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October 7, 2016 - 12:22pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced he has earned an A+ rating and the full support of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the nation's premier firearms education organization.

“The unconstitutional regulations passed in Washington and Albany have stripped Western New York gun owners of their Second Amendment rights and freedoms," Congressman Collins said.

"In Washington, I have been proud to advocate on behalf of the law-abiding gun owners whose constitutional rights are constantly under attack by President Obama and Governor Cuomo. I am honored to receive an A+ rating and the full support of the NRA, and will continue to fight for our Second Amendment rights."

Chris Cox, chairman, NRA-PVF, said: “On behalf of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) and our five million members, we are proud to endorse Chris Collins. His pro-gun record and steadfast support for the Second Amendment speaks for itself, earning him an 'A+’ rating from the NRA-PVF. New Yorkers can trust Chris Collins to fight against the gun control agenda of President Obama, Hillary Clinton and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Congress."

NRA ratings for Members of the 114th Congress are based on their respective votes and efforts to promote and protect the Second Amendment. Since he was elected to Congress, Congressman Collins has voted in support of a number of Second Amendment legislative items, including:

H.R. 402 – National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act

Amends the federal criminal code to authorize a person who is carrying a valid, government-issued identification document containing that person's photograph and a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state, and who is not prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm under federal law, to possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machine gun or destructive device) in another state in accordance with the restrictions of that state.

- H.R. 4321 – Separation of Powers Restoration and Second Amendment Protection Act

This legislation and would prohibit federal funding for enforcement of any executive action in violation of the Second Amendment.

- H.R. 3516 - Social Security Beneficiary Second Amendment Rights Protection Act

Would prohibit Social Security from entering seniors into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as a “mental defective” if they use a “representative payee,” which would prohibit them from gun ownership.

Congressman Collins also introduced H.R. 1488, the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act. This legislation ensures that despite financial troubles, Americans' Second Amendment rights will be protected.

Congressman Collins was elected in 2012 and reelected in 2014 to represent the 27th District of New York. The district includes 105 towns spread out over all or part of Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, and Ontario counties.

October 7, 2016 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, pembroke, sports, news.

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Ret. Army Gen. Kenneth Chrosniak receives gifts from members of the Alexander Girls Volleyball Team prior to last night's game, which was a fundraiser to benefit cystic fibrosis research. Chrosniak's son, Christian, lost his battle against the disease last November. He is a cousin of Haley Fletcher, a member of the volleyball team. Chrosniak made the trip from Pennsylvania to attend the game played in his son's honor. 

The event included a basket chance auction as well as drawing for a Hall of Fame football signed by Jim Kelly, a Matt Anderson signed jersey, a signed jersey from Sammy Watkins and a hockey stick signed by Marcus Foligno.

In the volleyball game against Pembroke, after dropping the first set 25-22, Alexander won the next three, 25-12, 25-20 and 25-17.

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October 7, 2016 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, batavia, news.

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Bill Buckenmeyer clocked in with the best time in the YWCA's annual Stiletto & Sneaker Walk to help raise awareness and raise funds to combat domestic abuse. 

Participants in the event included student-athletes from area high schools and Genesee Community College, all wearing purple as a sign of support for the victims of domestic abuse. 

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October 7, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Pavilion, business, agriculture, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved an application for Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN!) revolving loan fund for a project in Pavilion. The Board also approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) extension for Empire Pipeline in the town of Oakfield at its Oct. 6 meeting.

The GCEDC board approved a GAIN! loan in the amount of $65,000 to Cottonwood Farms for the acquisition of milking equipment that would combine wind and solar power in one turbine in order to increase efficiency and electric energy output. The new equipment for the farm’s robotic dairy system is expected to reduce annual electricity costs by approximately $7,000 to $8,000. Cottonwood Farms LLC operates a 300-cow organic dairy farm in Pavilion.

Empire Pipeline owns and operates a compressor station and pipeline in the town of Oakfield. The GCEDC Board accepted the application and will set a public hearing for Empire Pipeline’s request to extend their PILOT agreement for 15 years.

“The GAIN revolving loan program has the opportunity to provide significant benefits to the agricultural sector in Genesee County,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “While the program was just launched in May, the GCEDC has made a tremendous effort to get the money out to the farms, and working in our local economy.”

Through funding provided by Empire State Development, the GAIN program provides loans to qualifying businesses in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, all of which are in the top 10 agricultural counties in New York State.

October 7, 2016 - 7:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A vehicle is reportedly rolled over in a ditch in the area of Feeder Road and Klossen Road, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Unknown injuries.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 7:47 a.m.: There were no occupants at the scene. The driver was subsequently located at a relative's house, reportedly uninjured. All units back in service.

October 6, 2016 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Le Roy, alexander, Oakfield.

Jill Louise Hanlin, 39, of Alexander Road, Alexander, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. On Oct. 4 at 2:30 p.m., while investigating an overdose, it was determined that the subject allegedly overdosed on heroin, had passed out, and had to be transported to UMMC. The subject was found by her son after he came home from school. The subject was the only adult home and was responsible for the care of her child. The subject was arrested, issued an appearance ticket for Alexander Town Court at 5 p.m. on Oct. 25. Medical staff on scene notified Child Protective Services. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth, assisted by Sgt. Jason Saile.

Linda A. Kupka, 49, of 940 Hardy Road, Cadiz, Ky., is charged with: first-degree falsification of business records; second-degree endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person; willful violation of health laws; and physical abuse/neglect/mistreatment. The incident(s) allegedly occurred at 3 p.m. on Jan. 12 at the GC Nursing Home, 278 Bank St. in the City of Batavia. NYS Attorney General's Office requested assistance from City of Batavia Police Department in arresting Kupka, a previously employed healthcare worker at the Nursing Home. She was arraigned at 2 p.m. on Sept. 27 before City Court Judge Balbick and put in GC Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Frank Klimjack.

Robert M. Schryver, 53, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with forcible touching. He allegedly touched the intimate parts of another person without that person's consent at 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 28. He was arraigned and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Frank Kilmjack.

Darleen Ann McComb, 58, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. At 7:05 p.m. on Oct. 3, Batavia Police were called the Emergency Room at UMMC after McComb, who was a patient, allegedly kicked a hospital employee. She was arrested and issued an appearance ticket for City Court on Oct. 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Salvatore M. Schwable, 19, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with: resisting arrest, second-degree obstruction of governmental administration; trespass; and unlawful possession of marijuana. The subject was arrest at 3:01 a.m. on Sept. 29 on Bank Street following an investigation into a trespass complaint on State Street a short time earlier. He was jailed on $2,500 cash bail and was due in City Court Sept. 29. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Eric Foels, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Darrin Mitchell Brown Sr., 27, of Platten Road, Albion, is charged with failure to obey a child support order, which was issued Aug. 2. The subject was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on an arrest warrant out of Batavia Town Court after allegedly being involved in a larceny at Walmart in Orleans County. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 and put in jail in lieu of $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond. He was due in court on Oct. 4. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Chris Parker.

Dawshawn A. Suber, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree identity theft, third-degree forgery, and petit larceny. It is alleged that Suber stole a paycheck from a coworker at 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 and cashed the check at a local business. Suber was issued an appearance ticket and is due in City Court on Oct. 25. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Linsday, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Annette Joy Waleski, 50, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI with a BAC of .18 percent or higher, and unsafe tires. Waleski was arrested at 5:31 p.m. on Oct. 2 on Main Street in Oakfield after a motor-vehicle accident in the Village. She was released on appearance tickets for Oakfield Town Court on Nov. 14. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.

Melynda M. Gayhart, 28, of North Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with: DWI -- common law; aggravated DWI with a BAC of .18 percent or greater; and failure to yield right-of-way on left turn. Batavia Police responded to Oak Street at 1 a.m. on Oct. 1 after receiving a complaint about erractic operation. Gayhard was arrested following a traffic stop, then released on appearance tickets for City Court on Oct. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Katelyn L. Walsh, 21, of Redfield Parkway, Batavia, is charged with DWI -- common law, DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or more, and having no tail lamps. At about 2:26 a.m. on Sept. 25, Batavia Police conducted a traffic stop on a Jeep with no tail lamps on Main Street in the City of Batavia. Upon further investigation, Walsh was arrested for allegedly operating the vehicle while in an intoxicated condition. She is due in City Court on Oct. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Eric Bolles.

Joel Sebastian Puma, 41, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. At 10:35 p.m. on Sept. 27, Batavia Police responded to a residence on Walnut Street for the report of a male/female physical altercation. Following an investigation, it was revealed that during an argument, Joel Puma allegedly damaged the female's phone, which was valued greater than $250. He was arrested, arraigned and released on his own recognizance. He was due back in City Court on Sept. 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Mark E. Green, 34, of 75 Center Street, Warsaw, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. He had an active arrest warrant out of Batavia City Court and was located at the old GC Courthouse and taken into custody. It is alleged that on June 25 Green removed a vehicle from a driveway on East Main Street in the City and in doing so caused damage to the driveway. He was arraigned and released on his own recognnizance and is to appear in City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Frank Klimjack, assisted by Sgt. Matthew Lutey.

Jacqueline Michelle Bigelow, 51, of Prune Street, Batavia, is charge with dog running at large. At 11:18 a.m. on Oct. 4, Batavia Police responded to the area of South Spruce Street for the report of a large tan and black dog running loose. Police and Animal Control attempted to capture the dog for more than 30 minutes and found that the dog was owned by Bigelow. She was issued an appearance ticket for Oct. 11 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by OfficerJames Sheflin.

Robert M. Freeman, 24, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He allegedly stole a bottle of alcohol from a business on West Main Street in Batavia on Sept. 28. He was arrested at 3:24 p.m. on 8351 Lewiston Road. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Shane Zimblis, 45, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief. Zimblis turned himself in at Batavia Police Headquarters on an arrest warrant out of Batavia City Court for a criminal mischief charge, which stemmed from an unspecified incident on West Main Street, Batavia, on Oct. 3. He was issued appearance ticket and was due in City Court Oct. 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis.

Nathan Samuel Love, 23, of Montclair Avenue, is charged with failure to appear. He was arrested on an active bench warrant out of Batavia City Court for allegedly failing to appear for a court date. He was issued an appearance ticket and turned over to another jurisdiction on a warrant for a separate matter. He was due in City Court Oct. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards.

October 6, 2016 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in ILGR, politics, disabilities, news, Announcements.

Press release:

There will be a “Meet the Candidates” event in Batavia on Tuesday, Oct. 25, enabling Western New Yorkers with disabilities, or anyone from the community, to hear and discuss issues with some on the ballot in the November General Election.

The gathering will host those running for Federal, State, County and some local offices. Whatever your political views, this is your year to get involved!

Time is 1 to 4 p.m. at Independent Living of the Genesee Region, 113 Main St., Suite 5, near Center Street.

Invitees from Genesee County included candidates for the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, State Senate, State Assembly, Genesee County Court and Sheriff, City of Batavia Councilmen and Town Justice.

For those who wish to be familiar with the “hot” disability issues, sheets of suggested questions will be provided, but participants are encouraged to ask about public concerns that are close to them. The location is fully disability accessible.

Additional information is available from Todd Vaarwerk at (716) 836-0822, ext. 101.

WNY Independent Living, Inc. is Western New York's largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, non-residential organization for persons with disabilities. At WNYIL, individuals of all ages and all types of disabilities learn to exercise their freedom of choice to take control of their own lives in order to live more productively in, and contribute to, the community.

October 6, 2016 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in town of bethany republican committee, news, Bethany.

The Town of Bethany Republican Committee is hosting a pulled pork BBQ starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at Genesee County Park & Forest, Pavilion A. Event ends at 8 p.m.

Food is being catered by Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, of Le Roy. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12, kids under 5 eat free. Take-outs available.

There will also be prize raffles and 50/50 raffles.

The park is located at 11095 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany.

October 6, 2016 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, news, Announcements.

Corfu Free Library Director Diana Reding adds to the wall of important people with the names of some local folks who are making Pembroke a special place to live right now.

Submitted photo and press release:

Ten of Pembroke’s important people of the past were highlighted at the Corfu Free Library over the recent summer months. Now it’s time to recognize some of the people who are making Pembroke a great place to live right now.

“Thanks to the Pembroke Historical Society, we learned about some of the interesting people that made valuable contributions to our area in the past,” says Diana Reding, director at the Corfu Free Library.

“Now, we would like to share information about the people who are making Pembroke a great place to live in the present. Anyone can submit the name of someone they think is an important person, and give a brief description of why for us to share on our wall of recognition at the library.”

Residents can submit their important person both at the library or online at the library’s website. Their important person will have a special placard added to the display of Pembroke’s Important People that is currently on the wall at the Circulation desk. 

“We know that there are so many important people in our area. Perhaps they help at church, are in the military, or are a doctor, teacher, grandmother, parent, volunteer, work for the Town or Village, and so many more, that we would like to recognize. This is a great time to celebrate the positive people that shape our community,” according to Reding.

Residents are encouraged to stop by the library to see the wall display highlighting ten of Pembroke’s “Important People of the Past” and to add their important person of the present. 

The Corfu Free Library, 7 Maple Ave. in Corfu, offers a variety of digital services and print materials. Residents are encouraged to check the library’s website at www.CorfuFreeLibrary.org or stop by for more information, or they can call the library at (585) 599-3321.

October 6, 2016 - 12:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, bergen, news, 4-H, Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, Announcements.

(Submitted photo and press release.)

On Sept.  20, Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School seventh-grader Madelynn Pimm presented a $1,000 donation to Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, in conjunction with the Byron-Bergen Music Department.

Madelynn had approached several influential business owners and members of the community with her idea to sponsor the growth of music in Byron-Bergen Schools. This summer, during the Genesee County Fair 4-H Auction, Madelynn sold two lambs for $1,000. 

Madelynn credits her commitment to music to her music teachers Robert Lancia and Karen Tischer who have always encouraged her to reach for the high notes. This past spring, Madelynn, along with five other students, had the honor of playing "Taps" at the Challenger Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Lancia was present at the presentation and shared a few words of thanks with Madelynn and her parents Norm and Colleen Pimm.

He said that when you hear about a donation of this magnitude from anyone, you are taken aback. However, to receive this gift from such a young member of our community is awe-inspiring.

Tara Van Skiver, president of Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, said, “An act like this exemplifies true character. Madelynn's donation will be put to right back into the hands of our students. We will use the donation to purchase a portable recording unit. The software and sound mixing equipment will allow students to record entire concerts or individual performances.

"Even more exciting, they will be able to mix, edit, and engineer post-production recordings. This practical application of sound editing software and mixing equipment will expose the students to the world of music production and sound engineering.”

The Byron-Bergen Music Boosters’ mission is to support music and arts education in and around our community.

“Our hope is that one student's generosity will serve to preserve and inspire future musicians in our community for years to come,” Van Skiver said.

October 6, 2016 - 12:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in islam, extremism, Hugh Iwanicki, batavia, news, hlom, Announcements.

Press release:

"Shock and Alarm: What it was really like at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq?" is the title of a  book written by Hugh Iwanicki, former Batavian, son of attorney/judge Don and Corrine Iwanicki.

Hugh will be at the Holland Land Office Museum at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7th to review his book and talk about his experiences. He looks forward to meeting the people of our community and will be happy to sign books prior to and after his presentation.

This is open to everyone. There is no charge for the presentation, but donations are always welcome at the Museum. Call the museum for more information at 343-4727.

"Shock and Alarm" is a riveting behind-the-scenes exposé of daily life at the Baghdad Diplomatic Compound in 2009, providing an insightful look at the culture clash taking place between the Islamic world and the West. This is Hugh's personal story of the 11 months he served as a performance auditor for the Office of the Inspector General at the Embassy.

The book exposes the Islamist Agenda via firsthand accounts, which takes us through Hugh’s transformation from a liberal-spirited American to a man confronted by the harsh realities of the Middle East.

Hugh’s realization: From a Muslim perspective, the only way to truly “respect” Islam is to either convert to it or accept it as a superior religion by submitting to its political hegemony.

October 6, 2016 - 11:53am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, infrastructure.

Today, Oct. 6, the City of Batavia Water Department is repairing a fire hydrant on Redfield Parkway. Work began at 9 a.m. The water will be turned off on Redfield Parkway from West Main Street to Richmond Avenue. The city will keep water service interruption to a minimum.

This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

October 6, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, 139th assembly district, business, news.

Press release:

As part of his re-election bid for the 139th Assembly District, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Hawley, a vocal voice for upstate gun owners and small businesses, has also received an "A" rating from the NRA, an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and a rating of 88 percent from Unshackle Upstate, solidifying him as one of the strongest Second Amendment and small-business proponents in the entire State Legislature.

"Supporting the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Western New York has been part of my platform since I originally ran for the Assembly," Hawley said. "When the NY SAFE Act was rammed through the Legislature in 2013, I was adamantly opposed and I still fight its unconstitutionality today. Hunting and target shooting are part of our area's culture, and if I am privileged enough to serve another two years in the Assembly, I will defend those rights with everything I have. I am humbled by the NRA's endorsement and will continue to support their efforts."

"As a member of the small-business community for over four decades, I know the hardships faced by companies right here in Western New York,” Hawley said “While more influence and political gimmicks continue to be funneled downstate, the lifeblood of upstate communities, our family-owned small businesses, continue to suffer and that is absolutely unacceptable. Albany's tens of thousands of pages of rules and regulations suck the life out of small businesses trying to sustain a profit and keep from outsourcing local jobs. I am honored to have the endorsement of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and will continue to fight for New York's business community upon re-election to the Assembly."

October 6, 2016 - 11:21am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, Le Roy.

A motor-vehicle accident with minor injuries is reported at West Main Street Road and Keeney Road, Town of Le Roy. Le Roy fire and Mercy medics are responding.

October 6, 2016 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, property taxes, genesee county.

The county is looking at a 2017 budget that will reduce the county's tax rate by 23 cents per thousand of assessed value, but that won't necessarily be good news for all local property owners.

What each property owner ends up paying in property taxes will depend on any changes in their individual assessed value.

If your assessed value went up, depending on the size of the increase, the reduction in tax rate could hold your county tax bill even with 2016, unless your assessment increased significantly, then your overall county tax bill could increase. If you're assessed value stayed the same or went down, your county tax bill could decrease.

The county's budget is still in an early stage draft form, but County Manager Jay Gsell told legislators yesterday that what they're looking at is a possible tax rate of $9.63 up to $9.69, and even that range is subject to change as more numbers come in.

Overall, the total assessed value of all properties in Genesee County increased by $96 million. Some of that increase relates to assessors deciding some properties are now worth more money; some of it is due to new construction and some to temporary tax exemptions, such as PILOTs granted by GCEDC, expiring.

Under the state's complex property tax cap formula, the county is limited in how much of an increase in assessed value it can capture in revenue.

Roughly speaking, based on currently available calculations, the county probably can't go with a tax rate higher than $9.69.

The current rate is $9.86 per thousand.

A rate of $9.63 to $9.69 also fits with Gsell's goal of holding county spending for 2017 pretty much on par with 2016.

The instructions to department managers has been to hold the line on spending, Gsell said.

One of the big unknowns for the county as it tries to map out expenses for 2017 is the status of the Genesee County Nursing Home. The property has been sold, but the deal can't close until the State Health Department approves a certificate of need for one wing of the home for the new owner. There seems to be little progress with the state on that front and legislators are getting antsy about the lack of resolution. The unresolved issue may require legislators to budget for that expense in 2017.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: The following is the result of a discussion via e-mail today with Kevin Andrews, the deputy county treasurer.

The total assessed value of all properties in Genesee County has increased by $160 million. The revised number for how much of that is taxable by the county is now about $80 million.

As for the $80 million in increased assessed value, that is because of various exemptions, such as PILOTs, but also nonprofits and government-owned property are tax exempt, so there are other programs that property owners can apply for that award tax exemptions. These include a veterans exemption for homeowners, an exemption available to farms in some circumstances, and one for seniors below certain income levels, and various municipal exemptions.

The tax rate for some residents is also affected by a state formula for equalization of rates in different towns. If a town's assessments are below market rate, the county rate is adjusted accordingly.

On that point, Andrews said, "It is tough to say for sure what the tax impact will be in those towns without looking into those in a little more detail, but my guess would be that the equalization rate didn’t go down by too much, so they probably will not see an increase in taxes in those towns with a lower tax rate (unless you are a property owner whose assessment went up due to, say, new construction), but that is just a guess."

These figures are also still subject to change.

Approximately 26 percent of the properties in the county had some sort of increase in assessed value. About $14 million of the increased assessed value is because of new construction and improvements, less losses on demolition or destruction of property (fires, etc.) and properties moving from profit to nonprofit status.

About $146,000 of the increase in assessed value is the result of market-rate adjustments.

Because of updates on numbers, Andrews now estimates that stay-even tax rate is about $9.66, or $9.67.

October 6, 2016 - 7:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A car has reportedly hit a deer on Richmond Avenue, in front of the New York School School for the Blind.

The only injury reported is cuts from glass.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

October 5, 2016 - 9:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Town Board, Batavia town budget.

Update: Oct. 5, 9 p.m.

As Town of Batavia councilwomen Patti Michalak and Sharon White, and Deputy Supervisor Dan Underhill pored over line items and monetary appropriations contained in the town's 2017 tentative budget, Supervisor Gregory Post provided an insight into the numbers that will effect the municipality's residents the most: the projected tax rate.

Post, while pointing out that uncertainties remain in the areas of sales tax revenue, health insurance costs, state mandates and taxable assessed valuation, indicated that town residents could be looking at a tax rate of $2.64 over the next fiscal year. This is a $1.24 increase over 2016's tax rate of $1.42, which was the town's first property tax since 1980.

A tax rate of $2.64 per thousand of assessed value equates to a yearly bill of $237.60 to the homeowner with a house assessed at $90,000.

The supervisor's budget includes $475,000 from the town's unexpended fund balance, which will drop to $1.3 million. Post said that amount in reserve is necessary to ensure that the level of services provided by the town continues.

"We're looking to keep our unrestricted fund balance around $1.5 million; that's the model we use," Post said. "But until we get valid, solid numbers, we won't know the final (tax) rate. I expect that this will be changing."

Post said business development in the town has elevated the total property assessment from $320 million to $379 million over the past five years, a trend that helps reduce the tax rate.

He said he is confident that the assessed value will continue to increase over the next five years when many of the multimillion dollar companies' PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) run out and they have to pay their full amount of tax.

"If this leads to growth of our excess fund balance, then I will definitely be in favor of giving back to the people of the town, either in the form of a rebate or lower tax rates," he added.

Post said he was proud of the fact that the town has no debt -- "all of our buildings are paid for and we have no big (municipal) bonds hanging over our heads," he noted -- and cited the town's ability to attract business.

"We have to partner with Genesee County, the city of Batavia, (Genesee County) economic development (Center) and New York State to bring some purity to the process so businesses will invest their millions of dollars," he said. "And thus far we have been very successful. We're still the hub of what's happening now and this is a positive sign (for the future)."

Previous report:

In a couple of hours, Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post will be distributing his 2017 tentative budget, an $8.5 million spending plan that currently calls for $1 million to be raised through property taxes.

The budget for the general and highway funds shows appropriations of $5.1 million with estimated revenues of $3.6 million. To close the gap, $475,000 will come from the town's unexpended fund balance and the remaining $1 million as the tax levy.

Post said his team is in the process of calculating the tax rate (the amount per thousand of assessed valuation) and he expects it to release that figure later today.

In 2016, a half-million dollars were raised via a tax rate of $1.42 per thousand that translated to a yearly tax bill of $127.80 for a house assessed at $90,000. It was the first property tax in the Town of Batavia since 1980.

Special district budgets -- Batavia fire districts, sewer districts 1 and 2, and the combined water districts -- have been set at $3.4 million, increasing the overall budget to $8,597,788, more than $400,000 greater than the town's 2016 budget.

"This year's budget has been more impacted by the special districts that are financed completely on their own," Post said. "They're paid for by the customers who benefit from these services."

Concerning the highway department budget, Post said that he is hoping to place some money -- around $100,000 -- into reserves for the first time, and to put forth a spending plan that takes into account rising costs that will "enable us to pay for the work that needs to be done."

As was the case last year, the supervisor is proposing 3-percent increases in salaries for the town clerk, justices, highway superintendent, and engineering and building and safety department personnel. Salaries of the elected town officials will not increase under the tentative plan.

The Town Board will consider the budget at its Oct. 19 meeting and a public hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 9.

October 5, 2016 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, news.

A second person involved an attempted robbery of a smoke shop in May where the employees fought back and the suspects fled, leading to a regionwide manhunt, entered a felony guilty plea in County Court today.

Misty Dawn Souza, 26, of St. Johnsville, entered a guilty plea to the first count of a five-count grand jury indictment, for attempted robbery in the second degree.

Last week, Jeremy J. Reynolds, 34, of Johnstown, also accepted a plea deal.

The duo was arrested after the Genesee County Sheriff's Office sought leads on the suspects in a robbery of the Smoke Rings Smoke Shop on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The man and woman entered the shop with what appeared to be guns, but only the man tried to continue with the robbery after his partner fled. He was confronted by an employee he didn't initially know was in the store and briefly detained in a back room before managing to escape through a window, dangling from the window, held by one leg by an employee, for a time.

Without a plea agreement for Souza, the Class D violent felony carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. The plea deal caps Souza's possible sentence to three and a half years, provided she stays out of trouble between now and sentencing at 9:30 a.m., Jan. 4.

At sentencing, her attorney, Fred Rarick, will argue that Souza should receive a sentence of probation with no prison term. He said in court today that he believes he can make a convincing case.

As discussed in court today, and as Souza volunteered while sitting in a Town of Alabama courtroom following her arrest in May, Souza suffers from a series of mental health issues and is required to take multiple medications.

In court May 21, Souza was frazzled and disheveled and rambled on about her concerns, the crime itself and her mental health issues while sitting in court. She said she had been off her medication since prior to the robbery attempt. 

Today, in court, she was a different person -- calm, well-spoken and polite as she answered questions from Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka.

These factors will be part of Rarick's attempt to help Souza avoid a prison term. 

Rarick will also need to make the case that the robbery attempt was really the idea of Reynolds and that Reynolds misled Souza into participating and that while she participated briefly, she fled the scene almost immediately.

Rarick will need to successfully argue that Souza does not present a danger to the community.

She has no prior criminal record -- in the Alabama court, she said she never even had a traffic ticket before. She also has no history of use or abuse of illicit drugs.

She also has five children.

Souza's mother was in court with her today. Rarick told Pietruszka that his client has been nothing but cooperative and timely in her communications and court appearances.

She is out of jail on $50,000 bond.

Pietruszka noted that it will be up to the new county judge, likely Charles Zambito, to decide on Souza's sentencing on Jan. 4.

Previously:

October 5, 2016 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Fire, news.

There was a time, Jerry Diskin remembers, when there were seven volunteer firefighters working right in the Village of Le Roy. 

That was a time, many years ago, when getting volunteers to turn out for daytime alarms was never a problem, but times have changed.

Lapp Industries has downsized, no new industrial employers have sprung up, businesses are smaller in the village, and more people work in Monroe County or elsewhere, making it hard for them to respond to daytime alarms.

That has Le Roy Fire District looking at any and all potential solutions for ensuring daytime alarms bring out sufficient manpower to cover the call, said Diskin who is chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

It's not that the department doesn't have enough volunteers -- there are 67 on the rolls, said 1st Assistant Chief Tom Wood.

"We’re not hurting for manpower," Wood said. "We’re hurting for guys available in a certain time frame. If you look at our roster, we have the manpower, but like everybody else, it’s just a time frame during the day time where people are in Rochester or wherever."

There was some confusion earlier this week over a report in a fire service newsletter, based on minutes from an East Battalion meeting, that the City of Batavia Fire Department would start to "cover" for Le Roy on structure fire calls in the Le Roy District.

That was never the plan, Diskin said. There was merely a discussion at the meeting about this issue and the city's changing role on structure fire calls.

"As a district, we’re directly accountable to the taxpayers," Diskin said. "To that end, if there is something out there that’s available to us to use or pursue we have a responsibility to do that."

The city has always sent what's known as a Fast Team (a group of firefighters tasked with being ready to rescue firefighters who might be trapped or having difficulty exiting a burning building) to structure fires in Le Roy.

There have been a total of 11 such calls in Le Roy over the past 18 months, Wood said.

In the future, the city will be asked to send a responding engine and another volunteer company will be asked to respond as the Fast Team, on daytime calls, Wood said.

"This is just change to an engine company," Wood said. "They’re not coming here to answer our alarms, they’re coming on structure fire only. ... This has been blown way, way, way out of proportion. This is just a change in assignment for them."

The county's fire response is broken into battalions and mutual aid companies and dispatchers use what are known as run cards to dispatch the right companies in the right order to the right location.

For Le Roy, the typical structure fire has Bergen sending its ladder truck almost right away, with another ladder truck (Le Roy also has its own) if needed from either Caledonia or Town of Batavia.  

The city would not likely be requested to send anything more than the Fast Team, or, now, an engine company.

"The system is designed so we don't deplete any one area," Wood said. 

Both Diskin and Wood emphasized that the issue Le Roy is facing with daytime calls is a countywide problem.

Last month, for example, there were back-to-back fires in Pavilion and Le Roy on a hot day. At the Pavilion fire, it was the third time recently that Wood became scene commander, even though it was Pavilion's district, because Pavilion didn't have a chief available to respond. An Alexander firefighter responded because he worked in Pavilion, even though his department hadn't been dispatched at that point (Alexander's Fast Team was dispatched that day). Le Roy was supposed to have a mutual aid company as a fill-in at its hall, and that company did send an engine but didn't have enough manpower available when the alarm sounded for the fire on Lent Avenue.

At that call, the city's Fast Team was pressed into firefighting duty to give the hot and tired volunteers a rest.

That's all a result of diminished manpower throughout the area for daytime calls, Wood said.

"This whole daytime thing is a countywide issue," Wood said. "It’s just being brought to the foreground by us because we’re being proactive about making sure things are covered."

Diskin said it's important to note that while getting enough people out on daytime calls is a struggle, calls are still getting covered in the district.

Like the Lent Avenue fire, calls sometimes pile up and over. And for the past couple of years, there seem to be more calls for service during the day, Diskin said.

"But that happens (the rare back-to-back call)," Diskin said. "It’s just like, 'it’s only a CO alarm,' 'it’s only a smoke detector alarm,' but somebody has got to answer that. That’s all it is, but somebody has got to go and handle it."

While manpower isn't an issue, recruiting more people is one obvious answer to boost the numbers with the hope that some greater percentage of recruits increases the number of daytime responders.

It's a challenge, and part of the challenge is that firefighting training has gone from a week to now you're into 79 hours of training, and 129 if you want to be an interior firefighter.

“It’s all good training," Diskin said. "I’ve been in training all my life. The issue is, it’s a big time commitment. So you’re trying to ramp that person up to be a valuable member of your department, you’re talking 18 months."

Because of the changing landscape of employment in Le Roy, Wood said, people's lifestyles have changed. A young firefighter probably has a family and kids today and they're signed up for more activities, making parents less available to respond to fire calls.

"Parents are just traveling all the time," Wood said. "I take my brother as an example. He’s got his daughter on a travel volleyball team. He’s gone most of the summer every weekend. So there’s a guy gone. I don’t fault anybody for doing that, but that’s the way it is."

To find out more about volunteering for your area department, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

October 4, 2016 - 9:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news.

All available manpower is requested to the Le Roy Fire Hall after dispatchers received multiple calls reporting the odor of natural gas in the Village of Le Roy.

Callers are from multiple locations.

UPDATE 9:59 p.m.: Pavilion and Bergen departments requested to stand by in their halls.

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