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April 23, 2016 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in historia, batavia, news.

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The Government Appointed Historians of Western New York are holding their annual meeting at Rochester Club [email protected]'s restaurant in Batavia today.

Above, Robert Lowell Goller, Aurora town historian and East Aurora village historian, talks about maintaining independence as a municipal historian.  Other speakers covered topics on digital changes in the local history field, controversies, scandals surrounding the papers of Warren G. Harding and discovering early Masonic treasures in Upstate. Micheal Eula, Genesee County Historian, gave the first talk of the day on a brief overview of local history in action.

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April 23, 2016 - 1:17pm

Press release:

On Friday Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I- Batavia) announced he will introduce legislation to immediately lift a mandate on counties and provide relief for local taxpayers.

In 2015, the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial & Executive Compensation recommended increases in all county district attorneys’ salaries in 2016, and again in 2018. As a result, counties are mandated to pick up the cost, a burden placed directly on taxpayers.

“Our hard-working district attorneys deserve this recognition, the invaluable work that they provide make our communities safer and better places to live,” Hawley said. “Mandating that counties pick up this cost, however, is a direct burden on our middle-class families and I’m glad my bill will provide the proper compensation for our public servants while also protecting the hard-earned money of our taxpayers.”

Hawley’s legislation will require that counties be reimbursed by the state for the entire cost of these increases, including any future increases to district attorney salaries.

“The estimated cost of these salary increases is $1.6 million statewide for 2016. Another increase in 2018 could result in an even greater burden on taxpayers,” Hawley said.

“That’s why this legislation is so important. It provides proper compensation for our district attorneys and protects counties and taxpayers from bearing any further burdens in the already tough economic climate of New York.”

April 23, 2016 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Milestones, news, eugene jankowski, sports.

Eugene Jankowski Jr., of Batavia, finished First Place Senior in the Tactical Division in the 2016 Colt USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals at the Desert Sportsman’s Rifle and Pistol Club, Las Vegas, held April 15-17.

A total of 301 competitors from all over the world braved 40-mph wind gusts and completed 12 stages of fire requiring the use of rifle, pistol and shotgun over three days. Paper, steel and flying clay targets were arranged anywhere from 7 to 400 yards in a unique maze of walls, hard cover and natural terrain.

USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) has more than 25,000 active members and more than 400 affiliated clubs. USPSA is the largest competitive shooting organization in the United States.

Video highlights can be seen by clicking here.

April 23, 2016 - 12:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in mental health, First Responders, news, batavia, Announcements.

A free, first responder awareness workshop on trauma, PTSD and suicide prevention will be offered at the Genesee County Fire Training Center on Tuesday, May 10.

Two sessions are available: 2:30 to 5 p.m. or 6 to 8:30 p.m. The fire training center is located at 7690 State Street Road in Batavia.

Seating is limited. Please register by May 3.

The workshop will be presented by Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb.

Sheriff Whitcomb has been in law enforcement for 26 years. He is a former adjunct professor of Criminal Justice for Jamestown Community College and St. Bonaventure University. Presently, he instructs through local academies and the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. He has a master's degree in Counseling Education and is a certified police instrutor in the areas of Interview and Interrogation, Basix and Advanced Juvenile Officer Training, Investigation of Sex Crimes and Law Enforcement Response to School Violence.

For more information or to register, contact the sponsoring organization -- the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties at 344-2611 or via e-mail at   [email protected]

The workshop is being offered in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Genesee County in conjunction with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and Genesee County Emergency Services.

April 23, 2016 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barry Miller, bergen, fire services, news.

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Bergen dedicated its new ambulance Friday evening in honor of Barry Miller, the former EMS chief who was killed in an accident Sept. 23 while responding to a medical call.

Miller was remembered as a man who had a passion for the EMS service and always looked forward in life to new challenges.

"As time passes, his title as director, EMS lieutenant and EMS chief may fade from our memories, but the ones that will always remain are leader, mentor and dear friend," said Deputy Chief Scott Crosier.

Town Supervisor Don Cunningham, a good friend of Miller's, said the ceremony marked a time of transition and he hoped that every time the ambulance rolls on a call in the future that it will be filled with the same passion for service that Miller brought to the job.

"I'd like to think this ceremony opens a new chapter," Cunningham said. "Those of us who knew Barry that moss didn't grow on his walk. He was always moving forward, never lingering in the past, always looking to the next opportunity, up for the next adventure, ready and willing for the next fun thing."

P.J. Cummings sang his song, the "Firefighters Song." Perhaps, he said, it may be the last time he performs the song live.

Pastors Micheal Merry and Matthew French delivered the blessing of the vehicle and prayed over it and Miller's parents, Tracy and Loretta, dedicated it.

Top photo: Bergen Chief Kevin Finucane.

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Don Cummingham

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P.J. Cummings

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Matthew French and Michael Merry

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Loretta and Tracy Miller.

April 22, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, news, Tencar, Choice Cap, healthcare.

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Besides a potentially great idea, Georgann Carrubba has one of the key things investors look for in a startup CEO -- passion for an idea that she thinks will make a big change in people's lives.

Though the product she hopes to bring to market is decidedly less sexy than some tech gadget, she thinks her sincerity is what swung a panel of judges in her direction two days ago when they awarded her the $25,000 top prize in the 2016 Rochester Venture Challenge.

The lifelong Batavia resident said she could hardly believe she won, standing on stage in front of 300 people with young men who came to pitch ideas for drones, mobile phones and gaming. 

She had been through this kind of competition before, at Buffalo's 43 North, where tech inventions carried the day.

"I was in complete shock," Carrubba said. "I'm looking at each side of me and it's all technology again. And they're good people and they believe in their products as much as I do, so I was completely caught off my game. When they asked me to speak, I cried. I had to compose myself to say a couple of sentences because I truly did not think we would win. It was a tough competition."

Not only is Carrubba's product less sexy than a tech gadget, it addresses an issue that doesn't even get a lot of attention among the pantheon of people's medical issues that are the subject of telethons, ribbon wearing and 5K races.

We're talking about colostomy and ileostomy patients, people who have bags attached to a hole in their abdomen to collect their bodies' waste.

There are some 800,000 ostomy patients in the United States (perhaps as many as 5 million worldwide), and another 50,000 to 65,000 are given the procedure each year. The surgeries are the results of cancer, disease or accidents and the range of ages includes the very young and the very old.

Up until now, these patients have been saddled with a bulky bag that is prone to leaks and odor and reduced mobility and activity, including sexual activity.

Carrubba became a visiting nurse in 2004 and dealt with many patients who struggled with their ostomy equipment and dealt with the embarrassment of their situation often by avoiding socializing and outside activities. 

She thought in this day and age, why hasn't something better come along?

There had been no significant advance in ostomy care in 60 years.

One evening in 2011, she was sipping coffee at her sister's house and glanced down at a bowl and an idea popped into her head.

"I went home, went to bed, said my prayers and the next day made it in my garage," Carrubba said.

What Carrubba invented -- and secured a patent on -- is a cup-like device that attaches to the diaphragm in the patient's abdominal opening and collects waste. It is secure, airtight and waterproof.

She has a patent pending on a sensor that will be included in the cup so patients will be alerted on an iPhone or iPad when the bag inside the cup needs to be changed.

To go along with the device, called a Choice Cap, patients will be able to purchase biodegradable bags, and perhaps eventually, bags that can be flushed down any toilet, and decorative covers that can match anything from a wedding dress to swimsuit to boxers or a slinky nightgown.

After six design changes in the prototype, Carrubba is ready for the Choice Cap to go through trials with actual patients. Even though the product doesn't require FDA approval, she wants that kind of rigor in the trials so she and her team can collect the feedback and make any design changes  needed before going into production.

She hopes to have the Choice Cap on the market by early 2017.

A journey that began with a spark of inspiration hasn't necessarily been easy or straightforward. Carrubba has never run a business and didn't really know the first thing about starting a business.

She got together with her cousin, Eugene Tenney, an attorney in Buffalo, to help form a company, originally to be called Carten, but it turned out that name wasn't available, so it became Tencar, a company she plans to keep based in Batavia.

She then went to the Innovation Center at the Med-Tech Center, where the Genesee County Economic Development Center staff helped her form an advisory board, provided information and introductions for the startup communities and services in Buffalo and Rochester.

The competitions taught her a lot about the business world, she said, but admits that while she'll remain CEO, she really isn't qualified to be COO or CTO or CFO or any of the other C-suite positions. 

She was particularly grateful to High-Tech Rochester for the training and mentoring program that preceded the competition, and she said the encouragement she received from Theresa Mezzullo and Rami Katz of the investment firm Excell Partners was particularly helpful.

It was Katz who advised Carrubba to just be herself during the pitch, so she showed up in her nurses scrubs and spoke from her heart.

What drivers Carrubba, she said, isn't the allure of entrepreneurial success, or even the potential $2.4 billion domestic market for her product, but the hope of making people's lives better.

"I was never one of those, 'I'm going to invent something and be a millionaire,' " Carrubba said. "No, no, no. I was a nurse. I've always been a nurse. Truth be known, probably a lot of my employers don't like me because I've always been on the side of the patient, whatever is best for the patient. I've always been a patient advocate."

April 22, 2016 - 3:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, news.

Press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of police officer from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department, concluded an investigation into the sales of heroin in and around the City of Batavia with the arrest of  a Batavia man on Thursday evening.

David T. Riley Jr., 33, of East Main Street, Batavia, is in jail, charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a Class B felony, and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, also a Class B felony.

Riley was arrested at his residence on a Genesee County Grand Jury Warrant, which followed an extensive investigation into illegal drug sales in the Tracy Avenue area. The defendant was allegedly selling heroin in the Tracy Avenue area. The investigation is continuing and further charges and arrests are possible.

Task Force members were also assisted in the investigation and arrest by the Genesee Countyu DA's Office, the Probation Department, uniformed officers of the City of Batavia Police Department.

April 22, 2016 - 3:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department, concluded an investigation into the sales of suboxone in and around the City of Batavia with the arrest of a Batavia man Thursday evening.

Lance M. Mercado Sr., 25, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, a Class D felony and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, also a Class D felony.

Mercado was arrested at his residence on a Genesee County Grand Jury indictment warrant. He was allegedly selling quantities of the medication suboxone. He is in jail.

Task Force members were also assisted in the investigation and arrest by the Genesee County DA's Office, uniformed members of the Sheriff's Office and uniformed officers of the City of Batavia Police Department.

April 22, 2016 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, Oakfield, Le Roy.

Thomas L. Hill Jr., 26, of Fayette Street, Brockport, is charged with: unlawful possession of marijuana; two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree; and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia. Hill was arrested at 8:15 p.m. on April 21 after a citizen complained of a suspicious vehicle on Hutchins Place. Police located the vehicle in the parking lot of the Circle 3 Food Mart on Ellicott Street. An investigation allegedly revealed crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana inside the vehicle. Hill was jailed without bail and is to appear in City Court today. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Chevaughn D. Hanson, 22, of East Main Street, Batavia was arrested for disorderly conduct following an altercation at 3:27 p.m. on April 19 on East Main Street with another male. Hanson is accused of engaging in violent, tumultuous and threatening behavior. He was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on April 26. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Dylan B. Boykins, 43, no address provided, is charged with disorderly conduct -- fight/violent behavior. Patrols were dispatched to Highland Park near Jackson Street at 1:34 p.m. on April 16 for a reported altercation between a male and female. Boykins, who was located a short time later, was arrested following an investigation into the disturbance. Boykins allegedly shoved and attempted to strike another person and was arrested. The case was handled by Baavia Police Officer James DeFreze, assisted by Marc Lawrence.

Maggie S. Dipilato, 22, of Nelson Street, Holley, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Dipilato was arrested on April 18 following a domestic incident on Hutchins Street on April 13 in which she allegedly violated a complete stay away order of protection. Dipilato was allegedly found in possession of drug paraphernalia and was jailed on $1,000 bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer  Christopher Lindsay.

James R. Kosiorek, 23, no permanent address, is charged with criminal possession of a loaded weapon. He was allegedly in possession of a loaded hanbdgun in November 2014 that had previously been stolen from a vehicle in the Town of Le Roy. He was arrested on this charge April 21 while he was in Genesee County Jail on unrelated charges. He had $1,000 bail on this charge. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Gregory Walker.

Ashli N. Zajaczkowski, 25, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Zajaczkowski was arrested at 7:48 p.m. on April 21 following a traffic stop during which the investigating officer detected the odor of marijuana. The officer allegedly located an amount of marijuana that would be consistent with personal use in the vehicle. Zajaczkowski was issued an appearance ticket for City Court for May 3. Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan investigated the case.

Cody E. Snyder, of East Shelby Road, Oakfield, is charged with offering a false instrument in the first degree and possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. Snyder was arrested on April 18 following an investigation into a complaint filed by Genesee County Probation. The incident occurred on Dec. 29, 2014. He was jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

James A. Mitchell, 37, of Jackson Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court after allegedly failing to pay a fine associated with a disorderly conduct violated issued on April 5 on West Main Street, Batavia. He was released after posting $100 bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison.

Michael Givonnie Chance, 18, of 145th Road, Springfield Gardens, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. At 8:34 p.m. on April 19, Chance was allegedly found to be in possession of a small quantity of marijuana on Batavia-Stafford Townline Road and was arrested and issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on April 25. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien and Deputy James Diehl.

April 22, 2016 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in flood insurance program, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City received notification yesterday from FEMA and the Insurance Services Office (ISO) that it will be accepted into the Community Rating System at a Level 7, becoming the fourth top-ranked community statewide. Beginning Oct. 1, residents and business owners in the City's Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) will receive 15-percent discounts on their flood insurance premiums while those outside the SFHA will receive an additional 5-percent discount on top of already reduced rates.

The total annual savings for residents today stands at $53,048, but Assistant City Manager and CRS Coordinator Gretchen DiFante is quick to point out that cost savings is hardly the sole benefit to being a member of the rating system.

"The purpose of the CRS is to improve flood mitigation efforts in a community," DiFante said. "The results of those efforts are better-informed citizens, enhanced public safety, a reduction to potential damage to property and public infrastructure, avoidance of economic disruption and protection of the environment. In addition, implementing some CRS activities, such as floodplain management planning, can help a community qualify for certain federal assistant programs."

City Manager Jason Molino, who three years ago proposed to City Council that the City set a target for CRS membership, reiterated that the system is an additional part of a comprehensive strategy to improve neighborhoods and the value of City homes.

"These efforts, coupled with our vacant homes strategies, code enforcement measures and focus on collaborative neighborhood efforts help bring together a comprehensive community development approach," Molino said.

While City staff consider the achievement of a Level 7 to be a cause for celebration, they also acknowledge the enormous amount of work on behalf of dozens of people and organizations necessary to maintain that rating and the level of collaboration inherent in ongoing success.

"As a non-coastal community with very little open space, we really had to look to some less-traditional activities to achieve our rating," says DiFante (See Attached Table A-1 for scoring breakdown). "The situation for Batavia was a little like being a runt and having to be creative and make intelligent decisions to catch up with the rest of the group; however we were very fortunate to be able to draw upon an enormous number of local, regional and state-wide resources for help."

DiFante and teammates Captain Bob Fix, Ron Panek and Meg Chilano cite the following individuals/organizations as being instrumental to the City's success:

  • David Zorn and his team from the Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council;
  • Joe Teresi and Sally Hoyt from Tompkins Insurance Agencies;
  • Tom Turnbull from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce;
  • Tim Yeager from Genesee County Emergency Management;
  • Lisa Gautieri from Bank of Castile;
  • Robert Conrad, executive director of the Richmond Memorial Library;
  • A local realtor group that met monthly and included Russ and Gillian Romano and Danielle Torcello from Nothnagle, Lois and Robert Gerace from Realty USA, WNY and Lynn Bezon from Reliant Real Estate;
  • Tom Lichtenthal and the rest of the Town of Batavia Engineering Department;
  • The Village of Mamaroneck, which shared its entire CRS application;
  • John Gauthier, engineer from the Town of Greece;
  • Jacob Tysz from Adkins Global;
  • Janet Thigpen, Chemung County certified floodplain manager;
  • Bill Nechamen, Mary Binder and Karis Manning from the NYS DEC;
  • Michael Messerly and staff from the Batavia Daily News who were unrelenting and creative in their efforts at public service creation and communication;
  • Mike Pettinella from the Buffalo News and Alecia Kaus from Video News Service, who were eager to communicate key messages to readers and viewers to help gain points;
  • Howard Owens from the Batavian who allowed the team to publish photos that painted powerful pictures of the results of flooding;
  • Dan Fischer and WBTA who helped with emergency communication tactics and will be an important ongoing voice of emergency communication;
  • Felipe Oltramari, Derek Kane and Erin Pence from the Genesee County Planning Department, whose members the CRS team relied heavily on for quality mapping and advice.

DiFante believes it's important that the public understands the number of people and organizations needed to achieve such a success.

"We've all encountered times when organizations fail to work together towards a common goal, and we were amazed at the collaboration at all levels of government and in our community to make the CRS a success," DiFante said. "Not only were our partners in the city, town, county, region and state willing to help — they were all eager to learn, get involved, problem solve and do what needed to be done — even though we were truly learning together and had a few missteps along the way. This process could be a model for how many different organizations can achieve a common goal through focus, collaboration and hard work."

Molino acknowledges that the work has just begun and ongoing activities will be vital to maintaining the City's current level and to researching the readiness and ability to move beyond a Level 7 (something not yet achieved by any New York State community).

"We are all pleased with the benefit to the community thus far and with the cost reduction for our residents, and we're ready to keep improving," Molino said.

April 22, 2016 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee valley wind ensemble, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble performs a spring concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, at Elba Central School, 57 S. Main St., Elba. 

The performance will feature the Rockwell Brass Quintet and include pieces by Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Hamlish and Kleban, Frank Tichelli and Gustav Holst.

The wind ensemble is conducted by Phil Briatico.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students, and families are $25.

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April 22, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosts its annual spaghetti dinner from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, at the YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

The event benefits local children's projects. 

The cost is $7 per person and includes spaghetti and meatballs, salad, Italian bread, lemonade, coffee or tea and dessert. 

Pictured, Matt Landers, Shanon Ford, Frank Ciaccia, Jeanne Walter and Peter Guppenberger.

April 22, 2016 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

The City is pleased to announce the following recipients for the 2015 City Recognition Awards:

Business of the Year WBTA FM & AM is recognized for the positive contribution and support they have provided within our community. WBTA demonstrated continuous community involvement with the Centennial Celebration throughout 2015. The station broadcasts a well-organized scheduled to interact with community business owners, volunteers, schools and government. WBTA also had involvement in the Emergency Management Planning and Support for the community. They continue to strive to provide excellence through their daily broadcasting which keeps the community involved and informed of the latest and greatest news.

This year, there are two Homeowner’s selected for the 2015 Recognition Award:

Homeowner of the Year Don and Pam Hirons are recognized for their demonstration in maintaining and improving their home on 137 Summit St. and taking pride in their neighborhood. They have accomplished the creation of a neighborhood coalition to keep a close connection with the homeowners and participate in the revitalization of Summit Street. Don and Pam strive to keep their neighborhood safe and thriving within the community. These two are true hometown heroes who serve as role models for other citizens determined to revitalize a neighborhood.

Homeowner of the Year Tonya Passamonte and Adam Steadman are recognized for their demonstration in maintaining their home on 12 Washington Ave. and taking pride in their neighborhood. Tonya and Adam created extraordinary displays for Halloween and Christmas which were admired by many. They fabricated festive displays using memorable characters from childhood stories. As holiday music plays in the distance, the community comes alive, drawing the attention to approximately 500 children during the Halloween season. As the children walk away with a piece of candy they are also walking away with a memory and tradition. Tonya and Adam’s community spirit does not go unnoticed.

Community Volunteer of the Year Larry Barnes is recognized for his extraordinary efforts that he brings forth to our community. As the City Historian, he donates his time to share the connection between the past and the future for the City of Batavia. Larry works hard to catalog important historical documents at City Hall for future generations. He was an integral volunteer to the successful events during the 2015 Centennial Celebration. Larry has written a book on the City’s history, has produced many articles on the City’s Web site and continues to offer his knowledge in tours and group discussions. Larry’s true dedication and positive impact are instrumental to our community.

Employee of the Year Chad Richards consistently goes above and beyond the expectations of his position as a Police Officer. The department has received acknowledgements from the community of his courteous, compassionate and patient behavior as an officer. Chad is actively involved in the Emergency Response Team and has gone above and beyond his normal scope of duties as an ERT operator. Chad has been crucial in investigation and successful prosecution of many cases. He demonstrates his true commitment to the community by participating in community events, such as, “Shop with a Cop,” which was held at the Batavia Walmart during Christmas. Chad embodies the qualities that the City strives to maintain for all of their employees.

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2015 City Recognition Awards.

These awards will be presented during the City Council Conference Meeting on Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m., in the Council Board Room at City Hall.

April 22, 2016 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Michael Tenebruso, charity, batavia, news.

This past weekend, more than 400 people turned out for a fundraiser to benefit Michael Tenebruso, who is up against Stage IV lung cancer.  This video was made by Cosmic Video to document the event.

Those who wish to make a donation can send a check in Michael Tenebruso's name to Big Pauly's Pizza, 314 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY 14020.

April 21, 2016 - 7:23pm

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James Carter "Jimmie" Walker Jr., who played James Evans Jr. ("J.J.") from the mid-'70s TV show "Good Times," headlined Batavia Downs' first of many Comedy Nights scheduled this year. Walker has been entertaining people for more than four decades, from TV to comedy acts with his great one-liners, humor and his signature catchphrase "Dy-no-mite!"

He spoke about the era many years ago when TV had a whoppomg three channel and when it got to be very late, the signal went off the air with a beep and lines. Walker was nominated for Emmys, Golden Globes and more. The 68-year-old guy Bronx native entertained a packed crowd with laughter, wit and charm and was well received by Batavia.

Rochester native Todd Youngman opened the show for Walker.

The next Comedy Night at Batavia Downs is Wednesday, May 11th, with Michael Winslow from "Police Academy."

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Pictured below, Todd Youngman.

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April 21, 2016 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after introducing H.R. 5021, the Better Accounting for Medicaid Costs Act. The legislation will focus on reducing costs associated with Medicaid information requirements.

“States and the federal government currently spend over $500 billion a year on Medicaid,”Congressman Collins said. “If we are serious about tackling our nation’s budgetary challenges, we must confront this massive and out-of-control expense.

“Through common-sense measures, we can easily save taxpayer dollars, while improving transparency and accountability within the Administration. This legislation will protect states and the federal governments from unknowingly footing the bill for overly expensive Medicaid policy clarifications. Requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide notice and comment rulemaking on sub-regulatory guidance that will cost states over $50 million or the federal government over $100 million in one year is simply smart policy.”

Lately, CMS has issued expensive Medicaid policy clarifications and interpretations through informal guidance such as letters to State Medicaid Directors, Informational Bulletins, and Frequently Asked Questions. Sub-regulatory guidance makes sense for certain updates and changes, given the Federal-State nature of the Medicaid program. However, some of these “clarifications” can actually present states and the federal government with high and unexpected costs.

This legislation requires CMS to go through notice and comment rulemaking if the Secretary of HHS determines that Medicaid sub-regulatory guidance will cost states more than $50 million or the federal government more than $100 million in one year, increasing transparency and accountability within the entitlement program.

April 21, 2016 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, elba, news.

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Press release:

Imagine a classroom where students can design and manufacture an iPhone case, whistles or even a part for an RC car for pennies on the dollar.

It's happening at Elba Central School with the help of a 3-D printer, which the school acquired as part of Genesee Valley BOCES Make and Take Workshop back in February.

A 3-D printer works much like a more familiar 2-D text and picture printer.

"3D printers take a digital file and turn it into a three-dimensional object layer by layer," said Elba's Technology coordinator, Mary Beth Stacy. "Engineering classes can print their designs and see if they will actually work instead of just assuming that it will. The printer we have can actually print many of it's own parts."

"The students design the objects using CAD software and then print it," Stacy said. "Sometimes the design works and sometimes it fails. Great life lessons about learning from their mistakes and not giving up are being reinforced, along with critical thinking and problem solving skills."

Instead of ink, users can choose their own material. Most educators use a low-cost plastic filament.

"The students are really excited to see it," Kevin Rombaut, technology teacher at Elba Central School said. "It allows them to see rapid prototyping and modeling. It gives them actual objects that they can see and hold other than just a computer rendering or imagination.

"It allows them to create parts and/or objects and to re-invent. I had one student break a part on their RC vehicle. They took it, drew a new one, changed the design to offer more support, and printed a new part out."

Elba Central School is doing what it can in keeping current with technology to help their students succeed in the future.

As Stacy pointed out, "Our students' futures will have technology embedded in their daily lives."

April 21, 2016 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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Photo by Jim Burns.

Shortly after 4 p.m., this semi-truck on Elm Street, near Main Street, took out phone and cable lines.

April 21, 2016 - 9:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Intoxication played a significant role in the drowning death of a 49-year-old Batavia man who's body was found in the Tonawanda Creek near Kibbe Park in August, according to information released by Batavia PD this morning.

In a statement, the police say that a Medical Examiner's investigation has concluded Troy Hickman drowned and was intoxicated at the time of his death.

No further information about the incident was released.

April 21, 2016 - 3:38am
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, news.

Le Roy village residents will pay more for sewer service starting this summer.

The Village Board on Wednesday approved a 21-percent hike — from $33 to $40 — in the village’s minimum quarterly sewer rate, effective with the August billing.

Sewer charges are based on water consumption. The minimum quarterly sewer charge includes the first 3,000 gallons.

The board also raised the village’s “excess” rate, from $5.81 to $8 per 1,000 gallons above the minimum.

Sewer rates will also increase for the handful of customers outside the village. The minimum will go from $100 to $120 per quarter, while the excess charge rises from $6.76 to $9.25 per 1,000 gallons.

The increases — the village’s first since 2002 — were prompted by a sewer fund deficit and the need to pay for long-deferred improvements to the village’s 54-year-old sewer treatment plant on Red Mill Road.

Mayor Greg Rogers said the village is meanwhile eyeing a $5 million to $6 million plan for plant upgrades. The first phase could be in place by the end of the year.

Rogers said the board’s hope is that those upgrades will cut treatment costs — and eventually allow for a lower sewer rate.

“Once we get going, this rate could slide back considerably,” Rogers said. “But for this year, we have to budget to break even.”

Rogers estimated that an average family of five will pay an additional $200 in sewer costs in 2016-17.

Residents who pay only the minimum — a category that includes about 20 percent of the village’s 1,751 customers — will pay an extra $7 per year.

The sewer budget, by law, must be self-funding. The 2015-16 fiscal year will however end with a $220,000 sewer fund deficit, Rogers said. That will be covered by reserve funds, but must be repaid to the general fund next year, he said.

The deficit was fueled by the cost of wastewater sludge hauling, which has been entirely in the village’s hands since We Care Organics of Rochester stepped way from its hauling agreement late last year.

“That’s the major contributing factor,” Rogers said.

The costs of operating the treatment plant — including employee wages and benefits — have continued to rise, Rogers said. But lower water consumption — thanks in part to residents’ use of water-efficient appliances — has held sewer revenues in check. 

Another new but necessary expense, Rogers said, is an equipment repair and maintenance effort directed by Steven Carroll, plant superintendent since March 2015.

Rogers said the Village Board, along with the village sewer board and engineers Clark Patterson Lee, are developing a $5 million to $6 million plan for treatment plant upgrades. The village will pursue grants and interest-free financing offered through the state Environmental Facilities Corporation.

The immediate goal is to purchase a belt filter press, used for sludge dewatering. Rogers said the equipment costs about $600,000, but would dramatically reduce hauling and landfill expenses.

“Our first step is, we have to get the money,” Rogers said. “The second step is to get the belt press. Once we do that we can start seeing a real savings.”

The village’s sewer treatment plant is a long-simmering problem that no one has been eager to address — in Roger’s words, the “5,000-pound elephant in the room.”

Outstanding debt on the plant — which costs nearly $400,000 a year to service — will not be retired until 2019.

“To be honest, everybody — present company included — was just trying to get to the end of that before stacking on more debt,” Rogers said.

“You knew it was there, and you knew that someday it would have to be done,” he said. “The witching hour is here.”

In other action Wednesday, the board adopted a $3.375 million budget for 2016-17. The budget raises the tax rate by a penny, to $10.46 per $1,000 assessed value.

The budget that was the subject of a public hearing last week. The village’s 2016-17 fiscal year begins June 1.

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