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September 14, 2021 - 12:16pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, agriculture.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) participated in the House Agriculture Committee’s markup of their portion of the $3.5 trillion partisan reconciliation package.

“The House Agriculture Committee met to once again consider a massive, partisan reconciliation bill crafted in secret by Speaker Pelosi. One would have thought that record inflation and struggling small businesses would have been enough to teach Democrats this style of unilateral legislating is unworkable and damaging, but sadly this is not the case,” Jacobs said. “This package will likely include taxes that will devastate farmers and rural communities but possibly won’t even pay for the whole $3.5 trillion cost of this bill.”

The hearing, which started Friday and finished today, was to consider the House Agriculture Committee’s piece of the overall budget reconciliation package. This section will total roughly $90 billion in new spending, though $28 billion of that total was not even considered by the committee because it has not been written yet. At the hearing, Jacobs offered an amendment to redirect funding to combat an invasive species, the spotted lanternfly, that has become a threat to growers in the Northeast and Midwest. It was rejected.

“The Democrats in control of this committee did not hold one single hearing with farmers or agribusinesses to learn the exact needs of rural America. If they had, they would’ve learned that their partisan wishlist is unneeded and unwanted. They would have instead directed funding to fix very real problems facing our farmers, such as rural broadband, disaster assistance, and invasive species,” Jacobs said. “This process once again shows Democrats are more interested in political power than serving their constituents' needs – a truly unfortunate change of tune for the Agriculture Committee that has in previous years been lauded as the most bipartisan committee in the House.”
 

September 14, 2021 - 12:02pm
posted by Press Release in National Grid, crime, news.

Press release:

National Grid customers and local law enforcement are reporting utility billing and payment scams across upstate New York. The company is asking its customers to beware and know the signs of a scam.

Imposters claiming to be from National Grid may tell customers that they have past due balances on their utility bills, even promising a savings on their next bill. Customers who reported the scams, say they were contacted by telephone and email, and in some cases automated recordings.

The scammers threaten that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a prepaid debit card in a specific amount, such as a Green Dot card, and provides the caller with the card’s account number, or in the case of business customers, by way of a Western Union money transfer. Imposters also may ask for a Social Security number and a National Grid account number. These calls are not officially from National Grid and instead are from scammers who are looking to obtain personal information and payments.

The scenario can change, but the goal of the scammer remains the same: scare customers into making hasty decisions that often include large payments.

National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment through the use of a prepaid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards.

Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Grid’s recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts, even spoofing the phone number on caller ID, making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S. by other utilities.

Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact local law enforcement officials immediately. If you are provided a phone number that does not match numbers on the billing statements, it is likely that the call is a scam.

National Grid reminds customers to know the red flags and offers the following tips:

  • Be vigilant. If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam.

  • Protect yourself. Verify you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and phishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately.

  • Do not take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, social security number or other personal details and you should never offer that information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number.

  • Scammers also may contact you by email and attempt to lure customers into clicking on a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number.

  • While National Grid may ask for a payment to be made over the phone, the payment method will be left to the customer’s discretion.

  • Do not fall for scare tactics and threats. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.

  • Do not cave to pressure. Never -- under any circumstances -- offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.

  • Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and contractors working for the company are also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or business does not show an ID card, don’t let that person in, and call National Grid or local law enforcement.

    To learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, please visit ngrid.com/scam.

September 14, 2021 - 11:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, news, classic cars.

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The Pembroke Classic Car Show returns to Pembroke Town Park on Sunday with another large turnout of cherry classic cars and car fans expected.

The event, sponsored by the Pembroke/Corfu/Darien Kiwanis Club runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The registration fee is $15 and is required for all participating vehicles. 

The number of trophy classes is expanding this year and the first 200 cars will receive a commemorative dash plaque.

More than  60 vendors are expected along with several food trucks. Crossroads House will host a huge basket raffle.  PCD Kiwanis will conduct a 50/50.  There will be a free blow-up slide for the kids and if you don't feel like walking ... ride the Trackless Train around the event. 

The Kids Car Cruise will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

The Pembroke Community Band will play from noon to 1:00 pm and a magician show will be held from 1:30 - 2:30 pm. 

Pre-registration has ended for the cars but classic car owners who wish to attend can download the application at pcdkiwanis.com to save time the day of the event.

September 14, 2021 - 11:19am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Batavia Muckdogs, genesee county.

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Robbie Nichols and Marc Witt say they have about 50,000 reasons to support their claim that the first year of the Batavia Muckdogs’ participation in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League was a resounding success.

The team owner and general manager, respectively, took a few minutes at Monday night’s Batavia City Council meeting to report encouraging attendance figures for not only the team’s home games but also for the various other events that took place at Dwyer Stadium.

Nichols said the team averaged 1,778 fans per game over their 27 home games and attracted 501 season ticket holders, compared to 2019, when the team averaged 951 per game and had 79 season ticket holders.

An online check of Minor League Reference, however, lists the Muckdogs’ 2019 attendance at 1,135 per game for 37 home games.

Regardless of the exact numbers, Nichols was justified when he said, “We’re quite pleased at the way our first season turned out.”

When you combine the Muckdogs’ games with the numerous events held at Dwyer Stadium this summer, more than 50,000 people strolled through the gates. Other events included KMS Dance Academy competitions and clinics, PRIDE Festival, Challenger baseball, GLOW Academy Youth Baseball and Battle of Badges.

Collegiate baseball tournaments, an Alzheimer’s Walk and Muckdogs Monster Mash for kids (Oct. 23) are yet to come, Nichols said.

Witt acknowledged the “energy” provided by the Community Dance Team that entertained the crowd on a nightly basis, and pointed out how the players regularly interacted with the fans and community.

Nichols thanked the many sponsors and Council “for entrusting us with this great tradition.”

Council member John Canale, who said he attended several games, commented that the atmosphere “was tremendous.”

“You promised us that and you came through for us,” he said, prompting applause from his colleagues.

In other developments, Council passed the following resolutions:

  • A modified and restated sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County through Dec. 31, 2059. The new contract does not change the terms and conditions between the city and county, but does include wording that allows the county to distribute $10 million annually in sales tax revenue to its towns and villages, beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

In 2018, the city and county reached a deal giving Batavia 16 percent of the county’s share of the sales tax – with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year. In future years, the city’s share will depend upon sales tax revenue growth, eventually being no less than 14 percent.

  • An amendment of the city’s zoning map to rezone parcels at 211 and 211 ½ East Main Street, just east of the existing Genesee Area Family YMCA, from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) to accommodate the construction of the Healthy Living Campus.
  • The installation of a street light on Highland Park due to insufficient lighting on a portion of that street. The resolution authorizes National Grid to install the fixture on an existing pole, which would cost the city about $90 a year for the electricity.
  • A contract with Bailey Electric Motor and Pump Supply of Corfu to replace a high service pump Variable Frequency Drive control at the Water Treatment Plant in the low bid amount of $23,878. Tabelski reported that the current part, which is 20 years old, has failed and the repair would be most costly than replacement. A VFD is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage of its power supply, and normally is a key component at the mechanical treatment stage, biological treatment stage, and chlorination and filtration stage.

Council also forwarded to next month’s Business Meeting a recommendation by City Manager Rachael Tabelski to transfer $711,000 in general fund balance to reserve funds and another $50,000 in the workers’ compensation fund to that fund’s reserves.

The funds earmarked for allocation are Police Reserve, DPW Equipment Reserve, Facilities Reserve, Compensated Absences, Parking Lot Reserve, Health Care Fund Reserve and Workers’ Compensation Fund Reserve.

Looking forward, Tabelski said she will be outlining recommendations for the use of the $1.4 million the city received in American Rescue Plan Act funding at the Conference Meeting on Sept. 27, and reported that bonding financial figures and design phase information for the new city police headquarters will be presented in November or December.

Photo: Marc Witt, left, and Robbie Nichols of the Batavia Muckdogs at Monday night's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 14, 2021 - 10:41am

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Press release:

The Buffalo and Rochester Building Trades Councils joined together this morning in the Town of Alabama to welcome Plug Power’s latest manufacturing plant to the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Construction of the $264 million plant in Genesee County is slated to begin Oct. 4. When completed the plant will produce "green hydrogen" for freight transportation and materials handling equipment.

Plug Power will become the first tenant of the STAMP campus, a 1,250-acre business park, in the town.

The Building Trades, representing 20,000 skilled trades people, are looking forward to working with Plug Power on this project as it will employ many craftspeople. When completed, the company also plans to create 62 full-time jobs with an average salary of $75,000, plus benefits.

To date, the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board recommended awarding $1.5 million to support this project. The New York Power Authority has the final say over awarding those funds.

The company is also seeking $2 million in support from Empire State Development, and a package of sales and property tax breaks through the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Through a process called electrolysis, the Plug Power plant will produce “green hydrogen” for fuel-cells used in transportation and material handling equipment.  This will be clean energy manufactured here in Western New York.

The Building Trades Councils represent 20,000 members in 18 construction unions in the Western NY region including :

Boilermakers, Bricklayers, Carpenters & Piledrivers, Cement Masons, Electricians, Elevator Constructors, Insulators, Ironworkers, Laborers, Millwrights, Operating Engineers, Painters, Plasterers, Plumbers & Pipefitters, Roofers, Sheetmetal Workers, Sprinkler Fitters and Teamsters.

Submitted photo from the WNY STAMP site this morning.

September 14, 2021 - 10:02am
posted by Press Release in GCC, news, education.

Press release: 

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Genesee Community College will receive a federal TRIO Educational Opportunities Center (EOC) grant totaling $2.2 million to help unemployed workers, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. The grant comes in the form of a five-year cycle providing $430,441 each year to the TRIO Adult Educational Opportunity Center at the State University of New York (SUNY) Genesee Community College. This grant will help support programming and outreach efforts from the 2021-2022 through the 2025-2026 academic years.

The TRIO Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) provides information on college admissions as well as guidance and services to improve participants' financial and economic literacy. Among comprehensive services are academic and personal counseling, career workshops, information on postsecondary education opportunities, student financial aid and literacy assistance, and help in completing applications for college admissions. TRIO EOC programs offer services to a broad range of adult learners, including those who are limited English proficient, those who are from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individuals with disabilities, homeless individuals, youth aging out of the foster care system, formerly incarcerated individuals, and other disconnected students.

The national Educational Opportunity Center program began in 1972 and is part of a set of federal educational opportunity outreach programs known as "TRIO," which is authorized by the Higher Education Act to help low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in higher education. In FY20 there were 139 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving more than 192,000 adult learners nationwide.

"Genesee Community College is extremely grateful for the opportunities this grant funding provides for our students and our community members. Our team of expertly trained AEOC team members work hard to maximize the impact our programs and services have for as many individuals as we can reach," said Dr. Shelitha Williams, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. "It is exciting to see that this work can not only continue but will now reach even more people in their time of need."

"As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like EOC take on new importance because they continue to help guide un- and underemployed workers and returning high school and college students towards earning a degree," said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities nationwide.

September 13, 2021 - 10:24pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Otis Street, city of batavia.

The president of the Batavia City Council tonight said he will utilize all means necessary to rectify a serious situation that has an Otis Street man and woman fearing for their safety and the security of their neighborhood.

“We are working with the assistant city manager (Jill Wiedrick) … she’s going to get code enforcement down there,” said Eugene Jankowski Jr., responding to public comments from Ronald Yantz of Otis Street about the behavior of those living directly across from him.

“We’re going to try to bring all the agencies we can. We already talked to the mortgage agency and they were shocked, but was unable to do anything. They got past their screening … and are kind of confused as to how they made it through and ended up with the house.”

Jankowski said City Council and Police Chief Shawn Heubusch are aware of the problems being caused by residents across the street, noting that 11 people – including six children, unsupervised at times – are living there.

Yantz and Carol Mueller appeared at tonight’s City Council meeting, with the former taking about five minutes to detail how their life has been turned upside down since purchasing their home last August.

Quality of Life Has Diminished

“It was a nice quiet street and a few months later, people bought the house across the street. From there, it has gone downhill as far as my quality of life, our neighbors' qualify of life – our safety,” he said, mentioning the frequent loud parties, large groups of kids, and garbage blowing into his yard from across the street.

He said he was prompted to call police recently after witnessing one of the older kids “pulling out what appeared to be a pistol from one of the cars” and carrying it low into the house.

“If it’s a toy pistol it should have the orange cover on the end of the barrel. It wasn’t a toy as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

Then, last month, he said it was about 11:30 at night when he was shaken by an explosion.

“I was just falling asleep and I heard a huge explosion right near the house. You could hear the shrapnel hit my house. It was no M-80, it was a half-stick of dynamite, at least, on the street. It was only 25 to 30 feet away from the gas main that goes into my house,” he said.

“That would have been the biggest tragedy that ever happened in Batavia … that would have blown all those houses up. And the kids that were standing there would have been killed and me, too.”

He said he ran downstairs and out the door.

Threats Aimed at Couple

“I said, ‘What are you guys doing?’ They’re like, ‘Shut the f--- up’ to us and telling her to shut up. We called the cops and all the neighbors came around; they already had called the cops.”

Yantz said when police arrived, the people verbally abused the couple, and threatened them, saying, ‘Wait until you go to work and see what happens to your house’ and ‘See what happens to your (custom pickup) truck when you’re not around.’”

Unfortunately, the police were unable to do anything at that time as they did not witness any unlawful act.

“This is ridiculous,” Yantz continued. “These people have no regards for their neighbors or nothing. What was a nice, quiet street and now it’s … like some of the other streets that have come down in Batavia. It’s just a shame.”

He said that since he is “stuck” in his home for at least five years before he can sell it, he hopes that the enforcement of ordinances or something else can be done.

“All night long, they play loud music – in the middle of the night, you hear thumping and thumping. It’s very … it’s a situation that I didn’t expect to get into at my age. I just want a nice quiet existence in a residential neighborhood,” he said.

Advice is to Keep Calling the Police

Responding to Yantz’ comments, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said that PathStone assisted the people as first-time homebuyers but noted that they have a mortgage through the United States Department of Agriculture. She also said the city has reached out to the USDA but to no avail.

Jankowski urged the couple to keep calling the police because “when they don’t call for a while, then police resources are directed somewhere else.”

“They (police) think the problem is under control if they don’t hear anything so they move to another location that might need it,” he said, adding that he told police to stay vigilant on this and similar circumstances around the city.

Council member Rose Mary Christian, who represents Otis Street residents in the Sixth Ward, advised that these types of disturbances have been going on for months.

“We’re at the point that it is ridiculous that they have to make a harassment charge against these people when we all know damn well that there are violations of the law – and the fact that the city should do something about it,” she said. “We have more power than these poor people on that street that destroy that beautiful, beautiful street.

Sixth Ward Council Member: It's Outrageous

“As far as social services go, those kids are running in the street and everything else, and throwing items at cars that are going by. The vulgar language and everything else that is going on. They (the children) should be taken away from that family. There’s no if, ands or buts about it. And to have 11 people in that household, and to have all the other friends from Liberty Street coming down into that area, it’s outrageous.”

Jankowski said that filing complaints are the best way to resolve the problem.

“We need a more consistent game plan to deal with this,” he said. “Maybe we’ll keep track of what we do to resolve this so if it pops up in another area … we can use some of these tools and solve it a little faster than the six months that this has been going on.”

He then offered his full support as he also lives on Otis Street.

“If you need support from me, I am right down the street. I’ll walk down and help you guys …,” he said.

Police Chief: Charges are Pending

Heubusch said his officers answered that call for service but noted that there is an open investigation, “so I can’t really get into the details of it but, suffice it to say, there are charges pending.”

“We will be dealing with that. We do have a presence on the street as time permits and our call volume permits … we’re doing our best to split all of our resources and make sure you guys are taken care of,” he said.

Council member John Canale asked Heubusch if he had “past experiences” with any of the people, and he replied, “Some of them are known to us, yes.”

Then, Council member Patti Pacino said, “Are you telling me that if two policemen stand there and somebody threatened my life and my property … they really can’t arrest the person?”

Heubusch replied that he wasn’t there that night, but said that “the legal definition of harassment is much different than the casual definition of harassment.”

Council member Robert Bialkowski urged Yantz to lodge complaints, “even if it’s 2 in the morning, call the police and they’ll be over there in a few minutes.”

Jankowski: Something will Come to Light

Jankowski said the people are playing a “cat and mouse” game with police but eventually “something is going to come to light that is pending over there.”

“There were other things that happened a couple weeks ago. They addressed the situation over there with other agencies interested in people that I can’t discuss – but they removed some people at that point,” he said. “So, that made it a little better for a short period of time. And then other people kind of rose to the occasion and they took over and starting causing problems.”

A former city police officer, Jankowski said victims need to call so law enforcement can address it and document it.

“When those things accumulate, the more time we can show a pattern of constant harassment ... that might fit some of the definition over a period of time,” he offered. “If they don’t have the means to actually physically harm you at the moment, and there’s an officer standing 20 feet away across the street, it’s not harassment at that point. If they’re in your face and they’re making contact with you, you’ve got something there.”

September 13, 2021 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

Batavia PD is investigating a three-car accident reported today at 1 p.m. on  East Main  Street in which one car rolled onto its side.

According to the preliminary investigation, a minivan was traveling north on Harvester Avenue while a small SUV was west on East Main Street.  The minivan failed to stop for the red light and t-boned the SUV, pushing the SUV to the northwest corner of the intersection, causing the SUV to tip on its side.  

After striking the SUV, the minivan rolled backward and struck a  third vehicle that was also westbound. 

East Main  Street was closed to traffic for a time due to the accident.

No serious injuries were reported. Occupants of the SUV and minivan were reportedly transported to a hospital by private vehicle. 

The driver of the minivan was issued tickets.

Any witnesses are asked to contact Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350 and ask for Officer Girvin.

September 13, 2021 - 2:49pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, LandPro, town of batavia, GCEDC.

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The decision to invest approximately $10 million to build a 50,000-square foot headquarters at the intersection of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia not only serves to showcase the growth of John Deere-authorized dealer LandPro Equipment but also will provide numerous career opportunities for students in the Genesee Region.

That message was communicated clearly today as representatives of LandPro, which has 20 locations in Western and Central New York, Northwest and Central Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, gathered with local government and economic development officials, for an on-location groundbreaking ceremony.

“It really will end up being our home location, our central store for LandPro equipment,” said Tracy Buck, company president and chief operating officer. “We’ll have a lot of our leadership team that will work out of here, besides the day-to-day operations that happen at all of our locations.”

Buck said that construction could get started as early as next week and that he expects it to be completed by November 2022. LandPro has hired Thompson Builds of Churchville as the general contractor.

Noting that LandPro will merge its Oakfield and Alexander facilities into the one on West Saile Drive, Buck said the company’s recent expansion enables it to construct what will become LandPro’s central training center, and base of its Precision Farming Division as well as John Deere agriculture, commercial, compact construction and turf equipment sales, parts, retail and service capabilities.

“Now with LandPro the size that we are, we have the resources,” he said. “The time is the time to do this.”

Steve Hyde, president/CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which has approved tax abatements for LandPro, called the investment “meaningful in our community (as) the types of services you guys are going to offer is really going to create great jobs for our kids.”

“We thank you guys for investing in our Glow with Your Hands initiative and the workforce stuff that we have tried to spear, to really kind of put kids in the heart of opportunities like exactly what you’re creating; creating investments for our kids,” Hyde said. “That’s what drives me and my team … it’s about good opportunities for our kids.”

Buck responded by stating Hyde’s sentiment works both ways.

“We’re in Batavia for a reason and Genesee County for a reason. It’s a very business-friendly community that we really appreciate,” he said. “We have nothing without our employees and, as you all know, there’s a big need for qualified employees.

“We have some great opportunities, high-paying jobs available, advancement opportunities. Any help that we can get going forward to attract people to this industry, we’re all in and partners with you.”

Elba Central School Superintendent Gretchen Rosales welcomed LandPro to the area, mentioning that she is “looking forward to the opportunities that you can provide, not only for our students to enhance their learning opportunities but also for the community as a whole.”

And Assemblyman Steven Hawley emphasized agriculture’s role in Genesee County’s economy as he thanked LandPro for its commitment to the area.

“New York is not known as a business-friendly state,” Hawley said. “I bring folks up from New York City, other assembly people, to see who we are and how we live and what the economy is all about. And agriculture is number one so, on behalf of the State of New York and Senator (Edward) Rath, I want to tell you how much this means to all of us.”

Buck said LandPro’s has 500 employees, with about 60 to 65 of them slated to work full time out of the Town of Batavia location.

“We’ll also have a training center here so we will be able to bring in … 50 people, roughly, training at any one time at this location,” he said.

The company’s product line includes Stihl hand-held products, John Deere turf line equipment, and four-wheel drive tractors, combined and choppers.

“We represent pretty much everything that John Deere sells today other than the heavy construction equipment … We have to have a very diversified group of salesmen, parts and service people to take care of all of this equipment,” Buck added.

Hyde said that LandPro’s project continues an effort that began around 2005.

“We started 16 years ago, really working on this ag, business, transportation, logistics, distribution, warehousing, heavy equipment kind of cluster right here at this intersection, right here with the Town of Batavia and the county,” Hyde said, noting that Congressman Tom Reynolds was the one “giving us a check to pay for this road and the infrastructure to go in.”

He said that ignited the growth and development that can be seen in the GCEDC’s corporate parks and on Saile Drive, north of the Thruway bridge.

“Right now, we’re almost at 400,000 square feet of new build in that 16 years, with over 400 people working here. And you guys continue that sign of excellence, and we want to thank you very much for your continued investment in Genesee County and in the Town of Batavia,” he said.

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Photo at top: Assemblyman Steven Hawley makes a his point as he speaks with LandPro Equipment personnel following today's groundbreaking ceremony. Photo at bottom: Taking part in the LandPro groundbreaking ceremony today are, from left, Paul Williams, operations manager/North; Steve Hyde, GCEDC; Patti Michalak, Town of Batavia council member; Legislator Gordon Dibble; Gregory Post, Town of Batavia supervisor; Tom Sutter, vice president/sales; Ryan Payment, vice president; Tracy Buck, president/CEO; Tim Black, vice president/aftermarket; Assemblyman Steven Hawley, and Gretchen Rosales, Elba Central School District superintendent. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: LandPro's new facility in Town of Batavia will be company's 'main hub for technology'

September 13, 2021 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, Alabama.

Spike C. Pope, 18, of Haywards Heath, England, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Pope is accused of stealing a U.S. flag from a residence on Bank Street.  State Police assisted in the investigation because of reports of other flags being stolen on Bank Street Road, Town of Batavia.  Last week, State Police announced the arrest of an unidentified 18-year-old on charges of petit larcenies.  Previously: Flag thefts, including assemblyman's, reported in Batavia

Niasia S. Jiggets, 30, of Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt 1st and endangering the welfare of a child. At 2 p.m., July 28, Jiggets allegedly violated an order of protection causing injury to the subject of the protective order, a child, during a visitation. Jiggets was previously convicted of violating an order of protection involving the same child. Jiggets was previously convicted of assaulting the child on multiple occasions and causing serious physical injury.  She is on probation as a result of the conviction. She was ordered held on $1,000 bail, $2,000 bond, or $4,000 partially secured bond.

Jonathon Allen Kent, 33, of East Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Kent is accused of pushing a person into a door frame.  He was arraigned in City Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Katie Marie Preedom, 33, of Roberts Road, Alabama, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, and unlicensed operation. Preedom was stopped at 2:30 a.m., Sunday, on Clinton Street Road, Bergen, by Deputy Morgan Ewert.

Nichole Donna Hall, 32, of Marlow Avenue, Blasdell, is charged with criminal mischief 4th. Hall was arrested in connection with an incident reported on South Pearl Street in Oakfield at 6 p.m., Sept. 8. She was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Kay E. Dilker, 31, of Albion, is charged with harassment 2nd. Dilker was arrested on a warrant in connection with an incident reported in Batavia at 11:45 a.m., July 6,  arraigned in City Court, and released on her own recognizance with an order of protection issued.

Antonio Goodson, 31, of Batavia, is accused of failure to appear. He was arrested on a warrant and arraigned in City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Loretta A Knapp, 46, of Batavia, was arrested for allegedly failure to appear in court. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Anthony Underwood, 21, of Buffalo, is charged with harassment 2nd. Underwood allegedly pushed another person during a dispute. He was arraigned in City  Court and released on his own recognizance.

Ray S. Saile, 19, of the Tonawanda Indian  Reservation, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd.  Saile allegedly violated a stay-away order of protection. After police responded to a local hotel, Saile was allegedly found in a  room with the protected party.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Heather M. Davis, 44, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Davis allegedly went to the residence of a person on Ellsworth Avenue and started a bonfire on the property without permission while waiting for the person.  She was issued an appearance ticket.

September 13, 2021 - 11:10am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Batavia Muckdogs, Freed Maxick.

The Batavia City Council, back in the public eye after a five-week break, is expected to hear a review of the Batavia Muckdogs’ summer baseball season from owner Robbie Nichols and an audit presentation for the 2020-21 fiscal year by Kathryn Barrett, director at Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.

Those two items, along with City Manager Rachael Tabelski’s recommended transfers of unassigned funds to restricted reserve funds, highlight the agenda of Council’s Special Conference Meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. at the City Hall Council Board Room.

A Business Meeting, featuring five resolutions to be voted upon, will follow. One of those resolutions is to approve the modified and restated sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County – action that paves the way for the county to distribute sales tax revenue on an annual basis to its towns and villages for the next 38 years.

Muckdogs Make Winning Debut

The Batavia club enjoyed a successful first season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League after the city and CAN-USA Sports LLC, owned by Nichols and his wife, Nellie, came to a lease agreement over the winter to operate a team here – ultimately deciding to keep the popular nickname, Muckdogs.

The team posted a 22-19 record, finishing one game back of Geneva for a playoff berth in the league’s Western Division, but beyond that, fans flocked to Dwyer Stadium in large numbers. The Nichols and their players also supported numerous community events and causes.

In an interview with The Batavian at the end of July, Nichols said fans will see an even better team in 2022, stating that this year’s players will go back to their schools and tell the best players on their teams that “you want to go to Batavia."

“I think the team is really going to improve next year," he said.

Audit: City at ‘Healthy, Stable Position’

Barrett will present the key findings of the accounting firm’s audit of the city, which, per the document’s financial highlights section, continued to maintain a healthy and stable financial position for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.

“The city continues to maintain a positive unassigned fund balance. Despite the challenges such as a slow property tax base growth and state mandates (i.e. the property tax cap), the city continues to diligently commit one-time surplus funds to fund balance reserves for future capital investments,” the report reads.

Achievements over the past year, per the report, include:

-- Strong assigned and unassigned fund balances in the general fund and strong balances in the water and sewer funds, along with “healthy” operations in general, water and sewer funds;

-- Committing surplus to reserve funds for one-time equipment purchases and infrastructure and facility improvements;

-- Implementation of fiscal policies such as a fund balance policy, investment policy, revised purchasing manual and monthly financial monitoring.

Tabelski: Move $761,000 to Reserve Funds

The city manager, in a memo to the city’s Audit Advisory Committee dated Aug. 25, writes that after the 2021 fiscal year, the city is in “a good position to increase the percentage of unassigned fund balance … to 15 percent of current year general fund expenses.”

She recommends transferring $711,000 in general fund balance to reserve funds and another $50,000 in the workers’ compensation fund to that fund’s reserves.  Even with these transfers, she said there will be about $2,527,600 left in unassigned fund balance.

Tabelski noted that the city’s capital plan calls for “multiple” expenditures over the next two to five years, including public works equipment, sidewalk replacement and facility improvements – “without negatively affecting the city’s financial position or tax rate.”

The recommended transfers are as follows:

  • Police Reserve, $50,000, primarily to replace patrol and detective vehicles on an annual basis, with two vehicles to be replaced next year.
  • DPW Equipment Reserve, $100,000, raising the fund to $437,225, with the goal to replace three dump trucks/plows, six sedans, four pickup trucks with plows and a one-ton dump truck by the end of 2025.
  • Facilities Reserve, $136,000, considering work on multiple proposed projects, such as the new police station, improvements at the fire station, Bureau of Maintenance, City Centre and other buildings.
  • Compensated Absences, $75,000, noting the city’s liability in this area is $1.94 million, with nearly $200,000 due within a year, and also that three pending retirements will affect the general fund by nearly $100,000.
  • Parking Lot, $100,000, with an eye on repaving, by 2025, lots on Williams Street, Court Street Plaza and Bureau of Maintenance
  • Health Care Fund Reserve, $250,000, to build back funds spent over the last two years. As of March 31, the fund had $10,155.47 in restricted reserves and $13,863.08 in assigned fund balance.
  • Workers’ Compensation Fund Reserve, $50,000, with the goal of reaching $1 million in the fund’s restricted reserve. As of March 31, the WC fund had $580,424.34 of restricted reserves and $485,111.13 in assigned fund balance.
September 13, 2021 - 10:50am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in batavia, news.

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"I wonder what memories of yours will persist as you go on in life. My hunch is that the most important will have to do with feelings of loving and being loved, friends, family, teachers, shopkeepers, whoever's been close to you."  -- Fred Roger

I love Fred Roger's definition of memories.   It is like our heart is compartmentalized into sections that house our memories.  As I get older, they seem to have a much deeper meaning to me.

I was approached by a lovely woman asking if our house was the Peca Homestead. So, of course, I said yes and explained that my grandfather built the house in 1927. Then, she asked if I would be so kind as to speak to her 96-year-old mother.  She was sitting in the car and had many memories of our home.  She was a friend of my Aunt Florence and remembered everything from our pantry, the two-way stairs, and the infamous old laundry chute. I loved talking to her because I remember her family and the connection between the Pecas and the Cinquinos. It was such a lovely visit.

Recently, a high school reunion lunch at the Pok-A-Dot brought back memories from high school.

As a teacher for over 50 years, I have had the joy of seeing former students.  They remind me of what it was like to be their teacher and have them as one of mine!  If you are lucky to have that lifelong friend that has gone through the highs and lows of your life, consider yourself blessed. 

As the compartments of my heart are filling up, the memories of my marriage and being a mother overfill them.  The greatest of all is our daughters and now our grandchildren.  

I cherished growing up in a big family. I treasured those memories. One, in particular, came to mind. I was one of six siblings. One night my mom lined all of us up as we waited for my father to get home from working late.  As he opened and looked at us, a little startled, my mother proceeded to introduce us to our dad. I'll never forget the look on my dad's face. 

Another memory would be when he would take us to Boulder Park or the Pok-A-Dot on a Sunday; I think it was his way of giving my mother a well-deserved break. We loved to spin on those stools and fight over who would pay the $10 for our hot dogs, French fries, and root beer in the frosted mugs.

Holidays were epic in our house, the laughter, the stories, and of course, the children's table seating 12.  Our meals began with an antipasto, followed by Italian Wedding soup, Lasagna, meatballs, sausage, and then a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  The food was delicious, but the shared stories were priceless and seem to get better with age. 

Another person we all cherished was our Grandma Bellow.

She would visit us every Sunday after Mass and bring dessert.  On holidays she would make the main course. My happiest memories were going home with her and staying overnight, and sleeping on her pull-out bed in her living room. Our drive from Batavia to Leroy in her 1962 Chevy was always enjoyable.  We would say the Rosary together on our way.  Her dashboard reminded me of a small altar with many saints watching the road for us. She taught me to cook, bake, pray, and clean.  

For many years, I was the only girl with three brothers, and I loved it. I was quite the tomboy, and what I like the best was I could annoy my brothers, and they were never allowed to hit a girl. However, they did get back at me when one brother (Tony) would read my diary to a boyfriend or tape my phone conversations. Then, nine and ten years later, I was given the most extraordinary gifts of 2 sisters. 

So many from my generation have lost their parents, family members, and friends. There are no words to express that loss, but somehow the sadness over time is replaced with our memories and love for them.  Not a day goes by I don't wish I had one more conversation with them.  

So, readers, in the overwhelming days we are living in, take time to remember and cherish your memories.  My compartments are almost all filled, and I am anxiously waiting to see what memories will be added until my heart is whole!

Your family is your story; make it never-ending!

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September 13, 2021 - 10:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA: 

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.18, down one cent from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.20. The New York State average is $3.28 – no change from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.28. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $3.25 (down two cents since last week)
  • Buffalo - $3.23 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca - $3.27 (up one cent since last week)
  • Rochester - $3.27 (no change since last week)
  • Rome - $3.30 (up one cent since last week)
  • Syracuse - $3.24 (down one cent since last week)
  • Watertown - $3.25 (no change since last week)

Note: prices are compared to last Monday, Labor Day. The last gas price report was issued Tuesday after the holiday.

The national gas price average has held steady for several days at $3.18. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration shows that gas demand increased slightly from 9.58 million b/d to 9.61 million b/d — a healthy reading for the Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, total domestic stocks took a major step back by 7.2 million bbl to 220 million bbl. Refinery utilization was down almost 10% to 81.9%, as refineries impacted by Ida continue to progress in their recovery efforts. With demand increasing and supplies tightening, some states have seen prices fluctuate, with some up by four cents and others lower by 3 cents. This has helped stabilize the national average this week. However, as oil prices remain high (over $70 per barrel), the national average is expected to stay above $3 per gallon.

From Gas Buddy:

"Sagging U.S. gasoline demand along with continued recovery after Hurricane Ida have helped gas prices edge slightly lower in most states from where they were a week ago. But with Tropical Storm Nicholas threatening another key area of refineries in Houston with significant rain, we could see the decline in prices hit the pause button," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "While Nicholas would appear to be a minor storm, we could see a deluge of water - the same issue that caused some significant damage in Ida's wake to refineries in Louisiana. Combined with the earlier storm, Nicholas could make things more challenging. However, as gasoline demand has now fallen for four straight weeks, there is more breathing room even if some capacity does temporarily go offline. It's too early to tell, clearly, but motorists should be aware."

September 12, 2021 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Onion Queen, news.

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Georgia Luft was crowned the 2021 Onion Queen in Elba on Saturday night.  First runner up, Carolyn Sybertz, second, Laci Sewar.  Taylor Augello (in black dress) is the 2020 Onion Queen.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

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September 12, 2021 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Alexander Steam Show, news.

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Photos by Philip Casper.

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September 12, 2021 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 9-11, news, batavia.

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To honor first responders on the 20th anniversary of 9-11 yesterday, Lilah Guarino and her friends set up a lemonade stand and gave free lemonade to police officers and firefighters.

Her father, Mike Guarino, who submitted the photos, said, "They ended up having some visitors from the city police and fire department.  It was awesome.  The kids were very thankful and excited."

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September 11, 2021 - 7:03pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, 9-11, ny-17, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement on the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. 

“Twenty years ago today, our nation came under attack from a foreign enemy, and we lost 3,000 American mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and heroes. It was one of our nation’s darkest hours – clouded by smoke, fear, and uncertainty. We did not know what tomorrow holds, let alone the next few hours. But we also witnessed the true meaning of what it means to be an American. Amidst that uncertainty and fear, we witnessed bravery and courage, and selflessness that made each of us proud to be an American.

“Our first responders and regular citizens alike rushed into the flames and collapsing buildings to save their fellow Americans, many losing their own lives in the process. And a whole generation of Americans enlisted in our nation’s military to go overseas and bring to justice each and every single person who sought harm against our nation. America was tested in our resolve, and in true American fashion, we banded together emerged stronger than we were before. 

“It has now been two decades since that day – but the pain and clarity of it still remain recent in our minds. Today, 20 years later, we remember our fallen brothers and sisters, and we honor the brave men and women who ran into darkness to save lives and defend our nation. They were true American heroes, as is every single service member who has spent the last 20 years keeping our nation safe. Our nation is eternally grateful for that service, and our nation will never forget. 

“So today, reflect on the events of 20 years ago, take a moment to honor those who perished, those who fought, and those who continue to fight and pass on the memory of those heroes and this day to the new generation who were not alive in 2001. God bless the United States of America. 

September 11, 2021 - 12:01pm

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This morning’s 9/11 remembrance at the Veness-Strollo Post 1602 VFW grounds included speeches from Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey (at right in photo above) of the Batavia Police Department and Lt. Dave Green of the Batavia Fire Department – both of whom said the events of that tragic day prompted them to enlist or re-enlist, respectively, in the military.

Here are their speeches:

Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey

It truly is an honor to be here among fellow service men and women who have served and those who continue to serve, and I would just like to take a moment to say thanks for what you do.

I just came across an article the other day that compared the two biggest military recruitment surges as Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The unique aspect of this is that those who enlisted after these events knew what they were signing up for.

It wasn’t for free college tuition and it wasn’t for pay or any other benefit. It was to step forward and fight for our country. I was in high school when 9/11 happened.

I’ll never forget the events of that day. I’ll never forget how I felt. I will never forget driving around after school and seeing everyone putting up American flags.

I will never forget the pride I felt for our country after that tragic day. I will never forget the images of first responders running toward the World Trade Center towers to help people while the majority of people were running away.

I will never forget the images of the men and women in the armed forces bringing the fight to the enemy who had the audacity to attack us on our soil that day.

I will never forget coming home to my dad on the phone with an Army recruiter, only to be turned down because he was too old to join.

The events of 9/11 and our country responses shaped the better part of my life. I was one of many of the post-9/11 military recruitment surge as I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after I graduated from high school in 2003.

I served six years as a TACP (Tactical Air Control Party Officer) calling in air strikes for my Army counterparts. I completed three tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After I was honorable discharged, I knew that I wanted to continue to serve but in a capacity that was more personal to me.

I was fortunate enough to join the Batavia Police Department where I have had the privilege of serving my community for the past 11 years. In no way do I share this story for personal accolades. I share it because I believe it our duty to educate the next generation about duty, service and sacrifice.

Lt. Dave Green

I had been discharged from the Army National Guard just a couple of years before that. I went to work that morning, met up with my partner on the ambulance, and we went to work – met up with the other ambulance crew for the day and had just gotten some breakfast at the hospital that morning.

It’s strange but I remember details of that morning but the rest of the day was a blur. After seeing the planes hit the towers and the other locations, and the continuous news reports, I can remember feeling helpless and feeling a need to do something.

In the hours that passed, we sat and watched our world change. I’m proud to say that the City of Batavia Fire Department stepped up and sent crews to New York City as soon as we were able. However, I was not in that response.

So, for me, there still a feeling I needed to do something. After a discussion with my wife, I decided to get back in the military in a reserve capacity. As time passed, I still felt the draw and eventually got my time to serve.

I eventually deployed on three separate occasions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The City of Batavia supported my efforts and allowed me to keep my medical coverage for my family while I was serving overseas.

I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve my country and to be able to serve the community where I live. On this anniversary of this tragedy I’m drawn to a memory of one of my deployments, where a sign hung that said, “Today is September 12th.”

For me that means a chance to help pick up the pieces; to show that we are stronger than that event. I’m proud to be a veteran, a firefighter and a member of this community.

September 11, 2021 - 11:27am

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” – President George W. Bush.

As those words by a president seeking to calm a nation shocked by the events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, resound to this day, officials of VFW Veness-Strollo Post 1602 this morning conducted a moving and fitting tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost as a result of that horrific terrorist attack on American soil.

The Batavian, as a community service to those unable to attend today's remembrance event, is publishing the text of the speeches given by Assemblyman Steven Hawley, VFW member Max Sernoffsky (who acted as master of ceremonies), Post 1602 Junior Vice Commander John Woodworth Jr. and City Councilman-At-Large Robert Bialkowski.

Another story, featuring Batavia Police Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey and Batavia Fire Lt. Dave Green, will follow.

Assemblyman Steven Hawley

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It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Most, if not all of us, remember exactly what we were doing that day … almost as if it were yesterday. Where we were; who we were with and how we felt. Watching the twin towers (of the World Trade Center in New York City) fall changed our lives and our nation forever.

As New Yorkers, we were all particularly affected by the attack close to our own homes. We are forever grateful to our first responders, many of whom still live with the physical and psychological effects of their service during that tragic time.

Their courage can not be understated. Thousands of firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers rushed into danger at that scene to save others during the attack – and we will never forget the hundreds of responders who died so that others might live.

After the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01, a sense of unity spread throughout the entire country. American flags blossomed everywhere – on homes and on businesses. Bumper stickers and magnets declaring support for our military were a common sight on highways. And we came together to support those within our communities and beyond.

The American spirit of resilience was on full display, just as it was during our Revolution and during the World Wars. We must always remember that resiliency and never forget that regardless of our personal or political differences, we are united freely and equally as one people under our Constitution.

It is that commitment to our common ideals and the respect for one another that has empowered us to be as strong as we are. The events of the past few weeks have thrust us into a new period, and reminds us – home or abroad – the strength, bravery and skill of our military service members are what stand between freedom and tyranny.

The men and women who fought in Afghanistan should be welcomed home as heroes, and those we lost should be remembered and honored for all history. They fought bravely for a righteous cause. As soldiers return to their families, we must ensure they’re given every resource to make a successful transition back into life at home.

Most of all, they deserve our gratitude and respect.

Max Sernoffsky, VFW Post 1602 member

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Three major questions have got my attention while planning this event: who, how and, most importantly, why.

Well, 911 has always been known as a sign of distress. If there is trouble, just call the number and you get help from first responders. So, the question of who. Who are we honoring? Definitely, first responders.

Sept. 11, 2001 was very different. This was a very vicious and malicious attack on all of America through which our World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked. In essence, the heartbeat of America.

On this day all of America responded. America became proud, ready and united. On this day, we honor all Americans who made themselves ready for the call to protect our way of life.

The question of how? It has been said that how we should act is sad and somber. I totally agree what happened 20 years ago was anything but a celebration. Well, America did not die on that day. America came together. Angry and upset, maybe, but definitely united.

As one may say, let a sleeping dog lie, because after this tragedy America did become alive. Every patriotic American volunteered to support the cause of freedom.

The most important question is why? Why are we gathered here today? This is a remembrance event. Remember there are some out there that try to take our freedoms, rights and way of life from us … as American we must always be prepared to protect and defend as we did on that day.

Heroes on Flight 93 were the first to respond. They were American citizens who were very heroic. They stopped the terrorists from reaching their mark in an attempt to destroy America. To those brave American citizens, we just always remember and never forget. Let us honor them by doing what it takes to keep our country free.

Among us today, we have many veterans and first responders. We also have many citizens whose help was instrumental. Several are part of the many organizations that are here to serve. Why? Because they believe in what you're doing for our country.

To our young citizens, I realize you were too little or not even born when this tragic event took place. To you I realize that you are about to embark on a path – whatever you become – doctors, firemen, policemen or even a member of the armed forces. There will be times you feel alone along the way, alienated, tested or even overwhelmed.

Just remember … we always have your back. I encourage you all to stay around after the ceremony and engage first hand with our fellow veterans, supporting organizations and first responders. Ask the questions, gain knowledge, insight and wisdom from them.

(He also thanked the businesses who supported the ceremony).

Today, we remember our firefighters, police force, armed forces and citizens who all stepped forward when they first got the news. These people ran toward the danger – not away from it. Why? Because there were American citizens in those towers.

It is because of that bravery that many lives were saved. They did this knowing full well of the risk that they themselves may never make it back alive. I can’t say this enough. It is Americans like you that make me so proud to be an American.

Please God, always give me the same strength that they had to be ready to face danger and to never turn my back to it. Whenever I think of the many Americans selflessly doing their part, protecting our way of life, it just makes me so thankful and patriotic.

Why do Americans do this? It is because Americans are resilient. They do this because America is worth protecting. As long as we continue to have our brave young Americans protecting our way of life, we will forever be and always will be the greatest nation ever.

Councilmember-At-Large Robert Bialkowski

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We certainly live in very troubled times. 20 years (ago), it seems like just an hour ago, the mainland of our country was attacked by our enemies. Please, let’s never, ever forget this day.

Four airliners were hijacked and used for these attacks of terror. American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the World Trade Center north tower at 8:46 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 was crashed 17 minutes later into the south tower at 9:03 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the west side of the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93, heading for target White House or the Capitol building was overtaken by some very brave passengers and crashed in Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 a.m.

Many of us have had friends, relatives and associates working in these buildings. I, personally, had a relative and other military people I knew that were working in the Pentagon at that time. By the grace of God, they escaped.

The aftermath of this attack was 2,977 fatalities. Over 25,000 people were also injured. Three hundred and forty firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers paid the ultimate sacrifice performing their heroic rescue attempts, and to this day there are thousands of people suffering health issues.

This was a major attack and it all occurred in minutes, and it was well laid out and well planned. These people – al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS and all the other terrorist groups – are our enemies and must be treated as such. They will never be our friends and we must never forget.

It’s an honor to be here today to recognize our local post 1602 and the entire VFW organization for all your unselfish work supporting all our veterans. Since your beginning in 1899 … that’s a long time to be providing services. You provide a home, and when I say home, I’m talking about a community – a community where all veterans are welcome with honor and dignity.

He then was joined by City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. in presenting a proclamation from the City of Batavia recognizing today as “911 Day of Remembrance in the City of Batavia” and encourage citizens to honor the lives of those lost to participation in community service and remembrance ceremonies on this day and throughout this year.

VFW Post 1602 Junior Vice Commander John Woodworth Jr.

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I encourage our recruits to understand that the VFW and American Legion is our voice in Washington, D.C. We have to depend on each other, so I highly recommend that you join these organizations to support not just ourselves but our community as well.

My name is John Woodworth Jr. I'm a U.S. Air Force retiree and I continue to serve our great nation as of now, for 31 years.

I would like to speak about September 11th, 2001, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the events ... and remember all those who lost their lives on that tragic day. To me, September 11th has been the worst attack on the American people and the second worst attack on America’s resolve.

The first, as many may know already, is December 7th, 1941, at the Pearl Harbor Naval Stations. However, but instead of another country waging war on our nation using military force against military force, 19 Islamic extremists committed an unthinkable act of cowardliness against the American people and tested our resolve. These 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners – American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93.

They used them as weapons of mass destruction on American citizens and citizens from 77 different countries. These weren’t the only victims of 911. We lost 412 of America’s heroes, and I’m referring to our firefighters, police officers and medical personnel who answered the call and gave all save tens of thousands of lives during rescue operations at the World Trade Center.

Which leads me to the other heroes of September 11th – Chief Master Sgt. Troy McIntosh from the Pentagon who rushed into flames three times to help evacuate wounded personnel and Master Sgt. Noel Sepulveda, a career medical technician, who pulled six injured people through windows and set up a triage in the parking lot. And finally, the passengers of Flight 93.

The passengers of Flight 93, after learning the intentions of their hijackers, established a plan to retake their aircraft from these assailants – transforming themselves from victims to heroes. Their sacrifice resulted in safeguarding an unknown number lives at the hijackers’ unknown target – cementing themselves as the first ones to fight terrorism on September 11th, and in my eyes, the biggest heroes of the day.

The actions of our first responders and Flight 93 passengers inspired and strengthened America’s resolve.

I often wonder if Osama Bin Laden felt the same pressure as Japanese World War II Admiral Yamamoto by awakening a sleeping giant. Did Bin Laden recognize true might of America or did he misjudge America’s pursuit of peace as a weakness?

On Sept. 18, 2001, President Bush signed a bill to authorize use of military force. Then on Oct. 7, 2001, U.S. forces began air campaigns against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. For nearly 20 years, the U.S. armed forces kept the fight on enemy soil.

However, the war on terrorism isn’t truly over as we discovered on August 26th, 2021, when 13 American service members lost their lives to a suicide bombing as the United States was withdrawing from Afghanistan to officially end the longest war in American history. (He then mentioned a display inside the VFW set up to honor those 13 service members).

My final words for September 11th are this:

We should never forget the men, women and children whose lives were so tragically on the ground and in the air. We should never forget the sacrifice our first responders and the passengers of Flight 93. As Americans, we need to remain ever vigilant and continue to stand together to stand together against terrorism.

As Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer quoted, “Let’s roll.”

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Photos at bottom: U.S. Army personnel observing a moment of silence; Tom Cecere rings the bell at 8:46 a.m. to mark the first strike into the World Trade Center (other bell ringings took place at 9:03, 9:37 and 10:03); playing of taps as VFW honor guard stands at attention. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

September 11, 2021 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, arts, entertainment, news.

More fun, music, and food are on the agenda in the Elba Village Park tomorrow from noon until  6 p.m.

The Corfu Pembroke Community Band, directed by Don Rogers leads off the festivities. This group was the finale of the summer series last year and the program features patriotic music.

DSP Jazz Trio will follow.  The trio is Derek Reiss, a BHS graduate who played trumpet in the US Air Force Band for 24 years and now lives in Elba. Skip Taylor, on drums, taught music at Pembroke Central School for 30 years, was a founder of the Corfu Pembroke Community Band, and has played in musical groups in WNY and Canada for many years. And Peter Mark, also a BHS graduate who has performed with many instrumental and vocal groups around WNY, will be on trombone and provide vocals.

The third band of the afternoon is Generations, a 5 piece group that plays danceable rock and roll from the 50s and 60s. You'll hear covers of the Beatles, Stones, Credence, Linda Ronstadt, and many one-hit wonders.

Rounding out the show will be the Don Newcomb Band playing good, old-school,  traditional,  real country music,  such as Hank, Merle, and Buck. The group features Don Newcomb on bass and vocals, Keith Worthington guitar and vocals, Chris Mc Gauley on steel guitar and vocals, and rounding it out with Skip Taylor back on the stage on drums. 

For Elba's last show, the Betterment Committee will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers, serving pizza from Andy's, and popping corn at our stand. The committee will serve homemade pie from Chap's Elba Diner. Lori's Delectable Edibles, Ice Cream and Chill, Circle B Winery, and Eli Fish will be there as well

Every concert this summer has been provided free of charge but tomorrow there will be taking a free-will offering to the Elba Historical Society, which hasn't been unable to host their famous roast beef dinner for the past two years due to the pandemic.

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