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June 15, 2021 - 8:53am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Casella Waste Systems.

Parking lots, trash collection and rezoning of a small parcel on East Main Street were among the subjects of resolutions passed Monday night by Batavia City Council during its Business Meeting at City Centre Council Board Room.

Council members voted to use $70,000 from the appropriated parking lot reserve to resurface parking lots on Center Street, Ellicott Street and at Lions Park this summer.

Projected cost per lot is $50,000 for Center Street, $12,500 for Lions Park and $7,200 for the Canale lot, which is west of 240 Ellicott St.

Williams Park is on the city’s paving scheduled for 2022-23.

-- The board also formally approved an agreement with Casella Waste Systems of New York, which has offered to empty the trash cans at city parks and downtown at no charge.

The pact, set to run through Nov. 30 with the option to renew for up to two years, stipulates that Casella will empty the park receptacles on a daily basis and downtown containers on a weekly basis in return for painting the receptacles dark blue and placing a sign on them, stating “Serviced by Casella Waste.”

-- Council, in order to move the Healthy Living Campus project forward, referred to the City Planning & Development Committee a request from the GLOW YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center to rezone a small parcel at 211 ½ East Main St. from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) to consolidate all the property into a Commercial zone.

The rezoning referral is on the agenda of tonight’s PDC meeting at the City Centre.

Previously, City Council and the PDC signed off on the rezoning of 211 East Main St.

Project consultant David Ciurzynski said the UMMC/St. Jerome boiler house sits on 211 ½ East Main St., which is north of 211 East Main St.

“Because our building crosses the north property line of 211 into 211 ½, we need to have it rezoned as well,” he said. “After everything is rezoned we can start the process of combining the various parcels into one parcel for the project.”

In other action, Council approved:

  • The appointment of five residents to the City Audit Advisory Board through the end of the year. They are citizens Nicholas Harris, Marc Staley and Paul Battaglia, and Council members Bialkowski and Jankowski.
  • The release of $7,136.50 from the K-9 Committed Fund Balance to offset the costs of running the program. City Manager Rachael Tabelski reported that the city received $2,332.47 in donations for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, but had $9,468.97 in expenses for the K-9 program during that same period. As of March 31, the K-9 Committed Fund’s balance was at $4,92.02.
June 14, 2021 - 10:19pm

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After years and years of studies, citizen task force recommendations and broken promises to City of Batavia police officers, the Batavia City Council may be ready to pull the trigger on construction of a new $10.8 million police headquarters on the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street.

Lawmakers, during a Special Conference Meeting tonight at City Hall Council Board Room, listened to a presentation of a City of Batavia Police Station Feasibility Study – hearing from Kenneth Pearl, president of Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville; City Manager Rachael Tabelski, and Police Chief Shawn Heubusch on what it would take to finally move its law enforcement personnel out of the 160-year-old Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St.

“This has been going on so long that now we’re spending $10 million for a building that if we would have built this six, eight, 10 years ago when we were talking about it, it would have been a few million – three, maybe four (million),” said City Council President Eugene Jankowski, a retired city police officer who is well aware of the poor conditions at the current station.

“Every time they (apparently referring to past City Councils) wanted to come up with a price, they would decide to spend tens of thousands of dollars on another study, and they would turn right around and try to say let’s merge, let’s eliminate, let’s become one police department. There wasn’t public support for that; there wasn’t availability to make that happen. It wasn’t feasible and it wasn’t cost-effective to do that.”

Jankowski said that the city abandoning its police force – putting that responsibility on Genesee County – would be unwise.

“I’ve lived in the city and I expect to have a policeman and a fireman nearby when I need one, if my house is on fire or if I’m in trouble … we need our police department,” he added.

Pearl reported that If City Council is indeed serious about building a new home for its police department, it is going to cost $10 million or more, depending on when they build due to the unstable construction climate.

His analysis indicates that the $10.8 million cost of a 19,000-square-foot building, complete with enclosed parking for more than 30 cars, would break down as follows:

  • Batavia Police Department Building, $6,270,000;
  • Site Work – Building Project, $570,000;
  • Site Work – Public Parking Modification, $660,000;
  • Site Environmental Contingency, $500,000;
  • Contingency at 10 percent, $800,000;
  • Professional Fees – A/E/Survey/Geotech, $880,000;
  • Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment, $650,000;
  • Professional Fees, $390,000;
  • Project Expenses, $80,000.

Should City Council decide to add a secure parking roof structure – a steel roof with no walls or heat -- that would add another $2.65 million to the price tag. Pearl’s report listed that feature as an alternative, along with the installment of an eight-inch water main to replace the current four-inch water main and a Bank Street improvement public infrastructure program to include traffic calming and pedestrian safety enhancements.

As far as paying for the facility, Tabelski proposed a $10 million improvement serial bond with a 30-year term, noting that annual payments would range from $425,000 to $507,000 for principal and interest.

She said the city, by 2025, could absorb debt payments of $570,000, adding that in the next three years, debt from an energy lease, tandem axle municipal lease and the Enterprise Resource Planning software system will be off the books.

“While there will not be room for other borrowing in the general fund, by 2033, City Hall principal and interest payments will be reduced by $164,000 and by 2036, the entire debt will be paid on City Hall,” she said.

Tabelski said she will be looking for grants in an attempt to drop the amount needed to borrow under $10 million.

Heubusch advised Council of the conditions at the current police station, mentioning a 50-year-old boiler system, deteriorating walls, leaky roof, cramped quarters, lack of air conditioning and inconsistent heating.

In fact, the roof is in such disrepair that Council tonight passed a resolution to spend $100,000 from the municipality’s facility reserve fund to replace the flat portion of the 30-year old roof.

An analysis of that building showed that the flat roof portions above the rear vestibule and the rear addition require a full replacement. Currently, the roof is leaking into the conference room, locker rooms, detective offices and women’s and men’s bathrooms.

Pearl said he considered “four basic criteria” as he evaluated the possibility of a police station at Alva and Bank:

“Could we save an adequate amount of public parking that could still be used by its neighboring businesses?”

“Could we create enough secure parking within the wall or fence system for the police department itself?”

“How much underground public infrastructure are we going to have to deal with (pipes, utilities under the parking lot)?”

“And if we leave ourselves enough options after all that to go through a design and engineering process, would a viable project come out of it for the building itself?

Later on, he answered those questions affirmatively, stating that through substantial reconstruction about 115 public parking spots will remain in the lot with plenty of street parking available as well, and that there will be ample parking for police and other vehicles within the compound, next to the one-story facility.

He reported that basic elements of the project are a secure wall and gates, secure infrastructure (including an outdoor generator), storage space, open or covered parking and K-9 accommodation.

“Picture an L-shaped roof … what that allows us to do is create a public entry right here at Alva and Bank, which maximizes the public roadways,” he said. “Something that makes sense. You have the dedicated, primary entrance … you do not have that now.”

He said that police interaction with the community would be at the front of the building while operations and security would be placed toward the bank.

Pearl’s report reveals the interior of the building will have a dedicated public entry space, front desk space, administrative offices, detective bureau, patrol offices and training rooms, emergency response team room, technical services areas (firearms, evidence storage, laboratory), accessory functions (locker rooms, break room, garage), interior infrastructure and community space.

Exterior spaces will include a public entry approach, flagpole, memorial area, landscaping, parking spots, generator, transformer, storage barn and K-9 lawn area.

Although he said the architectural and engineering process to get to this point has been complicated, the end result is that placing a building in the public parking lot “is a good option.”

“From a technical perspective, I’m very confident in saying that,” he said.

Pearl said construction could be complete by the end of 2023, but the current pricing would hold only if it went to bid within a year. He called the construction industry topsy-turvy right now, making it difficult to estimate costs.

To illustrate, he said the $8.8 million cost of just a 19,000-square-foot building (without fees and expenses) would have cost $5.7 million just three and a half years ago.

Going forward, Tabelski said the next steps would be putting out a request for proposal to architecture and engineering firms in September for design and surveying work, and then going back to City Council for contract approval/execution and a vote on final bond resolution around December.

City Council Member Al McGinnis was part of the City Police Task Force that worked on finding suitable locations for a new police headquarters about six years ago. He said that a lot of time and effort was spent by the committee and to see that nothing has changed is beyond disappointment.

"The fact that we have put our police through this for the past 20 years, 30 years is amazing," he said. "It violates just about every code you have for a police station. ... We talk, we talk, we talk and when we get done, we talk again. We kicked this can down the road. There's no more road and there's no more can. We have to do something."

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Architectural sketches -- Top, the proposed City of Batavia Police Department headquarters at Alva Place and Bank Street (building in red with parking lot in purple); Bottom, parking lot showing 34 spaces for vehicles plus room for cars next to the building. A storage shed (orange) and K-9 area (green) are at left.

June 14, 2021 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, arts, entertainment, music, elba, news, notify.

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Jim Goff, an icon of the local music scene for decades, passed away this weekend, according to an announcement by his family on The Stumblin' Inn's Facebook page.

Goff and his brother Stephen "Stork" Goff owned and operated the famous bar and music venue for nearly four decades, until a fire destroyed the 150-year-old building in Elba in July 2018.

Stork passed away in March.

An obituary about Jim Goff is not yet available.

According to his family's statement, Goff succumbed to cancer.

It reads, in part, "The Goff family has suffered so much loss this year but this one is the hardest to swallow. My dad was so incredibly kind, caring, compassionate, and selfless. He supported so many local bands and charities, he brought together so many friends and families, creating unforgettable memories for all of us."

Photos: File photos from a 2018 benefit for the Goffs

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June 14, 2021 - 3:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in pet rescue, animals, news, batavia.

A kitten was reportedly briefly caught in the motor of a black sedan parked outside Petco off Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia. "It's doesn't appear to be injured," relays the dispatcher.

An officer was responding but the kitten has been freed and assistance is no longer needed. The sedan is hitched to a black trailer.

June 14, 2021 - 3:25pm
posted by Press Release in news, batavia, infrastructure.

From the city's Bureau of Maintenance:

North Spruce Street (East Avenue to North Street) and Farwell Drive (North Spruce Street to Trumbull Parkway) will be closed to all through traffic. This will occur on Tuesday, June 15 between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the installation of stormwater facilities.

Residents and property owners within the closure may experience limited or delayed access to and from their residence. All throughout the roadwork, motorists are asked to seek an alternate route.

Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

June 14, 2021 - 3:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield, Darien.

Dean Matthew Conboy (inset photo, right), 56, of Harper Road, Darien, is charged with: two counts of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer; two counts of menacing a police officer; unlawful imprisonment in the first degree; second-degree menacing; attempted assault in the second degree; three counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree; and obstructing governmental administration in the second degree. At 7:19 a.m. June 11 on Harper Road in Darien, Conboy was arrested after allegedly menacing a person with a butcher knife and attempted to cause physical injury, resulting in the victim barricading themselves in a bedroom. It is also alleged that the defendant attempted to cause serious physical injury to deputies and placed them in reasonable fear of physical injury and death as he grabbed and armed himself with a butcher knife while deputies struggled to take him into custody. After arraignment in Genesee County Court, Conboy was put in jail on $10,000 bail, $40,000 bond or $60,000 partially secured bond. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Robert Henning and Investigator Kevin Forsyth.

Kevin McCoy, 54, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. June 8 and charged with second-degree menacing and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. It is alleged that he threatened three people with a knife during an argument in a parking lot on East Main Street. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail without bail. McCoy was due back in court June 10.

Jason Jones, 50, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. June 3 on charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and unlawful possession of fireworks. The charges stem from an incident where Jones was being taken into custody on an unrelated matter. Officers allegedly found a collapsible baton and fireworks in Jones' vehicle. He was processed at Batavia Police Headquarters and arraigned in Batavia City Court. He was put in jail on $5,000 bail, $10,000 bond, or $20,000 partially secured bond. He is due back in court July 1.

Jeffery Michael Johnson, 33, of Forest Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and possession of a hypodermic instrument. At 5:53 p.m. June 10, Johnson was arrested on Forest Avenue following a home check by GC Probation and the Sheriff's Office. Allegedly, they found fentanyl and 13 hypodermic needles in the bedroom and in his vehicle. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Oakfield Town Court on July 12. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier.

Jason Jones, 50, was arrested by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post at 6:08 p.m. on June 3 on Dewey Avenue and charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He allegedly had contact with an individual with an active order of protection against him. Jones was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail in lieu of $500 bail. He is due back in court July 1.

Michael Lytle, 32, was arrested on June 8 and charged with second-degree menacing in connection with a disturbance that occurred at 10:43 a.m. June 4 on State Street, Batavia. It is alleged that Lytle displayed a pellet gun that was perceived to be a real firearm following a verbal dispute with the victim. He is due in Batavia City Court on June 27.

Christopher Taylor, 21, is charged with second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arrested after a disturbance at 7:07 p.m. June 6 and arraigned in Batavia City Court. He was then released on his own recognizance and is to return to court June 24.

June 14, 2021 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NYS Veterans Home, batavia, veterans, news.

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Save Our Seniors and the SOS Air-Band serenaded residents of the NYS Veterans Home on Sunday with sounds of the 1950s as part of Flag Day Weekend.

The group was escorted to the event by The Rolling Patriots and the Patriot Guard Riders.

Photos by Lee Hoffman.

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June 14, 2021 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.08, up 3 cents in the past week. One year ago, the price was $2.10. The New York State average is $3.11 – up 2 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.22.

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

  • Batavia -- $3.08 (up 6 cents since last Monday)
  • Buffalo -- $3.04 (up 3 cents since last Monday)
  • Ithaca -- $3.05 (up 2 cents change since last Monday)
  • Rochester -- $3.07 (up 4 cents since last Monday)
  • Rome -- $3.17 (up 2 cents since last Monday)
  • Syracuse -- $3.06 (up 2 cents since last Monday)
  • Watertown -- $3.15 (up 1 cent since last Monday)

Motorists are in for an unpleasant surprise at gas pumps this week as prices jumped across the region. Gas demand dropped following Memorial Day travel while total domestic gas stocks increased -- typically, lower gas demand amid growing stocks would help push pump prices down, but the increasing price of crude has pushed prices up instead. 

Last week, crude prices crossed the $70/bbl threshold, a point not seen since mid-October 2018. Crude prices have increased due to optimism that vaccine rollout will continue to help crude demand recover and after the U.S. Consumer Price Index showed that prices increased by 5 percent in May, compared to last year, a larger increase than expected.

The new report is fanning market concerns that inflation is driving prices higher. Weeks ago, analysts predicted that gas prices would drop by Father’s Day, but if domestic crude prices remain high, American drivers will likely continue to see pump prices fluctuate through the end of the month.

From GasBuddy:

"We've seen the national average gas price continue to inch higher as oil prices have reached $71 per barrel, the highest since 2018, as gasoline demand continues to rebound," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"Strong gasoline demand as states and cities reopen will likely continue to be a major factor keeping gas prices elevated even as oil production climbs in the months ahead.

"With most additional supply being gobbled up very quickly, gas prices will likely stay at elevated levels for the foreseeable future. Motorists can continue to fight the high gas prices by remembering to shop around each time they get below half a tank."

June 14, 2021 - 7:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, Le Roy.
Video Sponsor

A barn fire is reported at 9420 Warsaw Road, Le Roy.

There is heavy smoke and flame.

Le Roy fire, along with Bergen fire and the City of Batavia's Fast team is on scene.

Stafford and Pavilion also dispatched.

UPDATE(S) By Billie 8:13 a.m.: Alexander and Darien also requested for mutual aid. Town of Batavia is on scene and Elba is asked to fill in at the town's Station #2. Brockport is called to fill in at Le Roy's hall. The utilities have been shut off to the barn.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: This is a Quarter horse farm. No animals or people were injured. Horses were corralled safely. There was a riding arena inside the barn and lots of hay. Firefighters will be on scene for a while still extinguishing the smoldering hay. The residence abuts the barn and the fire did some damage to it but it was minimal because of a firewall between the structures.

UPDATE 9:13 a.m.: Wyoming Correctional Facility is contacted and asked to provide inmates to help pick up fire hoses. Command is initially told they are unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions. Command says they were told inmates would be available and asks dispatch to double-check. It is confirmed a correctional crew is available and will be brought in within the next two hours.

UPDATE 9:37 a.m.: Fire is contained. Doing overhaul.

UPDATE 10:04 a.m.: Wyoming Correctional en route.

UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: The Le Roy auxiliary is en route with refreshments.

June 14, 2021 - 6:56am

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It was a glorious ending to a glorious week.

“A Field of Thanks” celebration coordinated by members of the St. James Episcopal congregation concluded its eight-day tribute to military veterans, community workers and volunteers on Sunday afternoon with the presentation of flags to 81 recipients on the front lawn of the East Main Street church.

Calling the event “a gathering of people sharing stories of hope, sacrifice and love,” the Rev. Bonnie Morris, rector, shared the significance of flags in society.

“Flags are symbols. Flags serve as many things. They may be a rallying call. They may be a reminder of an ideal. The may be a call to action,” she said. “Today and this week and throughout this entire project, flags have pointed to people. They pointed to service. They pointed to dedication.”

Morris said the flags – which were put up on the church grounds last Sunday for all to see – provided “an awesome way to come together in honor of this service.”

“We are a nation of many people and each people with many gifts, serving many people. The flags that we have gathered around us this week in ‘A Field of Thanks’ are the nation’s flags, along with the Navy flag, the flag of Canada and the flag of the United Kingdom,” she said.

“They all represent courage and commitment. They represent community and country, and a people’s dedication to service.”

The program included participation by employees of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and City of Batavia Police Department, and solemn renditions of “Retreat” and “To The Colors” by Batavian Derek Reiss on the bugle. Captain Jim Ellison, Navy, Retired, of Le Roy, served as the master of ceremonies.

Undersheriff Brad Mazur read the list of the heroes’ names and sponsors while Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard members Sgt. Andrew Hale, Deputy Ken Quackenbush and Deputy Kyle Krezmien presented the flags and plaques to the honorees. Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson also had a part in the pageantry.

Categories of heroes included groups and organizations, first responders, health care professionals and members of the armed forces.

Husband and wife Kevin and Diane Skelton, of Oakfield, sponsored flags for their late fathers, James L. Skelton and Kenneth R. Howard Sr., respectively.

Both served in World War II, with the latter receiving the Purple Heart.

“I just thought it was a great way to honor everyone who served the community,” Kevin said. “We thought it was very fitting to be able to honor our fathers who served in World War II. You forget about how these people served their country and even though they didn’t talk about it much during their lives, we understand the sacrifice that they made to serve their country.”

Diane agreed, adding that it was great to see recognition beyond the military.

“I think it’s great to not only honor the veterans but also the people that did things during the COVID pandemic and people who serve the general public – corrections officers and police officers. I just think it’s a fantastic idea,” she said.

Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, was selected by the committee to accept a flag and plaque on behalf of news media professionals.

“It is an honor to represent local media at this ceremony,” Owens said. “Many people in our community made contributions to help us all during the pandemic but locally and throughout the nation, local journalists worked extra hours under extra pressure to bring their friends and neighbors truthful accurate information at a time when political forces tried to spread misinformation.

“I think all of us are proud of the work we did and are grateful for the community's recognition of our work.”

Diane Cox, of Batavia, a registered nurse at the Genesee County Jail, was honored for her work during the coronavirus pandemic when the jail was on lockdown – no visitation, no chaplain and no legal services.

“As a nurse, you just do what you do; you don’t look for rewards,” she said. “It’s a passion; it’s what you do. I was honored to be recognized.”

Cox said that comforting inmates during COVID-19 “was a whole new level of nursing care.”

“They were anxious about their own family members on the outside, being exposed to COVID or having COVID, as well as bringing it into the jail where we were,” she offered. “We were able to contain our people, our staff, and we starting giving COVID testing outside of the county because we wanted to know.”

Since then, the jail staff has received equipment of its own to be able to test on site, she said.

Event coordinator Phyllis Draycott said the idea came to her more than a year and a half ago.

“I felt that people needed a little closeness,” she said. “Well, I thought that maybe COVID would be over in June and looked at Flag Day since it is less busy than any other holiday – well, it’s really not a national holiday. So, that was why we did that.”

“ 'A Field of Thanks' began on D-Day (June 6) and ended on Flag Day eve," she said “and now everybody can take their flags home and fly them at home (on Monday).”

Draycott credited her team of Dawn and Pete Mark for their professional touch, and choir director Dillon Hirsch, for leading attendees in patriotic songs last Sunday.

She presented a checks to WNY Heroes Inc., of Williamsville, and Meals on Wheels of Genesee County, the two agencies that benefited from the proceeds of the event.

Dawn Mark, instrumental in creating the plaques, said she counted it “a privilege" to meet so many people and find out about all their history.

“And I’d do it again in a minute,” she said. “I would suggest to anybody who wanted to do an event like this to go ahead and recognize your community.”

The list of honorees and their sponsors follows:

GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Genesee County Community Volunteers – Lilo and Wayne Townsend;
The “Phoebe Project” – Barb and Dave King;
Crossroads House – Jeff Allen;
Volunteers for Animals – Anonymous;
Eagle Star Housing – Rich Geitner and Jen Wood;
Office for the Aging – Dawn Mark;
Batavia USPS Workers – Jackie Swinarski;
All Educators – Deacon Diana Leiker;
News Media Professionals – Dawn Mark;
Le Roy Moose Lodge Veterans – Le Roy Moose Lodge 1132.
FIRST RESPONDERS
All Veterans and First Responders – Bill Hayes, Turnbull Heating & Air;
Genesee County Firefighters – Anonymous;
Robert S. Barnes – Margaret Barnes;
Genesee County Law Enforcement – Optimum Realty;
Brian M. Frieday – Rose and Steve Rumery;
Kevin Forsyth – Pat Forsyth;
Matthew C. Fleming – Cal and Joanne Fleming;
All Corrections Officers – Optimum Realty;
Michael D. Kasprzyk – Terri Norton;
Jason R. Queal – Carol and Dick Queal.
PUBLIC IN MEMORIUM
Gary V. McWethy – Sharon McWethy;
David J. Saleh – Batavia Lions Club and Lion Liz Saleh;
Claire Sloat – Todd Sloat, Sloat Tire Shop.
PUBLIC HONORS
Donna Becker – Deb and Mike Barone;
Bonnie Morris – Anonymous;
Paul Piscatelli – Anonymous;
Leigh Skelton – Anonymous;
Kristen Temple – Kathy and Larry Belluscio.
HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
Danielle Schollard – Kathy and Larry Belluscio;
Cheryl Sczepanski – Shirley Kriger;
Spencer C. Swartz – Janice and David Swartz;
Tina Rosone – Carol and Dick Queal;
Diane S. Cox – Harold Odell;
Christopher Foote – William Coughlin;
Cathy Bunce – William Coughlin;
U of R Center for Vaccine Research – William Coughlin;
United Memorial Medical Center Staff – Barb and Bill Pearce.
MILITARY
Navy Veterans – Chip and Terry McGuire.
WORLD WAR I
Donald E. Delbridge – Pete Mark.
WORLD WAR II
Kenneth R. Howard Sr. – Diane and Kevin Skelton;
James L. Skelton – Diane and Kevin Skelton;
William J. Hall Sr. – William J. Hall Jr.;
Harry Simmons – Joan and Jim Ellison;
Anthony J. Gugino – Joan and Jim Ellison;
Carl T. Todd Sr. – Mariellen Blossom;
Cora E. Houck Todd – Mariellen Blossom;
Charles T. Fox – Marilyn and David Lange;
Herman Fustino – Wendy and Bruce Fustino;
Henry Schoelles – Wendy and Bruce Fustino;
Loren F. Balduf – Donna Stiles and Family;
Chester H. Watson – Elaine and Steve Watson;
Lyle G. Mark – Pete Mark;
Gerald M. Rock – Corinne Malmberg;
Benjamin S. Giambrone – Ben’s Appliance & Kitchens;
Norman K. Lange – Marilyn and David Lange;
William Renz Sr. – William Renz Jr.;
Eldon Blowers – Nathan Blowers;
Walter N. McAlister Sr. – Carolyn and Ken Draycott;
R.W. Janet Kingdon – Mariellen Blossom (Order of the Eastern Star);
W. Evelyn Edwards Krause – Mariellen Blossom;
M.W. Harry L. Tyson – Mariellen Blossom;
R.W. Donald Keys – Mariellen Blossom.
FOREIGN SERVICE
Sam Norris – Sue and Corky Best;
Kenneth Draycott – Jane Draycott;
The Hammond Family – Anonymous.
VIETNAM
John Mack – Jeff Wuest;
Louis M. Scoville – Maureen Scoville;
Dan Ford – Shirley Ford;
Charles Graney – Tim and Bonnie Morris;
Terry J. Garigen – Jeff Wuest;
John R. Ellison – Joan and Jim Ellison;
Gary Hammond – Anonymous;
Glenn Hammond – Gary Hammond;
Kenneth C. Gray – St. James Episcopal Church.
MIDDLE EAST
Dan S. Clor – Steve Foster and The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant;
Jason E. Hammond – Gary Hammond;
Daniel R. Criswell – Josephine Paananen;
Michael Machniak – Gary Davis;
Sean T. Callahan – Kent Ewell and O’Lacy’s Irish Pub.
ACTIVE DUTY
David R. Barnes – Margaret Barnes;
Christopher C. Meyers – Barbara Meyer.

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Photos at top: A large crowd turned out Sunday for the closing ceremony of "A Field of Thanks" at St. James Episcopal Church (seated in red shirt is Phyllis Draycott, event coordinator); Genesee County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard officiating the presentation of the flags. Photos at bottom: Diane and Kevin Skelton, of Oakfield; The Rev. Bonnie Morris, rector; Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, with Sheriff's Sgt. Andrew Hale; Plaque that was presented to News Media Professionals; Draycott presenting check to John Wolf and Diana Fox, representing Meals on Wheels of Genesee County. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

June 13, 2021 - 6:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, scanner, drone.

A caller to dispatch who lives on Liberty Street complains that "a drone flew into her yard from the Jackson Street area." City police are responding.

June 13, 2021 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in juneteenth, batavia, Williams Park, news.

The Just Kings Social Club of Batavia will host its Second Annual Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19 from noon to 7 p.m. at Williams Park.

The event will include vendors, food, a talent show for ages 8 to 16 (with cash prizes), a bounce house, dunk tank, other fun and games, and live music. 

There will also be a guest speaker.

Live music performers include Ratiboy YN, Ray Williams, Mark Lee, Molotov Mall, King & Drizzy, Brenda Williams, Dolly Man & King Beans, Yikey Mikey, Shun-Della Williams, and Debbie.

Everybody is invited. The park is located at 101 Pearl St. in the City of Batavia.

Juneteenth is the traditional day to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.

The organizers are looking for more volunteers to help with the event and there is still space for vendors. All local businesses are welcome to participate. Volunteers get free food and drinks.

Those interested in volunteering, contact Brandon Armstrong on Facebook or at (585) 536-6576. Vendors can contact Lydia Bruce on Facebook or at (716) 573-3461.

June 13, 2021 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ABATE Genesee County NY, batavia, VA Hospital, veterans, news.

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Debbie Coon and Duane Coon talk with Fred Henry about his motorcycle outside the VA Hospital in Batavia.

Henry, from Indian Falls, who served 21 years in the Army, was one of a few dozen members of Genesee County ABATE who rode their bikes to the VA Center today to great the veterans there to help celebrate during Flag Day weekend.

Debbie reminded Duane, who served in the Navy from 1971 to 1975, that his motorcycle used to be the same color.

June 13, 2021 - 12:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news, scanner.

A large bonfire is reported in the city that is close to a house or garage in the area of 14 Raymond Ave. City fire and police are responding.

June 13, 2021 - 11:15am
posted by Billie Owens in news, wildlife, snapping turtle, Le Roy, scanner.

A large snapping turtle is reported in the roadway at 12 Church St. in Le Roy. Village police are responding.

June 13, 2021 - 8:00am
posted by David Reilly in batavia, nostaglia, history, news.

My life in the teen years growing up in Batavia in the late 1950s and early 1960s was a mix of trying to please my parents and teachers while also attempting to be more independent. Of course, this is true of young teens pretty much anywhere at any time.

My friends and what they thought and did became all-consuming it seemed.

When I was 10 and going into the fifth grade, we moved from the Thomas/Ellicott Avenue area across town to North Spruce Street. After some begging and whining (and maybe some fake crying) my parents agreed to let me continue at St. Mary's School on Woodrow Road, even though it would involve solving some transportation issues.

Most of my friends still lived on the west side of town and at first, I didn't see as much of them except during school.

The exception was Charlie, my partner in shenanigans, whose parents built a big house on East Avenue. Their basement was so big at one time they considered putting a bowling alley down there. They also installed a fountain in their front yard, which featured spraying water that changed colors. Older teens used to park in front and make out until the police shooed them away.

So, Charlie was right down the street and then as we got more toward 12 or 13 years old my friends' and my parents allowed us further range on our bikes and the gang was back together again.

A huge kid advantage to living on North Spruce was having lots more outdoor room to play and horse around. At that time, we were the last house on the northeast side of the street. North Street ended at our corner. All around us were woods, which today is the Narramore and Allanview Drive area.

Charlie vs. Dave

We had a big back yard and Charlie and I would spend hours out there playing whiffle ball. He was the New York Yankees and I was the Milwaukee Braves. We'd designate certain areas for singles, doubles, triples and home runs and we'd play entire nine-inning games, even to the point of writing down lineups and batting orders.

We had some epic games and even a couple fights because Charlie was not a good loser.

In 1957 the Braves won the World Series and I got to lord that over Charlie, for a year at least. Back then the games were in the afternoon and one day, to my immense surprise and everlasting admiration, my mom let me be “sick” and stay home from school to watch the game on TV (in black and white of course)

The Braves moved to Atlanta in the '60s and I've not had a favorite baseball team since.

A number of years ago I started collecting 1957 Milwaukee Braves memorabilia and I now possess all the Topps baseball cards from that team as well as signed baseballs from the four Hall of Famers who played for them that year: Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, and Red Schoendienst.

Into the Woods

Our house became a popular gathering spot with my friends because what kid doesn't want a woods to mess around in? Especially in the summer, we'd spend a lot of time out there. We'd play chase and someone had built an awesome tree house and we'd actually have “wars” where we threw rocks at each other. My friend Ray got clonked in the head one time and as my mother bandaged him up her comment was, “You guys already have rocks in your head.”

Another nutty thing we'd do is light fires in the dry grass and then put them out just before they got too big. Anything for excitement, I guess. One time though we came home to find fire trucks out there. A kid down the street had started a fire, but it spread too fast and he panicked and ran away. Neighbors spotted the smoke. He got caught of course and his dad may or may not have lit a fire on his behind.

Fort Reilly

Right on the edge of the woods and our property we built a “fort."

Constructed of an old piece of plywood, some 2x4s, and a bunch of old sheets and bedspreads, it was place to hang out and sneak cigarettes.

Most of our parents smoked like chimneys, but it was "Do as I say, not as I do.”

We used to play poker for smokes, but most of the time the cigs we gambled with were ones we pilfered from our parents.

As we got a little older our parents agreed to let us occasionally “sleep out” in the fort. Of course, very little sleeping took place.

I was especially bad about being able to nod off. Usually, what happened was it would start to get light and I'd sneak off to the house and go to bed. My friends would wake up, see I was gone and just get on their bikes and go home. I deservedly took a lot of mocking over that.

A really bad incident that happened out there involved my younger brother Dan. I had already gone into the house (again) and was sound asleep.

Apparently, when the other guys woke up, they decided to start a fire in a pit we had dug. They couldn't get it going so little brother went in the garage to get some gas.

You can predict what happened next: the gas caught fire as he poured it and in trying to jump away, it spread to his face.

I woke up to screaming. I ran to the kitchen along with my parents and there was Dan with his head in the sink splashing cold water on his face.

My father, dressed in his nighttime attire of tank top undershirt and boxers, tried to go get dressed, but my mother literally pushed him out the door to go to the hospital. He was lucky to get his pants on.

Fortunately, although he was in pain for a few weeks and had some nasty looking scabs, Dan recovered fully with little or no scarring.

Our fort was decommissioned by General Mom Reilly and we had to find somewhere else to hide out.

Tanks for the Memories

One of the things we used to do on our overnight “fort” escapades was go wander around the streets.

We weren't really doing anything bad like vandalism, but rather just looking for some excitement. For example, if we saw car headlights coming at 1 in the morning, more than likely it was a police car on patrol. So, we'd dive into the bushes like we had escaped from prison. If it turned out not to be the cops, we were disappointed because it just wasn't as thrilling.

At some point on one of these ventures we ended up on State Street by the National Guard Armory. Sitting there next to the building was a genuine military tank. It was not a World War II leftover like you would see in front of a V.F.W. or American Legion. I'm pretty sure it was a real working tank that they must have used for training purposes.

The unbelievable thing was that they left the tank unsecured.

We would climb up, open the hatch and go inside. We would look through the slit visors and I seem to recall a periscope we would play with. Hopefully, the guns weren't loaded or operational because I don't even want to think how that could have ended.

This was at the height of the “Cold War” so it seems odd that the National Guard wasn't concerned that some “Commies” might take the tank and topple the Upton Monument or something.

Today, there is a fence around the Armory and most likely lots of security cameras to identify any surreptitious anarchist types who might be up to no good. Not to mention goofy teenagers.

What put an end to these early teen hijinks? Three things: summer jobs, getting driving permits, and interest in girls. You can't really leave work at the hot dog stand at 2 a.m. and head over to climb around on an Army tank.

But teenage mistakes kept getting made.

On my very first real date with a girl I took her to see Alfred Hitchcock's “The Birds,” one of the scariest movies ever. I think it was a coincidence, but soon after that she moved out of state.

I guess it's a good thing to grow up and mature (although some never do). But those teen years certainly provided me with some good stories to tell when I got old.

June 12, 2021 - 10:01pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, news, LGBTQ+ Pride Month, GLOW OUT.

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Batavia celebrated Pride Month in a big way this weekend. Events started on Thursday and continue through Sunday. GLOW OUT in conjunction with GO ART! hosted today's festivities that included a parade, a Drag Show, and a baseball game of “Celebrities” vs. the Drag Queens.  

The Pride Parade celebrates individual freedom to be who you want to be without being bullied, repressed or ostracized for who you are. Many marching in today's parade were family members showing unity and support for loved ones and families who are part of the LGBTQ community. 

GLOW OUT is hoping to raise money to hire a part-time director to help the LGBTQ community connect to the resources they may need including financial, shelter, health, and moral support. 

For more information on or to donate to GLOW OUT please go to this website here.

For more pictures of today's events go to jimburns.org.

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June 12, 2021 - 10:11am

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers on Friday applauded the New York State Legislature for passing measures that will give county leaders across the state additional flexibility – leading to a lessening of the tax burden upon its residents.

“The legislation that recently passed the Assembly and Senate are definite wins for counties throughout New York and the citizens of Genesee County and New York State,” Landers said. “We are hopeful the governor will sign the legislation.”

When and if they are signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, these pieces of legislation will touch on several areas that directly affect how counties run their operations, Landers said.

He singled out three of the bills that passed both houses of the legislature in the final days of the 2021 session:

  • Expands Investment Options for Counties to provide similar options as those available to New York City under current law and help maximize returns for taxpayers.

“This passed legislation will allow counties to maximize their monies in reserve by earning a higher rate of interest,” Landers said.

  • Creates an AIM Redesign Task Force to analyze and recommend available alternatives to the current AIM formula and allocations, including models from other states.

“The creation of an Aid and Incentives for Municipalities design task force is certainly welcome, because simply shifting the state’s responsibility to fund local governments onto counties is not working and is not sustainable,” Landers said.

  • Extends the Countywide Shared Services Initiative for an additional three years and enhances flexibility within the program to encourage more participation.

“This legislation providing for an additional three years of incentives for shared service initiatives is very welcome news in Genesee County as we are always looking for ways to partner with local governments to deliver services in more efficient ways,” Landers offered.

Other county priorities that were passed by the Assembly and Senate were the creation of an early intervention covered lives assessment fee on commercial insurance to help fund services for infants with special needs, and raising of the age of juvenile delinquent offenses from 7 to 12, keeping very young children out of the criminal justice system.

The latter, according to the New York State Association of Counties, helps to address racial disparities in the justice system, and allows tax dollars to be better spent on programs that are developmentally appropriate for young children.

NYSAC President Jack Marren commended lawmakers for being sensitive to what county governments have gone through.

“Over the last year we’ve seen how vital it is to have strong local governments that can respond to unforeseen emergencies and provide essential services to residents when it matters most,” Marren said. “Counties applaud Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the state lawmakers who fought to provide counties with the resources and flexibility we need to support the programs at the local level.”

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario called upon Cuomo to put his signature to the paper.

“I’m hopeful that we can build on the progress made during this session and carry that momentum into next year, but first we need Governor Cuomo to sign these bills into law so that counties can get to work building effective and sustainable local governments.”

June 12, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in almost queen, Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Rockin' The Downs concert series opened Friday evening with a performance by the Queen tribute band, Almost Queen.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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June 11, 2021 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Avenue of Flags, wny national cemetery, pembroke, news, veterans.

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Press release:

The Avenue of Flags is something National cemeteries display during Memorial Day. National cemeteries can either put small flags up at each marker or display an Avenue of Flags for Memorial Day. 

The Western New York National Cemetery has been recently approved to display the Avenue of Flags annually from Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday in May) to the Saturday after Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Each flag that is flown along the Avenue has either draped a veteran's casket or accompanied a veteran's urn to their final resting place. These are known as interment flags.

Each flag has been presented to the next of kin of the veteran on behalf of the President of the United States and the branch of service the veteran served. Families donate their veterans interment flags to fly along the Avenue to represent their service and sacrifice to the country.     

The WNYNC Memorial Council is responsible for the maintenance of the flags as well as collecting the donated flags. The WNYNC Memorial Council is a newly developed council, begun within the last year to support the WNYNC.  

Photos by Howard Owens.

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