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March 17, 2016 - 5:28pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in GCC, tech wars, news, steve ognibene's blog.

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The ninth annual GLOW Region (Genesee Livingston Orleans Wyoming counties) Tech Wars Competition was held today at Genesee Community College. Eighteen school districts participated in this year's four-hour event that incorporated technology, skills and competitiveness.

Hundreds of students from both middle and high schools competed in 20 different events. Pictured above is the CO2 cars lined up to be checked in.  

Top three schools that won the overall most awards: Alexander Central School, First Place; Dansville, Second Place; and Warsaw, Third Place.

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March 17, 2016 - 5:14pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, St. Patricks Day, O'Lacy's, news.

As you may well know, today is the day when everyone is Irish; it is St. Patrick's Day. Few better places to be than your favorite pub for a celebration. O'Lacy's Irish Pub is first to come to mind on this day for many. As the size of the crowd at the pub proved, this is the place to be in Genesee County. (Divine Reuben sandwiches, if we may say so.)

Plenty of good times to be had at Center Street Smoke House right around the corner, too. Dancers from McMahon School of Irish Dance will be doing some jigs at 6 p.m. and then there's an encore performance at 7. There will be live Irish music provided by The Heenan Brothers, corned beef & cabbage dinners, special on Miller Lite -- 20 ozs. for 5 bucks.

Enjoy St. Pat's Day, but don't drink and drive!
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March 17, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Orlando McDonald, 32, of Eagle Street, Medina, is charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. McDonald was stopped on Alleghany Road in Pembroke at 6:33 p.m. on March 16 for allegedly having inadequate headlamps. After an investigation, it was determined that he was driving with a revoked license. He was jailed in lieu of $2,500 bail.

Jessie L. Tabor, 20, of Catherine Street, Medina, turned himself in at Medina Police Department on an outstanding warrant issued by Town of Batavia Court. He is charged with petit larceny stemming from an incident on West Main Street Road in Batavia on Feb. 29. He was jailed in lieu of $200 bail.

March 17, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, news, agriculture, ag literacy.

Submitted photos and press release:

Each year, in celebration of National Agriculture Week, volunteers throughout the state read a book with an agricultural theme to second-graders. Students benefit from hands-on lessons and follow up activities. 

Today, second-graders at Alexander Elementary School participated. Barb Sturm and Molly Grimes were presenters from Cornell Cooperative Extension in Genesee County.

The selected book for 2016 is "The Apple Orchard Riddle" by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This story shares the journey of Mr. Tiffin’s class on a field trip to an apple orchard. The students learn about every aspect of the farm from how apples are harvested, the process of making cider, and the many different varieties of apples.

This year’s focus on apple production is exciting because of the importance of the apple industry in New York State, as we are ranked second nationally in production.

March 17, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Stafford, corvette raffle, NY Gaming Commission, news.

Press release:

In light of the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department canceling its annual car raffle due to fundraising restrictions, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), a Life Member of the Stafford Fire Department, announced today that he has introduced legislation to allow Internet advertising by charitable organizations.

Currently, the New York State Constitution does not allow online advertising of charitable games of chance or allow checks or credit cards to be accepted as payment for these raffles.

“I stand in complete support of the Stafford Fire Department,” Hawley said. “Volunteer fire departments are the crux of any successful public safety apparatus and they deserve our utmost respect, help and assistance in every capacity. Clearly, this is an example of the State Constitution lagging behind in technology and adhering to archaic laws.

"The Legislature should immediately consider a constitutional amendment to right this injustice, and I have introduced legislation that would allow charitable organizations to advertise raffle tickets online, boosting sales and reaching more residents. I love attending the Stafford Fire Department Raffle and realize its importance to the sustainability of the department and the local community. I pledge to help in any way I can.”

Hawley is co-sponsoring two bills which would allow charitable organizations holding raffles to accept checks and credit cards. Hawley said he will also be introducing a constitutional amendment to allow nonprofit organizations more latitude in their fundraising efforts.

“Again, this is an example of selective enforcement,” Hawley said. “I sponsor two bills, A.9322 and A.4716, which would address this issue: one allowing checks as payment for raffle tickets; and the other allowing credit as acceptable payment for games of chance.

"This would allow all of our other not for profits, churches, veterans clubs, service clubs and others who strive to help themselves and our communities to sell tickets online and engage more supporters. These bills are currently being held in the Racing and Wagering Committee, and I will do all that I can to get them passed.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to The Batavian's request for more information on the Stafford Fire Department's situation, NY Gaming Commission Spokesman Lee Park e-mailed the following today. We did not hear back from Stafford fire officials.

From Lee Park, NYS Gaming Commission:

The laws and regulations permitting raffles in New York State have been on the books for 20 years and have not changed. All charitable organizations operating in the state are expected to adhere to these laws.

In late 2015, the Gaming Commission received a complaint that this organization was operating in violation of law and regulations. We investigated the matter and informed the organization of the violations and steps needed to correct them.

We sincerely hope that this organization – and all charitable entities in the state – will legally raise funds for their important causes. To this end, the Commission regularly conducts outreach to charitable organizations to ensure they are aware of these laws and regulations, including the prohibition of credit card payments and non-contiguous county sales of raffle tickets. The Commission holds charitable gaming seminars each month at its headquarters in Schenectady and regularly goes into the field to educate organizations on these important measures.

More information about charitable gaming in New York can be found here: https://www.gaming.ny.gov/charitablegaming/index.php?ID=0

March 17, 2016 - 3:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, news.

Press release:

Members of Genesee Community College's Class of 2016, along with family and friends, as well as attending Board of Trustees members, faculty and staff should all enjoy the keynote address by Joshua Fredenburg, a nationally acclaimed speaker, commentator, leadership /diversity consultant, relationship expert and author of five books.

GCC's 48th annual Commencement ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. Fredenburg is a dynamic speaker known for inspirational messages that often lead to life-changing and transformational results.

Fredenburg is the president and founder of the Circle of Change Leadership Conference, an award-winning annual leadership development program for college students. The program provides emerging leaders with the skills, resources and access to learn from more than 70 executives from Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi, Columbia Pictures, Hewlett Packard, CNN, UPS, MTV, Mattel, Starbucks, Verizon Wireless, NBC Universal, IBM and Warner Brothers.

In addition, Fredenburg is a member from the California State University Board of Directors, received an award from the Young Professionals Urban League of Los Angeles, and has been featured on numerous local and national talk shows.

In other news, at the regular Board of Trustees meeting earlier this week, the following staff and students were recognized: 

Judith Littlejohn, of Elba, instructional designer, will receive the FACT2 Excellence Award, honoring superior achievement of State University of New York teaching faculty and technology support professionals at the SUNY Conference on Instruction and Technology (CIT) in May. 

• GCC student Erin S. Nesmith, of LeRoy, was honored with a "Rising Star Scholar" award by the Arts Council for Wyoming County. 

• GCC students Jessica N. Rush of Rochester, and Amanda A. Starczewski, of Corfu, officers of GCC's Phi Theta Kappa Honor's Society, were awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, and were also were honored with the Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Award.

In other matters the Board of Trustees:

Approved the curriculum changes to the College's Liberal Arts and Science Humanities and Social Science Associate in Arts degree. While continuing to review GCC's academic programs under the SUNY seamless transfer initiative, Dr. Kathleen Schiefen, provost/executive vice president for Academic Affairs reported that the College's Humanities and Social Sciences program now includes six concentrations in History, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, English and Economics to better enable students who are transferring for a bachelorette degree in these areas of specialty. 

Approved the appointment of two new employees: 

  • Shelitha Williams, Ph.D., of Rochester, will join the College on June 1 as the new associate vice president of Student Success. With a 13-year tenure at Monroe Community College working in residence life and student engagement, Williams is currently the co-chair of MCC's Diversity Council managing enrollment services and coordinating academic advisement services for the Damon City Campus.
  • Maureen Welch, of Webster, NY, joins GCC as the director of Clinical Education, Respiratory Care. As a therapist at Golisano Children's/Strong Pediatric Pulmonary Clinic, she brings 25 years of diverse clinical and professional experience in both hospital and industry environments. 

Received the donation of 300 sewing patterns to be used by GCC's Fashion Design students in their efforts to create garments for both classroom projects and the College's annual Fashion Show. The donation was made by Jennifer Newell, GCC's dean of students, and is valued at approximately $6,000. 

Heard Richard Ensman, director of Development and External Affairs report on the ongoing efforts of the College's 50th Anniversary Steering Committee, which is being co-chaired by Board of Trustee Chair Diane D. Torcello and Rick Dudkowski, professor of Business and Fashion Merchandising Management. Organized into four subcommittees, the group is excited to be planning special events and opportunities over the next 20 months that will commemorate significant points in the College's history. Among the events being planned are: a College community Founding Day scheduled April 15th to recognize the day SUNY acknowledged the wishes of area leaders to create Genesee Community College; the Groundbreaking and Anniversary Kickoff Celebration on April 28 at 4 p.m.; development of a new Anniversary Web page featuring the online scrapbook and events calendar; and special anniversary components added to annual events including but not limited to Homecoming, the Fashion Show, Discover the Stars, Encore and the Wolcott Jay Humphrey Symposium for Leadership.

March 17, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, micropolitan, business, news.

Press release:

For the 12th consecutive year, "Site Selection" magazine has once again recognized Batavia/Genesee County as a 2015 “Top Micropolitan” for corporate facility investments in the United States.

The ranking of “Top Micropolitans” is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county. There are approximately 575 micropolitans in the United States according to Site Selection Magazine.

Corporate facility investments in Genesee County are the result of the work of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and many other economic development partners including the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC), the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, the GCEDC authorized approximately $54 million in new capital investments which created almost 200 new jobs.

“This was another year of tremendous growth for Genesee County, as we once again saw existing companies make significant investments in their operations here,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “With the announcement of 1366 Technologies as the first tenant in the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), we remain on a path to a very prosperous future for our region.”

“We have every reason to be optimistic about the continued growth and business expansion in Genesee County,” said Raymond Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature. “We have a new hotel at Batavia Downs, Darien Lake Theme Park continues to improve, our new county airport terminal will be ready soon and the STAMP project is now a reality. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this progress.”

The GCEDC achieved 18 project “wins” in 2015, including a $5.4 million investment by ADK Hospitality for a new hotel at Batavia Downs, one of region’s most popular gaming and entertainment destinations. The project will result in a new 82-room hotel and will create 25 new jobs.

“We are very fortunate to have a strong partnership with the GCEDC as Batavia begins to revitalize,” said Jason Molino, City of Batavia manager. “Collectively our efforts in the community have helped create a unified vision that can be achieved. The announcement of 1366 Technologies is just the beginning of a bright future for all Genesee County residents. Twelve straight years as one of the top micropolitan areas in the country has put Batavia/Genesee County on the map.”

“Over the last several years, the strategic partnership between the Town of Batavia and the GCEDC has led to tremendous growth that has benefited not only the Town of Batavia but the entire micropolitan,” said Greg Post, Town of Batavia supervisor.

“With the ramp up of WNY STAMP and 1366 Technologies, we believe investments made by the Town of Batavia and GCEDC will continue to make us a top micopolitan community for years to come.”

Along with these projects, the Batavia Development Corporation had a productive year with the attraction of the Batavia Brewing Company and introduction of the freshLAB restaurant incubator to the Newberry Building, as well as secured more than $600,000 in economic development grants and coordinated a small business ownership series in partnership with Genesee Community College and the New York State Small Business Development Center.

“Over the last five years we have marveled at the good work of the GCEDC and its diligence to position Genesee County for business success,” said Ramon Chaya, Batavia Development Corporation Board president.

“We are happy to be rebuilding the City of Batavia, from brownfield site redevelopment, entrepreneurial and innovation projects, to business education programming. We could not do it without all of the partners in our community. It feels great to be collaborating and moving in the same direction and we are excited to see what comes next.”

The Batavia Improvement District (BID) has had a busy year with many successful events bringing new businesses Downtown, attracting new customers, and working to enhance programs and offerings for next year. The next big project it will undertake is a permanent public market to be housed Downtown.

“Downtowns are the foundation to any community. We continue to work to make the Downtown a place where people want to be. We focus on smaller, productive growth and the basic needs of people which equates to a better quality of life,” said Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the BID.

Other significant projects the GCEDC assisted with were investments made by Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc.

Tourism plays a significant role in Genesee County’s economy with over $51 million in payroll contributed to the local economy. Driving more tourism is one of the region’s 2016 goals with respect to a new visitors center on Park Road.

“Our new Visitors Center will allow us to do a much better job of marketing our assets to overnight travelers at the hotels and the day-trippers visiting Batavia Downs, our restaurants and our shopping centers, by enticing them deeper into the county,” said Tom Turnbull, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce president.

“This new location will allow us to take tourism marketing to the next level and give us a visitors center that all of Genesee County can be proud of."

Full the full list of Site Selection Magazine’s rankings, visit http://siteselection.com/issues/2016/mar/top-micropolitans.cfm.

March 17, 2016 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, news.

Press release:

The vision and hard work of many people who contributed to Genesee Community College's Facilities Master Plan nearly five years ago is about to take physical shape as the College's Board of Trustees approved the award of various construction bids for two capital construction projects on the Batavia Campus.

The total cost estimate for the new Student Success Center and the Event Center combined is $21,476,070, and when asked when construction will begin, Kevin Hamilton, GCC's vice president of Finance and Operations told the Trustees "tomorrow," reflecting on the aggressive construction schedule ahead.

In actuality, the College has scheduled an official Groundbreaking Ceremony on Thursday, April 28 at 4 p.m. but JMZ Architects and Planners, P.C., and GCC staff are already working with the contractors to ensure a smooth running project. The following construction contracts were approved on Monday night by the Board of Trustees:

For both the Student Success Center and Event Center combined: 

• Allied Builders, Inc., Brockport -- General Construction $10,627,000;

• DiFiore Construction, Inc., Rochester -- Site Improvements $ 2,322,100;

• Thurston Dudek, LLC, Ontario, NY -- Plumbing & Fire Protection $ 955,400.

For the Student Success Center only:

• Leo J. Roth Corporation, Webster -- HVAC Construction $ 550,000;

• Hewett Young Electric, LLC, Rochester -- Electrical $ 540,000;

For the Event Center only: 

• Landry Mechanical Contractors, Caledonia -- HVAC Construction $1,337,884;

• Suburban Electric of Albion, Inc., Albion -- Electrical $ 1,318,000.

In order to attract as many local firms as possible, the construction bid packages were bundled in five segments for Site Work, General Contracting, Electrical, Plumbing/Fire Protection, and Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC), and contractors were invited to bid on singular projects or combination of both projects. Forty-seven bids were received and publicly opened on March 8.

The 18,478-square-foot Student Success Center will be a two-story facility connecting to the existing Conable Technology Building through a second-story bridge. It will become the new "front door" of the Batavia Campus partially enclosing the College's central academic quad. The one-stop service center for students and community residents will soon provide admissions, financial aid, academic advisement, job and career counseling and a variety of other services in one building. The estimated cost of construction of the Student Success Center is $6,687,645. 

The other project, the Event Center, will also be two stories, but it is the first facility on the original Batavia Campus grounds not connected to the Batavia Campus main buildings. (The College's School of Nursing is located in the Med Tech Park on the south side of Hawley Drive.) Located adjacent to the Soccer and Lacrosse Turf Field at the far west side of campus, the 56,614-square-foot facility will include the largest open public space in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The large arena will not only accommodate an array of athletic competitions, but all kinds of civic, community, trade, industry as well as college events --from farm, boat and tractor shows to commencement ceremonies where a whole family can sit together. The new facility is expected to draw as many as 500,000 visitors to the campus each year. The estimated cost of construction of the Event Center is $14,788,425. 

The targeted construction schedule for both projects is this April 1 through June 1, 2017. Transforming the vacated space in the existing facility into new classrooms, laboratories and office space will be reviewed through the coming year and a separate plan and project(s) will be developed.

March 17, 2016 - 2:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron-bergen central school district, news.

Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District’s Board of Education (BOE), has named three finalists for the district’s next Superintendent. They are Karri Schiavone, Stephen E. “Ned” Dale, and Mickey Edwards.

Debra List, president of the District’s BOE, said she is pleased with the high-quality candidate pool and is enthused about the potential the three finalists have to offer.

“Choosing the best superintendent for our district is the board’s main priority,” List said. “The field of candidates was diverse, which made narrowing the field to three very difficult. We are confident that one of these candidates will be the best candidate for our school district and community.”

Stakeholder groups and the BOE will conduct the final round of interviews with the three candidates beginning on April 11 at the Byron-Bergen Central School District. The anticipated start date for the new superintendent is July 1.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, who is acting as search consultant, said the Board has developed and implemented a process that will help determine the best candidate.

“This is a rigorous search process,” MacDonald said. “Finalists will visit the Byron-Bergen Central School District to meet with staff and the BOE to go though another round of interviews. The process concludes with the Board meeting to make a final decision.”

About the finalists

Karri Schiavone is currently the principal of Holley Elementary School, a position she has held since 2012. From 2002 until 2012, she served as the director of instruction and special programs for Holley Central Schools (HCS). Prior to that, she served as elementary principal of the Warren P. Towne School in Medina. From 1995 until 1999, Schiavone served as an intermediate teacher and in many supervisory roles at HCS, including elementary Science coordinator and district Social Studies curriculum writer.

Schiavone began her career in education in 1994 as a teacher for the Bethel Head Start in Buffalo. Throughout her career she has served in many leadership capacities. She currently oversees a number of committees at HCS, including the district’s Technology; Safety and Health/Wellness committees as well as the APPR Committee. She has a broad scope of fiscal management at HCS, including developing and managing budgets and grants for a multitude of district programs and services. She holds a Bachelor of Science from SUNY Buffalo, and a master’s degree in Education from The College at Brockport.

Schiavone earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from The College at Brockport and also holds a New York State School Administrator Certificate.

Ned Dale is the principal of Cosgrove Middle School where he has served since 2007. Dale began at the Spencerport Central School (SCS) District in 2000 as a school counselor/teacher leader at Spencerport High School. He served as the coordinator of the counseling department and developed the Career Development and Occupational Studies curriculum for grades K-12. From 2004 until 2007 he served as assistant principal at Cosgrove Middle School where he facilitated the Instructional Support Team in accordance with the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) model. In his role as assistant principal, Dale obtained and published a grant titled “Career Exploration: Preparing for the Future Today.” His list of endeavors is varied and includes many accomplishments. Under his leadership, Cosgrove Middle School earned top rankings for academics in Buffalo Business First Schools’ List for 2015.

As president of the Spencerport Administrators and Supervisors Association, Dale has collaboratively established an approved APPR for principals, which was approved by the New York State Education Department. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from St. John Fisher College, a master’s degree from the Warner Graduate School at the University of Rochester. He holds a certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the College at Brockport and has also completed the New York State Superintendent Development Program at SUNY Oswego.

Mickey Edwards is the superintendent of Wyoming Central Schools, a position he has held since 2014. As superintendent, Edwards has led extensive curriculum work in English Language Arts and literacy with alignment to the Common Core. He implemented a comprehensive literacy program including Reading Recovery that resulted in an increase of students reading at grade level.

Edwards’ role at Wyoming Central Schools includes a broad scope of responsibilities including facilities management, fiscal and instructional leadership, and community and regional involvement. Edwards initiated two capital projects focused on camera/security upgrades and redesign of building entrances. He also developed transportation consolidations programs to provide additional fiscal stability. Previously, Edwards served as the coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for Orleans/Niagara BOCES, a position he held since 2009.

Edwards began teaching in 1996 as an Art/Technology teacher for the Albion Central School District. He continued his career at Albion Central Schools serving as the elementary school dean of students, middle school assistant principal and high school principal. Edwards earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Roberts Wesleyan College, and a master’s degree, as well as a School District Administrator certificate, from The College at Brockport.

March 16, 2016 - 7:05pm

Photos courtesy of our news partner WBTA. Above, city and county officials gathered at a news conference this afternoon on Ellicott Street where plans were unveiled for the former Della Penna and Santy Tires properties on the Southside.

Press release:

City and county officials gathered today to unlock the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2), a program created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Savarino Companies was selected following a published Request for Proposal issued by the Batavia Development Corporation for the redevelopment of the Ellicott Station site, likely the first project to participate in the program.

Savarino Companies has provided a plan for the development site, including mixed-use residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway.

When fully realized, the site may accommodate more than 150 jobs and market rate housing to generate around-the-clock consumer demand Downtown.

"We are very pleased that our redevelopment proposal was selected by Batavia Development Corp.," says Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies. "Now the hard work begins. Our team is looking forward to working with all project stakeholders to make Ellicott Station the transformational development it is expected to be."

The project will consist of several phases and the company is expected to seek incentives from the GCEDC, as well as utilize other state and local economic funds for the project.

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating.

"Congratulations to the City of Batavia, BDC, Genesee County, GCEDC and the Batavia City School District,” said Batavia City Council President E. Jankowski. “We’re off to a great start, working together to support economic growth in the City of Batavia with the Pathway to Prosperity program. Combining resources will be a force multiplier toward successfully cleaning up distressed areas in our community and benefit all of us who live and work here.”

"Batavia's Pathway to Prosperity is off to a great start with new plans to redevelop Ellicott Station. This program has the potential to increase property values, entice new employers and expand economic opportunities for all residents of Genesee County. I applaud Savarino Companies for investing in our community," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.

“I am very pleased that more economic development will be coming to my hometown of Batavia,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). “I am excited to be a part of the ‘Pathway to Prosperity’ and pledge my assistance in any way possible.

"Public-private partnerships such as this have the potential to provide huge dividends for the local community and its residents. This is a perfect example of government working for the people instead of against them, and I look forward to experiencing Batavia’s transformation firsthand.”

“This is an exciting time for Genesee County. We have the reality of STAMP, new hotels, a new airport terminal and now the redevelopment of the City’s brownfield area. The County will continue to work with everyone involved to make the Pathway to Prosperity happen and keep our County at the forefront of economic development,” said Raymond Cianfrini, Genesee County Legislature chairman.

Supported by the redirection of 50 percent of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites.

“Through the BP2 fund, both the public and private sectors are working collaboratively to increase access to IDA programs and incentives for all project development opportunities within the City of Batavia,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman.

“By targeting highly distressed locations and brownfield opportunity areas, this program encourages investors and developers such as Savarino Companies to take advantage of development opportunities in Genesee County and invest in the future of the city and region.”

Among the goals of the BP2 program include attracting new employers and jobs to the city of Batavia; increasing property values; and, exploring key market opportunities for economic development.

“Working together is essential to achieve a strong, sure, set of outcomes,” added Patrick Burk, Batavia School Board president. “Our Pathway to Prosperity will become a solid road of economic, educational and community growth. With that growth, we will see better jobs, a decrease in poverty and an increase in family stability and educational success. Our integration will make this possible. Our determination will make this our new reality." 

One of the program’s intentions is to target Millennials by creating vibrant neighborhoods and creating job opportunities in previously economically disadvantaged areas of the city.

Over the past several years the BDC has been persistent in championing community strategic development priorities, encouraging Brownfield Opportunity Area site designation and gaining tax credit eligibility for environmental cleanup of this significant tract of our downtown corridor,” said Ray Chaya Batavia Development Corporation Board president.

“The Pathway to Prosperity agreement is a significant development tool today and it will remain valuable well into our future. It is proof that mutually shared goals and a commitment to community transformation is achievable. The BDC is honored to take on the next development phases ensuring that all required entities are involved and unhindered in fulfilling the community's vision for this important site.”

To learn more about the City of Batavia’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, visit www.bataviaopportunity.com.

March 16, 2016 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, minimum wage.

Submitted photo: Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) [second from left] joins members of the Assembly Minority Conference to call for alternatives to a $15-per-hour minimum wage increase.

Press release:

Following a press conference held by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua), Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has denounced the governor’s plan to raise New York’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, citing the devastating impact on small businesses and other  job creators.

“As a four-decade small-business owner and one who has grown his company from the ground up, I know what we need to jumpstart New York’s stagnant business climate, and a 67-percent minimum wage increase will not work,” Hawley said.

“I understand that there are many working poor in our state who are doing everything they can to get by on the current minimum wage, but the consequences of this sharp increase would have the reverse of its intention: causing hundreds of thousands of jobs to be eliminated, companies to move out of state, and consumer prices to increase.”

Hawley proposed several solutions that would help the working poor directly without hindering small businesses or adversely affecting jobs.

“I understand that there are many New Yorkers living paycheck to paycheck and I want to help them, too,” Hawley said. “I sponsor A.9102, which would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which hasn’t been adjusted in 12 years.

"This is estimated to introduce more than 14,000 New Yorkers into the workforce without damaging our business community. I also sponsor, A.7486, which would allow the EITC to be distributed in installment payments to help the working poor with monthly expenses.”

March 16, 2016 - 3:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Stafford Fire Department, corvette raffle, news.

We received this from the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department:

Under our licensing agreement with the New York State Gaming Association Commission, our activities are audited just to make sure that we follow their rules and regulations.

As we understand it, there were some changes in the rules and regulations that we inadvertently did not notice. As a result, they have suspended our raffle for this year.

Therefore, we are in the process of returning all funds received in connection with this year's raffle. We are very sorry for what has happened and wish to thank all of you for your continued support over the years.

We have contacted the Gaming Commission and Stafford fire officials for more details and will provide them as able.

March 16, 2016 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, kastenbaum, news.

Press release: 

The Genesee County Democratic Committee met on March 14th at the Polish Falcons in Batavia. The Committee is proud to announce unanimous support for Congressional candidate, Diana Kastenbaum.

County Chair, Lorie Longhany said, “It is with great pride to support not only a candidate who resides here, but is also active in many civic organizations and owns and operates a small manufacturing company right here in Genesee County.”

Party Secretary, Jennifer Keys added, “Diana’s message of inclusion and equality is refreshing and will resonate with the people of the 27th Congressional District.”

The County Committee also voted unanimously to endorse Duane Preston for the City Council At Large seat. Duane gave an overview of his commitment to the City of Batavia, serving on the City Steering Committee and Chair of the Planning and City Development Committee.

Vice Chair, Mike Plitt shared, “Mr. Preston is uniquely qualified to serve the City of Batavia and will bring a wealth of experience and leadership to City government.”

The Genesee County Democrats are accepting candidate inquiries for elected positions across Genesee County to be voted on in November. This includes the following offices; County Judge, County Sheriff, County Treasurer, two Coroner positions. Town positions include; Alabama Town Council, Town of Batavia Justice, Town of Bergen Justice, Town of Byron Justice, Town of Elba Supervisor and Town Council, Town of Oakfield Justice and Town Council and Pembroke Town Council. Ballot access is time sensitive.

Anyone interested in running for office needs to contact Secretary Jennifer Keys at [email protected].

March 16, 2016 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, elba, news.

Crystal Marie Bouter, 27, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on March 15 on a bench warrant out of Town of Elba Court. It is alleged that she violated the terms of her supervised release while on Drake Street in Oakfield at 5 p.m. March 14. She was jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail. The case was investigated by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

March 16, 2016 - 12:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Police photo of Bill Thomas.

Bill Thomas, 56, of 252 State St., Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and menacing police following a standoff with police this morning at his residence.

Here's a recap of the incident from a press release issued by Investigating Officer Peter Flanagan:

At 4 a.m. Batavia Police received a call for a domestic dispute on State Street in the city. Once initial officers arrived on scene, they were met at the door by a family member. The officer then observed Bill Thomas moving toward the door, very quickly, with a knife in his hand. He was holding the knife in a threatening manner and the officer felt that he was going to use the knife on him or the family member.

The officer and family member retreated outside. The suspect then closed the door and retreated upstairs. Officers were unable to make contact with the suspect and the Emergency Response and Hostage Negotiation teams were alerted. A family member came to the scene and was able to make contact with the suspect through an open window.

The suspect came downstairs but then retreated back upstairs. A short time later, the suspect came back downstairs and would not show the officer his hands and was not following police orders. The suspect started to move toward a closet and the stairs and a taser was deployed.

The suspect was placed in custody and transported to police headquarters. He was then arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed. Batavia PD was assisted at the scene by the county Sheriff's Office and State Police.

Bail was not mentioned in the press release.

March 16, 2016 - 10:31am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

(Photo courtesy of Steve Ognibene.)

City firefighters and police responded a short time ago to North Nyon Street near Main Street after wires were accidently pulled down by a motorist. They were determined to be phone and/or cable wires, not an electrical line. No one was injured or trapped under the wires. The apppropriate company or companies are being notified.

March 16, 2016 - 9:15am

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The Monsignor Kirby Council #325 Knights of Columbus will be holding their semiannual pancake breakfast this Sunday at Resurrection Parish (St. Mary's Worship Site) at 18 Ellicott St. in Batavia from 8-11 a.m.

This is open to the public and costs $5 adults, $3 for children age 4 to 12; kids under 3 eat free. All-you-can-eat pancakes, breakfast includes sausage, eggs, juice, coffee, tea, milk.  

There will be basket raffles from many local businesses and also a 50/50 drawing. Tickets can be purchased at the door and all proceeds will support local Catholic schools education.

Pictured above from left are co-chairman Joe Gerace, Grand Knight Brad Rogers and co-chairman Steve Ognibene.

March 16, 2016 - 6:41am
posted by Billie Owens in Village of Corfu, news.

Here are voting results for the Village of Corfu.

Total Voters: 79

Number of votes for two Trustee positions:

Arthur Ianni – Democrat:                                         40 votes

Kenneth Lauer – Republican:                               56 votes

Joseph “Biggs” Johnson – Republican            66 votes

(Bold print indicates the two nominees elected to the Trustee positions.)

March 16, 2016 - 6:37am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Batavia Middle School, news.

(Submitted photo of Ashley John Grillo.)

Press release:

After an extensive search that attracted nearly 40 qualified candidates, the Batavia City School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Ashley John Grillo has accepted the position as principal for Batavia Middle School, and will replace current principal Sandy Griffin who is retiring. Grillo will begin on July 1.

“When I saw the posting, and saw that the job was in Batavia, where I had enjoyed living for a few years, and for a position at the Middle School, which is a student population that I love working with, I knew I had to look at this opportunity,” he explained to staff, students, and parents who attended one of the two Meet & Greet sessions held at the Middle School for the final pair of job candidates.

A Holley native, Grillo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in Education from Nazareth College of Rochester, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from SUNY Brockport.

He began his career in his hometown, teaching middle school science for seven years, then working as a “teacher on special assignment” for two years at Holley’s Middle School/High School. For the past four years, he has been the assistant principal at their elementary school.

Describing his core values, Grillo said he is dedicated to: collaboration and teamwork for building a dynamic learning environment; using data to inform and evaluate decisions; maintaining high standards for staff and students in setting expectations and achieving goals; and to equality as it applies to respecting diversity and providing opportunities for all learners to reach their potential.

During the meeting, in addition to emphasizing that he particularly enjoys working with the middle school age group, Grillo noted that the student demographics in Holley and Batavia are similar. He believes his extensive work and commitment to PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), his familiarity with, as well as his commitment to collaboration and excellence combine to make a very good fit with the needs and vision for Batavia Middle School.

March 16, 2016 - 4:35am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

We believe the Emergency Response Team has been dispatched to the area of State Street at Douglas Street after a report of a barricaded male subject. Law enforcement has established a perimeter.

We think the call may have started when two people were involved in what was described as a domestic situation on State Street, and subsequently one of the subjects barricaded himself inside a residence. Mercy medics and city fire are staging at State and Douglas.

Now emergency dispatch has switched to a secure law enforcement channel.

UPDATE 5:22 a.m.: A man who lives on State Street north of Douglas Street barricaded himself with a knife on the second floor of his residence. A tactical officer outfitted in full camoflage, armed with an assault rifle was stationed at the scene outside the house. A male neighbor family member was contacted to try and talk the subject into surrendering, which he did. The suspect was taken into custody a short time ago and officers are clearing the scene and opening the streets near the house, which had been shut down. Mercy medics and city fire are back in service.

UPDATE 6:15 a.m. (from news partner WBTA): Det. Sgt. Todd Crossett said law enforcement responded to a domestic incident at 252 State St. An officer was let in the front door by one of two brothers who had been arguing. The second brother approached the officer wielding a large kitchen knife and the officer said he felt very threatened. The brother who let the officer inside stepped between the knife-wielding brother and the officer; the officer and the brother had no other recourse but to retreat. "This could have ended very badly," Crossett said. "The officer showed great restraint." The knife-wielding brother went upstairs and refused to communicate with officers. The ERT was activated. Family members arrived at the scene. The subject was talked into coming downstairs, which he did but then retreated. He was coaxed down a second time and walked toward the front door and was then tased and taken into custody. Statements are being taken and an investigation is under way. It has not been determined if charges will be filed.

Photos courtesy of Jim Burns.

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