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Bureau of Inspection focuses on Code Enforcement

By Press Release

Press Release:

   The condition of buildings and land in the City of Batavia plays a vital role in the quality of life enjoyed by the City's residents, merchants and visitors. Enforcement of the Municipal Property and Zoning Codes ensures that each property meets required standards. The Municipal Property and Zoning Codes protect the health, safety and welfare of those who live, work and visit the City, and conserves the value of the property and neighboring properties. It also conserves the value of the property and neighboring properties.

   The City of Batavia has a total of 4,460 residential structures, 514 commercial structures, and 34 Industrial structures. The condition and maintenance of these existing structures as well as the safe and code compliant construction of new buildings plays a vital role in the success of our businesses and City.  In order to preserve these structure and enhance neighborhoods, the Bureau of Inspection conducts property and building code inspections and code enforcement activity.

  “It is important that residents understand the role inspections plays here in Batavia, “ said Jill Wiedrick, Assistant City Manager. “Residents in Batavia seek a high quality of life in an aesthetically pleasing environment and are affected by what they see when they open their door every day. The Bureau of Inspection’s mission is to ensure a City where all residents have a clean, safe environment to live, work and play.”

  The goal of the Bureau of Inspection is to achieve timely voluntary compliance of code violations. Code Enforcement Officers balance the goal of gaining voluntary compliance with ensuring the health and safety of our residents. They attempt to minimize the negative impact violations such as peeling paint, missing roof shingles, vehicles parked on lawns, trash, debris, and high grass have on neighborhoods.

Code Enforcement Officers follow a scripted process when inspecting structures and enforcing the Code.

Step One: Inspection:

An inspection is conducted by a Code Enforcement Officer on the basis of a complaint, neighborhood survey, or a referral.  The primary focus of these inspections are on health, safety and removal of blight.  If violations are present, a Notice and Order citation is issued to the owner requiring correction.

Step Two: Re-inspection:

The Code Enforcement Officer re-inspects a cited property.  If the owner does not comply with the Notice and Order citation, the case will be prepared for the court process.

Genesee County will participate in Stop DWI Holiday Season "High Visability Engagement" campaign

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of LeRoy Police Department will be participating in a coordinated effort with the STOP-DWI program to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving. Law enforcement officers across New York State and STOP-DWI programs will be participating in special engagement efforts to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI High Visibility Engagement Campaign start on Friday, December 17, 2021 and will end on Saturday, January 1, 2022. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI High Visibility Engagement Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Remember: Impaired driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning. If you are impaired by drugs or alcohol and thinking about driving, pass your keys on to a sober driver. Have a very safe & Happy Holiday season.

Government and fire officials urge caution when handling sparkling devices this Fourth of July weekend

By Press Release

Press release:

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services urges caution when handling sparkling devices during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

All other types of consumer fireworks remain illegal statewide, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners, and aerial devices.

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and State Office of Fire Prevention and Control today urged New Yorkers to handle sparkling devices responsibly when celebrating the Fourth of July.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates approximately 10,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks in 2019. Almost three-quarter of injuries occurred during a one-month period around the Fourth of July.

“When joining with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our great nation this year, I urge all New Yorkers to handle sparkling devices carefully since mishandling these devices can cause significant burn injuries,” said New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy.

“Remember it is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to use sparkling devices.”

New York State Law allows for the sale and use of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as sparkling devices. Legal ground-based or handheld sparkling devices produce a shower of colored sparks or a colored flame, audible crackling, or whistling noise and smoke. The devices do not launch into the air.

Sparkling devices are legal in all New York State counties except Albany, Columbia, Schenectady, and Westchester, some cities in Orange County (see local laws), all five boroughs of New York City, and Long Island.

All other types of consumer fireworks, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners, and aerial devices, remain illegal statewide.

“As with any device which purposely emits live sparks and fire, it should be easy to understand the need for extra caution when handling sparkling devices,” said Acting State Fire Administrator James Cable. “Be sure to obtain all such devices legally and follow all safety instructions which come with the packaging to ensure loved ones and neighbors stay injury-free throughout the holiday.

"Have fun, but please be mindful of your own and others’ safety when using sparkling devices.”

Sales of sparkling devices by certified permanent and specialty retailers can only occur from June 1 to July 5 and Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Sales of sparkling devices by certified temporary stands or tents can only occur from June 20 to July 5 and Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

Sellers, manufacturers, and distributors of sparkling devices must apply for a license from the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control and follow other rules and conditions.

Registered sparkling device vendors (four) in Genesee County are listed below:

  • Tops Market LLC, 128 W. Main St., Le Roy, NY 14482
  • Tops Market LLC, 390 W. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020
  • Keystone Novelties Distributors LLC, 125 W. Main St., Le Roy, NY 14482 -- Temporary Retailer
  • Keystone Novelties Distributors LLC, C Store, 8073 Clinton St., Bergen, NY 14416 -- Temporary Retailer

​To see the entire NYS list, click here (pdf).

If sparkling devices are legal to purchase in your county, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control offers the following safety tips:

  • Purchase sparkling and novelty devices from New York State registered retailers only;
  • Always follow directions located on the packaging;
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparkling devices. It is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to use sparkling devices;
  • Never use sparkling devices indoors. All sparkling devices are for outdoor use only;
  • Always wear eye protection when using sparkling devices;
  • Never light more than one sparkling device at a time;
  • Never point a sparkling device tube toward anyone or any part of your body;
  • Keep sparkling and novelty devices in a safe secure location when not in use;
  • Never use sparkling devices when under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Always keep an approved fire extinguisher nearby during a display. Douse malfunctioning and spent devices with water before discarding to prevent a fire;
  • Store sparkling devices in a safe location away from young children;
  • Keep unused sparkling devices dry and away from ignition sources.

For more information on the sale and use of sparkling devices in New York State, visit the Office of Fire Prevention and Control website.

As we approach the July Fourth Independence Day Holiday, Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano of the City of Batavia Fire Department would like to remind residents that: “We want to ensure that our residents enjoy the holiday in a safe and responsible manner. It is important to take the necessary fire safety precautionary steps when using these devices.”

If any resident has questions regarding what is allowable or would like information regarding safety precautions, they can call the City of Batavia Fire Headquarters at (585) 345-6375.

“We see a steady increase in calls for service this time of year for fireworks related complaints,” said Police Chief Shawn Heubusch. “Residents are cautioned that if fireworks are purchased out of state or over the internet and do not meet the definition of sparkling device, they are not only illegal, but are dangerous. We want to ensure that everyone has a safe and happy July Fourth Holiday.”

GOW highway officials offer tips and safety reminders for wintertime driving and plowing

By Press Release

From GOW highway officials:

Now that winter is fully upon us, it is important to be reminded of a few things in regards to snow removal and winter driving.

1.) During and after snow events, highway agencies, in the course of plowing, receive phone calls regarding damage to mailboxes, either from snowplows directly or from the force of snow being thrown by plows. If such damage is indeed caused by snow removal, it is not done intentionally. It is, however, an unfortunate consequence of snow removal.

As far as the particular agencies replacing damaged mailboxes, it must be pointed out that there is no statutory or legal authority requiring them to do so. In fact, under Section 319 of the New York State Highway Law, mailboxes are considered highway obstructions and are only “allowed” in the right-of-way as a convenience to the owner as it is understood they are required for mail delivery.

Additionally, an opinion issued by the Attorney General on Feb. 28, 1966 stated, “When the necessity of keeping the highway open conflicts with an individual’s reception of the mail, the later must stand aside.” Highway crews do their best to avoid mailboxes, but often times visibility, oncoming traffic and heavy snow work against them.

The best method to protect your mailbox during the winter months is to ensure it is properly attached to the post and to keep the mailbox assembly simple to limit impact surface area for plowed snow.

2.) Over the last few years, the practice of plowing or depositing snow from private driveways or private property onto the highway has increased significantly, especially after roadways are cleared and snow has been pushed back behind the shoulders by highway agencies. 

This is a dangerous practice and it is strictly prohibited under Section 1219 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and Section 214 of the New York State Highway Law.

Depositing snow or ice onto the roadway or shoulder may result in a serious accident and the person or persons responsible may be liable to a fine of $1000.00 per day, per occurrence for each day the occurrence remains uncorrected. Police agencies and highway agencies will usually issue written warnings prior to issuing tickets.

3.) “Slick Roads Cause Accident” is often a frequent newspaper headline during in the winter months. The truth is that slick roads may contribute to an accident but they are not the sole cause of accidents. Accidents are generally caused by drivers who fail to drive appropriately for winter conditions.

Sections 1180(a) and 1180(e) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law state, “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” Accepted safe winter driving practices include, but are not limited to, slower driving, increased braking distance, and increased vehicle separation.

Following these guidelines will significantly reduce your chances of being involved in an accident on slick roads.

4.) Highway agencies spend a considerable amount of tax money to ensure the roads are cleared in an efficient manner after snow and ice events.  Snow removal efforts do not guarantee bare or dry roads. The cost to provide these conditions would far outstrip what most taxpayers would be willing to pay.

Even when bare roads can be obtained, weather conditions such as wind and rapidly dropping temperatures can alter highway conditions dramatically from one area to the next. The best course of action for anyone traveling during the winter months is to adjust your driving to meet the conditions present.

5.) Highway agencies have contingency plans in place to handle employee illness and quarantine due to COVID-19, however, if the virus becomes more widespread than current conditions, there is a significant likelihood that plowing capability will be impacted.

This may result in fewer plows on the road and as a result longer routes and longer cycle times. Please be patient. Roads will be plowed, but levels of service may vary from previous years. 

Please drive safe, be patient and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Timothy J. Hens, PE, Genesee County Superintendent of Highways, Genesee County -- Town Highway Superintendents Association

Todd M. Gadd, PE, Wyoming County Superintendent of Highways, Wyoming County -- Town Highway Superintendents Association

John M. Papponetti, PE, Orleans County Commissioner of Public Works, Orleans County -- Town Highway Superintendents Association

Fire department: 'Change time on Sunday along with smoke and CO detector batteries'

By Billie Owens

Press release from City of Batavia Fire Department:

Remember that as you change your clocks ahead on Sunday, March 8, it’s the perfect time to change the batteries in home smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors, as well.

Even “hard-wired” smoke detectors that are plugged in to the home’s electrical supply typically have a nine-volt backup battery to keep the detectors operating in case of a power outage. Often they will “chirp” when the batteries are dying – that means to change the batteries don’t disconnect or disable the devices!

While changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, make sure to test the audible alarm by pushing the button; check that the vents are clean and not clogged with dust; and check the manufacture date. Typically, detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

At least one smoke alarm should be placed on every level of the home. The most important location is near the bedrooms to provide an early warning to all sleeping occupants. A smoke alarm should also be placed inside every bedroom. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly install a smoke alarm.

Smoke detectors, plain and simply, save lives. Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. Most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not as a result of burns. Most deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen at night while the victims are asleep. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in the home are considered one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire.

In addition to changing your smoke alarm batteries this weekend the City of Batavia Fire Department recommends following these simple steps to protect your life, your loved ones and your home:

  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries;
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button;
  • Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested;
  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

Finally, prepare and practice an escape plan so that you and your loved ones can get out of your home safely should there be a fire. Plan to meet in a place a safe distance from the fire and where first responders can easily see you.

The City of Batavia Fire Department has a free smoke alarm and battery installation program. For information about the free smoke alarm and battery installation program, City of Batavia residents should contact the City of Batavia Fire Department at (585) 345-6375.

Reminder: Keep furnace vents clear of snow

By Howard B. Owens

With the snow piling up and more coming, Joe Bradt sends in this photo and a timely reminder: Keep your furnace vents clear of snow.

A plugged intake or vent can lead to furnace malfunction and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Rome Sentinel has a related story.

Motorcycle safety instructor says it's time for riders to brush up their own skills

By Howard B. Owens

It's spring. It's traditional each spring to remind car drivers in WNY that motorcyclists are going to be out on the road again.

Look for them.

But a big part of Jon DelVecchio's message to motorcycle riders is you're the one most responsible for your own safety.

Yes, drivers of four-wheeled boxes need watch the roadways better, but there are things that alert and trained motorcycle riders can do to avoid crashes, even when confronted with the most inattentive drivers.

"Riding a motorcycle takes years of practice and effort to master," said DelVecchio, who will be teaching a motorcycle safety course at Stan's Harley Davidson at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 26. "You have to do something to improve your skills every year. A lot of people say, 'I'm going to go out, hope for the best. Those damn car drivers. It's always their fault.' "

DelVecchio, a Churchville resident, is a certified Motorcycle Safety Instructor who teaches the basic licensing course at Learn to Ride in Rochester. He's also started his own motorcycle safety business, Street Skills. He writes articles, produces videos and podcasts and sells a deck of flash cards riders can use to brush up on their skills each spring.

Too often, he said, riders take the basic riding course, pass the test, get their license and they think they're ready to ride. They never take another course, read a book or even watch a training video.

He doesn't take credit for the saying, but somebody once said that the typical motorcycle rider who has been riding for 10 years really only has one year of experience. They just keep repeating the first year over and over and over.

"Your skills are never fully mastered and in the spring you're off your game, so do something different this season," DelVecchio said. "Take a class. Read a book. Do something to improve skills, not just this year, but every year."

DelVecchio started riding in 2001. He had a wife and two toddlers, plus he taught driver's ed at Rush Henrietta High School, so he already took safety seriously (he's also a business teacher at RHHS). By 2007, he was offered a chance to teach at Learn to Ride and found that teaching motorcycle safety combined his two biggest passion -- teaching and riding.

During this time, he also formed a group through of riders who shared a love of bikes, but also took their skills seriously. They ride together regularly and take trips together throughout the Northeast.

He's found riders have varied attitudes toward bike safety. There are the riders who get big bikes, like to ride without helmets or only with small helmets, and combine riding with maybe a few beers along the way, then there's the younger riders who get fast bikes, ride them fast and take risks.

DelVecchio was careful to not criticize either kind of rider. "To each his own," he indicated, but he would clearly like to see all riders take to improving their motorcycle skills more seriously.

The most common kind of motorcycle accident is the car turning left in front of an oncoming motorbike.

Drivers are reminded constantly this time of year to look twice, take extra care, but even that isn't enough, DelVecchio said.

Riders need to be aware that even careful drivers are going to have a hard time seeing you and if they do, it is difficult for drivers to gauge a motorcycle's speed and distance.

A video on YouTube demonstrates how a motorcycle coming down the road looks small in the distance and continues to look small to the driver until suddenly it looks very big. A bike and rider also have a greater likelihood than a car of blending into the background.

Motorcyclists need to be acutely aware of these visual impairments for drivers and either weave in their lane of traffic when approaching an intersection with a car present (making themselves more visible) or take other defensive driving action.

The second most common type of motorcycle accident involve riders coming into curves. They might be going too fast (relative to skills and experience) or they might not be familiar with the curve, or they might hit a substance on the roadway. The less experienced or knowledgeable a rider, the less aware they are of how to handle turns.

Turning a bike involves something called a countersteering. With a four-wheel or three-wheel vehicle, if a driver wants to go right, he or she turns right. Go left, turn left. But on a two-wheel vehicle, a rider who wants to go right needs to turn the front wheel to the left slightly and then lean into the turn.

Most of the time, riders do this instinctively, but when confronted with a new circumstance, the rider might pull the wheel in the wrong direction causing the rider to be ejected.

That's one reason extra training, knowledge and experience are so important for riders, DelVecchio said.

While acknowledging that helmets are controversial in the motorcycle community, DelVecchio believes riders should wear them, even full-face helmets, which offer the most protection.

He said he often tells his students that if they could talk to a person who was killed or suffered a serious head injury in a motorcycle accident, how do you think that rider would answer a question about going back in time and wearing a helmet.

"If you could rewind the clock and crash again but with the helmet, how many people out of 100 do you think would actually say, 'no I want to crash again without the helmet.' Right? None," DelVecchio said.

The point is he said, "is how do you know when you're going to crash?"

That said, he isn't in favor of forcing anybody to wear a helmet.

"I'm conservative. I'm tired of the government trying to tell me how to do things, but in that conservative view, I think if a crusty old rider, who has 10, 20 years experience, wants to go riding without a lid and he knows the risk, to me, OK, knock yourself out," DelVecchio said. "But there are so many new riders out there (riding without a helmet)."

As for beer and biking, DelVecchio doesn't do it himself.

"I love a beer, but when I ride, I never even have one," DelVecchio said. "It could be that little edge I give up."

DelVecchio's last bit of advise for riders: Be nice. Riders who are rude just make car drivers care less about the safety of other riders.

"If somebody's a real jerk, they've got a real loud bike and they're doing a wheelie next to a car, that person is not going to necessarily be punished for that wheelie or loud bike," DelVecchio said. "It's the next person on a bike who comes to the intersection where the other driver thinks, 'they don't care about their safety and I'm going to worry about him.' They're not going to purposefully gun for him, but they're going to think he dosen't care about his safety and he's obnoxious and discount him a little more."

DelVecchio also sells flash cards for beginning car drivers on his Web site. The seminar at Stan's, located at 4425 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia, is free and open to all riders.

Photo: DelVecchio on the front bike. Behind him are his friends, from left, Lennie Rugg, Paul Hendel, Matt Ostrowski and Gene Rinas. The riders meet regularly at the Leaf & Bean in Chili Center, which is owned by Bergen resident (and a motorcycle enthusiast himself) Bill Scharvogel.

Photo: A reminder about motorcycle safety on local roadways

By Howard B. Owens

Meet Trooper Mike Niezgoda, who is part of the State Police motorcycle detail out of Clarence.

Trooper Niezgoda was nice enough to meet me one day out in Pembroke for a photo and an interview to coincide with Motorcycle Safety Month. It was a great interview. Unfortunately, my recorder failed me and the interview was lost.

We've tried to arrange a follow-up phone interview, but it hasn't quite come together.

But it's still an important public service message: Be careful out there.

Car drivers, be aware that you share the road with two-wheeled friends. 

One thing Niezgoda emphasized is "look twice." Most car-motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because drivers simply don't see the approaching motorcycle so they pull out into traffic, especially when making turns.

Drivers need to be careful about following too closely behind motorcycles. Hitting a bike from the rear can be fatal for the rider, even if the speeds would have resulted in just a fender-bender for cars.

For motorcycle riders -- get as much safety training as you can, wear DOT approved helmets, and be alert for drivers pulling into your path.

A couple of notes about Niezgoda and his bike. Trooper Niezgoda is also a Marine. He served a tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. He is passionate about motorcycles and rides a Harley in his off-time as well. The Harley he is riding was part of the factory output on Sept. 11, 2001. Harley-Davidson donated that run of bikes to NYPD and State Police.

State Police remind drivers to be safe during period of extreme cold

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

The State Police in Western New York encourage motorists to exercise due care over the next few days.

The temperature will be hovering in the single digits in addition to somewhat windy conditions, which will result in subzero wind-chill temperatures.

State Police will be out across the region checking all major routes of travel to ensure that motorists are as safe as possible. The State Police need your assistance to make this possible. Use your best judgment to determine if driving is prudent and also be prepared in case you either become stranded or you encounter a long traffic delay.

Keep the following tips in mind:

-- Get the latest weather forecast before leaving – , monitor radio or TV stations or contact your nearest State Police station;

-- Start with a full tank of gas and try to maintain it over half full at all times;

-- Make sure fluid levels are sufficient ( windshield washer fluid, anti-freeze);

-- Carry your cell phone in case of an emergency;

If you do go out, be prepared:

1) Is your trunk supplied to help you to be safe in case you are stopped or stranded in an area without assistance readily available?

2) Stock gloves, blankets, warmers, tool kit, first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, water, working flashlight and batteries, cell phone charger, etc.;

3) Have ready a shovel, ice scraper, de-icer, snow brush, rock salt or cat litter, tow chain or cable, jumper cables or battery charger, etc.;

4) If you have an exisiting medical condition, consider having a supply of necessary medication and, if possible, let someone know you are traveling.

Be prepared. Be safe.

Safety Was Main Topic at Board of Education Meeting

By Kathie Scott

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on December 18, 2012, include the following:

• Security Procedures Reviewed

• Last BOE Meeting for Retiring Superintendent of Schools Margaret Puzio

Security Procedures Reviewed

Superintendent of Schools Margaret Puzio reported that she met with the District Management Team to review safety procedures that are currently in place, discuss ideas to improve safety, and make recommendations for items to be addressed by the Board’s Safety Committee. All principals have been reviewing safety protocol with staff to ensure that the policies that are already in place are understood and followed. In addition, the District Facebook page had several parents comment, asking questions and raising concerns about the safety of students. One concern mentioned by a few parents was the current practice of holding public votes at school buildings during school hours - because this grants the public unrestricted access to the school building. While this and other similar issues will need to be addressed by the Safety Committee, the District did release this statement earlier, posting it on its Facebook page, in order to correct misconceptions and update the Facebook participants as to what measures are being taken to address security:

“Security procedures at BHS are the same as all other district school buildings with the exception of times. Exact times vary depending on the start time for the school day. At BHS, three doors are open and supervised during student arrival time from 7:00 until 8:05. At 8:05, all doors automatically lock and remain locked throughout the school day. Visitors to the building can enter the vestibule at the main entrance, but must press the intercom to be seen by a staff member on a monitor and must state their business before being allowed entrance into the main office, where sign-in and temporary visitor badges are issued. At the end of the day, doors automatically open and remain open until a designated time in the evening. This allows athletic and other extracurricular participants to enter the building, along with pre-approved community users. We are in the process of reviewing all safety protocols at this time. Our district Safety Committee plans to meet Thursday 12/20.”

A second statement was prepared later and shared with the Board at the evening meeting:

“Our district staff and students have expressed their shock and sympathy in light of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut. Batavia Middle School students are writing cards to be delivered to the students in the Sandy Hook School District as a part of the middle school mindset – be connected.

Many parents have requested information about steps the district is taking to ensure the safety of our school buildings. As part of our last capital project, all buildings received a technology upgrade that included automatic locking outside doors that operate on timers, cameras on doors, and intercoms and monitors to control outsider access to the building. During the last two days:

• Principals have reviewed safety protocols with staff.

• We reviewed our safety procedures building by building at our Management Team meeting and highlighted several areas where we can make immediate changes to create safer environments.

• Some items were referred to a meeting of the District Safety Committee that will occur on Thursday 12/20 at 3 p.m.

• We have invited Batavia Chief of Police Shawn Heubusch to participate in this meeting. In our conversation early on Monday morning, he assured me that he and his team were meeting today to discuss the tragedy in Connecticut and steps that need to be taken here in Batavia to decrease the likelihood of a tragedy here in Batavia.

We all play a role in guarding the safety of our children. If parents or students see something out of the ordinary or if they have a suggestion, they are asked to please share it with either their school principal or Mr. Dailey, our incoming superintendent, or me. It is by working together that we will achieve the highest level of safety.”


Previously, the District had posted the following letter from Superintendent Puzio, then the update previously mentioned:

Dear Parents and Members of our School Community,

We extend our sympathy, thoughts, and prayers to our fellow educators, students, parents, and community members in Connecticut. Our children are our hope for a better future and protecting them from danger is our top priority.

As we try to make sense out of this unthinkable tragedy, please know that we take every possible precaution to ensure the safety of our school buildings and we will be especially vigilant during this week. School violence can happen anywhere, but it is still extremely rare. This will be a busy week with many classroom celebrations as our students share their excitement about the holidays and upcoming winter break. Staff members will be sensitive to students who may wish to talk about what they have seen and heard and our counselors are available for additional support. Don't hesitate to ask your principal for support or guidance if needed.

We will be reviewing all emergency procedures and safety protocols with our staff and confirming our procedures for controlling outsider entrance to the school. We will work with the Batavia Police Department as well. Ask your building principal if you have any questions about building procedures.

Thank you for your support and cooperation in keeping all of our students and staff safe.

Margaret Puzio



Superintendent Puzio Retires

With this being her last official Board meeting, Superintendent Margaret Puzio thanked the Board, sharing the following:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board, staff, parents, students, and friends of the Batavia City School District. It has been my honor and pleasure to be an educational leader in this community. I can truly say that our students are the best kids I have ever worked with in my educational career. The staff is outstanding - professional, dedicated, knowledgeable, caring, and fun. The Board of Education has changed some of its members over the last eleven years, but one thing has stayed the same - the exceptional level of leadership and dedication to doing what is right for kids.

I am looking forward to retirement, but please know that you will always have a grateful and enthusiastic cheerleader for the Batavia City School District looking on from the sidelines.

Thank you and God bless.


Likewise, Board President Wally Guenther thanked Mrs. Puzio for her years of dedication and service, noting that he respected and appreciated her commitment to the District and to the students.

Cold weather safety tips from city fire chief

By Howard B. Owens

While the current temperature in Batavia is hovering around zero, it is expected to warm to a balmy 20 degrees later today.

Meanwhile, City Fire Chief Jim Maxwell sent along these cold weather safety tips.

With the temperatures dipping to lows not seen for the past several years, a few simple reminders on cold weather safety may be in order:

Cold weather can be hazardous, so take steps to dress properly if you are venturing outside. The American Red Cross issued these reminders:

  • Limit your time outside, dress in layers, wear gloves or mittens, and wear a hat that covers your ears. Wear waterproof boots and keep your clothes dry.
  • Do not leave pets outside for extended periods.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and others who may require special assistance.
  • If using a space heater, don't overload electrical outlets and keep the heater at least 3 feet from materials such as curtains, furniture and bedding. Never leave space heaters unattended.
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended in a fireplace. Be sure the chimney is regularly cleaned and inspected.
  • If your furnace vents through walls rather than the chimney, make sure the air intake and exhaust are not blocked by snow. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the home.
  • Check on pipes that may be prone to freezing. If sink pipes run through enclosed cabinets, try opening the cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes. A slow trickle of water in pipes helps reduce the risk of freezing. Consider wrapping pipes that are exposed to the cold.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full, which will help prevent the fuel line from freezing.

The following is an Extreme Cold Safety pamphlet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Car Safety Tips:

Be sure to have, at a minimum, one functioning Smoke Alarm and one Carbon Monoxide Detector.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure:

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Don't heat your house with a gas oven.

Deputy reminds us to be safe on the roads

By Howard B. Owens

Deputy Brian Thompson e-mailed this reminder for drivers to slow down and be mindful of road conditions:

Please remember to drive with headlights on in inclement weather. Especially fog and rain. Conditions for black ice and hydroplaning are peaked right now. Please slow down and don't use cell phones or text message. Keep eyes on the road, reduce speeds and increase following distances. The life you save may be your own. Thanks! NY State VTL 375 2a1 is applicable.

The vehicle and traffic law mentioned by Deputy Thompson refers to having two working headlights.

Headlights are required a half-hour before sunset (today, at about 4 p.m.) through a half-hour after sunrise (tomorrow, that will be about 8 a.m.), and any time conditions require windshield wipers.

Pair of Megabus accidents puts company's safety record in spotlight

By Howard B. Owens

European-based Megabus, which a year ago started service in the Northeast U.S., bills itself as the eco-friendly, high-tech, inexpensive and safe way to travel between major cities.

It's that safety part that raises an eyebrow or two recently.

Two Megabus motor coaches have been involved in Thurway crashes in the Gensee County area in the past two weeks.

In both cases, buses tipped over. In one, high winds are a likely factor. In the other, the bus driver is accused of falling asleep.

WBTA spoke Edward Hodgson, president of Megabus, who said Megabus has a good safety record.

A search of Google didn't uncover prominent documentation of ongoing safety issues, either.

Megabus operates passenger service between Toronto and Buffalo to New York City using the New York State Thruway.

Assemblymen Steve Hawley & Dan Burling Announce Free Hunter Education & Safety Course

By Steve Hawley






Free 3-Course Series Begins October 1 at Batavia Rod & Gun Club


Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) and Assemblyman Dan Burling (R, C, I – Warsaw) will be hosting a free Hunter Education and Safety Course, taught by Carl Hyde, Jr., beginning October 1, 2009 at the Batavia Rod and Gun Club.  Space is limited so interested persons should sign up today.


“I have worked hard to protect and promote our rural traditions, such as hunting, from excessive and overbearing legislative mandates, but I am a firm believer in responsible gun ownership.  That’s why I am pleased to help promote this free Hunter Education and Safety Course and look forward to offering more opportunities like this in our region,” said Hawley, who, as a member of the Assembly Tourism, Arts and Sports Committee, brought a number of individual sportsmen and groups to Albany to ensure their voices were heard during this year’s annual “Gun Day.”


“As passionate as I have been in fighting for Second Amendment rights, I have been equally passionate regarding gun safety and education.  Having firearms is not only a right, it is a responsibility.  When it comes to hunting or protecting our families, we owe it to our families and communities to ensure gun safety is practiced by all,” said Burling.


            The first Hunter Education and Safety Course, a three-part series, will begin on October 1 and participants must attend all three classes (Thursday, October 1 from 6 pm to 9 pm; Saturday, October 3 from 8 am to noon; and, Monday, October 5 from 6 pm to 9 pm).  All courses will be taught at the Batavia Rod and Gun Club.  Those interested in signing up should do so in person at Batavia Marine and Sporting Goods, located at 411 West Main Street in Batavia.


            For more information or other inquiries, please contact Assemblyman Hawley’s office at (585) 589-5780 or Assemblyman Burling’s office at (585) 786-0810.



Assemblyman Hawley Invites All to Attend Free Boater Safety Course

By Steve Hawley







Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia), in conjunction with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Parks and Marine Unit and New York State Parks Police, is hosting a free Boater Safety Course for the public.  The course will be held on Saturday, June 20 at Hamlin State Park.


“We are fortunate to live in one of the best tourist destinations in the Northeast.  This summer, I encourage everyone to rediscover their own backyard and am inviting all boaters to join me at this free and informative event,” said Hawley.


New York State law requires that all boaters pass an 8-hour boating safety course if:


§         You operate a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, and are at least 14 years of age;

§         You wish to operate a motorboat (other than a personal watercraft) and you are at least 10-years-old and less than 18-years-old;


Steve Hawley’s free Boating Safety Course is an officially-recognized 8-hour safety course, as required by law.  Subjects covered include: proper equipment, the rules of the water, buoys, safe operation, accidents and special activities.  Although the course is free, there will be a $10 fee for processing a permanent boating safety certificate with the New York State Department of Parks.  Anyone caught boating without a safety certificate may face fines and or imprisonment.

Details of the course include:


Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s Boating Safety Course

Hosted in conjunction with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department


Saturday, June 20, 2009

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Participants should bring a bagged lunch


Hamlin State Park, Shelter 1

1 Camp Road

Hamlin, NY 14464


RSVP by calling Assemblyman Hawley’s office at 585-598-5780





News roundup: No working smoke detectors in Byron apartment that burned

By Philip Anselmo

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• No working smoke detectors were found in the apartment complex in Byron that burned down Monday, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. A family four died in the fire that looks to have started in their kitchen, possible near the stove.

• Smoked "Kuta Fish" and "Boney Fish" purchased from the African Caribbean Market on North Clinton may be tainted with botulism, according to the Department of Agriculture and Markets. No problems have yet been reported, but the fish should be thrown out.

• Local law enforcement will be holding a child safety seat inspection between 10:00am and 2:00pm — WBTA reports the date of the event as "next Saturday," which we assume to mean two days from now.

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