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Hawley votes yes on bill requiring residential healthcare facilities to be more proactive in pandemics

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley voted "yes" on a bill that proposes residential healthcare facilities be more proactive and responsible when dealing with pandemics moving forward.

The regulations will be reviewed and enforced by the state Department of Health. Hawley’s "yes" vote was made the night of May 27, with the bill being passed by the Assembly that same night.

“This pandemic has taught us much; one of the unfortunate lessons we have learned is that the health and well-being of our senior citizens is sometimes squandered by unprofessional and irresponsible senior living facilities,” Hawley said.

“With this bill being passed, it looks likely that the sins of yesterday committed by both the managers of these facilities and the state government through their inaction will begin to be redeemed, one step at a time.”

Assembly Bill A10394, introduced on May 27, was drafted and developed in response to the staggering loss of life throughout senior care communities across all New York State. It determines what bodies of government can be authorized to intervene in cases where quality of life standards are not stringent enough.

The bill requires the following:

  • Residential health care facilities must submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the commissioner of health;
  • Requires such plan to include a communication plan with families, and plans to protect staff, residents and families against infection;
  • And plans to preserve a resident's place at the facility if he or she is hospitalized.

UPDATED: Ongoing food drives planned in Batavia during pandemic as need soars

By Billie Owens

*UPDATE 11:15 a.m., Saturday, April 18: Todd Rapp, local coordinator of Emergency Disaster Services for The Salvation Army, clarified this press release today by saying there should only be one PERSON per household in a vehicle when picking up donated food. You must provide ID. If the driver is picking up food for another household, too, the driver must present an ID for that head of houehold as well.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Salvation Army of Batavia usually helps two to three families obtain meals, three times a week. Currently they are caring for 25-40 families. Their supplies are exhausted.

Northgate Free Methodist Church will be hosting a food drive to support The Salvation Army each Monday during "New York on PAUSE." Please drop off food donations at Northgate North Campus (8160 Bank Street Road), Mondays during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Salvation Army is also continuing to accept donations at their headquarters at 529 E. Main St. in Batavia on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Salvation Army NEEDS:

  • Canned meats
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Soups and chili in cans
  • Pastas and pasta sauce
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Breakfast items
  • Snack items for kids
  • Shelf-stable milk

There will be volunteers available to unload items from your vehicle, and safety precautions will be made to maintain social distancing.

Wednesday, April 22, beginning at 9 a.m., The Salvation Army, along with FoodLink, will oversee a “Pop-up” Mobile pantry at Northgate (8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia).

This will be done as a “drive thru” distribution to insure social distancing and proper hygiene.

Residents are asked to pull into the church lot and go around the back of the building via the north side. You will be required to show a valid form of ID to show residency and FoodLink is requesting ONE family person per vehicle.*

Volunteers kindly ask that your vehicle's trunk, cargo area or truck bed is empty, as they will not be permitted to rearrange items for you.

Pull up to the pallets and volunteers will load the items for you. This will continue until all the food is gone.

Please arrive no earlier than 9 a.m.

For more information, please visit or call (585) 343-4011.

In a time where we are being asked to remain apart, let’s do what we can to help those who are in need right now. 

Pandemic inspires Clancy family to award 10 additional nursing scholarships at GCC

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many across the world requiring every qualified medical professional to assist with this crisis. Despite the negativity and disruption to daily work and routines, many acts of kindness and generosity have bonded citizens and rekindled devotion to saving lives and minimizing pain or discomfort.

This ripple effect has also made its way to Genesee Community College. In the most difficult times, Antoinette and Emmett Clancy reached out to bear wonderful news.

The Clancy's contacted Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Jennifer Wakefield, inspired by news stories of selfless medical professionals aiding patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They recounted one emotional story in particular, at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey last week, when an unidentified man held up a sign to the hospital window thanking medical staff for saving his wife's life.

"And this is why we love what we do as nurses," Antoinette (née Marchese) Clancy said, "directly helping others and making their lives better."

The Clancy's have decided to award an additional 10 scholarships for the 2020/2021 academic year to support second year nursing students who have exhibited dedication and excellence in their first year of study, and promise to continue this distinction in their second year.

"Nurses are the backbone of the medical system. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no better time to recognize nurses and their role in the system," Clancy said.

"Because of the Clancy Family's generosity and love for Genesee Community College and the community in which they were raised, they recognized the need to continue assisting nursing students to complete their education," James M. Sunser, Ed.D., president of Genesee Community College said.

"The increased number of scholarships will not only help in the fight against COVID-19, but will help increase the number of skilled rural nurses in Western New York which we so desperately need."

Last fall, the Antoinette Marchese Clancy Scholarship Fund was established through a generous gift from the Clancy family and recognizes Antoinette, GCC Class of 1974.

Each year going forward, this scholarship will support several second-year GCC nursing students who are academically in the upper third of the class and have illustrated excellence in their clinical performance.

Antoinette Marchese grew up in Batavia and in 1970 graduated from Notre Dame High School where she had met her husband, Emmett Clancy. After working as a nurse's aide at St. Jerome's Hospital, she enrolled at D'Youville College, but transferred and graduated from GCC in 1974 earning the Nursing Excellence Award, an honor that is still very important to her.

The Clancy family, now residing in California, has grown to include five children and 11 grandchildren throughout their 45-year marriage.

The formal recognition reception with the Clancy's in attendance was scheduled next month on May 14. Their visit was to be a highlight of the 50th Anniversary of GCC's Nursing Program and the annual nursing graduation ceremony. The ceremony will be postponed to May 2021.

"Just as the Olympics have been postponed until 2021, so has celebrating the 50th Golden Anniversary of Genesee Community College's Antoinette Marchese Clancy School of Nursing. We will celebrate the 2020 milestone and the success of the program in May 2021," Emmett Clancy said.

Unvanquished: Local author pens fictional eulogy for Elba's Stumblin' Inn

By Billie Owens

A Batavia author has penned a paean to The Stumblin' Inn in Elba, the storied landmark that burned down two years ago this summer.

Daniel J. Crofts was to speak at the Holland Land Office Museum April 23 about his fictional short story "Ignis Invictus,* a Eulogy for the Stumblin' Inn" as participants noshed pastries and sipped hot coffee during the kaffeeklatsch known as Java with Joe E., cancelled because of coronavirus, naturally.

"I worked in Elba for a little over five years, and had passed by the Inn every day," Crofts said in a recent email. "But it wasn't until reading The Batavian's coverage following the July 2018 fire that I learned just how important it had been to the Elba community.

"I have always been interested in storytelling, and felt that a short story that would function as a sort of memorial for the Stumblin' Inn would be appropriate and, perhaps, welcomed."

Crofts said his tale is about a man from out of the area who drives into Elba, sees the wreck of the Stumblin' Inn (after the fire had occurred but before the debris was cleared), and treats it disrespectfully.

Then he meets a mysterious, supernatural guide (like the ghosts of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," or Virgil from Dante's "The Divine Comedy") who takes him on a journey through the history of the Stumblin' Inn, its predecessors, and Elba in general (insofar as it is relevant to the Inn).

Of course, Crofts' book ($10.50) is stocked at the Holland Land Office Museum, which is temporarily closed because of the pandemic.

HLOM Offers Online Book Sales

It is among a number of intriguing titles in the HLOM bookstore inventory, which are available for purchase online.

Also on the list: "The Story of the Muck as Told By Those Who Worked There," ($12) written by the late William F. Brown Jr., and researched by Anne Marie Starowitz; and "Up South -- Folk Stories Whispered on the Summer Wind and Seen Through the Green Leaves" ($24.99), by Lynda Breckenridge Gaetano; and "Transfiguration and Hope -- A Conversation About Time and Hope" ($21.99) by D. Gregory Van Dussen, about spiritual journeys infinite and eternal, and the power of grace.

There are battlefield maps for purchase and titles about wars and veterans, baseball, the Erie Canal, Buffalo gangsters, Native Americans and pioneers, railroads, Genesee County architecture, haunted places, leading citizens, lore, and WNY amusement park rides.

A tiny brass cannon collectible can be had 10 bucks. It spurs remembrance of the actual cannons that stood outside the museum for more than a century. Last November, those were carefully dismantled and sent to Altoona, Pa., for a $20,000 period-accurate restoration, half paid by the museum and half through funds from an ongoing fundraising campaign called "Ready. Aim. Donate."

And if you need some soap to wash your hands good and clean of COVID-19, the bookstore's online inventory also lists prettily wrapped, handmade goat's milk soap, three cakes for $12, with fragrances such as green tea, rose hip, and lavender mint.

Meanwhile, HLOM is using this time of closure to take stock of its operation and programs and is asking people to complete a survey to help them better serve the community.

(Ignis Invictus is Latin for: Fire or Passion + Invincible or Undefeated, etc.)

Editor's Note: Below is a YouTube video of the Stumblin' Inn fire July 8, 2018, by Elba resident Lucine Kauffman, along with our news partner WBTA:

Also, video of the cannons being loaded for their restoration trip.

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Ranzenhofer: More residents and small business owners eligible for NYS unemployment aid due to COVID-19

By Billie Owens

From Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer:

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has severely damaged many small businesses and left thousands of hardworking Western New Yorkers unemployed. As your State Senator, I am working to provide critical support to employees who are out of work and struggling small businesses. 

Recent changes have been made to the New York State Unemployment Assistance Program as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, more residents -- including some small business owners -- are eligible for benefits.

Below is information that may be helpful in answering any questions you may have.

​In addition, the state is waiving the seven day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.  

Those who need to apply for unemployment can do so here.

Please continue to check my website,, or connect with me on facebook for the latest updates regarding the resources available to employees and employers.

Pembroke school district staff plans drive-by parade Friday during pandemic

By Billie Owens

Greg Kinal, Pembroke Teachers Association president, has put out a letter to the Pembroke school community calling for a "Thinking of You" drive-by parade along a route now being planned. Participants are to assemble in the Pembroke High School parking lot at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 3.

Here's the letter:

Dear Pembroke School Community:

As we continue with this terrible event in our lives, I thought it would be nice to take a break, have some fun, boost some spirits, and come together (separately) as a school community and tell this great school district how much they mean to us.

Therefore, the PTF would like to invite everyone to join us in a “WE’RE THINKING OF YOU” parade this Friday, April 3.

We will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the High School parking lot to get organized. The PTF will have washable markers for you to write on your back windows or you can make your own signs. At 1:00 we begin with Officer Reeves leading the way with lights blazing. The route will be established by Donna Hackett and we are planning on arriving back at school around 3:00.

The PTF has invited the SRP (School-Related Professionals) union to join us and I have been told that a number of empty buses will be in our parade. I have been informed that the fire companies will be represented. We would also consider it an honor to have our administrators with us as well as the whole school community.

Please keep in mind that:

  • At all times we must keep the 6 foot distance between us.
  • Everyone will be in their own cars, so invite any family member to join you. 
  • Please use the bathroom prior to coming to school, as entering the building would be counterproductive to distancing.
  • If you have masks, wear them.
  • Patrick will speak to all of us in the parking lot prior to leaving so we know what his plan is to keep us all together.
  • We will announcing this event on Facebook, Twitter and other venues so families are aware of the parade.

PTF members who plan on attending please email your building reps who will then pass the numbers along to me. SRP’s please contact Cheryl who will also pass the number to me. Administration and all others please make your intentions known by emailing me. If we could all do this by Thursday, April 2, that would be appreciated and once Patrick has the number he will have ample time to assess his traffic plan. 

On a personal note, my wife, who has been really Roswell (-bound) and housebound for months will be joining us.

With great respect to you and I hope to see everyone on Friday.

Questions? Email me.


As they say, 'no farms, no food' -- It's National Ag Day

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today (March 24) regarding National Agriculture Day and President Donald J. Trump’s Proclamation recognizing the importance of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers:

“Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers in America are feeding and clothing the world," Secretary Perdue said. "Now more than ever it’s important that the American people not forget that. Our farmers are resilient, and during these uncertain times they are still working, day in and day out, to produce what’s needed for our growing population.

"Today, on National Ag Day, I challenge the American public to keep our farmers, ranchers and producers on their minds – for all their work to provide us a safe, healthy and abundant food supply. We owe them a debt of gratitude.”

View U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue's brief speech about today:

Town of Bergen's office policies effective tomorrow until further notice

By Billie Owens

Town of Bergen Office Policies until further notice

Following orders issued by Governor Cuomo’s Office beginning Wednesday, March 18th the Town of Bergen Office’s will be CLOSED to the public until further notice.

If absolutely necessary, appointments can be made by calling the offices. Essential employees will be in their office to check mail and email but will work limited office hours.

Town Clerk, 585-494-1121, ext. 21,

Any tax payments or dog licenses can be mailed, left in the outside drop box or with a credit card over the phone. Receipts will be mailed back to you.

If you need to renew a handicap permit, please call and one can be mailed out to you.

Town Assessor,  Rhonda Saulsbury 585-343-1729, ext. 207,

Building and Zoning, Dave Mason 585-861-0728,

Permits will still be issued but please call for an appointment.

Town Court, all calls directed through the Genesee County Court Offices -- 585-201-5715. Town Court will be CLOSED until further notice per NYS Unified Court System. Please call with questions.

Highway Superintendent, Mike Johnson 585-494-1362

Transfer Station - will be open Saturdays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  -- call the clerk’s office for assistance with bags or tags

Town Supervisor, Ernest Haywood 585-494-1121, ext. 22,

Please call with questions, concerns, or for an appointment.

The following meetings are cancelled:

  • Planning Board Meeting on March 26th
  • and Town Board Meeting on March 24th

Another reminder, the Burning Ban is in effect from March 15th to May 15th.

Ernest Haywood, Town of Bergen, Town Supervisor

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