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June 12, 2021 - 10:11am

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers on Friday applauded the New York State Legislature for passing measures that will give county leaders across the state additional flexibility – leading to a lessening of the tax burden upon its residents.

“The legislation that recently passed the Assembly and Senate are definite wins for counties throughout New York and the citizens of Genesee County and New York State,” Landers said. “We are hopeful the governor will sign the legislation.”

When and if they are signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, these pieces of legislation will touch on several areas that directly affect how counties run their operations, Landers said.

He singled out three of the bills that passed both houses of the legislature in the final days of the 2021 session:

-- Expands Investment Options for Counties to provide similar options as those available to New York City under current law and help maximize returns for taxpayers.

“This passed legislation will allow counties to maximize their monies in reserve by earning a higher rate of interest,” Landers said.

-- Creates an AIM Redesign Task Force to analyze and recommend available alternatives to the current AIM formula and allocations, including models from other states.

“The creation of an Aid and Incentives for Municipalities design task force is certainly welcome, because simply shifting the state’s responsibility to fund local governments onto counties is not working and is not sustainable,” Landers said.

-- Extends the County-Wide Shared Services Initiative for an additional three years and enhances flexibility within the program to encourage more participation.

“This legislation providing for an additional three years of incentives for shared service initiatives is very welcome news in Genesee County as we are always looking for ways to partner with local governments to deliver services in more efficient ways,” Landers offered.

Other county priorities that were passed by the Assembly and Senate were the creation of an early intervention covered lives assessment fee on commercial insurance to help fund services for infants with special needs, and raising of the age of juvenile delinquent offenses from 7 to 12, keeping very young children out of the criminal justice system.

The latter, according to the New York State Association of Counties, helps to address racial disparities in the justice system, and allows tax dollars to be better spent on programs that are developmentally appropriate for young children.

NYSAC President Jack Marren commended lawmakers for being sensitive to what county governments have gone through.

“Over the last year we’ve seen how vital it is to have strong local governments that can respond to unforeseen emergencies and provide essential services to residents when it matters most,” Marren said. “Counties applaud Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the state lawmakers who fought to provide counties with the resources and flexibility we need to support the programs at the local level.”

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario called upon Cuomo to put his signature to the paper.

“I’m hopeful that we can build on the progress made during this session and carry that momentum into next year, but first we need Governor Cuomo to sign these bills into law so that counties can get to work building effective and sustainable local governments.”

June 12, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in almost queen, Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Rockin' The Downs concert series opened Friday evening with a performance by the Queen tribute band, Almost Queen.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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June 11, 2021 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Avenue of Flags, wny national cemetery, pembroke, news, veterans.

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Press release:

The Avenue of Flags is something National cemeteries display during Memorial Day. National cemeteries can either put small flags up at each marker or display an Avenue of Flags for Memorial Day. 

The Western New York National Cemetery has been recently approved to display the Avenue of Flags annually from Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday in May) to the Saturday after Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Each flag that is flown along the Avenue has either draped a veteran's casket or accompanied a veteran's urn to their final resting place. These are known as interment flags.

Each flag has been presented to the next of kin of the veteran on behalf of the President of the United States and the branch of service the veteran served. Families donate their veterans interment flags to fly along the Avenue to represent their service and sacrifice to the country.     

The WNYNC Memorial Council is responsible for the maintenance of the flags as well as collecting the donated flags. The WNYNC Memorial Council is a newly developed council, begun within the last year to support the WNYNC.  

Photos by Howard Owens.

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June 11, 2021 - 5:09pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

Genesee County reporting seven new positive cases of COVID-19.

  • The individuals are in their 20s, 40s, 60s and 70s. 
  • One of the current positive individuals is hospitalized.
  • Seven of the previous positive individuals have completed their 10-day isolation and have been removed from mandatory isolation.

Orleans County reporting two new positive cases of COVID-19.  

  • The individuals are in their 40s and 70s.
  • Zero of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Two of the previous positive individuals have completed their 10-day isolation and have been removed from mandatory isolation.

Today's COVID-19 update from the Health Department including the following notice:

Today is our last scheduled biweekly press briefing for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments due to the lower new COVID cases for both counties.

Although we will not be doing the biweekly media push, please note we will continue to report our numbers via our website at a minimum of twice per week (GOHealthNY.org), on our social media platforms, and via the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming COVID-19 Case and Vaccination Tracker (which updates Monday through Friday, except holidays).

For regular updates related to GO Health COVID-19 Data, please visit our GO Health website at www.GOHealthNY.org and choose Emerging Issues. There you will find: the data chart as on our regular briefing; links to the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming COVID Tracking Map; NY Forward for state updates; The Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub for updated data on GO Health vaccination; as well as links for vaccination and testing clinics.

Also keep an eye on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (GOHealthNY is our user name for all three) as we will regularly post updates.

June 11, 2021 - 2:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Claudia Hoyser, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Claudia Hoyser is a country music social media sensation whose career just keeps expanding.

Besides entertaining 354,000 followers on Facebook with weekly music videos along with 13,000 followers on YouTube, Hoyser has her own line of coffee being sold at Tops along with other retail outlets around the nation and now her name is on a new whiskey-coffee blend.

On June 25 she headlines a concert at The Ridge NY in Le Roy, which will also be a release party for her debut album (it's also her birthday).

The Rochester-based singer and songwriter said the endorsement deals for the coffee and whiskey are a one-thing-leads-to-another tale that involves fans loving her music and bringing her ideas.

"So the story of the coffee whiskey goes that we've been creating these videos every week and on Monday we put them out on Facebook, a classic country cover," she said. In the videos, we put a little vintage espresso pot in all of them. Coffee has always been one of my things. It's always been one of my manager's things. We never start the day without it at the studio. The videos went viral. We've had over 120 million views on the video series on my Facebook page."

At a show in Rochester, Hoyser could see her manager, Tony Gross, and the bar owner, Bucky Montrois, in the back of the room with their heads together like they were planning something. Hoyser said she was so curious about what they were scheming, it was hard to concentrate on the words of her songs. After the show, Montrois told her besides the bar, he owned a coffee business.

He asked if Hoyser would like her own brand of coffee.

"The next week he came out to the studio with beans from all over the world and we taste-tested different blends of different roasts," Hoyser said. "We came out with this for the country coffee, which I thought was going to be a short-lived product, you know, for the merch table. But it just went crazy and started shipping into 15 countries and selling Tops Markets took it in 120 Tops stores and a whole bunch of local retailers. Now it's on Amazon now and everything. So people just love the coffee."

That includes a couple of Hoyser's fans in Idaho who own a distillery. They suggested the whiskey-coffee blend.

Hoyser was at Mr. Wine and Liquor on Thursday to promote Hoyser Country Drunken Bean Classic Coffee Whiskey.  

"It has just taken off (since its release) four weeks ago," Hoyser said. "It's already in 125 retail locations and we've been out doing some sampling. These things are going really well. It's been fun."

For more about Claudia Hoyser, click here. For tickets to the concert at The Ridge, click here.

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Hoyser at Mr. Wine and Liquor with Batavia resident Sally Bleier.

The video for Hoyser's first single off her new album, "Wicked."

June 11, 2021 - 2:43pm
posted by Press Release in education, news, Batavia CTE Center.

Above, Jon Sanfratello, executive principal GV BOCES Batavia Campus, presents the First Place Charles Holowach Memorial Scholarship to Haylee Thornley (right), a Health Careers Academy student from Batavia CSD.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center is proud to announce the achievements of its seniors. They received recognition at an awards ceremont Thursday night.

The 20 award winners, their programs, home schools and scholarships received, are noted below.

James Burns -- Building Trades, Pavilion CSD, Livingston Associates Award

Travis Fagan -- Building Trades, Batavia CSD, Blakeslee Memorial Award

Zachary Friedhaber -- Electro-Mechanical Trades, Attica CSD, James P. Donnelly Award

Daniel Gersitz -- Metal Trades, Attica CSD, Charles Holowach Memorial Scholarship

Troy Helsdon -- Building Trades, Batavia CSD, Doug Dayton Memorial Award

Nicole Hume -- Metal Trades, Alexander CSD, Gene Haas Foundation Award, Master Manufacturing Scholarship, Student of the Year – Monday/Tuesday

Dontrell Jenkins -- Criminal Justice, Oakfield-Alabama CSD, Student of the Year – Thursday/Friday

Travis Kauffman -- Building Trades, Attica CSD, I. J. Radesi Memorial Award

Isaiah Merrell -- Culinary Arts, Batavia Academy/Byron-Bergen CSD, Chef Russell Bugbee Memorial Award, Josh Mouery Memorial Award

Chase Pangrazio -- Metal Trades, Batavia CSD, Batavia Rotary Scholarship

Emma Raines -- Health Careers Academy, Alexander CSD, School Related Personnel Award

Bryce Ratajczak -- Building Trades, Attica CSD, Paul Levins Memorial Award

Kaiel Robinson -- Electro-Mechanical Trades, Le Roy CSD, James P. Donnelly Award

Henry Schafer -- Electro-Mechanical Trades, Notre Dame High School/Batavia CSD, Roy H. Turnbull Memorial Award

Matthew Schroeder -- Electro-Mechanical Trades, Adult Student, Livingston Associates Award

Karly Smith -- Justice Academy, Oakfield-Alabama CSD, Charles Holowach Memorial Scholarship

Cole Sullivan -- Electro-Mechanical Trades, Le Roy CSD, Electro-Mechanical Trades Alumni Award

Haylee Thornley -- Health Careers Academy, Batavia CSD, Charles Holowach Memorial Scholarship

Timothy Walsh -- Building Trades, Batavia CSD, Pullinzi Family Scholarship

Justin Wight -- Building Trades, Oakfield-Alabama CSD, Batavia Rod & Gun Club Memorial Scholarship

Below, Chef Tracy Burgio (left) presents Isaiah Merrell with the Chef Russell Bugbee Memorial Award and Josh Mouery Memorial Award. He's a Culinary Arts student from Batavia Academy/Byron-Bergen CSD.

Below, Bethany Ricci (left), GV BOCES instructor, presents the Student of the Year Award -- Thursday and Friday to Dontrell Jenkins, a Criminal Justice student, Oakfield-Alabama CSD.

Below, Bethany Ricci (left), GV BOCES instructor, presents the Student of the Year Award -- Monday and Tuesday to Nicole Hume, a Metal Trades student from Alexander CSD. 

June 11, 2021 - 1:52pm
posted by Press Release in assemblyman steve hawley, news.

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

"This legislative session we passed the most bloated budget in our history, eviscerated Second Amendment rights, raised taxes and failed to gain any new information about the highly questionable actions of our governor.

"The Majority gave over double what they did to small businesses to illegal immigrants, and stood silent as those small businesses were forced to close their doors because of the governor’s nonsensical restrictions, which they did not work to rescind.

"A focus on passing progressive, activist legislation has left the kitchen-table concerns of working families unaddressed, while pleasing only a small vocal minority of radicals that drown out the voices of everyday people. I only hope soon the Majority will realize the consequences of ignoring those voices."

June 11, 2021 - 1:51pm

The City of Batavia could be getting a third Tim Hortons.

A spokesman for the Quicklee’s convenience store chain Thursday night said the family-owned, Avon-based company is talking with Tim Hortons’ representatives about operating a drive-thru restaurant at the site of the former Bob Evans Restaurant at 204 Oak St. (Route 98).

Louis Terragnoli, director of real estate and development for Quicklee’s, was on the Zoom call of the meeting of the Genesee County Planning Board, which approved a site plan and area variances for a 2,771-square-foot convenience store with 1,000-square-foot drive-thru and a four-pump fuel station.

“We’re in negotiations with Tim Hortons right now and let’s keep our fingers crossed that it keeps going the right way,” Terragnoli said, adding that the company will be completely remodeling the interior and exterior of the building.

Quicklee’s is required to obtain variances since the service station is 165 feet from a church (less than the minimum 500 feet) and the proposed number of parking spaces is 40 (less than the minimum 68).

Terragnoli said he spoke with the Rev. Tom Tharp at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 190 Oak St., and said the pastor was in favor of the project.

As far as parking spaces, Terragnoli said the 40 spots in Quicklee’s plan are adequate.

“From a business perspective, we are overparked. Forty is fine. Sixty-eight is something we don’t have at any location,” he said. “There won’t be any congestion … we’ll have plenty of spots. We will be accessing the site from Noonan Drive. We have a report from the DOT (Department of Transportation) that says that is the best way to do it.”

He also said the company will add a landscaping buffer along the southern part of the property facing Noonan Drive.

“We want to shield the dispensers as much as we can from the church property, so we want to do the right thing for our neighbor,” he said.

Terragnoli added that they will install two handicap accessible curb cuts at the corner and put in a sidewalk “so pedestrians can safely ingress and egress from our site” and dumpsters will be relocated away from the Noonan Drive entrance area for safety purposes.

The Batavia location will be Quicklee’s 24th and could be open by early fall.

Planners recommended approval of the site plan and area variances. The referral now will go before the City Planning & Development Committee at its meeting on Tuesday and then to the City Zoning Board of Appeals.

In other action, the planning board recommended approval of:

  • A site plan for a 107,138-square-foot addition on the southwest corner of the existing plant for warehousing and manufacturing at Liberty Pumps, 7000 Apple Tree Ave., Bergen. Modifications include a stormwater prevention plan and archaeological impact study.

The project also will include a new entrance and exit from Route 19.

  • Zoning text amendments from the Oakfield Town Board for the entire Town of Oakfield to allow major solar collection systems to the Land Conservation (LC) and Agricultural-Residential (AR) Districts and to add public and private utilities to the LC District.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said the town wants to amend the zoning to help advance the Cider Solar Farm project of Hecate Energy – a 500-megawatt system being developed under the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting.

“As a state-sited project, they don’t necessarily need to follow the local zoning process, but it does make it easier for the company because they won’t have to go in front of a judge and argue why they can override the municipal zoning,” Oltramari said. “This makes it a little more friendly to that project.”

  • A special use permit for Chad Downs, 1300 McVean Road, Darien, to place a pest control business in his home, which sits in a Low Density Residential (LDR) District.

The planning department recommends approval with the modification that the storage and disposal of herbicides, pesticides, and other hazardous materials must be conducted in accordance with applicable State and Federal regulations.

June 11, 2021 - 1:23pm
Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is hailing the passage of a bill (A7685) through both houses of the Legislature that would give members of Gold Star families free college tuition.

The passage of this bill comes two years after Hawley himself proposed a bill to provide Gold Star families with free tuition, though that bill was blocked in the Higher Education Committee by the Assembly Majority and never brought to the floor for a vote.

“Today is a great day for our military families throughout the state to be shown some appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” Hawley said yesterday. “If somebody gives their life for our nation and our Constitution, the least we can do is help get their loved ones through school.

"While I wish we were able to get this bill voted on and passed two years ago to help even more Gold Star families, I am glad to see this bill become law to help those who lost people they loved while defending the country we love.”

June 11, 2021 - 12:59pm
posted by Press Release in Pride Month 2021, LGBTQ+, GLOW OUT, GO ART!, news, batavia, Le Roy.

Information provided by GLOW OUT! and GO ART!

The long "weekend" of events celebrating LGTBQ+ Pride Month continues in Batavia through June 13, hosted by GLOW OUT! and GO ART!

This evening, June 11, from 6 to 8:30 at the Batavia First Presbyterian Church (300 E. Main St.), there will be a Game Night and Royal Court Competition, for all ages. There will be food (individually wrapped), outdoor games and board games, plus free make-and-take baby sunflowers and sidewalk chalk art.

The Royal Court Competition at the church begins at 7:30 p.m. and is open to all genders and ages. It is judged on best costume and dance moves. The theme is DISCO. All are invited to attend. Masks are required. Regulations are subject to change.

Also tonight from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at GO ART! (201 E. Main St., Batavia) there will be a Disco Open Mic and Piano Bar hosted by the incomparable Drag Queen -- Ms. Figgy Pudding. This event will be for ages 21+.

GO ART! is opening Tavern 2.o.1, for the first time since the coronavirus shutdown in March of 2020, for the LGBTQ+ community. Come read your favorite poem, try your skills at stand-up and disco, or sing your favorite Broadway tune (bring your own music our look through our extensive collection). GO ART!'s own Theresa Kehl will be at the piano.

There is no door fee, but tipping your entertainers is encouraged. Masks are required at this event. Regulations are subject to change.

Saturday, June 12, is the annual Pride Parade starting at 10 a.m. at GO ART! If marching, lineup will be at 9 a.m. We proceed from GO ART's historic Seymour Place building to Dwyer Stadium (at Denio and Bank) where the Pride Festival will be held.

This will feature a cornhole tournament hosted by Pride Sports USA (volunteers needed to assist), and be full of amazing Drag Queen performances, including our headliner, Mrs. Kasha Davis from "RuPaul’s Drag Race"! Also entertaining will be the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus, the Fortunatones, and more! Vivian Darling & DeeDee Dubois will be emceeing.

The festival at the stadium runs from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. and is the only event city requiring a ticket. Food and alcohol concessions will be offered for purchase by Dwyer Stadium.

On June 12 there will also be a concert at Jam at the Ridge in Le Roy starting at 4 p.m. The headline performer will be Ddendyl Hoyt, of Western New York, who is best known for her appearance on Season 6 of NBC’s “The Voice.” Tickets are $10 for lawn seats; $20 for VIP seating.

On Sunday, June 13 its Drag Queen Story Hour at GO-ART! at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. hosted by Ms. Figgy Pudding. In addition, there will also be Drag Queen Bingo at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Two years ago, Batavia Pride had its inaugural year that was so well received in the community! After a year off, we are excited to come back bigger than ever with more events and opportunities for our community to show their PRIDE!

You can sign up for all events here.

Disclaimer

Due to COVID-19 regulations, masks will be required and different events will have different policies and rules. Please check out our website for COVID-19 regulations for each individual event!

June 11, 2021 - 12:42pm

Genesee County Planning Board members Thursday night, on their way to approving the site plan for the Plug Power Inc., green hydrogen facility at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama, were on the receiving end of an education about the company’s operation from its vice president of project development.

Plug Power, a publicly traded business based in Latham (outside of Albany), is primed to become the first tenant at STAMP – with plans to put up an 8,000-square-foot operations and maintenance building, a 40,000-square-foot electrolyzer building and a 68,000-square-foot compressor building on the Crosby Road tech park.

The company is the world’s largest producer of hydrogen fuel cells that power forklifts and heavy-duty freight and its facility to be located at STAMP will be the largest in North America.

“This is the largest green hydrogen facility in North America by a lot,” Brenor Brophy said. “It actually is the largest green liquid hydrogen facility in the world. So, it is a major step forward in the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

Brophy took planners through the process of taking fresh water and electricity and turning that into hydrogen and oxygen. Plug Power had been making hydrogen cells for the warehouse and logistics industry and, last year, started making its own hydrogen.

“This is a green hydrogen product; fuel that is made from zero-carbon renewable energy,” Brophy said. “This is the hydroelectric energy from Niagara …”

He said Plug Power will harness renewable energy from the new substation that the company is building on the STAMP site – a facility that is large enough to power their entire park.

“We will take about half of that energy for our facility,” he said. “We take fresh water and electricity and we split it into hydrogen and oxygen. The only emission we have from this site is pure oxygen. We take that hydrogen gas and we cool it down to what I call biogenic temperature that turns it into a liquid.”

From there, tanker trucks will transport the liquid hydrogen to Plug Power customers all over the Northeast region.

Brophy said the firm’s customers include Walmart, Kroger’s, Amazon, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

He said the plant will produce 45 metric tons of hydrogen per day, with each truck holding about four and a half metric tons.

“So that means there will be approximately 10 trucks per day on average,” he said. “Not every truck is full leaving or (it could be) empty coming back, so it may be 10 to 12 trucks per day, which is quite low.”

Brophy called it a “beautiful site” on 30 acres. He said plans call for the placement of a row of trees along the front to obscure it from the road.

“It is a very important site,” he said. “We are absolutely delighted to be siting it in Western New York as a New York company. This is our first and biggest green hydrogen plant in what will be a national network.”

Planner Tom Schubmehl, who abstained from voting, was prepared with a list of questions about the project that focused on the following:

  • Start-up Date

Brophy said he expects “to finish commissioning” in late 2022 or early 2023.

  • Wastewater

Brophy said there are two components – the sanitary sewer needed for employees on site and discharge of leftover process water.

He said the number of employees on site is not large enough to support the construction of an actual wastewater treatment facility “so we will have a tank system there that will be approved by the DEC that we will have emptied out until such time as the wastewater treatment plant will require construction.”

“As far as what we call the process water … we will have the forced main that will discharge directly into Oak Orchard Creek and will require a permit from the (New York State) DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation).

  • Stormwater

Brophy said a stormwater retention pond is an allowable use in that area.

  • Reconstruction of Crosby Road

This will be done by the Genesee County Economic Development Center – a complete rebuild of the section from Stamp Drive south to the edge of Plug Power’s site. Also, a 12-inch water transmission main will be extended from Route 77 where it currently exists, down Stamp Drive and down Crosby Road to get to the Plug Power site.

  • Tanker Trucks (noting there is parking for 26)

​Brophy said those parked in the staging area will be empty so “when a driver shows up with an empty tanker we will have a full one waiting for them.”

  • Storage Steer

Brophy said that storage unit will hold a week of production.

“It’s a high-resilience network,” he said. “If one goes down, we can support other plants in the network from that. Our customers are folks like Walmart, Kroger or Amazon, and so we can never let that warehouse go down. Amazon can’t go down a week before Christmas so we aim for a really high-resilience network.”

  • Water Usage (noting the facility will use 280,000 gallons per day)

Schubmehl mentioned that Genesee County is calling for residents to conserve water this summer.

Mark Masse, GCEDC senior vice president of operations, said there is capacity coming up the line from Pembroke and County Engineer Tim Hens has “put place markers in for projects and Plug Power’s project has been held in the county water, so to speak, as a placeholder for a couple of years now. So, it has been accounted for and is included in those numbers.”

He added that GCEDC is pursuing another water line from Niagara County that could bring in an additional 1.5 million gallons per day.

“But the 280,000 gallons … that has been reserved in capacity in all of the numbers that Tim has been working with,” he reiterated.

Schubmehl responded that he was puzzled by that strategy.

“I just hope that you understand how difficult that is to know that this is what has been held in reserve while county residents are being told not to water their lawns this week,” he said. “It just seems a little odd.”

June 11, 2021 - 11:55am
posted by Billie Owens in pets, animal rescue, animal abuse, news, batavia, scanner.

A dog is reported to be locked in a car outside of Famous Footwear at 4218 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia. The dog has been in the vehicle 20 minutes, according to the caller. An officer is responding.

June 11, 2021 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, batavia, city of batavia fire department.

From submitted statements; file photo:

Stefano Napolitano, chief of the City of Batavia Fire Department, has accepted a new job as deputy state fire administrator and officially starts in mid-July.

Today's announcement from the state's Office of Fire Prevention and Control says Napolitano will bring a wealth of experience to the office, including both career and fire service, county emergency management, and as a State Fire Instructor.

He has degrees in mechanical engineering, fire protection technology, and a Master of Science degree in Executive Fire Science Leadership.

“I would like to congratulate Fire Chief Napolitano for his leadership and dedication to the City of Batavia Fire Department over the last four years," said City Manager Rachael Tabelski.

"It was a pleasure to work with the Chief and I wish him great success in his new role as Deputy State Fire Administrator with the Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), part of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES).

"Chief Napolitano will continue to serve the City of Batavia until Friday July 9th. At such time an Interim Chief will be named. Please join me in congratulating him in his new role as a Deputy State Fire Administrator. "

City fire officers also congratulated the chief in a written statement, saying "Chief Napolitano has been an asset to the City Fire Department since being appointed in 2017. We wish him continued success and look forward to working with him in his new position."

Chief Napolitano is a Queens native who lived in the Mohawk Valley for about 45 of his 54 years.

Before coming to Batavia, Napolitano was deputy fire chief for the Village of Herkimer. While there, he assisted in development, revision and implementation of local disaster and emergency management plans, along with assisting in the county 9-1-1 dispatch communication center and the administration of the county’s mutual aid plan, mutual aid radio system and state fire training.

June 11, 2021 - 11:40am
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, news, 61st state senate district.

Press release:

“The 2021 Legislative Session came to an end on June 10th, said Sen. Ed Rath. "Unfortunately, the session fell short in many ways and did little to help the struggling residents and small businesses of New York State. 

“The state has faced an extremely tough year and at a time when New York could have been a leader in COVID reopening and recovery, we saw confusion and misplaced priorities. Changing mandates, new taxes, increased spending were the common themes of the year.  

“While this session fell short in many ways, I was happy to be able to serve the residents of the 61st Senate District and to be able to get legislation passed to help our local communities. I look forward to returning to Albany, for hopefully a more ‘normal’ session.”

June 11, 2021 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in solar eclipse, Pavilion, news.

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John Huenemoerder, of Pavilion, shared this photo he took on Walker Road of yesterday morning's solar eclipse.

June 11, 2021 - 9:53am

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A Lake Street Road (Route 19) resident has come out against the proposed rezoning of seven parcels of land meant to expand the Le Roy Food & Tech Park, claiming that changing it from Residential to Industrial contradicts the Town of Le Roy’s Comprehensive Plan and will prevent him from “the intended use and enjoyment” of his property.

Eric Baines Jr., speaking at Thursday night’s Genesee County Planning Board meeting via Zoom videoconferencing, said that in November he bought what is known as the Olmsted Manor, a 2,900-square-foot colonial house that is near the 75-acre industrial park on Route 19 and Randall Road owned by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

He said he did not favor a referral submitted to the planning board by the Town of Le Roy to rezone seven parcels totaling about 185 acres to possibly set the stage for a cheese manufacturer, specifically the Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese, to build a $500 million plant on land adjacent to the park.

Reportedly, Great Lakes Cheese officials have contacted landowners with purchase offers to expand the park to meet the company’s needs.

“At the time when we did our research, the 2017 published Town Comprehensive Plan said that the current use map did not reflect Industrial zoning as well as the future map does not show Industrial zoning surrounding – they’re both Agricultural,” Raines said. “Given that both maps reflect that, we (he and his girlfriend) made the decision to buy this house.”

Looking to Upgrade the Property

Raines said that “use and enjoyment of our land (14 acres) will be jeopardized by this rezoning as we intend fix up the place.”

“This is an historical house, which we’re proud to own … in an historic district in Le Roy,” he said. “We wanted to grow our own food here and largely be independent. To say we are against the industrialization of the agricultural land behind this is not to just push it behind me and go somewhere else.

“We are opposed to it, in general, as to be reflected by the vegetable garden we put in almost immediately. If anybody goes by on Route 19, I am sure you have seen that the place has not been taken care of over the past 50 years, but it is now because we’re here.”

Raines said his plans for the property include recreational hunting, expanding his garden and putting up bat houses to keep the ecosystem healthy.

“This (rezoning and siting of the cheese factory) will trigger a laundry list of chain events that will prohibit any of what we hope to do,” he said.

Responding to a question from Planning Board Member Eric Biscaro, Raines said his property extends right to the line proposed for the cheese plant. He then brought up issues of smell and noise.

“For a $500 million plant, to say there won’t be noise (is not true),” he said. “The electromagnetic radiation alone coming from this plant is going be astronomical, and not something that we had any intention of being surrounded by.”

He said this action does not seem fair, believing that the comprehensive plan serves as a land use document governed by state law and is good through 2029.

Board Only Looking at Rezoning Referral

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said that last night’s referral only addresses the rezoning change, not the proposed cheese manufacturing plant.

“The planning board is only considering a rezoning request, which can be made with or without a project,” he said. “If it does get rezoned and a project does come to fruition, we will be reviewing all environmental impacts, including odor and noise, lighting, anything you may think of as part of that project, which would be a separate referral.”

Oltramari sought to clarify the zoning procedure, stating that the comprehensive plan and future land use maps serve as “guidance” but do not restrict municipalities or draw specific boundaries for rezoning.

“You have points that are definitely valid,” he said in response to Raines. “It’s just I wouldn’t go as far as saying that because that area is (zoned) Agriculture, that it should stay Agriculture until 2029. In theory, actually, the town board could amend the future land use plan … through a public process … before 2029 and completely overhaul the comprehensive plan in two years or something like that.”

Raines contended that neighbors who own a horse farm would be “stripped of their horse pasture if this goes through,” and mentioned that he heard talk of eminent domain, which is the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation.

He also said some of his other neighbors are against rezoning and the potential 480,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.

Masse: No Talk of Eminent Domain

Mark Masse, GCEDC senior vice president of Operations, quickly disputed the eminent domain claim, stating that the agency’s board of directors will not participate in that process.

“We have not done it, we have not proposed it, we have never brought it up, and we have never spoken about it,” he said.

Planning Board Member Bob Bennett, referring to eminent domain, noted that GCEDC won’t be the owners of the properties on track to be rezoned.

Contacted this morning, Le Roy Town Supervisor Jim Farnholz disputed the eminent domain claim – “a private entity can not move forward on eminent domain,” he said – and that to his knowledge, “there has been no resistance whatsoever from landowners who have been approached (by Great Lakes Cheese.”

“I know that some of the neighbors have sold significant property to Great Lakes Cheese and that the Falcone Funeral Home is no part of this since they operate under a special use permit in an R-2 zone,” he said. “In fact, changing to an I-2 zone would give him a sense of security for his business.”

Farnholz also mentioned that Raines has a 12-acre buffer behind his house “that is completely grown in, so he wouldn’t see the project” and that all odor, noise and wastewater issues have to meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation standards.

Le Roy Planners to Meet on Tuesday

The supervisor said that the Le Roy Planning Board will address the issue next Tuesday and that the town board has scheduled a public hearing on the matter for July 8.

As far as the county planning board, it took no action as a motion to approve the rezoning referral died for a lack of second, and a subsequent motion for disapproval did not gain the necessary five votes.

Oltramari said it now goes back to the Town of Le Roy, which can act without a recommendation from county planners.

The planning department had recommended approval since the comprehensive plan adopted by the Town of Le Roy in 2017 identifies this area in its Future Land Use Plan as Agriculture and adjacent to Industrial. Thus, Oltramari wrote, it can be argued that rezoning the property to an industrial use that supports agriculture is consistent with the plan should pose no significant countywide or intercommunity impact.

Earlier in the meeting, Masse said his view was that the town was “trying to be proactive – trying to be ahead a little bit.”

“Obviously, our board approved a purchase and sale agreement for one business (BioWorks Inc., of Victor) at the Le Roy Food & Tech Park that’s existing there – to take 60 of the 75 acres. I think the town is seeing that hopefully will be successful and is trying to be proactive by rezoning some of the other parcels there to help grow that,” he said.

Prospective Company Talking to Landowners

Masse said GCEDC wouldn’t be purchasing the other parcels to be rezoned.

“At this point in time, the companies that have been interested in it have been talking – we put them directly in touch with the property owners,” he said.

He added that BioWorks would be looking at West Bergen Road and Route 19 as entrances and exits.

Bennett mentioned that if the cheese factory was to come in with 500 jobs, “that’s a lot of traffic to come out to West Bergen Road and Route 19.”

“If a company were to locate there, on those back parcels, they would probably come in off of (Route) 19 – that would be the main traffic,” Masse replied. “That would be a shared entrance for our park as well as those back parcels. And that’s going to be driven by the Department of Transportation as well, whether there would be any improvements required there or not.”

Masse said BioWorks is creating 30 jobs but has yet to apply for (tax) incentives.

“Their truck traffic would be like FedEx and UPS delivery trucks,” he said. “It wouldn’t be anything heavy, and from a water standpoint, that particular project plans on recycling all rainwater … and will have very little to no municipal use.”

He added that GCEDC is looking at different options to supply natural gas to the property.

Zoning map at top shows the current zoning, left, and the proposed zoning -- changing the parcels in yellow (Residential) to light purple (Industrial) next to the Le Roy Food & Tech Park.

June 10, 2021 - 9:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway, batavia, news.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported on the Thruway in the westbound lane in the area of mile marker 391.9.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:18 p.m.: Town assignment back in service. 

June 10, 2021 - 5:20pm

434_side_view.jpg

While preserving the historical integrity of a stately home built 140 years ago, the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse has advanced its mission to helping those in recovery by opening up five permanent housing apartments.

And members of the City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission couldn’t be happier.

“It’s wonderful that they’ve made the effort to save the original detailing in the house -- the stained glass windows, the woodwork and the trim and the fireplaces,” City HPC President Sharon Burkel said. “To be able to bring it back to a useful part of the community and to maintain the history of the house is outstanding.”

Burkel and City HPC colleagues Connie Boyd and Caroline Hosek recently toured the home at 434 E. Main St., which is part of the GCASA campus along that stretch of the road. All three said they were thrilled with the renovations.

“I’m so impressed with the work that has been done, and especially pleased to see things that have been maintained that were original to the structure, such as the crown molding, the original mantles and the parquet floor. It’s just an incredible job,” Boyd said.

Hosek agreed, commending “the effort that has been put into bringing the building back to its original glory and providing such a valuable service to families who need the support.”

GCASA Executive Director John Bennett said the agency had its work cut out for it when it took on the project, which will provide low-income housing under the supervision of its Residential Program’s case managers. Three apartments are on the first floor and two are on the second floor.

“It was in very bad disrepair, really falling apart,” Bennett said. “The boards of the porch were literally falling off the ceiling and it was sagging. We’ve redone the inside in keeping with the historic nature of the building. We rebuilt the porch, put in new kitchens, restored the fireplace and had the house painted.”

Bennett said the goal was to be “good stewards” of the home.

The list of the general construction tasks is significant, including:

  • Scraping and repairing all plaster walls, painting walls and trim;
  • Replacing several kitchen cabinets and fixtures, and existing vinyl floors with new vinyl floor;
  • Replacing bathroom fixtures and vinyl floor, and deteriorated wood windows with double hung vinyl windows of the same size;
  • Refinishing wood floors, installing new carpet or vinyl as needed;
  • Repairing and maintaining plaster scroll work on ceilings, and smaller specialty and stained glass windows, which were reglazed and painted;
  • Repairing the porches, rebuilding them to maintain the historic trim and woodwork;
  • Repairing the exterior by power washing, scraping and painting with colors that match the existing color scheme.

According to the Architectural Heritage of Genesee County, the property apparently was bought in 1855 by Batavia brewer Eli H. Fish but (per county tax records) the house was built in 1880. The house was greatly increased in size when Charles Hough purchased the property from Fish’s estate.

For many years it was the home of his son, Arthur Hough, and his wife, Colleen. In 1957, it was willed to the Genesee Community Chest and, two years later, that organization sold it to Lewis Root. In 1964, the Batavia Industrial Center became the owner and it was used as an office/apartment complex.

GCASA purchased the home in May 2019.

Because of its distinctive architectural styles, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival, and its contribution to a neighborhood that is rich in historical significance, the house was designated an historic landmark on Dec. 6, 2000 by the City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission.

Burkel, who has been involved with the City HPC since its inception in 1996, said a project such as this is at the heart of the board’s mission.

“This is what we’re all about it.,” she said. “We have designated 46 properties and we meet as a committee whenever we need to address something with the properties, such as giving them certificates of appropriateness for any work they want to do on the property.”

She credited GCASA for maintaining the architectural integrity of the entire block of homes, including its main office at 430 E. Main St. and other agency buildings.

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cabinets.jpg

fireplace.jpg

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Photo at top: Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse has restored 434 E. Main St., which is a City of Batavia historical landmark.

Photos at bottom: Nicole Davis, GCASA’s director of residential services, leads a tour for members of the City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission, from left, Caroline Hosek, Sharon Burkel and Connie Boyd; The house, which has been divided into five apartments for permanent housing, features – among many other things -- original stained glass, cabinets and fireplace; Davis, Hosek, Burkel and Boyd on the front porch.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Disclosure: Mike Pettinella is the publicist for GCASA.

June 10, 2021 - 4:09pm

Legal Notice

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, That there has been introduced before the Legislature of the County of Genesee, New York, A Local Law Introductory No 2, YEAR 2021 GENESEE COUNTY NY, TO REPEAL AND REPLACE THE COUNTY OF GENESEE ETHICS AND DISCLOSURE LAW

Notice is further given that the Genesee County Legislature will conduct a Public Hearing on proposed Local Law Introductory No. 2, Year 2021 in the Legislative Chambers of the Old Court house, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY and via Zoom Video Conference on the 23 day of June, 2021 at 5:30 pm. Written comments will be accepted until the close of business June 23, 2021. Contact the Clerk for the ZOOM link. All interested persons will be heard.

Pamela LaGrou, Clerk Genesee County Legislature June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in lost pets, animal rescue, news, batavia, scanner.

A caller reports a bird wearing several leg bands, "bracelets," is secured at a residence on Liberty Street in the city. It is believed to be someone's pet. An officer is responding to retrieve the bird and take it to the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

No descriptive information was relayed about the feathered friend.

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