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September 17, 2021 - 5:12pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in accident, news, batavia, notify.

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A motorcycle accident on Walnut Street at Law Street this afternoon is under investigation by Batavia PD.

The motorcycle rider was reportedly seriously injured at about 12:22 when his bike slammed into the side of a pickup truck at the intersection.

The 30-year-old male, whose name has not yet been released was taken ECMC by Mercy Flight.

According to Sgt. Mitchell Cowen, Batavia PD, the motorcycle was traveling west on Law Street at a high rate of speed and collided with a pick-up truck that was headed north on Route 98.

The driver and sole occupant of the pick-up was not injured.

Police say the motorcycle was passing vehicles on Law Street before the collision occurred at the intersection.

Because the intersection was closed down until about 3:00 p.m., the City Schools advised families that busses were delayed in dropping off students this afternoon. According to Batavian City Schools Business Manager Scott Rozanski. students remained at school with supervision until the road was reopened.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Department accident reconstruction team is also assisting in the investigation.

City Fire and Mercy EMS also responded.

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September 17, 2021 - 4:57pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, notify.

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Lifelong Genesee County resident Melinda Stedman was prepared for late night feedings and diaper changes with her son JP, but not for what the 9-month-old must now endure.

“It’s something I never imagined I’d have to do,” she said Thursday while waiting for her son to wake up from his nap. “I didn’t think I’d have the strength, but you find it. It’s sad because he’s not doing the normal things and having the normal milestones. We’re celebrating the tiny things.”

JP,  short for Joseph Paul, has a rare liver disease. It was discovered through a liver biopsy in January, and has put the Stedman family on a “rollercoaster” of emotional and medical ups and downs ever since. Their ordeal began with an ultrasound in which doctors could not find the little guy’s gallbladder. That led to the diagnosis of Biliary Atresia, and the need for a life-saving liver transplant.

When JP doesn’t have cholangitis, Stedman — a stay-at-home mom with two other children — feeds him a special formula to help him gain weight, and observes his four weekly therapy sessions (two each for physical and occupational therapies). When he does have cholangitis — an inflammation of the bile duct system — he has to go into the hospital for a picc line, or long catheter inserted into a peripheral vein for longer term use. His mom has learned how, and adapted to, maintaining, flushing and administering fluids to his IV line at home.

While Stedman and her husband Paul, a New York State trooper, wait with hope for a suitable liver donor, they are also anticipating the estimated $50,000 to $80,000 needed for the transplant surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the related costs of housing accommodations for them to stay with him throughout the two to three months of post-surgery lab and clinic treatments.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help offset those expenses. The page also has a more detailed explanation of his condition and all that 9-month-old JP has gone through to date. The fundraising goal is $50,000. There are also sales of JP T-shirts and keychains (handmade by the 11-year-old daughter of a friend who likes to work with clay and created a green clay ribbon).

Ever since she learned of the Stedman’s plight, friend Joanne Smith and her husband Dan have jumped on board to help. Mrs. Smith has not only known the couple a long time, it was in her criminal justice class where they first met.

“We’re all together for two years. (After graduation) I hear from all of them about people getting married and babies being born,” Mrs. Smith said. “When I heard last January about JP … Dan and I are retired, and we said ‘what do you need?’ When he was diagnosed in January, we were hoping they could avoid a transplant. It’s just been a rollercoaster. You think you’re out of the woods and improving, and then he’s back in the hospital.”

The sad paradox about a transplant, she said, is that everyone wants JP to remain strong enough to survive the transplant, but the more critical his condition gets, the higher he climbs on the list of priorities. Some people have inquired about becoming a donor, however, the list of requirements is very demanding and the process is not an easy one, Mrs. Stedman said.

“I just met with the living donor coordinator,” she said, listing some requirements of being 18 to 55, blood type O or B, generally healthy with a BMI of 30 or less and a non-smoker. “People have to go fill out an application online.”

A donor outside of the immediate family would be ideal, Mrs. Smith said, as the parents will need the physical strength to care for JP, 3-year-old Zachary and 5-year-old Savannah.

Given his countless needle pokes and jabs and other medical tests and treatments, including an intravenous

tube, JP has been “a very happy baby,” especially when home with his siblings, his mom said. And there are those days when the frail tyke can bear weight on his legs and lift food up to his mouth, she said.

“I learned to celebrate those small victories,” she said. “My faith has gotten me through it.”

To read more about JP’s life and battle and/or to donate, go to:

http://www.gofundme.com/f/jps-liver-transplant-expenses?qid=5ec9ad887ec101894c8cfbe347057ea7    

or check out his Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/jpsfight

For anyone interested in applying to be a potential donor, go to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s site: LivingDonorReg.UPMC.com        

Photos submitted by Melinda Stedman. Top photo: Nine-month-old JP Stedman cracks a smile despite enduring medical treatments as he waits for a liver transplant donor.

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Siblings Zachary and Savannah Stedman spend cherished time with younger brother JP while he's home from the hospital. 

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Nine-month-old JP Stedman is shown in an all-too-familiar scenario with an IV tube at home while he battles a liver disease and waits for a donor for his liver transplant.      

September 17, 2021 - 12:05pm

sutton_1.jpg“Why can’t the Town of Batavia go to 8.25 percent sales tax and use the .25 percent to prevent citizens in the Town of Batavia and companies (from) absorbing this cost for everybody from outside communities that come here to do their shopping?”

With that question toward the end of Wednesday night’s Batavia Town Board meeting, Lewiston Road resident Bill Sutton triggered a 15-minute discussion with Town Supervisor Gregory Post about sales and property taxes, and New York’s tax cap.

Sutton, (photo at right), a truck driver for Kistner Concrete, said he noticed that the meeting agenda included a resolution calling for an override of the New York State tax cap – the limit on the amount of real property taxes that may be levied by the town as it prepares its 2022 budget.

He said he was concerned that property taxes will increase and thought that bumping up the sales tax from 8 to 8.25 percent could be a way to prevent that from happening.

Pointing out that Erie County’s sales tax is at 8.75 percent, Sutton said he wondered if the extra ¼ percent in sales tax could be put in the town’s budget “so that citizens in the town don’t have to pay higher property tax.”

“Why can’t we benefit from that? Why can’t the Town of Batavia implement a little more sales tax to compensate for this, instead of property owners and businesses picking up the slack?” he asked.

TWO SALES TAX JURISDICTIONS

In his response, Town Supervisor Gregory Post said he appreciated Sutton’s questions and went on to explain that towns or villages do not have the authority to impose sales tax.

“There are two entities that are eligible to collect sales tax. One is Genesee County and one is the City of Batavia,” Post responded. “Traditionally, over the last 20 or 30 years, there has been a collaboration between those two entities to allow the county to collect all of the sales tax and then distribute 50 percent of those revenues collected or some portion of that 50 percent to the communities on an ad valorem basis.

“Which means that communities will get a percentage of the sales taxes collected by Genesee County – whether it’s 8 percent or 8 ¼ or 8 ½ or 8 ¾. Those are distributed based on the communities’ assessed valuation – taxable assessed valuation.”

Post mentioned the agreement between Genesee County and the City of Batavia that provides the city with a minimum of 14 percent share of all the sales tax revenue generated in the county. That agreement also benefits the county’s towns and villages which, by virtue of a revision last month, will share $10 million in sales tax revenue annually for the next 38 years.

Per that agreement, the Town of Batavia’s assessed value qualifies it for about 16 percent of that amount – the actual figure is $1,687,937 – and that is substantially more than the other municipalities. The Town of Darien, site of Six Flags Darien Lake, is next at $970,992, followed by the Town of Le Roy at $822,260.

The supervisor explained that the town is supported by sales taxes “and the sales tax revenues have traditionally been twice what the property tax collection levy was.”

“So, for every dollar collected in property taxes, we have been benefited by a dollar and a half to two dollars in sales tax revenues already,” he said. “And that sales tax is paid by (in part) by citizens not living in the Town of Batavia …”

'LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD'

Sutton said that satisfied that part of his question, but added that he is “looking down the road (because) here we are today – we have a shortfall.”

He continued on his point that many people from outside the town come to the town to shop, and that the town should benefit more from having to deal with extra traffic and for having many “employment opportunities.”

“There has to be something we can do as a town to increase sales tax,” he said. “There has to be something that we can go forward doing this to make it even more beneficial to live in the town – to bring a business in from outside.”

Post replied by asking him to consider, “How much benefit does Genesee County get by having a lower sales tax rate to attract shoppers from counties that have a higher sales tax rate?”

“We have spent a lot of time looking at the consequence; right now, we’re an attractive site for equipment sales, heavy equipment. We just had a groundbreaking this week (LandPro),” Post offered.

“I’m looking at the larger scale sales of automobiles and heavy equipment, and if you’re selling a million dollar bulldozer and you’re selling it because your sales tax are 8 percent instead of 8 ¾ percent, and they’re buying it and taking delivery here, we’re getting the benefit of some of those revenues that we wouldn’t get if our sales tax rate was the same as it was in another county.”

Sutton said if Genesee County went to 8.25 percent it still would be lower than Erie County (but more than Monroe County, which also is at 8 percent).

Post offered to continue the debate with Sutton, inviting him to attend a weekly (Wednesday at 5 p.m.) board workshop.

“I am happy to hear your perspective and your comments … and I’m happy to see the participation,” the supervisor said.

Sutton acknowledged that he doesn’t have access to all the dollar amounts, but pressed on with his view that the Town of Batavia has a quality of living that other communities don’t have, especially an abundance of shopping locations.

“Why can’t be benefit from this so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will also have that benefit going forward?” he asked. “We will prevent the shortfall by adding the .25 percent sales tax across the board to make it fair for not only the residences and the businesses – for everybody – to keep the property tax down that will draw business in from the outside and everybody will contribute.”

'NO OBLIGATION TO SHARE'

Post then brought up the fact that Genesee County has “absolutely no obligation to share one dime of sales tax revenue with any community.”

“They are entitled to keep 100 percent of it and it is only through the strict negotiations over the last 20 years by this board and our predecessors to come to some rational agreement where the county gets what they need to sustain their operation and not defer maintenance, and the communities in the county are benefited by the apportionment of sales taxes that they are,” he explained.

He then said he believes that Genesee County probably distributes more in sales tax to its towns and villages than another other county in New York State.

“There might be one or two other counties that do a better job with sales tax distribution than Genesee County, but locally they take 10 million dollars in revenue they collect in sales tax and they give it back to the towns to subsidize town and village operations to maintain a lower (property) tax rate.”

Post then went back to the resolution to override the state property tax cap, calling it “a statement that our community has been strategic and has been looking down the road five, 10 and 15 years financially, and retained by these resolutions annually the ability to manage our assets and modify our cash flow to meet the needs of our community so that we’re not bound and restricted by New York State and prevented from maintaining infrastructure that is key to being an attractive community to developers both international site selectors and local developers.”

The board set a public hearing on the tax cap override for 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Batavia Town Hall, 3833 West Main St. Rd.

Post thanked Sutton for sharing his thoughts, adding that he is “part of this community and your job as a citizen is to participate.”

Following the meeting, Post said that although it is early in the 2022 budget process, he does not expect the town’s property tax rate to increase.

The 2021 tax rate was set at $2.85 per thousand of assessed value, meaning that a home assessed at $100,000, for example, would pay $285 in town taxes for the year. The town also imposes a fire district tax, which was $2.34 per thousand this year.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 16, 2021 - 4:30pm

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The Genesee County Legislature's Public Service Committee learned a lot about the history – and future – of the South Lyon Street bridge on Wednesday afternoon during a departmental review by Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

Because of a recent inspection by the New York State Department of Transportation that revealed two “red flags,” the one-lane truss bridge (photo at top) was closed to traffic at the end of August. And it will stay that way for about a year, said Hens at the PSC meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

“That was not a surprise to us; we’ve seen that one coming,” Hens said. “It has been like a slow motion train wreck. We had our fingers crossed that we could make it through one more season.”

Hens said a new two-lane truss bridge is on the schedule to be replaced next spring and will take several months to rebuild. It’s unfortunate as motorists hoping to get from West Main Street to South Main Street (or vice versa) will have to use either the Oak Street roundabout or the River Street bridge.

“The (recent) inspection -- it couldn’t pass the (minimum) load limit of three tons, which is about the size of an average car,” Hens said.

The bridge, which Hens said accommodated about 2,500 cars per day on average, was in bad shape with secondary girders so “rusted out that you could poke a string through them.”

Built in 1982, it did, however, last much longer than the five to 10 years that were anticipated.

Hens said the bridge was selected for federal aid in 2011 but, two years later, that funding was withdrawn. In 2014, the DOT did not accept the application to replace it. Three years later, it was resubmitted – again unsuccessfully.

In 2020, the county learned that it would be scheduled for replacement in 2023, but now, in light of the red flags, it was been moved up to 2022.

Hens said the new bridge will be a truss style, as well, wider for two lanes and including a sidewalk on the west side. It also will be turned slightly to the west for easier access from South Main Street.

Other topics in Hens’ report included funding, roads, equipment, tree removal, airport, parks, facilities, water and grants.

He reported the highway department applied for 24 bridges and culverts under the 2021 BRIDGE-NY program, using a similar strategy as in 2018 by having the county’s towns apply for structures under Genesee’s ownership and maintenance jurisdiction. This number was less than the 34 applied for 2018 because the state DOT advised the county “not to flood the application pool.”

County crews replaced bridges on Sandpit Road in Alexander, South Main Street Road in Batavia, Wortendyke Road in Batavia, Macomber Road in Batavia and Alabama, and Browns Mill Road in Bethany repaired a bridge on Francis Road in Bethany.

Currently, the bridge on Colby Road in Darien is closed for repairs.

“Colby Road was a little different,” he said, calling it the biggest surprise he has seen in his career as far as bridge inspections are concerned.

After it was red flagged in 2020 for problems at the north end of the span – closest to Route 33 -- major repairs were made. Eight months later, another inspection revealed similar issues on the south end.

“We literally went from no flags, no load restrictions to, like holy cow, we’ve got to close the bridge tomorrow because it is bad,” Hens said. “It literally rated at negative two tons; supposedly it couldn’t support anything and we had cars drive over it for two months (before closing it per DOT).”

Repairs are being made now on the north end of the bridge, said Hens, adding that it should reopen to traffic in a few weeks.

Several other bridges were or are on the federal aid replacement schedule, including Upton Road in Batavia which reopened yesterday.

Other highlights of Hens’ report are as follows:

More Highway Funding Than Expected

“Between the governor and the assembly, we got an even bigger boost in our annual CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and PAVE-NY funds,” Hens said. “At the end of the budget season, we were already probably at 160 percent of our normal funding. We got a ton of money going into the season.”

With that added funding – and despite a rainy July – the county is on pace to have all heavy roadwork done by Columbus Day, “which even in a normal year we’d be happy to be done that early,” he said.

Hens reported that more than 100 miles of the county’s 260 miles of roadway have been widened to 30 feet over the past several years and that will continue even if asphalt prices continue to climb (costs are up by about 15 percent over 2020).

Emerald Ash Borer is Creating Havoc

The emerald ash borer is a green buprestid or jewel beetle native to north-eastern Asia that feeds on ash species. Also known as EAB, it is causing severe problems in Genesee County, Hens said.

Thousands of dead ash trees throughout the county need to be removed as they are infringing upon roads and exposing the county to liability.

Hens said highway crews typically remove 160 or more trees from the right-of-way each year from November through April, but for 2022, he is asking for a year-round tree removal crew with two more motor equipment operators and two more seasonal flag persons.

County to Save on Snow and Ice Removal

Hens said recent mild winters will result in about a $175,000 savings to the county as the 2021 rate paid to the towns for snow plowing will be $5,825 per mile – down from $6,515 per mile in 2020. Salt prices remain stable at $51.29 per ton.

As far as fuel prices are concerned, diesel is up 13 percent from last year and unleaded is up 21 percent from 2020.

Airport Fuel Sales Rebound

Hens said that fuel sales at the Genesee County Airport are back on pace with 2019 figures, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic did not impact fuel sales as much as expected. Furthermore, small plane traffic has increased, keeping the waiting list for hangar space at more than 20.

A new eight-bay hangar is available for rent, he said, and reconstruction of the apron (funded by a Federal Aviation Agency grant) is anticipated for next year.

The county is seeking a grant from Upstate Aviation Economic Development and Revitalization to fund a $13 million project to build a large corporate hangar, equipment storage facility, apron and parking at the west end of Saile Drive.

“If we get that grant, just submitted today, there would be an equipment storage bay attached to that building that would be 100 percent funded,” he advised.

Genesee Justice Building Needs Much Work

The stonework at the Genesee Justice building at 14 West Main St. (in front of the county jail) needs significant restoration and safety work, Hens said, estimating the cost could reach $1 million.

The county has been unsuccessful in obtain an historic grant, but will reapply this fall, he said.

Hens also said the county is studying the best way to renovate Holland Land Office.

Water Project Entering Phase 3

With Phase 2 just about finished, the county is in the planning stage of Phase 3, which could cost up to $85 million.

He said the City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant is in need of significant infrastructure, possibly costing around $2.6 million, to keep it operational in the short term. Phase 3 eventually calls for the city to shut down the plant when it becomes a retail customer of the Monroe County Water Authority.

The county also is looking into getting water from Niagara County to help support the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing site in the Town of Alabama.

County Considers Huge Grants

Hens said the county could be in line for a $10 million federal grant for the water project if the reconciliation bill makes it through Congress.

Additionally, he called the Economic Development Administration Build Back Better Regional Challenge “a giant opportunity, potentially up to $100 million in funding for a regional project.”

“We’ve had several phone calls with the EDA regional director … and will try to schedule another Zoom call Friday to further discuss whether it is worth putting our eggs into this basket,” he said. “It’s a lot of steps (to complete the grant), but a great opportunity for us, if it’s the right fit.”

September 16, 2021 - 10:34am

The Batavia Town Board on Wednesday night voted in favor of several resolutions pertaining to the Park Road Improvement Project – a $4.3 million reconstruction of the busy street that runs between Lewiston Road (Route 63) and Oak Street (Route 98).

Approvals of resolutions by the board at its monthly meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road are as follows:

  • An amendment of a bond resolution of July 21 that increases the amount to be borrowed from $3 million to an estimated maximum cost of $4.3 million “to reflect the full nature of the costs of the project and to handle the higher than expected bids received.”

Town Supervisor Gregory Post said the issuance of serial bonds makes the most financial sense, especially since a large portion of the project cost will be reimbursed by the federal government and New York State.

“This gives us temporary cash flow to be able to pay the bills with the bond money and not having to take it from town accounts,” Post said. “Right now, we’re earning interest on 99.9 percent of the town’s money.”

  • A revised supplemental agreement with the state Department of Transportation that puts the total construction cost at $3,248,915 with the federal share at $2,599,132, the state share at $435,000 and the local share at $214,783, and to include a local share for the watermain and street lighting betterment at a total cost of $1,108,085.

Renovation of Park Road has been part of the town’s plan since December 2009, when it signed the original agreement with the DOT.

  • A contract in the amount of $4,077,000 with Concrete Applied Technologies Corp., doing business as CATCO, of Alden, as the lowest bidder as the general contractor for the project.

Work will consist of the installation of new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road overlaying of pavement and installation of sidewalks on one side of the road from Richmond Avenue to Route 98, and installation of new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

  • A contract in the amount of $11,200 with Ravi Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C., of Rochester, to assist the town in the design of the street lighting electrical system and review the estimate of the project.

The board tabled a resolution to amend an agreement with Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., raising the contribution of the parent company of Batavia Downs Gaming from $350,000 to $486,870 for enhanced aesthetics near the facility.

The resolution stipulates that WROTB make three equal yearly installments of $162,290.

Post said negotiations with WROTB are continuing.

In late August, WROTB directors approved allocating $488,000 for the enhancements due to rising costs of conduit, light fixtures and trees.

WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said he hoped to forge a contract with the Town of Batavia for Batavia Downs to maintain trees, street lights and sidewalks, and for snowplowing of that portion of the road.

In other action, the board approved:

  • A contract for $13,250 with Ciurzynski Consulting, LLC, of Attica, for architectural and engineering sub-consultant services for improvements to the Town Hall and highway garage.

Post pointed out several issues with the Town Hall, including heating/air conditioning problems and flooring and the need to reconfigure work space, and with the highway garage, including replacement of the roof and insulation to facilitate cold storage to warmer storage.

  • A contract for $9,500 with Wendel Companies of Rochester to assist in updating the town’s solar law.

Currently, the town is enforcing a moratorium on solar projects while a committee works to formulate a comprehensive solar ordinance. Chaired by Town Council member Chad Zambito, the committee is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 23.

September 15, 2021 - 9:22pm

The City of Batavia is doing all it can to “head off” the unpleasant odor that has been emanating recently from its Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is located behind the Industrial Park off Pearl Street.

With a $1 million capital project to replace the air header system at the WWTP completed, the ponds are receiving more oxygen and the “bugs” that breakdown the biological material are beginning to multiply again, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said in a response earlier today to an email from The Batavian.

“There will be a period of pond turnover where the organic material that was not broken down over the last several months is turned over or bubbles to the top of the ponds in an effort to digest it,” she wrote. “We sincerely hope that this post project period of turnover is only a short time and ponds go back to normal operations in the very near future.”

Tabelski reported that the city plans to conduct a headworks, capacity analysis and financial planning study for the WWTP and wastewater system in the near future.

The headworks is the first stage of the water treatment process. Its purpose is to remove large inorganic materials from the wastewater, with the goal to ensure the wastewater is free of toxins and debris when it reaches downstream equipment. 

The study, according to Tabelski, “will help us understand the long-term needs of the system and any other problem areas that need to be addressed so that we are operating at optimum efficiency and can continue to take waste from multiple industrial clients in the city and Town of Batavia.

Previously: Project at Batavia's Wastewater Treatment Plant is nearly complete

September 15, 2021 - 6:49pm

The Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee this afternoon responded to a call from the New York State Association of Counties to oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order forcing all healthcare workers to be vaccinated by Sept. 27 or risk losing their jobs.

The committee passed a resolution urging Hochul and new Health Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan to modify the COVID-19 mandate by providing options such as regular testing for those opting to not take the vaccine at this time. It will be presented to the entire legislature at next Wednesday’s meeting.

“This came as a result of the letter that was sent from the nine counties in the Finger Lakes Region (expressing) our concern in regards to the healthcare crisis that is facing us on September 27th,” Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said. “It was delivered to the NYSAC folks, and they sent a letter immediately but they’re asking for counties to please send resolutions urging the same.”

Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg echoed Stein’s thoughts, stating that “there will be a crisis in healthcare if all of these people who are not vaccinated are forced to resign their positions without any kind of alternative testing options.”

Stein pointed out that many healthcare facilities are closing departments as workers have already decided to quit.

“Just this week, Lewis County shut down – their hospital shut down their maternity ward, St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany is shutting down a whole wing and Wyoming County Hospital’s nursing home is looking at 50-plus people resigning over the vaccine mandate,” she said. “And the result is going to be overwhelmed hospitals and we’re going to be in a worse position than we were last March, April and May in New York State.”

Clattenburg said that the committee is encouraging other options, such as twice-a-week testing and masking -- “everything we’ve been doing in order to keep our healthcare workers working.”

Stein agreed, noting that while “everyone is encouraged to take their vaccine as a preventive … those who are not, this would at least give them an opportunity to continue in the care for our communities.”

On Aug. 28, New York 28 issued the order requiring healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes to get at least their first vaccine shot by Sept. 27. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Utica temporarily blocked the state from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated, following a lawsuit by 17 healthcare workers, who contend that not allowing religious exemptions to the mandate violated their Constitutional rights.

The state has until Sept. 22 to respond, and if it opposes the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary court order blocking the vaccine mandate, an oral hearing will take place on Sept. 28.

The Genesee County resolution stipulates that copies be sent to Hochul, Sullivan, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay and Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.

In a related development, about two dozen people -- mostly healthcare workers -- gathered at the Main and Ellicott in downtown Batavia around 6 p.m. yesterday, holding signs stating "Coercion is Not Consent" and "If it's Forced, Are we Free?" and protesting what they proclaimed is a loss of freedom. The protesters found support for their cause by passers-by honking horns and giving thumbs up.

September 15, 2021 - 9:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Darien, batavia, bergen, notify.

Brock Orion Doberstein, 28, of Cattaraugus, is charged with criminal mischief 2nd and petit larceny. Doberstein allegedly damaged a vehicle and stole its license plates on Aug. 14 while at Darien Lake. He was arraigned in Darien Town Court and released on his own recognizance.

Kyle Allen Hawley, 31, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. At approximately 3:38 a.m., Aug. 26, while at a residence on Spring Street in Bergen, Hawley allegedly overdosed on a narcotic analgesic while in the presence of a child less than 17  years old.  Hawley was reportedly revived by medics with the use of Narcan and transported to a local hospital. He was released on an appearance ticket.

September 15, 2021 - 9:22am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia, Gabe's.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post this morning contacted The Batavian, stating that he misunderstood a question regarding the possibility of a Gabe's store coming into the former Kmart building at 8363 Lewiston Rd. and that he has not been contacted by any representatives of the West Virginia-based company.

"I want to clarify as I misunderstood the question and I take responsibility for not clearly understanding the question regarding potential for the development of a Gabe's store in Batavia," he said.

"Currently, there is no knowledge nor have we been contacted by any representatives of Gabe's or affiliates of Gabe's, and the only conversations have been between developers regarding future opportunities at the Kmart site, which has been an ongoing theme for several years, especially with the impact of the Park Road reconstruction on potential outbuilds and future uses for that property."

Post went on to say there is "no indication" that Gabe's is interested, and apologized "for not clearly understanding the question presented during a conversation last evening."

Without any information confirming that Gabe's has inquired about placing a store in the Town of Batavia at this time, The Batavian has retracted the previous story.

September 14, 2021 - 2:25pm

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A man working at Western New York Concrete Corp. at 638 East Main St. died this afternoon after becoming stuck in a stone bin, Batavia Police Department Chief Shawn Heubusch reported.

"About 12:57 (p.m.), the Batavia Fire Department along with the city police department were dispatched to Western New York Concrete for a report of a male stuck in a stone bin," Heubusch said. "Upon arrival, ... the employees that were working were trying to extricate the gentleman from the stone bin. City fire made an extrication; unfortunately, the individual has passed. We're not going to be releasing the name at this point and time, pending notification of family members."

Batavia Fire Chief Dan Herberger explained that at the concrete operation, "several tons of stone dust, which is a very fine dust that is used for concrete production. It's a big hopper that's very wide at the top and narrow at the bottom."

Herberger said the stone bin, which is located in a blue building toward the back of the lot, is "an internal thing that has a belt that takes the stone dust up into where they need it to create concrete, and he fell into the hopper and was buried."

He said the cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner, who arrived on the scene shortly before 2 p.m.

The fire chief said when his crews arrived they initially assessed what type of equipment was in operation as to not endanger firefighters

"Just taking control of equipment and ... do some disassembling just to get him out," he said, adding that the victim was in the bin for about 30 minutes after the time of the call.

Herberger said this situation differed from grain bin incidents because the stone dust is much finer than grain and "is very heavy."

He said all city firefighters on duty responded to the scene while another platoon was called into to cover fire headquarters. Heubusch said several police officers were at the scene as well as detectives who will be taking statements and assisting the fire department in the investigation.

"Our thoughts go out to the families and the employees here at WNY Concrete," he said. "They did make an attempt at a rescue to save this gentlemen, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."

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Police Chief Shawn Heubusch and Fire Chief Dan Herberger.

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City Fire Lt. Dave Green

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Photos by Jim Burns

September 14, 2021 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Western New York Concrete, batavia, news, notify.

Emergency responders are on scene at Western New York Concrete, 638 East Main St., Batavia, for a man stuck in a stone bin.

City Fire, Mercy EMS and Batavia PD have responded.

Mercy Flight is on ground standby.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments, Council passed the following resolutions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quality of Life Has Diminished

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said he ran downstairs and out the door.

Threats Aimed at Couple

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice is to Keep Calling the Police

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

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

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

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

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

Sixth Ward Council Member: It's Outrageous

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

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

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

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

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

Police Chief: Charges are Pending

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jankowski: Something will Come to Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muckdogs Make Winning Debut

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

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

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

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

Audit: City at ‘Healthy, Stable Position’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tabelski: Move $761,000 to Reserve Funds

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

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

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

The recommended transfers are as follows:

  • Police Reserve, $50,000, primarily to replace patrol and detective vehicles on an annual basis, with two vehicles to be replaced next year.
  • DPW Equipment Reserve, $100,000, raising the fund to $437,225, with the goal to replace three dump trucks/plows, six sedans, four pickup trucks with plows and a one-ton dump truck by the end of 2025.
  • Facilities Reserve, $136,000, considering work on multiple proposed projects, such as the new police station, improvements at the fire station, Bureau of Maintenance, City Centre and other buildings.
  • Compensated Absences, $75,000, noting the city’s liability in this area is $1.94 million, with nearly $200,000 due within a year, and also that three pending retirements will affect the general fund by nearly $100,000.
  • Parking Lot, $100,000, with an eye on repaving, by 2025, lots on Williams Street, Court Street Plaza and Bureau of Maintenance
  • Health Care Fund Reserve, $250,000, to build back funds spent over the last two years. As of March 31, the fund had $10,155.47 in restricted reserves and $13,863.08 in assigned fund balance.
  • Workers’ Compensation Fund Reserve, $50,000, with the goal of reaching $1 million in the fund’s restricted reserve. As of March 31, the WC fund had $580,424.34 of restricted reserves and $485,111.13 in assigned fund balance.
September 11, 2021 - 4:26pm

The Caledonia-Mumford/Byron-Bergen Red Raiders dominated on both sides of the ball this afternoon, blanking host Notre Dame, 36-0, in varsity football action.

Senior quarterback Kyle Wade and senior receiver Scott Essig led the way with Wade passing for three touchdowns – two of them in the first half to Essig, who also scored on an interception as the visitors led 22-0 at intermission.

Both teams are 1-1.

After stopping the Fighting Irish on a fourth down play at the ND 29, Cal-Mum/B-B took a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Wade found Essig from 11 yards out. Senior running back Jacob Cappotelli ran it in for the two-point conversion.

The visitors went up 14-0 late in the quarter when Essig intercepted a pass in the end zone by ND quarterback Jimmy Fanara, who was chased out of the pocket and attempted to throw the ball away.

Cal-Mum/B-B scored again in the second quarter, this time on a 33-yard pass from Wade to Essig on a fourth-and-11 play, capping a 77-yard drive. Cappotelli’s run made it 22-0 at the half.

ND was held to just one first down in the opening half, that coming in the final minute.

In the second half, Wade tossed a 29-yard TD strike to tight end Mark Poles-Harrison in the third quarter – sophomore Anthony Leach tallied the two-point conversion – and junior David Bromsted scampered into the end zone from 17 yards out in the fourth period to round out the scoring. Bromsted also had an interception for the Red Raiders.

Cappotelli ran the ball 20 times for 97 yards and Wade’s three completions in five attempts all went for touchdowns. Cal-Mum/BB outgained Notre Dame, 221-89.

For the Irish, George Woodruff (19 tackles), Drew Edwards (18 tackles) and Vin DiRisio (13 tackles) were defensive stalwarts. Ryan Fitzpatrick came up with an interception on a pass that was deflected by DiRisio.

For the game, Cal-Mum/B-B had 16 first downs to Notre Dame’s three. Bryceton Berry’s 20-yard run in the fourth quarter was ND’s longest play of the day.

September 11, 2021 - 12:01pm

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

Here are their speeches:

Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lt. Dave Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 11, 2021 - 11:27am

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

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

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

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

Assemblyman Steven Hawley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most of all, they deserve our gratitude and respect.

Max Sernoffsky, VFW Post 1602 member

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councilmember-At-Large Robert Bialkowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VFW Post 1602 Junior Vice Commander John Woodworth Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My final words for September 11th are this:

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

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

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

September 11, 2021 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Le Roy, Darien, notify.

Dean M. Conboy, Sr., is indicted on two counts of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, two counts of menacing a police officer, attempted assault in the second degree, unlawful imprisonment in the first degree, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, resisting arrest, and menacing in the second degree.  On June 11, 2021, Conboy allegedly threatened police officers and intended to cause serious injury to police officers using a dangerous instrument. He also allegedly restained another person and exposed that person to the risk of serious physical injury. He allegedly possessed a knife during these incidents.

Andrew C. Aldrow is indicted on counts of felony DWI, refusal to submit to a breath test, consumption of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle, and moving from lane unsafely. Aldrow was stopped on Feb. 26 in  the Town of Le Roy.

Stephen L. Hegel is indicted on two counts of grand larceny in the third degree and one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree. On Oct. 8, in the City of Batavia, Hegel allegedly stole property with more than $3,000.  On Oct. 22,  he allegedly stole property with a value of more than $1,000. On Oct. 14, he allegedly stole property valued at more than $3,000.

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