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June 16, 2020 - 8:43pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, oakfield-alabama central school district.

Voting on Oakfield-Alabama Central School's $21,123,746 budget, propositions and board of education election:

Proposition #1 – Budget
Yes – 706
No – 276

Proposition #2 – Capital Improvements Project, 2020
Yes – 567
No – 393

Proposition #3 – Buses
Yes – 663
No – 295

School Board (Top Three Elected to the Board)
Jackie Yunker Davis – 654
Pete Zeliff – 601
Daniel N. Groth – 599

June 16, 2020 - 8:40pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Elba Central School, notify.

Voting on Elba Central School's $10,269,322 budget, propositions and board of education election:

Proposition #1 – Budget
Yes – 303
No – 103

Proposition #2 – Vehicle and transportation reserve
Yes – 310
No – 97

Proposition #3 – School bus purchase
Yes – 311
No – 95

School Board (Re-election)
Incumbent Michael Riner – 377

June 16, 2020 - 6:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received four new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 206 positive cases.
      • The positive individuals reside in Alabama, Alexander, Batavia and Elba.
      • One of the individuals is less than 20 years old, one individual is in their 20s, and two individuals are in their 30s.
      • The new positive cases were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
      • Oneof the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Zero of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received two new positive cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 256 positive cases.
      • Two of the positive individuals reside in are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
      • One of the individuals is in their 30s, one of the individuals is in their 80s.
      • One of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Thirteen of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
  • We encourage everyone to remember to be polite and respect individual privacy. If you have a complaint about someone or a business, use the appropriate channels provided by the state. Using social media to air your complaints and accusing individuals/businesses of wrongdoing generally does nothing to fix the problem. Be compassionate of other people and spread kindness.
June 16, 2020 - 4:08pm

A partnership with Orleans County may be the key that unlocks the door leading to the construction of a new $60 million Genesee County Jail to be located just east of County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

“Here’s an opportunity for an efficient, 21st century, state-of-the-art jail that is ready to go. We have the designs … we have willing partners to the north and in Genesee County, so we hope that it is something he (Gov. Andrew Cuomo) is willing to get behind.”

Those were the words of Assistant County Manager Matt Landers, reporting on the progress – or lack thereof due to the coronavirus – of the proposed 184-bed jail during a Genesee County Legislature “Committee of the Whole” meeting Monday via Zoom videoconferencing.

Landers said he is hopeful that state laws prohibiting a shared jail could be alleviated and that Cuomo would see the benefit of such an arrangement – one that lines up with the governor’s call to reinvent the way local government operates.

“(Cuomo) had in his budget some easing of the laws, restrictions that made it difficult to have any kind of coordination with jails in the state, but that didn’t make it to the final budget,” Landers explained. “Seeing that there are talks of a potential (federal) stimulus 4 package out there that may have a large infrastructure component to it, this could be something that could be attractive.

“It meets a lot of the benchmarks .. that you’d think the governor would be interested in. It is something that he is continually harping on – reimagining New York and how we do business.”

Along with looking at new ways to facilitate services in line with Albany’s wishes, the meeting focused on five other pertinent areas:

-- Shared jail housing opportunity;
-- Maintenance of the current jail;
-- Cost of boarding out inmates if current jail was closed;
-- Status of activity on new jail:
-- Impact of bail reform, social justice on jail population.

SHARED JAIL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY

According to Landers, who is cochairing the jail steering committee with County Sheriff William Sheron, officials from Orleans County are willing to team with Genesee to explore the possibility of a joint facility.

“Building a new jail with the opportunity to do that with a partner up north – that’s where we’re focusing our energy and efforts right now,” he said. “It’s going to rely heavily what Albany allows and what kind of funding comes out of stimulus 4 on the infrastructure side and what kind of funding comes out of Albany.”

A shared jail could lead to increased efficiency in the delivery of services, with technology likely to stay in play, Landers said, noting the current use of Skype and other video and teleconferencing software.

County Public Defender Jerry Ader said he foresees legislation to allow for a greater use of electronics for proceedings, but “it may take a while and it may not be as much of a cost-savings as we’re led to believe.”

“Right now, our jail is across the street and other than maybe bringing an inmate from the prison, which is a state cost, or if we have female inmates in jails outside the county, which might be some savings, I don’t think you’re going to get the savings you’re expecting just on electronics … that’s just my opinion,” he said.

Landers mentioned that with a new jail, “there’s probably less opportunity for that (type of) savings because it’s not going to be that difficult to transport people from the jail right here in Batavia (compared to having to transport from other parts of the state as has been the case).”

MAINTENANCE OF THE CURRENT JAIL

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said the county will be unable to avoid ongoing expenses (repairs and renovations connected to safety and mandated services) to keep the current jail in the City of Batavia going for, what could be, another three to five years.

In a discussion with the Public Service Committee last month, Hens said that $3.5 million worth of projects at the 40-year-old jail are on the punch list for the next five years if the county is forced to hold off on the new jail.

Concerning the new jail, Hens said to expect a 30-percent increase – or $50,000 -- in his facility maintenance budget to run a facility of that size, and a similar percentage add-on as the cost of doing business in New York State.

COST OF BOARDING OUT INMATES

Sheron said that the state Commission on Corrections recognizes that the county is in a “pause period” and has not indicated it would shut down the current jail.

But in case that did happen, the going rate to house out inmates is $100 per inmate, Landers said.

“It would be sizeable cost on an annual basis if we were forced to do this, if we had a population of 50 or more, but at the same time there would be the opposite cost of running a jail that would help offset that cost,” Landers said.

The assistant county manager noted the good working relationship among the COC, sheriff’s department and the architects and engineers involved with the project, so, “we would have significant lead time if there’s anything brewing that we need to be concerned about to start planning for.”

STATUS OF ACTIVITIES ON NEW JAIL

As indicated, the new jail project is in a holding pattern, but the county has closed on the land acquisition, and the schematic designs of the jail are complete, Landers said.

He said the county has two contracts in force – one with SMRT, the design firm, for about $2.3 million and one with Pike Company Inc., the construction manager, for around $1 million.

Both SMRT and Pike are aware of the county’s plight and “looking forward to getting back to work on this project, just as we are,” Landers said.

To date, the county has spent more than $1 million on the contracts, which are being funded by established jail reserves built up by proceeds of the former county nursing home sale and higher than expected sales tax receipts in 2018, Landers reported.

“We have reserves of about four to five million dollars (the number is around $8 million when considering the jail reserve fund) that are going to be used in the short term to fund these contracts until we get long-term debt financing,” he said. “Once the long-term debt financing comes in, it will cover these contracts and replenish that reserve. So, we need that full reserve to help get through what we are calling the Delta period.”

Landers said that the financing plan has been “blown out of the water by COVID-19” since it was expected to use an increase in sales tax proceeds starting in 2020 to fund the debt service payment on the new jail.

IMPACT OF BAIL REFORM ON POPULATION

Landers said recent changes to the original bail reform laws could result in an increase in jail population, but it’s too early to tell how much as courts remained closed.

Jail Superintendent William Zipfel reported that approximately 90 sentencings have been put off, and predicted that 30 to 45 percent of those people may receive jail time.

“The issue with that is, from district court, they won’t be doing sentencing for in-custody people until sometime in July, but they are starting to sentence people who are not in custody – and won’t have jail time built up,” he said. “I’m guessing our population sometime before this fall is going to come back up that 50 or so level at least.”

Landers said the county jail population in July 2019 was at the level we expected to be at in 2042,” he said. “Going back a year ago, there were concerns that we were building a jail that would be too small because our sizing had grown to what we were projecting in 2042.”

Today, the jail population is at 36, including one female who is housed in Wyoming County.

“This significant volatility is just another reason why -- until we have a clearer picture -- that we’re taking a pause in the timing,” he said.

June 16, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Shane H. Zimblis, 49, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with: second-degree harassment; first-degree criminal contempt; and attempted robbery. Zimblis was arrested on June 11 for an incident that occurred at 11:30 p.m. June 10 on Bank Street in Batavia. No details provided. Following his arrest, Zimblis was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Arick Perkins.

Jamie M. Cyr, 38, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Cyr was arrested on June 10 after an investigation into a stay away order of protection violation that allegedly occurred at 2:45 a.m. on June 10 on Bank Street. Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Cyr was jailed with bail (amount(s) unspecified). Cyr is due in city court July 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Christopher Lindsay.

Michael Todd Showler, 48, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Showler was arrested at 11:42 a.m. on June 13 on East Main Street after he allegedly violated on Order of Protection out of Batavia City Court. Showler was issued an appearance ticket and is due in city court on July 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Jaequele M. Tomlin, 25, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. On June 6, Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Tomlin after it was reported that he intentionally entered the roadway on Main Street in front of City Hall and allegedly obstructed traffic. Tomlin was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 21. Post was assisted in the case by Sgt. Eric Bolles.

Robert D. Wood, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree and resisting arrest. He was arrested at 3:15 p.m. on June 7 at Batavia City Centre after he allegedly attempted to prevent a city police officer from arresting another person. He was taken to Batavia Police Headquarters, issued an appearance ticket and released. He is due in Batavia City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

June 15, 2020 - 8:19pm

Already reeling from three months of COVID-19 regulations, Genesee County government officials and law enforcement personnel now must deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest executive order mandating that all New York police agencies must revise their policies and procedures by next spring or risk losing state and/or federal funding.

“At this point there are no details, but all we know is that we at the county level will have to conduct public hearings and solicit public comment for, as the term was used, cadre, of local law enforcement reforms,” said County Manager Jay Gsell, speaking at today’s Genesee County Legislature Public Service Committee meeting via Zoom videoconferencing. “Everybody will be required to go through this process and adopt reforms via local law at the county level by April of 2021.”

The executive order, named the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, requires that the municipality that oversees the law enforcement agency must adopt, certify and enforce its plan by passing a local law. It also applies to the NYPD.

Cuomo, during his COVID-19 briefing on Friday, said protests taking place across the nation following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer “illustrate the loss of community confidence in our local police agencies — a reality that has been fueled by our country’s history of police-involved deaths of black and brown people.”

He said the executive order will help “rebuild that confidence and restore trust between police and the communities they serve by requiring localities to develop a new plan for policing in the community based on fact-finding and meaningful community input.”

Issues that must be addressed in the plan include use of force, community policing, community outreach, restorative justice programs such as Genesee Justice, crowd management, retraining for bias awareness and a procedure for citizens to lodge complaints against police officers.

The measure calls for municipalities to bring in representatives from a variety of community organizations (for example, in Genesee County, the Criminal Justice Advisory Council comprised of several law enforcement and judicial entities) and be receptive to public feedback after developing, presenting and ratifying their plans into law.

It also stipulates that if the local government does not certify the plan, the police force may not be eligible for future funding from New York State.

The executive order builds upon the governor’s signing of 10 police reform bills into law earlier Friday, with several Republicans joining the Democratic majority in voting for the legislation.

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, contacted by telephone, called the reform mandate action another example of Cuomo taking a one blanket covers all approach.

“Again, he’s lumping everything into a one-size-fits-all, and I don’t think that’s appropriate with the state of the size of New York and a city the size of New York City,” he said. “We in Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region and rural counties, I believe do have strong community-minded police agencies.  And when you threaten New York State taxpayer money being withheld from those who are there to serve and protect, that’s the wrong direction to go.”

Hawley acknowledged that there are “a few bad examples in any organization,” but called it an overreaction to isolated incidents.

“I stand with the men and women in blue, unequivocally,” he said. “We need to be sure that police agencies are working in a collaborative way with the citizens they are charged with protecting. No police agency would have a problem with that.”

Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron said, by phone, that he is working with sheriffs across New York to try to get a handle on what the governor is expecting to happen.

"Our department is a New York State accredited agency, meeting all the standards, rules and regulations, and there are well over 100 of them as far as the right way to do things," he said. "All he has to do is simplify that to require that all New York State police agencies be accredited."

Sheron noted that it was the NYS Sheriff's Association that first came out with the current standards and that a few years later, those guidelines were adopted by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

He made it clear that he believes in community input -- "we do that now and that is important," he said, and rejected Cuomo's practice of "painting all agencies with one brush because of a few bad apples."

"I'm proud of our sheriff's office and it's upsetting to me that the governor doesn't stand behind our police officers," Sheron said.

In an email, Batavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch reserved comment until he and his leadership team learn more about the governor’s mandate.

“We are currently reviewing the executive order internally, and when I have a better understanding I’ll reach out,” he said.

Back to the Public Service Committee meeting, former Sheriff Gary Maha, now a county legislator, asked Gsell if the governor had the authority to tie police reforms to funding.

“The receipt of future state or federal funds is conditioned on the filing of the certification at the local level, and realistically, that second issue of federal funding grants for emergency management … there’s already some considerations and concerns as to whether or not he can even go to that extent,” Gsell responded.

Gsell said that although Cuomo “means business,” more legislation is likely to follow at the state level and there will be plenty of debate over the next several months.

“There will be a lot of back and forth before anyone goes diving in with both feet and potentially finds themselves, can we say, in quicksand,” he said.

June 15, 2020 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kevin John Kisiel, 60, of Creek Road, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; refusal to take a breath test; and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. Kisiel was arrested at 4:29 p.m. on June 13 on Lehigh Avenue in Batavia after a traffic stop. He was issued traffic tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Andrew Mullen.

Amanda M. Webb, 31, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with: possession of marijuana in the second degree, a violation; two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a misdemeanor. Webb was allegedly found in possession of marijuana, amphetamine/destroamphetamine, and lorazepam after an investigation by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force. Webb was issued an appearance ticket and is due in City of Batavia Court on July 21.

June 14, 2020 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Roxy's Music Store, batavia, news, notify.

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Roses have been placed in the doorway of Roxy's Music on West Main Street in memory of owner Rose Marie Caccamise, who passed away June 5.

There was no formal obituary released to the local media. Attempts to get more information about her death and the future of Roxy's Music Store have been unsuccessful.

She was 80 years old.

Roxy's Music was founded in Batavia in 1934 by her parents, renowned accordionist Roxy Caccamise and his wife Nellie. Rose took over the business in the 1960s, eventually moving it from 331 W. Main St., Batavia, to the Genesee Country Mall, and eventually to its present location at 228 W. Main St.

The legendary store was a magnet for area musicians -- and accordionists from around the world -- for decades. Hundreds of local musicians took lessons at Roxy's over the years.

Caccamise was also an accomplished athlete. She finished fourth in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympics in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.5. She was among the first inductees in 2002 in the Batavia High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

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Rose Caccamise, center, with her parents in an undated photo, Nellie Caccamise and Roxy Caccamise.

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June 13, 2020 - 7:51pm
posted by The Batavian in news, notify, Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight.

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A Mercy Flight helicopter responded to Edgewood Drive in Batavia around 7 o'clock tonight after a man riding a bicycle suffered a medical condition.

A passerby saw the man and pulled him out of a ditch off the roadway and minutes later Mercy EMS and Genesee County sheriff's deputies were on the scene.

Mercy EMS personnel administered CPR to the man, who was transported to Erie County Medical Center. The Town of Batavia Fire Department also was on the scene. The initial call came in around 6:20 p.m.

Submitted photos.

June 13, 2020 - 2:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Greg Kinal, Pembroke Central School District.

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Greg Kinal vividly recalls the first time he set foot on the Pembroke Central High School grounds in the weeks leading up to the 1970-71 school year.

“I remember the first day I came here,” Kinal said earlier today, reflecting upon a teaching career in Dragon country that has reached the 50-year mark and shows no signs of ending. “You see that large sign (on the front of the main entrance). Well, the old sign was, and I’m not kidding, maybe this big (using his hand to show that the letters were maybe eight inches high) and made of steel.”

Kinal said he drove from his Elma home to his interview – the first time he had ever been to Genesee County – but wasn’t sure if he was in the right place.

“I didn’t know if this was the school. So, I pulled into the driveway and I remember squinting, looking at the sign, and then I saw Pembroke, and then I parked and went in for my interview,” he said. “And I remember distinctly the interview.”

He said he was hired by "Prof" Lane, the superintendent, and Mr. Choate.

“They called him Prof Lane and there was a reason – you didn’t talk back to Prof Lane,” he said. "And technology-wise, they gave me a piece of chalk and a chalkboard. Plus, I also got a paddle, and they told me to use it. Of course, times have changed since then.”

Yes, teaching has changed significantly over five decades, but Kinal’s classroom savvy and flair have set a standard of excellence that is valued by his colleagues, administrators, parents, grandparents and former students.

The community celebrated Kinal’s long and productive career today with a 50-vehicle parade that started at Pembroke Town Park and ended a short distance later at the school where he and his family waited to show their appreciation. The caravan was led by a Genesee County Sheriff’s patrol car and included a Village of Corfu police car driven by Officer David Drozdiel (in photo above with Kinal).

“This is unbelievable to me,” said Kinal, 72, who has taught eighth-grade Social Studies at Pembroke for all these years and now also teaches a 12th-grade Sociology class. “I think there are many deserving teachers in Genesee County and me being singled out, it’s very humbling to me.”

Kinal, a well-known expert of history who speaks frequently at events throughout Western New York, said his energy level hasn’t waned; in fact, he’s as enthusiastic as ever.

“They didn’t clinically diagnose me as ADHD*, but I’m convinced because I can’t sit still,” he said. “And I got to tell you, just to be home teaching virtually, I’m out of my mind. I need to be in these halls, I need to be walking and I thank God that I have this affliction because I’m just as crazy as my eighth-graders. I think the day that I’m not (full of energy) maybe it’s time (to retire). But not yet.”

He said he’s “in love” with the spirit exhibited by eighth-graders and is looking forward to continuing his annual practice of taking students to a field trip to Washington, D.C.

“We’re going on our 49th trip in June and a week later, the 50th, because I had to cancel this year,” he said. “The community is so good here and I would never leave.”

Alan Miano and Laurie Rudolph, who helped organize the parade, both graduated from Pembroke in 1980 and both gushed with admiration of their former teacher.

“Greg is the type of teacher that will take the underachiever -- the unruly students that all the other teachers are having problems with and he brings them in,” Miano said. “And he’ll take them to Washington, which he’s done for 50 years. A lot of other teachers think he’s crazy and would say, ‘How can you take that kid on a field trip for three days? I wouldn’t want him for three minutes?’ You know what, he’s never had a problem.”

When it was mentioned that he must have changed a lot of young lives for the better, Miano pointed to himself.

“I’m one of them,” he said. “If it was up to the other teachers, they would have never let me go on the trip. I was one of those unruly students, and then I ended up going into teaching.”

Miano also taught Social Studies at Pembroke, retiring last June after a nearly 34-year career.

“When I retired, I was begging Greg to retire because I felt like a quitter, because Greg was still going strong,” Miano said, calling Greg a mix of Cal Ripken, Yoda and Dr. Phil.

“You can go to him with your problems. He’s a phenomenal teacher. If you walk into his classroom, the kids are just drawn in and he never has any discipline problems. Simply put, he’s the best,” he said.

Rudolph, a teaching assistant who used to work with Kinal, said she rallied the community together through “Fans of Greg Kinal” Facebook page, also crediting Ron Funke, Gary Diegelman, Ed Gutowski and her daughter, Debbie Bonn, for assisting.

“Greg's not retiring, but we didn’t want 50 years to pass by without honoring him,” she said. “He probably will never retire, so this is like his retirement/celebration.”

She said that Kinal has impacted thousands of lives in the school district.

“I, my children, my grandchildren – we all were taught by Greg. He is a mentor, a supporter and a nurturer and he means a lot to all of the people in our community.”

Kinal’s wife, Jackie, and children, Tracy, Scott and Marty also attended the celebration. He and his wife have four grandchildren, including Drew Monti, a popular harness horse racing driver at Batavia Downs.

Oh, and getting back to that old sign on the school building.

“Years ago, when they were making the new sign, I said to the custodians, ‘What are you going to do with the old sign?’ Kinal offered. “They said it’s trash. Well, I’ve got it and it’s in my garage. I repainted it black and mounted it in my garage … and I see it every day.”

*Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

June 12, 2020 - 4:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, alexander.

Kevin J. Jackson Jr., 30, and Briana S. Green, 23, both of Batavia, were arrested June 7 after a traffic stop was conducted on Route 19 in the Town of Warsaw by Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies. Jackson is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree -- stimulant (methamphetamine) with intent to sell, two counts; and multiple vehicle and traffic violations. Upon speaking with Jackson, the operator of the vehicle, deputies allege they observed signs of drug impairment. A roadside investigation was conducted, including field sobriety testing. A search of Jackson's vehicle allegedly found a quantity of meth, packaging material and drug paraphernalia. His passenger, Green, was charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree  -- a stimulant (meth) with intent to sell; criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; and two counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Jackson was arraigned in Town of Warsaw Court and released on his own recognizance. Green's disposition was not provided. Both are due in Town of Warsaw Court at a later date. The cases were handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Bliss, assisted by Deputy Nowak.

James R. Tillery, 47, of Farwell Drive, Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal tampering. He was arrested at 4:35 p.m. on June 4 for allegedly mowing a profane word (unspecified) into grass on city property on Farwell Drive. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. on July 21. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

Luis A. Ramos-Mercado, 35, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: first-degree criminal contempt; third-degree assault; criminal obstruction of breathing; and endangering the welfare of a child. Ramos-Mercado was arrested following a domestic incident that occurred at 4:44 a.m. on June 6 outside a residence on Ellicott Avenue. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail. No bail information provided. He is due back in city court on July 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Sean Wilson.

Shaleesa H. Woods, 29, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Woods was arrested after an altercation that stemmed from a domestic incident on South Swan Street at 6:04 p.m. June 2. It is alleged that Woods struck a female in the back of the head. She was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on July 14, then released from custody. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Alec Roberts.

Jamie M. Cyr, 38, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested on June 9 following the investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 8:38 that evening at an apartment on Bank Street. Cyr is accused of stealing a person's cell phone during a domestic incident and damaging a door. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Erick Ruldolf Horning, 30, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Horning was arrested after on ongoing dispute between neighbors that occurred at 6:55 p.m. on June 8 on Tracy Avenue. He was issued a computer-generated computer ticket returnable to Batavia City Court on July 14. The  case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

Thomas J. Wolcott, 36, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt following an investigation into a domestic incident. It is alleged that Wolcott violated an order of protection at 7:09 p.m. on June 8 on Central Avenue, Batavia. Wolcott was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Andre Lamar Roberts, 27, of Main Street, Alexander, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. On June 6, Roberts was arrested at the Speedway gas station and convenience store on West Main Street in Batavia following the investigation of a domestic incident that occurred June 2 on West Main Street. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and is due back there on July 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Sean Wilson.

Shawna M. Purcel, 42, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree contempt. Purcel was arrested on June 4 for violating an order of protection after she was allegedly found sitting outside her ex-boyfriend's residence. She was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on July 16, then released from custody. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

June 12, 2020 - 12:58pm

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The developer of a proposed mixed-use building across from Pembroke Central High School on Route 77 says he plans to find a national chain to occupy retail space on the first floor of the 32,000-square-foot facility that also will include 17 apartments on the second and third floors.

Randy Fancher, president of Fancher Properties, today said he’s looking forward to continuing the process after receiving a recommendation of approval with modifications of a special use permit from the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night.

“We do have a commercial space available with a drive-thru, so once we get the Town’s blessing on the 24th, we’re going to start soliciting Mighty Taco, Starbucks, some national chain to be an anchor tenant,” said Fancher, speaking of the Brickhouse Commons LLC project.

The Pembroke Town Planning Board will consider granting final approval of the project at its next meeting on June 24.

Fancher said Fancher Properties (his brother, Jeff, is vice president) is entering into the development arena for the first time.

“We work in the construction industry and we work on these projects all over Western New York,” he said. “We’ve not physically been the owner of one, but we’re involved in a lot of them. This exact building was just built in Rochester by another developer and we bought their plans.”

The plan is to construct a three-story multi-use building featuring 8,200 square feet of space for retail businesses as well as indoor parking and fitness area for tenants on the first floor and 15 two-bedroom and two one-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors.

The $3 million development will be located at the Genesee County Economic Development Center’s Buffalo East Technology Park in the Town of Pembroke’s Interchange District.

Fancher said he has received a verbal commitment from the GCEDC on his company’s request for $615,924 of property, sales, and mortgage tax incentives. GCEDC officials estimate that the project will produce $5.50 of economic impact for every $1 of proposed incentives.

Genesee County planners supported the plan, but called for revisions that include a driveway connection or road extension between the parking lot and Brick House Corners Drive, and a pedestrian connection between the development and Tim Hortons to the north.

They also urged Fancher to consult with Pembroke Central School District administration to address potential safety issues involved pedestrians – primarily students – crossing Route 77.

Fancher, whose children attend Pembroke Central, said that is a priority.

“As far as the crosswalk, I have no problems talking with the DOT (Department of Transportation) to see what their recommendations are to make it safe,” he said.

County planners also questioned the configuration of the drive-thru, noting that the site plan has it passing through parking spots.

“The drive-thru set up is a little unique but the engineer that we’ve worked with has done this on other projects in Buffalo and Ellicottville,” Fancher said. “The way the property is laid out, that’s the way the drive-thru has to be.”

He said a “best-case scenario” has construction starting this fall with completion in the fall of 2021.

In other action, county planners recommended:

-- Approval of a referral of the “final plat” of the Clinton Gardens Subdivision filed by Batavia Homes & Development (owners John and Leslie Harrower) on property behind 387 Garden Drive.

The proposal outlines the division of a portion of the property’s 11 acres into six separate single-family parcels on detached lots, with five of them dimensioned for development and the remaining portion to be set aside for future development.

Robert Pidanick, senior project manager for Nussbaumer & Clarke Inc., of Buffalo, said the project will result in the connection of the current dead-end streets Carolwood Drive and Harrold Square, adding that work on 460 feet of new road is expected to be start next week.

He also said that one home is already under construction.

Future plans call for the creation of 17 more lots to complete the development, Pidanick said.

The project will be considered by the City Planning & Development Committee next Tuesday.

-- Approval of a referral for a special use permit and area variance for an addition of 20 housing units at DePaul Apartments, 555 E. Main St., Batavia.

The plan calls for the construction of a 20,100-square-foot, two-story addition on the north side of the existing 42-unit development for low-income tenants. Other work includes the expansion of the parking area, adjustment of the storm drainage system and site grading.

This project also will go before the City Planning & Development Committee on Tuesday.

-- Approval with modifications on a referral for a special use permit submitted by Martin Rivers for a motor vehicle repair shop within a commercial district at 5278 Clinton Street Road, Batavia, (on the property of R&D Electronics).

Planners require that the owner make sure that signage complies with zoning regulations and that storage and disposal of waste oils are consistent with state and federal laws.

----------

Clarification: In the sixth paragraph, Randy Fancher said he was in the "construction business."

June 11, 2020 - 5:01pm

With so many moving parts and so little direction, it’s no wonder the Genesee County Legislature is pulling its collective hair out trying to assemble a concrete financial plan.

Legislators engaged in a Committee of the Whole discussion via Zoom on Wednesday night following their regular meeting. Seventy minutes later they came away with updated information from high-level county employees regarding the government’s current status -- including the bad news that sales tax receipts for the month of May were down by nearly 36 percent.

As to how to proceed, however, uncertainty over another federal stimulus bill and the amount of reduction (if any) in state aid continues to thwart lawmakers committed to doing what is best for their constituents.

“Our financial situation is unclear, yet we have partners to be mindful of,” Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said, emphasizing that the county intends to share revenue with municipalities once vital details come into view.

County Manager Jay Gsell, Assistant Manager Matt Landers, County Attorney Kevin Earl, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and County Treasurer Scott German provided updates of various segments of the government.

Gsell set the stage by reporting that the June payment from Tax & Finance reflected a 35.95 percent reduction in revenue generated by May sales and, overall, county sales tax revenues are down 5.47 percent this year as compared to the same time in 2019.

Noting the 40-year sales tax agreement with the City of Batavia, Gsell said “whatever hit we take, they’ll take the same.”

He said that the county has incurred significant revenue losses thus far in 2020, data that prompted the legislature last month to rescind the treasurer’s authority to release revenue distribution payments to towns and villages.

Still, Gsell said he is optimistic that a new federal stimulus package (Fed Stim 4) will come to fruition. Another stimulus is supported by Congressman Tom Reed of the 23rd District and New York’s U.S. senators.

“We’re hopeful that sometime within the next seven to 10 days, Washington will finally coalesce around some part of a federal stimulus package … for direct assistance to local governments across the entire spectrum of counties, cities, towns and villages in regard to the impacts upon the economy and COVID-19 expenses,” he said.

Gsell reported that the county has saved approximately $1.4 million in its 2020 operating budget by cutting programs and expenses, deferring capital projects and implementing furloughs and strategic job freezes – bracing for losses in sales tax (which already has happened) and a potential 20 percent cut in state aid.

A recap of the Committee of the Whole meeting follows:

REVENUE SHARING

Gsell and Landers proposed a revised revenue distribution sharing agreement with the towns and villages, possibly a document that sets what is shared in proportion to the amount the county receives. They said they were asked by legislators to craft something to indicate the county’s willingness to share revenue in the future.

Calling it a “balancing act,” Landers said he was open to drafting something for a second-quarter distribution, one that would be based on 2020 sales tax projections, not 2018 as was the case with the previous agreement, and one that would include wording to protect the county.

“It could be structured so that it would go down at the same level that the county goes down, but then allow for all the additional wording – reduction of AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities), cost shifts, water surcharge, equalization,” he said.

“Structure it so it is fluid enough to weather the currently known problems that are facing us – sales tax, state aid reductions, potential Medicaid cap implications.”

At that point, Andrew Young cut in, acting surprised that the idea would even be brought up.

“Why would we even be considering this at this point? The whole reason that we put ourselves in this position is because we knew nothing. We know a little more, but we still know nothing,” Young said.

“… Let’s move forward, when we do know more, whether that’s a month or two months or five months down the road, then we’ll figure it out from there.”

Marianne Clattenburg agreed with Young, while John Deleo said that since he didn’t trust the governor, “we could put ourselves in a predicament” with a revised agreement now.

Gordon Dibble also acted surprised by the proposal.

“All I ever asked for is to see a draft – I’m not even talking about voting on anything – but I’ve asked to see a draft of a potential document or something like that,” he said. “Something that we could look at, and we can run best-case, worst-case scenarios, and see what the results would be. That’s all I was ever asking for.”

Gsell replied, “We can do whatever you guys want.”

Christian Yunker and Gregg Torrey offered that the exercise would be a good faith effort to the towns and villages, but stopped short of a committing themselves to something they couldn’t pay.

Stein closed this segment by advising the board to wait a bit longer.

“What I’m hearing right now that there is still more to be learned, more to understand before any type of decision can be made,” she said. “Mandated services (county obligations) have not been relaxed. We have taken incredible steps in our government to reduce our spending, to pause and halt our capital projects, to freeze and furlough positions in the county – and those are not easy things to do.”

“I believe that we cannot make a decision, but it is a conversation that we have pledged ourselves to that there will be an intent to share and we need to continue to have this conversation in public so that our partners understand that it is occurring and it is happening,” she said.

CAPITAL PROJECTS

Hens said that he has deferred or eliminated close to $1 million capital projects for 2020, with only two fire alarm system projects moving forward at a total cost of $113,000. For 2021, an additional $600,000 in work has been deferred.

“At this point, we’ve got it scaled back about as far as I really am comfortable scaling back,” he said. “Anything further puts us in a bad spot as far as exposure or liability problems.”

He also reported a significant savings on the replacement of decking on the McLernon Road bridge in the Town of Bethany by using beams in stock to replace the entire superstructure of the bridge at a cost of only $50,000.

The bridge was scheduled to be replaced in a couple years as part of a $1.6 million project, but Hens said he decided to return the federal aid portion.

“We should be able to replace the entire superstructure of that bridge with our local share and that will buy us 20-30 years of life on that bridge,” he said, noting that the bridge will be closed only for the month of July.

Hens also said he submitted a $4.7 million reimbursement request to Monroe County (Water Authority) “to make us whole on the money we spent – that we set aside from our infrastructure reserve – so hopefully we will have that back in the next week or two.”

HIGHWAY FUNDING

Hens said that although he has received a guarantee of 80 percent of the federal Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), Extreme Weather and Pave New York funding, his current capital plan is at the 85 percent level – which means he won’t have to make a lot of cuts.

If a federal stimulus does arrive, he said he would use the extra $350,000 to Chipseal (oil and stone) county roads “to get the biggest bank for our back in regards to road maintenance.”

He also said Town of Bethany laid off its highway department for June, July and August. That means county crews may have to provide mowing services there during the summer months.

FURLOUGHS & FREEZES

Gsell said the county is saving $99,000 per month as a result of its job freeze and another $75,000 a month through furloughs.

He said that there are 41 vacant positions – 30 of them full-time – that aren’t being filled at this time and there are 40 employees who have been furloughed and currently collecting unemployment benefits as well as the extra $600 per week in enhanced benefits.

“Upon three days’ notice, if we need them back, they will come back,” he said. “We’re looking to take some all the way through the 90 days.”

The county is in its third month of the furlough and freeze, resulting in more than $500,000 in savings thus far.

COUNTY JAIL

Landers said discussion on the proposed new $60 million county jail is scheduled for next Monday's Public Service Committee meeting.

“It is paused right now and probably will be paused for a while now,” he said, acknowledging that there also are expenses involved with keeping current jail on West Main Street open for any length of time.

Clattenburg said she is concerned about funding a new jail in light of the May sales tax figures.

“We were going to build on sales tax growth and we were counting on growth level of 2 percent a year and now we have a 36 percent drop,” she said. “I think we need to fundamentally ask the question of how we’re going to fund the jail and stay within a property tax cap before we work on a framework for sales tax or revenue sharing distribution.”

MEDICAID MONEY

Legislators, in a resolution, are looking to the governor to release $469,000 in Medicaid funds stemming from the pandemic response to Genesee County to provide some partial fiscal relief.

“This would be a reduction over the balance of this calendar year in our weekly shares of Medicaid,” Gsell said. "Keep up the pressure. That money has our name on it and should be put to our use in our ability to start even just treading water with regard to the 2020 budget."

OUTSIDE AGENCIES

Legislators concluded the discussion by reviewing contracts with outside agencies.

Gsell said that $279,000 in commitments have yet to be paid this year, with the largest amounts being owed to Genesee County Economic Development Center and to Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Earl said any changes in these agreements that have no “out clause” can be made only if both parties agree.

Other agencies discussed were GO ART!, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Business Education Alliance, Mercy Flight and Genesee County Agricultural Society.

After several minutes of debate, legislators could not come to a consensus as to whether to stop funding these agencies or to put pending payments on hold.

German was advised that the final payment to Genesee Community College – more than $1 million – has to go out per state education law.

Legislators also learned that, as of March, there will be little or no more bed tax distribution for the rest of this year to the Chamber of Commerce, with both parties acknowledging such. The county did make a $110,000 payment to the tourism agency in bed tax proceeds generated from Dec. 2019 through Feb. 2020. (Also, the entire Chamber of Commerce staff is currently furloughed at 50 percent through the shared work program).

Clattenburg and Young said they were against withholding funds to these agencies.

“The big dollars have already gone out – we’re going to be hurting the small ones like the Holland Land Office that we fund …,” she said. “I was of the opinion that if we were going to cut everybody by 20 percent across the board, but this was my fear – that some people were going to get all their money and some people would get none of their money. So, I would not support it.”

Young said he felt it would be “more destructive to these agencies than any benefit that we’ll see out of it.”

In other developments:

-- The legislature officially welcomed Chad Klotzbach, of Basom, as the new District No. 1 representative (Alabama and Oakfield).  Klotzbach, 31, replaces John Hilchey, who resigned in May. County Attorney Earl performed the swearing in ceremony. Klotzbach’s term runs through Dec. 31, but he is eligible to run for election in November.

-- Stein, reporting as a member of the Finger Lakes Region control room, credited residents for “doing a great job … following those guidelines and we ask you as our citizens to continue to model terrific behavior … and we look forward to better days ahead.”

Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan is scheduled to begin on Friday. Business and services include indoor food and drink consumption at restaurants and bars, with 50-percent maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees, and social distancing measures in place. Also, included are spas, nail salons, tattoo piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, cosmetology, tanning salons and waxing services.

June 11, 2020 - 2:55pm

Health Update from the Genesee County Health Department:

The Genesee County Health Department received notification that a Genesee County resident who attended the “March for Justice” event on Sunday, June 7th, in Batavia has tested positive for COVID-19.

The individual did not know they were positive prior to attending the event but exhibited symptoms associated to COVID-19 at the event.

The individual reported to have been wearing a mask the entire time they were at the event from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Currently three close contacts have been placed under mandatory quarantine in Genesee County and two additional close contacts reside outside of the county.

“Although the warmer weather is here, COVID-19 is still very much in ourcommunities” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

“We must continue to take actionsto decrease the spread of the virus by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water, and avoiding large crowds such as social events and parties.”

Pettit also mentioned that an increase in cases may slow down the reopening of businesses in our region.

“Our region must maintain a set of metrics in order to continue the phased reopening in our region," Pettit said. "If we see a spike in cases or hospitalizations, the reopening process will either be delayed or stopped depending on the metrics.”

Click here to view the NYS COVID-19 Regional Metrics Dashboard.

Although the exposure risk is low, anyone who attended the “March for Justice” is encouraged to monitor their symptoms for 14 days from the event until June 21st.

If symptoms develop, contact your primary care provider or click here to find a testing site near you.

Governor Cuomo is also urging all people who attended a protest or rally to get a COVID-19 test (please click the link above to find a testing site near you).

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include: a fever of 100.4 or greater, fatigue, loss of taste and and/or smell, headache, cough or difficulty breathing, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Health Updates provide new or updated information on an incident or situation; can also provide information to update a previously sent Health Alert, Health Advisory, or Health Guidance; unlikely to require immediate action.

June 10, 2020 - 9:13pm

Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream.

While they didn’t shout it out, Genesee County legislators made it clear that they missed enjoying the frozen dairy treats that are distributed once a year by the Genesee County Dairy Princess Court during the ceremony designating June as “Dairy Month.”

The reading of the proclamation by Legislator Gregg Torrey kicked off this afternoon's legislature meeting, which took place via Zoom videoconferencing.

In part, the decree stated that the “Dairy Industry has contributed to the development and prosperity of our community since the earliest formation of Genesee County … and that dairy farmers and farmworkers strive to produce wholesome dairy milk, which is used to make delicious dairy products … that provide health benefits and valuable nutritional benefit to residents locally, regionally and globally.”

Natasha (Stein) Sutherland, co-owner of Stein Farms and a member of Genesee County Farm Bureau, said the honor holds a special meaning for rural counties such as Genesee.

“It is well-earned and it happened at a perfect moment (where) we can stop and say ‘thank you, Dairy’ but also thank you to each other during this time when support is so needed and the industry is finally reopening,” she said.

After that, Dairy Princess Miah Werth, a junior at Elba Central School, pointed to dairy’s nutritional value as she thanked the legislature for recognizing the industry.

“Dairy is extremely important for our health as it provides a unique variety of nutrients that our body needs,” she said, noting that milk and cheese contain high percentages of essential vitamins and protein.

Werth said the Genesee County Dairy Court’s No. 1 goal is to educate the public on “how hard dairy farmers work every day.”

“It is important for us to continue to support them as they have always been the heart and backbone of our county,” she said.

She then introduced the members of this year’s Dairy Court:

Dairy Ambassadors -- Amelia Brewer, Jillian Brewer, Georgia Luft, Carolyn Sybertz and Maggie Winspear.

Dairy Maids -- Chloe Lamb, Claire Lamb, Caroline Luft and Annalise Sybertz.

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg thanked the young ladies for their efforts, and left them with a reminder of past years.

“I wish we could be with you because we’re really missing our ice cream,” she quipped.

June 9, 2020 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received one new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 199 positive cases.
      • The new positive individual resides in Batavia.
      • The person is in their 60s.
      • The new positive case was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
      • Three of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Zero of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 244 positive cases.
      • Seventeen of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
      • We are truly saddened to report we have lost three of our county residents to COVID-19. All three of the individuals were residents of Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. Our deepest condolences to each of these individual’s family and friends during this very difficult time.
June 9, 2020 - 3:01pm

Batavia City Council members are united in touting Sunday’s March for Justice as a huge success, but declined to shed much light upon the miscommunication over a proposed City-supported BBQ for Equality that failed to materialize.

However, The Batavian has learned that the snafu over the barbecue at Williams Park – which was cancelled and set the stage for the March for Justice outside of the City Centre – may have triggered some far-reaching repercussions.

When contacted today about his reaction to the protest and comments on the ill-fated BBQ for Equality, Council Member Robert Bialkowski said that a significant discussion took place during a 90-minute executive session following Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Asked if there was more to the post-meeting debate, he said, “As usual, in politics there’s always something going on, but I can’t comment,” he said. “You’ll know soon enough. When things are going smooth, sometimes people have to rock the boat. And when they fall in the river, then they cry.”

JANKOWSKI: 'NO COMMENT'

Council President Eugene Jankowski, when advised of Bialkowski’s statement, said “that since this is a personnel matter, I can’t comment at this time.”

Calls to City Manager Martin Moore's office and cell phone were not returned at the time of this story's posting.

Problems arose on June 1 after published reports indicated that the City of Batavia (in conjunction with City Church) would be providing food at no charge at the Williams Park barbecue, and that Police Chief Shawn Heubusch would be the guest speaker.

Jankowski acknowledged there was a disconnect between organizer Macy Paradise and the city manager’s office.

“Speaking for myself as an individual council member, when I heard about the BBQ I contacted the city manager,” he said. “I was told there was miscommunication between the organizers and the manager’s office – and I acted upon that information.”

At that point, Jankowski said he posted on Facebook the process for groups to have an event in the City – that it had to go through City Council first with an event application and insurance in place.

“That had not been done at the point,” he said, “because the next Council meeting wasn’t until the day after the scheduled barbecue.”

BIALKOWSKI: 'CONFUSION, HEARSAY'

Other council members said they weren’t clear about the “negotiations” between the city manager and organizers, with Bialkowski mentioning that he has heard several stories but none of the facts.

“There was a lot of confusion and a lot of hearsay,” he said. “It’s really easy to point fingers that somebody did something but … unless you were there.”

Rose Mary Christian emphasized that the request did not come before City Council and that no one had the authority to say that the City would purchase food. She contends that the event organizer misunderstood Moore.

“We’re in a financial bind with this COVID-19, and have lost VLT money and sales tax revenue, and many people are still unemployed,” she said.

Regardless, the situation put the City in a tenuous position, with many people commenting on social media that City officials reneged on a promise.

PROTEST ACCOMPLISHES GOAL

Concerning the March for Justice, Council members agreed that it was a worthwhile and momentous occasion.

“I am very pleased that it was peaceful and glad that they did because they need to get their point across,” Paul Viele said. “Everyone needs to be treated equal and fairly.”

Viele and the other council members mentioned health reasons for not being able to attend, citing COVID-19 concerns, but all said they wish to engage in further conversations.

Patti Pacino called the march “fabulous.”

“They were peaceful and they cared and they meant what they said,” she said. “I’m all for it and I’m very proud that it went off so well in our city. I know many people who were there, and they said the feeling was good.”

She added that people’s feelings cannot be taken lightly.

PACINO: 'THIS IS SERIOUS'

“I think it brought the point home to a lot of people that this is serious; this is a real thing. It’s not just people griping,” she said.

Christian said the “Black Lives Matter march was really, really good in the City of Batavia” but didn’t think many people are being treated unjustly here.

“If you break the law, you have to pay for that – one way or another,” she said. “As for the protest, it was very well organized and very well participated by people.”

Bialkowski said he was pleased that the protest was peaceful.

“I am glad the whole thing went off without any hitches – only one arrest,” he said.

As for the other Council members, Al McGinnis said he did not want to comment, Jeremy Karas could not be reached and John Canale and Kathleen Briggs did not return phone messages. 

Jankowski reported his positive thoughts at Monday’s Council meeting, and pledged to do whatever he could to foster a better relationship between Council and Batavia’s people of color.

June 8, 2020 - 10:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, March for Justice, covid-19.

While Batavia City Manager Martin Moore focused on the professionalism of local law enforcement during the “March for Justice” outside of the City Centre on Sunday, City Council President Eugene Jankowski zeroed in on the protesters’ “genuine love of the community.”

Speaking at tonight’s City Council Business Meeting at City Centre Council chambers, Jankowski said he was impressed by the passion and positive attitudes that were exhibited during an event marked by chants and signs calling for racial equality.

“One of the things that I really took home from that event yesterday is that everybody there was in a good positive mood … and there’s really a genuine love of the community there,” Jankowski said in a brief report to his colleagues. “They were shocked, at least that’s what they told me, … that people thought they might hurt the community because they love it.”

Prefacing his remarks by noting that he was invited by organizers to attend, Jankowski said people of color are looking for more community involvement by the police department, more police accountability to a higher authority (New York State) and fair treatment in the community.

“They feel uncomfortable in businesses, and I’m not sure how we can address that, but some of the members of the march feel like they are looked at differently when they go into a business,” he said. “They (say they) are treated like a drug dealer or a criminal because maybe someone of color at one point was a drug dealer or a criminal. And they feel like they get followed around, and that makes them uncomfortable.”

Jankowski said some other comments included the desire to see more minorities in local jobs, such as in the police and fire departments and school system, which may include civil service exams.

“We can get that information out and encourage people to participate,” he advised.

He encouraged citizens to contact City Council with concerns but did note that the City’s email server has been out of operation for a few days and should be fixed by the end of the week.

Moore, on the other hand, commended fire, police and public works personnel for coming together “seamlessly when it came to actually implement this plan.”

“It was clear, it was well thought out, it was well designed," he said. "Our thanks go out to our state and federal partners, and our county partners. They did a lot of work; a lot of hard work. There were a number of moving parts going on throughout the City during this event and every one of them came off, as far as we can tell, pretty seamlessly.”

The manager went on to say that City police and others from several communities and state and federal agencies “conducted themselves extremely well.”

“It was good to see us not have to bring some of the resources in that were ready to come in if they needed to. That was a relief, and it was also a relief to know that they were there,” he said.

Moore thanked everyone who participated and those who “were there to protect and serve.”

“I got to watch it from many different angles and it was very refreshing to see,” he said. “It was good to see the aftermath, which might have been a concern but, again, our law enforcement was well prepared and ready for it. Things that could have been challenging or serious weren’t.”

On another front, Moore said he spoke with a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Administration this morning and is setting up a meeting to go over COVID-19-related expenses incurred by the City as it seeks reimbursement.

He said department heads have been documenting expenses they believe will qualify to be reimbursed.

In another development, Council voted in favor of a resolution to increase the level of the City’s unassigned fund balance from 10 percent to a range of 15 to 25 percent of the general fund’s operating expenditures.

Moore pushed for the fund policy change in light of the coronavirus and its impact upon municipal governments.

“An event like COVID-19 that hammered the economy the way it did is not sufficient,” he said. “Fifteen to 25 (percent) does two things. We wanted to set ourselves a higher floor and we also want to set a ceiling to shoot for.”

He said the increase “sends a signal” to the state Comptroller’s Office, residents and auditors that the City is prepared for a worst-case scenario on the revenue side.

Council members discussed this resolution at length at its Conference Meeting last month, but for only a few minutes this time before approving it.

In other action, Council:

-- Approved an appropriation of a $554,112 grant from the state Department of Health to replace up to 75 lead service lines on Swan, Hutchins and Otis streets;

-- Approved an $18,750 contract with LaBella Associates PC of Rochester to provide administration/engineering services for a $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative project to improve Jackson Square.

Council’s first face-to-face (or more appropriately, space-to-space) meeting since early March was beset by audio problems, especially on Zoom and also on Facebook Live. It did get easier to hear on Facebook Live as the meeting progressed, however.

June 8, 2020 - 2:00pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, March for Justice, Batavia City Council, batavia.
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Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski said he plans to continue the conversation started by speakers at Sunday’s Downtown “March for Justice,” assuring people of color in the community that city leaders will be open to their concerns.

“What I can say is ‘get your council person involved; we’ll help you,’ ” Jankowski said today as he prepares comments to be shared with other council members at tonight’s Business Meeting.

Council members will gather at City Hall for the first time since early March, but the public and media will not be allowed to attend – instead having to view it via Zoom videoconferencing or Facebook Live.

Jankowski said he wasn’t aware of the hesitancy among African Americans and other minorities to contact City Council.

“There are certain members of the community that apparently didn’t feel comfortable calling us, and they didn’t know why they didn’t feel comfortable calling us,” he said. “So, they want to call us now and I say, ‘Please do.’ ”

Jankowski said organizers of the protest, which drew hundreds of residents to gather in front of the City Centre and march on Main Street, invited him to attend. He and Police Chief Shawn Heubusch stood quietly by as speakers with megaphones addressed the crowd.

What the two men heard were impassioned pleas for city officials to “hear our cries … this is my community … we are uncomfortable … Black Lives Matter.”

They also heard from speakers who said they have been harassed by police, don’t feel welcome in restaurants and other public places and are fearful for their children’s safety.

“This is very emotional. I didn’t realize some of the pain that the members of our community were feeling. It definitely sparks me to work a little harder to try to drill down and find out what we can do to make everyone who lives here feel that they’re included and welcome here,” Jankowski said when interviewed by The Batavian during the event.

Victor Thomas, the protest’s key speaker, said he believes the peaceful protest was a good beginning.

“We got our message across," Thomas said. "You can see that Batavia is standing with us today – and that’s a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t stop today. Today is just a start. We’ve got to continue the conversation." 

He issued a call to “push this agenda to prove that this is our community.”

“It’s not what they said. Not with these boards on these windows. Not this negative vibe that they were sending around town about buses coming in here. This is Batavia. This has always been Batavia,” he said. “We thank you for listening to us, but we need to see some action. We will continue to march for justice.”

Jankowski said he plans to stay in touch with organizers and bring their issues to City Council.

“My belief, from what I’ve been told by the organizers, is that they are reaching out to all members of Council to create a path of communication going forward,” said Jankowski, who apparently was the only council member to attend the protest.

Heubusch acknowledged that “this is a conversation that is long overdue for all of us, I think.”

“We’re certainly going to start that conversation,” he said, calling the protesters “a bunch of good guys here and a bunch of great women that want to do the right thing. So, we’re here to help in any way we can. We want to help keep the peace and move this community forward.”

Batavia City School District Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr., a person of color, also spoke on Sunday.

Afterward, he pointed to the “pain and hurt” across the nation.

“It’s no different here in Batavia. There’s been lack of visibility of people of color in various positions,” he said, noting that 22 percent of Batavia students are either African American or Latino. “But it is important to be unified – just to let them know we’re in this together. This we have to address, and the best way to solve this is to get engaged and get involved.”

June 8, 2020 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia.

Alan D. Tidd Jr., 30, of Oak Street, Batavia, is a Level 3 sexually violent offender who is charged with failure to report a change in contact information within 10 days -- first offense. It is alleged that Tidd failed to disclose an email he had been using to exchange pornographic material, solicit sexual acts, and create accounts on online dating websites. He was arrested on May 19 then released with an appearance ticket for arraignment in Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. on July 14. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Genesee County Parole.

Darrell Smith, 53, of Jerome Place, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault. It is alleged that he struck a person and caused injury during a domestic incident at 6 p.m. on May 31 on Oak Street, Batavia. He was arrested, arraigned in Batavia City Court and then released. He is due back in city court on July 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Paul David Hussey, 64, of Hurricane Mills, Tenn., is charged with bail jumping in the second degree. Hussey failure to appear in Genesee County Court on Oct. 24 for sentencing on charges of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and reckless endangerment in the first degree (no other details provided). He was arrested at the Port of Seattle in the State of Washington in February. After obtaining a Governor's Warrant, he was extradited back to New York State and arraigned in county court and jailed without bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

Shawna M. Purcell, 42, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal trespass. It is alleged that at 6:27 p.m. on June 3 that Pursel entered a private residence on Eleanor Place in Batavia and refused to leave when asked to do so. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court via Skype and released on her own recognizance. She is due bak in city court on July 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

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