Local Matters

Community Sponsors

news

April 7, 2020 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

Genesee County COVID-19 briefing for April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020 - 2:54pm

Press release:

In partnership with FoodLink of Rochester, The Salvation Army of Batavia is hosting a “Pop Up” mobile pantry on Wednesday, April 8, where individuals come in their cars and are provided fresh and shelf stable items distributed by volunteers into their trunks.

It will be held 9 a.m. in the parking lot of Northgate Free Methodist Church, North Campus, 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia. One box per household. No deliveries will be available. There are a limited number of boxes available.

Currently, Salvation Army feeding programs are seeing a 50-percent increase in participation statewide.

“The reality is much more dire here in Batavia,” said Lieutenant Rachel Moore of The Salvation Army in Batavia. “Our pantry is quickly being depleted as the demand for food has dramatically increased during the COVID-19 crisis.”

According to Lt. Moore, The Salvation Army of Batavia is currently in need of donations to sustain its food pantry including:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Canned meat
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Cereal
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Rice

“With the help of the community, we can continue to fulfill our mission of 'Doing the Most Good' during this unprecedented and uncertain time,” Lt. Moore said.

(Editor's note: The free food giveaway is not residency or income based and is available to all.)

April 7, 2020 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, masks, coronavirus, news.

These are the people who have contacted us to say they are available to make masks for their fellow Genesee County residents.  We haven't asked what, if anything, they're charging.  

If you are available to sew cloth masks for other people and would like to be listed, email [email protected]Here is a link to the CDC guidelines (pdf).

April 7, 2020 - 2:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, scanner, Le Roy.

A pickup truck in the area of Circular Hill Road in Le Roy was reported at a rock pile and the driver was loading rocks into the bed of the truck. A Le Roy police officer says he found tracks from the truck, which has left the scene. The rocks are said to belong to the Town of Le Roy.

April 7, 2020 - 2:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, fire, news.

A field fire that is moving toward trees is reported in Darien at 10186 Harlow Road. Darien Fire Department is responding. The location is south of Broadway Road (Route 20).

UPDATE 2:31: Fire is out; it is advised that the field be sprayed down. Corfu Fire Department is asked to respond for mutual aid.

April 7, 2020 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, Batavia Players, news, video.
Video Sponsor

Jane Burk reads Dylan Thomas "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." Burk is a member of Batavia Players.

If you would like to read a poem, please send a video of you reading a favorite poem to:   [email protected]

April 7, 2020 - 1:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, news, ventilators, Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

From Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer:

I hope that this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. As you may know, Governor Cuomo recently announced an Executive Order instructing local hospitals and healthcare providers to surrender ventilators in order to support patients in the New York City region.

Healthcare providers from our region are expressing their concerns about the impact this could have on our community’s ability to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic moving forward.  

Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health, recently said in a statement, “Hoping for no surge here or a promise of reimbursement for ventilators in the future -- at time of great uncertainty -- would be irresponsible. I cannot jeopardize our workforce and the very patients that we are responsible to care for.”

In response to the concerns raised by local providers, I joined several of my colleagues in writing to the Governor requesting that he reconsider this Order.

I am hopeful the Governor and Department of Health will listen to medical providers, who are on the front lines fighting this pandemic, and work with other states who have a surplus of supplies, to acquire critical devices.  

To be clear, there is a real and ongoing need for medical supplies in the New York City metro area, however, it should not come at the expense of other communities in the state. It has been well documented that in the days and weeks ahead cases are expected to peak in our region. Now is not the time to export critical medical devices.

April 7, 2020 - 1:44pm

Press release:

Washington, D.C. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senate Committee on Aging Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA), Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Vice Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM), and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) today unveiled the COVID-19 “Heroes Fund.”

It is the Senate Democrats’ proposal for the provision of pandemic premium pay to reward, retain, and recruit essential workers.

Senate Democrats’ proposed “Heroes Fund” consists of two major components: a $25,000 premium pay increase for essential workers, equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until Dec. 31 and a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.

Grueling Months Ahead

Essential frontline workers are the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic response in America.

Senate Democrats believe in providing premium pay to frontline workers during this pandemic not only to reward essential workers’ for their great personal sacrifices, but also to ensure the retention of essential workers who are working grueling hours on the frontlines of this crisis as well as the recruitment of additional workers who will be needed in the months ahead.

A Summary of Senate Democrats’ COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” proposal can be found here and below:

“Thousands of workers report to the frontlines of our nation’s pandemic response each and every day, placing themselves squarely in harm’s way to serve the needs of others,” Schumer said. “Senate Democrats’ proposed ‘Heroes Fund’ would provide premium pay to these essential workers — the doctors and nurses, grocery store workers, transit workers, and more who are central to fighting this crisis — and would establish an incentive system to retain and recruit the workforce needed for the long months to come.

"Essential frontline workers sacrifice daily for our collective health and well-being, and Senate Democrats are fully committed to supplying these heroes the financial support they deserve.”

The COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” Summary

Senate Democrats’ Proposal for Pandemic Premium Pay to Reward, Retain, & Recruit Essential Workers

Essential frontline workers are the true heroes of America’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Senate Democrats believe in providing premium pay to frontline workers during this pandemic to reward essential frontline workers, ensure the retention of essential workers who are working grueling hours on the frontlines of this crisis, and promote the recruitment of additional workers who will be needed in the months ahead.

As the Congress looks at a potential fourth COVID-19 bill, the following proposal is meant for consideration by Members of Congress, key stakeholders, and the American people. Our proposal consists of two major components:

  1. A $25,000 pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers, equivalent to a raise of an additional $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until Dec. 31.
  2. A $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.

Structure of the Pandemic Premium Pay

To meet the goals of reward, retention, and recruitment, we propose a set dollar amount per hour with a maximum amount for the year, for a definite duration, and with an additional bonus for workers who sign up to do such essential work during this crisis.

Amount of Pay Premium -- Our proposal:

  • Uses a flat-dollar amount per hour premium model in order to ensure it is clear, simple, and lifts up particularly those workers making lower wages;
  • Would give each essential frontline worker $13/hour premium pay on top of regular wages for all hours worked in essential industries through the end of 2020;
  • Would cap the total maximum premium pay at $25,000 for each essential frontline worker earning less than $200,000 per year and $5,000 for each essential worker earning $200,000 or more per year.

Duration of Premium -- The premium pay period:

  • Must be for a specified and clear duration of time to ensure workers can rely on it for their economic security and plan for needs like additional child care.
  • Should cover all hours worked by each essential frontline worker through December 31, 2020, or until the worker’s salary-based maximum premium pay is reached.

Premium Pay as a Recruitment and Retention Incentive.In order to recruit the additional health care workers, home care workers, and first responders needed over the coming months, our proposal

  • Would provide a one-time $15,000 premium for signing on to do essential work.
  • Would limit eligibility for this incentive premium to essential health and home care workers and first responders that are experiencing severe staffing shortages impeding the ability to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premium Pay and Worker Incentives Delivery Mechanism

Our proposal would fully federally-fund the premium pay and recruitment and retention incentive. We will continue to seek input on the specific mechanism for delivering the pay to workers, as well as the universe of “essential workers” to be covered. The new federal fund would partner with entities designated as an “eligible employer” – states, localities, tribes, and certain private sector employers – to issue the funds premium payments to eligible workers. Frontline federal employees would also be granted the new benefit of up to $25,000.

COVID-19 Heroes Fund. The new COVID-19 Heroes Fund would provide funds directly to eligible employer-partners so that they could distribute the premium payments.

  • Employers in industries engaged in “essential work” would apply to the Heroes Fund for funds to be used to add line-item premium pay to employees’ or independent contractors’ paychecks. The eligible employer would track these payments, provide payroll records demonstrating premium payments, and return any unspent funds to the agency.
  • No employer would be required to participate, but all would be strongly encouraged to and the program would be widely advertised.
  • An entity that contracts directly with the state, locality, Tribe, or the federal government (e.g., to provide care to people with Medicare and Medicaid coverage) would be considered a private sector employer, and employees of this entity who are designated as “essential” would be eligible for premium pay. Similarly, an eligible employer is also an individual who hires someone designated as “essential” through programs established through the State (e.g., self-directed care arrangements). This would help ensure coverage of the 2.2 million home health aides, direct service providers, and personal care workers who provide services to more than 12 million Americans.
  • Eligible employers would submit applications for the recruitment and retention incentive premium on a rolling basis.

Federal Workforce -- Our proposal would ensure all federal government essential frontline employees receive the same $25,000 premium pay benefit provided to other essential workers.

  • Coverage should be expansive to capture all federal employees with public-facing positions. This includes Title 5 employees and employees of all other federal personnel systems (e.g., employees of the Postal Service, TSA, VA, FAA, District of Columbia, and federally-funded Indian programs.
  • The benefit would be limited to frontline and public-facing positions – employees who are not teleworking from their homes.

Additional Background and Commentary

Precedents -- Disasters require exceptional flexibility in standard work schedules and assignments and often put first responders and other essential workers in dangerous situations. To ensure this critical workforce is compensated appropriately, there are precedents for funding hazard premium pay and worker incentives through a federal program.

FEMA, through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Response and Emergency Assistance Act and the Disaster Relief Fund, is currently authorized to reimburse state, local, and tribal governments for straight-time and premium pay associated with disaster response. Extraordinary costs (such as call-back pay, night-time or weekend differential pay, and hazardous duty pay) for essential employees who are called back to duty during administrative leave to perform eligible Emergency Work are eligible for reimbursement in certain circumstances.

This authority has been used many times over the last few years to pay for personnel costs associated with enforcing curfews, facilitating evacuation routes, and restoring critical infrastructure. Past usage illustrates precedent for federal funding of critical state, local, and tribal employees performing essential response functions that keep our communities safe in times of disaster.

Essential Frontline Worker definitions -- As mentioned above, the definition of essential frontline workers for purposes of both the premium pay increase and the recruitment-retention incentive will be the subject of debate. This proposal is not meant to exclude any worker from this conversation. Rather, we hope this proposal will encourage a discussion about how large and diverse this universe of workers truly is. Our goal is to make federal, state, tribal, local and private sector essential workers that are at risk eligible for this benefit.

Retroactive Pay -- Workers who have been on the frontlines since the initial declaration of the Public Health Emergency on January 27, 2020, could receive a lump sum of backpay of $13 per hour for work before enactment. These workers would continue to receive the $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages moving forward, but these workers would still be subject to the maximum premium pay cap outlined above.

Additional Benefits for Essential Health and Home Care Workers and First Responders -- The employers of frontline health and home care workers and first responders should be eligible to apply for a second round of premium pay funds of up to $10,000 as those workers continue to combat the virus.

Death Benefits -- It is a deeply disturbing but unfortunate reality that some of our frontline workers are making the ultimate sacrifice to the nation through their work fighting COVID-19.  Their families rightfully deserve to receive the full amount of the premium pay as a lump sum in addition to all other forms of death benefits.

Protections from Corporate Expense Shifting -- Certain large corporations engaged in the provision of essential services and goods employ essential frontline workers who are deserving of premium pay. However, massive corporations should make investments in providing premium pay of their own accord before trying to participate in this program.

Protecting Workers and PPE -- Senate Democrats have been fighting to give essential workers the protections and equipment they need to stay safe. The CARES Act provided billions of dollars for PPE, and Democrats have pushed the Administration to appoint a czar to handle all manufacturing and distribution of critical PPE. We must do more to ensure all frontline workers have the protective gear they need to perform their jobs safely, and we need a strong emergency temporary standard to protect all workers.

April 7, 2020 - 1:18pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Village of Bergen, senior meals delivery, news, coronavirus.

When the Village of Bergen was forced to scale down its workforce due to the coronavirus, Mayor Anna Marie Barclay told administrative assistant Cortney Gale she needed a project to keep her busy.

“Little did I know I’d end up running a meal delivery program for the village and town to support our seniors who are not getting out, as well as families struggling financially through this crisis,” Barclay said. “The worst is not being able to hold my little grandsons. We are down to one person in the office and one person in each department, so it’s hard to get much accomplished.”

Barclay started looking for something to do to support the community, especially those who are vulnerable or elderly. She checked with the Bergen Methodist Church who was not able to prepare their weekly Wednesday night meals, with the social distancing mandate. She also checked with St. Brigid’s Church in Bergen and Our Lady of Mercy in Le Roy, where she learned chef Don Antinore was no longer able to prepare his Friday night fish fries.

Dawn Berman, who cooks at the Methodist Church with volunteers Connie Fiedler and Carrie Wies, said they would be willing to prepare a meal on Monday and Wednesday for home delivery, and Antinore agreed to prepare a Friday meal with support from Father Matthew Phelan and many of their volunteers at Our Lady of Mercy. 

Barclay asked all of her staff at the village office to give her names of people they knew who might benefit from a home-delivered meal. This included seniors and families who might be out of money.

She made 70 phone calls and on March 27, Barclay, her husband, David, and village volunteers made their first delivery of 40 fish dinners. Last Friday, that number had increased to 55.

David Barclay made a spreadsheet of homes who wanted meal delivery and developed a route for each driver.

Volunteers included one lineman, one DPW employee, one water treatment plant employee and one member of the office staff. Village employees rotate their volunteer duties.

Village resident Kathy Fink also delivers meals. The Barclays drive to Le Roy to pick up the Friday meals and bring them to the volunteer drivers. 

When word spread of their mission, Leslie Hill, who does wedding flowers, donated carnations for each meal recipient. 

One day, Bob Bausch, the former Genesee County legislative chairman, volunteered to deliver a route. He lives in Bergen.

Barclay said they are taking every precaution when delivering meals. Drivers wear masks and place the meals on the recipient’s porch, or in some cases on a chair the resident has placed there. Then they ring the doorbell and go back to their vehicle. 

Barclay said they have received monetary donations from the community to help with purchase of food, and ANG Supermarket in Churchville donated 20 pounds of ground beef.

In addition to their home delivered meals, Bergen supported their community with a $500 donation from the Friends of Bergen to the North Bergen Presbyterian Church’s food pantry. Barclay said the food pantry is open on Wednesday and Saturday. 

The village also wants to bring some cheer to the children in Bergen, and on Saturday, the Easter Bunny will ride on a fire truck through the village.

Barclay said she is confident they are doing some good in this time of crisis.

“It’s great to be able to help,” she said.

Photos courtesy of Anna Marie Barclay.

Top photo: Sandy and Norm Pawlak, left, and David and Anna Marie Barclay load their vehicles with meals for seniors who are confined to their homes during this coronavirus pandemic.  

Below, Bergen Mayor Anna Marie Barclay, left, and village lineman Matt Sluberski set off to deliver meals to seniors, a service Barclay started to fill time while village operations are scaled back during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bottom, Zack Kuter, an employee of the Village of Bergen DPW, is one of the volunteers who delivers meals to seniors during the current coronavirus pandemic.

April 7, 2020 - 12:28pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many across the world requiring every qualified medical professional to assist with this crisis. Despite the negativity and disruption to daily work and routines, many acts of kindness and generosity have bonded citizens and rekindled devotion to saving lives and minimizing pain or discomfort.

This ripple effect has also made its way to Genesee Community College. In the most difficult times, Antoinette and Emmett Clancy reached out to bear wonderful news.

The Clancy's contacted Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Jennifer Wakefield, inspired by news stories of selfless medical professionals aiding patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They recounted one emotional story in particular, at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey last week, when an unidentified man held up a sign to the hospital window thanking medical staff for saving his wife's life.

"And this is why we love what we do as nurses," Antoinette (née Marchese) Clancy said, "directly helping others and making their lives better."

The Clancy's have decided to award an additional 10 scholarships for the 2020/2021 academic year to support second year nursing students who have exhibited dedication and excellence in their first year of study, and promise to continue this distinction in their second year.

"Nurses are the backbone of the medical system. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no better time to recognize nurses and their role in the system," Clancy said.

"Because of the Clancy Family's generosity and love for Genesee Community College and the community in which they were raised, they recognized the need to continue assisting nursing students to complete their education," James M. Sunser, Ed.D., president of Genesee Community College said.

"The increased number of scholarships will not only help in the fight against COVID-19, but will help increase the number of skilled rural nurses in Western New York which we so desperately need."

Last fall, the Antoinette Marchese Clancy Scholarship Fund was established through a generous gift from the Clancy family and recognizes Antoinette, GCC Class of 1974.

Each year going forward, this scholarship will support several second-year GCC nursing students who are academically in the upper third of the class and have illustrated excellence in their clinical performance.

Antoinette Marchese grew up in Batavia and in 1970 graduated from Notre Dame High School where she had met her husband, Emmett Clancy. After working as a nurse's aide at St. Jerome's Hospital, she enrolled at D'Youville College, but transferred and graduated from GCC in 1974 earning the Nursing Excellence Award, an honor that is still very important to her.

The Clancy family, now residing in California, has grown to include five children and 11 grandchildren throughout their 45-year marriage.

The formal recognition reception with the Clancy's in attendance was scheduled next month on May 14. Their visit was to be a highlight of the 50th Anniversary of GCC's Nursing Program and the annual nursing graduation ceremony. The ceremony will be postponed to May 2021.

"Just as the Olympics have been postponed until 2021, so has celebrating the 50th Golden Anniversary of Genesee Community College's Antoinette Marchese Clancy School of Nursing. We will celebrate the 2020 milestone and the success of the program in May 2021," Emmett Clancy said.

April 7, 2020 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, UMMC, notify.

Video provided by Rochester Regional Health.

Norma Longrod is from Orleans County. She was brought into the emergency room at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia following a fall. Doctors found she was running a high fever and was presenting other symptoms of COVID-19 so she was immediately placed in isolation.

While not attributing her recovery specifically to hydroxychloroquine, a doctor in the video does say she was treated with the drug, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than a week ago said would be used on a trial basis in New York to treat patients with COVID-19.

April 7, 2020 - 11:28am

Press release:

The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, The John R. Oishei Foundation and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County announced that it has granted $4.5 Million to 74 organizations in less than two weeks after the Fund was announced.

Grants were awarded to organizations serving all eight counties of Western New York that are addressing immediate needs in our community as a result of the COVID-19 crisis in the areas of food, housing, healthcare, childcare, mental health, transportation, and other emergency services.

Grants were made to nonprofit organizations throughout WNY including urban and rural areas, organizations of every size, and to those serving a range of populations with consideration for areas already in economic distress. 

The WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund is a collaborative effort among the region’s philanthropic organizations to help essential organizations on the front lines of this community crisis with grants designed to complement public sector funds.

Anyone is welcome to join the effort and donate to the Fund through the website – www.WNYResponds.org.

The following nonprofit organizations received a grant from the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund:

• Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development

• Arc of Genesee Orleans (Meals on Wheels)

• BestSelf Behavioral Health

• Boys & Girls Clubs Collaborative

• Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network

• Buffalo Urban League

• CAO of Western New York

• Cattaraugus and Wyoming Counties Project Head Start

• Cattaraugus Community Action

• Cattaraugus County Dept. of Aging (Meals on Wheels Fund)

• Cazenovia Recovery Systems

• CCNY

• Child & Family Services of Erie County

• Child Care Coalition of the Niagara Frontier

• Christ Church Community Kitchen

• City Mission Society, Inc.

• Community Action of Orleans & Genesee

• Community Health Center of Buffalo

• Community Missions of Niagara Frontier

• CoNECT (Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo)

• Crisis Services

• Cuba Cultural Center

• Directions in Independent Living

• Empower (United Cerebral Palsy Assoc. of Niagara County)

• Erie Regional Housing Develop. (Belle Center)

• Evergreen Health

• Every Bottom Covered

• Family Help Center

• Feed Buffalo

• FeedMore WNY

• Friends of Night People

• Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern Inc. 

• Harvest House of South Buffalo

• Health Association of Niagara County (HANCI)

• Healthy Community Alliance

• Heart Love & Soul

• Hearts and Hands: Faith in Action Inc.

• Horizon Health Services

• Jericho Road Community Health Center

• Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County

• Journey's End Refugee Services

• Kendall Community Food Cupboard Corp.

• Learning Disabilities Association of WNY

• Life Impact (Resurrection Life Food Pantry)

• Lt. Col. Matt Urban HSC of WNY

• Metro Community Develop. Corp.

• Mid-Erie Mental Health Services (Endeavor Health Services)

• Native American Community Services 

• Neighborhood Health Center 

• Niagara Community Action Program Inc.

• Northpointe Council

• NYS Network for Youth Success

• Olmsted Center for Sight

• Open Buffalo (Seeding Resilience Initiative)

• Parkside Evangelical Lutheran Church

• PUSH Buffalo

• Restoration Society

• Safety-Net Assoc. of Primary Care Affiliated Providers

• Save the Michaels of the World

• Say Yes Buffalo 

• Spectrum Health and Human Services

• Western New York Independent Living

To date, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund has received approximately $5.5 million from local foundations, private sector companies, and individuals. Additional funds raised will be distributed based on evolving needs related to the pandemic. To see a full list of contributors to the Fund, please visit www.WNYResponds.org.

On Monday (April 6) Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane announced that he is donating $20,000 to relief efforts and is also offering fans an opportunity to interact with him as he gears up for the 2020 NFL Draft to build awareness for the Fund.

The initiative, which runs until Friday, April 17, will award seven randomly selected entrants with one of seven unique Bills-themed experiences or prizes.

For anyone in need of assistance with information related to services available in our community, please call 2-1-1. It is a referral hotline that is staffed 24/7 and serves all eight counties of Western New York.

April 7, 2020 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in live stream, video, YWCA, news, covid-19, coronavirus.
Video Sponsor

This morning, we're talking with Millie Tomidy-Pepper, director of the YWCA. 

April 6, 2020 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

There are 46 people in mandatory quarantine in Genesee County, many of them, according to the Health Department, because an employee of a local business went to work while ill and later tested positive for COVID-19.

In keeping with privacy laws, the Health Department is releasing no further information about the person or where that person worked.

The department received reports from state labs over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, of 10 more local residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. 

There has been a total of 32 positive cases in Genesee County since the first positive test locally, reported on March 17. There are currently 23 people in mandatory isolation because they tested positive, eight people have recovered, and there has been one death.

Four of the people with positive test results over the weekend were previously on mandatory quarantine.

Of the 10 new cases, all 10 are under age 65. We tried to find out how many were under age 40 and under age 30 and a spokesperson for the department declined to releases that information citing privacy concerns.

There are currently no local residents hospitalized because of the coronavirus.

Public Health Director Paul Pettit, in light of the fact a person who later tested positive went to work sick, reiterated the need for people to pay attention to warnings about COVID-19.

“When you are sick, stay home from work,” stated Pettit, “A significant increase in the number of mandatory quarantines being reported today is due to a symptomatic person going to work at a local business. Also, if you are part of gatherings and even one person tests positive everyone in close contact to the positive will be placed on mandatory quarantine. We’re all in this together, we need to make sacrifices in the short term to get us through this challenging time.”

The health department indicates the sick person only had close contact with fellow workers and, besides the ones already identified and placed in mandatory quarantine, the department is working with the company to identify further individuals who might need to go into quarantine.

April 6, 2020 - 5:48pm

UPDATE: We spoke with Police Chief Shawn Heubusch about this order and how it might be enforced. He said police officers will be driving by and monitoring the parks to ensure compliance with the order but officers will be unlikely to issue tickets. He said they will issue warnings, reminding people of the importance of social distancing, and asking them to move along. At least on first-time offenses. "We're just asking people to cooperate during this because we want to keep everybody as healthy as possible," Heubusch said. If it becomes necessary to cite somebody for violation of the order, a violation of a local emergency order is a Class B misdemeanor. 

Press release:

Effective Immediately -- EMERGENCY ORDER #1-2020

Acting under the State of Emergency Declaration issued by my hand at 4:30 p.m. on March 22, 2020 and continuing in effect for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days, I issue the following emergency order(s), which shall be in effect through April 11, 2020, and is subject to renewal:

1. All Public Parks within the City Limits of the City of Batavia, New York remain open to public use from 7 a.m. to dusk. During the times that public parks are open, State of New York declared restrictions on congregating will be observed.

In addition, all playground areas, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, basketball courts, picnic pavilions, splash pads, and other park facilities that are used for activities that constitute congregating are closed to public use.

As a reminder, all public parks in the City of Batavia are closed dusk to dawn. Closures will be enforced.

Contact: Martin Moore
City Manager
Phone: 585-345-6333
Email: [email protected]

April 6, 2020 - 5:40pm

Submitted image and press release:

Genesee County Office of Emergency Management in cooperation with the Genesee County Health Department will be utilizing Wireless Emergency Alerts, a public alert and warning system to reinforce the importance of health and safety guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), NYS Department of Health and the Genesee County Health Department.  

Periodic messages will be sent out to promote health and safety and to ensure timely and accurate information is shared with all Genesee County residents. You will be receiving an alert to your cell phone tomorrow (April 7) at approximately 12 and 6 p.m. 

Your impact on the community is great and your efforts in promoting safety guidelines is appreciated.

Recommended guidance to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 include:

  • Stay at home;
  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Follow social distancing; stay 6 feet away from non-household members.

We thank you and your community for your cooperation during these difficult times.  

Frequently Asked Questions: Wireless Emergency Alerts

Why are Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) important to me?

  • Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, warnings can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm's way, without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.

What are WEA messages?

  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier.

What types of alerts will I receive?

  • Imminent Threat Alerts that include extreme weather, and other threatening emergencies in your area
  • Public Safety Alerts that are less severe in nature than Imminent Threat Alerts
  • AMBER (missing child) Alerts
  • Presidential Alerts during a national emergency
  • Messages that are opt in message to support state and local WEA testing

What does a WEA message look like?

WEA will look like a text message. The WEA message will show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 360 characters.

April 6, 2020 - 5:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • Directs Schools and Nonessential Businesses to Stay Closed for Additional Two Weeks Through April 29th
  • Increases Maximum Fine for Violations of the State's Social Distancing Protocol from $500 to $1,000
  • Requests Use of USNS Comfort Hospital Ship for Only COVID-19 Patients
  • 802 Ventilators Have Been Distributed Downstate Through the State's "Surge and Flex" System
  • Establishes First Responders Fund to Be Used for Expenses Associated with COVID-19 First Responders -- Blackstone is Making Anchor $10 Million Donation
  • State is Partnering with Headspace to Offer Free Meditation and Mindfulness Content for all New Yorkers
  • South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island & Brooklyn Center Temporary Hospital at 170 Buffalo Avenue Will Open This Week Specifically for COVID-19 Patients
  • Confirms 8,658 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State -- Bringing Statewide Total to 130,689; New Cases in 48 Counties
  • Governor Cuomo: "One of the reasons the rate of infection is going down is because social distancing is working. We have to continue the social distancing. Schools and non-essential businesses will stay closed until April 29. I know that's a negative for many, many reasons. I know what it does to the economy. But as I said from day one I'm not going to choose between public health and economic activity because in either event public health still demands that we stay on pause with businesses closed and schools closed."
  • Cuomo: "I'm going to call the president this afternoon and ask him to shift the Comfort from non-COVID to COVID. ... That is the only way we sustain this level of intensity in the hospital system. I understand what the original plan was with the Comfort, but I understand that there is no preordained strategy here. You have to feel it out day to day and you have to adjust with the facts. We do not need the Comfort for non-COVID cases. We need it for COVID."

Earlier today, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced all NYS on Pause functions will be extended for an additional two weeks. The Governor also directed schools and nonessential businesses to stay closed for an additional two weeks through April 29th. The state will re-evaluate after this additional two-week period.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the state's social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. The Governor reminded localities that they have the authority to enforce the protocols.

The Governor today is asking the federal government to allow the USNS Comfort hospital ship to be used for COVID-19 patients. President Trump has already granted the Governor's request for the Javits temporary hospital facility to be used for only COVID-19 positive patients, and the addition of the USNS Comfort would help relieve pressure on the state's hospital system with an addition of 1,000 beds for COVID-19 patients.

The Governor also announced that 802 ventilators have been distributed downstate through the state's "surge and flex" system where all hospital systems are working together as one and sharing supplies, equipment and staff. Of the 802 ventilators, 38 were deployed to Rockland County, 36 were deployed to Westchester County, 505 were deployed to New York City and 223 were deployed to Long Island.

 Governor Cuomo also announced the creation of the First Responders Fund to assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. The State Department of Health is accepting donations for the fund, and Blackstone is making an anchor $10 million contribution to the fund. Donations can be made electronically at or by check sent to below address. Donors should specify the donation is for "COVID-19 NYS Emergency Response."

Health Research, Inc.
150 Broadway
Suite 560
Menands, NY 12204

The Governor also announced that the state is partnering with Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation, to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers as a mental health resource for residents coping with the unprecedented public health crisis. New Yorkers can access a collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, along with at-home mindful workouts, sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety at www.headspace.com/ny

The Governor also announced that the South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island and the Brooklyn Center Temporary Hospital at 170 Buffalo Avenue will open this week and will be used specifically for COVID-19 patients.

April 6, 2020 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

The Center for Disease Control has reversed course on the general public wearing face masks to help protect themselves and others (mostly others) from the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus currently running through our nation and our community.

While masks are no substitute for social distancing and hand washing, they could help flatten the curve.

Today, the CDC issued guidelines for wearing and making masks. Click here for the guidelines.

We previously offered to start a list of people in the community willing to make masks for others and so far have received one response. If there are others, email your name and contact information to [email protected]

Our list:

Previously: It may be a good idea to wear face masks (just don't buy masks needed by medical professionals)

Also, here's a video on how to properly wash your hands.

April 6, 2020 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

COVID-19 Briefing as of 2 p.m. today

New Cases

  • Genesee County received 10 new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 32 positive cases:
    • All of the positive cases are under mandatory isolation at home;
    • Four of the positive cases were under mandatory quarantine and are now under mandatory isolation;
    • Ten are under the age of 65 residing in the central part of Genesee County;
  • Orleans County: Six new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 15:
    • One of the positive cases is under the age of 65 and lives in the eastern part of Orleans County;
    • One of the positive cases is 65 and over and resides in the western part of Orleans County;
    • Four of the positive cases are 65 and older and reside in the central part of Orleans County;
    • One of the six is under isolation at the hospital and the other five are under mandatory isolation at home;
    • Two of the Orleans positive cases were under precautionary or mandatory quarantine when they became symptomatic.
  • Contact tracing has been initiated for all new cases. Known contacts have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated (if symptoms become present).
  • If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the County Health Department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed if indicated. Limited information is provided to the public in compliance with HIPAA regulations and out of the respect of those impacted by this virus.
  • When, and if, there is a situation where potential contact is made in a public location where contact tracing doesn’t have actual names we will send out a media announcement to help seek contacts
  • We are asking that people be respectful and accommodating of health care workers and responders. They are doing their job to protect you and our community. 
  • Be Responsible -- Because COVID-19 is circulating locally, we can’t stress enough how important social distancing is and that EVERYONE needs to take this seriously and stay home! It is your social and civic responsibility to protect yourselves and others.
    • Today’s jump in numbers are reflective of increasing community spread and the fact so many are still out and about, taking the family grocery shopping, going to work sick, and having gatherings at home. Keep in mind as you disregard the Governor’s orders and related guidance, you are risking exposure to yourself and your family members…and are perpetuating the spread of COVID-19 for everyone in our communities
    • When you are sick, stay home from work! A significant increase in the number of mandatory quarantines being reported today is due to a symptomatic person going to work at a local business. If you are part of gatherings and even one person tests positive everyone in close contact to the positive will be placed on mandatory quarantine. We’re all in this together, we need to make sacrifices in the short term to get us through this challenging time. 
  • Click here to view the Genesee and Orleans County online map of confirmed cases.

covidbriefingapril6.png

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

  • Connect together by celebrating apart. We understand that Easter is a time many families gather to celebrate the holiday with spring time traditions such as Easter egg hunts and large family dinners. We are asking our communities to think of fun and clever ways in which you can still virtually connect with your loved ones while keeping everyone safe and healthy.
  • Going out for essentials: If you have to pick up essential items such as groceries or prescriptions, only one member of the house hold should be going out. Make a list ahead of time to limit your exposure in the store. Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and other people. Do not bring in unessential items such as purses, phones, etc. These items can carry germs from the store and back home with you. Wash your hands frequently.
  • Practice social distancing everywhere, including outdoors. As the weather begins to warm up it is important to understand that you must continue to practice social distancing. This means maintaining 6 feet of distance between you and other people. DO NOT play or participate in sports or activities that bring people together. If you are walking, jogging, or biking outside, make sure you pass people at a minimum of 6 feet apart. Being outdoors will not protect you from contracting the virus. Remember this is only temporary. The more we practice social distancing the sooner we can get back to normal.
  • Please stay home if you are sick. DO NOT go to work if you are sick, symptomatic, or feel unwell. If you develop symptoms while at work, go home immediately.
  • Medical Concerns: If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE.
April 6, 2020 - 3:43pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county, batavia, Andrew Cuomo, notify, covid-19, VLT money.

Word that Albany has restored Video Lottery Terminal money generated by Batavia Downs Gaming is good news to Genesee County municipalities, but a couple of other stipulations in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2020-21 budget likely will result in increased financial stress beyond the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley confirmed today that the state budget includes the restoration of VLT funds to Genesee County ($200,392), Town of Batavia ($160,388) and City of Batavia ($440,789).

Lawmakers of the three entities previously were advised – late in their budget processes -- that VLT money would no longer be available, and that left sizeable gaps in their budgets. In the case of the City of Batavia, there was a $700,000 shortfall, causing City Council to pass a budget that includes a $7.48 percent property tax increase.

Hawley said getting the VLT money back into local hands is one of the few bright spots of the state budget.

“I worked very hard on that to get it restored from the governor’s proposed cutting,” said Hawley, who is in his 15th year as a state legislator. “Last year, he proposed cutting a percentage of it to the city, the town and the county, and this year he took the total ax to it in his executive budget. But we were able to get that restored in its entirety and that will be of great help.”

While the state could hold the VLT money depending upon revenues and expenditures during this fiscal year, Hawley and County Manager Jay Gsell believe that the local municipalities are safe for the time being.

“Technically, the governor does have the ability to withhold funds from any entity, but hopefully that won't be the case here," Hawley said. "You never know what the governor or legislature will do with the state budget, but this restores it for this year. Each January when the governor comes up with his budget, it seems to be a favorite chopping block for him. That’s why they can’t necessarily count on it from year to year.”

Gsell said it was his understanding that the VLT funding was voted on as a separate appropriation, a line item not subject to the governor’s power to incrementally reduce aid reimbursements to local governments and others, including school districts, based on revenue streams.

“We got a summary from NYSAC (New York State Association of Counties) of all the good, bad and indifferent, and VLT funding was one of the things that in the last two weeks of the budget deliberation -- before the three people in the room made the decision – that would be voted on as part of the full package,” Gsell said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”

'Unilateral power' designation raises eyebrows

The county manager said he’s a bit wary over the legislature’s granting of “somewhat unilateral power” to the governor, calling it “unchartered territory as far as local governments are concerned.”

Hawley said he voted “no” to every budget bill for the first time ever, pointing to a flawed process and the decision to give Cuomo more authority.

“For many, many, many reasons I voted for the first time ever “no” on every single budget bill, even though there were things in there like restoration of CHIPs funding (Consolidated Highway Improvement Program), extreme winter recovery, sales tax renewals for the counties I represent,” Hawley said. “Every bill always has good stuff and bad stuff in it, you just have to decide what the general impact is, but because of the way this was done and the way it was held off until the very last minute without appropriate legislative review, I had a huge problem with it.”

He said he was in favor of a “continuing resolution” that would have allowed the state to continue operating and then have the legislature return to Albany when the pandemic was under control.

“Additionally, we would have some sort of -- because this will affect us for years and years to come -- idea what the revenues actually will be and what the expenses may be and then we will be able to approach it with some knowledge,” he said.

Hawley said the “made-up figures were really catastrophic and not an appropriate way to run the state or any business.”

“How do you make up numbers when you have no idea? I thought we could have averted all of this – bringing all 213 legislators back into the buildings -- who knows who brought what with them in terms of this disease. And then we ceded power to the governor to make any changes that he wants to as the budget goes on as opposed to having legislative input on that … that’s not what the election process is all about in a democracy.”

City to use VLT funds to offset costs

City Council President Eugene Jankowski weighed in on the new VLT development, stating that he expects the restored funds to be used to offset some of the spending cuts in this year’s budget and the loss of sales tax revenue caused by the coronavirus shutdown.

“It’s too late to change anything in our 2020-21 budget,” he said. “Since it’s already been passed, we can’t do anything about the tax rate. But it’s great that we will have it to use next year.”

Gsell said having the $200,000 certainly helps the county, which has put its capital projects – including the construction of a new jail – on hold as it calculates the impact of COVID-19.

He is troubled, however, by Cuomo’s creation of a fund to skim county sales tax revenue to support “distressed hospitals and nursing homes” and continuation of a program to use county sales tax money to assist other municipalities.

“I guess you could say it’s a double-edged sword,” Gsell said. “The governor and the comptroller are establishing a $250 million fund over the next two years to help finance distressed hospitals and nursing homes, and we could be hit for about $250,000 in the first year,” Gsell said. “Previously, this had strictly been a state commitment in that regard.”

Gsell: 'Taxation without representation'

Noting that he has no idea whether United Memorial Medical Center or the local half-dozen long-term care facilities would be targeted for assistance, Gsell said this “assessment” is putting Genesee County back into a deficit funding situation – something it removed itself from when it sold the County Nursing Home three years ago.

He also bemoaned the fact that the state, for the second year, will be taking county sales tax to distribute as part of the AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities) program.

“Again, in the past the state fully funded this out of their own coffers,” Gsell said. “They use a formula -- I believe it’s about a 2 percent equation in there – and last year, we saw $320,000 of county sales tax intercepted by the state so they could make those payments to the villages and towns and, in some cases, the city. This year, it could be another $250,000 hit to county sales tax before we even get the standard distribution that they’ll provide. This is taxation without representation. We had no input into how this fund was set up or what the calculation of the formula is.”

Gsell said the county “dodged a bullet” in regard to increased Medicaid funding as the governor’s proposal to remove the cap of local shares was not included in the budget.

“He had a three-pronged proposal that could have significantly changed how much we are paying on a weekly share on our present $9.6 million a year that we’re already committed to sending to the state,” he said.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button