Local Matters

Community Sponsors


May 30, 2020 - 7:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, protest, batavia, Upton Monument, notify, video.
Video Sponsor

A Batavia resident spent most of the afternoon carrying a protest sign in front of the Upton Monument at Ellicott and Main in Batavia that read "George Floyd is Every man!"

George Floyd, 46, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 while a police officer, based on a video made by a teenage witness, kept a knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the road, while Chauvin had his knee on his neck.

During the incident, Floyd told officers multiple times he couldn't breathe. At one point, he cried out, "Mama!" according to news reports. Floyd reportedly said, "My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts," and requested water. The police do not audibly respond to Floyd who begged, "Don't kill me."

The police officer who kept his knee pressed against Floyd's neck is reported to be Derek Chauvin. He has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin along with fellow officers Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired immediately after the incident.

Chauvin reportedly had 19 prior complaints against him for alleged misconduct.

Floyd was originally from Houston, Texas, and had a prior felony arrest but moved to Minnesota to start a new life and had no criminal record in Minnesota. He and Chauvin had worked together as security guards at a nightclub prior to closure of the establishment due to coronavirus.

At the time of the deadly incident, Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

The incident has touched off protests and riots nationwide.


May 30, 2020 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, le roy pd, news.


Le Roy PD released these photos of one of the patrol vehicles involved in Wednesday night's chase of Joshua Blessed, the Virginia truck driver who tried to flee law enforcement following a traffic stop for speeding in the village.

Blessed rammed this patrol vehicle, along with other law enforcement vehicles, and fired several shots both during the pursuit and after coming to a stop near Geneseo. Police officers returned fire and Blessed died as an apparent result of bullet wounds.





May 30, 2020 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have received six more COVID-19 cases. Orleans has four new positive cases (bringing the total to 225) and Genesee has two (bringing the total to 188). 

Contact tracing has been initiated and all who have had direct contact with the individuals will be notified by Health Department staff.  Three of the Orleans County individuals are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and one is a community resident.  The two individuals from Genesee County are both community members.

There is currently no further information to release on ages and locations. Mapping to include the positive cases from the weekend will be updated on Monday afternoon.

Now that we are in Phase 2, we ask residents to continue social distancing, mask wearing, and proper hygiene even in the company of whom we trust the most -- family, friends, and coworkers. We also ask residents to be respectful of the business owners and wear masks while you are in their establishment.

If you are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition, call the business and ask for curbside delivery. We can all show people that we care and respect them by continuing these practices to keep everyone safe.

May 30, 2020 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy.

The home of Joshua Blessed, the truck driver who fled from Le Roy Police on Wednesday and eventually died in a shootout near Geneseo, was raided by the FBI according to a Harrisonburg, Va., TV station news report.

Blessed owned a home in the community of Weyers Cave, near Harrisonburg.

A source with the FBI's field office in Richmond, Va., told WHSV that Blessed was the subject of a joint investigation by the FBI and Virginia State Police following the incident in New York. No information was released about what investigators were looking for in Blessed's home or what may have been found.

Blessed, who claimed to speak directly with God, posted anti-police videos on his YouTube channel and on his website claimed to be called by God to start a second civil war.

The News-Leader, a newspaper in Waynesboro, Va., reports that Blessed was accused in 2015 of assaulting a teen relative. He was convicted of assault. Following an appeal, he was ordered to undergo anger management treatment and perform 100 hours of community service. The case was dismissed in 2018.

He has two adult children. In 2005, he and his family moved from California to Virginia.


May 30, 2020 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, scanner, batavia.

Caller reports small child is riding unrestrained in the bed a dark blue pickup truck, prossibly a Ford, northbound on Summit Street from Main Street in the city. Police are responding.

May 30, 2020 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in Memorial Day, byron, news.

Submitted photo and information from Pat Iamon:

Joe Riggi, aka "Uncle Sam," decided the Town of Byron needed to commemorate Memorial Day despite having their yearly Memorial Day parade and festivities cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So the Air Force veteran and Byron resident donned on his patriotic costume, plastered on white sideburns made of cotton and decorated his "float," which is no match for an overgrown lawn.

He hooked up his wireless speakers and computer and drove around with speakers blaring patriotic songs. His efforts were very much appreciated.

He was met with waves, smiles and many thumbs up!

Riggi is a member of the Byron Volunteer Fire Department, a proud denizen of Byron, and a spirit lifter for sure.

May 30, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in scanner, Le Roy, news, bear sighting.

A bear has been spotted in the area of 7165 W. Main Road in Le Roy. The Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center has received a couple of calls on this and Le Roy police were informed about it.

May 30, 2020 - 2:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, scanner.

Police just received a walk-up complaint in their Main Street headquarters of a female "looking very angry and carrying a large knife" walking westbound on Center Street downtown. Police are responding.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: She is said to be wearing a blue shirt and walking on South Main Street near North Avenue.

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: Police searched the area and were unable to locate the female. They are clear and back in service.

May 30, 2020 - 1:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Heidi M. Connolly, 44, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with seven counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a felony, and one count of third-degree grand larceny, also a felony. Connolly was arrested at about 5 p.m. on May 28, arraigned in Genesee County Court, then released on her own recognizance. It is alleged that between October 2018 and October 2019, Connolly allegedly falsified paperwork at the Genesee County Department of Social Services Building and as a result fraudulently received $3,631 in benefits. She was released on her own recognizance and is due in county court on July 7. The case was investigated by GC DSS Fraud Investigator Robert Riggi and GC Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Lute.

Christopher M. Smith, 26, of Pratt Road, Batavia, and James C. Malone, 23, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana in the second-degree, a violation. They were allegedly found in possession of marijuana after an investigation by a Batavia Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) officer and the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force. The May 28 press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Offices does not say when or where the arrests were made. The defendants were issued appearance tickets and are due in City of Batavia Court on June 23.

May 30, 2020 - 12:01pm

Press release:

On Monday, June 1, there will be a free milk giveaway at Craigs Creamery in Pavilion, located on the border of Genesee and Livingston counties at 1840 Craig Road.

The event is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. and gallons of milk will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until gone.

The distribution in conjunction with Natural Upcycling, Dairy Farmers of America and the Livingston County Farm Bureau, is in honor of World Milk Day.

Up to 2,000 gallons of Craigs Creamery milk is expected to be given away.

This effort was made possible through the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund, a grant designed to reduce food waste across the United States.

May 30, 2020 - 11:41am

From Millie Tomidy-Pepper, executive director, YWCA of Genesee County:

We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, and to the larger Minneapolis and St. Paul community. YWCA continues to be outraged by the violence and deaths of people of color in America due to police brutality.

We at YWCA of Genesee County felt outrage following the death of George Floyd, a black man suffocated by a white police officer earlier this week. We send our condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd and also to the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and to all communities of color.

We are also thinking of our sisters and brothers at YWCA Minneapolis and the whole Minneapolis-St. Paul community through this difficult and frightening time.

YWCA Minneapolis’ Midtown location, located in the heart of the area where George Floyd was murdered and the scene of current protests, alongside YWCA St. Paul have served the Twin Cities community for over 100 years. We stand together with the people that we serve and our community stakeholders to eliminate racism and empower women.

This work and our mission are at the core of what we do, and today we lift our collective voices to demand justice.

“George Floyd was one of ours," said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul. "He took advantage of a training program offered by YWCA St. Paul and, like many of those we partner with, he was taking steps to build a brighter future.

"The anger, anguish, and grief we are feeling in this community are real. And yet, we must channel those emotions into positive action that demands justice, drives change, and most importantly honors his memory."

“We condemn the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department officers," said Michelle Basham, MPA/ESQ, CEO/president, YWCA Minneapolis. "We have seen this tragedy before.

"Unfortunately, George Floyd is just one of countless other black lives lost to police violence, including that of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile. We must work toward racial justice. And we must work in partnership with others to hold our elected officials and law enforcement accountable.”

Together with YWCA Minneapolis and YWCA St. Paul, over 200 YWCAs across the country unite to answer the cry for justice, peace, and dignity for all. YWCA continues to call for dismantling systemic racism and equal protection and opportunity under the law through its public policy and advocacy work.

At YWCA, we demand a world of equity and human decency. We envision a world of opportunity. We commit ourselves to the work of racial justice.

We will get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.

May 29, 2020 - 7:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, corfu, scanner, animal abuse, animal cruelty, pet abandonment.

A caller to the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center, who is roadside in a black Buick sedan, reports someone abandoned a pregnant dog in the area of 7921 Hopkins Road, Corfu.

The caller is near the Akron Road intersection, waiting for law enforcement to respond, and they have been dispatched.

May 29, 2020 - 6:08pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley voted "yes" on an amendment, introduced by the Minority Conference that would have taken large steps to ensure that the governor’s executive powers wouldn’t continue.

Since the start of the statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Cuomo has issued 36 executive orders that impose a range of rules and regulations, from business closings to election process overhauls.

Hawley believes steps to curb that power will return the state to the more familiar democratic republic that New Yorkers expect.

However, despite the clear need for curtailing of executive privilege and overreaching of authority, the Downstate politicians voted down this amendment, keeping the governor’s power absolute. Despite this setback, Hawley is just as determined to fight and hold the Majority and the governor accountable.

“In the early stages of a pandemic, getting all of your ducks in a row is incredibly important, and the use of executive privilege in handling a crisis early on was important,” Hawley said. “However, with the decline in positive cases and the return of the legislature, it’s high time that clearer boundaries be made for what is and is not acceptable for the governor to do.

"This amendment would have restored the checks and balances system that is so crucial to our democracy. It’s a shame that my colleagues in the majority couldn’t recognize this, because it leaves the door open for power abuse and manipulation in the future. That’s no future I want to see in this state, so I will be fighting diligently to return the checks and balances.”

Specific provisions of the proposed legislation included:

  • County-by-County Declaration – All state of emergency declarations would be done on a county-by-county basis rather than statewide, with a detailed explanation for each county based on the specific facts and circumstances of such county justifying the emergency declaration.
  • Limited Duration – All emergency declarations would automatically end within 30 days, and could be extended by the governor for an additional 15 days. No other extension could occur without being authorized by the state Legislature.
  • Local Authority – The county executive, chairperson of a county legislature would be able to request that the governor terminate any state of emergency that applies to their respective county. If the governor does not grant the request, he must provide the specific reasons why the request was denied.
  • Due Process – Any Executive Order that impairs freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, the equal protection of the law, the loss of liberty or property, or other fundamental constitutional rights would be subject to due process review, in a manner specified in the Executive Order and subject to independent judicial review.
May 29, 2020 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • Announces additional industries following strict safety and social distancing guidelines can reopen in Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier as part of Phase 2 today.
  • Implements new early warning system dashboard to aggregate and organize New York State's COVID-19 data in partnership with county, regional, state and global experts. 
  • Confirms 1,551 additional coronavirus dases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 368,284; new cases in 48 counties.

Governor Cuomo: "Phase one should bring about 400,000 employees back to work in New York City. Remember that reopening does not mean we're going back to the way things were. Life is not about going back. Nobody goes back. We go forward. It's going to be different. It is reopening to a new normal, it's a safer normal. People will be wearing masks, people will be socially distanced. It doesn't mean they don't like you, it's not a personal reflection, it's just a new way of interacting which is what we have to do." 

Cuomo: "Wear a mask, get tested, and socially distance. It is that simple, but that hard. It is that simple, but that hard. Those simple devices - wearing a mask, hand sanitizer -- they make all the difference. You talk to all the experts -- what advice, what should we do? Wear a mask. How can it be that simple? Because sometimes it's that simple." 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York City will enter Phase 1 of reopening on June 8 and that five other regions—Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier — can enter Phase 2 of reopening today. Phase 2 allows office-based workers, real estate services, in-store retail shopping and some barbershop services to resume.

Each industry is subject to specific state guidelines to maximize safety and social distancing. Business guidance for phase two of the state's reopening plan is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced the implementation of a new early warning dashboard that aggregates the state's expansive data collection efforts for New Yorkers, government officials and experts to monitor and review how the virus is being contained on an ongoing basis.

It tracks new infections and their severity, hospital capacity by region, and other metrics. The early warning system dashboard was developed in consultation with internationally known experts who have been advising New York State. The early warning dashboard can be found here.

May 29, 2020 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, Darien.


Three train cars of garbage caught on fire in Darien this afternoon and to enable volunteer firefighters to fight the blaze, the train was moved further up the track into Erie County.

Darien Chief Jeff Luker said given how tightly compacted the trash was in the cars, it was a hard fire to fight but the rain was expected to help.

Darien Fire Department along with Pembroke, Corfu, Indian Falls, and Alabama responded to the fire.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.




May 29, 2020 - 4:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

Public Health COVID-19 briefing for May 29, 2020.

Press release:

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received one new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 186 positive cases.
      • The positive case resides in Batavia.
      • The positive individual is in their 20s.
      • The positive case was on mandatory quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.
      • Two of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received 10 new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 221 positive cases.
      • One of the new positive individuals resides in Albion, three of the new positives live in Ridgeway, one of the new positive lives at The Villages of Orleans Health & Rehabilitation Center and five of the new positive individuals live at Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
      • Of the new positive case one of the individuals is under 20, one of the individual is in their 20s, two individuals are in their 50s, two individuals are in their 60s, three individuals are in their 70s and one of the individuals is in their 90s.
      • Two of the new positive cases were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
      • One of the previous positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Nineteen 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.
      • We are sorry to report that we have lost two more county residents due to COVID-19. The individuals resided at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of these individuals during this very sad time.



Click here to view the Genesee and Orleans County online map of confirmed cases.

May 29, 2020 - 1:37pm

Press release:

The Salvation Army of Batavia is excited to announce a new food distribution program. Through a partnership with Foodlink we have secured a new national source for food banks.

Beginning on Wednesday, June 3rd, The Salvation Army in partnership with Northgate Free Methodist Church will host an all new Mobile Pantry program. It runs from 9 a.m. until the food is gone.

It will take place at the church's North Campus, 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia.

As a part of this program each household will receive three boxes. One dairy, one meat and one produce. Each box will contain up to 25 pounds of food. That is a total of nearly 75 pounds.

Because of the quantity of food being given out, pick up will be strictly limited to one allotment per vehicle. Unfortunately picking up for others will no longer be possible.

You are also reminded that there should only be one person per vehicle.

Please be sure to clear out your trunk/hatch prior to arrival. Volunteers are not permitted to touch your belongings.

This program is scheduled to continue every other week through the end of August if needed.

If there are questions feel free to contact The Salvation Army at (585) 343-6284. Leave a message and someone will call you back.

You can also check their Facebook page.

May 29, 2020 - 1:04pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley voted "yes" on a bill that proposes residential healthcare facilities be more proactive and responsible when dealing with pandemics moving forward.

The regulations will be reviewed and enforced by the state Department of Health. Hawley’s "yes" vote was made the night of May 27, with the bill being passed by the Assembly that same night.

“This pandemic has taught us much; one of the unfortunate lessons we have learned is that the health and well-being of our senior citizens is sometimes squandered by unprofessional and irresponsible senior living facilities,” Hawley said.

“With this bill being passed, it looks likely that the sins of yesterday committed by both the managers of these facilities and the state government through their inaction will begin to be redeemed, one step at a time.”

Assembly Bill A10394, introduced on May 27, was drafted and developed in response to the staggering loss of life throughout senior care communities across all New York State. It determines what bodies of government can be authorized to intervene in cases where quality of life standards are not stringent enough.

The bill requires the following:

  • Residential health care facilities must submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the commissioner of health;
  • Requires such plan to include a communication plan with families, and plans to protect staff, residents and families against infection;
  • And plans to preserve a resident's place at the facility if he or she is hospitalized.
May 29, 2020 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in public health column, news, arthritis awareness month.

Public Health Column: May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis is one of the most widespread health conditions in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in every four adults live with the pain of arthritis (1.*)

To recognize this toll on Americans’ health, the CDC and the Arthritis Foundation observe Arthritis Awareness Month every May. Paul Pettit, Public Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, proclaims the importance of the month.

“It is imperative to recognize arthritis awareness month as many of our local community members are faced with this debilitating health condition," Pettit said. "Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many effective treatments available and lifestyle changes that can benefit the quality of life for people suffering with this disease. We want our community to know that help and specialists are available so that no one has to suffer.”

Arthritis is the name of a disease that covers a wide variety of conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion.

Symptoms may come and go and can range from mild to severe. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray.

Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.

The arthritis rate in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties in 2016 (crude rate, percentage of people with this health condition per reported region/county), and in New York State are (2.**):

  • Genesee: 32.80 percent
  • Orleans: 31.10 percent
  • Wyoming: 32.70 percent
  • New York State: 22.90 percent

“During the coronavirus pandemic, we understand that older ndividuals and people with autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, may be more likely to get seriously sick if they do become infected with the virus, so it is important to take appropriate precautions,” Pettit said.

“It is important that healthy individuals continue taking their medications as prescribed by their physician and to practice social distancing,wearing a face mask or cloth face shield, and to wash hands frequently for 20 seconds.”

  1. *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- Arthritis Awareness Month. Reviewed May 2017. Accessed May 27, 2020.

  2. **New York State Department of Health. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Health Indicators by County. Accessed May 27, 2020.

Engaging in physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage arthritis symptoms.

Physical activity can reduce arthritis pain, improve function and mood, and delay the onset of disability. All adults should get two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, per week and do muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.

You can achieve these goals by taking brisk walks for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can also break it up into 10 minute sessions and spread it out during the day — walk the dog 10 minutes in the morning, take a 10-minute walk to the post office, coffee shop, or grocery store in the afternoon, and then take a 10-minute walk after dinner.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about new or worsening arthritis symptoms. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in arthritis and related conditions such as a rheumatologist or orthopedist. For more information on arthritis, click here.

For information about Health Department services contact the Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website.

May 29, 2020 - 12:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, fire, news.

A train reportedly has six of its railroad cars on fire, with flames showing, on the tracks near Genesee Street and County Line Road. Darien fire and EMS are responding.

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: Law enforcement is on scene. Pembroke's tanker is called to provide mutual aid.

UPDATE 12:12 p.m.: Corfu is also called to provide mutal aid to fight the fire.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: Erie County asks that Crittenden Road be shut down and law enforcement is responding to do that. Erie County fire police are also responding.

UPDATE 12:59 p.m.: Indian Falls and Alabama fire departments are called to the scene.

UPDATE 1:26 p.m.: The train was pulled into Erie County to provide firefighters with better access to entinguish the blaze. East Pembroke is called to their hall to stand by for all West Battalion calls.

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button