 
A: You know, I'm going to answer that with one of the questions that I always return with. I've heard about homeless veterans. My question is where are they living now? I don't see homeless people walking the streets of Batavia, living under trees, or living in the parks. When we say well, you need more housing for the homeless, who do we need housing for? I mean, if I saw a whole bunch of people living in the city that don't have housing, or are there people that want better housing at a lower price? Are there people from other counties that want to move here or are being asked to move here? So I don't know. I mean, do we need more housing? I think housing is a commodity like anything else. I mean, I remember when I first got married, apartments were very scarce. I don't think there were like 10 apartments available in the community. Well, Madeline and I went out and looked at several apartments and found an apartment. But I hear this. We need more housing or we need housing for homeless people. I think that's not a simple yes or no answer.

Q: Does Batavia need more downtown businesses? And if so, what types would you like to see?
A: Well, I think the best thing government can do is stay out of the private sector. First of all, just because you're in a position as an official, that does not make you an expert in business or an expert on anything. You should just be there to represent the people. I think the one thing downtown businesses need is more of a streamlined process to remodel buildings. You know, they're stressed and have so many regulations and laws and zoning and code and building permits. It can take a year of planning. I think we need to do some streamlining there. But you know, I would like to see more retail and all that. But the reality is one small retail store downtown would only be one aisle in a big box store. Yeah. So there's a competition, and we knew that years ago and there is nothing we can do about this. American people have opportunities.

Q: I know a decision has already been made about a new police station, but how do you feel about it and the location?
A: Well, we put out a request for proposals for engineering contracts. A couple of things we have to look at. We didn't want to build in a flood zone because that would jump the cost substantially by a 25 to 35 percent increase in costs. So do we want to do that to the taxpayers? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. We don't want to spend any more taxpayers’ money than we have to. If we don't do something soon, we're going to have to move the police out of there. And I don't know where that would be, put them in a big tent or something? The building is no longer usable because it needs to be redone. And you know, if we start construction right now, it will be two years before they can move in any way. So there's the timeframe. We're looking at the location, it's a great downtown location. It's downtown, it's right up from the Main Street central Area. I mean, it has everything going for it. It's in a parking lot that the city already owns, so we don't have to procure land and there's a lot of flexibility involved with that. So yeah, I just think it's a win for the taxpayers, a win-win for everybody. As far as financially, we can afford it and we were able to say OK. 



Q: Regarding the police department itself, do you feel that the police could use more, less, or status quo as far as funding for what they need to do?
A:
Well, we are not defunding the police. I don't know of any single person who wants our police department defunded. Yeah. We're not going to play that game. We're not going to go down that road. At least I'm not. I don't think most of the council does. It's like any of our services. Sure, fire, police, DPW, they can always use more funding. But you know, we're getting by. We have strict limits on overtime. We have limits on the number of policemen. So yeah, they can always use more funding, but more funding means raising the taxes. So people want more police or more of DPW or more sidewalks or whatever. OK. How much do you want your taxes to go up? Oh, it'll be a different story. So we're doing the best we can.

Q: Do you think city taxes are fair for the amenities that city residents receive?
A:
Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, the city has more park area per population than almost all the cities where you have plenty of parks. We have a pretty darn decent infrastructure. We're putting in new water lines, we're putting in handicapped, accessible sidewalks, which is very important to me, and it's up to sustainability and walkability where our streets are. Most of our streets are in excellent shape. There are sidewalks that are on the schedule to be built or making it to some streets. But it's expensive infrastructure, very expensive today, as I’ve pointed this out to many people, to replace. One block costs $350 and that's for one sidewalk block. Like, that's why we don't replace individual blocks anymore. We do it all by contract. We just put out a contract to replace 2000 feet of sidewalks at a time or whatever it takes. We have some aging trees. We have trees that should have never been planted in the city that happened. So that means now we have trees that are dead and they have to be cut down. So to cut one tree down in front of a home cost about $3,700. So, big money. Everything is big money and there's no way around it. So, you know, our DPW and our administration are doing the best they can to keep everything in check and keep costs down.

Q: Do you feel that you said what you wanted to say as far as running for council?
A:
  You know, I just want to add that one of the things I think I'd like to see is for the citizens to communicate more freely, to talk to their neighbors … nobody talks to each other. Yeah, the first person people call is the police. That guy who walked across my front lawn, and they say ‘I don't want to do it.’ Sometimes you just have to be able to communicate. People are reluctant to do it, to me, because, you know, we still have some communication problems.

And another one is a consideration. Don't park your car over the sidewalk so we’re walking down the street.  You should go out into the street. Number one, it's against the law. Number two, you are liable when you do that. And number three, it’s just darn rude to do to your neighbors, your friends. That's part of living in the city. Part of living in the city is getting along.

You know, take care of your property to make sure your home is maintained the best you can. So I think it's very important.

And you know, there are those people out there that are campaigning and promising to do everything in the world, so people need to remember it’s City Council; there's nine of us. Yeah, any individual is only one person on council. A lot of people don't even understand how local government works. You have to get it on an agenda, bring it to a conference meeting and hammer it out in public. Oh, we don't discourage anyone from speaking at a council meeting. Sign up to speak, and a lot of times it really does get results. I always encourage people to come to a meeting and speak and give some examples. And then, after all that, for the vetting process, you know, it goes to our business meeting, and then it gets voted out. No single person can really do anything. Government has a very good reason to move very slowly because God help us if an individual can just make a request, that can be dangerous and reckless.

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

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

President:

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

State Supreme Court Justice, 8th District:

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

NY-27 Congressional District:

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

61st State Senate District:

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

139th Assembly District:

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

Genesee County Sheriff:

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

Batavia City Council At-Large:

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

Alabama Town Council:

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

Le Roy Town Council:

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

Pavilion Highway Superintendent:

  • James Cleveland -- 794
  • Todd Hackett -- 282
October 29, 2020 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, election.

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Turnout during early voting has been much higher than anticipated, said Election Commissioner Lorie Longhany.

More than 10 percent of Genesee County's 40,567 registered voters have shown up at the polling station inside County Building #2 on West Main Street, she said.

There isn't yet available a breakdown of how many voters from each party of turned out so far.

A poll worker told us yesterday that voters seem to like the early voting option and Longhany said that's the feedback she's been hearing.

"Yes, it does seem to be very popular and even when there is a line, the voters seem to be patient and courteous," Longhany said.

June 23, 2020 - 8:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, election, news.

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

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

She also indicated she had contacted the Board of Elections.

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

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

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

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

Photo: Reader-submitted photo.

March 17, 2020 - 11:38am
posted by Billie Owens in COVID-19, news, village of le roy, election.

Public Notice

Village of Le Roy -- Postponement of Election

In an effort to keep New Yorkers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today (March 17) issued an executive order delaying Village Elections statewide until April 28th.

Therefore, the Village of Le Roy Election has been postponed from March 18, 2020 to April 28, 2020.

November 2, 2019 - 12:00pm

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Ben Bonarigo.

October 23, 2019 - 3:00pm

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Ben Bonarigo.

September 30, 2019 - 12:58pm

Photo above: Part-time Batavia City Court Judge Durin Rogers and Theresa Asmus-Roth, coordinator of Justice for Children Program.

Submitted photos and press release:

Theresa Asmus-Roth and Captain James C. Davis have added their names to the list of those endorsing Durin Rogers, a part-time Batavia City Court judge who is seeking election as the court's next full-time judge.

Asmuth-Roth is coordinator of Genesee County’s Justice for Children Program; Davis is coordinator of the County’s S.T.A.R. Program.

The Justice for Children Program is the Genesee County Agency that advocates for and give services to local children who have been victims of abuse or witnesses to violent acts, while the S.T.A.R. (Student Transition and Recovery) Program addresses the needs of local students who are facing school discipline or removal from their homes.

“I have worked with Judge Rogers in his role with the Genesee County Attorney’s Office as a part of the Justice for Children CORE team since my career in victim advocacy began in 2001," said Asmus-Roth, highlighting her experience with Rogers over the past 18 years.

"This has given me the opportunity to witness his dedication to child victims of abuse and view him as an experienced, thoughtful, and passionate legal professional."

She continued: “The Batavia City Court judge fills a crucial role in this community; a role that balances the constitutional and legal rights of a defendant against safety and justice for crime victims and the community as a whole… Judge Rogers’ decades of experience as a defense attorney, prosecutor, corporate counsel, and Judge have equipped him to excel in this position. It is with that in mind that I endorse Judge Durin Rogers for full-time city court judge.” 

Davis commended Rogers’ efforts in working with Family Court Judge Eric Adams in bringing the S.T.A.R. Program to Genesee County. He also praised Rogers’ ongoing support of the program since its inception as reasons for his endorsement.

“In my dealings with Judge Rogers…his knowledge of family matters within the court system has proved beneficial and supportive to the Genesee County S.T.A.R Program’s success,” Davis said. “I have personally learned and benefited from Judge Rogers’ knowledge of the law and his extraordinary ability to deal with and relate to ALL individuals

"We fully endorse his candidacy…I have no doubt that [Rogers] will be welcomed as your Batavia City Court judge and will serve the legal system and the City of Batavia with integrity and honor.” 

Rogers said “I have truly enjoyed working with Theresa and Captain Davis over the years. They are true professionals and have devoted their careers to protecting and assisting children in our community. I am proud to work with them and have their support and endorsement.”

Photo below: Captain James Davis of the S.T.A.R Program, part-time Batavia City Court Judge Durin Rogers, and Sgt. Robert Ettinger, S.T.A.R Program.

September 23, 2019 - 10:25am
img_2951rogerspic.jpg

Submitted photo and information:

Part-time Batavia City Court Judge Durin Rogers has received the endorsement of the New York Police Investigators Association supporting his effort to become Batavia’s next full-time city court judge, citing his experience and years of public service.

NYSPIA represents more than 2,000 active and retired State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation officers.

Association President Christopher Quick and Troop A Delegate Michael J. Connors stated in a letter to Rogers:

“It is with great pride that we support your candidacy for City of Batavia Court Judge. For almost four years, you have served on the bench…following a unanimous appointment by the Batavia City Council.

"During that time you have had the opportunity to handle thousands of cases, including criminal, civil, housing, drug court and Veterans Court; gaining valuable experience throughout."

Quick and Connors also noted Rogers’ “successful, long-term career as a prosecutor with the Genesee County Attorney’s Office, handling family offense domestic violence petitions…juvenile delinquency petitions, pistol permit hearings and child abuse and neglect filings.

"The New York State Police Investigators Association appreciates your years of service and our membership has great confidence in your ability and foresight…we offer our full support in your candidacy.” 

Rogers said: “I am honored and grateful to the New York State Police Investigators Association for their endorsement. Their support, along with the many other public officials and community members who have supported me in my effort to become Batavia’s next City Court Judge, only serves to confirm my commitment to our great community.

"As I canvass this great City and visit with our local citizens, I continue to listen to the people and their concerns and issues with our system of Justice. If elected, I look forward to serving this community faithfully, professionally and with the highest standard of excellence and ethics."

For further information, please contact the Committee to Elect Judge Rogers by visiting their Facebook page @electjudgerogers (facebook.com/electjudgerogers); by visiting www.electjudgerogers.com;  or by email at [email protected]

(Photo: Full-time Batavia City Court judge candidate Durin Rogers, left, with Michael J. Connors, Troop “A” Delegate for the New York State Police Investigators Association.)

March 12, 2019 - 3:50pm

Press release:

Voters who turn out for the Richmond Memorial Library’s annual budget vote and trustee election this year will see something new on the ballot: two vacancies. The current board authorized the creation of a sixth trustee position at its February meeting.

Now they seek candidates to fill it in the election to be held Thursday, May 2.

“They don’t only want to grow in size, but in skill and in diversity,” Library Director Bob Conrad explains. “We have always needed people with legal training and financial training, [and] people who are big readers, obviously. That hasn’t changed.

"But now libraries need people with IT skills and A/V skills, and people who watch movies and play video games.”

Library trustees are publicly elected volunteers who provide fiduciary oversight of the library’s spending. They also advise the Library Director on operations and in setting long-range goals.

“We’re lucky to have an HR professional on our board,” Conrad gives as one example. “But we have this beautiful old building, and nobody from the building trades on our board.”

The Richmond board meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday almost every month. Meetings last about two hours, and a single term is for five years, starting at the July 8 meeting.

A full description of the duties and responsibilities of a public library trustee in New York is available in a handbook published by the Division of Library Development: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/trustees/handbook.

To qualify for the ballot, candidates need to have lived in the library’s service area – the Batavia City School District – for at least three years preceding the election. They must also file a petition with the library, signed by at least 25 other residents, by 5 p.m. on April 2.

Blank petitions are available at the library now, during regular hours. The library is located at 19 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

After the May 2 election – which also places a library budget increase of $25,350 on the ballot – the library’s bylaws permit the board to continue growing annually, through election and appointment, up to 15, the maximum allowed by charter.

For more information, contact Library Director Robert Conrad at 585-343-9550, ext. 7, or at [email protected]

Richmond Memorial Library continually provides access to physical and virtual resources and services that meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its diverse community in a safe and comfortable environment. Learn more at www.batavialibrary.org

November 7, 2018 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in election, news, notify.

electionnight2018.jpg

There are multiple storylines coming out of Tuesday's midterm election:

  • The Democrats take control of the House but not the 27th Congressional District, though that race isn't technically over;
  • Local Libertarians are celebrating the more than 90,000 votes garnered by Larry Sharpe, giving the Libertarian Party for the first time the same level of ballot access as Republicans and Democrats;
  • Voters approved staggered, four-year terms for county legislators;
  • National, state and local voter turnout, traditionally low in midterm elections, that match or exceed presidential year elections;
  • Democrats gain full control of state government after picking up enough seats in the State Senate to now hold the majority in the upper chamber.

The last point is perhaps the most troubling to Assemblyman Steve Hawley who has both seen firsthand what happens when Democrats control the Senate and the "crazy stuff" of Assembly Democrats that has been kept in check, as he put it, by a Republican majority in the State Senate.

"The last time that it flipped to Downstate, I referred to it, we saw what happened," Hawley said. "They were in control for two years. Many of them have already served jail time. Many have been convicted and are going to be serving jail time. It was complete free fall from any sense of reality (with the) programs and bills that were passed in the Assembly that were heretofore blocked by the Senate. I really shudder to think what will happen with some of the crazy stuff that comes out of the Assembly."

As we reported previously, former NYS Farm Bureau President and Elba resident Dean Norton warned local farmers what to expect if the Democrats gained control of the State Senate: A higher minimum wage, a farm labor bill, more regulations, cuts in rural government and school funding.

As the election approached, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who previously represented Genesee County in Congress before losing to Collins in 2012, held an opposite view, according to her personal account Twitter feed. Example:

Joined great Democratic candidates in #Rensselaer who are fired up to continue our progressive agenda.

We will take back the @NYSenate and have @AaronGladd join us in the majority! We must fight back against Trump and stand together to push New York forward. pic.twitter.com/ebmfjf7IJS

— Kathy Hochul (@KathyHochul) November 2, 2018

McMurray Concedes Race, Then Demands Recount

Expectations of Democratic gains in the State Senate or congressional House didn't do much to boost spirits at Center Street Smoke House last night, where local Democrats had gathered, once Nate McMurray appeared on TV for a concession speech when results weren't looking good for his effort to unseat indicted incumbent Chris Collins.

McMurray had energized WNY Democrats in a way that perhaps even Hochul didn't do in 2011. The disappointment at McMurray's apparent loss was palpable.

"He ran (his campaign) from the grassroots," said Michael Plitt, chairman of the County Democratic Party. "I mean, you know, the state party and national party didn't invest much in the race at the beginning. He just worked and worked and worked and he got a lot of people interested that weren't in mainstream politics before.

"You look here in Genesee County, we had 37 people canvassing last Saturday -- in Genesee County. They were all encouraged by the message he had -- positivity and just getting things done. I think there was a lot of energy."

McMurray didn't waver in his high energy and encouragement to his volunteers even during his concession speech.

"We did something great," McMurray said. "It never shameful when you fight a righteous fight and that's what you did. I said in the beginning that we're going to break the machine, right? We're going to break the machine. Sometimes when you take on those big tasks, trying to break the machine, it doesn't break. You put a dent in it but if you keep whacking, eventually it's going to break." (Audio for McMurray's quotes courtesy our news partner, 13WHAM.)

McMurray expressed disappointment that Collins -- facing federal charges and a House Ethics Committee investigation, who avoided the public and the press during his campaign, who attacked McMurray and his family with dishonest television ads -- could possibly win in Western New York but he vowed to fight on.

"Come on, we're going to be all right," McMurray said, adding, "Remember Rocky one? Rocky didn't win. He looked like I do right now, all beat up, his face looked like hamburger. He lost. Well, remember there was Rocky two?"

At that point in the post-election night wind down, nobody expected "Rocky two" to come so quickly. Within hours, McMurray realized the vote count was going to be a lot tighter than he anticipated and so he announced that he would demand a recount.

Collins' 'Winning Strategy' -- Avoid the Press and the Public

While Collins mostly avoided the press after jumping back into the race four weeks ago (at one point he announced his withdrawal following his arrest on Aug. 8), the Clarence resident was pursued by Erie County reporters on Tuesday night and did answer some questions, at one point admitting it was his strategy to avoid taking questions from reporters or the public in debates or open meetings.

"I set a strategy, I think you'll see tonight that my strategy worked perfectly, it's about winning," Collins said. "Clearly, the media is not part of our strategy."

Plitt called the strategy "atrocious."

"Candidates should be available," Plitt said. "You know, we're here at a Democratic event. Anyone can walk in and talk. Nate was in Genesee County several times at events open to the public. It's imperative at any level of office, from town boards to Congress, that (officials) are accountable to the press and communicate with the public."

Hawley was less ruffled by the strategy.

"We'll see what happens if Collins wins," Hawley said (we spoke before the results were certain). "We'll see whether he becomes more involved in the process, whether it's attending town hall meetings, whether it's attending events. I ran into him two or three times recently at different events, so it looked to me as though toward the end of this race that he was becoming more visible and I would certainly encourage him to do that."

Libertarian Sharpe Surpasses Critical Vote Threshold

Local Libertarians were far more focused on the governor's race than the congressional race, not because they thought their candidate Larry Sharpe had any chance of winning but because Sharpe surpassing the 50,000 vote threshold was critical to the party's gaining ballot access in state and local races that is on par with Democrats and Republicans.

"This has been a goal since 1971," said Mark Potwora, chairman of the Genesee County Libertarian Party. "Now when we run our candidates it'll take fewer signatures and hopefully we will attract more people who will want to run. We want to be able to get into the county legislative races and more local races. It's a big thing. It's just a big step for the Libertarian Party."

The recruitment effort for more local candidates has begun and there's enough interest, Potwora said, that people have been contacting the party about running in races. The goal is to have fewer one-candidate elections.

"We've already had a lot of discussion with people that are ready to go," Potwora said. "We have members now from Le Roy. We're hoping that we can reach into Le Roy. It's all about more candidates. Our next step is outreach and getting more candidates because these ballots should not go with unopposed races. There should be no unopposed races."

County Voters Pass Long-sought Term Reform

There was a high turnout in Genesee County and whether the high turnout helped county legislators finally get passed a reform they've sought for years -- creating staggered, four-year terms -- is impossible to say, but at Ken's Charcoal Pits & Bar-B-Q last night, where a few Republicans gathered to watch the results of the election come in, the legislators who where there were grateful it passed.

"On behalf of my fellow legislators, I would like to extend our appreciation to the voters of Genesee County for their support of the proposal to change the terms for county legislators," said Chairman Robert Bausch. "We believed that it was very much warranted considering the issues the county faces and are pleased that the county voters listened to that message and supported the proposal. We also want to extend our appreciation to all those who stepped forwarded and publicly supported this proposal."

In the run-up to the election, starting more than a year ago, there was a lot of talk about a "blue wave" sweeping the nation, a resistance against President Donald Trump, that would lead to Democratic victories across the land. After the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, where Democrats tried to derail his appointment to the Supreme Court, and after Trump's fearmongering about immigration, Republicans started talking about a "red wave," or a "red tide," or a "red wall" (Republicans never did seem to settle on a branding message).

Voters Showed Up

Among both Democrats and Republicans, across the nation, turnout was massive. What was true elsewhere was true in Genesee County.

"People are excited," Plitt said as we watched results come in. "From what I've heard turnout is high, almost at presidential levels, maybe better. People want to go express their opinion."

He didn't fully attribute the high turnout as a reaction to the Trump presidency.

"I think on both sides of the aisle he definitely fans the flame and maybe he brings out both side," Plitt said. "Yeah, I think that's a lot of it but there's a lot of interest in state issues as well."

Hawley thinks it's a good thing that people are getting out to vote, whatever the reason.

"Any time you can invoke people to become participants in our electoral process it's a good thing," Hawley said. "Whether we're divided or not, I'm not really sure that's the case. We'll have to watch the election results across the country to see whether it's divisive or not. Whether it's President Trump and his style, whether it's Governor Cuomo and his style, and whether it's challengers who are perhaps a little less verbal and vocal without regard to what they're saying, that gets people involved, as I say, it's a good thing."

Top Photo: Libertarians at T.F. Brown's.

electionnight2018-2.jpg

Democrats at Center Street Smoke House.

electionnight2018-3.jpg

Republicans at Ken's Charcoal Pits & Bar-B-Q.

electionnight2018-4.jpg

Steve Hawley, Barb Eddy, and Gregg Torrey pose for a selfie.

electionnight2018-5.jpg

Gloom and disappointment at Center Street as McMurray delivers a concession speech.

November 7, 2018 - 12:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in election, NY-27, batavia, news, notify, chris collins, Nate McMurray.

localdemsnov62018.jpg

As Nate McMurray appeared on TV just after 11 o'clock tonight, a couple of local Democrats at Center Street Smoke House for election night noticed McMurray didn't look happy.

The room turned glum.

"Don't concede, Nate," one of them said.

That's was what McMurray was about to do.

With 94 percent of the precincts reporting in the New York 27th Congressional District, Rep. Chris Collins held at 2,697 vote lead, a 49.5 to 48.4 percent margin.

In Genesee County, Collins won with 2,837 more votes, 53.8 percent to 39.91 percent, or 10,986 votes to 8,149.

These are unofficial vote totals, not yet certified and do not include absentee ballots.

Reform Party candidate Larry Piegza picked up 598 votes locally, or 2.93 percent, which was fewer votes than the 651 ballot line for the 27th blank.

McMurray did beat Collins in the City of Batavia, 2,219 votes to 1,821.

The NY-27 is a 22-point Republican advantage and McMurray, a Democrat who is town supervisor in Grand Island, still managed to make it a close race, primarily because Collins has spent much of the past year under the cloud of an ethics investigation and was arrested Aug. 8 on federal charges related to alleged insider trading. 

Also in Genesee County, the controversial ballot measure to stagger and extend terms in office members of the County Legislature passed 9,508 votes to 8,981.

In contested races, Barbara Czworka won the Town of Bethany Highway Superintendent election over Michael T. Adams, 440 votes to 289 votes. For Town of Alexander Justice, Mark Anderson beat Nicholas Falcone 775 to 757. (CORRECTION: This was a vote-for-two election. Anderson and Falcone both ran unopposed, not against each other.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not fare well among Genesee County voters, getting only 4,982 votes to 13,397 for Marc Molinaro. Larry Sharpe received 1,201 votes locally. Howie Hawkins got 252 and Stephanie Minor, 188.

UPDATE 12:28 a.m.: McMurray issued the following statement:

"While tonight's results are disheartening, my fight for a better Western New York and a better United States will not end. This is my home, and I believe we deserve better than a Congressman under indictment and out on bail, but I also respect the will of the voters, and they have spoken. This campaign was a part of a movement to fight for the rights and leadership that we deserve as Americans. Tonight’s result is a setback, but we will never give up.”

UPDATE 12:53 a.m.: McMurray just issued a new statement demanding a recount:

"After examining the numbers, the margin is 1 percent and the will of the voters must be heard. We are demanding a recount. Mr. Collins is going to need another set of lawyers.”

We'll have more election coverage sometime tomorrow.

Top photo: Democrats watch Nate McMurray's concession speech at Center Street.

November 6, 2018 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, election, notify.

For the first time -- as far as we know -- Rep. Chris Collins made his first appearance in Genesee County since his arrest Aug. 8, stopping by a polling location in Oakfield to drop off donuts.

Dick Siebert, the Republican election commissioner, said he spoke with a Democratic poll monitor at the poll in Oakfield and Collins did not campaign while at the location, did not carry any campaign material and did not wear anything that would identify him as Chris Collins.

"He spoke to one or two of the inspectors," Siebert said. "From what I understand he just wished them a good day. He had no campaign button or anything on that would identify him as Chris Collins. He did no campaigning with any of the people standing in line to vote."

Collins is running for reelection after being charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI. His top rival is Nate McMurray, town supervisor of Grand Island.

The turnout is reportedly good at Genesee County polling locations, on par with a presidential-year election, according to Lorie Longhany, the Democratic election commissioner. 

"We just heard from another polling location and they are using the word, 'busy,' " Longhany said. "My guess is, a more robust turnout for a midterm, which is what is being reported nationally."

Our news partner, WBTA, contributed to this story.

November 6, 2017 - 3:00pm


Please vote for Roger V.V. Rouse for the Town of Byron Supervisor! Voting takes place at the Byron Town Hall on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017.

November 8, 2016 - 6:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in election, batavia, news.

firstvotenov82016.jpg

There were four people in line at the polling station on Evans Street, inside the Fire Hall, before the polls even opened at 6 a.m., this morning.

Within minutes of the polls opening, another five or six voters showed up.

Local officials are expecting a record-level turnout for this election, driven mainly by a highly contentious presidential election fronted by major-party candidates who are polarizing on both sides -- Hillary Clinton, the first woman who is a major party nominee, and Donald Trump, a celebrity and real estate mogul.

There are other contested offices on the ballot, including U.S. Senator, State Senator and Batavia City Council.

Laurie Thomas was the first voter at the Fire Hall this morning and we asked her why this election was important to her.

"I think it’s probably the most important election in my lifetime," Thomas said. "You know, people look at the economy and say it’s good and they have to be blind. That’s one reason I’m voting for somebody who has taken a business and built it up and knows a thing or two about the economy."

It's been a long, bruising campaign and some people have been saying they're happy that it's over, but Thomas said she doesn't necessarily feel that way.

"I’m excited about this election," Thomas said. "I voted for Trump. I think there’s going to be a sweep for him. There are people out there who are really mad with the government we have and when you look at Hillary and see the corruption and the lying. I would much rather have somebody who is a little crude, OK. My dad was crude, but he was a great guy. I would much rather have that than somebody who just puts everything in the dark and you never see anything until somebody digs it up."

UPDATE 9:17 a.m.: Turnout has been strong and steady throughout the county this morning, according to an elections official. There was one glitch. A vote scanning machine in Bethany malfunctioned. It was quickly replaced.

January 8, 2016 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sheriff, election.
candidate_williamsheron_2016.jpg
      William Sheron

Press release:

Undersheriff William A. Sheron Jr., will seek the Republican Party endorsement for the 2016 election for Genesee County Sheriff.

Undersheriff Sheron, 57, has over 38 years of experience with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office; serving as second in command for the past 20 years. He began his career in June 1977 as an emergency service dispatcher and was subsequently promoted through the ranks of Deputy Sheriff-Jail, Deputy Sheriff - Road Patrol, Sergeant, Investigator and Chief Deputy-Road Patrol. In January 1996 he was appointed Undersheriff.  

Undersheriff Sheron is a graduate of the New York State Commission of Corrections Training Academy, Erie County Central Police Services Basic Police Officer Training Academy, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Police Supervision Course, United States Drug Enforcement Agency Drug Interdiction Course, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Hostage Negotiations, the F.B. I. National Academy in Quantico, Va., and the F.B.I. National Academy Executive Development Program.

Undersheriff Sheron is credited with the formation of the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force in 1989, which began as a one-man unit and developed into a county-wide collaborative Task Force with the City of Batavia and Le Roy Police Departments. He served as a Field Training Officer, Hostage Negotiator and a member of the department’s Crash Management Team.

Over his career, Sheron has received departmental recognition awards including Officer of the Year in 1982, Meritorious Service in 2000 and 2009, and Commendation Awards in 1986, 1988, 1989, 1994 and 1996.

As Undersheriff, his responsibilities include: the oversight of the operations of the Sheriff’s Office, along with the administration of grants and governmental programs; oversight of the department’s training, development and adherence to departmental standards; investigation of allegations against departmental members; recruitment and selection of personnel; and responsibility of the operations of Genesee Justice and the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.

Undersheriff Sheron served as the 2006 president of the F.B.I. National Academy Associates New York State /Eastern Canada Chapter; has held several positions on its board of directors and currently serves as the Chapter’s secretary treasurer. Sheron is an active member of the Genesee County Traffic Safety Board, Genesee County Stop DWI Advisory Board, the Mental Health Association of Genesee/Orleans County Board of Directors, Genesee County Republican Committee, Genesee County Women’s Republican Committee, City of Batavia Republican Committee and Batavia Kiwanis Club. He previously served as the vice president of GCASA Board of Directors.

Undersheriff Sheron is a lifelong resident of Batavia. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School, Notre Dame High School and is a graduate of Genesee Community College with a degree in Criminal Justice. He and his wife, Shari, are parents to a blended family of five children and six grandchildren.

“If endorsed and elected Sheriff, I pledge to continue my life’s work of protecting the safety and security of the residents of Genesee County and the men and women of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office,” said William Sheron, Undersheriff.

October 26, 2015 - 3:00pm

Town of Darien Justice Wade Schwab on November 3, 2015!

  • Justice should be “swift and appropriate."
  • Strongly supports local Law Enforcement.
  • Town residents should feel that the local justice system will work to serve and protect their peace and safety.
  • A lifetime of serving the public and working with people during their worst times and their best times.
  • Fair and tough on crime.
  • Keep “justice” in the justice system.
  • Strongly supports OUR constitutional rights.
  • A man of integrity.

It's easy to read and interpret the laws, the important part is listening to people and being fair and just!

  • NYTOA - New York Tactical Officers Assn.
  • NTOA - National Tactical Officers Assn.
  • NRA - National Rifle Assn.
  • G.C. Fish & Game Protective Assn.
  • Big Lakes Regional EMS Council
  • Genesee County EMS Council
  • 10 Years Fire Service
  • 25+ Years Volunteer EMS Service
  • Graduate of Alexander Central School
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