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December 14, 2020 - 2:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Le Roy, bergen, alexander, elba, Oakfield.

Darazian W. Williams, 27, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, (inset photo right) is charged with: first-degree gang assault -- causing serious physical injury; burglary of a dwelling -- and causing injury; third-degree criminal mischief -- damaging another person's property valued at greater than $250; and fourth-degree conspiracy. Darazian was arrested after an investigation into an incident, which occurred Nov. 8 on Jerome Place in the City of Batavia. He was arraigned Dec. 4 and held in jail on unspecified bail. He is due to return to Batavia City Court at 2 p.m. on Jan. 13. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Austin Hedges, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Danny D. Williams Sr., 32, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, (inset photo left) is charged with: first-degree gang assault; first-degree burglary; third-degree criminal mischief, and fourth-degree conspiracy. He was arrested in connection with a distrubance at 10:22 p.m. Nov. 8 on Jerome Place. He was arrainged Dec. 4 in Batavia City Court and put in jail on $30,000 cash bail, $100,000 bond or $100,000 partially secured bond. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Connor Borchert, assisted by Officer Alec Roberts.

James A. Centner, 41, of Vallance Road, Le Roy, was arrested Dec. 11 after a two-vehicle head-on collision at about 7 p.m. on West Main Street in the Village of Le Roy. One person who was driving a Chevy Suburban was injured in the accident. Centner, the driver of a pickup truck, was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and traffic violations for failing to use designated lane, drinking in a vehicle on the highway, and refusal to take a breath test. It is alleged that he was leaving the area of Tops Market when he turned onto Route 5 and drove in the wrong lane, causing the collision. Following his virtual arraignment, he was released to a third party. The driver of the Suburban was transported to the hospital by LeRoy Ambulance Service with non-life-threatening injuries. During this investigation, it was also alleged that Centner's vehicle was involved in a minor motor-vehicle accident with no injuries while in the parking lot of Tops Market prior to the head-on crash, and this also is being investigated.

Bleyke Zhaviante Armonde Culver, 24, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with: obstruction of governmental administration; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; unlicensed operation; failure to yield to an emergency vehicle; and speeding. At 11:13 a.m. on Dec. 10, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a male refusing to leave the Department of Social Services on East Main Street Road. Law enforcement responded and were advised he was operating a vehicle while his privilege to do so was suspended by New York authorities. A marked Sheriff's Office patrol car located the vehicle attempted to make a traffic stop by activating its overhead emergency lights. The vehicle allegedly failed to yield and led police on a vehicle pursuit. It continued through the City of Batavia and ended up returning to Culver's Walnut Street residence. He was taken into custody at 11:24 a.m. without incident then taken to jail for processing. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Tower, assisted by Deputy Ryan DeLong, and they were also assisted by members of the Batavia Police Department.

Ethan M. Conrad, 20, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated -- with a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI -- common law; and moving from lane unsafely. He was arrested Nov. 26 after an investigation of a single-vehicle accident on River in the city in which the vehicle struck the River Street guard rail. He was released with traffic tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Alec Roberts. 

Michelle M. Hanssen, 54, of Chestnut Ridge Road, Middleport, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated; DWI; failure to stop at stop sign; moving from lane unsafely; and operating a motor vehicle while using a portable electronic device. At 7:11 p.m. on Dec. 12, Hanssen was arrested after a one-vehicle accident on Lewiston Road in Oakfield. She was allegedly intoxicated by alcohol and crashed her car. She was issued appearance tickets and is due in Oakfield Town Court on Jan. 18. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier.

Cody Middlebrooks, 30, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested after an incident on South Main Street in Batavia at 10:24 a.m. on Nov. 23. It is alleged that he damaged a cell phone which was valued at more than $250. He was processed then released with an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Jan. 19. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Conner Borchert and Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

Vicki Lynne Manns, 50, of Brookville Road, Alexander, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; DWI -- with a BAC of .08 percent or more; moving from lane unsafely; and unreasonable speed under special hazards. At 10:50 p.m. Dec. 12, deputies responded to the intersection of Stroh Road and Maplewood Road in Alexander for a report of a vehicle off the road. After an investigation, Manns was arrested on the charges. She was issued appearance tickets for Alexander Town Court and is due there Dec. 15. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, assisted by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

Christian M. Deluna, 19, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: second-degree harassment; burglary; criminal mischief; and conspiracy. Deluna was arrested after an incident that occurred at 1:50 a.m. at an apartment on North Spruce Street in Batavia. Following arraignment Dec. 1 in Batavia City Court, Deluna was released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Deluna is due back in city court on Jan. 19. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

Cody Middlebrooks, 30, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and first-degree coercion. He was arrested on Dec. 8 on the charges. It is alleged that on Dec. 5 on Pearl Street that Middlebrooks was involved in a physical domestic incident and that he threatened to harm the victim if she called police. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due back in court on Feb. 2. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Samantha Lynn Wroblewski, 31, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. She was arrested Dec. 7 after an investigation into an incident that occurred Oct. 19 on West Main Street wherein she alllegedly possessed cocaine. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Jonathan Richard Piwko, 31, of Peppertree Drive, Derby, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; failure to keep right; moving from lane unsafely; and speed not reasonable and prudent. Piwko was arrest Dec. 10 after the investigation of a vehicle that went off the roadway and struck a business at 11:51 p.m. Dec. 9 on South Main Street in the Village of Elba. He was issued traffic tickets and is due in Elba Town Court on Dec. 23. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

Lisa A. Way, 52, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with driving while intoxicated -- common law, and refusal to take a breath test. Way was arrested at 5:48 p.m. Dec. 5 on Ellicott Street in Batavia after a motor-vehicle accident behind a residence on that street. She was released with traffic tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 27. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

William Anthony Nichols II, 27, of East Avenue, Holley, and Renee Irene Brown, 40, of Federal Drive, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny and sixth-degree conspiracy. At 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 9, they were arrested on Lewiston Road in Batavia after allegedly working together to steal $122.95 worth of merchandise from BJs Wholesale Club. They were issued appearance tickets and are due in Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier, assisted by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

Steven Douglas Kelso, 36, of Columbia Ave., Batavia, is charged with falsifying business records in the first degree and attempted criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon. He was arrested Dec. 9 after an investigation into the attempted purchase of a firearm at a business on Buffalo Road in Bergen by a person ineligible to possess one. Kelso was released in an appearance ticket and is due in Bergen Town Court on Dec. 16. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth.

Chazmar T. Walters Sr., 28, of Clay Street, Le Roy, is charged with obstructing governmental administration and unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree. Walters was arrested Dec. 5 after a traffic stop on Lewiston Road at 8:48 p.m. He was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia Town Court on Jan. 8, then released. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Sgt. Eric Bolles.

Loretta Lynn Baer, 49, of Canal Street, Macedon, is charged with trespass. She was arrested Dec. 1 on Swan Street in Batavia after a trespass complaint at 12:35 p.m. at an auto parts store. She was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Jan. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Peter Post.

Christopher P. Thomas, 36, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with have a dog running at large. He was arrested Dec. 7. It is alleged that on Dec. 3 on State Street that Thomas allowed his dog to run at large on another person's property. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 26. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Patrick O. Spikes, 39, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with attempted petit larceny. He was arrested Nov. 21 on a Batavia City Court bench warrant following a traffic stop. The charges stems from an incident Oct. 27 at 10:30 p.m. at the Speedway on West Main Street. Spikes was arraigned via Skype and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Spikes is due back in court at a later date (unspecified). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

Christopher P. Thomas, 38, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, was arrested after turning himself in on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court that was issued after he failed to appear as required on May 26. He was processed and is due back in city court on Dec. 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker.

Destiny Nakia Green, 24, of Walnut Street, Batavia, was arrested Dec. 2 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court. She had been due in court on July 22. A plea was entered and Green was sentenced (no information provided). Case resolved. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Jordan McGinnis.

December 14, 2020 - 1:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Batavia City Court.

Batavia City Council is expected to vote tonight to fill the vacant part-time City Court judge position.

Council President Eugene Jankowski said today that the board met on Friday in executive session to consider candidates for the position, coming to a consensus but not taking an official vote.

He said that is on the agenda for the Conference/Business meetings set for 7 o’clock at the City Centre Council Board Room.

“We did it the same way we proceeded the previous times (to fill vacant justice positions),” Jankowski said. “Then we made sure to check that the person was still interested, and we will conduct an official vote tonight.”

It is believed there were at least two persons interested in the post, but Jankowski would not reveal any names. The position carries a six-year term, effective Jan. 1.

The vacancy occurred upon the Oct. 29 death of David Saleh, who was appointed as part-time City Court judge in December 2019.

In other developments, Council is expected to consider:

  • A resolution authorizing a contract with Empire Access, headquartered in Prattsburgh, to provide the city with secure fiber internet to connect all facilities at a cost of $3,500 and for a service agreement for five years at an annual cost of $8,400.

Empire Access was one of nine companies to respond to a request for proposal from the city, which, according to Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski, is experiencing slow connection speeds and connectivity problems with its current point-to-point/multipoint radio-controlled wireless system.

Tabelski said the other firms that submitted bids were First Light, Granite, NetWolves, Nitel, Marchese Computer Products, Spectrotel, Spectrum and TDSUSA.Net.

  • A resolution to give access to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to a small parcel of the Dwyer Stadium property at 267 Bank St. for environmental contamination cleanup in connection with remedial work at the Batavia Iron and Metal site next door at 301 Bank St.
  • A resolution to enter into a contract for $114,720 with Architectural Resources of Buffalo for engineering services for the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative to renovate and enhance the Jackson Square entertainment venue.
December 14, 2020 - 12:26pm
posted by Press Release in Le Roy, news, LeRoy Ambulance Service, Robert Boyce.

Submitted photo and press release:

Robert L. Boyce announced his retirement as President of the LeRoy Ambulance Service Inc., effective Dec. 31. Boyce joined the Board of Directors in 1994 and has served as President since 2002.

LeRoy Ambulance Service is the primary provider of emergency medical services to the Town and Village of LeRoy. It began as a fully volunteer ambulance service in 1970 and under Boyce’s leadership, it successfully implemented career staffing. Today, it provides 24/7 basic and advanced life support services through its highly trained staff of EMTs and Paramedics. 

Boyce is well known to the LeRoy community as the former President of Tompkins Insurance. Among his many volunteer activities, Boyce was a member of the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees and headed the GCC Foundation. In 2019, he was named LeRoyan of the year. 

LeRoy Ambulance Service has faced many challenges during Boyce’s 26 year tenure, but his dedicated leadership and perseverance has ensured that LeRoy residents continue to receive the highest quality emergency medical care available.

The organization would like to thank Boyce for his service, and congratulate him on his retirement!

December 14, 2020 - 8:41am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA: 

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.16, no change from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.56. The New York State average is $2.26 – up 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.68.

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

  • Batavia -- $2.22 (no change since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.19 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.25 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.23 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.33 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.18 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.30 (no change since last week)

In a recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand dropped to its lowest weekly estimate since the end of May. The decrease in demand, alongside an increase in total domestic stocks should push gas prices down. However, crude prices continue to rise due to increasing optimism that coronavirus vaccines will be available in the coming weeks, which could help boost domestic crude demand.

From GasBuddy:

"After gas prices spiked last week in their biggest weekly rise since August, we've seen them cool back down for the time being. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise and restrictions weighing on gasoline demand, we're likely to see optimism over vaccinations offset by lower current demand for the most part," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"In the weeks ahead as that balance shifts and millions get the vaccination, if things look much improved, I would expect for a longer upward move in gas prices. For now, however, the holidays will be marked by the lowest seasonal prices in years."

December 14, 2020 - 8:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, news.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
December 13, 2020 - 5:25pm

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The Western New York Gas & Steam Association held a drive thru County Christmas Light Display, along with a drive-thru food court last night at their property in Alexander.

Saturday night was packed with vehicles -- socially distanced of course -- wending their way through the displays.

This will be also held this coming Friday and Saturday, too, Dec. 18 and 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. both nights. Admission is $10 a vehicle.

Expect to take a half-mile ride through their grounds and enjoy thousands of Christmas lights and unique/ amazing displays.

And purchase some carnival-type food that you may have missed this summer. How does Italian sausage, Philly cheesesteaks, French fries, funnel cakes, deep-fried cookies, and cotton candy sound? Only naming a few there will be much more -- all served drive thru!

It's a COVID-19 friendly fundraiser for WNY Gas & Steam Engine Association -- maybe the start of a new holiday tradition.

Enter at 3000 Walker Road, Alexander, just off Route 20.

For more details visit www.alexandersteamshow.com.

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December 13, 2020 - 12:27pm

Photo, Ryan Macdonald, left, a pastor at City Church, and Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz.

Submitted photo and information.

Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz continues with the tradition of Don Carroll's Toy Drive for the 28th year, accepting unwrapped Christmas toys at his office for distribution to local children ages 2 to 15.

If you'd like to donate something, his office -- Mazurkiewicz Family Chiropratic -- is located 184 Washington Ave. Donations can be made during regular business hours through Dec. 18.

"Dr. Tom" is offering a complementary office visit to those who donate.

He is partnering with City Church once again. They have selected 25 families based on need and will distribute the toys individually to the families' homes.

Mazurkiewicz and City Church thank everyone once again for their support of local families in need this year.

December 13, 2020 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A three-vehicle accident, unknown injuries, is reported at West Main Street and Wortendyke Road, Batavia.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS responding.

A deputy just arriving on scene reports a large debris field.

UPDATE (By Billie) 11:42 a.m.: This accident involved a car and a pickup truck. The third vehicle referred to initially was that of a witness to the accident. An older female driver was making a left onto Wortendyke from West Main Street Road and said she did not see the oncoming pickup truck. She was shaken up by the collision and being evaluated by medics at the scene. The pickup driver was not injured. The East Pembroke assignment is back in service.

December 13, 2020 - 8:00am

Fong Liu has worked at Genesee Senior Living/Premier Genesee Nursing and Rehabilitation (formerly Genesee County Nursing Home) for 20 years, and she has seen many Christmas holidays come and go.

She has also seen the residents who have no gifts and get few or no visitors.

This year she decided to do something about it.

The facility management always makes sure there are Christmas trees for residents of the senior living side and nursing and rehabilitation, as well as the lobby. But, thanks to Liu, the Genesee Senior Living residents are going to have a real Christmas party on Christmas Day, complete with music, holiday treats and gifts for everyone.

“What good is a Christmas tree if the residents can’t celebrate?” Liu asked. “Some of our people have no relatives at all, so I decided to organize a Christmas party for everybody.”

She visited local stores, where she bought slippers, nightgowns and other items residents could use.

She planned to contact local service clubs, such as Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis to see if they would help. After a call to the Office for the Aging, Liu learned they could only help people living at home, but they suggested a call to Senior Wishes of Western New York, who said they could help the residents with no relatives.

Administrator Dorothy “Dottie” Murphy said it is absolutely wonderful what Liu is doing. The residents will be served a traditional Christmas dinner, followed by Liu’s party, several showings of a Christmas movie and popcorn. 

“Fong goes above and beyond to make the facility beautiful for all the residents,” Murphy said. “She put up all the decorations and has made sure every resident has a package to open up. We are grateful for everything she has done.”

Liu has also put on tea parties for the residents and done exercises with them. 

Anyone still wishing to contribute gifts or money toward the Christmas party can contact Murphy at (585) 344-9584, ext. 2255.

*******************************************************

Top photo: Nurse Fong Liu decorates the Christmas tree at Genesee Senior Living on Bank Street. Liu has taken it upon herself to have a Christmas party for residents, with music, holiday treats and gifts.

Below: Nurse Fong Liu, left, and Activities Director Alyssa McKenzie pose in front of the Christmas tree at Genesee Senior Living.

Bottom: Staff of Genesee Senior Living pose in front of a door they decorated for residents of the facility. From left are Resident Accounts representative Stephanie Mordell, nurse Fong Liu, Activities Director Alyssa McKenzie, Administrator Dorothy “Dotty” Murphy and aide Brandy Smith.

Pictures contributed by Dorothy Murphy/administrator Genesee Senior Living.

December 12, 2020 - 7:27pm

There isn't much to change in Batavia PD policy, members of Batavia Police Stakeholders Group indicated at their bimonthly meeting on Thursday but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be a change in the relationship between the department and the community.

There should be more communication, less misunderstanding, and more personal interaction between police officers and members of the Black community so that both police officers and members of the community see each other as people and not just numbers and uniforms.

The stakeholder's group was formed in response to an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo instructing every municipality with a police department to open a community dialogue about police policies, procedures and practices in an effort to reduce the incidences of police brutality.

There seems to be unanimous agreement on the committee that police brutality isn't an issue in Batavia. Chief Shawn Heubusch was praised for his presentation of the previous meetings outlining police department policies and procedures that already address proper police officer conduct.

No votes were taken, nothing committed being part of the final report that will go to the governor's office after being approved by the City Council, but there was an apparent agreement that some sort of ongoing focus group that would bring to light the concerns of Black residents about police conduct would be formed.

Committee member Anibal Soler Jr., superintendent of Batavia City Schools, said such a focus, however, needs to be constructed in a way that members of the Black community would feel safe to discuss issues. A police presence in the group might chill speech, he indicated.

Nathan Varland, Batavia Housing Authority director, referenced comments made earlier by Brandon Armstrong, a local business owner, and said perhaps a list of such concerns should be made so they can be addressed. He suggested the wider Black community be surveyed to gather other examples.

What Armstrong discussed was the perception -- if not the practice -- of Black residents being pulled over for minor traffic law infractions.

"We have to look at what's happening to people of color here in Batavia," Armstrong said. "It's not on the surface. There are just things that are used against us. There is a certain law, I think it's obstruction of view, if having something hanging from your rearview mirror. I've been pulled over for that for a Glade air freshener. It is illegal, but are they pulling over every single person who has a handicapped or air freshener thing on their rearview mirror? See, those things are used to target people of color to pull them over, to see what they have going on."

He said he's hearing from people visiting his barbershop that the latest tactic is people not using their signal within 50 feet of making a turn.

"People aren't looking at those but I know because I can ride down the street and within two minutes I can see about four people with something hanging from their rearview mirrors and they're not being pulled over," Armstrong said. "You see what I'm saying?"

In response to comments made early in the discussion by Raelene Christian about police being vilified and attacked, Greg Munroe said people misunderstand the concerns Black citizens have about the police.

"We have to stay on task," Munroe said. "Defunding the police does not mean we're not going to have a police department. It doesn't mean that at all. It's just defunding is a scary word. I understand but it's not. What it means is very simple. There are mental health issues that primarily happen in the Black community. Black people are targeted. It seems like they are targeted because they seem not to be understood. If the defunding, or whatever word you want to use, take that and help the police get more resources on how to deal with different situations, so things like what happens in the country do not happen."

There is a lot of misunderstanding, Victor Thomas said, about what Black concerns are about police.

"I just wanted to touch on what Greg was saying about Blacks being misunderstood," Thomas said. "I think that's a big part of it. The police brutality in Batavia doesn't happen as much as the Black people being misunderstood in Batavia."

Matt Wojtaszczyk, a detective with Batavia PD but on the committee representing the Batavia Police Benevolent Association, told members police officers want to know how to do their jobs better and connect better with community members.

"Whenever someone asks us to do an event, we really try to make an effort to do so," Wojtaszczyk said. "What else can we do? What are some other ideas out there? What else can we do to reach our minority communities? What can we do better? Tell us, because I think we really want to. We truly do."

Thomas's answer was: Get to know people.

"It's really a personal thing that has to happen between the Blacks and the police officers," Thomas said. "The police have to show these Blacks that they're not just a number in Batavia. They're not just a sentence getting ready to get slapped down on a judge's desk and sent up the road for years. The Black community feels that way deeply in Batavia."

It's that kind of distrust, Soler noted, that would make a focus group that included police officers potentially less productive. However, he said, both Blacks and police officers, as well as community members, need to work on themselves as well, educate themselves about each other. He suggested a number of documentaries and books both sides could watch or read.

Both Munroe and Soler noted it was kind of eye-opening to hear Heubusch talk at the first meeting about the arrest process and the fact that when a police officer tells someone they're under arrest, the conversation is over. It's time to comply with the officer's orders.

Munroe said he's had the same conversation with members of the Black community since that meeting and they all the same response he had, that they didn't know that.

"One thing that I learned from the chief was, man, once a police officer tells you those things, game over, you have to comply," Soler said. "Once you're told you are being put under arrest, that's it. Our community doesn't understand it. That's work we've got to do in our community of color. Once the police officer's -- 'I'm now placing you under arrest. You can't go. 'Now, wait a minute. Let's talk about it.' It's already too late. To Raelene's point, then you've got to go to court and go through through the process.

"We don't get taught that. We're taught, you know, 'I'm going to fight. I'm going to keep fighting until I can get my say. Then it becomes that we've put our officers sometimes in these really tough positions. But I just want to make sure that our police officers are really checking their own implicit bias in terms of trying to keep themselves educated, trying to understand some of these stories and narratives."

The topic of implicit bias came up several times during the evening's discussion.

The open dialogue started with Christian raising the issue of police being attacked in recent years. 

"I'm also concerned with minorities and how they're treated as well," Christian said. "I'm also concerned about how everyone is treated as a whole. But who I'm really concerned with a lot of times as our police officers, they're being vilified. They're being shot execution-style. 

In a long opening remark, she added, "The mainstream media doesn't tell you about all the unarmed white men that are shot. It happens. And I'm not saying it's right. And what happened to George Floyd, let me just be clear, was egregious. It was disgusting and despicable. And our police officers, most of them, I would say 99 percent of them agree with what happened to George Floyd was despicable and a disgrace. And Derek Chauvin, the police officer, did that, killed him. And I know he killed him because he did. He deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail and prison period. But I also feel like our police, they're being vilified and our police are being brutalized. Molotov cocktails are being thrown at them. They're being shot at. They're being shot execution-style, and there's no provocation for that. "

Later she added, "There's a broader picture here that, you know, yes, we can address police brutality. Does it happen? Yes. And is it going to continue to happen? Yes."

Her remarks elicited a calm response from several other committee members, among the more pointed from Director of Mental Health Service Lynda Battaglia, "I want to say to that -- this is the entire point of this meeting. It is the entire point of the executive order to end police brutality, so to say. Will it continue? Yes. Is unacceptable. It has to stop."

Munroe said, "This group was put together because of police brutality, period."

After addressing Christian directly, Soler said, "The reality is an implicit bias that many people who don't have a choice of how they look every morning when they wake up (deal with). I think Victor made a good point. Police choose to wear a blue uniform that, you know, historically has been designed to keep order and guidance in a community. Black people just wake up. Unfortunately, their communities are often the most targeted for patrols, for a variety of things to do, commingle with socioeconomic status. And so some of the comments that were made show your implicit bias. You don't really realize it."

W/hen next she had a chance to speak, Christian told Soler she wasn't biased and she took exception to being judged.

Soler apologized.

"I just want to be real quick and apologize again," Soler said. "If you think I was passing judgment, I was just more commenting on the overall feedback that was provided. So I apologize if you think I made a judgment. You're right, I don't know you. I was just trying to comment on this. I want to make sure we're clear that I'm not judging you at all. I just wanted to point out implicit bias is not something you necessarily know you have. That's why it's implicit."

December 12, 2020 - 3:08pm

Press release:

For at least the past 10 years, the American Legion, Post #626 of Oakfield-Alabama, has offered food boxes to those who might welcome a little extra help this time of year.

Information on families who might need these boxes was shared by our local schools, churches and community members.

The boxes were packed earlier this week with help from the people in the top photo, from left: Jessie Underwood, Fred Henry, Ed Mileham, Skip Cornelius, Jim Zasowski, and Rev. Robert Elkins.

The boxes included canned fruits and vegetables, cabbage, squash, eggs, apples, pie crusts, cake mixes, frosting, cookies, a ham or turkey, cereal, pickles, gravy mixes. Everything needed for an amazing holiday meal!

Food donations were gratefully received from: 

  • Alabama Holley Farm (the Alexander Family) -- Alabama
  • James Piedimonte & Sons Produce (all the trimmings) -- Holley
  • Kreher's Farm Fresh Eggs (eggs) -- Clarence
  • Bonduelle USA Inc. (turkeys) -- Oakfield
  • John Starowitz -- Star Growers Inc. (onions) -- Elba
  • Ronald Bruckner (stuffing) -- Medina
  • Roberts Farm Market (apples) -- Medina

Monetary donations were also received to assist with purchasing additional food.

"We at the American Legion wish to give them (contributors) all our special thanks and appreciation for without them, none of this would have been possible."

The Legion would also like to acknowledge that any food not needed for the boxes will be shared with the Corfu Food Pantry to assist them with their mission to the community.

We wish you and your family all the best this time of year and good fortune for 2021.

American Legion Post #626 is located at 6554 Alleghany Road, Basom.

Photo submitted by Ed Mileham.

December 12, 2020 - 2:23pm

Press release:

The City of Batavia and the Batavia Police Department (BPD) are extending an online survey that is asking city residents to assist in formulating the department’s response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, which requires police departments across New York State to submit reform plans to the state by April 1.

The online survey can be accessed here. The survey takes about five minutes to complete.

“We have approximately 500 completed surveys which is a good start, but we really want to double that number and in particular, we need more responses from our Black and minority residents and those in economically distressed neighborhoods, where there tends to be more engagement with the police,” said interim Batavia City Manager Rachael Tabelski.

“The Governor’s Executive Order is very specific in that our plan needs input from residents in neighborhoods where engagement with the police occurs is most common.”

At the Batavia Stakeholder Group on Dec. 10th, members discussed various ways to enhance outreach in these neighborhoods. For instance, the Batavia City School District committed to issuing a text alert urging parents and guardians of students to go online to fill out the survey. Other members will be pushing the survey link out through their various social media channels.

“The response from the stakeholder group members who represent and work with residents in these neighborhoods at our meeting where we made this request was tremendous,” said Batavia Police Department Chief Shawn Heubusch.

“It sparked a great dialogue as we work collaboratively to put a plan together that we all agree is just the start of our efforts in sustaining open communications with the community and the police now and in the future.”

December 11, 2020 - 7:22pm

An Ellicott Street Road resident on Thursday night was advised to contact Town of Batavia council members over her objections to proposed side-by-side community solar projects on the property of a neighboring farmer that she said circumvented the town’s zoning regulations.

Speaking at the Genesee County Planning Board meeting via Zoom videoconferencing, Nancy Brach, of 5168 Ellicott Street Road, questioned the panel and Planning Director Felipe Oltramari about the validity of two (approximately) 20-acre solar arrays next to each other on land owned by Donald Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Street Road.

Brach expressed her views in the midst of a 40-minute discussion over the special use permit and area variance referrals to place a 5-megawatt solar farm on 18.2 acres of a 65-acre parcel and a 4-megawatt system on 19.6 acres of a 71-acre parcel. The projects, named Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II, are being developed for Partridge by Cypress Creek Renewables LLC.

“I understood that there was a 20-acre limit, is that correct?” Brach asked. After Oltramari answered yes, Brach said, “So, we’re putting together two 20-acre parcels, is that correct?”

Oltramari replied that “technically, there are two solar farms; they are side by side, but there are two of them.”

She proceeded to ask if they were owned by the same person and, again, Oltramari responded in the affirmative – the same landowner and the same solar company.

“So, my question is, if there is a 20-acre limit and you allow people to put parcel after parcel together, effectively, you could have 1,000 acres,” she said. “How do we prevent that? This is making a piece of property that doubles the amount of the minimum and yet we’re going ahead with it. What would keep us from having 100 acres, 200 acres, if you just let people split the property in name only?”

Acknowledging that Brach had a “valid point,” Oltramari noted that some municipalities don’t have any size limitations and some have larger than 20 acres, but 20 acres seems to be the minimum, and added that the Town of Batavia was one of the first localities to adopt a solar law.

He then said that New York State provides incentives for these types of solar projects that generate around 5 megawatts of power, before adding that a similar two-in-one type project – earmarked for a more isolated area in the Town of Pembroke – was on the evening’s referral list for a special use permit.

Undeterred, Brach, who was one of three Ellicott Street Road residents who voiced their opposition during the meeting, reiterated, “How to we protect (the 20-acre limitation) because it seems to go against how the law was designed?”

Oltramari then suggested a zoning change or at least a change in the wording would have to come from town officials, and said residents would need to petition their town board before that could happen.

Brach, who hosted a neighborhood meeting with Partridge at her home in June 2019 to convey their concerns, said the ambiguity of the zoning is what has people upset about “having a solar project put in their backyard.”

“If you say 20 acres, then two 20-acre parcels are not 20 acres, it’s 40 acres and it opens up the opportunity for 60 or 80 or 100 acres, and that’s just not honest,” she said.

Planning Board Member Jill Gould then explained that this panel makes recommendations based on whether the applications adhere to town zoning laws, and re-emphasized that complaints by Brach and others should be directed to the Town of Batavia.

Timothy Morrow and Kathy Antonelli, also of Ellicott Street Road, spoke prior to Brach.

Morrow said he wanted to know what chemicals were in the solar panels as he feared that harmful agents could seep into a large aquifer in that area and affect homeowners’ wells.

Jerry Leone, of Rochester, representing Cypress Creek Renewables LLC, said that he would provide Morrow with the findings of the environmental studies already conducted. Later on, it was indicated that the overwhelming majority of solar panels in New York are based on silicon technology (quartz or sand).

Antonelli said the solar arrays will be place “behind my house and diagonally from my property” and asked if the project would decrease the property values in the area.

“And why so close to our homes, with all of the farmland in this area?” she asked. “I don’t want to sit on my back deck and look at a solar farm.”

At the end of the debate, planners approved both solar projects by a 6-1 vote with Robert Houseknecht casting the “no” vote. The measure now goes back to the Batavia Town Planning Board, which is meeting next Tuesday, and one of the projects will also be considered by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals since an area variance is needed because the frontage is less than the minimum requirement.

Recommended modifications include obtaining a stormwater pollution prevention plan and relocating a part of the driveway and equipment pad from the middle of the array to the edge of the field or on existing laneways.

In other action, planners approved:

  • With modifications (stormwater pollution prevention plan and archaeological study), a site plan review for a LandPro sales, storage and maintenance facility at 4554 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia. LandPro is a major dealer of John Deere tractors and equipment.
  • With modifications (see above), a site plan review and area variance for Rochester Regional Health’s four-story, 140,000-square-foot medical office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), near Call Parkway, in the Town of Batavia. The project will include the installation of a traffic signal on Route 98, connecting Call Parkway with Federal Drive.
  • A special use permit referral from Solar Liberty Energy Systems Inc. of Buffalo for solar farms generating 5.3 megawatts and 6.6 megawatts at 7984 Tesnow Road in the Town of Pembroke. The property is owned by Kreher Brothers LLC of Clarence.
  • A site plan review to relocate Precious Paws to an existing commercial building at 10571 Main St., Alexander. The applicant, Alicia Brenkus, will be converting a former pizza shop to her dog grooming business.
December 11, 2020 - 7:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, Le Roy, scanner, news.

A head-on collision is reported in front of Crosby's convenience store at 110 W. Main St. in Le Roy, between West Avenue and Royal Drive. A female was trapped, but has self-extricated.

Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding. Pavilion fire is asked to stand by in quaters; and an ambulance from Caledonia is also called to the scene

Fire police are needed for traffic control to shut down Route 5 at Gilbert Street.

UPDATE 7:17 p.m.: Caledonia's ambulance is cancelled.

December 11, 2020 - 4:25pm
posted by Press Release in news, notify, covid-19.

Press release:

Data Update:

  • Genesee County received 31 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Alabama, Batavia, Bergen, Byron, Darien, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pembroke and Stafford. 
    • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
    • Forty-two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
    • Twenty-two of the positive individuals are hospitalized.

 

  • Orleans County received 21 new positive cases of COVID-19.
  • The new positive cases reside in Albion, Barre, Carlton, Clarendon, Gaines, Murray, Yates, Ridgeway and Shelby.
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • Nine of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Fourteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • One of the new cases is a resident of Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
  • One of the new cases is an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility.
December 11, 2020 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Grand Jury, pembroke, batavia, bergen, byron, Oakfield, Le Roy, Stafford.

Andrea A. Arteaga is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on May 18 in the Village of Le Roy that Arteaga knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- methamphetamine/amphetamine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, the defendant is accused of criminally possessing a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged in count two that on May 18 while on Bacon Street in the Village of Le Roy that he possessed a firearm -- a pistol. In count three, he is accused of driving while ability impaired by drugs, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count three that on May 18, he drove a 2015 Chevrolet on Route 5 in Le Roy while his ability to do so was impaired by drugs. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Arteaga is accused of having been convicted of driving while intoxicated as a Class A misdemeanor on Oct. 22, 2018 in Town of Batavia Court and that conviction forms the basis for counts two and three of the current indictment.

Randy J. Dumbleton is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on June 17 in the City of Batavia that Dumbleton knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, he is accused of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with the intent to sell it. In count three, the defendant is accused of driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs or alcohol, as a misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three that on June 17 in the City of Batavia that he drove a 2003 Honda on Main Street, Dellinger Avenue and Washington Avenue, while his ability to do so was impaired by the combined influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Angela R. Bateman is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 12 in the City of Batavia that Bateman knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, she is indicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on the same day she also possessed the narcotic fentanyl with intent to sell it. In count three, Bateman is accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that she knowingly possessed scales and balances designed for weighing or measuring controlled substances -- for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, packaging or dispensing any narcotic drug or stimulant. In count four, Bateman is indicted for the crime of promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 24 she knowingly and unlawfully introduced a dangerous contraband -- fentanyl -- into a detention facility -- the Genesee County Jail.

Darius L. Jones is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on June 24 in the City of Batavia that Jones knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, he is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, for allegedly possessing a narcotic drug -- fentanyl -- that day with intent to sell it. In count three, he is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, for having cocaine weighing 500 mg or more. In count four, he is accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. In count four, it is alleged that Jones possessed gelatine capsules, glassine envelopes, vials, capsules or other materials suitable for the packaging of individual quantities of narotic drugs or stimulants, for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, packaging or dispensing them. In count five, Jones is indicted for criminal trespass in the third degree, a Class B misdemeanor. It is alleged in count five that Jones unlawfully entered property on North Spruce Street in the city. In count six, Jones is accused of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, a violation, for allegedly possessing marijuana June 24 in the City of Batavia.

Chaniah L. Wellington-Martino is indicted for the crime of third-degree attempted assault, a Class B misdemeanor. It is alleged that on Aug. 7 in the Town of Stafford that she acted with intent to cause physical harm to a Genesee County Sheriff's investigator and did so by trying to bite him on the left arm. In count two, she is indicted for the crime of resisting arrest. It is alleged that on that day in Stafford that she intentionally prevented or attempted to prevent a police officer from arresting her and that she fought with the officer and attempted to bite him. In count three, she is accused of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three that the defendant attempted to grab contraband from a person during a lawful arrest, that she tried to prevent her detainment, and she pulled away from the officer while he attempted to remove a personal item that was entangled around her arm. In count four, Wellington-Martino is accused of tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count four that she threw a purse containing marijuana down an embankment. In count five, she is accused of the same crime as in count four for allegedly trying to retrieve drugs from her co-defendant's pocket. In count six, Wellington-Martino is accused of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second-degree, a violation, for allegedly knowingly possessing marijuana that day in Stafford. In count seven, she is accused of a vehicle and traffic law infraction -- pedestrian failure to walk facing traffic, for allegedly failing to walk on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing oncoming traffic.

William R. Metz is indicted for the crime of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on April 4 in the Town of Oakfield that Metz possessed a loaded firearm -- Canik 9-mm pistol -- with the intent to use it unlawfully against a person. In count two, Metz is accused of reckless endangerment in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that he engaged in conduct that created substantial risk of serious physical injury to a person by discharging three rounds from the pistol into the bedroom floor of a residence on Batavia Oakfield Townline Road that day. In count three, Metz is accused of the crime of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three that the defendant intentionally placed a person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a dangerous instrument -- a pistol.

Jose A. Rivera is indicted for the crime of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on July 27, Rivera knowingly and unlawfully entered a building on Swan Street in the City of Batavia with the intent to commit a crime. In count two, Rivera is accused of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E violent felony, for allegedly violating a duly served order of protection by intentionally harassing, annoying, threatening or alarming the protected party and subjecting her to physical contact.

Markel T. Handley is indicted for the crime of tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on June 15 on Alleghany Road in the Town of Pembroke that the defendant attempted to conceal buprenorphine and naloxone underneath the passenger seat of a Genesee County Sheriff's Office patrol car. In count two, Handley is indicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that Handley knowingly and unlawfully possessed controlled substances -- buprenorphine and naloxone.

Jason L. Pullen is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 24 in the Town of Byron, that Pullen drove a 2003 Honda on Route 237 while he was under the influence of alcohol or a drug and that at the time he has 10 or more suspensions imposed on at least 10 separate dates in effect: Jan. 20, 2009 / July 24, 2009 / Aug. 7, 2009 / Oct. 8, 2009 / Nov. 12, 2009 / Jan. 9, 2010 / May 23, 2012 / Aug. 25, 2013 / Feb. 17, 2017 / Feb. 3, 2019 / March 14, 2019, / and Dec. 20, 2019. In count two, Pullen is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated -- as a misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that on May 24 on Route 237 in Byron, that Pullen drove while intoxicated. In count three, he is accused of DWI, per se, as a misdemeanor, for having a BAC of .08 percent at the time.

Mario A. Reyes is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 13 in the Town of Stafford that he drove a 2011 Chevrolet on Route 33 while he was intoxicated. In count two, Reyes is accused of DWI, per se, as a Class D felony, for having a BAC of .08 percent at the time. In count three, Reyes is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, for having a driving that day while his privilege to do so was withdrawn or suspended by authorities. In count four, he is accused of operating a vehicle that was not equipped with an ignition interlock device as he is required to do. In count five, he is accused of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle for driving without a license that day. In count six, Reyes is accused of moving from his lane of travel unsafely that day in Stafford. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Reyes is accused of having been convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol, as a misdemeanor, on July 7 in Orleans County Court, and on March 2, 2017 in County of Hidalgo Court, State of Texas, and those convictions are within 10 years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Andrew T. Pape is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 18 in the Town of Bergen that Pape drove a 2004 Chevrolet on Jerico Road, a public highway, while he was in an intoxicated condition. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Pape is accused of having been convicted of DWI -- as a misdemeanor -- on Jan. 24, 2012 in Town of Ogden Court, Monroe County, and that conviction is within 10 years of the crime alleged in the current indictment.

Jimmy R. Hill is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on July 25 in the Village of Le Roy that Hill drove a 2009 Chevrolet on Lake Street, a public highway, while he was intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of aggravated DWI, per se, as a Class E felony, for having a BAC of .18 percent or more at the time. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Hills is accused of having been convicted of DWI -- as a misdemeanor -- on June 26, 2014, in City of Syracuse Court, County of Onondaga, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Jason A. Klinkbeil is indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony, for allegedly stealing property having a value of more than $3,000 on Nov. 13 in the City of Batavia that belonged to Chapin Manufacturing Inc.

Jason A. Klinkbeil is indicted for the crime of falsifying business records in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 19, while at the Pawn King on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia, that Klinkbeil -- with intent to defraud -- made a false entry in the business records there by signing a document claiming he was the sole owner of the property he sold. In count two, he is indicted for criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly possessing stolen property while at Pawn King -- tools.

Shane C. Bunce is indicted for the crime of fourth-degree grand larceny, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 8 in the City of Batavia, that Bunce knowingly possessed stolen property that had a value exceeding $1,000 -- a 2007 Honda dirt bike. In count two, he is indicted for criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, for allegedly knowingly possessing stolen property that had a value exceeding $1,000 -- a 2007 Honda dirt bike. In count three, Bunce is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree, an unclassified misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three that on that day in the city he drove a motor vehicle while his privilege to do so was suspended by authorities. In count four, Bunce is accused of trespass, a violation, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully entering property in the Town of Bergen on Sept. 8.

December 11, 2020 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia First Presbyterian Church, batavia, news.

img_3284church.jpg

Some much-needed stained glass window work is being completed today at Batavia First Presbyterian Church on East Main Street.

Pastor Roula Alkhouri said, "We have been waiting for this repair for over two years. The windows needed repair and so did the sills. In fact, the sills were rotting and needed to be replaced. Every few years, we have to do maintenance repairs on these stained glass windows and there are only a few places that specialize in such work.

"It is a combination of art and maintenance as the repairs need to keep in mind the beauty of the windows. The studio we work with is Pike Stained Glass Studio. They do excellent work."

img_3281church.jpg

December 11, 2020 - 3:21pm

img_3306tpoys.jpg

City firefighters Ryan Clair and Ryan Whitcomb collect toys from a car at Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac today as part of the annual Salvation Army toy drive sponsored by Ken Barrett and WBTA.

To comply with CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, this year's toy drive was a drive-thru affair. By early afternoon, the beds of multiple pickups had been filled and ready to take to a local hub to prepare the toys for distribution to children in Genesee County.

December 11, 2020 - 2:03pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify.

News that a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has approved COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE for emergency use provides “light at the end of the tunnel,” the public health director for Genesee and Orleans counties said today.

“Hopefully, this will start a new chapter (in this pandemic) – a kind of beginning of the end for us,” Paul Pettit said, adding that the vaccine will be dispersed in phases, starting with individuals at the highest risk. “We do see the light at the end of the tunnel. It will take a bit of time, so we ask folks to be patient.”

Pettit said local health departments have been working for months on the distribution plan, but emphasized that New York State has the final say as to who gets the vaccine and when.

“The state is kind of driving the boat on this and how it is going to happen,” he said. “Obviously, we’re working with our community partners and our healthcare providers to get pharmacies, and primary care physician offices signed up to deliver the vaccine.”

He said the vaccine – which is given in two doses about three weeks apart – will first be administered to nursing home residents and staff and healthcare workers who are at greater risk. After that, the groups will be divided into other health professionals and high-risk individuals, healthy seniors who meet the age requirements, those with underlying health conditions, other essential service workers and, finally, the general public.

At the outset, the vaccine will be sent to “closed pods,” Pettit said.

“Doses will be sent right to the nursing homes or the healthcare providers that are eligible for it. As we get into January, February and March, it will be more available to the community, again, depending upon your risk level,” he said.

Pettit said the health department will oversee mass vaccination clinics, likely at Genesee Community College, Genesee County Building 2 on West Main Street Road or the Genesee County Fairgrounds, with the campaign – due to the volume of need – expected to run into April and May.

He said about 11,000 doses are being delivered to the Finger Lakes Region as early as next week, and will go to the people designated in the first phase.

The vaccine will be administered at no charge, Pettit said.

“We’ve been told that there will be no co-pays,” he said. “There will be a lot more information coming out, but for the general public, you should not expect the vaccine to be available at least into January.”

Pettit commented on other aspects of the virus.

On the Possible Side Effects of Vaccination

“Everybody’s different so people respond differently to vaccines. We do hear that when people get a flu shot – it’s not a live virus – but sometimes people do have some mild reactions to the shot.

“Again, there may be some mild side effects … but the phase three trials that have been done over the last three to four months have not reported out any significant issues that we have been made aware. The FDA just this morning approved the emergency use authorization that the vaccine is safe and we’re going to be strongly encouraging folks to receive the vaccine. That’s the best way to get us out of this pandemic is to start getting our folks protected.”

On the Primary Causes of the Spread in Genesee and Orleans Counties

“As we continue to look at the data in both counties, the biggest identifying factor that we can find in the majority, but not all, of the cases is usually tied back to some level of gatherings or workers working symptomatic. Those seem to be the two biggest reasons we have seen for at least the index cases and secondary spread, and what happens from there, they go home from the gathering or work and they take it to their family members and/or their extended family members and friends.

“So, you start to get this secondary and tertiary spread, which seems to be perpetuating some of the problem here in our counties. One thing I will say, on the gathering side, a lot of the cases we’ve seen are not necessarily from gatherings of 50 people – the public can be up to 50, private it is supposed to be 10 per the governor’s order.

“But the reality is that it only takes one positive person in that setting to spread it very easily, actually, to potentially all the others that are in that gathering if they’re not distancing and masking. So, gathering size at all levels – five, eight 10, 20 people – we’re still seeing significant spread within those groups if you have positive people.

“It does seem to be that private gatherings are the underlying factor in these new cases and, again, the other one is workers coming to work symptomatic. It’s difficult this time of year because people are dealing with coughs, sniffles and other types of colds, and they’re going to work like they normally would in an average year – and unfortunately a percentage of these are COVID cases and they’re spreading it to their coworkers.”

On the Pertinent Current Data Regarding Positivity Rate

“Right now, positivity-wise, in Genesee County we are, as of yesterday, at about at 8 percent positivity rate over a 14-day average, and over a seven-day average, we are trending down from our peak, which was 9 percent a week ago. We’re down at about 7.2 percent right now for positivity rate. So, that continues to trend down in the right direction, which is a great thing. We’ve been working hard to get that number to trend in the right direction.

“It’s still high. If you recall, three months ago we were down at .5 to 1 percent positivity rate and now we’re right around 8 percent. It’s definitely a lot more active in the community.”

On the Projected Thanksgiving Bump in Positive Cases

“Obviously, there was a lot of talk about a Thanksgiving bump, but our numbers going into Thanksgiving were very high. So, if anything our numbers have started to trend down slightly.

“I think that there were gatherings that occurred over the holiday and we did our best to try to educate and encourage people to have smaller gatherings this year, and minimize contact with those in your immediate family and household, and to look at the risk factors for every individual that’s gathering. If they have underlying health conditions? If they’re in higher risk categories?

“I wouldn’t say there was a significant bump. Our numbers have stayed very consistent to what they were through the whole month of November.”

On the Process of Contact Tracing

“When we find out about a positive case, we do a case investigation. As part of that case investigation, we talk to the individual about their close contacts – that’s really what we’re looking for. With COVID, we go back 48 hours from either symptom onsets, or if they’re asymptomatic, from the test date. So, we’re looking for any close contacts.

“When we say close we’re talking about within six feet or less for more than 10 minutes or if they happen to be in the same space with the positive for more than an hour. That’s called proximate contact, so there’s a couple of different things that we look at, and it’s all based on risk potential. That would be more of a scenario like in a classroom setting or in the restaurant/dining setting … using an hour threshold in a common space with a positive case.

“Once those are determined, they get identified and put under mandatory quarantine, and it’s 14 days from their last exposure to the positive (person). The Center for Disease Control has made some recommendations to change the quarantine down to either seven days with a negative test or 10 days without a test. NYS has not decided yet whether they’re going to follow the CDC’s recommendation on this. As of right now, we are still using 14 days as the quarantine period.”

On Health Alerts that Target Local Businesses, Primarily Restaurants

“We’ve said since day one, going back to March, if we get scenarios where we can’t identify close contacts in a public space, we would have to put out an announcement – a health alert – to let people know that may be in that space, that they may have been exposed to a confirmed positive case.

“What has happened quite a bit lately is – and this is mainly reflective of increased activity -- all through summer and early fall, our infection rate was .5 percent – one case a day, a couple cases a day. Right now, with an 8 to 9 percent positivity rate, there are a lot of positives in our community. What’s happening, particularly in restaurants and other businesses, you have people who come in, sit down and eat their dinner, they’re spending an hour, hour and a half eating.

“Going back to proximate contact, people are sitting down without their masks on so we have to look at everybody in that room or dining area as a potential contact because of proximate contact and time exposure. We don’t know who these people are … the only way to notify these people is to put out a health alert that if you ate at X establishment at X time and on X date, you may have been exposed to a confirmed positive case.

“Obviously, it would be up to the person to read that alert and say, ‘Wait, that was me, and I need to monitor for symptoms or go get tested.’

“As far as big box stores, such as Walmart, Tops, we get a lot of those questions, it’s really the nature of the interaction. When you shop at these types of stores, you’re very transient and you’re not spending more than 10 minutes closer than six feet. Most people are wearing masks, so the risk exposure is totally different because of the transient nature and the large size of these buildings.

“We have had confirmed positive employees at these bigger stores and we have put coworkers on quarantine because they’re spending time in the break room or the back, those types of things. But the exposure to people shopping – going up and down aisles – the risk and the time exposure isn’t there like it is at an establishment where you’re spending an hour with no mask on.”

December 11, 2020 - 1:32pm
posted by Press Release in news, batavia, fire hydrants.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be changing out a fire hydrant on Ellicott Street on Monday Dec. 14. The work will begin at 8 a.m. and water should be restored by 3 p.m.

Should weather or unforeseen issues delay the project, the shutdown may occur on Tuesday during the same hours. 

The water will be turned off for residents on: 

  • Ellicott Street between Ellicott Place and Harvester Avenue
  • Harvester Avenue between Ellicott Street and Colorado Avenue 
  • Colorado Avenue and Ellicott Place

This may cause discolored water, please refrain from doing laundry if water is discolored.

We appreciate your patience while we make these repairs.

Bill Davis, Superintendent of Water and Wastewater, City of Batavia

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