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September 27, 2021 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, UMMC, rochester reginal health, news, coronavirus.

Press release:

“Per the New York State  COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare workers, Rochester Regional Health is currently nearing 99 percent compliance. This percentage includes individuals who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or have been granted religious or medical exemptions. Rochester Regional Health is proud of all of its employees for their hard work and dedication in keeping the community safe through the pandemic and beyond. We remain committed to serving the community and taking care of all individuals who seek care. “

September 27, 2021 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, steve hawley, 139th assembly district.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) expressed outrage today as the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers takes effect, forcing countless healthcare employees throughout the state to resign from their positions. Many of these healthcare workers have for months now been on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been left without recourse in the face of a mandate that does not permit regular testing of unvaccinated healthcare workers

“Taking jobs from healthcare workers who have been working harder than anybody to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is a slap in their face, and I am incensed by the governor’s willingness to cast aside a group of highly skilled people who have saved the lives of so many New Yorkers,” said Hawley. “The valuable experience these professionals have in fighting COVID-19 will be squandered, and the ones who will pay the price for this decision are those who need the highest quality of care possible to save their lives. I am vaccinated and would encourage anyone who wishes to be vaccinated to do so, but I also believe in personal choice, and with no option for unvaccinated healthcare workers to elect for frequent testing, this mandate will only harm our ability to help patients who need care most.”


September 27, 2021 - 10:44am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.19, down one cent from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.19. The New York State average is $3.28 – no change from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.27. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $3.27 (up one cent since last week)
  • Buffalo - $3.23 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca - $3.28 (no change since last week)
  • Rochester - $3.28 (no change since last week)
  • Rome - $3.30 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse - $3.23 (down one cent since last week)
  • Watertown - $3.26 (up one cent since last week)

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by a penny to $3.18. According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks increased while demand remained low helping to put downward pressure on pump prices. This easing is likely caused by the traditional post-Labor Day/end of summer driving season drop-off in demand. As of last week, approximately 16% of crude production in the Gulf of Mexico remained shuttered due to Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas. As the recovery and restoration process continues, pump prices will likely continue to stabilize. However, high crude prices (well above $70 per barrel) will contribute to pump prices likely remaining elevated this fall.

From Gas Buddy: 

"Average gas prices saw little change from a week ago, declining slightly. But overall, prices remained near 2021's peak price set in early August due to Covid-19 supply and demand imbalances," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "Relief in average gas prices has really only shown up west of the Rockies thus far, and may continue to be delayed by an active hurricane season which has prevented gas prices from their normal seasonal decline. While I am optimistic that we eventually will see a decline in price, the drop is not likely to be as noticeable as I had anticipated due to the above average hurricane season and as demand remains seasonally strong."

September 26, 2021 - 1:21pm
posted by Press Release in volunteers for animals, animal shelter, pets, news.


Press release:

People stop and look at me and always say, “Poor Thing”.  Then they choose another when they could have had a king.

That’s Louie’s story.  When you visit the shelter, you will find Louie hiding in the corner.   It’s difficult to see how handsome this 7-year-old Siamese mix with stunning blue eyes is as he lays curled up in a ball.  

Louie has called the shelter his home for the past few months and finds shelter life absolutely terrifying.  During the calm, quiet hours Louie enjoys and loves the attention he receives from the volunteers.

He was surrendered because he was bullying the other cats in the home and may need to be an only cat. 

He likes to keep up appearances and daily brushing is always on his agenda.   Louie is longing for a home of his own.  Longing for a stress-free, shelter-free life.  A family that will provide the patience and love he needs and so well deserves. 

Are you this special boy’s special someone?
"If you really like me, please take me home with you. I promise I’ll be good and love you long and true."

He is neutered, tested negative for FIV/FeLV, and is up to date with vaccines. Louie would do best if he is confined to a small room for a couple of weeks to acclimate to his new surroundings and give his new adopters a chance to bond with him. If you can give this kitty a nice indoor home, please stop into the Genesee County Animal Shelter, 3841 W. Main Street Rd, Batavia, NY during adoption hours to complete an adoption application or email us at [email protected].

September 26, 2021 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sunset, indian falls, batavia, byron, news.


This is a photo I took on Route 262 approaching Bryon yesterday evening.  Below, a shot from Frank Capuano in Batavia and one from Joanne Meiser in Indian Falls.



September 25, 2021 - 10:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, byron.


A driver whose vehicle drove into a barn at 5693 Chapell Road, Byron, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident this evening, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The accident was reported around 6:10 p.m.

The vehicle was reportedly heading south on Chapell Road when it left the roadway.

The identity of the driver has not yet been released, nor has a description of the vehicle.

Chapell Road has been closed between Route 237 and Transit Road since the time of the accident.

Byron Fire, South Byron Fire, and Elba Fire, all responded.

The Sheriff's Crash Management Team is on scene.

UPDATE 9 a.m. Sunday: The driver has been identified as Dustin M. Nemec, no age provided, of Elba. Nemec was reportedly driving his 2020 Volkswagen eastbound on Chapell Road when he failed to negotiate a curve. His car struck a tree and the barn.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Photo and info from Alecia Kaus/Video News Service. 

September 25, 2021 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, UMMC, batavia, news.


City Fire and UMMC hosted a free child safety seat check at the Fire Hall this morning.


September 25, 2021 - 2:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia, news, scarecrows.


The Batavia Improvement District's annual scarecrows contest is underway with numerous entries lining Main Street in Downtown Batavia.

Each scarecrow is designed and sponsored by a business, organization, or person.





September 25, 2021 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Walk to End Alzheimer's.


This morning, hundreds turned out for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's this morning, which started at Dwyer Stadium and meandered through residential streets on the Northside.






September 25, 2021 - 1:35pm

austin_park_resized_1.jpgLabeling them ARPA-1 through ARPA-7, City of Batavia Manager Rachel Tabelski has put together a list of priority spending items – including an “inclusive destination playground" at Austin Park – to be funded in whole or in part by the $1.4 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

In a memo dated Sept. 20 to City Council, Tabelski wrote that she is recommending these expenditures as part of her Batavia Investment 2021 report, which is on the agenda for discussion at Monday night’s Conference Meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 o’clock at City Hall Council Board Room.

Should City Council forward any proposed resolutions on Monday, voting would take place at the board’s next Business Meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 12.

The federal government, acknowledging the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on municipal economies, allocated $19.53 billion from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to support non-entitlement units of localities with populations under 50,000, Tabelski wrote.

With that, the city received $1,474,764.79 from the ARPA (getting half this year and half next year).

The money can be used for public health costs, lost public sector revenue, essential worker pay and investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, but comes with restrictions.

Those restrictions, as outlined in Tabelski’s report, include the inability to use the money to lower the tax rate, to offset retirement/pension funds, to pay off current debt, for sidewalks and roads (unless documented proof of being related to COVID-19) and to support current operations in the majority of cases.

Tabelski’s report indicates the recommended projects were derived through multiple means:

  • Conversations with department heads and staff, and citizen input;
  • Review of capital plans, current needs and current reserve accounts;
  • Analyzing the ARPA regulations to create projects that will be most beneficial to the city and/or to advance future ventures, with consideration of social and economic factors;
  • Allocating ARPA money to projects that could receive alternate funding, such as matching funds from other sources to increase the total investment;
  • Ability of city staff to complete, monitor and report on the projects.

Brief descriptions of the seven projects recommended by Tabelski are as follows:

ARPA-1: Engineering Services for Water System Planning

A resolution to contract with GHD Group of Buffalo to “map, inventory and plan to address lead service lines in the city related to the new Lead and Copper Rule” and “to prepare for the closure of the city water treatment plant in connection to Genesee County’s Phase 3 Water Project that would bring Monroe County Water Authority water to the city.

Cost: $248,000, using all ARPA funds.

ARPA-2: Cohocton Water Transmission Line

Replacement of 3,700 linear feet of a 12-inch water transmission line that supplies water to the southwest quadrant of the city – with the connection being made to the existing 12-inch main near the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and Treadeasy Avenue, and continuing to the existing 12-inch main near Walnut Street. The main has incurred 11 breaks in the past 30 years.

Cost: $800,000, equally split between ARPA and reserve funds.

ARPA-3: Inclusive Destination Playground at Austin Park

Located in the city’s Opportunity Zone, Tabelski writes that now is the opportunity to upgrade Austin Park (see photo above), believing that the expenditure will benefit local families, attract visitors from outside the city, assist in public safety in the park and surrounding areas through appropriate environmental design.

Recreation websites describe inclusive playgrounds as activity areas that remove barriers to exclusion, both physical and social, providing a “sensory rich” experience for all. They are designed to be a safe place where children of all abilities can play together, and are developmentally appropriate for children with and without disabilities.

Cost: $800,000, using $400,000 in ARPA funds and seeking grants to double the investment.

ARPA-4: Modify Facility Capital Plan Project

“Critical” improvements are necessary at the city’s Bureau of Maintenance and Fire Department, Tabelski writes, recommending the purchase of a new generate to run fire headquarters on Evans Street and spending to make access into the facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cost: $540,000, using $100,000 in ARPA funds, with the remainder committed to the project in the Facility Reserve Fund.

ARPA-5: Wastewater Treatment Plant Headworks Analysis

Tabelski is seeking another contract with GHD Group (via a resolution) for engineering services to solve problems being caused by an aging aeration and blower system. The last headworks study took place in 1983, and since them the WWTP’s aeration system had deteriorated due to leaks in the main header. “While this problem has been remediated, it highlighted the need to complete a more thorough analysis …,” she wrote.

Cost: $250,000, using all ARPA funds.

ARPA-6: Replace Aging Sewer Camera

Scheduled to be replaced next year, the city’s sewer main line camera – purchased in 2012 -- is at the end of its useful life and has malfunctioned on several occasions, resulting in repair costs. Tabelski recommends buying an Envirosight Rover X camera from Joe Johnson Equipment of Rochester, which can be bought at a discount through a cooperative purchase program.

Cost: $100,000, equally split between ARPA funds and wastewater reserve funds.

ARPA-7: Replace Aging Water Meter Readers

As in the case of the sewer camera, the city’s meter reading equipment is about 10 years old and need of replacement. The recommendation is a resolution to purchase new handheld and data recorders from Ti-Sales, Inc., of Sudbury, Mass., along with utilizing a cloud-based data storage system.

Cost: $26,765, using $26,764.70 of ARPA funds and $1,718.79 from water reserves.

September 25, 2021 - 10:45am


When talking to the ladies who direct activities at the All Babies Cherished Family Assistance Center, it quickly becomes clear that the nonprofit, pro-life agency could easily be called “All People Cherished.”

“We advocate for people,” said Program Coordinator Mona Doyon, during an interview with The Batavian at the ABC home at 445 Ellicott St. “We give them the resources they need and help them to realize that they can keep their child. A lot of them come here really scared and overwhelmed, and then they realize that they can do it.

“They make a choice for life and we do our best to work with other agencies in the county to get them the help that they need. Sometimes it involves healing with other members of their family, and getting some family support going.”

In existence in Batavia for 25 years, ABC is a Christian organization and, moreover, a ministry that focuses on assisting women and their families with “life choices” from pregnancy to birth and beyond, Executive Director Sue Sherman said.

ABC staff and volunteers also have been involved in the process of adoption, she said, primarily working with Bethany House in Rochester.

The agency receives a small amount of funding from the United Way, but overwhelmingly is supported through donations, church sponsorships and its fundraising efforts.

Currently, Sherman and Doyon are working with volunteer Lucille DiSanto on ABC’s major fundraiser – its Fall Vendor Festival on Saturday, Oct. 23 at the City Centre Mall concourse. Nearly 80 vendors have signed up thus far to participate in the agency’s 25th anniversary celebration.


Calling ABC “a Christ-centered no judgment zone,” Sherman said their main focus is to conduct a wide variety of parenting classes for moms, dads, grandparents and, in some cases, extended family members.

Those who take the classes – they’re held on the second floor of the facility – receive credits that enable them to receive free necessities for their babies, toddlers and young children.

Class topics include information about pregnancy, caring for newborns, post-partum symptoms, how to make out a budget, how to save and successful parenting techniques. Regular Bible study classes are offered as well.

“Usually, our program has been set up to benefit parents with children 3 and under,” explained Sherman, who has been executive director for five years. “We’ve expanded that – we’ve got older children, 4, 5, 6 years old. We can help you with clothing or items that you need.

“Additionally, we help parents that come in here with troubled teens, and that presents different issues. They don’t receive material goods, but they come to us because they need help.”

Sherman said some women are mandated to come to ABC through the Probation Department or Child Protective Services or Department of Social Services, and are required to take parenting classes.

Thus far, more than 540 classes have been conducted over the past 12 months, Doyon said.

Assistance also is provided when ABC gets a call from the hospital requesting help for women who have just given birth.

“And many times, we get involved to help mothers get their children back,” Doyon advised. “They may have a child or a couple children at age 2 or 3, and now we’re helping them to get their children back due to their mother’s addiction, for example.”

In any event and in all situations, Doyon emphasized that “whoever comes through our door, we’re going to help them.”


“We want them to feel the difference. When they come through the door … we want them to feel the Lord’s presence and we want them to feel loved and respected, and feel that compassion.”

Sherman said all races and religions are welcome.

“We’re here to help you and encourage you. We are not here to judge you. Often we hear from the girls that this is the only place they’ve heard anything encouraging in their entire lives,” she said.

She also pointed out that many clients have not graduated from high school, are in recovery from substance use or were victims of domestic violence. She indicated that about a third of their clients at any given time are homeless – or “couch hopping -- not knowing where they’re going to lay their head tomorrow.”

“And some of them are in every category,” she said.

Toward that end, Sherman said she is pleased to report that ABC just closed on a house that will be used as temporary living quarters for the homeless women being served.

“I have spoken to our donor base for years, letting them know that we need housing,” she said. “We had a donor give us a house nearby, and we just closed earlier this month. No programming is in place yet, but sometime next year, we’ll be able to have half of that house for up to three women – with their child or children.”


DiSanto, who is coordinating the Fall Vendor Festival on Oct. 23 at the downtown mall, said it is shaping up to be a huge event.

“We now have 76 vendors -- artists, artisans, crafters, quilters, direct sales, woodworkers and more, as well as games for children and a visit from Santa Claus,” she said.

Sandy Chappius, owner of Chap’s Diner in Elba, will be catering the festival, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The public is invited at no charge.

The agency will be hosting a free online fundraiser at 7 p.m. Oct. 28, also commemorating its 25th year.

Le Roy resident Alexandra Andrews will tell her story as an abortion survivor.

A wife and mother of three, she said her testimony centers upon the ways God revealed His plan for her life, bringing her out of an orphanage in Russia to share a message of mercy, healing and forgiveness.

A registered nurse, Andrews is an active member at her church and serves on the ABC board of directors.


Doyon and Sherman are the only full-time employees at ABC. They are assisted by a five-hour-per-week bookkeeper and about a half-dozen volunteers who organize donations, help with fundraising and provide other support.

They said they would welcome an experienced grant writer willing to provide volunteer assistance. Agency oversight is provided by a volunteer board of directors.

ABC is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday.

For more information about programming or the special fundraising events, call 344-5660, go to www.allbabiescherished.com or www.facebook.com/AllBabiesCherishedPregnancyCenter/


Photo at top: Executive Director Sue Sherman, left; Program Coordinator Mona Doyon and Fall Festival Coordinator Lucille DiSanto. Photo at bottom: Mural on a wall at the ABC office at 445 Ellicott St. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

September 24, 2021 - 11:54am


Sometimes one good deed earns another. 

And 10-year-old Maddie Casey and her St. Joseph’s School summer camp peers learned that lesson this week for a project they donated to Batavia Peace Garden. The students, including four who served as leaders from Notre Dame High School, were honored with Certificates of Appreciation Thursday at the Summit Street elementary school.

“We do crafts every day, and we painted some rocks. I used lots of bright colors so they’d stand out,” Maddie, a fifth-grader, said. “Knowing that you’re doing something for someone else, it just feels really good.”

Last month school students and officials heard that several Peace Garden stones had been stolen from the garden property next to Holland Land Office Museum. Project coordinator Stephanie King  said that the group members were talking about it and “they were very concerned.”

St. Josephs’s Principal Karen Green read about the theft and “it just struck a chord with me,” she said. Green knew she and her students could help out, especially since they had recently finished a stone decorating project at the elementary school’s summer camp. She and King gathered 30 leftover stones and tasked students to get busy.

“I loved the words they used … one stone said Peace, and another Kindness, and Faith,” Green said. “I’m so glad we touched their hearts. I think a little act of kindness goes a long way.”

It was heart-warming news, International Peace Garden founder Paula Savage said. The original stones were the result of a two-month project completed by Savage and Peace Garden Committee member Dona Tiberio. 

“This idea was intended to draw interest for children to visit and enjoy the garden. The very day after we placed the stones, they disappeared. We were devastated,” Savage said. “When we received the phone call from Karen Green it brought tears to our eyes. We could hardly believe these children were so inspired by our story. The children placed their artwork in the garden and it is there for visitors to enjoy.”

First-grader Maggie Spencer helps her mom in the garden at home, and wanted to contribute to the Peace Garden project "because those people felt sad," she said. Maggie painted one of her stones purple and added yellow and blue dots. Receiving a thank-you and knowing she made a difference made it all the better, she said.

“I’m very, very happy,” the six-year-old said.

Batavia Town Historian Berneda Scoins presented the certificates, along with Peace Garden pins. She had previously walked through the garden to see the children’s handiwork and knew “they were created with love,” she said.

“They made me smile, knowing these students added a blessing to the garden,” Scoins said. “We need to embrace our youth and encourage them to continue to be kind and loving. Genesee County and St. Joe’s can be very proud of these young people.”

Garden committee members are celebrating the site’s 10th anniversary.  They decorated it for fall and hope the community will continue to enjoy the West Main Street site with each changing season, Savage said. 




Photos by Howard Owens


Submitted photo.

September 24, 2021 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, bergen, notify.
Melvin Huntley

Melvin A. Huntley, 40, of Wilkinson Road, Batavia, is charged with rape 1st, sex abuse 1st, and predatory sexual assault with two or more victims. Huntley, accused previously of being a child sex predator and later charged with additional felonies, has been charged again as the result of further investigation by detectives Howard Carlson and Kevin Forsyth. An additional alleged victim was identified.  There are no known additional victims.  There are allegedly four victims total. Huntley is accused of multiple incidents of sexual assault over a seven-year period.  He remains in the Genesee County Jail being held without bail.

Brian Michael Raphael, 33, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and conspiracy 6th. Raphael was allegedly found in possession of cocaine following a traffic stop in the Town of Bergen at 11:15 p.m., June 7, by Deputy David Moore.  He was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to return to court Oct. 13.

September 24, 2021 - 11:13am
posted by Press Release in 4H, agriculture, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County 4-H Program is now accepting new youth members for the upcoming 4-H year that runs from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.  4-H is a nationwide youth program that connects youth age 5-18 to a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. 

There are a variety of clubs and programs offered by the Genesee County 4-H Program.  Project areas include animal sciences, arts and crafts, leadership, community service, gardening, public speaking and more.  Enrollment fees for Genesee County residents are $25 per youth or $50 per family of two or more youth.

Now is also a great time to enroll as an adult volunteer or start a 4-H Club.  Volunteers are essential to our program and allow you to share your hobbies with interested youth.  Projects can be as varied as sewing, arts and crafts, cooking, animal science and more.   4-H volunteer opportunities range from coordinating monthly club meetings to leading a one-time craft project.  Whatever you have to offer, 4-H has a place for you!

For more information about joining the Genesee County 4-H Program, please contact the 4-H Office at [email protected] or (585) 343-3040 ext. 101.  Enrollment forms are also available on our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development/how-to-join-4-h

September 24, 2021 - 11:03am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) voted to pass the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last night (H.R. 4350). Additionally, two of Jacobs’ proposals were included and passed.

“President Biden unjustifiably proposed cuts to our nation’s military, especially at a time when our nation faces threats from numerous enemies abroad. The President’s reckless withdrawal from Afghanistan has created a new terrorist haven and has weakened our international credibility. Similarly, China is ever focused on disrupting the international order. We must be laser-focused on combating threats of Chinese aggression and cyber-warfare,” Jacobs said. “This legislation reverses President Biden’s proposed defense cuts, supplies critical resources for counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, gives our troops a much-needed pay raise, and provides for the procurement of critical equipment and vehicles for our nation's military.”

The National Defense Authorization Act passed last night with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. Included in the final text of the bill were two legislative proposals introduced by Congressman Jacobs:

  • The Reservists Opportunity Act – this legislation allows for soldiers in our National Guard and Army Reserves to more easily access active-duty opportunities. Currently, soldiers need to be connected to a Department of Defense (DoD) network to access the Tour of Duty system, an internal Army job board for active-duty opportunities. This legislation allows for access from personal devices – improving retention and overall military readiness.
  • An amendment that increases “open topic” small business contracting opportunities for small businesses, which the Air Force has used to successfully develop innovative technologies from companies that do not traditionally work with the DoD.

“As our world grows more tumultuous and our enemies seek to test our resolve, improving our military readiness and capabilities is essential to our national security,” Jacobs said. “I introduced these pieces of legislation to ensure we can counter any threat that may arise and that our nation is not only prepared to counter the threats we face now, but any threat we may encounter in the future.”

September 24, 2021 - 10:51am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is hosting a virtual informational night for NY-27 students who are interested in attending a service academy.

“Each year, I have the distinct honor of nominating exceptional NY-27 students to attend four of our nation’s service academies,” Jacobs said. “These students go on to become leaders in our nation’s military and eventually their communities following their service. This night is the first step for families making a decision about which service academy is the best fit and gives students and parents a chance to ask questions directly to representatives of the academies.”

Jacobs’ virtual service academy informational night will be held on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021, at 6:00 PM EST. Students and parents can register for the event and learn more about the nomination process at https://jacobs.house.gov/military-academy-nominations.

Congressman Jacobs can nominate students to four out of the five service academies: U.S. Military Academy (USMA) – West Point NY, the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) – Annapolis MD, the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) – Colorado Springs CO, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) – Kings Point NY. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) – New London, CT, does not require a congressional nomination.

All applications must be received by Congressman Jacobs’ Clarence District Office by 5:00 PM EST on Friday, November 5th, 2021.

September 24, 2021 - 10:47am

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today expressed his relief as news broke that Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has resigned from his position, though his resignation will only take effect when Gov. Hochul puts forward his replacement. 

Hawley has been a frequent critic of Zucker and demanded his resignation on many occasions, deeply questioning the role Zucker may have played in the potential cover-up of the true number of fatalities that occurred in nursing homes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke out against the mandates placed on small businesses and public institutions that restricted their operations.

“While I am of the opinion that firing Howard Zucker should have been one of the first things Gov. Hochul did after being sworn in, it is better to see him leave late than never,” said Hawley. “Zucker has mismanaged this pandemic since day one, and his highly questionable actions likely contributed to the personal and economic pain of countless people throughout our state. In managing our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be smart about recognizing the realities people in the different, distinct regions of our state face in their personal lives and careers. A continuation of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the pandemic, characterized by burdensome, widely-applied mandates, will only stifle our state’s recovery from the pandemic. It’s my hope Zucker’s successor takes a more balanced and reasonable approach with local control, so that it won’t have the same negative impact on our communities and small businesses as Zucker’s mandates.”

September 23, 2021 - 2:17pm

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. and the Town of Batavia have come to an agreement concerning enhanced aesthetics and maintenance on and around Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel on Park Road.

WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek and Town Supervisor Gregory Post both reported that a productive discussion took place Wednesday as both entities prepare for the start of the Park Road Improvement Project later this fall.

Reconstruction of the street -- from Lewiston Road to Oak Street – is a $4.3 million project, with the bulk of the cost covered by federal and state aid.

Negotiations have been taking place in recent weeks over contracts covering WROTB’s financial contribution for requesting additional trees and lighting and details of the town’s cost for having Batavia Downs’ employees to maintain trees, street lights and sidewalks and for snowplowing once the project is complete.

“We met with the town yesterday and we’re good to go,” Wojtaszek said. “We just had to work out some details of the agreement.”

Post concurred, stating that an attorney review of the language in the agreement has been completed.

“It really wasn’t about the money, it was more about getting the proper wording,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Batavia Downs.”

Last week, the Batavia Town Board tabled a resolution that set WROTB’s payment for aesthetics at $486,870, with Post indicating that they were close to finalizing the contract. He and Wojtaszek today said that they have agreed on that figure.

In other developments from today’s WROTB directors’ meeting:

  • The board received an update on the armed robbery that took place on Aug. 28 at the Wehrle Drive OTB parlor. According to Amherst Police, a male suspect entered the building, fired a gun shot and fled on foot with an unknown amount of cash. WROTB employees installed a full security door afterwards.
  • Batavia Downs’ revenue in August resulted in a distribution of $73,637 to the corporation’s municipalities.

E-Z bet handle this year, through August, is up $2.3 million compared to 2020 and up $765,000 compared to 2019.

Batavia Bets’ handle in August was $1.8 million, down $337,000 compared to August 2020, and was $966,000 through Sept. 19, down $376,000 compared to September 2020. For the year, handle is $13 million, an increase of almost $1.6 million from 2020.

  • The board approved contracts with two Batavia-based companies: a one-year agreement with Applied Business Systems in the amount of $82,434 for marketing mailers and a pact through the end of the year for $22,500 with Extreme Streetwear for Buffalo Mafia apparel to be sold at Batavia Downs Gaming’s Lucky Treasures store.
September 23, 2021 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Alzheimer’s Association, batavia, news.


Press release:

Western Region Off-Track Betting (WROTB) President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek was joined by Batavia Downs employees to present the Alzheimer’s Association with a $2,000 check to support Western New York patients and their families.

“We could not be prouder of the team at Batavia Downs. As we’ve made our way through the pandemic, we understand now more than ever the need to support our neighbors any way we can,” Wojtaszek said. “We look forward to working with the Alzheimer’s Association and supporting their amazing work for years to come.”

Funds were collected earlier this summer at Batavia Downs' “Rockin the Downs” concert series. Local food vendors donated a portion of their sales on Batavia Downs grounds back to support the regional charitable causes.

Lynn Westcott, Director of Corporate Relations for the Alzheimer’s Association said, “We are very grateful for this partnership and donation. Batavia Downs recognizes the challenges so many people face because of this disease, and they have stepped up to ensure that free, crucial care and support services are available to residents of Genesee County who are living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, and their care partners. Through consultations, education classes, a 24/7 Helpline (1-800-272-3900), early-stage programs, and support groups, the Alzheimer's Association WNY Chapter strives to make a difficult time a little easier to manage.”

State Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan, who is on the State’s Committee on Aging, added; “Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible disease that effects nearly two-thirds of all dementia cases and countless families. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leader in global Alzheimer’s support and research.  I share in their vision to have a world without Alzheimer’s and dementia, but without proper funding, that vision cannot come to fruition. Thank you to Western Region OTB for their generous donation to the Alzheimer’s Association for their continued research.”

Batavia Downs and Western Region Off-Track Betting (WROTB) runs a year-round fundraising program to support local charities. In 2021 alone, WROTB has distributed more than $50,000 in various forms, including stay and play certificates, cash sponsorships, merchandise, and tickets.

Batavia Downs also partnered with Genesee County to host a vaccination drive earlier this year where they raffled off a signed Thurman Thomas Bills Jersey, passes to the concerts, and coupons to any of the restaurants at Batavia Downs.

“We’ve always looked for creative approaches to partnerships with charities and worthy causes,” Wojtaszek said. “We encourage anyone who thinks we might be able to play a positive role in helping achieve their mission to reach out to our team to see how we can help.”

Submitted photo: From left, Lynn Westcott – Director of Corporate Relations for Alzheimer’s Association of WNY, WROTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek, Connie Czworka, Batavia Downs receptionist and organizer of community outreach efforts.

September 23, 2021 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, Stafford, news, notify.

Daniel Joseph Davis, 55, of Hollymount Road, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, reckless endangerment, improper passing, failure to obey traffic control devices, failure to obey police officer, speed not reasonable and prudent for conditions, and moving from lane unsafely. It's alleged that Davis tried to avoid a traffic safety checkpoint by leaving his lane of travel and proceeding into the oncoming traffic lane nearly striking law enforcement officers and then fleeing the checkpoint before being stopped by a patrol vehicle a short distance from the checkpoint on  Clinton Street Road, Stafford. Davis was arraigned in Town of Stafford Court and released on his own recognizance.

Katie Lee Winnie, 27, of Martin Road, Akron, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Winnie was located at 3:06 a.m., July 8, on South Lake Road, Bergen, by Deputy David Moore, after the Sheriff's Office received a complaint of a woman slumped over the wheel of a vehicle parked at a convenience store.  Winnie was arrested this week after the office received the results of a lab test.  She was released on an appearance ticket.


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