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October 20, 2020 - 3:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in Great American Smokeout, news, GOW reality check, art.

Press release:

Reality Check programs of Western New York are getting creative to honor this year’s Great American Smokeout. As communities continue to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19, the youth coordinators in the GOW Region decided the safest (and fun) way to help young people demonstrate their leadership is through an art contest.

The deadline to submit entries is Nov. 13. Winners will be announced on Nov. 19, the date of this year’s Great American Smokeout.

“We miss doing group events like cigarette butt pickups, educational events, and watching our young people champion issues they believe in,” said Brittany Bozzer, GOW Reality Check coordinator. “This art contest will build awareness on the impacts of tobacco use and help ensure that youth voices are a part of the solution for healthier communities.”

The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout is an annual event that encourages and offers support to smokers to make a plan to quit smoking or to quit smoking on the day of the event – Thursday, Nov. 19. By quitting – even for one day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk. 

Contest Details

Creative Western New Yorkers between the ages of 12 and 18 are encouraged to virtually submit a piece of artwork that highlights the dangers of tobacco use or why they want their community to be tobacco free. Artwork can be a poster, poem, comic, photo or video. Winners will be chosen in two age groups: 12-14 years old and 15-18 years old. 

Youth are asked to submit their masterpiece, along with their name, age, school name, phone number and guardian’s name, to:   [email protected]

About Reality Check

Reality Check is a youth-led movement in New York State that empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members create change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education.

Reality Check groups work in their communities by trying to limit the exposure of tobacco marketing in stores, help make smoke/vape-free public, work, and housing spaces, and limiting the exposure to smoking/vaping in movies.

These initiatives are to help discourage young people from becoming new daily smokers and encourage current smokers to quit. More information can be found at realitycheckofny.com and tobaccofreenys.com

October 20, 2020 - 2:40pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. has received a letter of endorsement from retired Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha.  

"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Sheriff Maha for nearly 40 years with 21 of those years as his Undersheriff," Sheron said. "This provided me with the experience and knowledge to meet the demands associated with being Sheriff of Genesee County. Thank you Sheriff Maha for your support."


Dear Genesee County Voters:

I have known Sheriff Bill Sheron on a professional level for over 40 years. He served as my Undersheriff (second in command) for 21 years, and I can attest that he is a dedicated, compassionate, and professional law enforcement executive. Bill Sheron is highly qualified to continue as your Sheriff. 

He is a lifelong resident of Genesee County, raised his children here, and has resided in the City of Batavia his entire life. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and received his A.A.S Degree from Genesee Community College. Bill attended the prestigious F.B.I. National Academy, Quantico, Virginia, and attended the F.B.I. Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar. He is a Past President of the New York State/Eastern Canada chapter of the F.B.I National Academy Associates. In addition, he has over 27 years of experience in law enforcement/corrections administration with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. He came up through the ranks of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and knows all facets of the agency.

I encourage you to support and reelect Sheriff William A. Sheron.


Gary T. Maha


October 20, 2020 - 2:29pm
posted by Press Release in steve hawley, NRA, news, Second Amendment, election 2020.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is celebrating his endorsement and continued partnership with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as he continues his reelection campaign. Hawley, a gun owner himself and a firm believer in the Second Amendment, is proud to continue his relationship with the NRA.

“I am both humbled and honored that the NRA has recognized me for endorsement,” Hawley said. “New York continues to push forward egregious and unnecessarily restrict gun laws, which often times do little but hinder the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

"Albany needs to understand that gun owners are not second-class citizens, and I will continue my fight to ensure the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers are protected.”

While widely recognized today as a major political force and America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world.

But their successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service their nearly five million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.

October 20, 2020 - 2:02pm

The Batavia City School District Board of Education continues to explore the most effective ways for citizens to make their feelings known during its monthly meetings.

District Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr., following up on Board President Alice Ann Benedict’s desire to open the communication lines with the public, said he has come up with several recommendations that could be included in a “public expression” policy.

The board met on Monday night at the high school library.

Soler said his suggestions will be forwarded to the district’s Policy Committee for review and “vetting” before coming back to the full BOE for approval.

“The law technically allows us to have no public participation (during board meetings), but we are making a smart effort to make sure that there is (time for public comments) and I think that is a compliment to the board’s leadership,” Soler said.

The Batavia BOE, according to its policy, encourages public participation on school-related matters at board meetings, setting aside 30 minutes at the beginning of the sessions.

Beyond that, Soler said, currently there aren’t any guidelines or details in place to govern the public sessions.

He said his recommendations were derived from looking at the policies of similar size districts, such as Geneva and Niagara Falls, as well as the large school districts of Buffalo and Rochester.

They are as follows (subject to review by the Policy Committee):

  • Persons wishing to address the board shall advise the board president prior to the scheduled starting time of the meeting.  The request shall be made in writing on a form provided by the district clerk and shall include the name of the speaker, their address, name of organization represented (if any), and the topic to be addressed. Any group or organization wishing to address the board must identify a spokesperson.
  • Presentation should be as brief as possible. Each speaker will be permitted to speak for three minutes. Speakers may comment on any matter related to district business. The board cannot and will not permit public discussions involving individual district personnel or students. Persons wishing to discuss matters involving individual district personnel or students should present their comments and/or concerns to the teacher, the building administrator or superintendent during regular business hours.
  • All speakers are to conduct themselves in a civil manner. Obscene language, libelous statements, threats of violence, statements advocating racial, religious, or other forms of prejudice will not be tolerated.
  • Persons making presentations at a board meeting will address remarks to the president and may direct questions or comments to board members or other district officials only upon the approval of the president. Board members and the superintendent shall have the privilege of asking questions of persons who addresses the board.
  • Without opening the floor to general audience participation, the board president may call upon staff members or other specially qualified persons whom the board wishes to hear in relation to a specific agenda topic.
  • Questions and comments from the public concerning matters which are not on the agenda will be taken under consideration and referred to the Superintendent for appropriate action.  Persons wishing to have matters included on the agenda shall contact the superintendent in accordance with Policy 1510, Regular Board Meetings and Rules (Quorum and Parliamentary Procedure).

​Soler said the board president would rule on matters such as the time to be allowed for public discussion and the appropriateness of the subject being presented. The president also would have the right to halt any presentation that violates the adopted policy.

The form for those wishing to speak at BOE meetings must be filled out in advance. It can be obtained by contacting the superintendent’s office at 585-343-2480.

October 20, 2020 - 1:53pm

Press release:

Problem gambling may not be a common topic discussed this month -- Domestic Violence Awareness Month; however, the link between domestic violence and problem gambling makes it important to bring awareness to this volatile relationship.

Domestic violence is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner, which may include physical violence; sexual, psychological, social, or financial abuse; harassment; and stalking.

A recent study of help-seeking gamblers found that 49 percent of participants reported being a victim of violence and 43 percent had perpetrated violence (Bellringer et al., 2017).

A person with a gambling problem may experience intense mental and emotional distress which may be expressed through restlessness, irritability or violence. Someone’s gambling problem may also elicit similar distress from a loved one. The person gambling may be the perpetrator or victim of domestic violence. 

Furthermore, there is already evidence that domestic violence increases during professional sporting events due to the emotions experienced from a “home team’s” upset loss, citing issues like consumption of alcohol, increased interactions with family during games, increased expectations for a positive outcome, and increased stress and anxiety.

Our community, the state and the country are seeing increased availability and prevalence of sports gambling, daily fantasy sports, and the like. What happens when those high stakes are further intensified by having large sums of money on the line, potentially for multiple sporting events? 

In many ways, this October is unlike any in the past, but some things remain constant – there are many people who will isolate themselves out of fear or shame and will not reach out for the help they need. Domestic Violence Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to offer hope to those experiencing violence in the home. 

Problem gambling and domestic violence can impact anyone. If you are experiencing domestic violence or problem gambling, confidential services are available:

  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Western Problem Gambling Resource Center: (716) 0833-4274

The Western Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC) is a program of the New York Council on Problem Gambling dedicated to addressing the issue of problem gambling within New York State. The vision of the PGRC is the positive transformation of lives harmed by problem gambling.

The PGRC focuses efforts on increasing public awareness of problem gambling; connecting clients with treatment, recovery and support services; working with the gaming industry to promote responsible gambling; and promoting healthy lifestyles, which foster freedom from problem gambling.

Visit www.NYProblemGamblingHELP.org to learn more about the PGRC network.  

Jeffrey Wierzbicki – Western PGRC Team Leader

Angela DiRosa – Western Program Manager

October 20, 2020 - 1:42pm

Press release:

The New York State DanceForce, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, announces the fourth cycle of the Western New York Choreographers’ Initiative (WNYCI).

The program provides professional development for choreographers living in New York’s 17 westernmost counties: Chautauqua, Niagara, Erie, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Allegany, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Yates, Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler and Seneca.

The application deadline is Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. EDT.

The WNY Choreographers’ Initiative is designed to help WNY resident choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with appropriate resources that are generally unavailable or unaffordable. These resources include a minimum of 24 hours of creative time, professional dancers, the guidance of a mentor chosen by the artist, and a $2,500 stipend.

The exact design of the project will depend on COVID-19 health recommendations at the time of the project. Two choreographers will be selected for the award in 2021.  

“This initiative is open to choreographers working in all dance genres. Each project is basically a mini-residency, designed to fit the specific needs of each artist,” said WNYCI coordinator Lois Welk. “In 2020, the artists were doubly challenged to reinvestigate their choreographic habits -- first by the mentor and then by COVID-19.”

The New York State DanceForce is a consortium of 19 dance activists committed to increasing the quantity and quality of dance activity throughout New York State. Each of our members receives an annual allocation to create projects that bring dance artists to upstate NY communities in customized residencies.

Since its founding in 1994, the DanceForce, through the work of its members, has funded over 400 projects, raising more than $3 million in support of these endeavors.

Complete guidelines and application forms, can be found at www.danceforce.org. For more information contact WNYCI coordinator Lois Welk at: [email protected].

October 20, 2020 - 11:39am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia city school district.


Although COVID-19 mandates are forcing students and teachers to cover their faces, they “can’t mask the Batavia pride,” according to Kathie Scott, public information coordinator for the Batavia City School District.

On Monday, Scott posted information about “Can’t Mask the Batavia Pride!” on the district’s redesigned website, writing that the campaign is “in response to all the reorienting that has been required to reopen school – from social distancing and face mask mandates, to hybrid and virtual learning and sport delays/cancellations.”

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. informed the school board about the campaign at its meeting Monday night at the high school library (which can be viewed on the district’s YouTube channel).

Scott said the campaign “has been in the works for a while,” with discussions taking place with the fire department, police department and others throughout the community to make it happen.

“I’ve received a couple of emails since it went up … and we’re just looking forward to people participating,” said Scott, who has worked behind the scenes for almost 25 years to keep the public abreast of the district’s positive developments. “I know that there is a lot of community pride in Batavia, so it’s kind of a natural extension of that.”

Per the website:

“Can’t Mask the Batavia Pride!” is a reminder to our community of learners that there is something that hasn’t changed: the pride of and in Batavia. Community members like you are sharing a few positive words of encouragement, pride, appreciation, and/or support that will mean a lot to our students, their families, and staff.

Scott said there are several ways people get display their Batavia pride, including ordering a large Blue Devil head-on-a-stick mask that can be delivered or picked up by calling her at (595) 343-2480, ext. 1018, or sending her an email at:   [email protected].

Other options are taking a digital photo or recording a short video (maximum of 30 seconds) with the mask, but not covering the face; or providing a short positive message of support, encouragement, pride or appreciation -- directed to students, staff, and/or families.

Click here for more information.

Soler also talked about the new school district app that is available for Android and iPhone -- Batavia CSD, NY.

With the new app, people can access documents, events, news updates, and even emergency notifications.

It can be downloaded on Android at https://bit.ly/3i6EAyc or iPhone at https://apple.co/3jOg8ls.

In another development, Soler thanked the board members “for their commitment to the City of Batavia and to its children” in conjunction with School Board Recognition Week (Oct. 19-23) as designated by the NYS School Boards Association.

“Each of you devote countless hours to make sure our schools are helping every child to learn at a high level,” said Soler, adding that board trustees make tough decisions, develop a budget and provide accountability that our citizens expect.

He then presented each board member with a travel bag as a token of the district’s appreciation.

Photo from Batavia CSD website: Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. with the Blue Devil head-on-a-stick mask.

October 20, 2020 - 10:03am

In his fourth week as interim executive director of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, Jay Gsell said he is focused on networking throughout the agency’s nine counties to help the region bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gsell was back at the Old County Courthouse on Monday afternoon, in the legislative chambers – upstairs from the office where he spent one day shy of 27 years as the Genesee County manager. He retired in August and, about a month later, accepted the interim position with G/FLRPC.

During a review of the regional planning council’s recent activities for the legislature’s Public Service Committee, Gsell said a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant awarded to the G/FLRPC will go a long way toward “disaster and recovery planning, and resiliency planning from the pandemic but also what it is going to look like coming out on the other side.”

“We will be working closely to see what the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center) and others are doing in terms of once COVID is under control and putting that into perspective,” Gsell said. “And we will be working with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and others to make sure you are not duplicating effort but also how do we come together to make sure the region comes back.”

The G/FLRPC qualified for the grant through its designation as an Economic Development Administration-designated Economic Development District.

Gsell said he is working out of an office on the eighth floor of a building owned by a private developer in downtown Rochester, commuting from his Batavia home five days a week for about five to six hours per day. He said he has an open-ended contract with the agency.

“It’s really up to what the executive committee (which includes Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein and Esther Leadley of Pavilion) and the regional board want to do as far as the time period,” said Gsell, who is temporarily filling the position that was manned by David Zorn until his retirement after about 29 years on the job.

Gsell said Zorn told him that he worked about 35 hours a week doing the basic job and spent another 30 doing “everything else.”

“Dave Zorn did a great job … now I’m starting to liaison with other agencies they deal with, and the other counties -- starting to network like Dave had done.”

Gsell said the G/FLRPC has an annual budget of around $700,000, with Genesee County providing $9,400 each year.

“It has been a flat level of county funding for a number of years and we don’t expect that to change,” Gsell said, noting that larger counties, such as Monroe, contribute more to the agency which has four full-time employees with an average tenure of about two and a half years.

He said the G/FLRPC benefits Genesee County through its work on behalf of watershed development, on comprehensive plan updates and government workshops to help local zoning officials get their mandatory hours of training every year.

“Plus, the grants that are coming in support all the counties and we also have an alliance with the Genesee Transportation Council and each of the municipal planning departments in the county,” he said.

The G/FLRPC was established in 1977 and set up “to do transportation funding, infrastructure funding, wastewater quality, environmental funding activity, and to be clearing house for grants for other organizations to help them focus on the bigger picture," Gsell said.

Counties in its original membership were Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne and Yates. Wyoming County was admitted in 1986. The nine counties in the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region comprise 4,680 square miles, with a population exceeding 1,217,000 residents.

The voting members of the Council are chief elected officials, local legislators, department heads and community leaders representing the participating counties, City of Rochester and the community at-large.

October 20, 2020 - 8:29am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee County Planning Department, 2020 Census.

Over the past several months, the Genesee County Department of Planning was diligent in getting the word out about the 2020 Census.

At every opportunity, Planning Director Felipe Oltramari made it known the significance of the census upon local governments, with statements such as the following (paraphrased):

“The census not only counts our population, but determines our congressional representation and the allocation of federal funding to numerous programs, including Medicaid and Head Start, and to hospitals, fire departments and other vital services.”

On Monday afternoon, Oltramari reported the results of the efforts of his department – which was assisted by the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council -- during a planning department review at the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

Oltramari said that the self-responded percentage in Genesee County was 65.6 percent, a bit higher than the percentage for all of New York State (64.2 percent, according to the 2020 Census website). The remaining 35.7 percent of the state population was obtained by census takers – officially called Enumerated in Nonresponse Followup.

The state’s total of 99.9 percent enumerated is the figure reported by 2020 Census for every state in the union through Oct. 16, which was the census deadline day.

“The additional percentage was in-person enumeration – persons going to homes and sometimes visiting their neighbors, by proxy, to reach the 99.9 percent mark,” Oltramari said. “We don’t get to see the totals for all the counties at this point – only the statewide results.”

Per the 2020 Census tabulations, Minnesota had the highest self-responded percentage at 75.1 percent and Maine had the lowest at 58.2 percent. Again, through the work of the census takers, all states are within 1/10th of 1 percent of having everybody counted.

In reviewing this year’s accomplishments, Oltramari said that the 2020 census outreach was his department's "biggest project of the year."

He also reported that the planning board: is projected to handle 110 zoning referrals; kicked off a comprehensive plan update and recreation plan known as Genesee 2050; hosted or sponsored more than 20 training seminars and webinars for local officials; and continued to provide mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIF), Pictometry support and training to county departments, local municipalities and the general public.

“We also provide local technical assistance on projects such as the solar project in Byron and the Darien comprehensive plan, and assist with planning and zoning issues to help municipalities save money,” he said.

For 2021, special projects include continuing with the comprehensive plan update and recreation plan, working on a county resiliency plan, taking the lead on an environmental review of Phase 3 of the county’s water project and review of Agricultural District No. 4 (Byron, Bergen, Stafford and Elba).

Oltramari said the department will maintain three full-time employees – director, deputy director and GIS technician – with 96 percent of its budget going to cover salaries and fringe benefits.

October 19, 2020 - 5:06pm
posted by Press Release in Town of Bergen, 2021 Preliminary Budget, news.

Press release:

The Bergen Town Board has adopted its 2021 Preliminary Budget and set the budget public hearings for Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The public hearing on the tax cap override will be at 7 p.m., followed by public hearings on the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department budget at 7:15 and on the 2021 Town budget at 7:30.

Facing an unprecedented loss of revenues from the county as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board began cutting 2020 expenses this past spring. Board members took a reduction in pay; some personnel appropriations were trimmed; projects and equipment purchases were put on hold.

The moves helped offset a 14.4-percent loss in revenues from Genesee County and 20-percent withhold in various state aid.

The Board resolved early in the 2021 budget process to reduce Town expenses across the entire budget in order to lessen the impact to property taxpayers. All departments were asked to reduce spending.

In addition, a part-time position was eliminated and all wages frozen at the 2020 level. The 2021 preliminary budget cuts spending by $179,189 from the 2020 budget. Those savings were overshadowed by the estimated reductions of $181,706 in revenue from the county and $16,775 withhold of state aid. 

Another unexpected challenge faced by the Town Board was Genesee County no longer providing sales tax revenue and instead providing revenue that had to be referred to as a “voluntary revenue distribution.” While the money comes from sales tax, as the county no longer has an agreement with Towns/Villages to share sales tax, the only way they can share the sales tax is to call it a voluntary revenue distribution. 

It would seem that simply changing the name of a revenue stream from sales tax sharing to voluntary revenue distributions would not affect a Town’s budget, but it has, specifically the budget of every town in Genesee County that has a village within its border.

The NYS Comptroller has opined that voluntary revenue distributions cannot be used by Towns with villages to offset expenses like highway repairs and improvements; code enforcement and building and planning.

What that means is that for 2021, Bergen will have two different tax rates: one for properties within the village and one for properties outside the village. While this does occur in other places across the state, Bergen has typically had the same tax rate for all properties.

The result is a tax rate of $1.56 per thousand dollars of assessed value for properties inside the Village, which is a decrease of .71 cents per thousand and for properties outside the village, in the town, a tax rate of 2.39 an increase of .12 cents per thousand over the 2020 rate.  

According to the Genesee County Attorney and Manager, "this imbalance should be resolved in time for the 2022 budget." The county is requesting special legislation from the NY State Legislature to allow the voluntary contribution from the county to be treated like sales tax revenue was and therefore be able to record the revenue as we always had. 

If the state legislation is successfully enacted, the Bergen Town Board plans to return to a uniform tax rate for 2022. Of course, that will result in another swing – taxpayers within the village will see an increase in the 2022 tax bill, while taxpayers outside the village will see a decrease.

In other parts of the budget, the Fire District tax levy will be reduced by $6,295; the tax rate will remain the same for Water District No. 2; and the Peachey Road Water District rate will drop by about $50 per full EDU.

Residents of the new Water Benefit Area #1 will see their first water district tax bill in January. It is anticipated the amount will be $322.16 per EDU this first year and will increase to the expected $550 per EDU in 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the speed at which the water district approvals and bidding process are occurring. The delay means that the water lines will not be completed until September of 2022 and the Town will have less debt service to pay on the new water line in 2021 the previously anticipated.

“We are pleased to present a 2021 budget that enables the Town to deliver services despite historic financial upheaval,” said Supervisor Ernest Haywood. “We are grateful to all of our department heads who worked with us to accomplish this responsible budget.

"We certainly hope that 2021 brings the end to the pandemic and economic turmoil. We look forward to our residents being able to enjoy all of the services and programs that the Town has long provided.”

October 19, 2020 - 4:49pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

New Cases – As of 2 p.m. 

  • Genesee County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • Eight of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Eight new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
  • Orleans County received eight new positive cases of COVID-19.
  • The new positive cases reside in Albion, Kent and Murray.
  • The individuals are; one in the 0-19 age range, two in their 30s, one in their 40s, three in their 50s and one in their 60s.
  • None of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.

Thirteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.

Ten new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

October 19, 2020 - 4:45pm

Press release:

The Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging at Rochester Area Community Foundation is introducing new ways to connect with the great services it supports for older adults in Genesee County. 

A new website, askmarshall.net, shares how the Marshall family of programs supports healthy aging and also provides easy access to resources for aging well. Whether you’re older yourself, care for someone who is, or want to be a part of what makes aging in our county different, ask marshall is the place to start. 

Older adults also can get answers and connect to helpful resources through the new ask marshall helpline at (585) 815-7979 or by sending an email to:   [email protected]

Over the past 20 years, guided by the vision of Roxanne Marshall, the Marshall-funded programs have helped thousands of older adults remain independent, engaged and supported as they age in Genesee County. Whether online, by phone or email, ask marshall — makes it easier to connect with these programs wherever you are, whenever you like.

The Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging, was established in 1998 with a $7 million bequest from Roxanne Marshall, who grew up in Batavia. The fund was named in honor of her mother, whose later life experiences helped shape Roxanne’s vision to promote quality of life in later years. Roxanne’s bequest and vision were entrusted to Rochester Area Community Foundation.  

Because of the Foundation’s diligent fund management and leadership, along with guidance from a team of Genesee County residents, the Marshall family of programs has grown over the years to meet a wide range of local needs. 

Since 1999, the Marshall Fund has distributed more than $8.3 million in 225-plus grants to support older adults in Genesee County.

October 19, 2020 - 2:49pm

Although a local drug treatment professional has yet to see any signs of Carfentanil surfacing in this area, she said news that the powerful man-made opioid has appeared in test results in Oneida County is deeply concerning.

“Yes, I am aware of Carfentanil and the extreme toxicity of it,” said Kathy S. Hodgins, chief clinical officer at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. “Currently, we haven't seen or heard of any cases in Genesee or Orleans counties.”

Hodgins said her agency does have the capabilities “of testing if we suspect any use of it.”

Published reports earlier this week indicated that government and health officials in the Utica area issued a warning about the synthetic drug, which is considered to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

According to a story from WKTV, Utica, dealers mix Carfentanil -- an odorless, white powder -- with other drugs to make them stronger and cheaper.

Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants.

Oneida County officials said the dose the size of a “single grain of salt can quickly lead to an overdose or death.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. issued a press release, stating that he didn’t know the full extent of the presence of Carfentanil in the local drug supply, but, “because it is so lethal even to handle, we want to make sure that people who use drugs, first responders and other providers are alerted immediately so they can take precautions to protect themselves.”

“Carfentanil is so potent that it causes a rapid overdose, which may not be reversible even with multiple doses of Narcan or treatment,” he said.

Christen Ferraro, coordinator of GOW Opioid Task Force that covers Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, sent out an email bulletin to the group’s 300-plus members, and the state’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports has put the word out to local opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs), drug user health hubs, and syringe exchange programs.

Disclosure: Story by Mike Pettinella, GCASA publicist.

October 19, 2020 - 2:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Alabama, bergen, alexander.

Cody Michael Donahue, 24, of Royce Road, Varysburg, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated per se -- with a BAC of .18 percent or more; driving while intoxicated -- first offense; refusal to take a breath test; speeding -- exceeding 55 mph. At 2:28 a.m. on Oct. 17, Donahue was arrested after a traffic stop for a traffic violation on Alexander Road in Alexander. He was allegedly found to be intoxicated. Donahue was released on appearance tickets and is due in Alexander Town Court on Nov. 17. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Sgt. Jason Saile.

Sarah Jane Scott, 39, of South Fitzhugh Street, Sodus Point, is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a BAC greater .08 percent; DWI; and no turn signal. At 10:17 p.m. on Dec. 9, Scott was arrested after a traffic stop for allegedly failing to use a turn signal when turning onto Clinton Street Road (Route 33) in Bergen. She was allegedly found to be intoxicated at the time. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Bergen Town Court on Dec. 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier, assisted by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

Jhermero Darius Maxey, 29, of Robinson Road, Lockport, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree and speeding (65 in a 55-mph zone). At 10:19 p.m. Oct. 16, Maxey was arrested after a traffic stop on Lewiston Road in Alabama. He was issued traffic tickets and released on his own recognizance. He is due in Alabama Town Court on Dec. 9. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jonathan Dimmig.

October 19, 2020 - 2:04pm
posted by Press Release in news, K-9, Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Submitted photo and press release:

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. is pleased to provide an update on the Office’s two K-9 teams (Deputy James Stack / K-9 Rayzor, left, and Deputy Andrew Mullen / K-9 Frankie).  

Both K-9 teams are bonding well and are making significant progress through their training program and will be Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) patrol certified soon.

Patrol certification includes tracking, criminal apprehension, handler protection, building searches and obedience. Additional training at narcotics school will begin Nov. 2 and be completed Nov. 27 at which time both teams will be in service and fully trained.

“We greatly appreciate the remarkable public support received for this valuable program,” Sheriff Sheron said.

October 19, 2020 - 1:40pm

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health will celebrate breast cancer survivors at United Memorial Medical Center’s Pink Hatters annual fundraiser. The more than 20-year tradition will look different than in years past.

With safety top of mind, this year’s fundraiser has been converted into a drive-thru chicken barbeque. It will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at the Town of Batavia Fire Hall on Lewiston Road in Batavia. 

Participants are encouraged to dress up their vehicles in pink to show their support for these warriors. All proceeds benefit participants of the Cancer Services Program and people in our community without health insurance.

Tickets are available for presale only until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Those interested in tickets can contact (585) 344-5331.

Tickets cost $20 each and includes a delicious half chicken from Holy Smokes and salt potatoes, coleslaw, Costanzo roll (from the Buffalo bakery) & butter.

As always, Rochester Regional Health and the Cancer Services Program of Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, and Niagara Counties will recognize these warriors among us at the annual Pink Hatters Fundraiser.

Ticket buyers will be entered for a chance to win the Girlfriends Get Away “Spa”Jama Package, which includes:

  • Overnight accommodations for you and three of your friends at The Clinton, located at 167 Clinton St., Batavia;
  • $50/per person spa service gift certicate at the Spa at Artemis; 206 E. Main St., Batavia;
  • Dinner for four at Roman’s Restaurant; 59 Main St., Batavia;
  • Wine and Cheese Basket.

What:  Pink Hatters Drive-thru Chicken BBQ

When: Saturday, Oct. 24 from 12-3 p.m.

Where: Town of Batavia Fire Hall, 8382 Lewiston Road, Batavia

October 19, 2020 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.17, down 2 cents from one week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.65. The New York State average is $2.25 – the same as last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.70.

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

  • Batavia -- $2.20 (no change since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.22 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.1 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.24 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.31 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.18 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.30 (no change since last week)

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped to $2.17, which is significantly cheaper than last year (-48 cents). In a recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand decreased slightly.

Domestic crude prices have also declined as market concern increased regarding an increase in coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand as nations impose new restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. If demand concerns persist, crude prices could continue to decline — alongside pump prices.


"Gas prices have continued to remain subdued in large part due to the stalemate in Washington that's holding back another round of stimulus for Americans, which could boost the economy and oil demand and help Americans get back to work," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"Absent some resolve from lawmakers to boost the economy, we're likely in store for another week of sideways price movements, keeping average gas prices near current levels for the fourth straight month. We may continue to see us stuck in this territory until there's meaningful change in our COVID-19 outlook."

October 18, 2020 - 6:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in JC Penney, downtown, batavia, news.


JC Penney in Batavia closed its doors for the last time at 5 p.m. today. One potential shopper found she got there a little late for the last day of the store's going-out-of-business sale.

October 18, 2020 - 3:29pm

Starting this weekend, the shelter cats are back at Petco!

Everyone is welcome to stop by the store in Towne Center at Batavia on Veterans Memorial Drive and take a gander at these furry guests.

One of them is "Chloe" (inset photo left). She is a gray domestic longhair, known to be "quite the character." The intense stare is the first clue, of course. Rescued from the not-so-great outdoors -- for homeless cats anyway -- she was petrified by people (and particularly, it seems, any person wielding a camera).

But Chloe morphs into a social butterfly once she gets acquainted, and likes to get petted and even fetch toys occasionally. Not a big fan of competition, however; it is preferable that no other cats, or young children, or horrors! -- dogs -- get in the way of her bliss -- you.

The Volunteers for Animals at the Genesee County Animal Shelter had to stop taking cats as such as Chloe to Petco for adoption in March​ due to COVID-19.

That put the brakes on an avenue of adoption that began when the store opened in September 2008 -- the ability to adopt cats and kittens directly from the store.

The six cages provided by Petco exponentially increased the chances of finding homes for homeless felines. Petco staff also assists with their daily care and the adoptions.

So it's easy to see why the Volunteers for Animals say they are excited to be able bring them back to Petco.

"We have several beautiful kittens at the store now with more to come," they wrote in an emailed bulletin. "Help get our shelter kitties home!"

You can visit prospective adoptees during regular store hours. Hey, Petco doesn't close until 7 tonight -- that means there's still time to meet-and-greet today!

You can check the Volunteers for Animals website and see the "candidates." If a cat is at Petco, the description will say so. Otherwise, they're at the shelter.

Since June 2, all animal adoptions at the shelter itself continue to be done by appointment. Please email the volunteers at [email protected] for an application and to set up an appointment.

Anyone coming into the shelter must wear a face covering and will be asked about current health and recent possible exposures to COVID-19. If you are sick, please do not come to the shelter. They also ask that you limit the number of people per family coming to the shelter to adopt animals.

For adoption, there is a $60 NONREFUNDABLE FEE for all animals, which needs to be cash or a check -- NO CREDIT CARDS. If the animal is not spayed or neutered there is a $35 REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT upon proof of surgery.

An adoption application must be filled out by the person wishing to adopt the animal. Once the application has been reviewed and approved, the potential adopter may visit and meet any of the animals. All cats must leave the shelter or pet store in a cat carrier. Please bring a cat carrier.

All animals older than 3 months of age are given rabies vaccine. Unless there is proof of a prior rabies vaccine, the vaccine is good for one year. All animals are given at least one dose of deworming medication. All cats receive a feline distemper combo vaccine (good for one year) and are tested for FeLV/FIV.

FYI: You may want to take the time to read up on Adopting a Cat.

Remember: Volunteers For Animals is always in need of monetary donations for the animals at the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Their largest expense is veterinary care for sick and injured animals. A great deal of their money is spent spaying and neutering as many animals as possible BEFORE they leave the Shelter. Spaying and neutering animals is the ONLY way to reduce the number of homeless animals.

In addition to vet care, they also purchase FIV/FeLV tests for cats and heartworm tests for dogs. Please consider making a donation today. All donations to Volunteers For Animals, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, are tax-deductible.

You can make a donation through the Paypal button on the Volunteers for Animals home page, or by mailing a check to: 

Volunteers For Animals
PO Box 1621
Batavia, NY 14021

Petco Hours

(Phone: 343-1426)

  • Sunday -- 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Monday through Satruday -- 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

GC Animal Shelter, 3841 W. Main Street Road, Town of Batavia

(Phone: 343-6410)

Adoption Hours

  • Sunday/Monday/Tuesday/Friday -- 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday -- 1 to 3 p.m. & 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday -- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Closed Thursday

Photo of "Chloe" courtesy of Volunteers for Animals.

October 17, 2020 - 7:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A person is reporting head and chest pain following a two-car accident at Ellicott and Jackson streets in Batavia.

City fire is on scene.

Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:33 p.m.: A patient is being transported to UMMC.

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