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Kathy Hochul

September 30, 2021 - 12:11pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Kathy Hochul, UMMC, Rochester Regional Health.

Vaccination rates for United Memorial Medical Center employees are right around the 90 percent mark as hospitals and other facilities around the state contend with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Sept. 27th mandate requiring health care workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

According to statistics on the New York State COVID-19 vaccine website -- www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov, 94 percent of workers at UMMC’s Bank Street campus have been vaccinated compared to 89 percent at UMMC’s North Street campus.

UMMC is part of Rochester Regional Health System, which is showing a 90 percent vaccination rate for all of its employees – a percentage point less than data for Strong Memorial Hospital University of Rochester Medical Center.

(Watch for an update later today).

The percentage of hospital workers vaccinated in the Finger Lakes Region is 90 percent, with Genesee and Orleans counties at 89 and Wyoming County at 90.

These figures are calculated from the number of hospital staff eligible for vaccination and the number completing the recommended series of a given COVID-19 vaccine product (e.g. 2 doses of the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1-dose of the 1-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine), per the state website.

Statistics for nursing homes and assisted living facilities reveal the following for Genesee County (as reported by the individual facilities as of Sept. 27):

Nursing homes:

  • Le Roy Village Green – Residents’ complete dose: 92.7 percent; Staff complete dose: 83 percent.
  • Premier Genesee – Residents’ complete dose: 90.3 percent; Staff complete dose: 92.4 percent.
  • The Grand – Residents’ complete dose: 91.4 percent; Staff complete dose: 90.7 percent.

Assisted living:

  • Genesee Adult Home – Residents’ complete dose: 94.5 percent; Staff complete dose: 72.7 percent.
  • Le Roy Manor -- Residents’ complete dose: 97.2 percent; Staff compete dose: 92.3 percent.
  • The Manor House, Batavia – Residents’ complete dose: 100 percent; Staff compete dose: 93.6 percent.

Calls seeking comment from the administrators at the nursing homes listed above were not returned at the time of the posting of this story. Samantha Vagg is the administrator at Le Roy Village Green, Sharon Zeams is the administrator at Premier Genesee and Timothy Srye is the administrator at The Grand.

All told in Genesee County, skilled nursing facilities vaccination rates as of Sept. 28 were 94 percent for residents and 90 percent for workers and adult care facilities vaccination rates as of Sept. 28 were 97 percent for residents and 87 percent for workers.

REPORT FROM GOV. HOCHUL

On Wednesday, Hochul said that 92 percent of hospital and nursing home workforce have gotten at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 89 percent of adult care facilities employees have received at least one dose.

Based on total number of hospital employees in the state, an 8 percent unvaccinated rate equates to more than 41,000 who have not received at least one dose. As a result, the governor’s staff is monitoring the impact of her mandate, with the possibility of bringing in health care workers from out of the state or even from other countries.

The Genesee County Legislature, along with about seven other counties in the region, has sent a letter to the governor asking for her to include a coronavirus testing option for health care workers.

“I fully support the legislature’s position … to ensure that we didn’t have any lapse in service,” County Manager Matt Landers said today. “It’s a common sense, logical approach to the situation at hand. Obviously, we’d like to see as many people vaccinated as possible, but at the end of the day, we can’t jeopardize the care of our sick and our elderly because of the mandate.”

DATA FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

Latest statistics (as of Sept. 29) also show that 56.1 percent of Genesee County residents age 12 and over are fully vaccinated, which is less than the 63.6 percent for all New York state residents.

By zip code (as of Sept. 28), these are the percentages of those fully vaccinated:

  • Batavia – 50.4
  • East Bethany – 38.8
  • Alexander – 44
  • Basom – 44.4
  • Oakfield – 45.3
  • Byron – 48
  • Corfu – 49.6
  • Darien Center – 51.1
  • Pavilion – 53.8
  • Bergen – 55.3
  • Le Roy – 56.5
  • Stafford – 65.5
  • Elba – 73.6

In the Finger Lakes Region, the total number of people with at least one vaccine dose has increased over the past week by 7,695 to 760,752, and the total number of people with the complete vaccine series has increased over the past week by 5,590 to 706,944.

BOOSTER SHOT STATUS LOCALLY

Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public health educator, reported that the Genesee Orleans Health Department has set up clinics for those eligible for booster shots, beginning next week.

“Boosters are offered during the regular clinic day with the only difference being registration is required for boosters,” she said.

The booster shot schedule, for those 65 and older who became fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago:

  • Oct. 6 from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m., Genesee County Health Department, 3837 West Main Street Rd., Batavia;
  • Oct. 7, from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m., Orleans County Health Department, 14016 State Route 31, Suite 101, Albion.

These shots are administered by appointment only.

September 22, 2021 - 7:39pm

mandate_protesters_.jpg

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  Comments are closed.  It's become too much of a battle, taking too much time, to deal with all of the misinformation being posted in comments.

Several Genesee County residents exercised their right to peacefully assemble this afternoon, gathering in front of the Upton Monument at the Route 5 and 63 fork to protest governmental COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

“We’ve been rallying to help the cause of healthcare workers,” Roxie Winegar said. “I’m a DSP (Direct Support Professional) for ARC (The Arc of Genesee Orleans) and I don’t want to lose my job; I don’t want anybody to lose their job over being forced to be vaccinated when it’s a choice to put something into your body.”

Winegar said she believes vaccines cause death and impairment, “and long-term effects that you can not get out of your body – you cannot reverse.”

“They are not a vaccine. They are an mRNA (messenger RNA) genetic changer, and once you have that, you don’t have the human genetic makeup anymore – it’s totally changed,” she stated.

She said she has done much research into the vaccine, and doesn’t buy most of mainstream media’s reporting on the matter.

“They are so very evidently biased … they all say the same thing. It’s the same script. They’re all given a script and they all say it,” she said.

Sue Wlazlak, an employee (analyst) of United Memorial Medical Center, said the mandate is violating people’s freedoms.

“They’ve taken away our freedom of choice and it’s completely against the Constitution. I don’t understand any of this,” she said.

When asked if she thought natural immunity for those who have had COVID should be considered, she replied, “That’s the other piece that is huge. They’re not testing for the immunity. I had to get tested for the chicken pox and that proved that I had immunity, so they didn’t offer me a vaccine. They should be doing that.”

Wlazlak said she sees the vaccines as experimental and full of risks.

“So, if you have reasons why (you don’t want it), you shouldn't be forced to infect your body to go to work,” she offered.

Another protester said the issue goes beyond just the vaccine mandate.

“Vladimir Putin said it best: The United States is heading toward communism with breathtaking speed,” Gary DiSanto said. “We’re becoming a totalitarian, one-party state.”

Thousands of healthcare workers at hospitals run by New York State could face suspension or loss of jobs beginning on Monday as a result of the mandate originally ordered by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and kept in force by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The directive does not allow for regular testing instead of being vaccinated. Hochul’s administration and numerous labor unions are in negotiations to see if an agreement could be reached. Mass firings or resignations would cripple the state’s healthcare system.

In a related development, as first reported by The Batavian, the Genesee County Legislature yesterday passed a resolution adopted by the Ways & Means Committee to modify the COVID-19 mandate by providing options such as regular testing for those opting to not take the vaccine at this time.

Copies of the resolution are being sent to Hochul, Health Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay and Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.

Photo: Among those protesting vaccine mandates today are, from left, Gary DiSanto, Roxie Winegar, Bob Hoskins, Sue Wlazlak, Jo Coburn, Theresa Wlazlak and Evelyn Aubrey. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 15, 2021 - 6:49pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, County Legislature, Ways & Means, Kathy Hochul.

The Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee this afternoon responded to a call from the New York State Association of Counties to oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order forcing all healthcare workers to be vaccinated by Sept. 27 or risk losing their jobs.

The committee passed a resolution urging Hochul and new Health Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan to modify the COVID-19 mandate by providing options such as regular testing for those opting to not take the vaccine at this time. It will be presented to the entire legislature at next Wednesday’s meeting.

“This came as a result of the letter that was sent from the nine counties in the Finger Lakes Region (expressing) our concern in regards to the healthcare crisis that is facing us on September 27th,” Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said. “It was delivered to the NYSAC folks, and they sent a letter immediately but they’re asking for counties to please send resolutions urging the same.”

Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg echoed Stein’s thoughts, stating that “there will be a crisis in healthcare if all of these people who are not vaccinated are forced to resign their positions without any kind of alternative testing options.”

Stein pointed out that many healthcare facilities are closing departments as workers have already decided to quit.

“Just this week, Lewis County shut down – their hospital shut down their maternity ward, St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany is shutting down a whole wing and Wyoming County Hospital’s nursing home is looking at 50-plus people resigning over the vaccine mandate,” she said. “And the result is going to be overwhelmed hospitals and we’re going to be in a worse position than we were last March, April and May in New York State.”

Clattenburg said that the committee is encouraging other options, such as twice-a-week testing and masking -- “everything we’ve been doing in order to keep our healthcare workers working.”

Stein agreed, noting that while “everyone is encouraged to take their vaccine as a preventive … those who are not, this would at least give them an opportunity to continue in the care for our communities.”

On Aug. 28, New York 28 issued the order requiring healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes to get at least their first vaccine shot by Sept. 27. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Utica temporarily blocked the state from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated, following a lawsuit by 17 healthcare workers, who contend that not allowing religious exemptions to the mandate violated their Constitutional rights.

The state has until Sept. 22 to respond, and if it opposes the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary court order blocking the vaccine mandate, an oral hearing will take place on Sept. 28.

The Genesee County resolution stipulates that copies be sent to Hochul, Sullivan, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay and Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.

In a related development, about two dozen people -- mostly healthcare workers -- gathered at the Main and Ellicott in downtown Batavia around 6 p.m. yesterday, holding signs stating "Coercion is Not Consent" and "If it's Forced, Are we Free?" and protesting what they proclaimed is a loss of freedom. The protesters found support for their cause by passers-by honking horns and giving thumbs up.

August 30, 2021 - 11:15am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, New York State Health Department, Kathy Hochul.

Following a call from Gov. Kathy Hochul for a mask mandate in schools, the New York State Department of Health on Friday filed an emergency regulation mandating masks inside all school buildings, CBS New York reported.

According to the report, all students, faculty and staff of public and private schools, pre-K through 12th grade, will be required to wear masks inside school buildings. Visitors will also be required to wear masks inside school buildings.

A letter from Health Commissioner Howard Zucker cites the increasing circulation and transmissibility of the Delta variant as a driving factor for the mandate, the story indicated.

At her inaugural address Tuesday, Hochul called for a mask mandate for both public and private schools.

August 24, 2021 - 9:00am
posted by Press Release in Kathy Hochul, Steve Hawley, news, 139th assembly district.

Press release:

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on the inauguration of Gov. Kathy Hochul

 “By swearing in a new governor, I remain hopeful we can use this moment as an opportunity to correct the course set by our former executive. Given her experience in local and county government, I hope that her tenure will be free of the burdensome mandates on small businesses, schools, places of worship, and other institutions which characterized her predecessor’s style of leadership and were so harmful to the people of our state.”

August 23, 2021 - 11:42am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Kathy Hochul, jim owen, New York State governor.

hochul_owen.jpg

When Jim Owen, well known as “The Mayor of Redfield Parkway,” had 16-year-old Kathleen Courtney as an 11th-grader in his typing class at Hamburg Junior-Senior High School, little did he know that someday she would become the first female governor of New York State.

But he did see some personality traits and skill sets that he says have served her well throughout her political career.

Courtney was part of that typing class in 1975, about eight years into Owen’s teaching career that included 36 years as a full-time instructor and the last 18 years as a substitute teacher in the Batavia City School District.

Forty-six years later, Courtney, now Kathy Hochul, will assume the state’s highest office on Tuesday. She is succeeding Andrew Cuomo, who is stepping down following a state attorney general’s report that he sexually harassed 11 women.

Cuomo has repeatedly denied the accusations, but said he is resigning in the best interest of the state.

The “best interests of the state” will become the responsibility of Hochul, 62 (she will be 63 on Aug. 27), who, according to Owen, is prepared to do a great job.

“One of the things is that she is a person who communicates with many people,” Owen said of Hochul, who has been New York’s lieutenant governor since 2014. “In my opinion, she makes people feel important; she makes people feel comfortable, and I think she is a great listener.

“I always remember when she said, ‘If it’s a Republican idea and it’s a good idea, I’ll take it. If it’s a Democratic idea and it’s a good idea, I’ll take it. If it’s a Conservative idea, I’ll take it; if it’s a Liberal idea, I will take it. Her bottom line is that she is going to do the best for the people of our state.”

Owen admitted that it’s impossible to please everyone, but is convinced that Hochul will put her best foot forward.

“Obviously, you can’t win everybody’s opinion, but she will do her darnedest.” He said. “She’s a fighter. She’s not that tall, but she grew up with a family of great athletes … good competitors, and she is, too. Of course, in typing, she did her work.”

The teacher and student have kept in touch over the years; they usually meet at Batavia Muckdogs’ games when Hochul is in town. Owen said he got a surprise call earlier this month.

“Last Friday night, Friday the 13th, about 5:30 in the afternoon, I was at Stafford Country Club and I got a phone call from 716 (area code). I thought it may be a scam, but I decided to answer it,” he offered. “Well, it’s Kathy. She’s calling me, thanking me for saying nice words about her in a story on Spectrum News – which I thought was kind of neat. That was kind of a class act that she would give me a call.”

Owen also was quoted in a story published today in the New York Daily News:

“Jim Owen, who taught her in a 28-student typing class when she was a junior, said he would not necessarily have guessed at her political future given her soft-spoken and studious nature. But he said her determination shined.

“She was a very hard worker,” recalled Owen, 78, who’s now retired and lives in Batavia. “She made the teacher look good.”

Hochul, on Aug. 12, confirmed that she plans to run for a full term as governor in 2022.

Photos: Kathy Courtney Hochul's graduation photo; her and Jim Owen at a Hamburg Alumni Foundation event; the duo at a Batavia Muckdogs' game. Photos submitted by Jim Owen.

August 10, 2021 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, Ed Rath, Kathy Hochul.

Press release from State Sen. Ed Rath:

This afternoon's resignation from Governor Cuomo is a welcomed and necessary relief for those New Yorkers he has harmed and those who continue to look to Albany for leadership amid this pandemic. Harassment has no place in our society, especially at the upper levels of state government.

I continue to call on the State Legislature to ensure that other investigations into Governor Cuomo's malfeasance remain ongoing. New Yorkers who lost loved ones in nursing homes deserve answers. While the Governor has already written his book, let us not write off other avenues where he has betrayed his oath of office. If ongoing investigations by the State Assembly reveal further misdeeds, impeachment must remain a viable option. The State Legislature must uphold its duty to hold Governor Cuomo accountable.

I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Hochul in her new capacity as the first female Governor in New York State history. As a fellow Western New Yorker, I hope she strives to help New York heal and elevates the voices of upstate New Yorkers long maligned and ignored by downstate leaders. Having served with her at several levels of government, I am confident that her integrity is unwavering. Together, we will continue to navigate the challenges facing all New Yorkers.”

From Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul:

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.

As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor."

Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

 “Now that the governor has done the right thing and resigned, we can focus on bettering the lives of the working people of this state once again. This is the third high ranking official that has stepped down due to improper conduct during my tenure, and I hope we can come together and work to assure it’s the last and that conduct like that of Andrew Cuomo’s is never left unchecked. I do want to congratulate Kathy Hochul, who will be our next Governor in two weeks, and hope we can work together in bipartisan fashion to do more for the people of this state than ever before.”

Rep. Chris Jacobs:

“Andrew Cuomo's resignation is long overdue, and needed to move our state government past the multiple scandals he and his staff inflicted on the citizens of New York. Despite his resignation, criminal investigations of the Cuomo administration must continue to ensure justice is served.”

February 17, 2021 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kathy Hochul, livestream, video, GCEDC.
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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers regional State of the State message, hosted by Genesee County Economic Development Center.

October 1, 2020 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in workforce development, Kathy Hochul, UMMC, video, batavia, news.
Video Sponsor

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited UMMC on Wednesday to announce the hospital will receive a $200,000 state workforce development grant to help people enter the nursing career. The grant is part of an $18 million statewide project announced yesterday by the governor's office as part of Workforce Development Awareness Week.  

Press release from the governor's office:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, during Workforce Development Awareness Week, New York State has been awarded an $18 million federal grant to fund educational opportunities that train New Yorkers for in-demand jobs, support entrepreneurs, and help small businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

New York was one of just eight states to receive the funding -- made available through the CARES Act -- and received the most of any state that was awarded a grant. 

"The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and as we continue to fight against this deadly virus, we must also respond to the economic devastation it has caused," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "With millions of Americans out of work, we must use every resource available to train New Yorkers to compete -- and succeed - in this difficult economic situation.

"Our workforce is the bedrock of our economy, and I know that this funding will help bridge the gap between education and industry, allowing us to build back better by uplifting both individuals looking for jobs and small businesses across the state."  

"We are making success accessible ensuring New Yorkers have the training and skills they need to seek new jobs and opportunities as we continue to battle this pandemic," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Our ongoing workforce development initiative is supporting efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth and other groups that face significant barriers by making job placement more inclusive and leaving no New Yorker behind.

"We are sending a clear message to New Yorkers that they will have the training and skills they need to succeed as we build back better, smarter and stronger for the future."

The New York State Department of Labor will partner with the Office of Workforce Development, Empire State Development, New York's ten Regional Economic Development Councils, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York to allocate the federal grant funding on programs that support New York's continued economic recovery. 

Educational programs will focus on developing the skills needed to succeed in emerging growth industries like tech, logistics, and advanced manufacturing, and supporting entrepreneurs. New York's multipronged approach will include four elements:

1) Education for Hard-Hit NYC: In New York City, which was among the worst-hit COVID-19 communities, the CUNY system will assist in training residents with the digital skills needed for in-demand sectors such as data analytics, cybersecurity, advanced logistics/supply chain, digital marketing and communications, and software development. 

2) "Stay Near, Go Far" at SUNY: At 30 community colleges across the State, SUNY will leverage its existing "Stay Near, Go Far" initiative to train New Yorkers in high growth industries, including technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing, and provide them with the entrepreneurial skills needed to open their own businesses.

3) Entrepreneurship Boot Camps: Building on its existing resources, Empire State Development will host a series of intensive workshops and boot camps to train entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to run their own business during - and after - the pandemic. 

4) Industry Focus, Regional Results: The Department of Labor will issue a competitive Request for Proposals and work with New York State's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils to identify industry-driven programs that either train job seekers to meet current local employment needs or are designed to address future economic and workforce development needs.

September 30, 2020 - 10:33pm
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Press release from the Governor's Office:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of construction for a $1.1 million redevelopment project in the City of Batavia. This project, awarded through Batavia’s DRI Building Improvement Fund, will rehabilitate a three-story, 7,500-square-foot building built in 1865, in Downtown Batavia. Batavia’s downtown area is a mixed-use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses, and city and county services.

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Batavia is driving strategic investments and helping bring new mixed-use development to the area to benefit the entire region,” Governor Cuomo said. "This historic building will be preserved to continue with Batavia's rich history and character and will be the propeller of future growth not only for Batavia but for the entire region.”

“Our Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming communities statewide by empowering local stakeholders to put forward their best ideas on economic development based on collaboration and shared purpose,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

“Batavia is uniquely positioned between two major urban areas but has carved out its own identity with projects like 99 Main Street. These projects will attract new people with a new life, energy, and sense of pride, and help New York build back better for a post-pandemic future.”​

The renovation and redevelopment of this historic building will include a new storefront, façade, and reconstruction of the existing three floors. A dental practice will operate on the first floor with the second floor being developed for commercial office space. The third floor will include two two-bedroom market-rate apartments.

The redevelopment of this historic building is part of the DRI award for the Building Improvement Fund, which provided the city with the resources to award building improvement projects Downtown. The award from the Fund is $137,600 with a total estimated project cost of $1,165,000. The Fund is operated locally by the Batavia Development Corporation and administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center also supported the redevelopment through mortgage and sales tax incentives of $63,500. Neppalli Holdings LLC will also invest nearly $1 million to renovate the building as part of the public-private partnerships for DRI.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is becoming a reality and it will bring a new look and way of life for residents to live, work and play in their business district. The Building Improvement Fund award provides an opportunity for economic investments in Batavia through the redevelopment of its business district, attracting a new generation of social and commercial enterprises to the city. This project is a testament that hard work and dedication, even in these unprecedented times, can yield progress and a bright future.”

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Through Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are working directly with communities across the state to implement targeted economic development projects like this one that expand housing opportunities, enhance the downtown streetscape, and create a more lively and walkable commercial district.

"Batavia’s Building Improvement Fund will utilize $138,000 in DRI funds to transform this historic property at 99 Main Street into a beautiful mixed-use building with new office space and two apartments on the third floor. By supporting local efforts to strategically improve downtown districts with state resources, we are breathing new life into Batavia, the Finger Lakes Region, and beyond.”

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer said, “I am very happy that Batavia was chosen for this project. Investing in our Upstate communities is extremely important and this funding will help further the growth and redevelopment we have seen in Batavia.”

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, “Thanks to smart and expansive developments, Batavia will grow into an even greater destination and hub for Western New York than ever before. From the addition of a new performing arts center to the revitalization and renovation of a commercial hub to the continued development and upgrading of Downtown, Batavia is poised to be a bastion of community and comfort for the area. This investment will go a long way towards the continued fostering of community and cooperation for years to come.”

Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said, “The DRI award is critically important in our efforts to revitalize Downtown Batavia. It’s vital that we continue working with our partners at the state and local level to continue the momentum of the private and public sector investment in the county’s urban core.”

Batavia Development Corporation Board President Lori Aratari said, “The Building Improvement Fund created through the DRI provides grant funding for applicants to implement interior and exterior building improvements in Batavia’s Business Improvement District (BID) for commercial and mixed-use structures. This project exemplifies how we are using this fund to fill vacant and under-utilized structures in the city.”

Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein said, “The Genesee County Legislature recognizes the importance of the economic vitality of the City of Batavia for our county and region. I am especially pleased to see all levels of government working so closely in our efforts to bring private sector investment to the city.”

Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde said, “To have so much support from so many leaders in the community gives me confidence that our project will be a great success and I hope will encourage others in the private sector to seek investment opportunities in Batavia. I want to thank all of our government partners for their continued support and collaboration in our collective efforts to encourage private sector leaders such as Dr. Neppalli to invest in Batavia.”

Batavia was named a DRI Round 2 winner. The downtown area is a mixed-use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses, and city and county services. The area has an excellent foundation upon which to continue its revitalization, including amenities such as recreational sites, healthcare facilities, food markets, a library, and various retail and restaurant venues in a walkable environment.

The Strategic Investment Plan for Downtown Batavia is working closely with private partners and local assets to implement the other eight projects awarded. These projects alongside all of the projects that will be awarded through the DRI Building Improvement Fund will create opportunities for economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are ready for implementation.

The Downtown Batavia Strategic Investment Plan is guiding the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that advance the community's vision for its Downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment.

June 17, 2020 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kathy Hochul, baseball, Sports, video, muckdogs.
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While Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was in Pavilion today, we asked her if she was still involved in trying to save the Batavia Muckdogs.

June 17, 2020 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kathy Hochul, agriculture, Pavilion, Noblehurst Farms.
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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul paid a visit to Noblehurst Farms in Pavilion today to highlight the Nourish NY program, which purchased $25 million in agricultural products from farms throughout the state to distribute at food banks from New York City to Buffalo.

June 3, 2020 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kathy Hochul, Nate McMurray, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Today, New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced her endorsement of Nate McMurray for the Special Election on June 23rd. Hochul represented this district from 2011-2012 after winning a special election to fill the seat prior to redistricting in 2012. 

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “I believe Nate McMurray will be successful based on the Democratic values he espouses and his track record advocating for the working families and farmers that make up this region.

"I know this district well and am confident that Nate will be a strong representative for all Western New Yorkers when he gets to Washington. We have a critical opportunity on June 23rd to send a national message to Trump and GOP insiders before the General election in November.” 

“I’m very proud to have Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul's support once again," McMurray said. "Kathy Hochul has long been a champion for women and families across New York. I look forward to getting to work in Washington and partnering with public servants like her to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and all Americans."

March 26, 2020 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, live stream, news, Kathy Hochul.
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Scheduled for 1:40 is a short interview with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

August 8, 2019 - 11:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Kathy Hochul, video, Business, education.
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Press release:

Manufacturers, agribusinesses and the skilled trades have been sounding the alarm about the needs to bring more awareness and preparedness for a future workforce in order to meet the demands of the ever-changing workplace and the wave of retirements anticipated as a result of an aging workforce.

In the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming County (GLOW) Region, economic development agencies, workforce development leaders and educators are doing just that through a new initiative formally announced today by New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

The daylong hands-on career exploration event – GLOW With Your Hands – will be held on Sept. 24 at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

More than 1,000 students from 28 school districts across the GLOW Region are expected to attend the event where they will be able to experience first-hand activities associated with careers, like welding, bricklaying, electrical wiring, heavy equipment operation, advanced manufacturing, and many others.

"As our economy evolves with growing opportunities in clean energy, construction, and advanced manufacturing fields, New Yorkers will have increased access to workforce development and training for jobs of the future," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who spoke at today's event.

"Collaborative visions to bring together events like these are part of our ongoing effort to ensure young people have the skills they need to get a good-paying job and achieve their fullest potential.”

The economic and workforce development agencies and education groups are collaborating to make students aware that there are real family-sustaining jobs in the GLOW Region that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree.

More and more school districts in the GLOW Region are creating a curriculum to meet the workplace needs of employers. The demand by employers for workers to fill these jobs is growing every day and organizers of the event want to communicate to students that they can have successful careers immediately after high school graduation.

GLOW With Your Hands organizers include the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), the Livingston County Economic Development, Orleans County EDA, Wyoming County IDA, GLOW Workforce Development Board, Genesee, Livingston and Wyoming counties' Business Education alliances and the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.

Major employers in the GLOW Region and various construction trades unions will be attending the event to simulate the functions and skills of the various jobs that are in demand.

August 7, 2019 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kathy Hochul, Ellicott Station, batavia, video.
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Last month, the Genesee County Economic Development Center issued an open letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking for his help in getting final approval on a complex financial package -- involving private investment, state and local tax incentives, grants, and investment credits -- from state officials.

Following an event today about workforce development (more later), we asked Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul about the delay of the project. She says the governor's office is working to finalize a financial package for Ellicott Station.

The Ellicott Station project will transform the former Della Penna property on Ellicott Street from a crumbling and distressed property into a mixed-used development that will include housing, office space, and a restaurant/brewery.

August 7, 2019 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, farm labor, Kathy Hochul, video.
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In an interview with The Batavian following an event at the Genesee County Fair Grounds, where Lt. Kathy Hochul participated in the announcement of a new workforce development program (more later), Hochul defended passage of the farm labor bill.

She said it was needed, even though it was opposed by farmers and farmworkers, because it will improve working conditions for farmworkers and help farmers attract more qualified job candidates.

Hochul said what's missing in complaints about the farm labor bill is that farmers participated in crafting compromise legislation.

August 7, 2019 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Kathy Hochul, video.
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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she has no interest in running for Congress again, not even after redistricting in 2022 because she thinks she is having a more positive impact for the people of Western New York in Albany than she could have in Washington, D.C.

Hochul represented WNY in Congress in 2011 and 2012 before losing a close election to Rep. Chris Collins.

She did say, however, if she ran this year, she would win.

Collins, fighting a federal criminal indictment and facing a House Ethics Committee investigation, has made no official announcement regarding his reelection plans. But he has transferred $500,000 of personal funds to his campaign. He is facing at least two primary challengers and if he runs the Democrats may send Nate McMurray up against him again, who narrowly lost to Collins in 2018.  

Regardless of who runs against Collins, Hochul said Collins will soon be known as "the former congressman" because "he will lose the election."

Hochul was in Batavia for the announcement of a new workforce development program. We will have more coverage on that later.

March 13, 2019 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kathy Hochul, batavia, news.

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Since a property tax cap was imposed on local governments in 2011, New York taxpayers have saved $25 billion in additional taxes, said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday during an appearance at Genesee Community College.

"I think people like that," Hochul said. "I think if you're a resident or a business owner, you like that."

Hochul is visiting communities throughout Western New York to drum up support for making the tax cap permanent and end periodic efforts to undo one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's landmark accomplishments.

Keeping the tax cap is important to attracting new business to the state, Hochul said.

"Any business can go anywhere they want in the nation and we're working had to bring them to Upstate New York," Hochul said. "If you're going to lure them from low-tax states, we need to be able to say to them, 'you can count on what your tax rate is going to be because it's permanently locked in at this number.' "

Hochul, herself once a town board member in Hamburg, acknowledged that living within a 2-percent cap on the property tax levy is a challenge for local governments but she thinks it's worth the effort.

"We had a reputation for being a high tax-and-spend state and the governor on the first day he took office, he said we deserve that reputation," Hochul said. "That's been our legacy for the past 40 years."

Cuomo, Hochul said, has been focused on helping Upstate New York recover from decades of neglect and has directed $44 billion in economic development to Upstate, for things like roads and airports and railroads, and industrial and agricultural parks.

The effort is paying off, Hochul said, as the evidence in Batavia shows, where downtown is being revitalized and another $10 million is being invested in additional improvements downtown.

As part of her tax justice talk, Hochul also discussed the elimination of deductions of state and federal taxes. Reinstating the deductions is a matter of tax fairness, she said, because people wouldn't be taxed twice on the same income.

The elimination of the deductions is costing New York taxpayers $15 billion a year.

Submitted photo.

August 7, 2018 - 1:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NRA, Kathy Hochul, NY-27, news, notify, SCOPE.

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When Kathy Hochul campaigned for reelection in 2012 to the NY-27 congressional seat, which she eventually lost to Chris Collins, Hochul sought and obtained the support of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA PAC donated $7,000 to Hochul's campaign and only $1,000 to Collins.

Times have changed. In 2018, Hochul, now lieutenant governor in New York, seems to be rooting for the NRA's demise.

On Friday, using her personal Twitter account, Hochul retweeted a statement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was also using his personal account, celebrating New York's apparent success in driving the NRA to the brink of financial ruin. Hochul's response? "good riddance!"

Asked about the tweet, Hochul released this statement:

“The NRA actively worked against my last campaign in 2014, because I’ve been a consistent supporter of common sense gun laws, including Governor Cuomo’s SAFE Act, some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Simply put, the NRA’s extremist and unlawful actions are promoting violence and threatening the lives of people in New York and across the country. The Governor and I continue to fight for common sense gun safety measures to prevent violence and save lives.”

Campaigning in Genesee County in 2012, Hochul told SCOPE members, "When a bill comes up that affects your Second Amendment rights, I’m on your side."

Shortly after the meeting, Hochul, based on a year in Congress, received an A rating from the NRA.

"Some of you may say I have a 'D' after my name and I can't vote for you," Hochul said that night during the meeting at Calvary Baptist Church on Galloway Road in the Town of Batavia. "Well, fine, but I still represent you. I am independent and I look at each and every issue as what's best for the people of Western New York. Sometimes the Democrats are right and sometimes they're really wrong. Sometimes the Republicans are right and sometimes they are really wrong."

After receiving Hochul's statement, The Batavian emailed her staff and asked for clarification since her statement referenced the 2014 campaign and she was endorsed by the NRA in the 2012 campaign.

A spokesman called The Batavian and said he wasn't authorized to speak for Hochul for attribution but stressed Hochul still supports Second Amendment rights but that her views of the NRA have changed. He said it wouldn't be appropriate for him to try to speak for her to explain why. She wasn't available for further comment.

A lot has changed in the world of gun politics since 2012. In December of that year, 20 children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. There have been several other mass shootings, including in San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Parkland in the years since.  The nation is perhaps more deeply divided over gun laws than ever before.

Since then, the NRA has opposed banning bump stocks, raising the age on gun purchases, and has sent mixed signals about its position on so-called "red flag" laws, while NRA members and representatives have belittled survivors of Parkland, threatened other gun control supporters, and even advocated violence against journalists.

Bill Fox, president of Genesee County SCOPE, remembers the night Hochul spoke to local gun owners. She was passionate about her advocacy for gun rights. Now, he says, "she's not a friend of the Second Amendment."

Where Hochul called for "common sense" gun laws, Fox said he doesn't even know what that means.

"What is common sense?" Fox said. "There are thousands of gun control laws on the books already. What does common sense mean? If you're a criminal, you're still going to get a gun."

Fox said he's also a proud NRA member and he's disappointed in Hochul's support of the SAFE Act.

"She stood there and told us how her family hunts and how she supports gun rights and now she supports the SAFE Act," Fox said.

Fox thinks Cuomo's true aim isn't gun control but gun removal.

The financial difficulties faced by the NRA stem from efforts by New York to stop the NRA from selling insurance to conceal carry permit holders called "Carry Guard." 

New York officials contend the insurance is illegal because it provides financial assistance to people who engaged in "intentional wrongdoing." 

The bottom tier insurance plan provides $250,000 in civil liability coverage to a person who discharges a firearm and $50,000 for criminal defense, but according to the NRA website, the policy will only pay out a defense claim if the policyholder is acquitted. There is no coverage if a person fires a gun, is arrested, and is convicted of a crime.

Some gun control advocates support requiring mandatory insurance policies for gun owners.

New York's efforts to stymie the insurance program seem to have far-ranging effects, causing financial difficulties for the NRA with insurance carriers and financial institutions. The NRA has warned in a lawsuit filed against New York that it is facing insolvency because of the state's regulatory actions.

Hochul is engaged in a tough primary campaign to retain her lieutenant governor post against a Downstate progressive challenger Jumaane Williams. Hochul has a slim lead, according to a recent poll.

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