Local Matters

Community Sponsors


October 20, 2021 - 8:30am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Eric Biscaro.


Update, 3 p.m.: Le Roy Village Mayor just reported that the Village Board will not be deciding the fate of this project tonight, but plans to complete the State Environmental Quality Review process. He said he is looking into scheduling a meeting for Nov. 1 for the vote, although that date has yet to be confirmed.


The housing development being proposed by a Batavia businessman returns to the public arena tonight when the Le Roy Village Board convenes its regular monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park.

Eric Biscaro’s plan to construct 30 duplex units for residents 50 and older on a 20-acre parcel of land off East Avenue in the village (photo at top) has drawn much attention over the past five months – and a great deal of opposition from a vocal group of citizens who live in the East Avenue, Poplar Lane, Orchard Drive neighborhood.

Those calling for the village board to turn down the project – which requires rezoning from Residential to Planned Unit Development – have given various reasons, including it’s not a good fit for the area, increased traffic and stormwater runoff.

However, there have been LeRoyans who have spoken favorably of the venture, which also includes extending East Avenue to accommodate 18 single-family building lots. Those supporting it have pointed to studies that show Le Roy (and Genesee County) lack adequate housing for seniors and also have mentioned the tax revenue the project would generate.

So, after a recommendation of approval by the Genesee County Planning Board, two previous well-attended public hearings, and some back-and-forth dialogue on The Batavian, the matter is back on the village board’s agenda, with proceedings to begin at 7 o’clock.

Mayor Greg Rogers, contacted earlier this week, said board members seem to be satisfied with traffic and stormwater runoff studies conducted by the CPL engineering firm hired by the village.

“Yes. We’ve reviewed CPL’s study of the water and traffic issues and they’re (CPL) good with that,” he said.

The pressing concern now, he said, is what to do about Biscaro’s offer to put the East Avenue extension in himself, with minimal assistance (around $30,000) in the way of stone, gravel and trucks from the village. The developer also is seeking a $7,000 cap on building permit fees (which represents about a 50 percent discount).

Rogers said that no decision has been made by the board as far as Biscaro putting the road in.

“He has proposed putting the majority of the roads in for the 60 units (senior housing complex) and the 18 building lots on an extension of East Avenue,” Rogers advised. “The board is looking at a commitment of $50,000 to $75,000 toward the road extension.”

The board is thinking about spending that much because the current village code stipulates that curbs and storm sewers come with the installation of new roads.

“That definitely will be part of the conversation Wednesday (tonight),” he said.

Biscaro, using his Clinton Crossings Adult Community as an example, contends that curbs and storm drains aren’t necessary and “do not make the neighborhood.”

“Curbs trap the water on the street and force it to the storm drains,” he said. “You all heard the complaints about water in the storm drains going into the culvert under East Avenue and on to the golf course. Why do it? It’s not necessary. Our stormwater plan already takes care of any water on that street without sending it on to anyone else.”

The owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, Biscaro said he has multiple plans that will meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requirements and will present those, as well as a Letter of Compliance, to the board.

He said the “pros” of the project far outweigh the “cons” when it comes to being a benefit for the Village of Le Roy.

Biscaro said he got involved with the village after receiving word from Rogers that the board was considering an investment of up to $1 million to extend East Avenue. The proposal also includes opening up South Avenue as an emergency exit/entrance to South Street.

“A vote for the project will lead to quality built patio homes with garages built for easy senior living with no maintenance and more importantly no worries, and a nice new street where beautiful single-family homes will be built,” Biscaro said. “Maybe someone’s children or siblings can build and stay in Le Roy.”

As he did at the last public hearing, Biscaro – who said he will be investing $9 million over the next five years -- brought up the positive tax implications for the village.

“The current annual tax receipts for that property is approximately $1,360 -- $400 to the village and $960 to the (Le Roy Central) school district,” said Biscaro, who is seeking a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement with the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “In just the first year alone, the village would get $2,400 and the school would receive $5,760.”

He said the cumulative totals after 10 years would equal $311,500 to the village and $747,600 to the school district.

“If the board votes against it, it’s the same $1,360 year after year,” he said.

Biscaro said he is committed to building something that will enhance the neighborhood, which has been called a “jewel” by its residents.

“The issue right now is that we have nothing at this location and very little income,” he said. “We need to work together to create something out of this scrub land section of the village, and make this development another gem of the neighborhood.”

October 19, 2021 - 10:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, corfu.

Two vehicles and a deer are reportedly involved in an accident in the area of 9888 Alleghany Road, Corfu.

No word on injuries.

Law enforcement dispatched.

UPDATE 10:41 p.m.: Five vehicles have now reportedly struck the deer.


October 19, 2021 - 3:24pm


As a Genesee County legislator representing the rural towns of Elba, Byron and Bergen, Christian Yunker said people are constantly coming up to him to ask when they will be getting broadband internet service in their area.

“What do I tell them?” Yunker asked on Monday, pointing his question to Paul Gavin, the just-hired executive director of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council.

Gavin was at the legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse to introduce himself and inform the committee of some of the agency’s priorities heading into 2022.

He was joined by Jay Gsell, the former longtime county manager who was employed as G/FLRPC’s interim executive director over the past year, and Richard Sutherland, a planner with the organization that serves the nine Finger Lakes Region counties, including Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming.

Gavin’s reply focused on initiating a broadband internet gaps analysis, which could take up to six months to complete, and then lining up financing, addressing any issues that invariably will pop up, and contracting with an Internet Service Provider.

“I would tell them that we’re at least a year away,” Gavin said, adding that the process would be shortened with the use of local and/or state funds. “(By having to obtain) federal funding, it takes longer.”

Gsell, who was charged with streamlining the agency’s operations in the temporary role, said that Genesee and Wyoming counties have yet to reach a level where they can take a broadband internet plan to a third party (such as Spectrum or Empire Access).

County Manager Matt Landers said Genesee has “already informally set aside a portion of our ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act money) to go toward this.”

“I know that some of our towns are better positioned – and have some funds set aside – to implement it,” he said.

Sutherland said that New York has authorized a broadband gap study for every county, looking for citizen participation to determine internet speed, availability in certain areas and what people would be willing to pay for the service.

He said the state’s Public Service Commission is hoping to complete the study by May 2022.

Landers said Genesee can’t enact a plan without countywide data of where the gaps are with all of its providers – noting that most information is proprietary.

It’s important to know the financial means of the towns and “critical to have that data first,” he said.

Gavin suggested that counties pressure the PSC by emphasizing the urgency in getting something done and to work with the G/FLPLC to implement a strategy that works best.

A Dunkirk native, Gavin is joining the regional planning council after holding a similar position with the Gulf Regional Planning Commission in Biloxi, Miss. Previous to that, he worked for the Port of Pascagoula (Miss.) and Department of Transportation in New York and Nebraska.

He is a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy and St. Bonaventure University. He and his wife and daughter will be residing in the Rochester area, he said.

Gavin credited Gsell for his role in the G/FLRPC’s designation as an Economic Development District.

“That’s important … as it allows you to spend economic development administration funds and, as you know, they’re really flowing from the federal government right now,” he advised.

He said the G/FLRPC is available to assist counties with grant writing, strategic planning, land planning.

“We want you to turn to us and look for us to help you. Yes, you can go to consulting firms and yes, they will do a fabulous job, and yes, you will pay much, much more for that service that we can provide for you,” he said.

Gavin and Gsell said the agency is seeking a 10 percent increase in annual county contributions, from $9,600 to $10,600. The last increase came in 2002.

“The preliminary 2022 budget draft includes many operating expense reductions and continues our long-term history of strategic yet frugal budgeting and cost containment,” Gsell reported.

Photo: Jay Gsell, left; Paul Gavin and Richard Sutherland. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

October 19, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Grand Jury, news, alexander, notify, pembroke, batavia, Le Roy, byron, Alabama, Stafford.

Kaleb J. Bobzien is indicted on counts of strangulation in the second degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, two counts of harassment in the second degree, two counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, four counts of criminal contempt in the second degree, and three counts of tampering with a witness in the fourth degree. On June 24, in the Town of Batavia, Bobzien allegedly applied pressure to the throat of another person and caused that person to lose consciousness for a period of time. He's also accused of blocking the nose and mouth of another person, a person under age 17.  He also allegedly threatened a victim. He allegedly broke a vape pen that belonged to the victim. He also allegedly damaged the backpack of the underage victim. He allegedly violated an order of protection. He allegedly tried to stop a person from testifying in the case. 

Aaron M. Hatt is indicted on counts of burglary in the second degree, criminal contempt in the first degree, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated family offense, criminal contempt in the second degree. Hatt is accused of entering a building on Broadway in  Alexander on April 28 with the intent to commit a crime within the building. He is accused of violating an order of protection at that time by intentionally harassing, annoying,  or threatening a person in that residence. He is accused of applying pressure to the throat of a family member.  There was a  child present at the time of the alleged offense. 

Robin S. Brooks is indicted on a count of bail jumping in the first degree.  Brooks is accused of failing to appear for a court hearing on April 20  or within  30 days of the scheduled appearance.

Cesar G. Molina is indicted on a count of driving while ability impaired by drugs as a felony because of a prior DWI conviction.  Molina is accused of driving under the influence on 29 December in the Town of Byron.

Jarrett C.  Coniglio is indicted on two counts of assault in the second degree, a  count of resisting arrest, and a count of obstructing governmental administration. Coniglio is accused of causing injury to a  police officer while attempting to stop the officer from performing his official duties on  July 23 in the Town of Alabama. He's accused of causing injury to another person with a glass bottle. 

Mark L. Farley is indicted on a count of criminal contempt in the first degree, a  count of unlawful imprisonment, a  count of harassment in the second degree, a  count of burglary in the second degree, and a count of criminal contempt in the second degree, On Dec. 31, Farley allegedly violated an order of protection at a  residence on  Harvester Avenue by striking or threatening another person. He allegedly restrained another person. He allegedly went into the building with the intent to commit a crime. 

James D. Weathers is indicted on a count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.  Weathers is accused of knowingly possessing a loaded Glock 19  handgun while in the Town of Stafford on  Oct. 31, 2020.

Connor L.  Andrews is indicted on a count of criminal possession of a  controlled substance in the fifth degree, a count of driving while ability impaired by drugs, and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th degree. Andrews was charged after being stopped in the Town of Le Roy on May 3. He was allegedly found in possession of cocaine, meth, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone.

Timothy J.  Passage is indicted on a count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree.  Passage is accused of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at the Tim Horton's in Pembroke on March 20.

Jamie A. Dutton is indicted on a  count of criminal mischief in the third degree, criminal trespass in the second degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Dutton is accused of damaging the property of another person valued at more than $250 on Feb. 27 at a location in the City of Batavia. He was allegedly unlawfully in a property with permission and in possession of cocaine.

October 19, 2021 - 2:10pm
posted by James Burns in news, terry hills, GoArt!.


GO Art! Of Genesee and Orleans Counties held the 2nd annual Golf Ball drop at Terry Hills Golf Course and Banquet Facility on Tuesday morning. The event had been delayed by weather. Event sponsor Zeliff Aviation dropped a few thousand golf balls on a beautiful fall day over the course. Jerianne Bruce was the grand prize winner of $2,000 and Dave Beatty and Mathew Johnson were runners-up winning prizes donated by Terry Hills. 






October 19, 2021 - 1:49pm



Photos: Tim Yaeger, left, coordinator, and Gary Patnode, deputy coordinator, of Genesee County Emergency Management Services check out the features of the department's new Autel Robotics EVO II drone that will be used to assist in emergency situations. The 8-pound device can fly to a maximum height of 400 feet, has hovering capability and a memory feature that enables it to return from the point that it was launched. Currently, Dan Coffey, a New York State fire instructor and deputy fire coordinator for the Center Battalion, is the only authorized pilot, but others will be trained to operate it. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Emergency Management Services receives its first drone 

October 19, 2021 - 12:37pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Le Roy, ice skating rink, outdoor recreation.


Le Roy’s town and village officials are tackling outdoor recreation from both perspectives: liquid and frozen water. 

A new spray park is to begin sprinkling by or before June 2022 at the current wading pool site at Wildwood Park (See "Le Roy residents will be gettin' misty ..."). But long before that, a temporary winter recreation will be in place before the end of this year, Le Roy Town Supervisor Jim Farnholz says.

“Our hope is to have that up by December,” Farnholz said Tuesday to the Batavian.

A rectangular-shaped ice skating rink will be available at Bunnel Park, weather permitting. Beyond the makeshift structure filled with water, all that’s required are brisk temperatures to freeze it. Then lace up and glide to your heart’s content. 

Farnholz mentioned the more romantic — and nostalgic —  notion of couples and families skating on Oatka Creek. Those days have ended with fluctuating climates and safety concerns for people going out on the creek.

“It’s tough to make sure it’s frozen all the way,” he said. “(The rink) will have much longer access and much earlier access.”

Funding for the ice skating rink will come from federal COVID-19 relief funds, officially called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, he said. 

Due to complications from COVID-19, Congress moved to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to provide $350 billion for state and local governments. The Act officially became law in March 2021. This bill provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses. For local governments, the funding amount was determined by population, and these municipalities are to receive their allocations in two installments – the first half 60 days after enactment and the other half one year later. 

Photo: File photo from 2018 of hockey on the Oatka Creek.

October 19, 2021 - 11:25am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Tonawanda Seneca Nation, GCEDC.

The vice president of Operations for the Genesee County Economic Development Center today said he “wholeheartedly agrees” with a statement from the Tonawanda Seneca Nation calling for improved working relations between the two entities in connection with the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

Lawyers for the Tonawanda Seneca Nation put out a press release over the weekend, reporting that a settlement was reached with the GCEDC after legal action by the Nation over the Plug Power project was dismissed by Acting Supreme Court Judge Charles Zambito.

The settlement spells out several items worked out between the Nation and the GCEDC. The press release indicated that the Nation is “hopeful that the agreement can be the framework for a more collaborative relationship with GCEDC and Plug Power moving forward.”

“I wholeheartedly agree with that statement,” said Mark Masse, GCEDC VP of Operations. “We certainly want to work together and be good neighbors as we continue to develop the STAMP site.”

Masse said the main part of the stipulation is that the Nation would not pursue further litigation on the Plug Power project, and it wouldn’t appeal and would challenge any of the other permits that would be issued “as long as they’re issued in the normal course of business.”

“So, some of things we did agree to is to have an on-site archaeological monitor, which is something that they requested,” he said. “There are some wetland areas and a buffer along the western boundary that will be under a conservation easement that ensures there will be no encroachment upon their territory. We had proposed a buffer anyways.”

The settlement also calls for assistance with job training for businesses that are at the STAMP site, prohibiting Plug Power from using pesticides on the protected lands and having cultural resource monitors onsite during earthmoving activities to help identify and protect any unanticipated cultural resource discoveries.

Additionally, around 200 acres (near Seneca Nation territory) of the 1,250-acre site will be protected from development.

Masse said that the GCEDC plans to develop only about 650 acres because the rest of the area is protected wetlands.

No money changed hands as a result of the settlement, Masse added.

October 19, 2021 - 9:16am

Recovery of the lagoons at Batavia Waste Water Treatment Plant is heading in the right direction, according to the city’s attorney, but the end to limiting the discharge from the O-At-Ka Milk Products facility is likely several weeks away.

“We’re closely monitoring the ponds and are seeing signs of progress to determine if the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) recovery is on track,” George Van Nest said on Monday. “We’re checking it daily, twice a day, and also monitoring O-At-Ka’s loads. But the ponds are still not fully recovered at DO (Dissolved Oxygen) levels and they need to sustain (permitted levels).”

Over the past few weeks, O-At-Ka has had to pay companies to truck wastewater from its Cedar Street plant due to discovery of excessive levels of biosolids being discharged into the WWTP, costing the company around $25,0000 per day, Chief Executive Officer Bill Schreiber said.

O-At-Ka has called upon the city to sit down with company officials and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to find “a three-party solution” to bridge the gap until the Upstate Niagara-owned business completes a $6 million on-site pre-treatment plant project in the next six to eight weeks.

Contacted on Monday, Schreiber said he was “hopeful that we will be able to schedule a three-party meeting in the near future.”

“Our goal remains to discuss the implementation of potential solutions to accelerate the recovery of the city’s lagoons,” he said.

BOD Load Levels Are Improving

Van Nest said the city had no choice but to send a cease-and-desist letter to O-At-Ka on Sept. 23 because the BOD loads were too high.

‘We have seen significant reductions as a result of the trucking, but even with the trucking, there have been only three days below the permitted level, and closer to the level on several days,” he said.

The code gives the municipality the right to cease-and-desist, and allows the city to shut off discharges to the system completely, he said.

“The city has not done that. We’re working to get the discharge limits met and in compliance while the pond recovers.”

Van Nest said that O-At-Ka’s offer to pay any fines incurred for excessive discharge into the WWTP is not an answer to the problem.

“The ponds need to operate properly. It’s not a matter of we can indemnify you (the city) by discharging beyond the permitted level,” he said, adding that the city is responsible to its taxpayers.

“It’s taking some time to recover. We’re looking for sustainability and believe that is fairly a short-term to get to the point where engineers (working with the city) and (the WWTP) operator is comfortable with (the levels). These are 30-acre ponds, and the volumes are huge.”

'Permit Sets The Conditions'

Van Nest, when asked about a three-party solution as proposed by Schreiber and John Gould, Upstate Niagara chairman of the board, said “the solutions they are pushing for are related to the plant … and the (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit sets the conditions.”

“The city is open to meeting with O-At-Ka and its engineers,” he said. “We’re ready, willing and able to sit down with them and look at other potential solutions.”

Still, he said he doesn’t believe any of the alternatives offered by O-At-Ka will reduce the time needed for the ponds to recover to permitted DO levels.

“They mentioned cleaning the diffusers. That would be a public project that needs to be bid, let and issued, and funded. It’s a long process that would take a lot of time,” he said. “And how much of an impact would that have on the oxygen levels in the pond?”

Van Nest said sampling data showing elevated BOD and TSS (Total Suspended Solids) levels indicate that O-At-Ka increased its production capacity beyond its pre-treatment capacity.

Schreiber countered that by mentioning that the characteristics of O-At-Ka’s wastewater haven’t changed.

City Has Been Collecting Surcharges

“These are the same loads we’ve been putting down historically,” he said. “We’ve paid the city surcharges for those loads. They’re well aware of what the characteristics of what our wastewater have been and they’ve happily collected those surcharges.”

He said O-At-Ka has paid approximately $60,000 per quarter in surcharges, which are for BOD and TSS over the permitted level of 300 parts per million.

O-At-Ka’s existing pre-treatment plant is between 15 and 20 years old. In January of this year, the company’s board of directors approved a $6 million capital project to put in a new pre-treatment plant (located off Cedar Street).

“Originally, we had planned to have that up at the end of October or early November, but like everybody else, we’ve experienced a number of supply chain challenges that have pushed the date out to mid-December,” Schreiber said.

“But, again, looking to control the things we can control – such as flows down the drain – we’ve redoubled our efforts to expedite getting components here, and we think we’ll be able to get it operational between the middle of November and early December.”

Even if that’s up and running in five weeks, it would cost O-At-Ka around $875,000 to haul the wastewater to other locations.

Schreiber said O-At-Ka typically discharges around 575,000 gallons of wastewater – a milky water mixed with detergent – to the WWTP. Now, with the restrictions, that amount is 475,000 to 500,000 gallons per day.

Pre-Treatment Upgrade Underway

O-At-Ka’s current pre-treatment operation consists of two separate 150,000-gallon equalization tanks that balance pH and BOD loading, Schreiber said. The wastewater flows to the Primary Dissolved Air Flotation, which can process 360 gallons per minute, removing 25 percent of the solids.

After that, it goes to the digester, removing organic materials at 330 gallons per minute, and leaves an Immobilized Cell Bioreactor and flows through tubes that mix wastewater with chemicals to provide coagulation and flocculation. Lastly, the wastewater flows through the Secondary DAF, removing 85 to 90 percent of solids.

“The pre-treatment plant upgrades will double EQ capacity and significantly enhances the ability to remove BOD and TSS,” Schreiber said.

He said the new EQ tank is 600,000 gallons and the new moving Bed Bio Reactor can process 12,000 pounds of BOD per day. The company also has purchased three 250-horsepower blowers to make the process more efficient, and is installing an additional DAF capable of 540 gallons per minute to augment the existing unit.

Previously: O-At-Ka offers alternatives, claims city is protected as it seeks to end hauling of wastewater from its facility

October 19, 2021 - 7:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, news.

There are electrical wires down in the roadway in the area of 6749 Townline Road,  Byron.

Fire police are requested for traffic control.  Traffic is being blocked at Ivison Road.

A pole is down.

We do not know the cause.

Byron and South Byron fire departments are handling the call.  Law enforcement is also on scene.

October 18, 2021 - 9:11pm

Genesee County Emergency Management Services received its first drone today, the department’s coordinator reported to the county legislature’s Public Service Committee.

Tim Yaeger said the drone, which actually is the county’s second (the Health Department also has one), will be used in situations involving hazardous materials, fire, search & rescue and other public safety issues.

He said the drone cost about $11,000 and was bought with Homeland Security funds. The type of drone that could be purchased, and the policies and procedures governing its use are set by New York State.

"In public safety terms, this is a beginner's drone," Yaeger said. "We wanted to start small and expand based on need."

Yaeger said the applications are varied -- from damage assessment to situational awareness to assistance in active fires and post-fire investigation to search-and-rescue operations. The drone features a thermal imaging camera attached to the regular camera.

One person has been trained as a pilot and a couple others will follow in that role, Yaeger said, noting that training will take place at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.

Public demonstrations will take place in the near future, he advised.

Yaeger said drones were one of the topics discussed at the 2021 Homeland Security Conference in Las Vegas from Aug. 29-Sept. 3. He was able to represent Genesee with expenses paid for by a grant provided to the county.

“We’re beginning to see drones up in the air and flying illegally, outside of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certifications that they were given,” he said. “It’s something to be on the radar – that we have to look at for primarily large gathering facilities. Darien Lake comes to mind.”

He said that people are using drones to drop basketballs filled with contraband into prison yards.

“A basketball with things that aren’t supposed to be in prison, like cell phones. They fly over the top of the fence and they drop the basketball. The basketball bounces and they think it’s just recreational equipment that was left out by someone,” he said. “Now, they’re tracking these and it was an absolutely amazing technology.”

Yaeger also said technology is being utilized by emergency management and law enforcement to combat civil unrest.

“Getting better information and critical information back to the EOCs (Emergency Operations Centers) and back to law enforcement and 911 Centers,” he said. “It’s just coming faster and faster as we move through these uses of technology.”

He said emergency managers are being instructed to consider diversity in their communities in developing operational strategies.

“How we operated 30 years ago when fire, EMS and law enforcement within our population is not how we should be operating today. So, there are a lot of lessons learned by us reaching out to those communities,” he said. “Sometimes were in a silo and we think we know what those citizens are thinking … “

Yaeger said his staff will look at examples of communities that have initiated effective outreach programs.

Conference seminars also dealt with the collapse of the apartment complex in Florida and cybersecurity, Yaeger reported.

Ninety-eight people died when the 12-story Champlain Towers South collapsed in Surfside, near Miami, in the early morning hours of June 24.

Calling it a “very depressing event,” Yaeger said the seminar provided insight into "the psyche of the first responders to go to an event with very few survivors if any, and how we treat those first responders mentally to deal with those types of things … and also seeing those first responders deal with the anguish and disappointment that they’re not able to help.”

“It was not a very uplifting presentation but it was very well done,” he noted. “Just to see what other communities have done and how they deal with those mental issues that are out there, for not just the families of the victims … but, more importantly, from our perspective, the first responders and how to deal with that.”

On the subject of cybersecurity, he said National Grid personnel are concerned about the vulnerability of infrastructure, telecommunications, power systems and transportation systems.

He said emergency managers need to have a contingency plan in the event of a cyber-attack.

October 18, 2021 - 7:24pm


When it comes to being prepared for natural disasters, especially weather-related events, Genesee County is flying above the storm.

That was the message shared this afternoon by Judith Levan, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Buffalo Office, as she announced the county’s standing as an NWS StormReady community.

Levan and Mike Fries, NWS warning coordination meteorologist, presented the StormReady office sign and certificate, to Tim Yaeger, coordinator of the county’s Emergency Management Services department, at a meeting of the County Legislature’s Public Service Committee at the Old County Courthouse.

“It is with great pleasure that I am here to represent the National Weather Service to present a StormReady community sign to Genesee County for its efforts to become recognized as a Storm Ready community,” she said. “In particular, I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to Tim Yaeger … for the tremendous effort he has exhibited to accomplish the goals set forth in the program.”

Levan said that EMS employees have cultivated a strong working relationship with the Buffalo NWS Office, adding that she and her staff “recognize the diligent effort to maintain community readiness in anticipation of natural disasters of any type.”

“We do not look forward to any other natural disasters, however, if and when another does occur, you can be confident that officials in the county have improved their communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property. You are an excellent example for other municipalities in New York State and I applaud you for your efforts,” she said.

Noting that severe weather or flood warnings are ineffective if they aren’t communicated to those potentially affected, Levan said that the Genesee County-NWS partnership is such that “all aspects of communication, warning reception and response are sufficient as possible and that there are many backups in place in case one or more systems fail.”

She said that several requirements must be met to be recognized as a StormReady community:

-- The establishment of a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;

-- Having multiple ways to receive severe weather forecasting warnings to alert the public;

-- Creating a system that monitors local weather conditions;

-- Promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars and education;

-- Developing a formal hazardous weather plan that includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency response exercises.

StormReady communities have the improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during the event,” Levan said. “I’m happy to say that Genesee County has not only met these criteria, but has substantially exceeding them in many categories.”

Photo: From left, Legislator Gordon Dibble, Tim Yaeger, Judith Levan and Mike Fries. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

October 18, 2021 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, Pavilion, bergen, Le Roy.

Tommy Crawford, 32, of Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, criminal impersonation, unlicensed operation, aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to stop at a stop sign. Crawford was arrested on Oct. 10 following a traffic stop at 1:09 a.m. on  Miller Avenue. He is accused of providing police with a false name. After Crawford was identified, officers determined he was the subject of multiple outstanding warrants issued by the City of Batavia along with several issued by other agencies. He was also allegedly in possession of crack cocaine. He was arraigned in City Court and bail was set at $100.

Devon A. Wright, 19, of Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration and unlicensed operation  3rd. Wright was arrested on Oct. 9 for charges stemming from an incident on Sept. 29 on  Dellinger Avenue, Batavia. He is accused of fleeing from a vehicle and locking himself inside a residence following a traffic stop.  He was issued an appearance ticket.  For prior coverage of Wright,  click here.

Anthony Natrigo, 23, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and no or inoperable tail lamps. Natrigo was stopped at 2:17 a.m., Oct. 9, on East Main Street by a Batavia police officer. He was processed at police headquarters and released on tickets.

Katherin A. O’Brien, 28, of Pavilion, is charged with felony  DWI. O'Brien was stopped by State Police in  Warsaw on  Saturday. She allegedly had a BAC of .17. She was arraigned in Town of Warsaw Court and released on her own recognizance.

Stephanee Mae Surabian, 33, of State Street Road,  Batavia,  is charged with grand larceny 3rd and five counts of offering a false instrument for filing. Surabain allegedly failed to report to  DSS that the father of her children was residing in her home or that he was earning wages while receiving benefits. Surabain allegedly received $7,919 in  SNAP benefits she was not entitled to receive. She was arraigned in Batavia Town  Court and released on her own recognizance.

Sarita Gajmerkami, 28, of  Chestnut Ridge,  is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18  or greater, and failure to keep right. Gajmerkami was stopped at 7:26 p.m., Oct. 14, on  Route 33, Bergen, by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush. She was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released on an appearance ticket.

Diana Marie Walworth, 33, of Town Pump  Circle, Spencerport, is charged with felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and driver view obstructed. Walworth was stopped at 5:29 a.m., Oct. 10, on  I-490 in  Le Roy by Deputy Trevor Sherwood. She was issued an appearance ticket.


October 18, 2021 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in rainbow, batavia, news.


Photo by Jason Smith

October 18, 2021 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Society of Model Engineers, Call Arena, batavia, news.


The Genesee Society of Model Engineers Inc.'s Giant Train Show made a spectacular return Sunday to Call Arena at GCC growing 1,150 attendees and 100 vendors.

"The event was the first major train show in our area, post-pandemic, and attracted one of the largest number of patrons that we’ve seen in the past 5 years," said Mike Pyszczek, the show's chairman.

He praised GCC for providing a safe and supportive environment for the event.

The next train show, the organization's 100th, is scheduled for April 3, 2022.

The club was founded in Batavia and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019. 

"We have been holding spring and fall train shows since the early ’70s at various venues in the Batavia area," Pyszczek said. "We began using the Richard C. Call Arena at GCC when it first opened in 2018 and have grown the event to be one of the largest hobby shows in Upstate NY."

The Club's annual open house is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 4, at its clubhouse in the Village of Oakfield during the village holiday celebration.








October 18, 2021 - 1:55pm
posted by Press Release in news, point breeze yacht club.


Press release:

The Point Breeze Yacht Club held its Annual Members' meeting and dinner on Saturday, October 16 in the clubhouse at Godfrey’s Pond.

Members came from Buffalo, Rochester, Batavia and Orleans County to enjoy a nice fall day at Godfrey’s with a great dinner catered by D & R Depot of Le Roy.

The Point Breeze Yacht Club is based at Orleans County Marine Park which is located on the Oak Orchard River at Point Breeze.

Anyone interested in becoming a member may contact the Commodore at [email protected].

Submitted photo: From left, Commodore Bob Bialkowski, Vice Commodore Erik Roth, Webmaster Bob Turk, Port Captain William Elliott, Acting Secretary Dan Schuth, Treasurer Madeline Bialkowski, Rear Commodore Emrys March. The secretary is Marietta Schuth. 

October 18, 2021 - 12:58pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, City of Batavia Police Department, Otis Street.

The City of Batavia Police Department has made two arrests connected to an incident brought to the attention of City Council by an Otis Street resident at the governing body’s Sept. 13 meeting.

“The arrests are the result of one of the incidents he (Ronald Yantz) spoke of at an earlier meeting,” Police Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed to The Batavian.

Released today via its Crime Watch police blotter platform, Batavia PD reported the following arrests:

Brooke M. Ayala, 36, of Batavia, Endangering the welfare of a child, Criminal Nuisance, 11:28 PM, Monday, August 23, 2021, Otis Street. On 10/7/2021, Ayala was arrested on the above charges. The arrest comes after an investigation into an incident on 8/23/2021, on Otis Street. Ayala was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court on 10/19/2021.

Kelly L Wells, 57, of Batavia, Criminal Nuisance, 11:28 PM, Monday, August 23, 2021, Otis Street. On 10/7/2021, Wells was arrested on the above charge. The arrest comes after an investigation into an incident on 8/23/2021, on Otis Street. Wells was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court on 10/19/2021.

Yantz appeared at the City Council meeting to inform Council of ongoing unruly and disruptive behavior by people living in a house across the street from him on Otis Street.

At the time, Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said the police department and the code enforcement department would do all that was possible to rectify the situation, with Heubusch indicating that there was an open investigation and charges were pending.

At the Oct. 12 City Council meeting, Yantz returned, this time thanking the board and police department for their efforts as things have calmed down on that section of the street.

Previously: City of Batavia leaders, police taking steps to help Otis Street couple deal with disruptive neighbors

October 18, 2021 - 9:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, news, notify.


A 37-year-old Oakfield man was arrested in Erie County yesterday and charged with the murder of his father at the home they shared in Oakfield.

Sixty-nine-year-old Martin Maher was found dead in his home at 32 Drake Street after deputies were dispatched to his house for a welfare check at 10:57 a.m. because family members had been unable to contact Maher.

Deputies found Maher deceased and that he was the apparent victim of a homicide.

Upon investigation, detectives identified Nicholas M. Martin as the suspect.  He was located in Erie County at 3:35 p.m.

He is charged with murder in the second degree. He was arraigned in Town of Oakfield Court and ordered held without bail.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office believes this was an isolated incident and that there is no threat to public safety. 

Assisting in the investigation are State Police, the Erie County Sheriff's Office, the Coroner's Office, and the District Attorney's Office.  The investigation is ongoing.

October 18, 2021 - 9:43am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.33, up six cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.17. The New York State average is $3.43 – up eight cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.25. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $3.38 (up five cents from last week)
  • Buffalo - $3.36 (up five cents from last week)
  • Ithaca - $3.43 (up seven cents from last week)
  • Rochester - $3.42 (up seven cents from last week)
  • Rome - $3.44 (up eight cents from last week)
  • Syracuse - $3.39 (up six cents from last week)
  • Watertown - $3.42 (up eight cents since last week)

Gas prices took a big jump over the past two weeks with national gas prices increasing 13 cents in two weeks.  Total domestic gasoline stocks decreased along with gasoline demand. Despite that drop in demand, which would typically bring prices down, gas prices increased. But high crude prices (above $80 per barrel) remain the main culprit for rising pump prices. As crude prices remain elevated, pump prices will likely follow suit.

From Gas Buddy:

"The national average closed the week by climbing to yet another fresh seven-year high, as the price of oil continues to drag gas prices along for the wild ride, leaving motorists on empty," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "With OPEC holding back oil production and strong global oil demand, the situation will no doubt pave the road with even higher gas prices in the weeks ahead. Until several bottlenecks ease, including supply chains and low global inventories of oil, natural gas and coal, we'll be stuck feeling the pinch of rising oil and gasoline prices. The bad news is that for now, all I see is the upward trend at the pump continuing into the weeks ahead with no sign of relief just yet."

October 17, 2021 - 9:15pm
posted by James Burns in news, Batavia Downs, Wiener Dog Race.


After missing some time due to Covid-19,  Batavia Downs continued Family Fun Day and Weiner dog races Sunday afternoon. 

The Downs offered free pony rides, horse drawn wagon rides, magic shows and Mr. Squigels as entertainment for the children as well as food and beverage specials. Attendance and spirits were high as the fall weather cooperated for the festivities. 

Two of the crowd favorites were back as well: $1 hot dogs and wiener dogs. While both were enjoyed by all, the wiener dog races drew the most attention. 

The wiener dog race was stacked full of past winners and dominated by 7 year olds.  After nine heats, there was a "wiener take all" final.  

This year's champion repeated from 2018, Louie (pictured above). His trainers Bruce and Laurie attribute his speed to his love of whipped dairy desserts, specifically what kind? They politely requested that their secret no be divulged to prevent it from being copied and "whipped" next year. 
















Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button