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July 13, 2020 - 1:33pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in fire, news, Pavilion, notify.

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A 14-year old boy suffered smoke inhalation and was transported to the hospital for an evaluation after he and his father attempted to put out a fire in their living room with the help of some passing volunteer firefighters on Monday morning.

Pavilion Fire along with nine other fire companies from Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties were called to 6397 Ellicott Street Road at about 10 a.m. The fire immediately went to a second alarm as smoke and flames were showing.

One cat and one dog did not survive the fire. One other dog was assisted by Mercy EMS and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department and is now at the animal shelter for observation.

According to Genesee County Fire Coordinator Tim Yaeger, the 14-year old went out to the barn to tell his father the couch was on fire, the dad attempted to use fire extinguishers to put out the fire. Volunteer firefighters who were passing through the area also assisted in keeping the fire contained. Yaeger says the preliminary investigation shows that an extension cord on a window air conditioner caught the couch on fire.

The Red Cross was called to assist. The family of three does have a place to stay. The house suffered smoke and fire damage, but not much water damage and is repairable.

Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

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July 13, 2020 - 1:15pm

Press release:

The 2020 Genesee County 4-H Market Animal Auction will be held online. The sale will feature high quality meat animal projects raised by local Genesee County 4-H youth.

This year’s sale features approximately 40 meat chicken pairs, 14 goats, 14 lambs, one dairy steer, 14 beef steers and 37 hogs. Meat chickens will be sold as a pair of processed chickens while all other animals will be sold live, by the pound.

The 4-H Market Animal Auction will be hosted by William Kent Inc. on www.williamkentinc.com Wednesday, July 29th through Thursday, July 30th.  The sale begins to close at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 30th.

Lots will be open for bidding for the duration of the sale.

The Genesee County 4-H Program would like to thank the Genesee County Agricultural Society and William Kent Inc. for their help and willingness to make this year’s auction happen.

For more information regarding this year’s 4-H Market Animal Auction, please contact the Genesee County 4-H Office at [email protected] or (585) 343-3040, ext. 101.

July 13, 2020 - 12:39pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau is seeking applicants for the Genesee Youth Lead Program. Applicants should be a Genesee County high school student entering their freshman through senior year.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 4.

The eight-month program is focused on developing leadership skills within an individual through each specific session and through hands-on experience. Each session will have a different focus on our community and leadership.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at Genesee Valley Educational Program Board of Cooperative Educational Services (GVEP BOCES) beginning Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be held once a month on the second Wednesday of each month except for November due to the holiday.

The program dates are: Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Dec. 9, Jan. 13, Feb. 10, March 10, April 14 and May 12.

Youth that complete the program are encouraged to use the skills and information gained through their experience to support the communities in which they live.

The selection process will be done through an application and interview process by the staff. The class size is limited.

The program will cost $75 for each student. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

Applications for the program can be found here.

Please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585)344-3960 or at:   [email protected]

July 13, 2020 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.20, which is two cents higher than a week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.79. The New York State average is $2.26 – a penny higher than last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.89.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.23 (down 2 cents since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.19 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.17 (up 2 cents since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.21 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.28 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.16 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.28 (no change cent since last week)

Demand for gasoline is slowly increasing according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as motorists enjoy summer road trips, malls reopen, and people head back to work.

Gas prices remain relatively cheap compared to past years. While the national average is up two cents in the past week, it is 59 cents less than last year while the New York State average is 63 cents cheaper than last summer.

AAA continues to see motorists requesting maps and tour books for summer road trips as cars are the most popular form of travel this summer.

GasBuddy:

"According to GasBuddy data, gasoline demand continues to struggle as of late, hitting some mid-summer blues as coronavirus cases continue to see upward movement in more states, but it hasn't been a sharp enough drop to push gas prices lower last week," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"While prices for this time of year remain the lowest in over 15 years, it's still easy to spend more than you need to on gas by letting your guard down, especially now with several states raising gasoline taxes in the midst of summer. For now, I continue to expect gas prices to move sideways -- that is -- the lack of a clear national trend for now, some will rise, some will fall, as we remain in a COVID-19 holding pattern."

July 13, 2020 - 7:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

The City Water Department is on location of a water main break in front of 108 River St. The water will be shut off on River Street from Pearl to South Main. The surrounding area may experience low pressure or rusty water, please do not attempt to do laundry at this time.

Traffic will be limited so please avoid the area if possible.

We appreciate your understanding while repairs are being made, the city will make every attempt to have water restored as soon as possible.

UPDATE 11:45 a.m.:

The water main has been repaired and the water has been restored. The water may still be discolored, please avoid doing laundry until water is clear.

It will take a little while for the crew to make the repairs to the pavement, so if traffic can avoid the area it will be appreciated.

 

July 12, 2020 - 2:29pm

Photos and information from Amy Swanson:

There's a new Little Library in Stafford. It's at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at 6188 Main Road (Route 5).

It looks like those you've probably seen -- a little post-held structure standing upright in someone’s front yard, a bit like an oversized birdhouse. 

They are quite popular because there are purportedly 60,000 of them around the world, in 80 countries! At first glance, passersby might wonder “What is that…?” And then, after seeing a few of these little nooks filled with books, no doubt a few have wished they'd stopped by to browse the titles.

Well, beginning this week in Stafford, you can do just that.

We welcome the community to take a peek at the Little Library at St. Paul’s. Step right up, open the doors, and poke through the books inside.

If a title or subject seems interesting, take it home to enjoy. After you’re finished simply return it, or not.

This easy access encourages a bit of joy -- the free giving and keeping or sharing of books. That's nice and it's kind, too.

The Stafford project initially began as a way to give visitors a place to share books of interest for children and for adults. It promotes family literacy by offering a variety of books, encouraging parents and children to join together to read, imagine, learn and explore.

In our ever-changing world, the Little Library offers bit of safe entertainment and adventure for families who may be spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Books will be cleaned and held in time frames for safety before being replaced on the shelves for distribution again. 

Stafford’s Little Library offers a safe spot to pull your car into if you are driving by, so you can look for a book and sit on the outside bench and read if you like.

Each week a different theme will be highlighted. Follow us on Facebook as well.

Donations are always welcome as are comments and questions.

Please email us at:   [email protected]

Stafford’s Little Library was made possible through the generosity of the Outreach grant through the Episcopal Partnership of the Diocese of Western New York and the Batavia, Morganville and Stafford communities.

(Editor's Note: As the Peter Max poster noted in 1969: "Be all you can be. Read.")

July 12, 2020 - 8:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

A caller reports a white male who isn't wearing pants has been knocking on the door of an upstairs apartment on East Main Street attempting to gain entry.

The subject is now behind the residence. 

Batavia PD responding.

July 12, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in news, history, nostalgia, batavia, city Parks Program, covid-19.

It is the 1950s, the first week of summer vacation and the official opening of the City Parks Program. Children would run out the door at 8:50 a.m. to be the first one waiting to meet the new or previous year’s park supervisor.

You know that a great summer is about to begin. You will spend every day at the park from 9 to noon, and from 1 to 5 p.m.

Batavia at one time was divided into parks: Pringle, Kibbe, Lincoln, Austin, Williams, Farrall, MacArthur, and later as Batavia grew and some parks closed and new ones opened, John Kennedy and Lambert Park.

Children went to your neighborhood park and were so proud to say what park you were from. Parks competed against each other in softball and volleyball games. Every Friday night the scores and contest winners would be recorded in the newspaper.

There was a family feeling with every park. Every day there were scheduled arts and crafts projects.

When it was your park’s week for boondoggles (inset image left), the children would have the choice of three, four or eight strands to work on.

The park supervisor sometimes ended up making them for the little ones so they could wear them around their necks as lanyards or a small bracelet.

The favorite craft was the plaster molds. I can still picture the molds being lined up in the sun and the children standing behind the one they picked to make that particular day.

There were so many choices, a favorite was the mold for "The Last Supper." That was probably the largest mold and the most difficult to make.

There was a technique to make this craft. You had to carefully mix the plaster and when it was the right consistency you poured it into the mold. As it dried in the sun, you were hoping your plaster would set. After the plaster dried you would carefully pull back the rubber mold to see if your mold took the plaster.

You couldn’t forget the little tab you put in the back to hang this very heavy item proudly created for your parent’s wall. The last step was to paint your creation. You couldn’t wait to take it home to show mom and dad.

The highlight of the summer program was the park parade. Every year there was a theme and your park had to come up with a float to go along with the theme. Every day you would talk about the parade and the float and how this year your park would beat Kibbe.

The supervisor would keep samples of every craft because they would be judged at the end of the summer event.

Every park had been secretly working on their float that consisted of chicken wire and crepe paper flowers. Everyone had a job. Main Street would close down at the end of August and the street was transformed into a parade of children proudly walking with their float that was being pulled by a tractor.

The store owners would come out of their stores to watch the annual parade. The celebration after the parade was at Austin Park. After the parade, floats would all be lined up to view and every park had a booth. You would stand with your park friends to wait for the results of what park would be the winner this year.

Of course, you always thought your park deserved to be the winner.

It was now time to go back to school and the summer program was coming to an end. New friends were made, memories to last a lifetime were created. When the park kids return to Batavia as adults and drive by “their park,” those wonderful summer memories will come flooding back.

So, this is what we tell our children what it was like back in the day.

As someone who loved going to my neighborhood park as a child and growing up to be lucky enough to be a park supervisor, I commend the Batavia Parks Program for creating summer memories we will never forget.

My years as a park supervisor will always be a cherished time.

The rules for the parks program was to have fun and most of all, be safe. In this time of so much unrest due to COVID-19, thinking back to those summertimes makes you realize how lucky you were to be a Baby Boomer.

Please share your memories, I only touched a few.

Anne Marie Starowitz was a proud supervisor for Farrall Park for three years in the '70s (inset photo right).

Photos and images courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz.

July 11, 2020 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, batavia.

A two-vehicle accident occurred on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia in front of the CountryMax store. No injuries reported. There was a family of three in the silver SUV in the forefront, and a family of four in the other one.

Town of Batavia Fire Department, Mercy medics and law enforcement responded.

July 11, 2020 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen, notify.
Video Sponsor

Two teenagers were seriously injured in a 5 a.m. accident on West Bergen Road, Bergen, after the 17-year-old driver reportedly fell asleep, according to a Sheriff's Office accident report.

Sierra Raye Kast, of Albion, was driving a 2008 Ford sedan southbound on West Bergen Road when the car veered off the south shoulder and ran over the top of a cement culvert before heading further into the embankment. Kast was apparently able to steer the car back onto the pavement but overcorrected, according to Sgt. Jason Saile, of the Crash Management Team, causing the car to exit the roadway on the south shoulder again, where it overturned, struck a tree that spun it around, before it struck another tree and came to rest on its roof.

Driver-side back seat passenger Arianna N. McGurn, 17, was ejected from the vehicle and was trapped in the drainage ditch under the trunk portion of the car.

Bergen volunteer firefighters used airbags to life the car off of McGurn so she could be extricated. She was flown to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight with a leg injury. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening. 

Kast was also injured in the crash and transported to Strong by Mercy EMS.

The other two passengers were Cory Wallace, 15, and Alonso Storey, 17.

Only Kast, the driver, was wearing a seatbelt, Saile said.

No citations have been issued.

Asked if there is anything teenagers in the community can learn this accident, Saile said: “As a young driver, how much experience do you have as a 17-year-old driving at five o’clock in the morning? Unless you’re going to work or have a good reason, there really isn’t a reason to be out and about. Five o’clock in the morning as a 17-year-old, if you’re not going to work or doing something important, you should be home in bed.”

July 11, 2020 - 12:10pm

Watch out, Bambi. The City of Batavia is coming for you.

A three-phased plan intended to harvest up to 60 deer per year with archery-only hunting is expected to be presented to City Council at its Conference Meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the City Hall Council Board Room.

According to memo dated July 6 from Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski to Council members, the City’s Deer Management Plan Committee, formed in November, has completed its task in the form of a 21-page plan to reduce the deer population within the City limits. The committee was created in response to numerous incidents of property (landscaping/garden) damage, auto accidents and other problems caused by deer.

Working with Robin Phenes, state Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife biologist, and Council Member John Canale, the five-member committee, per the memo, has drafted a proposal that “provides a streamlined program experience and ensures programmatic compliance, program metric tracking and stakeholder/City Council communication.”

In simpler terms, the plan specifies the time frame, five designated hunting zones, and rules and regulations, and includes permit applications, landowner cooperation agreement, hunter applications, waivers and release forms and a proficiency test.

Tabelski spelled out several highlights of the plan:

-- Plan A, hunting during the New York State regulated hunting season; Plan B, an extended hunting season (Jan. 2-March 31); Plan C, archery hunt utilizing bait (subject to Council approval). Times for hunting will be from sunrise to 2 p.m., with no hunting when schools are closed.

-- Five designated hunting zones as identified on an included map, as follows: (1) parcel north of Clinton Street, (2) land in the Naramore Drive area and north, (3) property west of State Street (in vicinity of BOCES) and proceeding north from Lambert Park, (4) Route 98, south of Walnut Street area, and (5) Law Street area stretching almost to Kibbe Park.

-- Hunting will be permitted only after the landowner signs a cooperation agreement form.

-- Tree stands must be used and all hunters must shoot downward. Hunters must be properly qualified and licensed and apply to the City of Batavia to be admitted into the program.

-- The plan is subject to NYS DEC setback requirements pertaining to the proximity of bow hunting to schools, playgrounds, public buildings, etc.

-- The program will run for three years and can be terminated at City Council’s discretion.

Citizen members of the committee are Russell Nephew, Gus Galliford, Fred Gundell, Kent Klotzbach and Samuel DiSalvo.

Council will be asked to vote on forwarding the resolution to a future Business Meeting.

Other topics on Monday’s Conference Meeting agenda:

-- A draft resolution to grant approval to Eli Fish Brewing Co. at 109 Main St. for a temporary outdoor dining license agreement as part of the City’s COVID-19 2020 Temporary Outdoor Dining on City Property Program.

Eli Fish’s application specified that 12 tables, serving up to 52 guests, will be placed in Jackson Square, with hours of operation set at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

A memo from Tabelski dated July 7 indicated that while the Eli Fish application qualified for consideration, an application from Main Street Pizza at 206 Main St. did not and is not recommended for approval.

Vic Marchese, owner of Main Street Pizza, had proposed to put up a 15-foot by 75-foot tent, with lighting, in the parking lot on the east side of the restaurant – utilizing seven to eight parking spaces. Eight to 10 tables, accommodating up to 60 guests, were to be placed under the tent.

Tabelski spelled out several reasons why the plan would not be feasible:

-- Per the state Building Code, a tent can not be put up within 20 feet of lot lines, a parking space, buildings, etc.;
-- The City does not own the entire parking lot;
-- The application removes several prime parking spaces, including handicap spaces;
-- The one-way street would require a traffic order and, for a temporary dining basis, the City would not be able to facilitate a Local Law change in a timely fashion;
-- A traffic safety issue would occur due to cars coming into the lot off Main Street and backing out of parking spots.

Tabelski wrote that she advised the applicant of the potential problems, but he “was not interested in modifying the application.”

A draft resolution for the Main Street Pizza request is not included in the meeting document packet.

-- A pair of draft resolutions concerning a feasibility study for the construction of a new police station at the Alva Place location and corresponding contract with an architectural firm to conduct the study.

The first resolution asks City Council to transfer $50,000 of the $242,820 in the Facility Reserve fund to an expense account.

The second resolution seeks execution of a contract for $41,200 with Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville, to provide the recommended square footage, design and layout, ability to expand, regulatory requirements and projected costs for design and construction for both the site work and the actual facility.

-- City Council will conduct a Business Meeting after the Conference Meeting. Agenda items for that session include a resolution to enter into a $328,200 contract with Keeler Construction for the Franklin Street-Richmond Avenue sewer rehabilitation project.

The cost is significantly less than the original estimate of $806,000 because the City altered its plan from a complete sewer line replacement on Franklin Street to an excavated repair of one section and relining of the rest of the line, and then to include relining of the Richmond Avenue sewer ahead of its rehabilitation project in 2022.

July 11, 2020 - 8:12am
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, news, scanner, bear.

A resident in Le Roy told a Le Roy police officer that he spotted a bear in the area of Lent Avenue. The officer is going to check out the area now.

July 11, 2020 - 5:30am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, bergen.

A one-vehicle rollover accident with injuries is reported at 7311 W. Bergen Road in Bergen. There are four occupants and one is entrapped underneath the vehicle. All are said to be conscious. Mercy Flight out of Buffalo is called to the scene. Bergen and Byron fire departments are responding, along with Mercy medics and law enforcement.

The helicopter landing zone will be at Byron-Bergen Central School.

A heavy wrecker tow is called to be expedited to the scene. The location is between Lyman and Dublin roads.

UPDATE 5:35 a.m.: Mutual aid from Churchville Fire Department is requested.

UPDATE 5:41 a.m.: There's is a second vehicle involved in this accident.

UPDATE 5:44 a.m.: Churchville is asked to expedite their response and to bring airbags. Mercy Flight has an eight to 10 minute ETA.

UPDATE 5:57 a.m.: Mercy Flight has landed.

UPDATE 6:02 a.m.: They are still working to extricate the entrapped person. One person is being taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

UPDATE 6:05 a.m.: Mercy medic #3 is taking a patient to Strong.

UPDATE 6:13 a.m.: The entrapped patient has been extricated.

UPDATE 6:22 a.m.: Medics are taking the extricated patient from the crash site to the landing zone at the school for hospital transport by Mercy Flight.

UPDATE 6:42 a.m.: "Mercy Flight is airborne to Strong with one."

UPDATE 6:43 a.m.: The assignment is back in service.

UPDATE 8:13 a.m.: There was no second vehicle involved. This incident involved a black Ford sedan southbound on West Bergen Road, occupied by four teenagers, according to Sgt. Jason Saile of the county's Crash Management Team. No alcohol or drugs were involved, Saile said. The preliminary investigation indicates the accident was possibly caused by inattentiveness and/or sleepiness. The vehicle went off the road and clipped the edge of a concrete culvert and continued southward for more than a 100 yards, partially off the road. The driver then managed to get the vehicle back onto the roadway, before overcorrecting. The car went off the shoulder of the road, overturned, clipped a tree, causing it to overturn, then it struck another tree and rotate on its roof coming to rest facing east. Of the four in the car, only the driver was wearing a seat belt. A female backseat passenger was ejected and pinned in a ditch, under the trunk of the vehicle. Airbags were deployed to lift up the car and extricate the victim. That 17-year-old female was airlifted to Strong Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, including a leg injury. Another victim was transported by ground ambulance; the two others were uninjured. 

July 10, 2020 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 233 positive cases.
    • The positive individuals reside in Batavia.
    • One of the positive individuals is in their 20s and one of the positive individuals is in their 60s.
    • One of the positive individuals was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Three of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • No new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • No individuals are hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received one new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 268 positive cases.
    • The positive individual resides in Carlton.
    • The positive individual is in their 30s.
    • The positive individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Three new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • Six of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
July 10, 2020 - 3:46pm

A full two-thirds of respondents to a Batavia City School District survey concerning reopening want students back in the classroom this fall in a traditional setting with health-related guidelines in place.

“Most of our parents want in-person classrooms and so do we,” said Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. today following the first meeting of the BCSD Reopen Batavia Strong Task Force.

The Google Meet videoconference drew 51 participants, with 35 of them being parents of Batavia students.

Thus far, 875 people have responded to the survey, with nearly 600 of them identifying themselves as in the parent/family category. About 650 of the respondents said they had students in grades 5-12.

Soler said he is hoping to get 2,000 responses before the survey concludes on Monday, which also is the day that guidelines from Gov. Andrew Cuomo are expected to be released.

The BCSD survey can be found on the district’s Facebook page.

On the subject of reopening, 67 percent of the respondents either “agree” or “strongly agree” that in-person school should reopen in September with some new procedures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

When asked if in-school should resume in September with face coverings when social distancing is not possible, 46 percent said “agree” or “strongly agree” and when asked if distance learning should be used until a COVID-19 vaccine is found, 68 percent clicked “disagree” or “strongly disagree” while 10 percent said “strongly agree.”

Additional survey results are as follows:

-- On the impact of COVID-19 on their family: 72 percent, some impact/noticeable impact; 22 percent, significant/severe impact; 6 percent, no impact.

-- On their confidence level to send their child back to school knowing the district will comply with all CDC guidelines: 33.6 percent, strongly confident; 28.8 percent, confident; 23.3 percent unsure.

-- On sending their child to kindergarten this fall: 54.3 percent of 247 responses said they will enroll the child; 45.7 said they won’t.

-- On having half the students in school, the other half learning remotely: 49 percent either “strongly disagree” or “disagree.”

-- On transporting their child to school to reduce the number of bus riders: 66 percent “strongly agree” or “agree.”

-- On their comfort level with busing, even with sanitizing: A mixed bag with 24 percent who “strongly disagree,” 22 percent who are “neutral” and 28 percent who “strongly agree.”

When queried about the most important safety measures, hand sanitizer in classrooms/common areas, daily temperature taking and no sharing of materials were the top three. Other measures included in the survey were COVID-19 testing, wearing masks at all times and no use of the auditorium, lunchroom or playgrounds.

Sixty-two percent said they expect sports and extracurricular activities to be provided with reasonable safety measures. Fifty-one percent responded that fans should be able to attend and 34 percent were in favor of just parents being able to attend. About 14 percent indicated that events should go on without any fans.

“The biggest thing is let’s not forget the health and safety of everybody,” Soler said. “I’m hoping we’re pretty good in the (Finger Lakes) Region; our data has shown that we’re good and that we’re able to open and welcome kids back.”

He said that social distancing will present quite the challenge.

“You’re not going to have 20 kids in a class,” he said. “With having six feet between everybody, it’s going to change things and make things a little bit interesting. We’re going to have to look at how we use our space and our buildings.”

Batavia City School District buildings are Jackson Primary School (PK-1), John Kennedy Intermediate School (2-4), Batavia Middle School (5-8) and Batavia High School (9-12).

Soler said he put the task force together to look at the big picture – reopening -- but also, through the work of subcommittees, “to peel away at some of the smaller conversations.”

“In anticipation of that official guidance we feel it is important to begin to run through potential scenarios, challenges and also include student and parent voices in that process,” he said.

Subcommittees are health, safety & athletics; transportation, facilities & nutrition; teaching & learning; equity & digital access; budget & fiscal; social-emotional needs; Special Education, English language learners & multilingual learners; and staffing & human resources.

The district, in line with directives from Albany and Center for Disease Control guidelines, is considering three models of teaching and learning:

-- In-Person (w/masks & social distancing);
-- Hybrid (Flex Model) Alternate Schedule (Distance Learning & In-Person);
-- Virtual School  – 100-percent online with an emphasis on proficiency.

“Do we bring all the kids back or certain grade levels back? That’s what I was doing today with our parents and various stakeholders," Soler said. "We have to think of these various scenarios and various teaching and learning models. I don’t have any answers yet but knowing that next week we’re supposed to get some guidance, we need to think about this now.”

After learning of the state’s guidelines, tentatively set for Monday, Soler said the task force will proceed with: subcommittee meetings; posting of the survey results; a second task force meeting (July 17) sharing data with the Board of Education (July 20); a third task force meeting (July 24); submission of the district’s plan to the state (July 31); and the governor’s decision (Aug. 1-7).

July 10, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in rabies prevention, news, public health column.

From the Genesee Orleans Public Health Departments:

Love Your Own…Leave the Rest Alone! – Rabies Prevention

As stay-at-home restrictions progressed in New York State due to COVID-19, many people took this opportunity to adopt a new pet to spend their time with. Animal shelters all over the state were reporting increased adoptions and some ran out of animals altogether.

Now that it is summer and your new pets are going outside more, it is a perfect time to remind everyone how dangerous rabies can be and what you can do to prevent exposure to you, your family, and your pets.

Rabies is an infectious disease that can be fatal once symptoms (signs) show up. Rabies is a central nervous system disease which attacks the brain and causes death. It is most often spread through bites, scratches, and contact with infected saliva.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that any mammal, including humans, can get rabies but it is most common in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes, so it is wise to stay away from these animals (alive or dead).

In New York State, cats are the most frequently diagnosed domestic animals.

The best way to prevent rabies exposure is to prevent your pets from contracting the virus by keeping their rabies vaccine up-to-date, so that they do not bring it into your home. Even indoor-only pets require a vaccination.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, reported that so far in 2020, the two counties have tested 22 animals and six tested positive for rabies. Additionally, 111 dogs and cats were observed in 10-day confinement.

An animal is subject to 10-day confinement if they are involved in an incident (i.e. biting a human) while apparently healthy. The animal’s health is monitored for 10 days to determine if rabies may be present and if further action is required. Complete details below. 

Genesee County -- Animals Tested for Rabies as of June 26

 

Cat     

Dog    

Bat     

Woodchuck     

Raccoon     

Skunk     

Total Tested

  1

  2

  2

  1

  3

  1

Total Positive

  1

  0

  0

  0

  2

  1

Total 10-Day Confinements

  23

  53

  N/A

  N/A

  N/A

  N/A

Orleans County -- Animals Tested for Rabies as of June 26

 

Cat     

Dog     

Bat     

Woodchuck     

Raccoon     

Cow     

Total Tested

  2

  0

  4

  1

  4

  1

Total Positive

  1

  0

  0

  0

  1

  0

Total 10-Day Confinements

  4

  31

  N/A

  N/A

  N/A

  N/A

************************************************************************************************

One of the first signs of rabies in animals includes a change in the animal’s behavior.

“Animals may become unusually aggressive and try to bite you or other animals," Balduf said. "A wild animal might act friendly or move slowly so that you could easily get close to it. Other symptoms include staggering, convulsions, choking, excessive drooling at the mouth, and paralysis.”

When a human is infected with rabies, they may not show symptoms for up to three months. Early symptoms of rabies are often flu-like and include fever, headache, and general weakness.

As the disease progresses, symptoms include anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, hydrophobia (fear of water), and insomnia.

Once symptoms have developed, rabies is almost always fatal to both humans and animals so it is crucial to report any possible exposures as soon as they occur.

To protect yourself from rabies, people are encouraged to avoid feeding, touching, or adopting wild animals and stray domestic animals such as cats and dogs that have not been properly rescued and vetted by a shelter and veterinarian.

People are required by NYS law to keep their pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) up-to-date on their rabies vaccination.

It is recommended, though not mandatory, that livestock animals, especially valuable ones, are vaccinated as well.

It is also recommended that people keep a close eye on children who are playing outdoors and telling them the dangers of playing with wild or stray animals (alive or dead). 

Anyone who has been bitten by any animal or who otherwise may have been exposed to rabies needs to take immediate action!

If you can do so safely, being careful not to damage the head/brain, capture the animal and call your local health department or a doctor to report the incident.

Capturing the animal is vital in order for it to be tested for rabies. Testing will confirm if the animal is infected with the virus or not, making sure that only those who need treatment get it.

Additionally, make sure exposed wounds or bites are cleaned thoroughly with soap and water and call your health care provider for further instructions.  

(*If a bat is found in a room where there are unattended children, someone sleeping or someone who cannot speak for him/herself or your family pet, do not let the bat out of the house. To learn how to capture a bat safely, view this short video.

A doctor in consultation with the health department will determine who needs to be vaccinated with rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (RPEP).

A person who is exposed and has never been vaccinated against rabies may need to receive four doses of rabies vaccine on the following schedule: immediately, day 3, day 7, and day 14 after exposure. People who have weakened immune systems may require a fifth dose and some people required only two doses, as determined by a doctor. 

The cost to treat an individual varies considerably based on weight, number of doses, and insurance. In 2020, treatment costs have ranged from $2,360 to $6,130.

Local health departments will work with the patient’s insurance company but what is not be covered by insurance is ultimately the responsibility of the taxpayers.

So far in 2020, Genesee County has had to treat six people with RPEP and Orleans County has had to treat three.

It is important that all individuals do their part to prevent rabies in the community by vaccinating their pets and practicing caution around wild or stray animals. 

To protect your pets from rabies, please visit one of the upcoming rabies vaccine clinics (subject to change due to COVID-19, watch GOHealthNY social media for updates and instructions to follow COVID-19 guidelines for everyone’s safety.):

  • Genesee County: Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Genesee County Fairgrounds, 5031 E. Main Road, Batavia from 4 to 7 p.m.

​For information on Health Department services:

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website.
July 10, 2020 - 3:01pm

Press release:

Starting next week, the Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) located at Genesee Community College is hosting a series of six FREE Zoom meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays to provide information to any adult thinking about college enrollment, financial aid, the college application process, and/or a wide range of different career path options.

Specifically, Monday sessions will cover the financial literacy and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, loan options and college affordability; while the Tuesday sessions will cover the Common App for college application, obtaining a GED high school diploma equivalent, and a multitude of career path opportunities.

  • What: AEOC Office Offers FREE Virtual Information Sessions in July
  • When: Three Mondays: July 13, 20 and 27 at 1 p.m. / Three Tuesdays: July 14, 21 and 28 at 1 p.m.
  • Where: Zoom Meetings Accessible from any Computer with Internet Access
  • Who: GCC Adult Education Opportunity Center and any Adults Seeking College and/or Career Information

To sign up for any of the six sessions, email Staci Williams, AEOC director, at:   [email protected] or call (585) 345-6836.

For further information about the AEOC go to www.genesee.edu/AEOC.

July 10, 2020 - 2:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, alexander, Le Roy.

Jillian L. Hupp, 30, North Street, Le Roy, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing at 3 p.m. on Dec. 31. On July 9, after an investigation by the Genesee County Social Service investigator, Hupp was arrested on the charges. She was released with an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia Town Court on Aug. 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jenna Ferrando.

Colby Le-Andrew Ellis, 31, of Albion, is charged with second-degree burglary, petit larceny, and first-degree criminal contempt. At 3:03 a.m. on July 8 in Alexander, Ellis was arrested on the charges after allegedly violating a full stay-away order of protection issued by City of Batavia Court. He was put in jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond or $40,000 partially secured bond. He is due in Alexander Town Court on Aug. 18. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Austin Heberlein, assisted by Nicholas Chamoun.

Roy Alvin Watson Jr., 31, Shepard Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Watson was arrested on July 6 on the charges. Prior to that, on June 16, he was arrested on an outstanding warrant out of Orleans County. During the execution of the arrest warrant, Watson was allegedly found in possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He is due in Batavia City Court Aug. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen. 

Kaleb James Bobzien, 22, of Lockport, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He allegedly made numerous phone calls to a protected party who lives on West Main Street in Batavia starting on Jan. 28. He was arrested July 6 and issued an appearance ticket to be in City of Batavia Court on July 14. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Joseph Loftus.

July 10, 2020 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shawn Heubusch, news, crime, batavia, history.

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While doing renovation work in his home, Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch found under his old flooring layers old newspapers, all from 1927. 

The headlines help tell a story of at least one case that should be of interest to a lawman: The escape, escapades, and eventual capture of Floyd Wilcox.

Wilcox, of Oakfield, escaped from Genesee County Jail, presumably to avoid a possible sentence of life in prison after his fourth felony arrest, this time for grand larceny, under the recently enacted Baumes Law.

According to the articles, Wilcox (aka Floyd Gill), and an associate convinced a farmer to give them gas with a promise to pay once they were fueled up. When the duo drove back by the farm and didn't stop to pay, the farmer pulled out his pistol and started firing at the fleeing vehicle. The farmer jumped in his own truck and gave chase. A short time later, he found the abandoned vehicle with a flat tire from a bullet and spotted the two men running over a hill.

Later, Wilcox was a suspect in a safe-crack job in Hornell and a stealing a vehicle in Rochester. He was eventually apprehended by a Batavia PD officer on a street in the city. A subhead in the Batavia Daily News reads, "Did Not Try Very Hard to Keep Out of Reach of the Authorities."

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Chief Heubusch isn't the only person finding old newspapers in old homes these days. The 1942 edition of the Batavia Daily News was found by our contractor in a wall of our house, which is undergoing renovations following our fire in April.

One of the stories is about an Army officer accused of sedition for distributing "America First" literature. It turns out, the publication of this story by Associated Press was controversial because the Army released the information to a reporter on a stipulation that no newspapers in the nation run it with only a one-column headline. Many editors found this AP requirement an unethical bargain giving the government power to dictate the nature of coverage. You can read about it in this book on Google Books.

July 10, 2020 - 1:47pm

The City of Batavia has received a “B” grade for its handling of meeting documents and accessibility during the month of June from the New York Coalition for Open Government following the nonprofit organization’s review of the websites of 20 municipalities across the state.

According to the report that took a look at local governments with populations between 10,000 and 32,000, the minutes of Batavia City Council meetings have not been posted on its website since April 27 although three meetings took place in June – a Business Meeting on June 8 and a Conference Meeting and Special Business Meeting on June 22.

The coalition report, titled “Local Governments Struggle with Timely Posting of Meeting Minutes,” did acknowledge that the City’s meeting videos are posted on Facebook and/or YouTube, but recommended that “it would be helpful if the City website directed people to where videos can be seen or provided a link to the Facebook/YouTube page.”

Criteria used to grade the towns and villages:

-- Are all meeting documents posted online prior to the meeting?
-- Are meetings being livestreamed on the local government’s website?
-- Are meeting videos/audio posted on the website after the meeting?
-- While not required by the Open Meetings Law, are local governments posting meeting minutes online in a timely fashion?

Batavia (population: 14,400) earned the “B” grade by performing three of the four actions (all except the fourth one listed above). 

Contacted today, Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski explained that the meeting minutes are posted to the website following review and approval by City Council.

“The minutes from the June meetings will be posted after July 13 (the next Council meeting) so that Council members have the ability to approve them,” she said, adding that the City is committed to being “transparent and open.”

The City’s policy concerning the posting of the minutes doesn’t rise to the level of the New York Coalition for Open Government’s recommendation, however.

The coalition’s opinion is that “meeting minutes are timely if the minutes of the last meeting are posted before the next meeting is held. This can be done, by posting draft minutes or at the very least including the minutes from the prior meeting in the next meeting agenda packet.”

Tabelski concurred with the report that all meeting documents can be found on the website prior to the meeting. She also advised that the meetings are broadcast on Spectrum’s government access channel and on Video News Services’ YouTube page.

“There is no law requiring livestream (but) during COVID we tried livestream as it was specific to guidance during COVID because we restricted access to the meetings to the public, per Executive Order 202.1 and 202.48,” she said.

Ten other municipalities also received “B” grades while three – Geneva, Plattsburgh and Rotterdam – got an “A.” On the low end of the scale, Olean received a “D” for performing one of four standards and the Town of Lockport got an “F” (zero of four).

The study revealed that 80 percent of the municipalities surveyed, including Batavia, posted their meeting documents online before the scheduled meeting date, but Batavia was one of 12 to be more than two weeks behind in posting meeting minutes.

In conclusion, the coalition called for the New York State Open Meetings Law to be amended to require that meeting minutes be posted online within two weeks of a meeting occurring. Currently, the law in New York is that meeting minutes must be made available if requested within two weeks of a meeting.

Per its website, the New York Coalition For Open Government is a nonpartisan charitable organization comprised of journalists, activists, attorneys, educators, news media organizations, and other concerned citizens who value open government and freedom of information.

Through education and civic engagement, the coalition advocates for open, transparent government and defends citizens’ right to access information from public institutions at the city, county and state levels.

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