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June 18, 2021 - 11:52am

Press release:

Council Candidate Erica O’Donnell supports the ballot measure allowing no-excuse absentee voting.

While representatives in Washington, D.C., drag their feet to so much as debate the For the People Act, which would protect voting rights nationally, I’m proud to be a resident of New York State where we are working to expand access to the ballot.

The measure will appear on the ballot this November and if successful, would remove the stipulation requiring absentee voters to be absent from their home county, ill, or physically disabled to vote by absentee ballot. In short, it would allow any registered voter to request and vote with an absentee ballot.

Any effort to make voting easier for our citizens should be considered a celebration of democracy and supported without controversy. I urge everyone to vote “yes” on the measure.

June 18, 2021 - 11:29am
posted by Press Release in news, city of batavia, assistant city manager.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Manager Rachael J. Tabelski announces the appointment of Jill M. Wiedrick, member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, to the position of assistant city manager. Wiedrick was selected following an extensive search for candidates.

A lifelong resident of Western New York, Wiedrick holds a master's degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She has served in local government for the last 15 years, including senior county planner for Genesee County. She currently holds the position of manager of zoning for the City of Rochester.

Wiedrick has extensive background in land use, planning, community engagement, as well as policy development. She has experience in municipal budgeting, permitting, and the use of technology to create efficiencies for local government.

“I believe that Jill has the unique skills and leadership qualities we need in the City of Batavia to advance our mission and strategic priorities. She will be responsible for different projects in the City including: administrative services, organizational risk management, organizational values, community & neighborhood development, public relations, information technology and the continued implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Jill will also work directly on the City’s annual budget, capital planning and other initiatives on behalf of the City,” said Rachael J. Tabelski, City of Batavia City manager.

A member of the Genesee Symphony, Wiedrick currently lives in the City of Rochester with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, Ty and Jolene. As a former resident of the City of Batavia, Wiedrick is excited to return to the area and put her experience to work for the residents of Batavia.

June 18, 2021 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in indian falls, news, pembroke.

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Jacob Minnick, the 18-year-old from Lockport who died yesterday in a drowning incident at Indian Falls, was a back-to-back to Section VI diving champion, according to the Lockport Journal.

In his senior year at Lockport High School, Minnick was undefeated.

He had just completed his freshman year on Clarion University where he was a member of the swim team. The athletic department issued the following press release (and photo above):

CLARION, Pa. – Jacob Minnick, a member of the Clarion men's swimming & diving team, tragically passed away on Thursday, June 17. He was 18 years old. A native of Lockport, N.Y., Minnick had just completed his first year of study at Clarion and was an active member of the Golden Eagle team.

Information regarding memorial services are not available at this time.

"Jacob was a very sincere, polite, happy, caring kid," said Diving Coach Dave Hrovat. "In the time I got to know him, it was easy to see that he loved training with his teammates and loved being part of the program. He had a bright future ahead of him, athletically and academically. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to all his family and loved ones, and let them know that we are there for them in this tremendously difficult time."

"Jacob had a smiling, bright-eyed face every day walking on the pool deck," said Head Swimming & Diving Coach Bree Kelley. "He enjoyed his teammates and Clarion and we were excited to see him progress through our program. We are surely going to miss that smiling face. We will be offering counseling services for our team if they should need it but in the meantime our team will stand together to support one another through this tough loss."

"We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Jacob," said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Wendy Snodgrass, Ed.D. "He was an important and valued member of our men's swimming and diving program, and quickly developed strong bonds with his teammates and coaches. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone who knew and loved him."

"I extend our deepest sympathy to Jacob's family, friends, teammates and the faculty and staff in the Clarion community who knew him," said Clarion President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Ed.D. "Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had accomplished so much and had so much more to give."

Minnick recently completed his first year as a member of the Golden Eagle men's swimming & diving program, and was a Biology / Ecology major. A freshman from Lockport High School, he did not compete during the 2020-21 season but was an integral part of the team during their training schedule. One of the top divers in the history of Lockport, he was a three-time state meet qualifier in high school, with a number of section championships to his credit. He placed 14th at the state meet as a junior and 16th as a senior.

June 18, 2021 - 11:13am

Press release:

Genesee County officials continue to ask residents to conserve water, especially on hot dry days.

According to county officials, there are two driving factors behind the conservation efforts. The first is that the water infrastructure improvements the county planned to have in place by the summer of 2020 still have not been completed due to complications with the coronavirus pandemic. Second, and more recently, the water level in the aquifer that feeds the City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant is approaching historic lows.

The City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant provides nearly 50 percent of the county's water needs.

The county stressed it has plenty of water 24/7/365 on average days, but without conservation efforts, producing enough water on hot, dry days will be challenging as groundwater levels will continue to drop through the summer. The county is again asking everyone to be smart with their water as summer progresses.

Please avoid watering lawns and washing cars. There are plenty of other ways to save water as well.

Without water conservation measures in place, had events like Monday's large barn fire in Le Roy occurred in the middle of a hot/dry stretch, there would have been major supply issues. There are plans in place for emergency water supply and pumping, but it is much easier if everyone works together to do a small part.

June 18, 2021 - 9:49am

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Inspired by the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist department in the nation, Batavia High School senior Sophie Beckman is determined to helping the downtrodden and oppressed people in society while working toward her newswriting goals.

Beckman’s aspirations, along with her academic achievements and extracurricular activities, impressed the scholarship committee of The Jerome Foundation, which has awarded her with the William F. Brown Jr. Memorial Scholarship for 2020-21.

Beckman, daughter of Anthony and Jolene Beckman, was honored Thursday at a luncheon at Terry Hills Restaurant.

The $4,000 scholarship -- $1,000 annually for four years – is given to a graduating senior from a Genesee County high school who will be pursuing a career in journalism, communications, marketing or public relations.

It is presented in memory of William F. Brown Jr, a local journalist who was very involved in community service and was a charter member of The Jerome Foundation.

Beckman, who placed third in her graduating class, will be attending the State University of New York at Stony Brook, which is located on the north shore of Long Island -- approximately 60 miles east of New York City.

She said she chose Stony Brook for its journalism school and hopes to carve a path for herself to work in the metropolitan area.

“One of my end goals is to become an investigative journalist, and focus on uncovering things beneath the surface to help people who have been marginalized or just have experienced injustice in the world,” she said. “An inspiration behind that is the investigative journalism team, such as the Spotlight team from the Boston Globe.”

It was the Spotlight team that uncovered and reported upon widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests.

“When I heard about that, that’s why I wanted to become an investigative journalist to uncover stories like that on a national level,” she said, noting that she became interested in journalism during her sophomore year. “Not only from the investigative standpoint but also because I love writing – and sort of combining writing with social activism, which is what I really want to pursue and journalism seemed like the perfect combination of that.”

Beckman said The Jerome Foundation scholarship stood out for her because “it was for someone who was pursuing journalism and also that wanted to help other people, the way Mr. Brown did.”

“He helped the community and, based on what I read, he promoted Genesee County in particular,” she said. “And The Jerome Foundation, in general, their goal is to provide funds to better the community and I think that’s the ideology that I have – to use my work to better the community; not just to better myself, but to help others.”

Beckman completed many advanced placement courses at Batavia, and also is graduating with a Seal of Biliteracy as a result of taking Spanish throughout high school, including college-level classes. She also was involved in varsity sports, mock trial, scholastic bowl, National Honor Society and student government.

She said she hopes to intern next summer when she’s back home, mentioning The Batavian as a possible place to gain experience.

Photo, from left: Ron Chrzanowski, vice president of The Jerome Foundation, presents a plaque recognizing Sophie Beckman, a Batavia High School senior, with the William F. Brown Jr. Memorial Scholarship as Sophie's father, Anthony, and Joseph Scanlan, Ed.D., member of The Jerome Foundation Board of Directors, look on. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

June 18, 2021 - 9:07am

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Keeping abreast of the latest technology, maintaining a talented and dedicated staff and understanding the importance of building relationships have enabled Alleghany Farm Services LLC to deliver on its motto: Digging In. Helping You Grow.

Chad Klotzbach, managing partner, on Thursday invited customers, community leaders and friends to learn more about what it takes to properly provide drainage to farmland – and also to enjoy some food and refreshments – during a Field Day event at their business at 7342 Alleghany Road, Basom.

“We figured after COVID. Everybody is planted at this point. Wheat hasn’t come off yet. So, it’s a good kind of beginning to the summer break for everyone to get out and have a bite to eat and check everything out,” Klotzbach said.

Invitations were sent to about 300 people, mostly customers, he said. The company’s customer base stretches across the state and also to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont and, most recently, Maryland and Delaware.

Alleghany Services was founded in 1983 by Chad’s father, Drew, who continues on as a partner in the firm, which consists of multiple companies, with Alleghany Farm Services and Alleghany Construction as the two largest.

Last night’s event, which featured complimentary food from Center Street Smokehouse and beverage from 42 North Brewing Company – and live radio coverage by WCJW (CJ Country), highlighted the farming side of the operation.

“Our focus tonight is to educate people about drainage and the benefits and the various equipment we have to serve the customers – from our large tile plows to even our smallest one that services vineyards and orchards,” said Klotzbach, who started with the company in 2010 after graduating from Clarkson University and advanced to managing partner about two years ago.

With about 30 employees and millions of dollars in specialized (and computerized) equipment, Alleghany Farm Services has installed 20 million feet of pipe over the past 10 years – it’s up to 4 million feet a year now – and has more than doubled its size in the past five years.

Klotzbach said it is the largest business of its kind in the Northeast and was the first to incorporate Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology in drainage design and installation in the same region.

Operations Manager Christina Fetzer explained that field drainage consists primarily of three machines -- a tile plow, an excavator and a challenger tractor.

“Those three pieces of equipment work together to install the pipe in the ground,” said Fetzer, a Lancaster resident who has been with Alleghany Farm Services for about two years. “The tile plow is equipped with GPS and the entire field is designed ahead of time.”

A graduate of Canisius College with a master's in Business Administration, Fetzer said many factors go into the design of how the pipe is to be installed.

“There’s field elevation, crop type and soil type, and we take all of that into account ahead of time to have a custom design put in. That’s inputted into the machine via GPS to install in the field,” she said.

Klotzbach said it’s all about water management and configuring the pipe system to ensure maximum crop production.

“When you install subsurface drainage in a grid pattern, you’re controlling pretty much the water table,” he said. “You’re dealing with surface saturation so you can get on the crops earlier in the spring and same thing in the fall. If you get an inch of rain, you have a lower point of saturation in the soil. With the pipes behind able to take the water away, it just allows you to get on – you can do your spring, your plowing, whatever you’re needing with harvesting.”

Klotzbach, a Genesee County legislator representing the towns of Alabama and Oakfield, said the Alleghany Farm Services team continues with its customers after the job is done.

“It starts with our sales team and then we collect data and do extensive research in order to create the proper design,” he said. “We can install on average about 15,000 feet a day per machine. We stand by our work and remain in contact after projects are completed to make sure everything is performing correctly.”

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For more information about Alleghany Farm Services and Alleghany Construction, send an email to [email protected] or call (585) 762-4411.

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Photos, from top to bottom:

-- Two-year-old (almost 3) Weston Passamonte enjoys a few moments in the driver's seat of a full-size tile plow during Thursday's Field Day event. The boy's father, Joe, works for Alleghany Farm Services. 

-- Chad and Drew Klotzbach.

-- Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, left, and Legislatore Marianne Clattenburg stand next to a vineyard plow. The vineyard plow is only seven feet wide, which enables it to go between existing grape rows and narrow orchard rows.

-- The cabin of the large tile plow, complete with GPS, cameras and other technology to ensure the proper drainage system design and installation.

-- Chad Klotzbach and a group of his customers with a stack of tiling in the background.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

June 17, 2021 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, corfu, indian falls, water rescue team, notify.

Deputies, the Emergency Service Unit Water Rescue Team, and the East Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding to the Log Cabin Restaurant in Indian Falls for a report of a juvenile who jumped into the water and has not been seen since.

"Confirmed unable to locate at this time," says a first responder on scene.

The restaurant is located at 1227 Gilmore Road.

"Swimmers times five in the water -- no responders just other swimmers -- in the water searching. Just want to keep a head count," a first responder tells dispatch.

The missing person is described as an 18-year-old male wearing black shorts. 

UPDATE 3:57 p.m.: All county rescue team members are called to the scene along with the city's water rescue crew and the Alden Dive Team.

UPDATE 4:04 p.m.: The city's second platoon is called to fire headquarters. Corfu fire will be dispatched to any Indian Falls and East Pembroke calls. Three civilian swimmers are now out of the water; two swimmers remain in the water.

UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: "Just offshore from where individuals are standing now, that's where he went under," says a first responder, noting that all civilian swimmers/searchers are out of the water. Some rescuers are asked to search downstream.

UPDATE 4:12 p.m.: Rope rescuers will have to be deployed to get the civilians out of the way. Some are reportedly climbing up the side of the falls to get out. Medics are standing nearby in case they need medical attention. Five firefighters are donning life jackets and preparing to search a half-mile downstream, according to command.

UPDATE 4:17 p.m.: All the civilians are not out of the water yet; two are still in the creek.

UPDATE 4:27 p.m.: The two remaining in the water are now out. Medics are checking out some of those who were in the water. Others are told to sit down -- they are on the opposite side of the creek from the rescuers -- until rescuers can get to them and take them to safety. "I don't want them crossing the water," said command.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: They are interviewing several eyewitnesses.

UPDATE 4:42 p.m.: "How far down did you go?" asks a rescuer about the firefighters who looked downstream. "About 75 yards. It was pretty dry down there," is the reply.

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: The Alden Dive Team is on scene gearing up to go underwater to look for the missing teenager.

UPDATE 5:44 p.m.: Divers are searching underwater.

UPDATE 7:13 p.m.: Officials at the scene have confirmed the 18-year-old missing male swimmer is deceased.

UPDATE 8:43 p.m.: The Sheriff's Office has released the ID of the victim. He is Jacob C. Minnick, 18, of Lockport.

June 17, 2021 - 3:28pm

Genesee County is required to extend Local Law Introductory No. 1, Year 2019 – the statute that governs how the municipality applies its hotel/motel room occupancy tax – by Sept. 30, and it will do so either with or without a revision to include online booking platforms, such as Airbnb.

County legislators, Manager Matt Landers and Attorney Kevin Earl continued an ongoing discussion of the topic during Wednesday’s Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse, and this time included Erik Fix and Kelly Rapone, president/chief executive officer and tourism director, respectively, for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Fix and Rapone emphasized a changing landscape when it comes to travelers’ lodging, citing a 47-percent increase in Airbnb business since 2018.

“It’s safe to say that the law that was established in 1995 (the original year of the Local Law), doesn’t necessarily hold true today,” Fix said. “The landscape for how folks utilize our community from a visitor’s standpoint has changed … So, what we put in place 25 years ago, doesn’t really apply to those people today.”

Fix added that the goal is to come up with a formula to change the bed tax law to include booking sites where folks can book rooms (people’s homes, apartments, cottages, cabins, etc.) for a night or a week – “however we see fit, based on the changes that have taken place.”

Rapone said that homeowners and some businesses are reaping economic benefit of making rooms available on a short-term basis. Currently, these people are not subject to the 3-percent occupancy or bed tax, as it is called, that applies to hotel and motel guests.

She said she found 17 local listings on the Airbnb website (actually 23 as of today).

“And it’s not just private homes that you’ll find there,” she said. “Some businesses, hunting preserve and Farmer’s Creekside Inn, which has five guest rooms. Rates range from $40 per night to $500 per night for a really nice property on Horseshoe Lake, and weekly rates are offered.”

She reported that she contacted two Batavia-area hoteliers and both are in favor of the legislation being changed.

“They feel that these other lodging options out there have an unfair advantage (compared) to some of the costs of operating that they have, particularly insurance, franchise fees, sales tax and, of course, the bed tax,” she said.

Rapone also noted that Airbnb and similar lodging options were seeing 80- to 90-percent occupancy while hotels see 65 to 75 percent in their peak months.

“So, from the hoteliers' perspective – two of them representing three properties – they’re very much in favor of this. Not that they’re in favor of more tax and more laws, but for them this is an advantage for other people,” she said.

She said that Airbnb has agreements with about 30 other New York counties and, it was later noted, that the company previously reached out to Genesee County leaders about forging a contract here.

The sticking point as far as a revision of the Local Law is the number of rental units and the length of stay.

Back in March, Earl proposed changing the law so that it would apply to less than six units, but only under circumstances when they are rented for more than 10 nights during an entire calendar year.

“It has to be less than six units and likely just one since houses are being rented out – so anything would be eligible,” Earl said. “I wouldn’t think we’d want to include somebody that rents the house out for a weekend to a cousin. We’re thinking a minimum of 10 or 14 (nights) per calendar year; a money-making proposition.”

Rapone said her research reveals that Airbnb’s arrangements with other counties generally focused on 29 nights being considered as a nonresident, but found some that go up to 90 days at seasonal summer destinations.

The bed tax that is imposed is a levy on top of the 8 percent sales tax. Rapone said the bed tax is charged only to visitors, not county residents. She said that 60 percent or more of the bed tax revenue goes to the Chamber for marketing and advertising the county’s assets, with up to 40 percent earmarked for administration.

Fix noted that Airbnb is one of multiple booking websites (Vrbo is another), and that any change in the law would affect all of them.

Landers said the county can’t contract with Airbnb because most of their rentals are one, two and three unit rentals, which currently aren’t covered by the local law.

“So, if we want to have an agreement with Airbnb, we have to change the Local Law,” he said. “It expires at the end of September … I think the time is right.”

He compared it to imposing sales tax on internet retailers, which was done after lobbying from the brick-and-mortar stores. He also said that lawmakers are taking their time on this issue in an attempt to prevent "any unintended consequences," such as the repercussions that arose over proposed stricter regulation of secondhand dealers.

When asked for the length of stay, Fix said it would require more research, but offered that 30 days right now seems like the standard length.

While no decision was made, the county has to renew the Local Law before the end of September, likely extending it for three more years. It can add language to include Airbnb and similar companies to coincide with the renewal or it can wait until any time after Sept. 30.

Previously: County discussion focuses on local law pertaining to 'bed tax' status of Airbnb-type rental units

June 17, 2021 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in McAlpine Road, indian falls, pembroke, news.

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Photo by JoAnne Meiser of yesterday's sunset at McAlpine Road in Indian Falls.

June 17, 2021 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Darien.

Photo removed at the request of the homeowner who owns the camera.

The family of a dog that was struck by a car and killed on Harper Road in Darien yesterday is looking for the public's assistance in identifying the hit-and-run driver.

The dog belonged to the daughter of Heidi DeAngelo. The daughter saw a blue sedan, possibly the one in the photo above (perhaps a Chevy Impala) strike the dog. The photo comes from a neighbor's security camera. The driver did not stop, according to DeAngelo.

A complaint has been filed with the Sheriff's Office.

"We are really hoping someone out there will see it and either feel guilty and confess, or knows the person who hit him," Heidi DeAngelo said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 345-3000.

June 17, 2021 - 10:06am

The third time apparently wasn’t the charm for the Batavia Town Board in its quest to receive visual screening projections from Batavia Solar LLC for a ground-mounted, 1.65-megawatt solar systems on vacant land owned by the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. at 99 Med Tech Drive.

The issue has delayed the project, which will be located off R. Stephen Hawley Drive across from Genesee Community College, for several months as planners have requested – thus far unsuccessfully – for the developer to provide projection pictures of the screening around the solar panels.

Planners, at their Tuesday night meeting, took the referral off the table, thinking they would be ruling on a special use permit. But after a discussion about the visuals, they voted to place it back on the table.

The planning board maintains that one-, five- and 10-year simulations of how the property will look with adequate screenings are necessary to ensure the system is out of sight from the neighboring property of Robert and Michelle Wood.

Planning Board Chair Kathleen Jasinski informed the board Tuesday that officials of the Genesee County Economic Development Center contacted her and indicated that the Woods “were agreeable to the (proposed) screening and they wondered if we could deal with this without doing the projection pictures.”

Planner Don Partridge said that he also talked to the couple.

“I feel we can get along without it (projection photos),” Partridge said. “(If)) they do a double row of pine trees there, I think that will be sufficient.”

His colleagues had different ideas, however.

Steven Tanner said he wanted to see how it would look, not only from Hawley Drive, but from other roads in the vicinity, and Jon Long agreed.

“We’ve requested it a couple times so I don’t think it’s that big of a cost to the project,” Long said. “And then we have it on file if there are any problems down the road.”

Paul McCullough said it would set “a dangerous precedent” by not obtaining the documentation, prompting Jeremy Liles to agree, before Town Building Inspector Dan Lang said he didn’t think it would be “appropriate to make exceptions.”

“I would remain consistent with everything we’ve done with every other solar. I suggest that we do require them to show us the actual detail,” Lang said.

As a result, a consensus to get the visualizations was reached, and all members, except Partridge, voted to put the referral back on the table once again.

Rising Water Levels at Ag Park

In another development, planners voted to adopt an amended version of the generic environmental impact statement for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park on East Main Street Road in light of an increase in the daily amount of water being used at the facility.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain reported that the current water usage at the park, which is the home of HP Hood, has moved past the original 614,000 gallons per day threshold and that future projections put the usage at 1.8 million gallons per day.

“This is the first project that exceeded the original threshold in the generic environmental impact statement … by a significant amount,” Mountain said.

The project to which he was referring to is HP Hood’s installation of a 16-inch water main from the town line on Route 5 down to the Ag Park Drive entrance that will cross the road and tie into the park.

“That will be a direct connection to the Monroe County Water Authority water source,” Mountain said. “To date, all of the water has come directly out of the city on East Main and Cedar Street.”

Mountain said the reason for the change is “water chemistry.”

“The water authority water is very low in chlorides (low levels of chlorides prevent corrosion) and you can imagine how many pipes there are in the HP Hood facility. That will alleviate a lot of the corrosion issues that they’re having,” he explained.

While that will provide additional volume for the future, HP Hood also is building a new storage tank, which it will own. Mountain said the 16-inch water main will be dedicated to the Town of Batavia.

Mountain said the 1.8 million gallons per day level is the new threshold that is under consideration, adding that letters were sent out to involved agencies and businesses. He also noted that O-At-Ka Milk Products wishes to be included in the mix for more water.

He then advised planners it was up to them to determine whether they think it is a significant impact or a negative or minor impact (negative declaration). The board then voted to adopt a revision of the original finding statements for the Agri-Business Park as it pertains to the expanded water threshold.

June 17, 2021 - 9:59am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, Darien, scanner, wildlife.

A motorcycle vs. woodchuck accident with injuries is reported in the Town of Darien at Colby and Sharrick roads. The bike rider has a leg injury. Corfu Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 10:09 a.m.: The motorcyclist, in addition to having upper left leg pain, has an injured right eye and some abrasions on his right side. The woodchuck is reportedly deceased.

UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: There's a tree down, which is causing an unknown-type wire to bow about five feet off the ground. A first responder says it's not in the roadway and there's no footpath, so it's not impeding traffic.

June 16, 2021 - 8:54pm

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Update June 17, 10 a.m., press release from Batavia Development Corp.:

The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) will begin the process of seeking a new director of economic development.

Andrew Maguire, the current BDC director of economic development, has accepted a position with the Town of Batavia, his last day with the BDC will be June 30th.

"On behalf of the board of directors of the Batavia Development Corporation, we wish Andrew the very best in his new endeavor,” said BDC President Lori Aratari.

In the upcoming weeks the official employment posting and brochure will be listed on the BDC and City of Batavia’s websites -- www.bataviadevelopmentcorp.org and www.batavianewyork.com.

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Update June 16, 9:10 p.m. with comments from Maguire:

"I'm excited for the new opportunity as I see a great future for the Town of Batavia, as well as the city, and believe that the duties of this job are right in my skill set," Maguire said. "When I saw that it was advertised on the town's website, I felt that with my experience, I was a great fit and that it would be a positive career move. The town definitely has a ton of potential."

Maguire said he was grateful for the chance to serve the city with the Batavia Development Corp.

"I'm still a city resident and want the best for both the city and the town," he said.

When asked about the Ellicott Station project, that has yet to see activity on the former Soccio & Della Penna site, Maguire said it is "still poised to close with the Homes & Community Renewal agency by June 30 and that demolition and site cleanup will be starting soon."

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Andrew Maguire is leaving the city -- sort of -- and heading for the town.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post tonight announced the appointment of Maguire to the position of operations manager with the Town of Batavia, following an affirmative vote by the Town Board at its monthly meeting.

Maguire (pictured above) has served as director of economic development for the Batavia Development Corp. since November 2019.

Post said he will begin his full-time duties with the town in July on a date to be determined.

Predicting that he will be “an asset to the region,” Post said the town is fortunate to have Maguire on board, especially considering his experience as the clerk-treasurer for the Village of Oakfield for more than five years, where he oversaw billing software integration, administration and budgeting of water and wastewater.

“In Oakfield, Andrew ran the water and sewer operations there,” Post said. “He’s familiar with our software, he’s familiar with our metering system and our power connectivity. He was instrumental in getting the Village of Oakfield parallel pathed with the town as they were expanding and upgrading their system.”

Maguire’s primary responsibilities will focus on management of water and wastewater billing, meter reading and budgeting, but he also will assist with capital project planning and management, procurement of goods and services and administrative support of other town functions.

“Plus, he gained much experience in financing and grants during his time with the BDC,” Post said. “He’s very well rounded and he seems like a very smart guy … and I was very pleased to accept his application this evening.”

The position is a “new title for a similar position that a couple of other people have filled in the past,” Post said. Maguire’s starting salary is $74,880, which represents about a $15,000 raise from his BDC salary.

Post said the town has been funding Maguire’s duties by using existing staff and indicated the job will not affect the town tax rate or water and sewer rates. He said it will be funded primarily from the water and sewer accounts.

“We have seen what Andrew has been able to deliver and his thorough knowledge of the Sensus Flexnet system, water meters, and billing software the town has deployed. His knowledge of governmental finances, capital project management, grant administration, community planning, and communication skills will be an asset to the Town’s growth and prosperity,” Post added. “All of these skills are critical to delivering results and helping our community grow and prosper.”

Maguire holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from St. John Fisher College with a concentration in Finance. He is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Genesee.

As a lifelong resident of Batavia, he has served as a volunteer on numerous boards, committees, charitable and civic organizations. He and his wife, Jamie, have a newborn child, Greta.

Post said it is imperative to have an experienced professional running the water and wastewater operation, which continues to increase.

“We’re looking at the administration of over 3,000 water/sewer customers that we’re now serving in nine communities that we contract with, and probably soon to be 12,” Post said. “It’s a large undertaking and we need the staff for the future if we’re to be sustainable. We’ve got good growth and a lot of irons in the fire, and I am thinking that he will be an asset to the region, not just the town.”

Maguire could not be reached for comment tonight.

File photo taken by Mike Pettinella.

June 16, 2021 - 4:27pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) delivered a floor speech this afternoon in support of his legislation, the Help Wanted Act, and to raise concerns about the problems being caused by labor shortages nationwide. 

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

I rise today in support of my legislation the Help Wanted Act, which would reinstate work search requirements for unemployment benefits and end disincentives for work.

We have now gotten two job reports that fell far short of projections. 

Meanwhile, it was reported there was a record 9.3 million job openings.

In my home of Western New York, there are reports that restaurants are turning customers away, when they need them most, because they are short-staffed. 

In February, the Congressional Budget Office published a report stating our economy would return to pre-pandemic strength without additional government spending. 

Yet, the President and Democrats forced through a highly partisan and unrelated $2 trillion package.

The result is it has now become more lucrative to stay home than seek employment -- to the detriment of our economic recovery. 

Vaccines are rolling out, the CDC has updated their guidance, and positivity rates are dropping. 

It’s time to get back to work. 

Jacobs introduced the Help Wanted Act in May to address growing labor shortages in the United States in part from the enhanced unemployment benefits included in the last COVID-19 relief package.

Recently, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that 48 percent of small businesses surveyed were unable to fill open positions. Jacobs’ legislation currently has cosponsors from nine other states facing similar problems.

June 16, 2021 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, batavia, news, schools, education.

img_4398.jpg

With field trips canceled this school year because of COVID-19 restrictions, the staff at Jackson Primary today organized a "Field Day" for the students.

Besides a visit for Deputy Andrew Mullen with K-9 "Frankie" and City fire, activities for the kids include carnival games, dance, rock painting, parachute, and moving-up certificates.

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June 16, 2021 - 3:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, animal rescue, pet abuse, wildlife, batavia, Bethany.

An animal control officer headed to Bethany for a complaint that some ducks may be inadequately sheltered, is asked to stop at Walmart first. A caller says there's a dog tied to a cart corral in the last aisle in front of the grocery entrance.

There's an empty bowl by the dog and a sign that says "Do Not Pet."

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: A couple of deputies are heading to Walmart to assist the animal control officers who says a female whom she detained at the vehicle wants to leave. The female then got in the vehicle and started to leave "even though I told her not to," says the officer, but now the driver has stopped.

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.: Deputies are on scene.

UPDATE 3:29 p.m.: After speaking with the driver, all officers have cleared the scene. The animal control officer is continuing to the Bethany complaint, which is in the 10,000 block of Silver Road.

June 16, 2021 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, fire, Le Roy, scanner.

Le Roy's brush truck is called to the scene of Monday's barn fire at 9420 Warsaw Road. They are asked to proceed in nonemergency mode.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: The hot spots are out and the crew is picking up and preparing to leave.

June 16, 2021 - 2:03pm

Press release: 

The administrative phone line -- (585) 345-3000 -- at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is currently experiencing an outage.

For any nonemergency calls, please dial (585) 343-5000, and your call will be transferred to an internal extension. Another option available is to utilize email.  

We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that this issue is resolved shortly.

June 16, 2021 - 12:04pm

Noting that it was “bound to happen sooner or later,” Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman is overseeing a relatively inexperienced staff as he moves toward retirement after more than 24 years on the job.

Friedman provided a review of his department at Monday’s Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting, reporting that all five of his line assistant district attorneys were hired during the past 27 months, and when he retires at the end of this year, the office will have another new attorney.

He said he hopes that these attorneys – Kaitlynn Schmit, Joseph Robinson, Robert Shoemaker, Andrew DiPasquale and Aaron Moore – will continue to serve the county after his departure.

“I’d like to think that most of them will stay,” he said. “Eleven years ago, every attorney had more than 20 years’ experience. When I retire, nobody will have more than two and a half years. It’s a major change, and I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.”

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell, who has been an assistant DA for 30 years, is running unopposed in November to succeed Friedman.

Friedman was an assistant district attorney for six years and first assistant DA for nine years prior to becoming the DA.

He said it has yet to be determined if Finnell’s position will be filled internally or not.

In his report, Friedman said that operations have not returned to pre-pandemic conditions, stating that town and village courts have reopened but on a limited basis. County Court recently returned to full staffing but many matters are being handled virtually.

The county’s first post-COVID-19 felony jury trial is taking place this month.

“We have, not surprisingly, built up a substantial backlog of cases and it will take quite some time to get caught up,” he reported, adding that it is a cause for concern with many new employees on board.

He said he is requesting the creation of a temporary assistant DA position and also hopes to find an experienced prosecutor to fill in for another assistant DA who will be on parental leave.

Friedman reported that a Discovery Reform grant for $228,720 has been obtained, with $3,791 going to the Village of Le Roy, $48,898 to the City of Batavia and the remaining $176,031 to Genesee County. The latter amount fully covers the Discovery Reform expenses incurred for the one-year grant period by the DA’s office and Sheriff’s Office, he said.

PROBATION DEPARTMENT UPDATE

County Probation Director Timothy Michalak presented his department review as well, reporting that about 500 adults currently are on probation and that he expects that number to go up.

“(With bail reform,) you can’t put anybody in jail so, yes, I believe it will increase,” he said.

Michalak reported that the department’s probation officers are handling an average of 70 cases each, calling that number “not terrible – a bit over the 50 that is recommended,” but thinks that amount is bound to increase as the court system returns to normal.

He informed the committee of the department’s “Ce Check-In” software that enhanced its supervision during the pandemic with time, date and location stamps and, on smart phones, photo capability.

“Going forward, we’re going to continue using it to a smaller extent,” he said.

Concerning the department’s budget, Michalak said he saw no major issues, and anticipates receiving full reimbursement from New York State – not the 20 percent less than he had budgeted.

He also said Probation received $30,000 more in Department of Social Services shared services funding, and that covers a large percentage of two juvenile probation officers and one juvenile supervisor.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE RENEWS SRO PACTS

On another law enforcement front, the PSC recommended approval of renewals of memorandum of understanding with Alexander, Pembroke, Oakfield-Alabama school districts and Genesee Valley BOCES for school resource officers for the 2021-22 school year.

The Alexander contract covers a full year – July 1-June 30 – while the Pembroke and O-A pacts run from Sept. 1-June 30. Genesee Valley BOCES increased its coverage from 10 to 12 months.

The full year costs to each district and BOCES are in the $98,000 to $99,000 range.

Sheriff William Sheron submitted another resolution to accept $41,876 from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to continue the Community Service Sentencing Program and Pretrial Services Program for one year, starting July 1.

The sheriff also reported that the Village of Bergen wishes to renew a contract for additional road patrols for another year, effective June 1, at a cost not to exceed $13,500.

The PSC recommended for approval both the grant and increased road patrol resolutions.

June 16, 2021 - 11:38am
posted by Press Release in news, Byron-Bergen Elementary School, FFA, 4-H, agriculture, Farm Day.

Above, an FFA member teaches a younger student about livestock.  

Submitted photos and press release:

On Friday, June 11, the Byron-Bergen FFA brought agriculture education to the Kindergarten classes. Members of the Future Farmers of America introduced the younger students to a variety of animals including cows, sheep, goats and ducks.

The outdoor event on the Elementary School grounds was a collaboration between FFA advisor Jeffrey Parnapy and Kindergarten teacher Ayn Gardner.

“We reached out to local people who own animals, a farmer brought his tractor in, and we’re also learning about different kinds of feed,” Parnapy said. “Both 4H and FFA members are presenting their animals and answering the kindergarteners’ questions.”

In some cases, the younger students were able to touch the animals.

“I like petting the lambs,” said kindergartener Evelyn Haywood.

“Looking around today, I already think that this is going to have to be a yearly event,” Parnapy said. “Everyone is having a blast and I’m so excited that we were able to provide this experience for the kindergarten students.”

Upstate Milk donated milk and cheese sticks for all the students and the FFA provided goodie bags for participating elementary students.

First three photos courtesy of Amanda Dedie. Bottom photo courtesy of Ayn Gardner.

Above, 4H member participating in Byron-Bergen Farm Day.

Above, Byron-Bergen students.

Above, students learn about farm machinery.

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