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October 23, 2021 - 3:54pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, all babies cherished, Batavia City Centre.

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The executive director of the All Babies Cherished Pregnancy Assistance Center said about $4,000 was raised today for the nonprofit, pro-life organization through its second Fall Festival at the Batavia City Centre concourse.

"There are 90 vendors here and they're all doing well," Sue Sherman said during the event that ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. "They're selling their goods and it's a great representation of things that the community has to offer."

Sherman said ABC receives the vendor fees charged to the entrepreneurs, while "the proceeds they (vendors) make here are for the fruits of the their labor."

The procees comes at an opportune time for ABC, Sherman added, as it is setting up a house it has acquired to be used as temporary living quarters for the homeless women the organization serves.

"It will probably be between eight months and a year before we're able to open it for girls to live there. It's a work in progress but we're very thankful that we have one," she said.

The event has become one of the nonprofit organization's major fundraisers, she said, crediting volunteer Lucille DiSanto for her efforts in coordinating the show.

Program Coordinator Mona Doyon said she considered it "a blessing" to see the mall used again and being able meet and greet people.

She also said she is looking forward to ABC's virtual fundraising event this Thursday.

The agency will be hosting a free online fundraiser at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in commemoration of its 25th year.

Le Roy resident Alexandra Andrews will tell her story as an abortion survivor.

A wife and mother of three, she said her testimony centers upon the ways God revealed His plan for her life, bringing her out of an orphanage in Russia to share a message of mercy, healing and forgiveness.

A registered nurse, Andrews is an active member at her church and serves on the ABC board of directors.

For more information, call 344-5660, go to www.allbabiescherished.com or www.facebook.com/AllBabiesCherishedPregnancyCenter/ 

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All Babies Cherished Program Coordinator Mona Doyon, left, and Executive Director Sue Sherman.

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Rochester Regional Health "Baby Cafe" employees Jay Balduf, left, and Linda Lee Stoiber greet Barb Worthington and her grandkids, Fae and Arlo Hoisington.

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It's all about unique holiday decor at the Creative Crafts by Lori table. From left are Rochester area residents Donna Erickson, Lori Mariani (owner) and R.J. Kessler.

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Delevan area residents Sue McKay (owner) and friend Kristi Cain at Grandma's Love Boutique, which features mittens, bows, stockings, washcloths and scrubbies.

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Checking out the selection of items at the basket raffle table. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
October 22, 2021 - 5:11pm

The introduction of new computer software means that it’s time to say good-bye to an old -- and outdated -- permitting and licensing fee schedule for the City of Batavia, according to a memo from City Manager Rachael Tabelski dated Oct. 25 and sent out ahead of Monday’s City Council Conference Meeting.

Council will convene at 7 p.m. for the Conference Meeting, which features a full slate of agenda items. A Special Business Meeting set up to vote on three of those items will follow.

In the memo, Tabelski promotes Energov software, a program that creates digital files for permits and licensing that will make life easier for Inspection Bureau staff. However, some of the current fees are not articulated clearly enough to jive with that software.

Additionally, she reports that a review of the city’s current processes and procedures – along with permit fees – was conducted.

Noting that the fee schedule hasn’t been updated in at least 15 years and has resulted in varying, inaccurate cost calculations, she is proposing a new fee schedule – a revised list of charges for certain projects that was approved by the Inspections Bureau, Plumbing Board and Bureau of Maintenance.

“In order to ensure that permit fees can be calculated in Energov and to create a permit fee schedule that is fair to all, a new fee schedule is proposed,” Tabelski wrote. “Many permits are proposed to be a flat fee. Permits that are not a flat fee have been structured for easy calculation by staff, the public and will easily compute in Energov.”

The memo indicates that work performed by the property owner will be calculated by square foot. If the project is not included on the list of flat fee permits – such as a porch rebuild or removal of a load-bearing wall – then the value of the cost of the project would be multiplied by 1.2 percent to determine the fee. Also, the fee will triple if work is done without a permit.

If approved by Council, changes would take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Tabelski put together a chart showing items up for revision and compared the proposed new cost to fees in Canandaigua, Lockport, Rome and Glens Falls.

Items on the list for revision, followed by the current fee, proposed fee (in bold), and fees in the four cities listed above in order:

  • Re-roof all 1-family dwelling (2,200 sq ft - $13,000) -- $52, $65, $100, $59, $75, $50.
  • Re-roof porch only (350 sq ft - $1,800) -- $40, $35, $100, $51, $75, $50.
  • Re-roof commercial (1,200 sq ft - $26,000) -- $113, $312, $100, $150, $200, $150.
  • Six-foot vinyl fence ($15,000) -- $65, $65, $50, $20, $75, $25.
  • Six-foot wood fence ($7,000) -- $43, $65, $50, $20, $75, $25.
  • Entire house vinyl siding (1,600 sq ft - $14,000) -- $53.50, $65, $480, $47, $75, $400.
  • 1-family (375 sq ft - $22,000) -- $115.50, $264, $300, $150, $100, $200.
  • Commercial addition (1,400 sq ft-$105,000) -- $550, $1,260, $500, $350, $200, $350.

Other Conference Meeting agenda items are as follows:

  • Agreements with the Town of Batavia for city personnel to repair and maintain 31 street lights the town is putting up on Park Road in the area of Batavia Downs Gaming and a traffic control device the town is installing at the intersection of Route 98 and Federal Drive, north of the city.

In both cases, the city would invoice the town for labor and material costs.

Currently, city employees maintain the traffic light for the town at Veterans Memorial Drive and the Towne Center.

  • Acceptance of a $500,000 Restore New York Grant that was awarded to the city in 2007 to assist Savarino Companies for demolition, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the existing former National Grid electric building in connection with the Ellicott Station project.

As a condition of disbursing the funds to Savarino, the Buffalo developer is required to enter into an “Undertaking Agreement” with the city to assume a portion or all of the obligations of the city under the grant.

  • Mid-fiscal year transfers due to expenses incurred in excess of budgeted amounts set in April.

These include $30,000 from the contingency fund into the legal services budget for increased litigation costs, $12,000 from contingency into the information technology budget for an increase in the number of monitored computer servers, and $25,000 from the public works administrative salary account to the DPW engineering account for expenses owed to LaBella Associates in light of the city’s ongoing search for a DPW director.

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October 22, 2021 - 10:04am

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With revenues from auto dealer work on the decline, Genesee County Clerk Michael Cianfrini is hoping for a change in New York State’s revenue-sharing practices as well as participation in a pilot program to provide a much-needed boost for local Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

Cianfrini, in his yearly departmental review at the County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting earlier this week, said a lack of vehicle inventory has resulted in decreased income for the county DMV.

“The volume of dealer work has dropped off pretty significantly in recent months – and that’s statewide,” he reported. “Every county clerk is experiencing the same thing. A lot of that has to do with inventory … so car sales have dropped off.”

County DMV staff continues to handle dealer work for both in-county and out-of-county entities, Cianfrini said, but the revenue thus far – about $132,000 through September – likely will lead to an amount less than what was generated in 2020.

He said he recently registered the local office to take part in a state-sponsored pilot program where local DMV offices will be able to process transactions received at the state office via mail or online.

“They’re (state DMV employees) behind right now in processing those transactions that are mailed into them,” he said. “They’re behind and we need the revenue so they started this program … where they mail (those) transactions to our county for us to process and return them to customers.”

Cianfrini said the pilot program is expected to start in November or December and “hopefully make up for some of the lost revenues from dealer sales being down.”

Mentioning that he attended the NYS Association of County Clerks conference in Poughkeepsie on Monday, Cianfrini said the group’s “biggest push this year is to increase the revenue sharing that we get from the state.”

He said local DMV offices receive 12.7 percent of revenue generated from in-office transactions and “a pittance” from online transactions.

“We will be trying to negotiate either an increase in the online share to bring it up to parity with the 12.7 percent we get in-office or some negotiated figure along those lines,” he advised. “We do the lion’s share of the work, yet we get a minimal amount of proceeds, so we don’t think that’s fair.”

Since August, the county DVM office has been open for residents of all counties without appointment, and continues to offer drop box service.

“We’re processing everything from the drop box or mailed (to us) the same day it is received and we get it turned around and mailed out that same day,” Cianfrini said. “One or two people are assigned to do just that.”

In areas concerning the Genesee County Clerk's office (which, along with the DMV, is located at County Building I pictured above), Cianfrini reported:

  • Back-scanning of records to digital images continues, with deed indexes and actual deed images available back to 1927, mortgage index and images back to 1966, miscellaneous records back to 1974 and miscellaneous index back to 1926.

“I just solicited a bid to get our mortgage index books back to 1917 and also asked for an estimate to image our mortgage books back to 1917,” he said. “Each year we’re trying to push our image records farther and farther back, especially for our online record sales. This makes it that much more valuable when people can do their research farther back.”

  • The clerk’s office began online record subscriptions in January 2020, and the practice has been successful – generating more than $33,000 thus far in 2021.

“We’re anticipating revenues of $45,000 for this year, which is significantly higher than last year,” he said. “We take these revenues as a credit against our IQS (Info Quick Solutions) document management services contract, so that lowers the contractual amount we have to pay each year.”

  • To date, pistol permit applications have hit the 440 mark and amendments have reached 2,273 – numbers that are higher than historic averages.
  • About $425,000 is projected in local mortgage tax revenue for 2021, up from $419,000 last year.
Comments
October 22, 2021 - 8:27am

oakfield-volunteer-fire-department-logo.jpgLeave it to a first responder to jump into the fray and attempt to put out the “fire” that has embroiled the Oakfield village and town boards over the financial payment plan for fire protection for their residents.

On Thursday night, Sean Downing, chief of the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department, said that he is working toward a meeting of town, village and fire department officials, with OVFD attorney Mark Butler of Williamsville acting as a mediator.

“It’s time to get this thing resolved and move forward,” Downing said. “The fire department is stuck in the middle here.”

Downing said citizens are upset over the impasse and several of them voiced their displeasure at a recent town board meeting.

After that, the fire chief said he suggested having representatives of the village and town sit down with fire department personnel and Butler.

“I’m drafting a letter to send to our attorney for review and for the town (Supervisor Matt Martin) and the village (Mayor David Boyle) to sign (indicating) that they will come to the meeting,” Downing said. “The letter also reads that they will agree to what our attorney recommends.”

Downing said he is proposing a few dates for the meeting in an attempt to find one that accommodates everyone involved.

Martin, responding to an email from The Batavian, reported that “a tentative meeting is in the works.”

Boyle, speaking by telephone yesterday, also acknowledged that “a meeting is being set up by the fire chief.”

The dispute centers upon how much the town should pay for fire protection services offered by the village, which owns the fire department trucks and equipment. The building itself, on Albert Street, is owned by the fire department.

The village is threatening legal action against the town for failure to pay $78,644.71 owed for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Boyle said the village will shut off fire and emergency response to the town (including the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District) if the bill isn’t paid by Nov. 30 – action that Downing said could be supported by the OVFD.

Martin said the town wants to renegotiate the longstanding agreement, and sent the village a check for half of that amount in an attempt to sit down and come up with a new three-year pact that removes charges to the town for capital expenses, such as trucks and equipment.

“The town would like a three-year agreement and a service contract only,” Martin wrote. “When we say service contract, we mean that the capital portion not be included as that is owned by the village.”

When asked if the town considered paying the full amount owed prior to renegotiation, Martin responded, “We have done this in the past and have gotten nowhere.”

“Once the village gets their money, they do not contact us again until it is time to discuss the fire budget again the next year,” he said. “We have asked for five years to work this out and they continue to ignore our request.”

He said the town board favors a service agreement for fire protection, similar to the one it has with the village for snowplowing.

Boyle’s response made it clear that he doesn’t believe that is fair.

“That’s ludicrous to me,” he said, reiterating that all necessary vehicles are dispatched and equipment used when firefighters respond to town emergencies.

The mayor, however, did say he was encouraged by the chance to express the village’s stance in mediation.

“There are issues to iron out, for sure,” he said. “I hope there’s a sense of give-and-take in the discussions, and not just demands.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s a no-win situation at this point. We’re going to have to come to some kind of compromise. Both parties deserve a contract that supports the fire department but also is fiscally conservative and responsible.”

Previously: Oakfield fire protection dispute update: Village wants full payment before negotiating; Town has sent half

Previously: O-A school superintendent hoping for quick resolution to village, town fire protection squabble

Comments
October 21, 2021 - 4:54pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee County elections.

Republican incumbents Eugene Jankowski Jr., Jeremy Karas and F. Robert Bialkowski are being challenged by Erica O’Donnell (Democrat and Families of Batavia) for Batavia City Council-At-Large seats in the Nov. 2 general election.

Voters will select three of those four people to four-year terms.

Most of the candidates for elected positions in Genesee County this year are running unopposed.

Contested races include Town Council in Stafford, Bergen, Le Roy and Pembroke; Town Justice in Bethany and Le Roy, and Town Supervisor in Byron.

The election slate, according to the Genesee County Board of Elections:

GENESEE COUNTY

  • County Court Judge/Surrogate (10-year term, vote for one) -- Melissa L. Cianfrini, R, C
  • District Attorney (four-year term, vote for one) -- Kevin T. Finnell, R
  • County Coroner (unexpired term, vote for two) -- Wade E. Schwab, R; John W. Peck, R
  • County Legislature (four-year terms unless noted, vote for one) -- District 1, Chad A. Klotzbach, R; District 3, Gordon L. Dibble, R, C; District 4, unexpired term, Brooks M. Hawley, R, C; District 5, Rochelle M. Stein, R, C; District 7, John Deleo, R, C; District 9, Gary T. Maha, R, C

CITY OF BATAVIA

  • City Council at Large (four-year terms, vote for three) -- Eugene A. Jankowski, Jr., R, C; Jeremy W. Karas, R, C; F. Robert Bialkowski, R; Erica B. O’Donnell, D, Families of Batavia

TOWN OF ALABAMA

  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Pamela J. Thurber, R
  • Town Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Jill L. Klotzbach, R; Kevin J. Veazey, R

TOWN OF ALEXANDER

  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Ronald P. Merrill, R
  • Town Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Eric T. Wagner, R; Laura F. Schmieder, R

TOWN OF BATAVIA

  • Town Supervisor (four-year term, vote for one) -- Gregory H. Post, R.
  • Town Clerk (vote for one) -- Teressa M. Morasco, R
  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Andrew J. Young, R
  • Council (four-year term, vote for two) -- Patti A. Michalak, R; Daniel G. Underhill, R\
  • Town Highway Superintendent (four-year term, vote for one) -- Thomas W. Lichtenthal, Jr., R

TOWN OF BERGEN

  • Town Supervisor (four-year term, vote for one) -- Ernest J. Haywood, R
  • Town Council (four-year term, vote for two) -- James S. Starowitz, R; Anne M. Sapienza, D, C, WOR; Teresa F. Whalin, R

TOWN OF BETHANY

  • Town Clerk (unexpired term, vote for one) -- Shauna P. Klump, R
  • Town Justice (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Joseph Nowakowski, R, Legal Party; Jeff Wolak, R; Peggy Johnson, Justice; Nichole Szymkowiak, Justice
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Diane L. Fowler, R; Daniel K. Street, R

TOWN OF BYRON

  • Town Supervisor (two-year term, vote for one) -- Peter N. Yasses, R; Gerald L. Heins, Ind.
  • Town Clerk (four-year term, vote for one) -- Debra M. Buck-Leaton, R, WOR
  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Christopher M. Erion, R
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Jeffrey J. Thompson, R; Thomas H. Felton, R
  • Highway Superintendent (two-year term, vote for one) -- David W. Leaton, Jr., R

TOWN OF DARIEN

  • Town Clerk (four-year term, vote for one) -- Alice E. Calmes, D, C
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Michael A. Fix, R; David H. Krzemien, D

TOWN OF ELBA

  • Town Supervisor (four-year term, vote for one) -- Donna J. Hynes, R
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Daniel L. Coughlin, Jr., R; Michael P. Augello, R

TOWN OF LE ROY

  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Carol DiFrancisco, D; Tom Feeley (write-in)
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Robert Fussell, D; Sarah Krzemien, D; Bill Fox, C; David R. Paddock, R, C; Ronald B. Pangrazio, R

TOWN OF OAKFIELD

  • Town Supervisor (four-year term, vote for one) -- Matthew E. Martin, R
  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Thomas A. Graham, R
  • Council (four-year term, vote for two) -- Carol L. Glor, R; Kim E. Wolcott, R

TOWN OF PAVILION

  • Town Council (four-year term, vote for two) -- Donald A. Oberlin, R; Dean A. Davis, R

TOWN OF PEMBROKE

  • Town Justice (four-year term, vote for one) -- Edwin F. Mileham, Jr., R
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Edward G. Arnold, Jr., R; Helen Trowbridge Hanes, D, Ind. Cit. of Pem.; K. Warren Clark, R
  • Highway Superintendent (unexpired term, vote for one) -- Scott T. Turner, R

TOWN OF STAFFORD

  • Town Clerk (four-year term, vote for one) -- Barbara L. Radley, R, Barb for Clerk
  • Council (four-year terms, vote for two) -- Ronald T. Panek, R; James R. Duyssen, R; Cathy Worthington, C (write-in)
  • Highway Superintendent (four-year term, vote for one) -- Steven B. Boldt, R, C
Comments
October 21, 2021 - 11:24am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county.

Emphasizing that the Genesee County Legislature has no intention of overriding the New York State property tax cap, County Manager Matt Landers this morning said he expects the tax rate for 2022 to decrease by 53 cents from last year’s figure.

“The rate as of right now, and the only reason the rate would go up if there is any kind of change to the assessments between now and when we finalize the budget in late November, is at $9.37 (per $1,000 of assessed value),” Landers said.

That’s down from the rate of $9.80 in 2021, a drop of about 4 ½ percent.

The tax levy, or the amount to be raised by taxes, is going from $31,451,727 to $32,130,246 – an increase of slightly more than 2 percent.

Landers pointed out that municipalities such as Genesee County can’t raise their tax levies by more than the 2 percent tax cap.

He said his office is finalizing the All Funds and General Fund spending plans, but indicated both will go up compared to 2021.

“I will have those numbers when I file the budget on Friday,” he said, indicating that his office will be issuing a press release tomorrow.

Genesee County is using $1.4 million of its unexpended fund balance in 2022, down from $2.3 million utilized in 2021.

Landers said the new Genesee County Jail – with groundbreaking set for next spring – is a key part of the 2022 budget.

“We don’t have any debt service in the 2022 budget because we’ll be borrowing for the jail in '22,” he said. “Debt service will come out in 2023.”

There are line items in next year’s budget, however, for four new corrections officers – positions that are part of a jail transition team required by the state Commission of Corrections to be in place prior to groundbreaking.  

“We’ll pick four us our more experienced COs to work on that, and that’s all they work on,” Landers said. “Then, we’ll backfill and hire four positions that we create. These positions will be kept on with the new jail because there’s an expected staffing increase with the new county jail.”

The county is planning to spend about $70 million on a 184-bed jail on West Main Street Road, just east of County Building 2. The facility will include a backup E-911 Center.

Two full-time nurses will be on duty at the new jail, an upgrade from the current one full-time nurse and one part-time nurse, Landers said, and four new positions will be added at the highway department – two seasonal and two full-time positions – to focus on tree cutting.

“We’re going to dedicate a tree crew that will work year round, working on the backlog of trees that have been devastated by the ash borer,” Landers said. “Trees are in the right-of-way and need to be cleared for safety purposes.”

Comments
October 20, 2021 - 3:03pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Town of Batavia budget.

greg_post.jpgThe Town of Batavia property tax rate is expected to decrease by about 12 percent for 2022, Supervisor Greg Post said today.

Post, (photo at right), in providing The Batavian his first update on budget proceedings, said the preliminary General Fund spending plan for next year is currently at $4,845,357, which includes $1,346,403 in expenditures for the Highway Fund.

While the General Fund budget is up by about $800,000 from 2021 and the town’s revenue decreased, the Town Board is looking at using $1.18 million in unexpended fund balance ($600,000 more than originally anticipated) to keep the property tax levy at the same level, Post said.

The current tax levy on the books for 2022 (the amount raised by taxes) is at $1,236,000 – the same as the number in 2021.

“Which means that because of the increased assessed value (in the town), the tax rate will go down by about 12 percent – from $2.85 to $2.51,” Post indicated. “Nothing is set in stone as we still have several weeks to work through this and we may tweak it prior to adoption.”

The sewer rate is expected to remain flat at $7.09 per 1,000 gallons used, while the water rate for both residential and agricultural consumers is projected to increase by 2 percent – to $6.32 and $5.12 per 1,000 gallons, respectively.

Meanwhile, the fire district tax rate looks as though it will remain flat, but will result in greater revenue due to the increased assessed valuation.

The Town Board has scheduled public hearings on the sewer and water rates for 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road, with a public hearing on the budget to follow at 7:10 p.m.

A special meeting to adopt the budget, and the sewer and water rates is set for Nov. 17 at the Town Hall.

Additional details provided by Post are as follows:

  • The strategy on the tax levy “was to keep this as flat as we can, and use up the residual money saved during COVID to purchase the things that were deferred from the last two years,” he said. “Now that we’re in full operation and projects are happening, we need to have the staff and the means to attend to that so we can continue to be in a growth mode.”
  • The town is hiring another highway department employee and a “project manager” engineer to assist with administration of Park Road Reconstruction Project. “This is similar to what we did five or six years ago,” Post advised. “When the work increases, we add staff, and when the work decreases, we reduce staff.”
  • The plan includes spending about $500,000 on a fleet of pickup trucks, something that was deferred due to COVID.  “But we might not even be able to buy trucks next year because they might not be available yet; trucks are hard to find,” Post said.
  • The town realized a surplus last year of $280,000, enabling it to use more of its unexpended fund balance, Post reported. “That was due to the efforts the staff has made to find creative ways to finance projects and get grant money to subsidize the operations,” he said. “Through this process, we still have adequate reserves and unexpended fund balances to carry us through whatever the next Apocalypse is.”
  • The board is considering pay increases averaging 3 percent, although not across the board, Post said. “That doesn’t mean that money gets spent. Those numbers are not finalized and set until the first of the year. This virtual situation has found a number of efficiencies and it has also allowed the town to service building permits, applications and plan reviews as well as administer public sector projects like Ellicott Trail and repaving and now Park Road and Route 98 improvements.
Comments
October 20, 2021 - 2:04pm

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Gov. Kathy Hochul touted the hard working Western New York community today as she took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to recognize Plug Power, Inc.’s $290 million investment at the Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

“There is a strong work ethic here,” said Hochul, a Buffalo native who spent much time in Genesee and surrounding counties during her days as a U.S. Congresswoman and New York State lieutenant governor. “I come from just a little bit down the road – the granddaughter of a steel worker in a steel plant; my dad worked in the steel plant. In Rochester, he worked at Eastman Kodak and many other jobs.

“People are used to working hard, and employers are recognizing it. This is in our DNA. This is what they will get when they come here and invest here. They’ll get the very best people.”

Hochul was joined by Andy Marsh, chief executive officer of the Latham-based Plug Power, which is set to construct a major green hydrogen fuel production plant and a 450-megawatt electric substation that will provide power to the entire STAMP site.

Officials from the New York Power Authority were also on hand at the Genesee County Economic Development Center-coordinate event, which drew around 100 people.

The NYPA board previously approved a 10,000-kilowatt hydropower provision along with $1.5 million in funding from the Western New York Power Proceeds program, and 143 MW of High-Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market, drastically lowering electric bills through a reduction in electricity delivery chargers.

Other speakers were State Sen. Edward Rath, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein and GCEDC Vice President of Operations Mark Masse.

A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

Hochul said that the location “is the place where the clean energy revolution is happening.”

She thanked officials at the NYPA for “harnessing the power of the Niagara River … and (being able to) spread that energy across the state – literally, spread the energy across the state.”

“To invest here and to send a message that this project is important enough to have your investment, but also to transfer electricity here and power here, and the conversion into green hydrogen. That’s not happening anywhere else; nowhere else are they being that creative,” she said.

She drew a round of applause when she said, “It’s happening here in Genesee County. And as a result, we’ll have North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility here in the State of New York, but right here in Genesee County.”

The governor said she was “so delighted” to be back home again as this county has special meaning to her.

“I heard Mark (Masse) say I was here a few times,” she said. “I was here a few times a week – to your candy stores and your shops and your restaurants and your downtown, and had the opportunity to talk about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and so many other transformative projects. So, when I come back home here it gives me the sense of not just (being) excited about what we’ve done in the past but the possibilities in the future. And, ladies and gentlemen, the future is starting today.”

THANKING THE 'EARLY VISIONARIES'

She credited “early visionaries” such as Steve Hyde, former Senator Mary Lou Rath, Assemblyman Steven Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein and local government officials.

“Thank you for never giving up, for always having the faith. Your persistence and patience has paid off. And that’s what today is all about.”

And she thanked Marsh for seeing the possibilities in Genesee County.

“It’s companies, it’s people and it’s also places, and this place has been crying out for an opportunity like this to show what it was really made out of,” she said. “And the location, I’ve always said this. This region is spectacular because of its proximity to two larger urban areas …”

Masse said interest in STAMP from corporate site selectors from the advanced manufacturing sector -- including semiconductor and clean energy -- has never been stronger.

“There’s a long queue of prospects constantly asking for information, meetings and visiting the site. Our region and our site are very suitable for companies such as Plug Power to succeed and make a lasting impact,” he said.

MASSE PROMOTES SHOVEL-READINESS

Noting that the region has 2.1 million people in a 60-mile radius with 57 colleges and universities – and 4,000 engineering graduates annually, Masse said, “The only thing holding us back now is the increasing of our capacities of existing infrastructure to make this site completely shovel-ready.”

“This would have the full water, sewer, electric at the property line for any company looking to locate here so they can move quickly to construct their facility and be up and running as soon as possible.”

Masse said he was hopeful that New York State will continue to make infrastructure investments to advance the shovel-readiness of mega-sites such as STAMP.

Marsh compared Plug Power’s expansion to George Westinghouse’s pioneering electrical network more than 100 years ago.

“Hydrogen is really important, and green hydrogen is especially important,” he said, adding that projections show that 18 percent of the world’s energy is going to come from hydrogen.

MARSH FORESEES ACCELERATION

“And right here in the field will be the first large-scale green hydrogen network, not only in New York, not only in the U.S., but around the world. Just like George Westinghouse did with electricity years and years ago.”

He called that “a great accelerator for this local economy and Plug Power believes, with its investments here, which we hope to continue to grow – with our investments in Rochester – we will see the same.”

Marsh, mentioning that Plug Power’s green hydrogen will power forklifts at several big companies, said that 25 percent of food during COVID moved through Plug Power products.

“It really made the world realize what Plug Power was doing. We were able to raise $5 billion in the public market, which supplements a lot that goes on with support in New York and other places,” he offered.

CLICK HERE for more about today's developments.

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Photo above: Gov. Kathy Hochul speaking at this morning's Plug Power groundbreaking event at WNY STAMP in the Town of Alabama. Photos below: Hochul and Plug Power CEO (center) and other regional and state officials take part in the ceremony; state, regional and local government leaders turned out for the event. Photos by Steve Ognibene.

Comments
October 20, 2021 - 8:30am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Eric Biscaro.

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Update, 3 p.m.: Le Roy Village Mayor just reported that the Village Board will not be deciding the fate of this project tonight, but plans to complete the State Environmental Quality Review process. He said he is looking into scheduling a meeting for Nov. 1 for the vote, although that date has yet to be confirmed.

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The housing development being proposed by a Batavia businessman returns to the public arena tonight when the Le Roy Village Board convenes its regular monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park.

Eric Biscaro’s plan to construct 30 duplex units for residents 50 and older on a 20-acre parcel of land off East Avenue in the village (photo at top) has drawn much attention over the past five months – and a great deal of opposition from a vocal group of citizens who live in the East Avenue, Poplar Lane, Orchard Drive neighborhood.

Those calling for the village board to turn down the project – which requires rezoning from Residential to Planned Unit Development – have given various reasons, including it’s not a good fit for the area, increased traffic and stormwater runoff.

However, there have been LeRoyans who have spoken favorably of the venture, which also includes extending East Avenue to accommodate 18 single-family building lots. Those supporting it have pointed to studies that show Le Roy (and Genesee County) lack adequate housing for seniors and also have mentioned the tax revenue the project would generate.

So, after a recommendation of approval by the Genesee County Planning Board, two previous well-attended public hearings, and some back-and-forth dialogue on The Batavian, the matter is back on the village board’s agenda, with proceedings to begin at 7 o’clock.

Mayor Greg Rogers, contacted earlier this week, said board members seem to be satisfied with traffic and stormwater runoff studies conducted by the CPL engineering firm hired by the village.

“Yes. We’ve reviewed CPL’s study of the water and traffic issues and they’re (CPL) good with that,” he said.

The pressing concern now, he said, is what to do about Biscaro’s offer to put the East Avenue extension in himself, with minimal assistance (around $30,000) in the way of stone, gravel and trucks from the village. The developer also is seeking a $7,000 cap on building permit fees (which represents about a 50 percent discount).

Rogers said that no decision has been made by the board as far as Biscaro putting the road in.

“He has proposed putting the majority of the roads in for the 60 units (senior housing complex) and the 18 building lots on an extension of East Avenue,” Rogers advised. “The board is looking at a commitment of $50,000 to $75,000 toward the road extension.”

The board is thinking about spending that much because the current village code stipulates that curbs and storm sewers come with the installation of new roads.

“That definitely will be part of the conversation Wednesday (tonight),” he said.

Biscaro, using his Clinton Crossings Adult Community as an example, contends that curbs and storm drains aren’t necessary and “do not make the neighborhood.”

“Curbs trap the water on the street and force it to the storm drains,” he said. “You all heard the complaints about water in the storm drains going into the culvert under East Avenue and on to the golf course. Why do it? It’s not necessary. Our stormwater plan already takes care of any water on that street without sending it on to anyone else.”

The owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, Biscaro said he has multiple plans that will meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requirements and will present those, as well as a Letter of Compliance, to the board.

He said the “pros” of the project far outweigh the “cons” when it comes to being a benefit for the Village of Le Roy.

Biscaro said he got involved with the village after receiving word from Rogers that the board was considering an investment of up to $1 million to extend East Avenue. The proposal also includes opening up South Avenue as an emergency exit/entrance to South Street.

“A vote for the project will lead to quality built patio homes with garages built for easy senior living with no maintenance and more importantly no worries, and a nice new street where beautiful single-family homes will be built,” Biscaro said. “Maybe someone’s children or siblings can build and stay in Le Roy.”

As he did at the last public hearing, Biscaro – who said he will be investing $9 million over the next five years -- brought up the positive tax implications for the village.

“The current annual tax receipts for that property is approximately $1,360 -- $400 to the village and $960 to the (Le Roy Central) school district,” said Biscaro, who is seeking a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement with the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “In just the first year alone, the village would get $2,400 and the school would receive $5,760.”

He said the cumulative totals after 10 years would equal $311,500 to the village and $747,600 to the school district.

“If the board votes against it, it’s the same $1,360 year after year,” he said.

Biscaro said he is committed to building something that will enhance the neighborhood, which has been called a “jewel” by its residents.

“The issue right now is that we have nothing at this location and very little income,” he said. “We need to work together to create something out of this scrub land section of the village, and make this development another gem of the neighborhood.”

Comments
October 19, 2021 - 3:24pm

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As a Genesee County legislator representing the rural towns of Elba, Byron and Bergen, Christian Yunker said people are constantly coming up to him to ask when they will be getting broadband internet service in their area.

“What do I tell them?” Yunker asked on Monday, pointing his question to Paul Gavin, the just-hired executive director of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council.

Gavin was at the legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse to introduce himself and inform the committee of some of the agency’s priorities heading into 2022.

He was joined by Jay Gsell, the former longtime county manager who was employed as G/FLRPC’s interim executive director over the past year, and Richard Sutherland, a planner with the organization that serves the nine Finger Lakes Region counties, including Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming.

Gavin’s reply focused on initiating a broadband internet gaps analysis, which could take up to six months to complete, and then lining up financing, addressing any issues that invariably will pop up, and contracting with an Internet Service Provider.

“I would tell them that we’re at least a year away,” Gavin said, adding that the process would be shortened with the use of local and/or state funds. “(By having to obtain) federal funding, it takes longer.”

Gsell, who was charged with streamlining the agency’s operations in the temporary role, said that Genesee and Wyoming counties have yet to reach a level where they can take a broadband internet plan to a third party (such as Spectrum or Empire Access).

County Manager Matt Landers said Genesee has “already informally set aside a portion of our ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act money) to go toward this.”

“I know that some of our towns are better positioned – and have some funds set aside – to implement it,” he said.

Sutherland said that New York has authorized a broadband gap study for every county, looking for citizen participation to determine internet speed, availability in certain areas and what people would be willing to pay for the service.

He said the state’s Public Service Commission is hoping to complete the study by May 2022.

Landers said Genesee can’t enact a plan without countywide data of where the gaps are with all of its providers – noting that most information is proprietary.

It’s important to know the financial means of the towns and “critical to have that data first,” he said.

Gavin suggested that counties pressure the PSC by emphasizing the urgency in getting something done and to work with the G/FLPLC to implement a strategy that works best.

A Dunkirk native, Gavin is joining the regional planning council after holding a similar position with the Gulf Regional Planning Commission in Biloxi, Miss. Previous to that, he worked for the Port of Pascagoula (Miss.) and Department of Transportation in New York and Nebraska.

He is a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy and St. Bonaventure University. He and his wife and daughter will be residing in the Rochester area, he said.

Gavin credited Gsell for his role in the G/FLRPC’s designation as an Economic Development District.

“That’s important … as it allows you to spend economic development administration funds and, as you know, they’re really flowing from the federal government right now,” he advised.

He said the G/FLRPC is available to assist counties with grant writing, strategic planning, land planning.

“We want you to turn to us and look for us to help you. Yes, you can go to consulting firms and yes, they will do a fabulous job, and yes, you will pay much, much more for that service that we can provide for you,” he said.

Gavin and Gsell said the agency is seeking a 10 percent increase in annual county contributions, from $9,600 to $10,600. The last increase came in 2002.

“The preliminary 2022 budget draft includes many operating expense reductions and continues our long-term history of strategic yet frugal budgeting and cost containment,” Gsell reported.

Photo: Jay Gsell, left; Paul Gavin and Richard Sutherland. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
October 19, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Grand Jury, news, alexander, notify, pembroke, batavia, Le Roy, byron, Alabama, Stafford.

Kaleb J. Bobzien is indicted on counts of strangulation in the second degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, two counts of harassment in the second degree, two counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, four counts of criminal contempt in the second degree, and three counts of tampering with a witness in the fourth degree. On June 24, in the Town of Batavia, Bobzien allegedly applied pressure to the throat of another person and caused that person to lose consciousness for a period of time. He's also accused of blocking the nose and mouth of another person, a person under age 17.  He also allegedly threatened a victim. He allegedly broke a vape pen that belonged to the victim. He also allegedly damaged the backpack of the underage victim. He allegedly violated an order of protection. He allegedly tried to stop a person from testifying in the case. 

Aaron M. Hatt is indicted on counts of burglary in the second degree, criminal contempt in the first degree, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated family offense, criminal contempt in the second degree. Hatt is accused of entering a building on Broadway in  Alexander on April 28 with the intent to commit a crime within the building. He is accused of violating an order of protection at that time by intentionally harassing, annoying,  or threatening a person in that residence. He is accused of applying pressure to the throat of a family member.  There was a  child present at the time of the alleged offense. 

Robin S. Brooks is indicted on a count of bail jumping in the first degree.  Brooks is accused of failing to appear for a court hearing on April 20  or within  30 days of the scheduled appearance.

Cesar G. Molina is indicted on a count of driving while ability impaired by drugs as a felony because of a prior DWI conviction.  Molina is accused of driving under the influence on 29 December in the Town of Byron.

Jarrett C.  Coniglio is indicted on two counts of assault in the second degree, a  count of resisting arrest, and a count of obstructing governmental administration. Coniglio is accused of causing injury to a  police officer while attempting to stop the officer from performing his official duties on  July 23 in the Town of Alabama. He's accused of causing injury to another person with a glass bottle. 

Mark L. Farley is indicted on a count of criminal contempt in the first degree, a  count of unlawful imprisonment, a  count of harassment in the second degree, a  count of burglary in the second degree, and a count of criminal contempt in the second degree, On Dec. 31, Farley allegedly violated an order of protection at a  residence on  Harvester Avenue by striking or threatening another person. He allegedly restrained another person. He allegedly went into the building with the intent to commit a crime. 

James D. Weathers is indicted on a count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.  Weathers is accused of knowingly possessing a loaded Glock 19  handgun while in the Town of Stafford on  Oct. 31, 2020.

Connor L.  Andrews is indicted on a count of criminal possession of a  controlled substance in the fifth degree, a count of driving while ability impaired by drugs, and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th degree. Andrews was charged after being stopped in the Town of Le Roy on May 3. He was allegedly found in possession of cocaine, meth, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone.

Timothy J.  Passage is indicted on a count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree.  Passage is accused of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at the Tim Horton's in Pembroke on March 20.

Jamie A. Dutton is indicted on a  count of criminal mischief in the third degree, criminal trespass in the second degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Dutton is accused of damaging the property of another person valued at more than $250 on Feb. 27 at a location in the City of Batavia. He was allegedly unlawfully in a property with permission and in possession of cocaine.

Comments
October 19, 2021 - 1:49pm

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Photos: Tim Yaeger, left, coordinator, and Gary Patnode, deputy coordinator, of Genesee County Emergency Management Services check out the features of the department's new Autel Robotics EVO II drone that will be used to assist in emergency situations. The 8-pound device can fly to a maximum height of 400 feet, has hovering capability and a memory feature that enables it to return from the point that it was launched. Currently, Dan Coffey, a New York State fire instructor and deputy fire coordinator for the Center Battalion, is the only authorized pilot, but others will be trained to operate it. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Emergency Management Services receives its first drone 

Comments
October 19, 2021 - 11:25am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Tonawanda Seneca Nation, GCEDC.

The vice president of Operations for the Genesee County Economic Development Center today said he “wholeheartedly agrees” with a statement from the Tonawanda Seneca Nation calling for improved working relations between the two entities in connection with the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

Lawyers for the Tonawanda Seneca Nation put out a press release over the weekend, reporting that a settlement was reached with the GCEDC after legal action by the Nation over the Plug Power project was dismissed by Acting Supreme Court Judge Charles Zambito.

The settlement spells out several items worked out between the Nation and the GCEDC. The press release indicated that the Nation is “hopeful that the agreement can be the framework for a more collaborative relationship with GCEDC and Plug Power moving forward.”

“I wholeheartedly agree with that statement,” said Mark Masse, GCEDC VP of Operations. “We certainly want to work together and be good neighbors as we continue to develop the STAMP site.”

Masse said the main part of the stipulation is that the Nation would not pursue further litigation on the Plug Power project, and it wouldn’t appeal and would challenge any of the other permits that would be issued “as long as they’re issued in the normal course of business.”

“So, some of things we did agree to is to have an on-site archaeological monitor, which is something that they requested,” he said. “There are some wetland areas and a buffer along the western boundary that will be under a conservation easement that ensures there will be no encroachment upon their territory. We had proposed a buffer anyways.”

The settlement also calls for assistance with job training for businesses that are at the STAMP site, prohibiting Plug Power from using pesticides on the protected lands and having cultural resource monitors onsite during earthmoving activities to help identify and protect any unanticipated cultural resource discoveries.

Additionally, around 200 acres (near Seneca Nation territory) of the 1,250-acre site will be protected from development.

Masse said that the GCEDC plans to develop only about 650 acres because the rest of the area is protected wetlands.

No money changed hands as a result of the settlement, Masse added.

Comments
October 19, 2021 - 9:16am

Recovery of the lagoons at Batavia Waste Water Treatment Plant is heading in the right direction, according to the city’s attorney, but the end to limiting the discharge from the O-At-Ka Milk Products facility is likely several weeks away.

“We’re closely monitoring the ponds and are seeing signs of progress to determine if the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) recovery is on track,” George Van Nest said on Monday. “We’re checking it daily, twice a day, and also monitoring O-At-Ka’s loads. But the ponds are still not fully recovered at DO (Dissolved Oxygen) levels and they need to sustain (permitted levels).”

Over the past few weeks, O-At-Ka has had to pay companies to truck wastewater from its Cedar Street plant due to discovery of excessive levels of biosolids being discharged into the WWTP, costing the company around $25,0000 per day, Chief Executive Officer Bill Schreiber said.

O-At-Ka has called upon the city to sit down with company officials and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to find “a three-party solution” to bridge the gap until the Upstate Niagara-owned business completes a $6 million on-site pre-treatment plant project in the next six to eight weeks.

Contacted on Monday, Schreiber said he was “hopeful that we will be able to schedule a three-party meeting in the near future.”

“Our goal remains to discuss the implementation of potential solutions to accelerate the recovery of the city’s lagoons,” he said.

BOD Load Levels Are Improving

Van Nest said the city had no choice but to send a cease-and-desist letter to O-At-Ka on Sept. 23 because the BOD loads were too high.

‘We have seen significant reductions as a result of the trucking, but even with the trucking, there have been only three days below the permitted level, and closer to the level on several days,” he said.

The code gives the municipality the right to cease-and-desist, and allows the city to shut off discharges to the system completely, he said.

“The city has not done that. We’re working to get the discharge limits met and in compliance while the pond recovers.”

Van Nest said that O-At-Ka’s offer to pay any fines incurred for excessive discharge into the WWTP is not an answer to the problem.

“The ponds need to operate properly. It’s not a matter of we can indemnify you (the city) by discharging beyond the permitted level,” he said, adding that the city is responsible to its taxpayers.

“It’s taking some time to recover. We’re looking for sustainability and believe that is fairly a short-term to get to the point where engineers (working with the city) and (the WWTP) operator is comfortable with (the levels). These are 30-acre ponds, and the volumes are huge.”

'Permit Sets The Conditions'

Van Nest, when asked about a three-party solution as proposed by Schreiber and John Gould, Upstate Niagara chairman of the board, said “the solutions they are pushing for are related to the plant … and the (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit sets the conditions.”

“The city is open to meeting with O-At-Ka and its engineers,” he said. “We’re ready, willing and able to sit down with them and look at other potential solutions.”

Still, he said he doesn’t believe any of the alternatives offered by O-At-Ka will reduce the time needed for the ponds to recover to permitted DO levels.

“They mentioned cleaning the diffusers. That would be a public project that needs to be bid, let and issued, and funded. It’s a long process that would take a lot of time,” he said. “And how much of an impact would that have on the oxygen levels in the pond?”

Van Nest said sampling data showing elevated BOD and TSS (Total Suspended Solids) levels indicate that O-At-Ka increased its production capacity beyond its pre-treatment capacity.

Schreiber countered that by mentioning that the characteristics of O-At-Ka’s wastewater haven’t changed.

City Has Been Collecting Surcharges

“These are the same loads we’ve been putting down historically,” he said. “We’ve paid the city surcharges for those loads. They’re well aware of what the characteristics of what our wastewater have been and they’ve happily collected those surcharges.”

He said O-At-Ka has paid approximately $60,000 per quarter in surcharges, which are for BOD and TSS over the permitted level of 300 parts per million.

O-At-Ka’s existing pre-treatment plant is between 15 and 20 years old. In January of this year, the company’s board of directors approved a $6 million capital project to put in a new pre-treatment plant (located off Cedar Street).

“Originally, we had planned to have that up at the end of October or early November, but like everybody else, we’ve experienced a number of supply chain challenges that have pushed the date out to mid-December,” Schreiber said.

“But, again, looking to control the things we can control – such as flows down the drain – we’ve redoubled our efforts to expedite getting components here, and we think we’ll be able to get it operational between the middle of November and early December.”

Even if that’s up and running in five weeks, it would cost O-At-Ka around $875,000 to haul the wastewater to other locations.

Schreiber said O-At-Ka typically discharges around 575,000 gallons of wastewater – a milky water mixed with detergent – to the WWTP. Now, with the restrictions, that amount is 475,000 to 500,000 gallons per day.

Pre-Treatment Upgrade Underway

O-At-Ka’s current pre-treatment operation consists of two separate 150,000-gallon equalization tanks that balance pH and BOD loading, Schreiber said. The wastewater flows to the Primary Dissolved Air Flotation, which can process 360 gallons per minute, removing 25 percent of the solids.

After that, it goes to the digester, removing organic materials at 330 gallons per minute, and leaves an Immobilized Cell Bioreactor and flows through tubes that mix wastewater with chemicals to provide coagulation and flocculation. Lastly, the wastewater flows through the Secondary DAF, removing 85 to 90 percent of solids.

“The pre-treatment plant upgrades will double EQ capacity and significantly enhances the ability to remove BOD and TSS,” Schreiber said.

He said the new EQ tank is 600,000 gallons and the new moving Bed Bio Reactor can process 12,000 pounds of BOD per day. The company also has purchased three 250-horsepower blowers to make the process more efficient, and is installing an additional DAF capable of 540 gallons per minute to augment the existing unit.

Previously: O-At-Ka offers alternatives, claims city is protected as it seeks to end hauling of wastewater from its facility

Comments
October 18, 2021 - 9:11pm

Genesee County Emergency Management Services received its first drone today, the department’s coordinator reported to the county legislature’s Public Service Committee.

Tim Yaeger said the drone, which actually is the county’s second (the Health Department also has one), will be used in situations involving hazardous materials, fire, search & rescue and other public safety issues.

He said the drone cost about $11,000 and was bought with Homeland Security funds. The type of drone that could be purchased, and the policies and procedures governing its use are set by New York State.

"In public safety terms, this is a beginner's drone," Yaeger said. "We wanted to start small and expand based on need."

Yaeger said the applications are varied -- from damage assessment to situational awareness to assistance in active fires and post-fire investigation to search-and-rescue operations. The drone features a thermal imaging camera attached to the regular camera.

One person has been trained as a pilot and a couple others will follow in that role, Yaeger said, noting that training will take place at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.

Public demonstrations will take place in the near future, he advised.

Yaeger said drones were one of the topics discussed at the 2021 Homeland Security Conference in Las Vegas from Aug. 29-Sept. 3. He was able to represent Genesee with expenses paid for by a grant provided to the county.

“We’re beginning to see drones up in the air and flying illegally, outside of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certifications that they were given,” he said. “It’s something to be on the radar – that we have to look at for primarily large gathering facilities. Darien Lake comes to mind.”

He said that people are using drones to drop basketballs filled with contraband into prison yards.

“A basketball with things that aren’t supposed to be in prison, like cell phones. They fly over the top of the fence and they drop the basketball. The basketball bounces and they think it’s just recreational equipment that was left out by someone,” he said. “Now, they’re tracking these and it was an absolutely amazing technology.”

Yaeger also said technology is being utilized by emergency management and law enforcement to combat civil unrest.

“Getting better information and critical information back to the EOCs (Emergency Operations Centers) and back to law enforcement and 911 Centers,” he said. “It’s just coming faster and faster as we move through these uses of technology.”

He said emergency managers are being instructed to consider diversity in their communities in developing operational strategies.

“How we operated 30 years ago when fire, EMS and law enforcement within our population is not how we should be operating today. So, there are a lot of lessons learned by us reaching out to those communities,” he said. “Sometimes were in a silo and we think we know what those citizens are thinking … “

Yaeger said his staff will look at examples of communities that have initiated effective outreach programs.

Conference seminars also dealt with the collapse of the apartment complex in Florida and cybersecurity, Yaeger reported.

Ninety-eight people died when the 12-story Champlain Towers South collapsed in Surfside, near Miami, in the early morning hours of June 24.

Calling it a “very depressing event,” Yaeger said the seminar provided insight into "the psyche of the first responders to go to an event with very few survivors if any, and how we treat those first responders mentally to deal with those types of things … and also seeing those first responders deal with the anguish and disappointment that they’re not able to help.”

“It was not a very uplifting presentation but it was very well done,” he noted. “Just to see what other communities have done and how they deal with those mental issues that are out there, for not just the families of the victims … but, more importantly, from our perspective, the first responders and how to deal with that.”

On the subject of cybersecurity, he said National Grid personnel are concerned about the vulnerability of infrastructure, telecommunications, power systems and transportation systems.

He said emergency managers need to have a contingency plan in the event of a cyber-attack.

Comments
October 18, 2021 - 7:24pm

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When it comes to being prepared for natural disasters, especially weather-related events, Genesee County is flying above the storm.

That was the message shared this afternoon by Judith Levan, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Buffalo Office, as she announced the county’s standing as an NWS StormReady community.

Levan and Mike Fries, NWS warning coordination meteorologist, presented the StormReady office sign and certificate, to Tim Yaeger, coordinator of the county’s Emergency Management Services department, at a meeting of the County Legislature’s Public Service Committee at the Old County Courthouse.

“It is with great pleasure that I am here to represent the National Weather Service to present a StormReady community sign to Genesee County for its efforts to become recognized as a Storm Ready community,” she said. “In particular, I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to Tim Yaeger … for the tremendous effort he has exhibited to accomplish the goals set forth in the program.”

Levan said that EMS employees have cultivated a strong working relationship with the Buffalo NWS Office, adding that she and her staff “recognize the diligent effort to maintain community readiness in anticipation of natural disasters of any type.”

“We do not look forward to any other natural disasters, however, if and when another does occur, you can be confident that officials in the county have improved their communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property. You are an excellent example for other municipalities in New York State and I applaud you for your efforts,” she said.

Noting that severe weather or flood warnings are ineffective if they aren’t communicated to those potentially affected, Levan said that the Genesee County-NWS partnership is such that “all aspects of communication, warning reception and response are sufficient as possible and that there are many backups in place in case one or more systems fail.”

She said that several requirements must be met to be recognized as a StormReady community:

-- The establishment of a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;

-- Having multiple ways to receive severe weather forecasting warnings to alert the public;

-- Creating a system that monitors local weather conditions;

-- Promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars and education;

-- Developing a formal hazardous weather plan that includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency response exercises.

StormReady communities have the improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during the event,” Levan said. “I’m happy to say that Genesee County has not only met these criteria, but has substantially exceeding them in many categories.”

Photo: From left, Legislator Gordon Dibble, Tim Yaeger, Judith Levan and Mike Fries. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
October 18, 2021 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, Pavilion, bergen, Le Roy.

Tommy Crawford, 32, of Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, criminal impersonation, unlicensed operation, aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to stop at a stop sign. Crawford was arrested on Oct. 10 following a traffic stop at 1:09 a.m. on  Miller Avenue. He is accused of providing police with a false name. After Crawford was identified, officers determined he was the subject of multiple outstanding warrants issued by the City of Batavia along with several issued by other agencies. He was also allegedly in possession of crack cocaine. He was arraigned in City Court and bail was set at $100.

Devon A. Wright, 19, of Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration and unlicensed operation  3rd. Wright was arrested on Oct. 9 for charges stemming from an incident on Sept. 29 on  Dellinger Avenue, Batavia. He is accused of fleeing from a vehicle and locking himself inside a residence following a traffic stop.  He was issued an appearance ticket.  For prior coverage of Wright,  click here.

Anthony Natrigo, 23, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and no or inoperable tail lamps. Natrigo was stopped at 2:17 a.m., Oct. 9, on East Main Street by a Batavia police officer. He was processed at police headquarters and released on tickets.

Katherin A. O’Brien, 28, of Pavilion, is charged with felony  DWI. O'Brien was stopped by State Police in  Warsaw on  Saturday. She allegedly had a BAC of .17. She was arraigned in Town of Warsaw Court and released on her own recognizance.

Stephanee Mae Surabian, 33, of State Street Road,  Batavia,  is charged with grand larceny 3rd and five counts of offering a false instrument for filing. Surabain allegedly failed to report to  DSS that the father of her children was residing in her home or that he was earning wages while receiving benefits. Surabain allegedly received $7,919 in  SNAP benefits she was not entitled to receive. She was arraigned in Batavia Town  Court and released on her own recognizance.

Sarita Gajmerkami, 28, of  Chestnut Ridge,  is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18  or greater, and failure to keep right. Gajmerkami was stopped at 7:26 p.m., Oct. 14, on  Route 33, Bergen, by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush. She was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released on an appearance ticket.

Diana Marie Walworth, 33, of Town Pump  Circle, Spencerport, is charged with felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and driver view obstructed. Walworth was stopped at 5:29 a.m., Oct. 10, on  I-490 in  Le Roy by Deputy Trevor Sherwood. She was issued an appearance ticket.

 

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October 18, 2021 - 12:58pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, City of Batavia Police Department, Otis Street.

The City of Batavia Police Department has made two arrests connected to an incident brought to the attention of City Council by an Otis Street resident at the governing body’s Sept. 13 meeting.

“The arrests are the result of one of the incidents he (Ronald Yantz) spoke of at an earlier meeting,” Police Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed to The Batavian.

Released today via its Crime Watch police blotter platform, Batavia PD reported the following arrests:

Brooke M. Ayala, 36, of Batavia, Endangering the welfare of a child, Criminal Nuisance, 11:28 PM, Monday, August 23, 2021, Otis Street. On 10/7/2021, Ayala was arrested on the above charges. The arrest comes after an investigation into an incident on 8/23/2021, on Otis Street. Ayala was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court on 10/19/2021.

Kelly L Wells, 57, of Batavia, Criminal Nuisance, 11:28 PM, Monday, August 23, 2021, Otis Street. On 10/7/2021, Wells was arrested on the above charge. The arrest comes after an investigation into an incident on 8/23/2021, on Otis Street. Wells was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court on 10/19/2021.

Yantz appeared at the City Council meeting to inform Council of ongoing unruly and disruptive behavior by people living in a house across the street from him on Otis Street.

At the time, Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said the police department and the code enforcement department would do all that was possible to rectify the situation, with Heubusch indicating that there was an open investigation and charges were pending.

At the Oct. 12 City Council meeting, Yantz returned, this time thanking the board and police department for their efforts as things have calmed down on that section of the street.

Previously: City of Batavia leaders, police taking steps to help Otis Street couple deal with disruptive neighbors

Comments
October 18, 2021 - 9:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, news, notify.

img_5389oakfield.jpg

A 37-year-old Oakfield man was arrested in Erie County yesterday and charged with the murder of his father at the home they shared in Oakfield.

Sixty-nine-year-old Martin Maher was found dead in his home at 32 Drake Street after deputies were dispatched to his house for a welfare check at 10:57 a.m. because family members had been unable to contact Maher.

Deputies found Maher deceased and that he was the apparent victim of a homicide.

Upon investigation, detectives identified Nicholas M. Martin as the suspect.  He was located in Erie County at 3:35 p.m.

He is charged with murder in the second degree. He was arraigned in Town of Oakfield Court and ordered held without bail.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office believes this was an isolated incident and that there is no threat to public safety. 

Assisting in the investigation are State Police, the Erie County Sheriff's Office, the Coroner's Office, and the District Attorney's Office.  The investigation is ongoing.

Comments
October 16, 2021 - 6:37pm

Batavia’s two high school varsity football teams recorded victories on the road Friday night.

In a game played at Depew High, the Batavia High Blue Devils of Section V defeated Clymer-Sherman-Panama of Section VI, 25-21, rallying to win when senior quarterback Jesse Reinhart hit Javin McFollins with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 4:11 left in the game.

Meanwhile, at Cuba-Rushford/Hinsdale, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish broke a five-game losing streak, upending the host Rebels, 33-14, in a Section V Class D matchup.

At Depew, Batavia battled back from a 21-13 deficit as running back Aidan Anderson scored on a 60-yard run early in the fourth quarter, setting up Reinhart and McFollins’ late heroics.

The Blue Devils were able to schedule the game against Clymer-Sherman-Panama, a strong Class D team, after its contest at Newark/Marion was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues with the home team.

Reinhart threw for three TDs – two to McFollins (11 and 88 yards) and one to Carter McFollins (18 yards). Anderson racked up 171 yards on 27 carries.

Batavia, 6-1, takes on Wilson Magnet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Van Detta Stadium.

ND 33, Cuba-Rushford/Hinsdale 14

Drew Edwards rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in his debut as halfback and quarterback Jimmy Fanara completed 10 of 12 passes for 157 yards and two scores as Notre Dame raised its record to 2-5. Edwards had been the team's starting left tackle until moved to fullback the previous game.

Four of Fanara's completions went to Evan Cummings for 60 yards and Bryceton Berry caught two passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns.  Fanara also ran for a touchdown.

Hayden Groff rounded out the Irish attack with 57 yards on the ground and a TD.

The 33 points is one less than the team had scored over its first six games.

On defense, lineman Connor McWilliams came up with nine tackles, including five for a loss, while linebackers Vin DiRisio and Edwards were credited with eight and six tackles, respectively.

The Irish host Clyde-Savannah at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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