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February 24, 2020 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.47., up three cents since last week. One year ago, the price was $2.39. The New York State average is $2.61 – no change from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.52. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $2.59. (down one cent since last week)
  • Buffalo - $2.54 (down two cents since last week)
  • Ithaca - $2.62 (down one cent since last week)
  • Rochester - $2.55 (down two cents since last week)
  • Rome - $2.62 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse - $2.48 (no change since last week)
  • Watertown - $2.61 (no change since last week)

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.47 per gallon, which is three cents more than last week, six cents less than a month ago, and eight cents more than a year ago. With many people traveling for mid-winter break, demand increased over the past week, which contributed to the spike in national gas prices. Total national gasoline stocks also decreased last week, so that drop in supply also sent prices up nationally. Demand will likely fluctuate in coming weeks with spring break travel and peak at Easter week.

February 24, 2020 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Green Light Law, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

Following a briefing in Albany by members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined lawmakers from across the state today (Feb. 24) at a press conference to highlight the dangers of the "Green Light Law," which went into effect on Jan. 1.

The law, which a recnt Siena Poll show is opposed by 48 percent of New York voters, allows illegal aliens to apply for a New York State driver’s license. 

Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders have expressed strong opposition to allowing Customs Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration authorities to access the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database to improve data sharing efforts.

Genesee County Clerk Michael T. Cianfrini recently wrote to Gov. Cuomo requesting that an amendment be passed allowing Customs Border Patrol to gain access to the DMV database. 

“As egregious and offensive this law is to law-abiding New Yorkers, we shouldn’t be making matters worse by limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities who use this information to keep the country safe,” Hawley said.

“Cooperation and data sharing between law enforcement agencies are key to tracking down and apprehending dangerous individuals and state leaders in New York are putting us all at risk by playing these political games with Washington.

"I am calling on Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to work with us to amend this dangerous law before the public’s safety is compromised any further.”

Photo: Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, listens as Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay speaks at the podium on the dangers of the "Green Light Law."

February 24, 2020 - 4:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Chris Jacobs, NY-27.

Press release:

President Donald Trump’s recent endorsement of Republican Chris Jacobs is highlighted in a new radio ad, which will begin airing across the 27th district today (Feb. 24).

President Trump endorsed Jacobs on Tuesday saying, “Chris Jacobs will be a great Congressman who will always fight for the people of New York.”

“I’m grateful for the President’s endorsement and trust,” Jacobs said. “As Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Nate McMurray attempt to drag this country toward socialism, I’m proud to stand with President Trump in the fight to put America first, secure our borders, grow our economy and honor our veterans.”

The ad:

MAN: Who does President Donald Trump support for Congress?

WOMAN: Chris Jacobs.

MAN: Why did President Trump endorse Chris Jacobs?

WOMAN: Because Chris Jacobs will have Trump’s back in Congress.

MAN: Chris Jacobs will vote every time to help President Trump finish building the wall that will secure our southern border.

WOMAN: Chris Jacobs will be on the Trump team in the fight to hold sanctuary cities that hide illegals from federal law enforcement accountable.  

MAN: Chris Jacobs will fight side by side with President Trump to drain the swamp, secure the border and keep our economy growing.

WOMAN: It’s no wonder that President Trump gave Chris Jacobs his complete endorsement, tweeting that Jacobs supports our Make America Great Again agenda.

MAN: President Trump said Jacobs “will continue to Secure our Border. Loves our military, vets and is strong on the 2nd Amendment.”

WOMAN: Cast your first vote for President Trump this year by supporting Chris Jacobs for Congress on April 28th.

JACOBS: I’m Chris Jacobs and I approve this message.

ANNOUNCER: Paid for by Jacobs for Congress.

February 24, 2020 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, charity, crossroads house, Rotary Club of Batavia.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Rotary Club of Batavia recently blessed Crossroads House with a new snowblower and lawn mower to keep the grounds of their home beautiful in the summer, and safe and snow free in the winter.

Crossroads House Executive Director Jeff Allen and Rotary Club of Batavia President Bob Knipe were on hand to see the new equipment at Cedar Street Sales and Rentals.

“For so many years, we have relied on volunteers and staff with shovels in the winter and used lawn mowers in the summer that often times were held together with duct tape.” Allen said.

“With this wonderful gift from the Rotary Club of Batavia, the great folks who keep up our grounds all year long can do so more efficiently.”

Upon delivery of the equipment Guy Clark, along with sons Adam and Connor, presented Crossroads House with a certificate from Cedar Street providing all parts, labor, maintenance and tune-ups for the new equipment for three years.

“With the added bonus, we only need to pay for gas and that is great for our budget.” Allen added.

Rotary Club of Batavia has partnered with Crossroads House for many years. They provided funds in the recent past to install a vital handicap bathroom.

They also funded an upgrade to the security camera system as well as LED lighting in the parking lot providing peace of mind important to a home that operates 24 hours a day.

Pictured, from left Bob Knipe, Rotary Club of Batavia president; Connor Clark and Guy Clark, Cedar Street Sales and Rentals; Jeff Allen, executive director of Crossroads House.

February 24, 2020 - 4:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Republican Rally 2020.

Republican "Rally for Our Candidates" is Saturday at Dibble Center in Batavia; must RSVP to get breakfast

The 2020 “Republican Rally for Our Candidates” will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, at The Dibble Family Center.

It is located at 3035 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

A continental breakfast will be available to those who RSVP, and it will consist of fruits, bagels, pastries, coffee, etc.

Scheduled participating candidates are:

  • Chris Jacobs– U.S. Congress
  • Ed Rath II– NYS Senate
  • William Sheron– GC Sheriff
  • Scott German– GC Treasurer
  • Karen Lang  -- GC Coroner
  • Adam Palumbo– GC Coroner

To RSVP for breakfast, email Kathy Jasinski at:   [email protected]

Or call Don and at (585) 356-5135 and leave a message.

February 24, 2020 - 3:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in hawley, news, Genesee County Cooperative Extension.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has written to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie requesting increased funding for County Cooperative Extension (CCE) Associations, which haven’t seen a funding increase in more than 20 years.

CCEs are statewide organizations that are actively engaged in their communities in fundamental areas of agriculture and nutrition sciences as well as youth development and leadership, including 4-H programming, economic development and community and environmental progress.

“We are requesting your support for an increase in the overall funding to the CCE system from $3.9 million to a total statewide amount of $8 million which would support all CCE county associations,” Hawley wrote in the letter.

“With increased funding the CCE system will be better able to proactively respond to local emerging necessities in the area of food system support. In addition, it will better leverage county funding and competing grant support for all communities.

“Additionally, funding will help generate research-based environmental justice projects related to urban agriculture.”

Hawley is a longtime member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, former owner and operator of his family farm in Batavia, Hawley Farms, and is a past president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau.

February 24, 2020 - 3:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, pembroke.

David James LeRoy, 27, of Gabbey Road, Pembroke, is charged with aggravated harassment in the second degree and falsely reporting in the third degree. At 3:57 p.m. on Feb. 23, LeRoy was arrested after allegedly making several phone calls to the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center for no legitimate purpose, and making false reports. He was released on appearance tickets and is due in Pembroke Town Court on March 3. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputy David Moore.

Three Buffalo residents are charged with crimes following a reported of an alleged larceny from Target in Towne Center at Batavia mall on Feb. 23. They reportedly left the scene and were located on the Thruway in Pembroke. Arrested at 5:25 p.m. Sunday were: Ashley M. Drexinger, 27, of Kensington Avenue, who is charged with third-degree grand larceny – a Class D felony, and fifth-degree conspiracy – a Class A misdemeanor. Ericka K. McBride, 30, of Janet Avenue, is charged with fifth-degree conspiracy and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Kahel S. Suttles, 23, of Dodge Street, is charged with third-degree grand larceny, and unlawful possession of marijuana. All were released on appearance tickets and are due in Town of Batavia on March 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy David Moore.

Harry Thomas Gibson, 55, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. On Feb. 21 at 6:25 p.m. Gibson was arrested for petit larceny following a complaint of a shoplifter at Kohl’s department store. He allegedly stole three bottles of cologne. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia Town Court on March 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputy Mathew Clor.

February 23, 2020 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in FeBREWary, downtown, batavia, news.

It was a lot of fun shooting video of FeBREWary last night and I was looking forward to editing the footage this afternoon.

When I got home last night, I put the SD card in my computer and imported the hockey video footage. When that was done, I forgot to import FeBREWary.  

Normally, I don't take SD cards out of the computer and put them right in the camera for the next project. I rotate through them in order to diminish the chance of deleting something I'm not ready to delete. But that isn't what I did this morning -- running late to cover something, I grabbed the SD card I saw first -- the one in the computer. I didn't realize my mistake until I was ready to edit the FeBREWary video.

I was disappointed. My apologies to anybody who was looking forward to being included in the video and to the BID and Downtown businesses.

February 23, 2020 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in entertainment, genesee valley wind ensemble, news, music.

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble's Spring Concert will be held at Alexander High School at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.

The school is located at 3314 Buffalo St. in Alexander.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors 55+ and veterans; $5 for students with ID; children age 5 and under are admitted free. For families, cost is $25 for immediate families and children -- mother and/or father and up to four children.

The featured works for the Spring Concert are:

  • "Toccata for Band" by Frank Erickson
  • "A Touch of Tuba" by Art Detrick*
  • "Into Battle" by Christopher Taylor
  • "The Lion King" by Elton John, Tim Rice, Hans Zimmer, arrangements by Calvin Custer
  • "Foundry" by John Mackey 
  • "Molly on the Shore" by -- Percy Grainger, with Guest Conductor Meaghan McTammany
  • Selections from the musical "Chicago" -- arrangements by Ted Ricketts
  • "Mama Mia!" -- arrangements by Roy Phillippe
  • National Emblem March -- Edwin Eugene Bagley

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble will be conducted by its founder, Philip J. Briatico.

Meaghan McTammany will be the guest conductor.

*Matt Stanton, of Avon Central School, is the guest soloist, playing tuba.

The purpose of the GVWE is to serve and to provide the Greater Genesee Valley audience with new and familiar live music, to serve its membership with the opportunity to perform challenging wind ensemble literature and to create the opportunity for the conductor and musicians to grow their collective musical talents.

The GVWE Spring Concert is made possible, in part, by the Reach Grant program administered by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

February 22, 2020 - 12:57pm

Volunteers for Animals at the Genesee County Animal Shelter will host a "Spay-ghetti Dinner" in the Notre Dame High School cafeteria on Saturday, March 14.

Time is 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. -- eat in or take out.

Dinner includes spaghetti with homemade sauce and meatballs, salad, bread, cookies, and a beverage.

Tickets cost $10 each; $5 for children age 12 and under.

There will also be a 50/50 raffle, basket raffles, and fun!

Notre Dame is located at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia.

February 21, 2020 - 8:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, bergen.

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A small barn has reportedly burned down at 5995 Sautell Road, Bergen.

Bergen fire with mutual aid from Byron and South Byron dispatched.

UPDATE 8:16 p.m.: Elba fire dispatched.

UPDATE 11 p.m.: Photos submitted by Melissa Dilcher, who also called it in and alerted the residents of the property.

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February 21, 2020 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, notify.

When the Batavia City School District Board of Education meets Tuesday, they will discuss how to proceed with replacing trustee Zach Korzelius, who resigned recently.

In an email to Board President Pat Burk, Korzelius wrote: "This will serve as my written notice to the board of my resignation to focus more time on work and family. Thank you to all for relationships that have been built and good luck going forward."

Korzelius was initially appointed to the board in 2017 to fill the unexpired term of Leslie Johnson and then elected to the board in 2018. His term was set to expire at the end of June 2021.

His bio has been removed from the district website.

Photo: District photo.

February 21, 2020 - 6:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, st. paul lutheran school, history, hlom, news.

Fourth- and fifth-graders at St. Paul Lutheran School are proudly displaying their projects on "Early Colonial Settlements" at the Holland Land Office Museum.

They are the culmination of all they learned on the topic during the two-week lesson plan, which they began before National Lutheran Schools Week, Jan. 26-Feb. 1.

There was no America as we know it now, their teacher Jennifer Dunn explained to them.

Native Americans lived throughout the land. There were settlements by Puritans and Pilgrams from England, and by the Dutch, French and Spanish. Think Roanoke, Jamestown, Cooperstown, Plymouth.

Travel was difficult. Conditions primitive. Why did they take such risks to come here?  How did they live day to day? What did they eat, or wear? What rules governed them?

Besides history, the studies emcompassed English Language Arts, social studies and geography.

Between the drears of winter and the sheer scope of written/verbal information, it seemed to Dunn that her students were getting sort of "overwhelmed" and bogged down by it all, including niggling details: at least four of the key people of the time had the first name John.

So she decided to have students do some research on their own and put their knowlege into the tangible form of displays with essays accompanying them.

"They did their own research themselves and they are proud of it," Dunn said. "It made history come alive."

Their fact-finding also helped clarify some confusing points.

And they created labels for the models -- made of stuff like wooden sticks, twigs, tempera paint, plastic barnyard animals, craft paper, even Rice Krispies -- with references to the essays they wrote.

Each child presented their work in front of their parents and the whole school.

It was a lot for 9- and 10-year-olds to master and their mastery is on display tomorrow Feb. 22 through Thursday, March 5, when the St. Paul students will retrieve their projects after a field trip to the museum.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The location is 131 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

February 21, 2020 - 3:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, news, batavia.

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Press release:

IAFF Local 896 Batavia City Firefighters are proud to announce a safe and secure drop box to retire U.S. flags in our community. Firefighters have partnered with the Veness Strollo VFW Post 1602 to ensure a dignified retirement on Flag Day.

Residents are encouraged to bring their retired U.S. flags to the firehouse drop box where firefighters will, on a weekly basis empty the container, properly fold flags, and prepare them for delivery to the VFW on Edwards Street.

The idea of providing a U.S. Flag Retirement Drop Box for our community was brought up after seeing other municipalities purchase containers for proper flag retirement. Many other military organizations, along with the VFW, collect and retire U.S. flags.

We are just providing an additional central location for the community to respectfully retire their U.S. flags. Since early January our community has brought in more than 40 flags for proper retirement, thank you!

Special thanks to Kristina at the Genesee County sign shop for the professional wrap and graphics on the flag container. Our temporary install of the container was made possible by firefighters of the 1st platoon with plans to permanently install in the Spring with assistance from City Department of Public Works.

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February 21, 2020 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Armory, batavia, news, notify.

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It's been nearly four years since Dave Vascianne purchased the former armory property on State Street in the City of Batavia and according to his consultant, David Carr said it's been a slow but deliberate process to decide what to build on the land.

The decision, on the back of the property, a senior housing complex.

On the front, using the existing buildings?  Vascianne and Carr want to hear from the community.

To that end, they've been working with a group of RIT students to develop a range of possible uses for the buildings and those ideas will be presented to the community from noon to 2 p.m. at City Centre on Saturday, Feb. 29.

"We want to get as much input from the community as possible," Carr said. "Whatever it is, we want to fit with the senior housing and make sure everything fits together. Everything has to be social together because otherwise, it won't work, which is why we want to get input from everybody."

DaVas Enterprises, LLC purchased the parcel Aug. 1, 2016, from the New York State Police for $235,000.

At the time, Vascianne said, he wasn't sure what he would do with the property but he's a developer. It was too good a value to pass up. It's a nice piece of land and the existing buildings are architecturally interesting and in good shape.

He settled on senior housing to anchor the development because of the residential zoning of the area but he hasn't decided yet what to do with the front part of the property.

Carr said the project is being privately financed though there are tax credits available for the senior housing and they may seek out other assistance.

Photo: File photo from 2015

February 21, 2020 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news, arts, entertainment.

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County legislators on Wednesday indicated a willingness to sell or lease a small parcel of land next to the Senior Center building on Bank Street, Batavia, to GO ART! for the creation of an art garden.

Gregory Hallock, director of GO ART!, presented the concept at a Ways and Means Committee meeting and the committee unanimously approved a letter of support.

The letter is necessary to help secure a potential grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, which provided funds for the Musical Garden that opened this summer in the walkway next to Seymore Place.

Hallock said the art garden will be space for art displays, concerts, classes, flowers, and a place to grow herbs and vegetables for use in the GO ART! kitchen.

He said the garden could also help generate revenue for GO ART! as a place to host weddings and for culinary events as well as concerts.

The small lot in question is already a garden accessible only by the Senior Center that is barely used by the Office for the Aging.

Besides a connection to Seymore Place and the Musical Garden, the art garden would also fit nicely, Hallock said, with the Healthy Living Campus being developed by UMMC and the YMCA.

Hallock said both UMMC and the YMCA have signed off on the project and through discussions, leaders there realized that GO ART! is a natural fit for what they're planning with the Healthy Living Campus so GO ART! will be included more in future planning discussions.

February 21, 2020 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Forum Players, GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

The Forum Players, Genesee Community College's Theater Arts students, and members of the local theater community are excited to open the 2020 spring season with "Doubt: A Parable," written by John Patrick Shanley, which won both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award in 2005.

This performance is a brilliant and powerful drama that tells the story of Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal who takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with a male student.

Shanley not only wrote the play, but he also wrote the screenplay and directed it as a film starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

GCC's talented Forum Players bring this parable to life with four live performances, directed by Maryanne Arena and Jaime Arena, which are intended for mature audiences (age 16 and up). Performances are in the Stuart Steiner Theatre, 1 College Road, Batavia.

  • Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22, both at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m.

The cast includes:

  • Lucine Kauffman, of Elba, as Sister Aloysius
  • Sam Rigerman, of Batavia, as Father Flynn
  • Nevaeh Vindigni-Kretchmer, of Rochester, as Sister James (alternating the role)
  • Alyssa Young, of Holley, as Sister James (alternating the role)
  • Francesca Pieter, of Willemstad, Curacao as Mrs. Muller (alternating the role)
  • Caitlynne Tape, of Syracuse, as Mrs. Muller (alternating the role)

The crew includes:

  • Brodie McPherson, of Rochester, as technical director and production designer
  • Emily Grierson, of Perry, as stage manager
  • Tiago Ortega, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as a backstage assistant
  • Leah Plummer, of Bradford, Pa., as a backstage assistant

Tickets for these shows are available online here. The cost is $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket.

To reserve seats, you may also contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814. 

Photos by Howard Owens.

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February 20, 2020 - 9:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in Pavilion, accidents, news.

A two-vehicle accident with injuries that is blocking traffic is reported in Pavilion at Ellicott Street Road and Telephone Road. Law enforcement is on scene. Pavilion Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

February 20, 2020 - 4:50pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Town of Alabama, notify.

The Alabama Town Board is considering a change in a section of the zoning law that, in effect, would make it more difficult for residents to complain about noise from windmills.

A public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. next Monday (Feb. 24) at the Town Hall on Judge Road to get feedback concerning the adoption of Proposed Local Law 2-2020 Town of Alabama Zoning Law Article IV Section 622, Part C7 Noise, amendment.

“This was actually started as a request from a citizen, who proposed the wording, and it was sent to the (Town) planning board and then back to the Town Board,” said Town Supervisor Rob Crossen, who took office on Jan. 1.

Crossen said he knew of one windmill in the southeast corner of the town that wasn’t functioning properly and emitted a loud noise that bothered several neighbors, but said that it has been repaired “to my knowledge.”

Windmills (not large wind turbines) are in operation at various locations in the Town of Alabama, including some on Macomber and Townline roads and on farms on Ledge Road and Maple Avenue.

Crossen also made it clear that he has no opinion on the matter at this point.

“I want to hear what the public has to say,” he said.

The current noise regulation states the following:

7. Noise. Audible noise due to the operation of any part of a Non-Commercial Wind Energy System shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) for more than 5 minutes out of any one-hour time period, when measured at any neighboring property line not owned by the applicant.

If the amendment is passed, a key revision would require residents filing a “legitimate complaint” to bear the cost of “independent third-party professional sound testing.”

The proposed amended ordinance reads as follows:

7. Noise. Audible noise due to the operation of any part of a Non-Commercial Wind Energy System shall not exceed 50 decibels (dBA) for more than 5 minutes out of any one-hour time period. An exemption shall be made when the National Weather Service issues a high wind advisory or warning.

Any sound testing shall only be done due to a legitimate complaint and shall be conducted in closest neighboring inhabited dwelling. The cost of this independent third-party professional sound testing shall be borne by the complainant. If the testing at complainant’s inhabited dwelling shows sound level exceeding allowable limits, the wind turbine owner must address and remedy the situation in coordination with the Town of Alabama Zoning Enforcement Officer.

-- A wind advisory is issued when the following conditions are expected: sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph for an hour or more; and/or wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph for any duration;
-- A high wind warning is issued when the following conditions are expected: sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more; and/or wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for any duration.

February 20, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Today, President Donald Trump endorsed Chris Jacobs in a tweet. Nate McMurray had this to say in response:

“It’s a good thing the president endorsed Jacobs early, because it took several years for Jacobs to endorse the president or even say his name,” McMurray said. 

“If I was Stefan Mychajliw, Beth Parlato, or Rob Ortt, I’d feel pretty betrayed right now. Jacobs became a Trump supporter overnight to try and win this position. Money talks. I invite President Trump to come to NY-27. I invite him to stand on a stage, look me in the eye and explain to me and the people of NY-27, why he wants to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

"I want to see what he has to say for himself for taking away care from our elderly, our rural hospitals, or all those people who earned the right to those benefits through years of hard work. He needs to explain, because Jacobs sure can’t.”

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