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November 13, 2019 - 4:11pm

Photo and information from Jason Smith, Resurrection Parish director of Religious Education. 

Confirmation students from Resurrection Parish in Batavia assisted with the Spaghetti Dinner & Basket Raffle fundraiser held Saturday at St. Joseph Regional School in Batavia. Pictured are Elizabeth Kingston and Evan Preston.

November 13, 2019 - 11:12am

Press release:

The Batavia City School District’s Board of Education (BOE) has named three finalists for the district’s next superintendent. 

Patrick Burk, Batavia City School District’s Board president, said he is pleased with the high-quality candidate pool and enthused about the potential the three finalists have to offer. 

“Selecting the best superintendent for Batavia City Schools is the Board’s top priority,” Burk said. “The BOE has narrowed the search to three finalists. We look forward to the next round of interviews where the finalists meet with our stakeholder groups.”

The three finalists are Jason Smith, Joleen Dimitroff, and Anibal Soler Jr.

Jason Smith

Smith is the superintendent of Lyndonville Central Schools, located in Lyndonville. As superintendent, Smith supervises more than 100 staff and faculty members, and a student body of more than 648.

He’s led extensive curriculum work in math and English Language Arts with full alignment to the Common Core which resulted in a near 100-percent increase in math scores from 2013 to 2014. Smith implemented APPR requirements with alignment to the Framework for Teaching and Leadership standards and provided on-going administrator professional development to ensure consistency and calibration of teacher observations.

Smith has 18 years of educational leadership experience including serving as the assistant principal of the Albion Middle School in Albion, and elementary and high school principal at the Elba Central School District. Smith began his career in education in 1994 as a Social Studies teacher at Albion Central Schools.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Geneseo, a master’s degree and a Certificate of Advance Study in Educational Administration from The College at Brockport. He holds a certification as a New York State School Administrator.

Joleen Dimitroff

Dimitroff is the principal of Glendale Elementary School in the Sweet Home Central School District, which is located in Tonawanda. Dimitroff has served the Sweet Home Central School District since 2006 where she’s also served as principal of Sweet Home High School. She also served as primary school principal/Special Education director for the Akron Central School District in Akron.

As principal, her leadership and professional experiences includes the adoption of 12 new Niagara University Accredited Course as well as establishing an International Honors Academy for grades 9 and 10. She also designed a building-wide Professional Learning Community Framework. During her tenure as director of Special Education at Akron Central Schools, she supervised the Committee on Preschool Special Education protocols and procedures. 

Dimitroff began her career in education in 1989 as a special education teacher for the Binghamton City School District. She holds a Bachelor of Science from SUNY Fredonia, a master’s degree from SUNY Binghamton and a School District Administrator Certificate in Educational Administration from Canisius College. She also holds a New York School District Administrator Certificate.

Anibal Soler Jr.

Soler Jr. is the associate superintendent of Strategic Alignment and Innovation for the Buffalo Public Schools, New York State’s second-largest school district, a position he has held since 2018. In this role, he oversees four areas: Adult Education; district Athletics; the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative; and district school improvement strategy known as Strong Community Schools, which encompasses 11,000 students and 21 schools across the City of Buffalo.

This Strong Community Schools effort has moved persistently struggling or failing schools to good-standing rating by the New York State Education Department. From 2016 until 2018, Soler Jr., was the principal of North Park Academy, an elementary school in the Buffalo Public School District. In this role, he led a staff of more than 50 and 250 students and supervised all instructional and operational aspects of this Pre-K through 8 community school.

From 2009-2016, Soler Jr. was the principal of East High School, the largest comprehensive high school in the Rochester City School District with between 1,500 to 2,000 students and a staff of almost 250. Through his leadership, the school was removed from New York State Education Department’s Persistently Dangerous list in 2011.

Soler Jr. serves as an adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. He began teaching in 2000 as an Art teacher at Thomas Middle School in the Rochester City School District. 

Soler Jr. holds a Bachelor of Science from Daemen College, a master’s degree from Nazareth College and Certification in School Administrator  and School District Administration from St. John Fisher College. He holds a certification as a New York State School Administrator and New York State School Administration Supervisor. He is currently enrolled in the doctorate program in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester.

The BOE will conduct the final round of interviews with the three candidates on Nov. 18, 19 and 20 at the Batavia City School District.

Smith is set to visit on Nov. 18; Dimitroff on Nov. 19; and Soler Jr. on Nov. 20. During each candidate’s district visit, a community meet-and-greet will be held from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. in the library at Batavia High School.

The anticipated start date for the new Superintendent is no later than Feb. 3.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, who is acting as search consultant, said the Board has developed and implemented a process that will help determine the best candidate.

“This is a thorough process that the board and stakeholders undertake,” MacDonald said. “Finalists will visit at the district, and go through another round of interviews. The process concludes with the Board meeting to make a final decision.”


The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

November 12, 2019 - 9:52pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council.

Rejected in his bid for a landlord’s assistance, a Ross Street man tonight appealed to City Council to help him resolve an ongoing situation with his next-door neighbors.

“I’ve never been the squeaky wheel, but I’m hoping for a little bit of grease,” said Robert Cook of 172 Ross St. as he spoke during the public comments portion of the Business Meeting at City Hall Council Board Room.

Cook, who said he purchased the house last June, said he and his children have been subjected to intoxicated, verbally abusive and combative neighbors at 174 Ross St. (on the southeast corner of North Street). He added that he has learned that police have been called to that address more than 24 times since 2014.

“My children aren’t comfortable sitting on the porch or playing in the front yard,” said Cook, who noted that two or three families are renting at 174 Ross St.

Furthermore, he said that the property owner, Duane Preston, not only was unwilling to assist but sent Cook a letter that “was very dismissive and condescending.”

That left him no choice but to come before City Council, where he said he “humbly is asking for guidance to resolve this” and to set the wheel in motion to hold landlords responsible for their tenants’ behaviors.

His predicament spurred varied responses from council members and City Manager Martin Moore, ranging from Moore’s touting of the success of neighborhood watch groups in the City, to Council Member Paul Viele’s pointed words: “It looks like Mr. Preston doesn’t give a crap about Mr. Cook and that’s a shame.”

Council Member Kathleen Briggs asked if Moore had contacted Preston, who owns numerous properties in the City, (Moore answered "No") and urged someone to talk to the tenants and tell them that they’ve “become a disturbance.”

Council Member Patti Pacino confirmed that City police officers have been there many times, while Rose Mary Christian -- putting the blame on the tenants -- called for increased police surveillance in the area.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said his department’s efforts have been hampered by the lack of complainants to go on the record and by the fact that there hasn’t been an issue when police have arrived.

“We will reach out to him (Preston), but we can’t put a car there 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “We are aware of the property and have increased our presence there.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski suggested that several neighbors band together and also noted that if Cook’s neighbors are under public assistance, the bad behavior could put them “in jeopardy of losing the apartment and being moved out.”

“We need to let the police handle it and work with other agencies – parole, probation, HUD,” he said. “(Speaking with) the landlord is the other avenue.”

Following the meeting, Cook said he was disappointed in Preston’s response.

“He (Preston) said he was taking the same position as other landlords in the City – he’ll keep the properties up to code and let the police handle the tenant issues,” Cook said. “He said that I should have done more research before buying the house. I say that he should have done more research before renting to these tenants.”

November 12, 2019 - 8:59pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city of batavia, genesee county, Batavia City Council.

Approval of a 40-year water supply agreement between the City of Batavia and Genesee County is a win-win situation for both municipalities, according to a City official who has played an integral role in the negotiations.

Speaking after tonight’s Batavia City Council meeting – at which council members unanimously approved the amended agreement through the year 2059, Public Works Director Matt Worth said the new pact equally benefits both entities.

“The important parts of it are, from the City point of view, is the City (last month) entered into a 40-year agreement with the sales tax with Genesee County -- which gives it stability as a financial revenue long-term – and, in addition, the City now does not have to build a new water plant,” Worth said.

Worth estimated the cost of a new water plant at $35 million, expressing relief that the city no longer has that responsibility.

From Genesee County’s perspective, Worth said the agreement’s additional 60-cent surcharge (per 1,000 gallons) gives the county the long-term stability to fund necessary improvements.

“Over the 40 years, the county can go for long-term bonds and has the ability to say ‘Yes we have the revenue stream to pay for those bonds’ (and that leads to) better rates and long-term stability to do those improvements and bring the additional water in,” Worth noted. “Hopefully that spurs all the economic development and growth that usually comes along with public water.”

Worth said the prior agreement -- an extension of the original contract from 2000 -- runs through Dec. 31 and included a 60-cent surcharge to help pay for water improvements. This new agreement goes out to Dec. 31, 2059 and tacks on another 60-cent surcharge to the City.

He said it could provide the impetus to get water into other areas of the county.

“It could mean getting public water into some of those towns and areas that have not had it – Bethany being a prime example,” he said. “Alabama didn’t have water for quite a while, now they’re starting to get water into that town as well.

“That’s kind of the avenue that has been put forward for long-term stability financially and long-term stability as far as providing safe, public drinking water to an awful lot of the county.”

City Council also passed, by 9-0 votes, a restated lease with Genesee County for water treatment facilities that would transfer the plant to the county once it is no longer being used, by mutual agreement, and a restated operations and maintenance agreement for the water treatment plant that takes into account actual costs compared to budget costs, with the City and County equally splitting any surplus end-of-the-year funds.

Both of these agreements are for 10 years.

November 12, 2019 - 8:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Bethany, Darien.

Amanda M. Webb, 30, of Maple Street, Batavia, was charged on Nov. 3 with: resisting arrest; two counts of endangering the welfare of a child less than 17; criminal contempt in the first degree -- physical contact; and two counts of second-degree harassment -- physical contact; and third-degree criminal mischief. At 11:01 a.m. on Nov. 3, Webb was arrested following a traffic stop on Bank Street in Batavia. She allegedly violated a stay away order of protection and hit the protected party. Then Webb allegedly physically resisted officers during her arrest while her two children were in the vehicle. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court, jailed without bail and was due back in court on Nov. 4. That's when the third-degree criminal mischief charge was added following an investigation of an incident that took place at 11:40 a.m. on Nov. 1 outside a residence on Wood Street in the city. Webb was due in Batavia City Court Nov. 8 in that matter (which also includes one of the two second-degree harassment charges). The cases were handled by Batavia police officers Joshua Girvin, Arick Perkins, Jordan McGinnis and Wesley Rissinger. 

Lawrence A. Guy, 43, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree attempted assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief. Guy was arrested at 1:17 a.m. Nov. 11 following a domestic dispute. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in Genesee County Jail without bail. He is due to return to city court on Nov. 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan and Officer Adam Tucker.

Charles L. Stiles, 44, of Otis Street, Batavia, is charged with third degree assault and criminal mischief. He was arrested at 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 following q domestic dispute. He was arraigned Oct. 20 in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash or bond. He was due to return to court Oct. 21. The case was handled by Bataiva Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Sean Wilson.

Eric J. McGill, 36, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with second-degree menacing and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. He is accused of using a baseball bat to menace a person on Hutchins Place in Batavia. He was arrested at 2:34 p.m. on Nov. 5, arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $2,500 cash or bond. McGill was due to return to city court Nov. 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Jordan McGinnis.

Joshua A. Aughenbaugh, 25, of Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree and driving while intoxicated. He was arrested at 2:12 a.m. Nov. 10 on Ross Street in Batavia. He was released to a sober third party and is due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 19. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Aaron David Mee, 56, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree and trespass. Mee was arrested at 3:52 p.m. Nov. 5 in the 8900 block of Alexander Road (Route 98) in Batavia following the investigation of a trepass complaint. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in Batavia Town Court on Nov. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon, assisted by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Salvatore M. Tornabene, 27, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. At 3:14 p.m. on Nov. 11 Tornabene was arrested for violating an order of protection. He is accused of being at the residence of a protected party on Ross Street in Batavia at 2:54 p.m. on Nov. 11. He was released with an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court today (Nov. 12). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Devon A. Wright, 18, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Wright was arrested and arraigned in Batavia City Court Nov. 10 after a complaint alleging the violation of an order of protection at 8:16 p.m. on Nov. 5 on Harvester Avenue. Wright was due in city court today (Nov. 12) to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Derrick Roy Kio, 28, or Minard Road, Portageville, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested at 4:50 p.m. on Nov. 9 for allegedly violating a court order of protection on Oct. 8 on West Main Street Road in Batavia. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia Town Court on Nov. 14. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

Robert Leon Murray, 43, of Bay Lane, Cheektowaga, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Murray was arrested for allegedly having third-party contact with a protected person at 4:24 p.m. on Sept. 10 on Sumner Road in Darien, in violation of an order of protection. He is due in Darien Town Court on Nov. 19. The  case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Frank James Capen, 27, of Church Street, Medina, is charged with petit larceny and sixth-degree conspiracy. He was arrested Nov. 10 following the investigation of a larceny at Kohl's department store in Batavia at 4:55 p.m. on Sept. 8. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia Town Court on Nov. 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Brabon.

Jakob M. Kosiorek, 26, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 3:34 p.m. on Nov. 6 following a shoplifting investigation at a business on East Main Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and was due in Batavia City Court today (Nov. 12). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Morgan Lee Cox, 27, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and promoting prison contraband in the second degree. Following an investigation at the Genesee County Jail, Cox was arrested at 2 p.m. on Nov. 4. He allegedly possessed contraband inside the jail and attempted to conceal it from jail staff. He was due in Batavia City Court Nov. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon.

Benjamin Santiago Jr., 30, of South Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting prison contraband in the second degree. On Nov. 4, following an investigation at the Genesee County Jail, Santiago was arrested at 2 p.m. on Nov. 4. He was due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Joshua Brabon.

Scott Eric Hodgins, 55, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of contraband while in prison. On Nov. 4, following an investigation of drug paraphernalia located in the Genesee County Jail, Hodgins was arrested at 5:04 p.m. on Nov. 4. He was issued an appearance ticket and was due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

Rebecca S. Kepner, 36, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear after an appearance ticket was served. She was arrested at 6:57 a.m. on Nov. 9 at her residence on Bank Street and released on her own recognizance. She was due in Batavia City Court today (Nov. 12). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Devon Paul Leach, 25, of Torrey Road, Bethany, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree. Leach was arrested following a traffic stop at 12:56 a.m. on Nov. 6 on East Main Street in Batavia. Leach was released on an appearance ticket and was due in Batavia Cioty Court today (Nov. 12). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

November 12, 2019 - 8:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news.


Press release:

Leaders from Batavia Downs Gaming presented a check today to Western New York Make A Wish for revenue generated from the sale of koozies during this past summer’s concert series.

“Batavia Downs is happy to partner with Make A Wish," said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Batavia Downs. “We will expand on our partnership next year with a new chair rental program for our concert series where additional monies will be generated for Make A Wish.”

Revenues for koozie sales this summer were $4,000.

“We are thankful to Batavia Downs for the opportunity to sell koozies at this past year’s concert series,” said Ben Marchione, regional director of Western New York Make A Wish. “We were fortunate to meet so many families who have been touched by Make A Wish and we look forward to partnering with Batavia Downs on new projects next summer.”

The new chair rental program will begin with the first Rockin’ the Downs Concert series event slated for late June 2020.

Photo by Howard Owens. Pictured, Laura Nutty, co-coordinator, Development / Wishgranting Volunteer, Make a Wish Metro New York and Western,  Ben Marchione, regional director of Western New York Make A Wish, Henry Wojtaszek, president, and CEO of Batavia Downs.

November 12, 2019 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, batavia, news.


Who knows what Stone has been up to for the past five weeks or so (we reported him missing Sept. 30) but over the weekend Stone returned home on his own. Owner Kathleen Dixson said he sure was tired when he got home but was happy to be back where he belongs.

November 12, 2019 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, city fire department, car seats, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department would like to remind area residents that beginning on Nov. 1 a new law took effect requiring any child under 2 years of age to be seated in a rear-facing car seat. This new law applies to passenger vehicles as well as buses.

If a child outgrows an infant-only car seat before reaching their 2nd birthday, it is recommended that a convertible or an all-in-one car seat with a higher weight limit be used.

These seats should be installed in the rear-facing position until the child reaches the rear-facing weight or height limit set by the manufacturer; information located on the car seat.

Rear-facing seats are the best option for a young child because they are equipped with a harness, and a crash cradle that moves with the child passenger to reduce the stress on the neck and spine.

Lastly, it is common for car seats to be fitted and installed incorrectly. A recent study showed that 90 percent of all car seats are installed incorrectly. Parents and caregivers need to ensure that children’s restraints are properly installed and fitted correctly.

The City of Batavia Fire Department encourages caregivers to contact Fire Headquarters at 585-345-6375 with any questions that they may have as well as to schedule an appointment to have their car seat checked by one of our Certified Technicians.

November 12, 2019 - 12:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds.

Press release:

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is now accepting applications for the 2020 Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds competitive grant process.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation established endowment funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to provide annual support for programs and initiatives that reflect Wilson's personal passions. Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. Jan. 6.

Grants will support the following areas of interest:


  • Support caregivers – whether paid, voluntary or family – of persons who are unable to fully care for themselves and are part of an underserved community. Preference will be given to requests that provide support to caregivers of older adults.

Community Assets

  • Support significant cultural and historic assets and/or increase access to long-term arts instruction for youth.

Design and Access

  • Support enhancement of community access to spaces and programs that support healthy living.

Youth Sports

  • Provide opportunities for all children to be active through sport.

Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located within the eight counties of Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming).

For Caregivers and Design and Access grants, government agencies also may apply. For Community Assets grants, only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that reside in Erie County may apply.

November 12, 2019 - 12:15pm

"Thank You!" -- The Le Roy Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576 has generously donated $2,100 to be put toward the purchase of a van for the Disabled American Veterans -- Batavia Chapter 166.

The vehicle is needed so volunteers for the DAV Transportation Network (part of the Veterans Administration of Western New York Healthcare System) can drive disabled vets to their healthcare appointments.

Pictured are Doug Titus, DAV van coordinator, left, and Le Roy Legionnaire John Graney.

Submitted photo and information.

November 11, 2019 - 9:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.

David Begnaud, CBS Evening News, did his live remote from Ellicott Avenue in Batavia tonight. His report begins at the 1:45 mark of this segment.

November 11, 2019 - 4:33pm

Genesee Community College Criminal Justice student Kadeja Jenkins (above photo, on right) is an inaugural recipient of the new Norman R. McConney Jr. Award.

The State University of New York presented the Educational Opportunity Program  Student Excellence honor last month at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan.

EOP provides access, academic support and financial aid to students who show promise for success in college but who may not have otherwise been offered admission.

SUNY established the EOP Norman R. McConney Jr. Award this year to recognize students who have overcome significant obstacles in their own lives and who have demonstrated academic success, courage, perseverance and leadership qualities in achieving their educational and personal goals.

Having lived in New York City all her life, Jenkins enrolled in a local community college, but she struggled to stay focused on her education while meeting the demands of her home life.

She began searching for an affordable college away from the distractions of the city.

"GCC offered exactly what I was looking for," Jenkins said. "The Criminal Justice major fit well into my plan to become a probation officer, and the quiet country area was all new to me and it allowed me to focus and get away from everything that interfered with my studies before."

But even from 350 miles away, interruptions from home continued to test Jenkins's commitment to her college education.

While home in NYC for the summer and contemplating dropping out of college, she received a call from Thomas C. Priester, Ph.D., GCC's associate vice president of Student Success, who offered Jenkins an opportunity to be an EOP Navigator. Students so designated guide and mentor the newest EOP students at GCC's Summer Academy.

"To me, being given the opportunity to come back to campus early as an EOP Navigator was a sign that I belonged at GCC," Jenkins said. "It changed everything. I got myself registered for classes and back on campus, and it has been a wonderful experience. I am on track to graduate in January of 2020.

Guests at the inaugural EOP Honors Awards Ceremony in Manhattan heard from EOP graduate, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and also SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson (top photo, left).

"Through the EOP, SUNY has changed the course of so many lives and has given so many students the chance to excel and pursue their dreams," Chancellor Johnson said at the ceremony. "We are enormously proud of the students receiving these awards today.

"Many of them have overcome enormous obstacles to fulfill goals that once may have seemed unattainable. I applaud every one of them for demonstrating perseverance and determination."

Jenkins offers this advice to students who may be struggling: "Don't give up! Things may not go the way you expected -- but it all plays out the way it's supposed to in the end."

Through her hard work and perseverance Jenkins earned a place in GCC's Recognition Matters series, which highlights the accomplishments of the College's faculty, staff and students.

Officials at GCC have embraced this series as a way to acknowledge not only the achievement, but the high quality of the recognized individuals who demonstrate GCC's "beyond expectations" brand.

Submitted photo: SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, left, and honoree Kadeja Jenkins. Information from Genesee Community College.

November 11, 2019 - 1:49pm

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the opening of their Community Youth Grant -- Winter 2019-20 cycle.

This grant will be awarded to charitable organizations whose primary mission is to facilitate youth activities for children up to age 18. It supports one of three mission priorities established by the foundation -- ”to assist youth organizations and youth athletics.”

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Community Youth grants will be awarded based on the schedule below.

Winter 2019-20 Funding Cycle:

  • Application form available now (ONLINE ONLY);
  • Applications are due Jan.17;
  • Award notices will be sent to applicants on Feb. 18.

The online application is available here.

There are no geographic limitations for recipients, but preference may be given to the Western New York region. Organizations may receive one grant annually. Requests for program advertising will be directed to the appropriate grant cycle.

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Inc., established in 2007, is in memory of Michael C. Napoleone, the 8-year-old son of Mark and Laurie Napoleone from Batavia, who died from Burkitts lymphoma/leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer.

During Michael's illness, the community rallied around the family to assist with food, gas, medical bills and other necessities.

The not-for-profit foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, was created to give back to those who cared, to give forward to those in need, and to support research efforts in finding a cure for childhood cancer. For more information to support the foundation, please visit www.michaelshope.org

November 11, 2019 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, Veterans Cemetery, veterans, news.
Video Sponsor

For more than 13 years, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and other members of the state Assembly have been pushing to get New York to do what many other states have done and build a state-run veterans' cemetery.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he's ready to back such an effort. Hawley is co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 5347, which would establish a cemetery, and AB 887, which would help secure funding for a cemetery.

November 11, 2019 - 7:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Veterans Day, news.

Today's Veteran's Day ceremonies:

  • 9 a.m.: Genesee Co. Park (VVA)
  • 10 a.m.: Batavia VAMC
  • 10:15 a.m.: NYS Vets’ Home
  • 11 a.m.: Upton Monument
  • 11:30 a.m.: Jerome Center (UMMC) Monument

Organizations participating:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County
  • Genesee County American Legion
  • Disabled American Veterans – Chapter #166
  • Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment
  • Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter #193
November 11, 2019 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.62, up 1 cent since last week. One year ago, the price was $2.70. The New York State average is $2.70 – up 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.91. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.65 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.64 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.67 (no change since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.67 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.64 (down 3 cents since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.59 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.65 (down 1 cent since last week)

The latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reveals that total domestic stocks of gasoline decreased for the sixth consecutive week pushing stocks 10.8 million barrels lower than last year’s level at this time.

Reduced stock levels, amid robust demand, have helped to push the national gas price average higher. Although demand took a significant step back week over week, it remains higher than last year’s rate in early November. The national average could increase further if demand continues to remain robust as stocks decline.

November 10, 2019 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Nate McMurray, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, running in the Special Election in NY-27, has been endorsed by Genesee County Democratic Chair Michael Plitt. He has also been endorsed by the Democratic chairs of Niagara, Wyoming, and Monroe counties.

"Genesee County Democrats are excited to help Nate McMurray finish the job he started last year," Plitt said. "Our volunteers worked tirelessly and will do so again because they believe in Nate and his message.

"Voters in Batavia crossed party lines for him and the city went blue for the first time in years. We believe our government should work for all people, not just the elite; and we are confident Nate will be the representative we all deserve."

“I am proud to have the support of Michael Plitt and the Genesee County Democrats as I run for Congress," McMurray said. "Across Genesee, and across Western New York as a whole, families are struggling to make ends meet and our lack of representation in Washington is not helping. I will fight for the healthcare access and jobs our region needs."

November 10, 2019 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, taxes, news.

Genesee County is outperforming many other municipalities in New York when it comes to getting the highest possible return on tax dollars, a financial consultant told members of the Legislature this week. 

Over the past year, the county has earned almost $1.6 million by adroitly managing cash flows and placing cash reserves in investments with the best returns while minimizing risk and complying with state regulations.

With a $32 million tax levy, that return is about 4.77 percent, which means lawmakers can keep the property tax rate lower. If they wanted to generate an additional $1.6 million in property tax revenue, they couldn't do that without violating the state's tax cap.

The reason: "The county treasurer is willing to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to help the taxpayers," said Garrett Macdonald, a Genesee County resident who is vice president of Three+1, a financial consulting firm based in Pittsford.

Also, Macdonald said the county is "looking at data more intuitively and making sure that we're really looking under every stone to earn more. A lot of times (with) public entities, it's not the first priority to earn more on taxpayer dollars.

"The first priority is to make sure it's safe, to make sure that it's in deposit, that the money gets somewhere that it's recorded. And then budgeting is important. Treasury always is kind of a second priority.

"But in Genesee County's case, they're able to accomplish all the above. So looking at data, working with their banks, really putting treasury and earnings at the top of the priority list, along with safety, legality, liquidity."

Because there is money coming in before it's needed for public services, and because the county is required to maintain a cash reserve, there is always cash on hand.

What a government agency can do with it is regulated by the state, and among the things the county can do is buy treasury bills -- place it in money market accounts or certificate of account registries, or other safe and liquid investment vehicles. There are about seven options in total.

Treasurer Scott German spends time every week looking at the data and working with Macdonald on what the county's portfolio should look like based on market conditions and cash flow needs. 

"I want to get the biggest return I can for the taxpayer," German said. "Therefore, using his information that he is able to provide, his negotiations with other banks, we are able to maximize the returns for the taxpayers.

"I mean, you compare me to probably any other county in the State of New York, I'm probably doing probably double or triple in interest rates, percentage-wise."

Macdonald said the county's return is well above the 1.5-percent benchmark local agencies should try to achieve, and that most municipalities struggle to get a 1-percent return.

There's one government agency, he said, that has a tax levy $26 million higher than Genesee County's and is generating $600,000 in investment income, less than half of what Genesee County is generating. And that's the next largest total dollar return in the comparison group.

"The biggest point that I will hone in on again and just reiterate: our goal is to maximize the value that the public creates through tax dollars," Macdonald said. "If we can do that through generating new revenues, that doesn't include increasing taxes, that's a big win."

Among economists, there has been a lot of talk about the inverted yield curve (a graph tracking returns on long-term and short-term bonds; when the economic outlook is good, long-term rates are higher than short-term rates; when the curve inverts, it's a sign investors have lost confidence in long-term returns). The curve inverted last quarter, which is a possible sign of a coming recession.

Macdonald believes the bond markets are correcting and he doesn't see a recession on the two-year horizon (in the past, when the yield curve has inverted, there has been a recession within 18 months). That said, if there is a recession in the next year, because of the money management practices of German, Genesee County's funds should be protected.  

Financial markets are always cyclical, Macdonald noted, which is why it's important to stay on top of what is going on every week.

"If we have a recession in two years, I think the impact is yet to be known because we don't have money invested for two years," Macdonald said. "The longest we have money invested for the county's about one year.

"But when I can tell you is, looking into 2020, even though rates have gone down three times -- once in July, once in September and then once in October -- it's because we've been proactive and because Scott's been proactive at investing early before those decreases.

"We're still going to beat benchmarks going into 2020. So, where most counties are being reactive, Genesee County is proactive."

November 10, 2019 - 12:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

Get ready, here it comes, maybe, the first significant snowfall of the season.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Monday morning through late Monday night.

Snow accumulations of 6 to 10 inches are possible.

The worst travel conditions, the period of the heaviest snowfall, is expected from late Monday afternoon through Monday night.

November 10, 2019 - 10:22am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, Stafford.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported at Clinton Street Road (Route 33) and Griswold Road in Stafford. Stafford Fire Department, Mercy medics and law enforcement are responding.

UPDATE 10:31 a.m.: The law enforcement officer on scene reports Griswold Road is blocked.

UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: This was a minor-injury accident involving two vehicles, both requiring tows. A 55-year-old male with no complaints of pain is being taken to UMMC for evaluation. Only law enforcement remains at the scene.

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