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May 31, 2020 - 1:29pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt devastating blows to businesses of all types and sizes, but not many have been hit harder than the bowling industry.

The 2019-20 bowling season was cut short when the virus hit in mid-March, forcing leagues to cancel their seasons with four to eight weeks remaining.

As the crisis continued, tournaments at the national, state and local levels were cancelled – keeping bowlers on the sidelines and preventing organizations and center proprietors from generating millions of dollars in budgeted revenue.

With June a day away, bowling centers remain closed in most states. In New York, bowling has been lumped together with other forms of entertainment into Phase Four of the state’s reopening plan and it likely will be at least another month before centers are allowed to open their doors.

Proprietors, reeling from end-of-season losses, also have seen their spring and summer league programs washed away. They are uncertain about the start of the 2020-21 season in late August and early September, and wonder what league bowling will look like going forward.

“Bowling is not going to be the same for a while,” said Jack Moran, proprietor of Roseland Family Fun Center in Canandaigua, a facility that offers 34 traditional bowling lanes as well as eight VIP lanes, café, sports bar, and an arcade with laser tag and bumper cars.

Social distancing parameters – requirements that people stay at least six feet away from each other – have prompted the United States Bowling Congress to temporarily waive playing rules stating that two lanes must be used for competition and that bowlers must alternate lanes.

The USBC also waived the requirement that both lanes must be used for a bowler to be eligible for awards and average recognition.

What that means is, for league play, a team could bowl the entire game on lane one, for example, and its opposing team, could bowl its entire game on lane three.

Additionally, bowlers will be allowed to use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean their bowling balls during competition – a change from the current rule that states that no cleaners can be used during competition.

Although it is yet to be seen whether those new rules will be put into play, proprietors hoping to run summer leagues after reopening may have no alternatives.

“What are we going to do for six to eight weeks of summer leagues? We’re better off trying to run a special promotion to get people in the doors again, so that they feel safe,” said Moran, a past president of the NYS Bowling Proprietors Association. “We’re not even sure if people coming back in September are going to feel safe.”

Randy Hanks, proprietor of the 18-lane Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, said he is planning to separate customers by around 15 feet for open bowling.

“If a family’s is using a pair (of lanes) and they’re on lanes one and two, the next one used will be lane five – 15 to 20 feet away,” he said. “Plus, I’m going to have them prepay, leave the (house) balls and shoes on the ball return, and we’ll sanitize them after everybody is done.”

The NYS BPA already has drafted a long list of health- and safety-related protocols that proprietors will use to ensure a safe environment. Details can be found in the article below.

Hanks said the restaurant portion of his business has been open for take-out only, but revenue pales in comparison to normal operation.

“We lost four summer league, including our adult-junior league that would have ended the day we maybe can open up – June 26th,” Hanks said. “I don’t even want to look to see how much I lost since March 15 compared to the same time the last two years.”

Moran said his staff has been working hard to implement the protocols – markings on the floor, plexiglass shields, acquiring digital thermometers to check everyone’s temperature coming into one specified entrance, and so on.

“From what we’re being told, we will be allowed to open at 50 percent of our occupancy,” he said. “In my case, it equates to about 120 people in my center.”

He said he has talked to colleagues in other states to get a pulse on the situation.

“Talking to my friends in Ohio and Florida – they have been able to open up but it’s limited hours and every other lane for social distancing,” he said. “Right now, we’re trying to look at what the league structure will be like in September – and it’s not looking good if this thing goes six months.”

Mike Sputore, manager of Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia, said he is looking to reopen the 24-lane center in mid- to late-August with all the protocols in place.

Echoing the concerns of the whole industry, he said time will tell on how to proceed.

“There are just too many uncertainties at this time,” he said. “How do we run the leagues? Do we use just one lane? How much time will it take to bowl? Will more than one league be able to bowl at a time? I just hope people don’t give up league bowling.”

May 31, 2020 - 1:24pm

Numerous bowling centers around the nation – and especially in New York State – are “on the brink” of closing for good, according to a well-known Long Island proprietor who is spearheading a grassroots campaign to persuade Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow these recreational facilities to open up sooner than currently planned.

“We want to make everyone aware that bowling centers are more like restaurants, and should be permitted to reopen in Phase Three (of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan) instead of Phase Four,” said John LaSpina, president of Maple Family Centers, a chain of four bowling centers in the New York City area and another location in Florida.

La Spina has held numerous bowling leadership positions at the national, state, and local levels over a 60-year career. He has received multiple honors, including being selected as the International Bowling Industry Person of the Year in 1994 and to the New York State Hall of Fame in 2016.

He is calling upon New York state bowling association officers, league bowlers, and local government officials to contact their local legislators and request that the governor places bowling into Phase Three, a move that would enable bowlers to enjoy their sport two weeks earlier than currently planned.

Bowling is not the same as professional sports played in huge stadiums, and events staged in arenas and the theatre, La Spina said.

“As bowlers centers have plenty of room and as proprietors understand the challenges we face, there is no reason why we can’t open up bowling in Phase Three so we may save some of the centers that are on the brink,” he said. “We respect the rules of social distancing and can easily and safely accommodate bowlers in our large facilities with 50 percent occupancy sooner rather than later.”

LaSpina said he is afraid that more and more businesses, not just bowling centers, will be closing their doors and may not come back as a result of the devastation caused by the coronavirus.

He and others representing the NYS Bowling Proprietors Association have drafted a letter that includes “talking points” and a list of protocols that bowling center personnel has put in place to protect the health of customers and staff.

Just a few of the protocols include:

-- Cleaning the seating, ball return, and scoring area using a disinfectant rated for COVID-19 between each lane usage;
-- Disinfecting each bowling center rental ball before and after each use, and each rental shoe before and after each use;
-- Providing social distancing throughout the facility to eliminate shared spaces;
-- Providing cashless payment options where possible;
-- Providing a separate entrance and exit for guests;
-- Installing plexiglass barriers at counters, between employees and customers;
-- Limiting group reservations to six or less.

He also said that people can email him at [email protected] if they need to identify members of the state Senate and Assembly in their area.

“We’re appealing to anyone – local mayors, police commissioners, restaurateurs and owners of other businesses – who can help us make our case, who know that bowling is a safe activity and that those who operate bowling are responsible people with a plan to keep everyone safe and to keep their facilities clean,” LaSpina said.

May 30, 2020 - 7:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, protest, batavia, Upton Monument, notify, video.
Video Sponsor

A Batavia resident spent most of the afternoon carrying a protest sign in front of the Upton Monument at Ellicott and Main in Batavia that read "George Floyd is Every man!"

George Floyd, 46, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 while a police officer, based on a video made by a teenage witness, kept a knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the road, while the officer had his knee on his neck.

During the incident, Floyd told officers multiple times he couldn't breathe. At one point, he cried out, "Mama!" according to news reports. Floyd reportedly said, "My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts," and requested water. The police do not audibly respond to Floyd who begged, "Don't kill me."

The police officer who kept his knee pressed against Floyd's neck is reported to be Derek Chauvin. He has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin along with fellow officers Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired immediately after the incident.

Chauvin reportedly had 19 prior complaints against him for alleged misconduct.

Floyd was originally from Houston, Texas, and had a prior felony arrest but moved to Minnesota to start a new life and had no criminal record in Minnesota. He and Chauvin had worked together as security guards at a nightclub prior to closure of the establishment due to coronavirus.

At the time of the deadly incident, Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

The incident has touched off protests and riots nationwide.

img_1969uptonprotest.jpg

May 30, 2020 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have received six more COVID-19 cases. Orleans has four new positive cases (bringing the total to 225) and Genesee has two (bringing the total to 188).

Contact tracing has been initiated and all who have had direct contact with the individuals will be notified by Health Department staff. Three of the Orleans County individuals are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and one is a community resident. The two individuals from Genesee County are both community members.

There is currently no further information to release on ages and locations. Mapping to include the positive cases from the weekend will be updated on Monday afternoon.

Now that we are in Phase 2, we ask residents to continue social distancing, mask wearing, and proper hygiene even in the company of whom we trust the most -- family, friends, and coworkers. We also ask residents to be respectful of the business owners and wear masks while you are in their establishment.

If you are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition, call the business and ask for curbside delivery. We can all show people that we care and respect them by continuing these practices to keep everyone safe.

May 30, 2020 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy.

The home of Joshua Blessed, the truck driver who fled from Le Roy Police on Wednesday and eventually died in a shootout near Geneseo, was raided by the FBI according to a Harrisonburg, Va., TV station news report.

Blessed owned a home in the community of Weyers Cave, near Harrisonburg.

A source with the FBI's field office in Richmond, Va., told WHSV that Blessed was the subject of a joint investigation by the FBI and Virginia State Police following the incident in New York. No information was released about what investigators were looking for in Blessed's home or what may have been found.

Blessed, who claimed to speak directly with God, posted anti-police videos on his YouTube channel and on his website claimed to be called by God to start a second civil war.

The News-Leader, a newspaper in Waynesboro, Va., reports that Blessed was accused in 2015 of assaulting a teen relative. He was convicted of assault. Following an appeal, he was ordered to undergo anger management treatment and perform 100 hours of community service. The case was dismissed in 2018.

He has two adult children. In 2005, he and his family moved from California to Virginia.

Previously:

May 30, 2020 - 1:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Heidi M. Connolly, 44, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with seven counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a felony, and one count of third-degree grand larceny, also a felony. Connolly was arrested at about 5 p.m. on May 28, arraigned in Genesee County Court, then released on her own recognizance. It is alleged that between October 2018 and October 2019, Connolly allegedly falsified paperwork at the Genesee County Department of Social Services Building and as a result fraudulently received $3,631 in benefits. She was released on her own recognizance and is due in county court on July 7. The case was investigated by GC DSS Fraud Investigator Robert Riggi and GC Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Lute.

Christopher M. Smith, 26, of Pratt Road, Batavia, and James C. Malone, 23, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana in the second-degree, a violation. They were allegedly found in possession of marijuana after an investigation by a Batavia Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) officer and the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force. The May 28 press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Offices does not say when or where the arrests were made. The defendants were issued appearance tickets and are due in City of Batavia Court on June 23.

May 29, 2020 - 10:49am

With Phase Two of New York’s reopening plan temporarily on hold due to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a review of the health data by “international experts,” Genesee County business owners hoping to open their doors to the public can only sit and wait for another update out of Albany.

That update may be coming very soon, said state Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, speaking by telephone after a nearly 15-hour legislative session that ended around 2:30 this morning.

“My belief is that he (Cuomo) is going to make an announcement this morning that on Saturday we’re going to enter Phase Two,” Hawley said, after expressing his dismay over how things have been handled since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March.

“I’m not sure how he has been able to do it pretty much all on his own up to this point with looking at statistics and data as he likes to call his decision-making process,” Hawley said. “I’m not sure why all of a sudden, he wants to bring in whoever his experts are. He has quite a few around him and pretty much has single-handedly run the state for the past two months.”

On Thursday, published reports indicated that Cuomo said he has “international experts who (will) go through it and we’ll follow the data.”

“The reopening in the first five regions ends tomorrow. When the reopening of Phase One ends, we’ll give the experts all the data. It is posted on the web, but let them analyze it. And if they say we should move forward, we’ll move forward,” the governor stated.

The Finger Lakes Region, which includes Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming counties, entered Phase One on May 15.

Regional leaders were expecting to enter Phase Two today, with that action clearing the way for more retail stores, barber shops, salons, real estate offices and professional services to reopen.

Hawley said the time has come, with adherence to proper safety guidelines, to return to some sense of normalcy.

“Enough stalling,” he said. “We have done what we need to do for the last two and a half months, and we’ve been doing it well. Western New York is not New York City.”

The assemblyman also said Republicans attempted to pass a resolution to a bill last night during session “that would have taken away his (Cuomo's) powers and suspended his one-man rule, but it failed on a party-line vote pretty much.”

“We need to get back on track and have three co-equal branches of our government operating as it was intended to do in our country and our state,” he offered.

Hawley also criticized the state Department of Labor for delays in processing unemployment insurance checks for those who have been laid off through this health crisis.

“We have folks who have been waiting for unemployment for eight, nine, 10 weeks,” he said. “The Labor Department was operating under a system known as MS-DOS, which is an outdated, archaic technology that was used back in the 1980s. It was never updated in all these years.”

Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein also weighed in this morning, acknowledging that patience has “worn thin.”

A part of the regional control room, Stein said that prior to official word from Cuomo, business owners could put their licenses at risk by opening on their own.

“We would just ask for additional patience and we understand that (patience) has already all worn thin. But to get out ahead of the governor is not a good position to be in,” she said.

She added that new guidance has been posted on the New York Forward website.

--------------

Genesee County Fair cancellation a tough break for 4-Hers

Stein said she was disappointed over the cancellation of the Genesee County Fair and felt bad for the young people involved in 4-H.

“The 4-H youth who participate in educational programs all year long, and have an animal ready to go to the Fair that they have spent an incredible amount of time, either training or growing --this type of learning experience that 4-H provides for our youth, along with the animal agriculture education, for me, that’s the hardest hit,” she said.

Co-owner of Stein Farms in Le Roy, she said she understands the work that goes into getting ready for the fair.

“It’s not just a couple weeks before the fair,” she said. “It starts when the animal is born, and there is a significant amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into these animals and these projects. That’s where my heart really has been saddened by this.”

She said she supports the Agricultural Society’s decision to cancel.

“I know it’s been a terribly difficult decision for the Ag Society to come to, but as I see that other fairs have done the same to protect the health and safety of others, I know that just this one time, just for now, this is what needs to happen,” she said.

May 28, 2020 - 5:46pm

There will be no change in the daily schedule for students at the four Batavia City School District buildings.

“After thoughtful consideration and collaboration over the last six weeks, the members of the Batavia Teachers’ Association voted against a proposal to change the start and end times at all district buildings,” BTA President Mark Warren said following today's online voting by union members.

District administration had suggested the change during the 2020-21 budget process, maintaining that the proposed starting and ending times would save $200,000 in transportation costs. The outcome of the vote will not affect the passed budget.

With the “no” vote by the teachers, the school day will continue as follows:

-- Batavia High and Batavia Middle, 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

-- John Kennedy Elementary and Jackson Primary, 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The proposal called for BHS and BMS to be on 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. schedule, and for JK and Jackson to be on a 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. schedule.

Warren said he exit polls revealed two main concerns.

“The current research on sleep patterns and the school day for teenagers supports a later start time for secondary students, and concerns were also expressed over modifying the students’ schedule in the midst of all of the changes going on due to the pandemic,” Warren said.

He said the BTA’s goal moving forward is “to work collaboratively with district administration as we determine the best path to reopen the school buildings in the fall to ensure the safety of students and employees.”

Warren said all four building votes would have had to be favorable for the measure to pass, but indicated that it was rejected at all four schools.

May 28, 2020 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy.
Video Sponsor
blessedmug2020.jpg
             Joshua Blessed

A man from Harrisonburg, Va., whose social media posts indicate he thought he spoke directly to God and received visions of the devil, has been identified as the driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a high-speed pursuit through three counties last night before he engaged in a shoot-out with police near Geneseo.

Joshua Blessed, formerly Sergio Jourev, 58, was killed in the incident. He had also posted a video to his YouTube account with the headline "Brave Patriot defending US Constitution and 2A vs. Domestic terrorist gang member 'blue devils.' "

The video is taken from the dashcam of a police patrol vehicle and shows what appears to be a traffic stop where the driver opened fire on the police officer and engaged in a protracted gun battle before fleeing in his sedan.  

The description of the video asks viewers to join Blessed's "militia" and links to a website where he claims that in February 2018 he received a new message from heaven calling on him to recruit an army to fight a new civil war.

Livingstone County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said Blessed fired numerous rounds at officers and struck four patrol vehicles, two from Livingston County, one from Genesee County, and one from Le Roy PD.

The bullet that hit the Genesee County Sheriff's patrol car entered through the windshield, struck the headrest and became lodged in the plexiglass divider between the back and front seats.

"I believe if he wasn't ducking, then it would have been right to his head," Dougherty said.

Blessed was employed by a trucking company, Yurman Express, in Harrisonburg and was driving to Batavia to pick up dairy products when at 8:37 p.m. a Le Roy police officer attempted to stop his tractor-trailer for speeding through the village.

When he was uncooperative with the first officer, the officer called for backup. When the second officer arrived, both officers approached the cab of the truck, each getting onto the running boards on both the driver's and passenger's side of the vehicle.

Le Roy Chief Chris Hayward said the officer on the passenger side observed a handgun in the vehicle.  

One of the officers stepped down from the truck and at that point, Blessed began to drive off. The other officer was able to safely jump from the moving vehicle.

As he fled, Blessed rammed his truck into a Sheriff's patrol vehicle that had responded as backup for the Le Roy officers. He headed westbound on Route 5 toward Batavia. Batavia PD was alerted and officers responded to the city line but before Blessed reached Batavia, at some point after passing through Stafford at a high rate of speed, he managed to turn his truck around.

Sheriff Bill Sheron said he hadn't yet spoken with the officers involved, so it wasn't clear to him how the trucker managed to execute a U-turn on Route 5.

"I think they were quite amazed, too, that he was able to maneuver the vehicle the way he did," Sheron said.

Now eastbound, when Blessed returned to the Village of Le Roy, he proceeded south on Route 19 toward Pavilion. Sheriff's deputies attempted to stop the truck at the county line with spike strips. Blessed continued south through Wyoming County to Route 63 in Livingston County near Geneseo.  Livingston County deputies also tried to deploy spike strips to no avail.

In Livingston County, Blessed started taking shots at police officers.

At one point, Sheriff Dougherty pulled up along the passenger side of the cab of the truck and Blessed fired rounds in his direction. Neither the patrol vehicle nor Dougherty was struck. 

"This isn't a common type of situation where you not only have a heavy, heavy vehicle that is near impossible to stop but also the person then taking shots at cops," Dougherty said. "So it was a stressful, intense incident."

Once the vehicle was stopped, the gun battle continued. Sheron said at least one of his deputies fired shots at Blessed.

The official cause of death for Blessed has not been determined but Dougherty said he sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

On his website, Blessed wrote in February 2018:

This is Joshua Blessed the man of Yahweh, for the spirit of אליהו /EliYahu ( My El is Yahweh), is upon me!

As of February 12. 2018, I received from heaven a new task; “go, begin recruiting for a heavenly hosts/army,..”

My brother, the king of heaven Yahweh of hosts said to me,  “…the civil war is coming and many shall die and descended to hell for the fruits of their life,…”

Here is my confession; As for me, for many years I was blind /slave of “the Beast”,… but now my spirit is revived by my Redeemer Yahweh of hosts, and His holy spirit is upon me and causes me > love Yahweh unto death, for He took away the fear of death of me,…It is why now I seek to die as His warrior for His great name > the king of heaven Yahweh of hosts!

The Batavian's news partner 13WHAM is reporting that Blessed had been banned from a militia site for reportedly being "self-destructive."

He posted multiple videos equating law enforcement with the devil and domestic terrorists. He also posted videos, speaking in what may be a Russian accent, describing dreams and visions he had.  

His Facebook page indicates he was banned by the network for violating community standards in April, a ban that was extended to June 16. His offending posts were described as bullying.

Dougherty said investigators are looking into Blessed's social media posts in an attempt to work up a full profile of the man.

"(Among the) things that we're looking at: How extreme is he?" Dougherty said. "What other encounters has he had with police? What led to this yesterday? Again, there are so many unknowns that we can't interview him on. So these are things that we have to put together. And this is what police agencies do. We put together a timeline and try and get the best answers possible to conclude our investigation."

Dougherty praised the professional response of members of law enforcement from the multiple agencies who participated in the incident.

"Members from various agencies put their life on the line trying to warn traffic ahead, blocked the roadways, get everybody removed all the while knowing that he's popping shots," Dougherty said. "I can only tell you that it is simply unbelievable that nobody was injured."'

UPDATE 6:50 p.m.: An editor with the Harrisonburg Daily-News Record contacted the Sheriff there about Blessed and says the Sheriff told him his office never had any encounters with Blessed, at least nothing serious. Our news partner 13WHAM reports Blessed had a wife and two children.  

Also from 13WHAM: Drivers recall fearing for their lives as they got caught in middle of dangerous pursuit

Previously: After high-speed chase that ended with shoot out, Le Roy chief kept thinking of the 'what ifs'

Video provided by our news partner 13WHAM.

May 28, 2020 - 5:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, news, genesee county, Shared Sales Tax Revenue, notify.

From Carl Hyde Jr., Bethany town supervisor:

At an emergency financial Town Board Meeting in Bethany last night, May 27, after discussion on the FACT of Genesee County breaking its agreement with the towns and villages for Shared Sales Tax Revenue it agreed to, the Town of Bethany made some hard choices.

The Sales Tax Revenue Sharing has made up 50 percent of the town's budget for decades to keep town taxes low.

The Genesee County Legislature ended that on the evening of May 13, 2020.

The Town of Bethany's budget was passed in November of 2019 for the 2020 year; taxes came in and plan were made for 2020, the county dropped a BOMB on all towns and villages.

The Town of Bethany voted unanimously to furlough the Highway Department from June 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2020. The employees will be brought back on occasion in emergency situations.

With the revenue to the town cut off, we need to have money to get through the winter plowing.

The Bethany Town Board is planning budget adjustments and cuts in spending to plan for the 2021 budget, which will likely have a tax increase if the county keeps the sales tax revenue going forward.

May 28, 2020 - 4:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Le Roy, Bethany.

Dillen Andrew Merrell, 24, of Bernd Road, Le Roy, is charged with third-degree assault. He was arrested on May 26 following the complaint of an assault that allegedly occurred at 11:36 p.m. on May 22 on Ellicott Street Road in Bethany. He was arraigned in Genesee County Court May 26 and released on his own recognizance. He is due to return to county court at 3 p.m. on Aug. 11. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Brabon, assisted by Officer Jordan Alejandro.

Destiny M. Green, 23, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment -- physical contact. Green was arrested at 12:45 p.m. on May 23 after allegedly subjecting a person in her household to unwanted physical contact by striking them with a shoe and then kicking them repeatedly. Green was issued an appearance ticket, then released after her arrest. She is due in Batavia City Court on July 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Daniel R. Yates, 50, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with dog running at large. He was arrested at 5:23 p.m. on Pearl Street after his two dogs allegedly escaped from his home and subsequently a person was bitten by one of the dogs. He was issued an appearance ticket after his arrest and is due in Batavia City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens.

James W. Shute, 37, of Humphrey Street, Warsaw, is charged with disobeying a court order. On May 22, Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Shute for second-degree criminal contempt after he allegedly violated an order of protection on May 16 on Main Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 28.

Corey Allen Brown, 34, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Brown was arrested after an investigation into a bicycle that was stolen on April 22 at 5:53 p.m. on Highland Park. Brown was arrested, issued an appearance ticket, and is due in Batavia City Court on July 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan.

Alicia M. Lyons, 40, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Lyons was arrested at 5:17 on May 21 at the Kwik Fill on the corner of Jackson and Ellicott streets in Batavia after officers were called for a reported larceny. After a brief interview, Lyons allegedly produced the stolen property and turned it over to the officers. Lyons was arrested, issued an appearance ticket for June 16 in Batavia City Court, then released from custody. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

May 28, 2020 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 185 positive cases.
      • The two positive cases reside in Batavia.
      • One of the positive individuals is less than 20 and one is in their 50s.
      • One of the positive cases was not on mandatory quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.
      • Two of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received two new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 211 positive cases.
      • One of the new positive individuals resides in Albion and one of the new positive individuals resides at Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
      • Of the new positive case one of the individuals is in their 40s and one of the individuals is in their 80s.
      • None of the new positive cases were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
      • Two of the previous positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Eighteen 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 sorry to report that we have lost another county resident due to COVID-19. The individual resided at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very sad time.
May 28, 2020 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, notify, news.

truck_am_2_copy.jpg

No traffic stop is routine. Cadets are taught that truism at every law enforcement academy in the nation. Field trainers drum it into their heads when rookies first hit the road.

A "routine" traffic stop of a white tractor-trailer on Main Street in Le Roy last night turned out to be a stark reminder for his officers that they always need to be prepared for the unexpected, Le Roy Chief Chris Hayward said this morning.

Hayward got to bed late last night, slept fitfully and said what kept running through his head were all the "what if" scenarios. He considered how things could have turned out much worse after a trucker decided to lead local law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit through three counties. The trucker was killed in an apparent shoot-out at a location near Geneseo in Livingston County.

No bystanders nor officers were injured or killed. That's a relief, Hayward said.

"It's one of those things that you try to convey to your officers, especially your young officers, that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop," Hayward said. "I think this incident conveyed that effectively. I'm thankful nobody was hurt last night.

"I kept thinking of all the 'what ifs,' " he added. "What if he decided to open fire on our officers on West Main Street rather than in Livingston County? You think of all of those scenarios and you're thankful for all of the young folks involved. I thought of all those officers in this situation and they did a tremendous job, as did the dispatchers in both counties, keeping the information flow going in both counties. The dispatchers did a tremendous job."

The chase started when a Le Roy officer initiated a traffic stop of the truck for speeding on West Main Street. The driver stopped and the officer approached the driver's side, climbed up on the running board to talk to the driver. The driver refused to provide documentation or identification. At that point, the officer backed off and requested backup.

When a second officer arrived, they both approached the driver again. They spoke to the driver, each positioned on opposite sides of the cab. At one point, one officer stepped off. Then the driver rolled up his window and started to drive away. The other officer was able to jump off the running board of the moving truck and was not hurt.

A deputy was arriving on scene at that point and the trucker rammed the patrol vehicle.

The three patrol vehicles then gave chase westbound on Route 5.

A witness in Stafford told The Batavian the pursuit passed her house at a high rate of speed. A short time later, she called back to say the truck and seven patrol vehicles were then eastbound.

"It's wild, like something out of a movie," she said.

That was a description others shared, Hayward said this morning.

There was nothing suspicious about the driver or the vehicle that popped up when officers ran -- as is routine on traffic stops --  the truck's plates, the chief said. He didn't have information at hand on where the truck was registered. 

"We had nothing to explain at that time why the operator was doing what he was doing," Hayward said. 

Officers were positioned at locations on Route 5 to set up possible spike strips, and at one point the trucker rammed a Le Roy patrol vehicle participating in that operation. The vehicle sustained significant damage but the officer was not hurt.

Sheriff Bill Sheron said he hadn't yet spoken with the officers involved this morning, so it wasn't clear to him how the trucker managed to execute a U-turn on Route 5.

"I think they were quite amazed, too, that he was able to maneuver the vehicle the way he did," Sheron said.

The trucker led officers back into the Village of Le Roy where he made a right-hand turn on Route 19, going southbound into Wyoming County, where Wyoming deputies joined the pursuit. The trucker continued to Route 63 into Livingston County.

He then reportedly stopped and began shooting at law enforcement officers.

Genesee County deputies were involved in exchanging gunfire with the driver, Sheron said.

One bullet from the driver went through a window of deputy's patrol vehicle, Sheron said, narrowly missing the head of the officer. Sheron declined to name the officer involved at this time.

"God must have been watching over us last night because it could have ended up much worse than it did," Sheron said. "That one vehicle took a round through the windshield and you can't get much closer. Thank God for every day."

Top Photo: The truck involved from this morning. All photos courtesy our news partner 13WHAM.

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May 28, 2020 - 11:05am

The Batavia Development Corporation has selected five new projects in the downtown area for New York Main Street grants through the state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency.

BDC Executive Director Andrew Maguire reported at a board of directors Zoom meeting this morning that award letters have been mailed to five applicants who are looking to rehabilitate buildings within the Downtown Revitalization Initiative/Business Improvement District.

“The total amount of the grants for the five projects is $277,500, and I think all of these awards will be accepted,” Maguire said, adding that he will inform the board of the specifics of the applications prior to its June meeting.

Maguire said three of the projects are residential conversions and “encompassed in those five applications are 10 commercial units.” He said grant amounts vary depending upon the type and extent of the work involved.

The NYMS grant program provides funds to units of local government, and not-for-profit organizations for the revitalization of historic downtowns, mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts, and village centers. Targeted commercial/residential improvements include façade renovations, interior commercial and residential building upgrades, and streetscape enhancements.

Entrepreneurs who accept the grants pay for expenses up front and are reimbursed according to parameters set by NYMS administrators.

In another development, Maguire said that two projects that previously received DRI building improvement funds have reached the construction phase.

Owners of buildings at 99 Main St., (Neppalli Holdings LLC) and at 242 Ellicott St., (Vance Gap LLC) are at a point where they can “start moving forward” on construction, Maguire said.

A grant of $137,600 was awarded to 99 Main St., with the description as follows: first-floor dental practices, second-floor open concept commercial, third-floor high-end market-rate residential, plus façade work. The total project estimated cost is $600,000.

A grant of $27,200 was awarded to 242 Ellicott St., with the description as follows: exterior repair to masonry, fixed fabric awning, windows and fiber cement panel and trim knee wall. Second floor full rehabilitation (residential), common area improvements, windows, lights. The total project estimated cost is $68,000.

In other action, the board:

-- Voted to amend the corporation’s agreement with the City of Batavia to split the City’s $110,000 annual contribution to the agency into two equal payments – one to be made in the first quarter of the fiscal year and the other to be made in the third quarter of the fiscal year -- instead of the full payment at one time.

The City also provides office space, office equipment, and payroll/accounting services to the BDC free of charge.

-- Tabled an amendment to the corporation’s bylaws to increase the number of voting members. When the measure is passed, it would enable former BDC President Pier Cipollone to rejoin the board as a voting member.

-- Heard from City Manager Martin Moore that the developer of the mixed-use Ellicott Station project (the former Soccio & Della Penna site) has been working with the City’s code enforcement department, “walking through approvals” and understanding that to “consummate the lot split, the garage (on the property) has to be gone.”

Batavia City Council members have previously publicly expressed their frustration over the lack of activity at the vacant parcel, which constitutes a significant part of the City’s $10 million DRI award from the state.

May 27, 2020 - 9:34pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Agricultural Society Inc. announced today that the Genesee County Fair, which was scheduled for July 25 through Aug. 1, will now be postponed until July 24-31, 2021.

It is with heavy hearts that the Ag Society Board of Directors had to make this call. The Board volunteers have been moving forward with plans to hold the fair in 2020, but with announcements by the New York Governor this month, it seems that the Fair would not be able to operate until the last phase of the New York State reopening.

Many factors were taken into consideration when making this decision, as it was not entered into lightly. Additional safety requirements, as we are seeing now in Phase One, would mean the preparation of buildings to safely move people in and out, as well as limiting the number of people on the grounds, all while trying to maintain the current six-foot social distancing rules.

"Our board is discussing the possibilities of having smaller events throughout the summer to try and support our Youth and agricultural community,” said Amanda Gallo, president of the Genesee County Ag Society.

“We are looking to New York State for guidance on Phase Four reopenings and once we have those guidelines, we can better prepare for our grounds to reopen for these events. But, in the meantime, our volunteers are working hard to put together a great Fair for July 24-31, 2021!"

Keep up to date with Fairgounds events by following the Fair here.

The Genesee County Agricultural Society Inc. is made up of volunteers who reside in Genesee County and are the organizers of the Genesee County Fair. They are the owners and operators of the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Route 5 in Batavia.

----------

Earlier today, The Batavian was first to report the cancellation of the Wyoming County Fair in Pike and that a decision was about to be made regarding the Genesee County Fair. Click here to read that report.

May 27, 2020 - 9:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, scanner, notify, Stafford, batavia, Le Roy.

A white tractor-trailer was reportedly speeding westbound on Route 5 through Stafford, pursued by Genesee County Sheriff's deputies, when it managed to turn around and head eastbound on Route 5.

Batavia Police Department set up a perimeter on Route 5.

The big rig proceeded to Le Roy, where it turned onto Route 19 southbound.

Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies pursued the vehicle, which is now in Livingston County and being pursued by authorities there.

UPDATE 9:48 p.m.: A reader shared this emergency alert out of Livingston County:

"Law enforcement is currently in pursuit of a tractor-trailer on I-390 southbound from Geneseo. He is trying to ram traffic. Get off the highway at this time."

UPDATE 11:55 p.m.: The chase ended in Livingston County with the driver reportedly being shot by police, according to our news partner, 13WHAM. The chase started in Le Roy following a traffic stop for speeding. The driver reportedly fled with a Le Roy Police officer still on the running board of the vehicle. The truck struck several vehicles, including law enforcement vehicles, during the pursuit. There's no ID on the driver yet released nor have police disclosed any possible motive for the driver to flee.

May 27, 2020 - 7:47pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, New York Forward, genesee county legislature, Foodlink.

Thirty-nine Genesee County businesses have prepared New York State-mandated reopening plans that address physical distancing, protective equipment, cleaning, communication and screening as they look to move into Phase Two on Friday.

County Manager Jay Gsell said at tonight’s Genesee County Legislature meeting that those businesses have “attested to having their reopening plans in place.”

“They don’t submit them anywhere, but they’ve attested to the fact that they’ve done that and that list is maintained and updated every day (by state officials),” he said.

Gsell said he expects to see a detailed listing of the business categories permitted to open in Phase Two -- professional services, retail, administrative support, real estate and rental and leasing – and also hopes that the next phase will include some parts of county government.

“There will be some guidances coming along … in the next 12 to 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “It’s not something that anyone can answer at this point.”

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, who serves in the Finger Lakes Region “control room” with Gsell and officials from other counties, said that as of Monday, campgrounds and tent camping were able to open.

She also reported that the Finger Lakes Region is on track for the Phase Two opening in two days, and that she will be seeking more information about the open meeting executive order that expires tomorrow.

Gsell also advised that a bilingual (English/Spanish) list of all the food pantries in Genesee County is being put together and that a Foodlink food pantry is scheduled for next Wednesday at Northgate Free Methodist Church on Bank Street Road.

He said fresh produce and meat will be included in the food distributed to those who are part of what he believes will be a long line of vehicles.

In other action, the legislature recognized the county’s Emergency Management Services on National EMS Week (May 17-23) with a proclamation read by Legislator John Deleo.

EMS Coordinator Timothy Yaeger said he “truly appreciates” the recognition on behalf of the dedicated, hard-working volunteer fire and EMS departments in Genesee County – Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight, City of Batavia, Le Roy Ambulance and Darien Ambulance.

May 27, 2020 - 6:28pm

The Wyoming County Fair in Pike and several other fairs in neighboring counties have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the status of the Genesee County Fair in Batavia could be determined in the next day or so.

Currently, the Genesee County Fair, scheduled for July 25 through Aug. 1, is still on, according to Agricultural Society President Amanda Gallo.

“No decision has been made at this time, but there is a District 8 (Zoom) meeting this evening that I will be taking part in,” Gallo said.

The meeting will include representatives of the seven-county District 8 of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs.

Per the Genesee County Fair website, fair personnel have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely and working with health and state officials concerning the status of the fair.

Jerry Davis, chair of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors, confirmed that the Pike Fair that was slated for Aug. 15-22 has been cancelled for this year.

Echoing feelings of Genesee County government officials, Davis said he is “holding out hope that we’ll be able to move into Phase Two” of the state’s reopening plan on Friday.

May 27, 2020 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in unemployment, jobs, news, notify.

Genesee County's unemployment rate jumped to 14.4 percent in April, the highest rate since the Great Recession, when 10 percent of county residents were without jobs in January and February of 2010.

The highest unemployment rate for the county since 1990 (the oldest data publicly available) was 10.8 percent in January 1992.

The unemployment rate a year ago for April was 3.7 percent. In March of this year, it was 4.9 percent, as it was in February, and it was 5.1 percent in January.

The unemployment rate in the state is 15 percent.

It's 19.2 percent in the Buffalo area and 14.9 percent in the Rochester area.

There are 4,300 people in Genesee County counted as unemployed and 25,200 county residents with jobs.

May 27, 2020 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

  • As of 2 p.m.
    • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 183 positive cases.
      • The positive cases reside in Batavia and Darien.
      • One of the positive individuals is less than 20 and one is in their 30s.
      • One of the positive cases was not on mandatory quarantine prior to becoming symptomatic.
      • Two of the previous positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
      • Two of the total active positive cases are hospitalized.
    • Orleans County received one new positive case of COVID-19, for a total of 209 positive cases.
      • One of the new positive individuals resides in Carlton.
      • Of the new positive case the individual is in their 70s.
      • None of the new positive cases were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
      • Twenty 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.
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