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January 27, 2021 - 6:55pm

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said he finds some good and some bad with the proposed New York State fiscal year 2022 budget with the “good” connected to a suggestion made by Genesee County officials to loosen the restrictions on municipal investments.

“A suggestion that actually came from Genesee County was the ability to invest our money a little more, I don’t want to say aggressively, (but) the restrictions that governments – counties and municipalities – in New York State had was one of the most restrictive in the nation,” said Landers, reporting to the Genesee County Legislature this afternoon during its meeting via Zoom videoconferencing.

Landers said if Gov. Andrew Cuomo ultimately accepts the suggestion to give local governments more flexibility in their investments, it could lead to a six-figure increase on Genesee County’s bottom line.

“I don’t have an exact figure, you’d have to talk to Treasurer Scott German about that, but I do know that we budgeted $150,000 in 2021 and that was just in the general fund,” Landers said, noting that investments are volatile depending upon interest rates.

Last summer, Landers and German looked into the county’s investment strategies – it has a contract with the three+one firm out of Pittsford – and found out that New York’s investment regulations were the most restrictive in the nation.

“I passed that along to NYSAC (New York State Association of Counties) and they passed it along to the (NYS) Division of Budget, and lo and behold, it came out as one of the governor’s suggestions in his budget to loosen up the restrictions,” Landers said. “So, there’s evidence that ideas coming out of Genesee County can actually have an impact on the state.”

Landers said news of the governor’s support in the investment arena puts the county in prime position to generate additional revenues.

“I’m sure Scott will be pleased to put three+one to work if we get this additional relief in how we can do investments,” he said.

Sticking with the “good” part of the state budget, Landers said the county now is projecting a 5 percent reduction in state aid – down from the 20 percent it put in its 2021 budget.

“This is assuming that the state gets $6 billion in stimulus money from the federal government,” he said. “If the state gets nothing, then we would be looking at the 20 percent (decrease).”

Landers also mentioned the state’s reconfiguration of its Aid and Incentives for Municipalities program – action that will affect counties that have towns and villages receiving AIM funds.

“We’re still trying to figure out how the AIM impact will be – the state is shifting – taking some of the sales tax proceeds from counties and making towns and villages whole through AIM,” he said. “More than half the counties are going to benefit from this shift but some counties are going to be hurt depending on the makeup within their county of municipalities that are receiving AIM.”

The county manager also reported that the allocation of the county’s extra 1 percent in sales tax no longer will need state approval, but on the “bad” side, said the county is looking at the possibility of losing $160,000 in Video Lottery Terminal revenue generated by patrons at Batavia Downs Gaming.

In legislative action, the board implemented a Rule 19 resolution to ratify prior measures that grant Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein emergency powers as they pertain to financially protecting non-county workers – both volunteer and professional -- at COVID-19 testing clinics.

The resolution gives Stein authority in two circumstances beyond a Jan. 14 resolution that granted emergency powers for the chair to execute necessary COVID-19 documents – an agreement for services for COVID-19 volunteers and an agreement for paid services for COVID-19.

On another front, the legislature set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. on April 28 at the Genesee County Old Courthouse as part of the mandated eight-year review of Agricultural District No. 4.

The district was created in December 1980 and, under Article 25AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, Section 303-a, it must be reviewed eight years after the date of creation and every eight years thereafter.

In other action, the legislature passed the following resolutions:

  • A construction contract with Union Concrete and Construction Corp, West Seneca, in the amount of $1,767,387 to replace bridges on Meadville Road over Canal Feeder in the Town of Alabama, Sharrick Road over Murder Creek in the Town of Darien and Tower Hill Road over Spring Creek in the Town of Byron.

The resolution also called for a consultant agreement with CHA Consulting, Inc., of Buffalo, for the three projects for an amount not to exceed $340,000.

Union Concrete and Construction Corp. submitted a bid that was around $400,000 less than the engineer’s estimate of construction costs. Ninety-five percent of the capital project will be paid by federal aid, with a 5 percent local match taken from the 1 percent sales tax fund.

  • A consultant agreement with C&S Companies, Rochester, for an amount not to exceed $109,000 in connection with the replacement of the Upton Road over Bowen Creek bridge in the Town of Batavia.

Work, which will be covered by federal aid at the 95 percent level, is expected to start immediately.

  • Payment of $4,535 in costs related to dental surgery for K9 Rayzor, with fund coming from the K-9 Donations Reserve Account (gifts and donations that were made to the K-9 program).

Expenses consisted of $2,317 for the surgery plus costs for his handler’s lodging, vehicle fuel and food to transport Rayzor to the hospital where the surgery was performed, as well as a recovery bed for the dog.

  • A contract extension through Dec. 31, 2021, with the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services, Albany, in the amount of $170,672.

This money funds the county’s full-time assistant public defender, part-time assistant public defender, investigator and paralegal’s salary and fringe benefits as well as a parity stipend for an assistant public defender, cell phone service for one, landline telephone service for two, the investigator’s mileage and investigation online service software.

  • Contracts with SkyMark Refuelers LLC, Kansas City, Ks., in the amount of $324,590 for ground service equipment, broken down as follows: $189,600 for a Jet-A refueler (diesel option) and $134,990 for an AvGas refueler (Diesel Option).

The cost for these contracts is partially covered by a state grant.

  • A change order to a contract with Suburban Electric, Albion, in the amount of $65,302 in connection with work being done at pump stations in Churchville and Mumford to expand water supply capacity under Phase 2 of the Countywide Water Supply Program.

The change order calls for the installation of a different Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) within the Motor Control Center (MCC); eliminating the power management system; modifying the MCC; increasing the height of the telemetry tower from 50 feet to 70 feet, adding an additional telemetry tower at the Riga Pump Station and adding a backup power system for the MCC.      

This is the second change order on this contract and brings the total contract cost to $832,984.50. The original award of the contract was for $759,000.

  • Allocation of up to $300,000 to support the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce for publicity and tourism services connected to the “I Love New York” program through Dec. 31, 2021.

Funds from the county’s 2021 hotel and motel tax receipts (bed tax) will be used, with the stipulation that the county will only fund tourism activity to the extent actual revenues from bed tax are realized, not to exceed the fiscal year appropriation of $300,000.

  • The creation of two temporary full-time clerk typist positions, effective from Jan. 25 until July 23. The clerk typist salary and fringe ($38,707) are allocated in the 2021 Health Department budget.

The position’s salary is partially funded by state aid/performance funds. The cost to the county will be approximately $22,158.

January 27, 2021 - 6:16pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Data Update –

Genesee County received 28 new positive cases of COVID-19.

  • The new positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
    • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) 
    • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  
  • Twenty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Twenty-three of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Two of the new positive cases are residents of the Batavia VA Medical Center. 
  • Two of the new positive cases are residents of the Leroy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. 
  • We are saddened to report the loss of a community member who was over the age of 65. We do not provide any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends during this very difficult time.


Orleans County received 28 new positive cases of COVID-19.  

  • The positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • Correction: The following cases were determined not to be Orleans Residents and have been retracted from today’s data; Case in his/her 50’s from the West Region and 0-19 from the East Region. 
  • Eight of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Fifteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Eleven of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Three of the new positive individuals are residents at the Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
  • One of the new positive individuals is an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility.
January 27, 2021 - 5:33pm
posted by Press Release in news, genesee county legislature.

Press release:

The Genesee County Legislature will begin a phased-in process of resuming in-person meetings beginning Monday, Feb. 1. Legislators and administration will meet in-person with all others participating via Zoom videoconference.

Starting March 1st, department heads and persons scheduled to present to a standing committee or the full legislature will meet in-person along with legislators and administration.

In April, the public may be added to in-person meetings which will be held in the third floor Legislative Chambers at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia. A face mask covering the nose and mouth is required and everyone entering the building will sign in and out.

"The Genesee County Legislature is taking steps forward in a cautious and calculated manner while closely monitoring every health metric," said Legislature Chairperson Rochelle Stein. “We will proceed by following Public Health advice on a prudent reopening plan and will continue to monitor outcomes and be prepared to pivot back to remote meetings if required."

January 27, 2021 - 2:10pm

Press release:

Following U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s call last week with Jeffrey Zients, President Biden’s pick to be the White House coronavirus coordinator, Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today (Jan. 27) announced $466,800,000 in federal funding for New York’s vaccine distribution and administration.

These federal funds are critical to the safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and were allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Specifically, this funding covers the costs of supplies required for storing, handling, distributing, transporting, and administering COVID-19 vaccines.

This includes emergency medical care, containers for medical waste, and supplies necessary for proper storage of the vaccines including liquid nitrogen, dry ice and portable storage units. Additionally, the funding supports vaccine transportation such as refrigerated trucks and transport security, medical and support staff, onsite infection control measures, PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff and face masks for patients, temperature scanners, physical barriers and disinfection services for vaccine distribution facilities. Finally, the funding will be used for facility costs, including leasing space for storage and administration of vaccines.

“In order to get these wonderful vaccines injected into the arms of millions of New Yorkers, we must also inject hundreds of millions of dollars into New York State and New York City’s budgets – so they can get this job done ASAP to keep people safe and to reenergize our economy,” Senator Schumer said. “New York continues to face unprecedented health and economic crises and is working to combat the virus with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

"Federal support of the state’s vaccine distribution system is critical to delivering vaccines to New Yorkers as quickly and safely as possible. This infusion of almost half-a-billion in federal funds supports the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines to distribution sites across the state and will ensure that distribution sites are safe and equipped with the proper medical supplies, medical staff, cleaning services, and more. I will continue to fight for federal funds like these so we can effectively beat back the virus with the safe and equitable distribution of vaccines.”

“While we celebrate the authorization of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines that put us one step closer to eradicating the virus, we have to face reality – federal aid is critical to helping New York State ensure vaccinations are distributed efficiently and equitably to those who need it the most,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“I am proud to deliver nearly half-a-billion dollars in federal funding to do exactly that – get vaccines in the arms of New Yorkers. These federal dollars will help New York guard against our nation’s lagging vaccine distribution by providing resources for staff, supplies, PPE, and distribution centers. Only then can we move forward and begin to recover from the current health and economic crisis.”

Schumer and Gillibrand have been instrumental in securing federal funds for New York to fight the coronavirus and support its vaccine distribution efforts. In December, the senators delivered $1.3 billion through the COVID relief deal for vaccine distribution, testing, tracing and more. The senators previously announced $14 million in federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness and response to help New York’s public health agencies and nonprofits implement vaccine programs.

And most recently, Schumer and Gillibrand penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the department’s failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan under the former administration. Senator Schumer has also spoken with and communicated that New York needs three things: predictability, communication, and vaccines, in order to have an effective and efficient vaccine distribution system.

January 27, 2021 - 2:03pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, sports.

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are providing the following information for schools, businesses, coaching staff, athletes, parents of student-athletes, and youth and adult amateur sports leagues in both counties. 

“After extended internal consultation and discussion among Finger Lakes and Western Region County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed in Genesee and Orleans counties in accordance with New York State guidelines,” said Paul Pettit, director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

New York State Interim Guidelines for Sports and Recreation were announced by Governor Cuomo late Friday, Jan. 22.

These revisions allow local health departments to authorize nonprofessional and noncollegiate sports, such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, and volleyball, to proceed with individual and group training, competitions, and tournaments, effective Feb. 1. Updates were also made to low- and moderate-risk sports and recreation activities.

All responsible parties (schools, businesses, leagues, organizations) must follow the New York State Department of Health's INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR SPORTS AND RECREATION DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY and applicable Executive Orders for the conduct of their sports and recreation activities.

Per current State guidance, indoor facilities must limit their capacity to no more than 50 percent occupancy and a maximum of two spectators per player. In addition, protocols to ensure social distancing, use of face coverings, and enhanced disinfection protocols must be implemented.

For moderate and higher risk sports, if an athlete, coach or referee receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, all in-person team or group activities for that sport (e.g. practices, scrimmages, games, meetings) may result in a 10 day suspension to lessen the spread of infection and allow for

the case investigation and contact tracing to occur. Situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Participating in higher-risk sports presents significant risks. The level of risk presented by a return to sports is driven by the sport and setting, local disease activity, and individual circumstances including underlying health conditions that may place the athlete or household contacts at increased risk of severe disease should they contract COVID-19.

Individual schools and businesses, student and adult athletes, and parents/guardians must carefully consider a variety of factors before making an individual decision to participate. 

To allow the continuation of higher risk sport and recreational activities, local health authorities will continue to consider many factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Whether there is a more transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area;
  • Local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity; and
  • Local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

Contact sports bring people close together and increase the risk of transmission. If persons choose to return to high-risk sports, they must follow guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Athletes should be mindful of their activity outside of sports to minimize risk and reduce community spread.

We must work together during these stressful times to ensure that our youth and adults have the opportunity to participate in athletics safely.

The New York State summary guidelines are posted on the NYForward website. All responsible parties (schools, businesses, leagues, organizations) must read and affirm the State’s detailed guidelines and develop a safety plan. 




Stop the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask; maintain a social distance of 6 feet; wash your hands often.

January 27, 2021 - 1:08pm

From Jim Carrabba, Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing [Cooperstown, NY]:

When someone becomes helplessly engulfed in grain, rural firefighters are often the first and only line of defense. Unfortunately, many fire departments lack the specialized rescue techniques and equipment necessary for a successful grain bin rescue.

In conjunction with Grain Bin Safety Week (Feb. 21-27), Nationwide Insurance is teaming up with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), KC Supply and others to award emergency first responders with grain rescue tubes and hands-on rescue training to help save lives.

Winning entries will be awarded:

  • One (1) grain rescue tube, valued between $3,000 to $5,000;
  • One (1) six-hour grain entrapment rescue training session, at winner’s location, valued at up to $5,000. Training includes proper rescue procedures and use of the grain rescue tube, rescue auger, body harness/lifelines, lockout/tagout.

Since 2014, the contest has received more 3,000 nominations and has awarded grain rescue tubes and hands-on rescue training to over 110 fire departments in over 25 states.

Four of the rescue tubes have been used to save the lives of four farmers. Dan Neenan, director of NECAS, travels with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator to deliver the rescue tube and training to the winning fire departments.

In 2020, there were 41 rescue tubes awarded to fire departments around the country.

Entries to the contest must be submitted no later than April 30.

To enter, describe how your local fire department or emergency rescue team and community would benefit from grain entrapment training and a rescue tube and, also, how the rescue tube and training could be shared with nearby departments.

Please include:

  • Your name
  • Occupation
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Name, address and phone number of the fire department or rescue team being nominated

Nominations may be submitted by the general public or by firefighters who wish to nominate their own department. Employees and agents of Nationwide Insurance are not eligible to submit nominations for the contest.

For more information visit this website.

Nominations can be submitted in one of three ways: 

  1. Online
  2. Via email: [email protected]
  3. Mail to: NECAS, Grain Bin Safety Week Contest, 8342 NICC Drive, Peosta, IA 52068

Limit one entry per person, per email address, and per household or department.

For more information on this topic, e-mail [email protected] or call (800) 343-7527, ext. 2216.

The mission of the Northeast Center is to enhance the health of ag, forestry and fishing workers by identifying priority health and safety issues and working with those workers and stakeholders to develop prevention solutions.

Photo: Firefighters practice using a grain rescue tube using the NECAS Grain Bin Rescue simulator.

January 27, 2021 - 12:41pm

Press release:

The Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club is announcing their Annual Scholarship and Community Service Awards and calling for applications.

Scholarships are open to all graduating seniors (male or female) in Genesee County high schools and the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP). The students need to have maintained an 85 percent average and must complete the application process available through the Batavia Business and Professional Women’s website or via Facebook.

Deadline: April 9.

All schools in Genesee County and GVEP have been emailed information on this program, which includes eligibility requirements, guidelines, and the scholarship application.

Parents and students are advised to seek out their school’s guidance counselor / department to receive the needed information.

The Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club has provided scholarships since 1961. The number and dollar amount of scholarships awarded are dependent on the club’s annual fundraisers. Local community support is greatly appreciated; watch for upcoming event announcements.

The Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club will also offer monetary awards for service groups in June 2021. Any service group in Genesee County may apply for this by sending a letter of request on your organization’s letterhead.

Deadline for both the Scholarship Applications and the Community Service Awards letters are to be postmarked by Friday, April 9.

Mail to:

Batavia Business and Professional Women's’Club

P.O. Box 1778

Batavia, NY 14021

January 27, 2021 - 12:31pm

From the Vounteers For Animals at the Genesee County Animal Shelter:

We are in need of a quiet foster home for an injured dog.

The dog is a neutered male hound mix, weighs about 40 pounds, and has been around other dogs. We do not know how he is with cats.

VFA will provide all food and any other supplies.

If you can give this guy a nice home to heal, please email us at [email protected]

January 27, 2021 - 11:13am

City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said he is encouraged by the results of a survey designed to gauge the community’s perception of his department and is looking forward to expanding the work of the Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group.

Speaking at Monday night’s City Council meeting, Heubusch shared highlights of the draft report generated as a result of seven meetings of the advisory group, which was formed last summer in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203 on community policing reform.

The draft of the plan, which ultimately will be submitted to the New York State Office of Management and Budget, will be available for public viewing and input on the City of Batavia’s website for about 30 days. Council is expected to consider the plan, including any updates, at its March 8 Business meeting.

Heubusch said he felt “very proud” about the response to the survey question, “When I seen an officer how do I feel?,” as the overwhelming majority indicated that seeing an officer made them feel safer and that they would be treated fairly.

He said the 14-question survey drew 828 responses, with 77 percent of the respondents stating that they lived in Batavia and 87 percent indicating that they were white. Fifty-eight percent were over the age of 45 and 56 percent were female.

The chief also said it was “very reassuring” that 81 percent of the respondents said that their opinion of the Batavia PD has not changed because of national events.

“Remember, when we started this it was right after all of the tumultuous activity that took place across the country,” Heubusch said.

He also pointed out that 80 percent said officers acted professionally/very professionally during an interaction, with 7 percent offering no opinion and 3 percent stating officers were unprofessional/very unprofessional.

“Eight respondents said their last interaction was due to an arrest and five of those respondents indicated the department was professional or very professional,” he added.

Concerning recommendations going forward, Heubusch said the top two answers to the question, “What should the Batavia PD do?” were to provide more training and resources for the officers on bias based policing and do more to address vehicle and pedestrian safety.

“Number two was to assign more resources to assist those with substance abuse issues, number three was to assign more resources to assist youth and number four was to engage more with the community,” he reported.

Heubusch said he is especially pleased with the fact that a focus group of minority residents has been established and will continue to meet on a regular basis.

“We had one meeting and it was extremely productive, and we are committed to continuing (open dialogue), he said, noting that several members of the minority community were part of the 28-member advisory group.

He said the committee learned about policies, procedures and training, including use of force, bias based policing, basic course for police, Article 35, body worn cameras and de-escalation training.

“With Article 35, once we placed someone under arrest, they can’t resist,” Heubusch said. “It was actually kind of an eye-opening moment for us. Several people in the group didn’t realize that when a police officer says you’re under arrest, that was it.”

Heubusch outlined other areas that the agency plans to begin or re-emphasize:

  • Trainings such as implicit bias and de-escalation, as well as mental health and crisis intervention.

“We plan to collaborate more with Genesee County Mental Health and there also is a larger discussion with other law enforcement agencies for some type of response service,” he said.

  • Community Engagement/Community Policing, including more foot and bicycle patrols, and establishing a community liaison service.
  • Transparency/data sharing, specifically posting Department of Criminal Justice reports on the city’s website and starting a Crime Watch program on social media to “get information out in a much smoother fashion than our current website.”
  • Accreditation, with the hope of initial accreditation later this year and then reaccreditation every three to five years.
  • Civil Service reform, with the goal of revamping a system that Heubusch said is antiquated.

“It doesn’t allow you to hire the best candidate at times, unfortunately,” he said, adding that there is a discussion across the state to reform the Civil Service hiring process. He added that the department is committed to hiring local candidates.

  • Special programs: specifically contracting with the Batavia City School District for a school resource officer; having a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer in schools; starting a citizens’ police academy and an officer wellness program.

Heubusch said it is a priority to continue to participate in National Night Out and as many other city and private outreach events as possible.

January 26, 2021 - 4:28pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Data Update –

  • Genesee County received 26 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in the:
      • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
      • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) 
      • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. 
  • Thirty-two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  
  • Twenty-one of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • One of the new positive cases is a resident of the Batavia VA Medical Center. 

We are saddened to report the loss of two individuals who are both over the age of 65. One individual resided at Genesee Senior Living and one individual resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center. We do not provide any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends during this very difficult time.


Orleans County received 23 new positive cases of COVID-19.  

  • The positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • Correction: The following case was determined not to be an Orleans Resident and has been retracted from today’s data; Case in his/her 30s from the West Region. 
  • Three of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Twenty-eight of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Ten of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Two of the new positive individuals are residents at the Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
January 26, 2021 - 4:21pm

If you’re looking to see the value in the Batavia Development Corporation, look no further than what was accomplished through the Eli Fish Brewing Company and Newberry Lofts project that rejuvenated the former JJ Newberry building at 109-111 Main St.

That’s was the centerpiece of a PowerPoint presentation by Andrew Maguire, director of economic development for the city-supported agency, during Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting.

Maguire said his mission was to highlight the BDC’s “history of success through various programs and the economic impact they carry, current projects the BDC is working on in the city and future goals and continued economic development.”

Regarding the Eli Fish venture, Maguire called it a “transformative” project and outlined the ways the BDC played a part in its success:

  • Built in 1881, it was the original home of JJ Newberry’s store for more than 60 years. Its assessed value in 2015 was $250,000;
  • Vacant for several years, it needed substantial rehabilitation;
  • It was purchased in 2015 with the goal to rehabilitate the building and create a brewery, restaurant and seven market-rate residential apartments on the upper floors;
  • The BDC secured a $500,000 NY Main Street Anchor Grant for the proposed project and sought other funding sources, including a $100,000 National Grid grant and then secured a $67,835 USDA Rural Business Development Grant for a project inside of this project.

“It was a first of its kind in our area – two restaurant incubators inside of brewery, coined FreshLabs, which offered cooking competition to entrepreneurs and the two winners receiving a grant, loan and incubator space inside the Eli Fish brewery to help them start their business,” Maguire said.

He reported that the project – which turned out costing more than $2 million – began in 2016 after all of the funding was secured, and that the BDC played a “critical role in project setup, capital stack (funding), and project and grant administration to see the project through to completion.”

As a result, the project was completed in 2018 and features a brewery, three restaurants and four market-rate apartments created in the vacant, historic building.

Maguire said the proof of the project’s worth is in the increase of the assessed value to $987,000, while sales tax has increased, tourism has been generated and more than 30 jobs have been created.

The Eli Fish project is one of several being facilitated by the BDC through the NY Main Street Grant, Downtown Revitalization Initiative Building Improvement Fund and Downtown Revitalization Grant, Maguire said.

He revealed a chart showing 28 projects received $11.3 million in grants but generated $54.4 million in private investment. Included are 103 residential units and 96 commercial units.

Maguire said the BDC continues to pursue other grants, such as the revolving loan fund grant, National Grid grants and USDA Rural Development Block grants, and also have attracted NYS Empire State Development Restore New York and Brownfield Opportunity Area Study grants.

These projects have increased the assessed value of the parcels by $5.79 million, Maguire reported, and noted that the Main Street Theater 56 project will generate more than $44,000 of annual rent revenue after moving into underutilized vacant parcels from the City of Batavia.

“These projects and programs create a vibrant city people want to work in, live in and play in,” he said. “… The results we have obtained and the future goals we shall obtain will carry a positive impact on our city’s quality of life for generations to come. It is critical that we do not lose sight of this and we continue to have boots on the ground to help these projects from the starting line to the finish line and continue this process for years to come.”

Afterward, Council Member Rose Mary Christian asked Maguire about the status of the Ellicott Station DRI project on the former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy’s Tire Sales property on Ellicott Street.

He said the developer, Savarino Companies, is “poised to close by the end of this quarter (March) … and plan on construction starting in early spring 2021.”

Christian praised V.J. Gautieri Constructors for their work on renovating the Save-A-Lot building across the street, but called the condition of Ellicott Station “deplorable.”

January 26, 2021 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is announcing that he is returning to the House Committee on Agriculture for the 117th Congress.

“Western New York’s economy and communities are directly supported by our agriculture industry,” Jacobs said. “Our farms, processing facilities, and agribusinesses provide thousands of good-paying jobs and present major opportunities to set our region up for future prosperity. It has been my mission to support our farmers in Congress – I made it a priority to be seated on the Agriculture Committee in July when I was first elected and look forward to carrying my work there into the 117th Congress.”

Announced earlier this year, Rep. David Scott (D-GA) will serve as Chairman, and Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) will serve as Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture for the 117th Congress. The Committee is charged with reviewing, developing, and advancing policies and proposals to support, improve, and further the needs of American farmers, agricultural businesses, and rural communities.

As of 2017, Western New York had more than 4,400 farms producing over $1.1 billion in products, representing 22 percent of all NYS agriculture sales.

“Serving on the Agriculture Committee puts me in the best possible position to advocate for our farmers and their needs,” Jacobs said. “These past few months alone, I was able to work with my colleagues to ensure the Commodity Credit Corporation was allocated necessary funding, increase investments for the USDA ReConnect Broadband Program, and pass COVID-19 relief legislation with direct support programs for farmers like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).”

“This term, there are major priorities that must be addressed. Our region needs improved broadband infrastructure, the agriculture sector needs new and younger farmers to ensure the longevity of such a critical industry, and we need to protect and support our farmers from unfair trade practices so they can access expanded markets and grow their businesses,” Jacobs said. “Finally, we will be in the beginning stages of developing a new Farm Bill early this year. I will be working diligently to ensure that the needs of Western New York farmers are met in that legislation.”

January 26, 2021 - 4:05pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in covid-19, news.

Mike Hodgins may have just won the biggest battle of his life.

The Medina resident is the husband of Kathy Hodgins, chief clinical officer at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse in Batavia. On Monday, Kathy and their children, Greg Hodgins and Alisha Duffina, picked up Mike when he was discharged from Buffalo Mercy Hospital, after spending two months there battling COVID-19.

Mike, 59, is also a heart transplant patient of 30 years, and when he entered Buffalo Mercy on Nov. 28, doctors said he would need a miracle to survive.

“The last time I saw Mike was when I dropped him off at the door of Medina Memorial Hospital two days after Thanksgiving,” Kathy said. “Because of COVID restrictions, I couldn’t even go in with him.”

Mike was transferred to Buffalo Mercy that night, the only hospital in the area they could find with a bed in ICU available.

He spent the first three weeks on a ventilator, during which time his blood pressure would drop dangerously low, and doctors feared kidney failure. He also developed abdominal bleeding and his epiglottis became paralyzed, making him unable to take any nourishment by mouth. He still has had no food or beverage and gets his nourishment from a tube in his stomach.

Kathy said Mike contracted COVID from her, and she isn’t sure where she got it.

When she learned Mike was well enough to leave Mercy but would need a week to 10 days of rehab at Medina Memorial, she was insistent that she pick him up and transport him there.

She and Mike sat in the back seat, hugged and held hands all the way to Medina, while daughter Alisha drove.

Kathy said it was their faith that brought Mike through his ordeal. Even in his sedated state, she said she knew he could hear her voice, and she would call the hospital every day and ask the nurse to put the phone to Mike’s ear. 

“I called him every single day he was on the respirator and told him I loved him,” Kathy said. “Then I prayed with him every day.”

She said not being able to see your loved one who is so sick is the most powerless feeling in the world, and although Mike has lost a lot of weight and looked unkempt with a beard, long hair and untrimmed fingernails, he never looked better to her. 

“It’s been quite a journey,” she said.

The family was joined by Mike’s brother and sister after he got to Medina Memorial Hospital, where they could wave to him in the window.

Top photo: Greg Hodgins watches as his mother Kathy Hodgins, chief clinical officer at GCASA in Batavia, waves as she spots her husband Mike being wheeled out of Buffalo Mercy Hospital on Monday afternoon. 

Below: Mike Hodgins has tears in his eyes as he sees his wife Kathy, for the first time since Nov. 28. Mike spent two months in Buffalo Mercy Hospital recovering from COVID-19.

Bottom: ​The Hodgins family gathers around Mike Hodgins as he is released from Buffalo Mercy Hospital. From left are son Greg Hodgins, wife Kathy, chief clinical officer at GCASA, and daughter Alisha Duffina. 

January 26, 2021 - 3:44pm
posted by Press Release in Rochester Regional Health, news, vaccinations, covid-19.

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health continues to vaccinate as many people as possible with the approved COVID-19 vaccines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our region. We have vaccinated more than 15,000 members of our vast workforce and nearly 3,500 eligible patients in essential categories.

Help our community slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing your mask, practicing hand hygiene, staying socially distant, and avoiding gatherings.

This week’s Health Hive stories discuss what you can do once you're vaccinated, what to expect at your vaccination appointment, and how they’re being scheduled, what our experts know about the new coronavirus strain, insight into why adults over 65 years of age are the first community members to be eligible for vaccinations, and guidance on when kids may start getting vaccinated.

Looking for COVID-19 testing? Wait times at our Immediate Care locations are now updated live online.

January 26, 2021 - 3:31pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Three Correction officers recently graduated in a class of 12 from the Niagara County Basic Corrections Academy. 

The six-week training included instruction in the care and custody of inmates, inmate supervision, defensive tactics, firearms training, and other topics pertaining to corrections. 

“Congratulations to Correction officers Stewart, Sherwood and Jacques. We look forward to your future in Corrections at the Genesee County Jail,” said Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

Photo, from left: Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur; Correction officers Tyler J. Stewart, Marissa R. Jacques (Class President), Trevor J. Sherwood; Jail Superintendent William A. Zipfel.

January 26, 2021 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news.


GO ART! held a Buffalo Bills logo coloring contest for area children. To view all of the entries, click here (Facebook).



January 26, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Statement State Sen. Ed Rath:

My comments and intention of reaching out to our local Board of Elections Commissioners, both Democrat, and Republican, is not in relation to the presidential election. New York State has the only unresolved congressional race in the nation, which is extremely concerning. In addition, there were several local elections that were not decided until weeks after Election Day. I have heard concerns raised in the days and weeks after Election Day of long lines, understaffed and underfunded Board of Elections. I am simply looking to do an analysis and decide what can be improved upon or what is already working well. The hearing I reference in my original statement is a bipartisan hearing, being headed by a Democratic Senator. Having input from our local experts has been and continues to be my main concern.  

Previously: Rath calling on election commissioners to ensure systems are secure

January 26, 2021 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, Le Roy.

Four adults were displaced by a late-night fire in Le Roy on Monday but Le Roy Chief Craig Johnson credited volunteers keeping things from getting worse at 95 Summit St. after a fire was reported to an upstairs bedroom.

"Our guys did a great job of getting in there quickly and getting the fire knocked down," Johnson said. "They definitely saved the house."

The fire contained to the bedroom. There is some water damage and smoke damage on the second floor. 

The four adults were able to relocate with family members and Johnson said because power was cut to the house because of the fire, it will be some time before the house can be occupied again.

No injuries were reported.

The residents did not have any pets, Johnson said.

Along with Le Roy, responding agencies included Bergen, Stafford, City of Batavia, Pavilion, and Town of Batavia was a fill-in at Le Roy's hall.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

January 26, 2021 - 2:35pm

Going on for nearly a year now, COVID-19 has created a dilemma for downtown business traffic in Batavia. But better days are ahead, according to Beth Kemp, executive director of the city’s Business Improvement District.

Kemp, speaking at Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting, reported that one of the BID’s biggest projects is nearing completion.

“We continue to work with Spectrum Charter on bringing free Wi-Fi to the entire BID area,” Kemp said. “We have had several stakeholder meetings over the last year, bringing all of the property owners that will be working with Spectrum on essentially allowing them access to their buildings.”

Kemp said the BID has moved to the implementation phase of installing and connecting of all the nodes in the downtown area to activate the Wi-Fi.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 that has been put on hold until the end of February. Several engineers come from out of state so we have a tentative date to move forward on that,” she said.

Kemp explained that the new Wi-Fi network will feature multiple channel controls – actually five per the agreement with Spectrum.

“One of those channels is designated for the free Wi-Fi downtown and we will have time restrictions,” she said. “So, each will have a maximum of four hours per day to use the Wi-Fi. Certainly, a perk for all residents and visitors here.”

She said that additional channels could be utilized by the City of Batavia Police Department or emergency personnel.

“The BID is also interested in using one of those dedicated channels for possible music downtown,” Kemp said, adding that officials are looking at wireless speaker systems to attach to the light poles. “(Music) would bring a positive vibe.”

Other projects planned for 2021 include:

  • Updated banners and signage, including those that go on the downtown light poles;
  • Snowflakes to go on light poles that are showing their age;
  • Hanging baskets and flowers for baskets;
  • Fall decorations such as cornstalks, pumpkins and hay bales as well as garland options for light poles around the holidays.

Kemp said the BID’s marketing plan will include free advertising opportunities for small businesses, commercials, print advertising, social media assistance and radio opportunities – either at a discounted rate or free to small businesses.

She said that the agency looks to promote Tasty Tuesdays once again to support restaurant takeout orders, and the Downtown Bingo initiative featuring giveaways for participants who complete their boards.

On the events side, she said the BID seeks to continue the scarecrow and wreath contests, and Shop Small Saturday following Thanksgiving.

January 26, 2021 - 2:27pm
posted by Press Release in city of batavia, news, streetlights.

Press release:

There have been reports of many streetlights within the City of Batavia that are not operating properly.

If you see a light that is out or appears to not be operating correctly, please send as much information to the city as you can: street, pole number, and nearest house address.

The city will determine if it is a city-owned light and make repairs as soon as we can. If it is a National Grid light we will notify them of the issue.

National Grid also has a direct website that you can put the information of the streetlight into.

Winter conditions may cause a few weeks for repairs to be made.

Please send information to:

Email:  [email protected], or call (585) 345-6325.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Bill Davis

Superintendent of Water and Wastewater

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