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June 4, 2021 - 12:22pm
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Press release:

Summer is quickly approaching and many children are eagerly waiting to hear the final school bell so they can enjoy a couple months of fun in the sun, including some family outings to the local park. New this year, families who forget to pack sunscreen at DeWitt Recreation Area won’t have to worry. 

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) and the Genesee County Parks Department are partnering to prevent park visitors from getting skin cancer. Through a grant provided to UMMC’s Healthy Living Program, five sunscreen dispensers have been installed throughout DeWitt Recreation Area for the 50,000 people who frequent it each year.

“Skin cancer rates are increasing every year,” said Laurie Thornley, UMMC’s Healthy Living manager. “It’s the country’s most commonly diagnosed cancer and it can be prevented. By putting these sunscreen dispensers in our local parks, we’re making sun protection more accessible. Sunscreen is a vital part of sun safety and we’ve put the solution right there for you in the park.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), five million people are treated for skin cancer in the United States every year; with 37 percent of U.S. adults reported having been sunburned in the past year.

“If you forget the sunscreen at home you don’t have to worry about burning your skin,” Paul Osborn, Deputy Highway superintendent. “We want the community to enjoy the many activities DeWitt Recreation Area has to offer, from fishing and kayaking to hiking and having a picnic, but to do so in a safe manner.”

This project is supported by Health Research Inc. and the New York State Department of Health with funds from the Centers for Disease Control.

June 1, 2021 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Memorial Day, video, batavia, veterans.
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May 26, 2021 - 7:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey, video, batavia, Notre Dame.
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At Falleti Ice Arena last night we were able to talk with seven members of the Genesee Ice Devils and Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey teams about the proposal to merge the two teams. We also spoke with Mike Rapone, ND's athletic director since we hadn't spoken with him yet about the proposal.

May 22, 2021 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Six Flags Darien Lake, Darien, video.
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Meet Mark Kane, the new president of Six Flags Darien Lake

May 22, 2021 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Six Flags Darien Lake, Darien, video.
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After missing the 2020 season due to COVID-19 restrictions, Darien Lake Theme Park, has reopened for 2021. Currently, the park can operate at 33-percent capacity but expects to be open at 100-percent capacity in about a month.

COVID-19 protocols include a touchless temperature check as patrons enter the park and social distancing. People who are full vaccinated do not need to wear masks. The mask protocol will operate on the honor system. Patrons will not be required to show proof of vaccination.  

All of the rides and attractions are open.

May 21, 2021 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in empire hemp, batavia, video.
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Empire Hemp, which has operated a CDB processing facility in Batavia off of Swan Street for two years, held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday at its new retail store at 204 E. Main St., Batavia.

The store sells a variety of products containing CDB extracted from locally grown cannabis.  

Owners Chris VanDusen and Shelly Wolanske said they don't know yet whether they will get into the business of processing and/or selling recreational marijuana, now that it's legal in New York. They're waiting to see what requirements and guidelines are issued by the state before deciding.

The video also includes a tour of their production facility.

May 19, 2021 - 5:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, animals, batavia, video.
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May 18, 2021 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, live stream, video.
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Genesee County COVID-19 Briefing May 18, 2021

May 17, 2021 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, Steve Hawley, 911 Center, news, video.
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Press release:

Today, Senator Ed Rath called on the Department of Budget (DOB) to release critical funding grants for emergency services. Senator Rath was joined by Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, Genesee County Director of Emergency Communications Steven Sharpe, members of the Genesee County Legislature and members of the 911 Advisory Board.

“The delay in the release of this funding for our communities is extremely damaging," Senator Rath said. "As ranking member on the Senate Local Government’s Committee, I know the extreme duress many of our counties are under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the State to be delaying the release of this funding, with no end in sight, is completely unacceptable.

"We need to be working with our counties and local governments, not adding unnecessary burdens. Unfortunately, this seems to be all too typical for our State. I am calling on the Department of Budget to release these grants (2020-21) and inform our counties when they will be able to apply for the current fiscal year’s grants (2021-22)."

Assemblyman Hawley said: "Our heroes of healthcare have been working dutifully throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure emergency services were not overwhelmed or interrupted during the highly contested time. To see that our 9-1-1 services are now under threat of being underfunded is unacceptable, and the State needs to take immediate action to ensure that our emergency telecommunications are not stifled."

"County governments must work alongside the State to ensure the funding needs are met for these important emergency services," said Genesee County Legislator Gregg Torrey, Human Services chair. “I want to thank Senator Rath and Assemblyman Hawley for fighting to secure our fair share of critical 9-1-1 funding which is needed to support our County Public Safety operations."

Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha, Public Service chair, said: "We have been fighting this battle for years through the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the New York State 911 Coordinators Association and the New York State Association of Counties. It is time the Governor stops using these funds for other purposes than 9-1-1 services."

"The delay in releasing already collected 9-1-1 surcharge revenue money could cost Genesee County over $500k in the 2021 budget," said L. Matthew Landers, Genesee County manager, budget officer. "While we have long been advocating that a greater share of the collected surcharge go to the intended recipients, namely emergency communications operations such as the Genesee County Dispatch Center, this recent delay in funding is unexplainable and undermines emergency communications operations across the State."

Emergency Communications Director Sharpe, of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and NYS 911 Coordinators Legislative Committee chair, said: “Over the past year, our first responder community needed to address the pandemic while continuing to provide emergency services to the public.

"Our friends at the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications (DHSES/OIEC) have been excellent partners by assisting local communities setting up communications for testing sites, emergency clinics, and now mass vaccination sites. DHSES/OIEC also hosted teleconferences for local and county partners to discuss best practices during the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, the State of New York has not honored their commitments regarding grant funding. Counties provide a majority of public safety answering point (9-1-1 center) services throughout the State and also administer a majority of public safety communications systems. During this pandemic, the State has inexplicably halted and delayed grant funding despite the funding stream for those grants increasing during the pandemic. 

"We are asking our partners at the State to honor their words, obey the laws of the State of New York, execute the law in a timely manner, and release the grant funding that is now above a year overdue."

The State has yet to release the 2020-21 grant funding or the application information for 2021-22.

May 7, 2021 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, video.
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Yesterday, the graduating seniors of Batavia High School visited Jackson, John Kennedy, and Batavia Middle School, both to celebrate their accomplishment and set an example for the younger students of success in school.

May 2, 2021 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, football, sports, batavia, video.
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Batavia and Honeoye Falls-Lima went toe-to-toe throughout much of the first half of Saturday's Section V championship game at HFL, but a touchdown as the clock expired at the end of the second quarter gave the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish.

By the end, it was HFL 49, the Blue Devils 28.

Terrez Smith ran 17 times for 133 yards and TD and Jesse Reinhart was 12-16 passing for 104 yards and two TDs.

Aiden Anderson carried the ball four times for 80 yards, including a 75-yard TD in the fourth quarter that briefly put Batavia back in striking distance.

Alex Hale had a TD catch on three receptions for 31 yards.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

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April 28, 2021 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, GO ART!, video, arts, entertainment.
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Gregory Hallock, executive director of GO ART!, reads poems by Annette Daniels Taylor for National Poetry Month.

April 25, 2021 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, video, Earth Day.
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Volunteers turned out in droves yesterday for two big Earth-Day-related cleanups of public spaces in Batavia.

First was an effort to pickup litter along the Ellicott Trail. Also, County Parks officials hosted an Earth Day event at DeWitt Recreation Area that included not just a cleanup but Scouts involved in projects and games and information booths about taking care of our planet.

April 23, 2021 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video, arts, entertainment.
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Batavia resident Dan Crofts reading "The Dark Night" by John of the Cross for National Poetry Month.

April 22, 2021 - 11:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video.
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Eric Zwieg, a writer and musician from Batavia, reads "Sometimes We Wake Transformed" by Jason Irwin for National Poetry Month.

April 21, 2021 - 10:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, bill kauffman, video, elba.
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Elba resident Bill Kauffman reads 'To a Siberian Woodsman' by Wendell Berry for National Poetry Month.

April 20, 2021 - 10:57am
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S. Shade Zajac, conductor and musical director for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, reading "Power" by Jim Morrison for National Poetry Month.

April 15, 2021 - 11:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video, nici johnson.
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Nici Johnson, radio personality with WBTA, reads "Flamingo Watching" by Kay Ryan.

April 15, 2021 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Steve Hawley, Ed Rath, veterans, news, video.
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Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley was joined today at the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency by Senator Ed Rath, Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha, Genesee County Veterans Services Director Bill Joyce, and Chris Kreiger and Lynn Magistrale of WNY Heroes, the organization that operates the Dwyer program in Genesee County, to discuss funding of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program and the impact the program has on local veterans. 

The final enacted budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year included $4,505,000 for the Dwyer Program across New York State, with $185,000 allocated for Niagara County, $185,000 for Monroe County, and $185,000 for Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. This funding was secured even as Governor Cuomo proposed eliminating it entirely in his executive budget proposal.

“As a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and being a veteran myself, I am proud to have secured this funding for our service members after yet another attempt by the governor to eliminate it from our state budget,” Hawley said. “This funding saves lives, and operating programs such as the Dwyer program is the least we can do for those that risk their lives to defend our liberties.”

"I was pleased that the Dwyer Program funding was included in the final 2021-22 budget,” Senator Rath said. “The services that the Dwyer Program provides to our veteran community are critical. The State has continuously tried to cut or delay this funding, so I am happy that it was included in full."

“We are honored to take care of veterans and assist their families,” said Chris Kreiger, president of WNY Heroes and Iraq War veteran. “Our programs are about providing a hand up, not a handout. It takes more strength to ask for help and even more strength to accept it.

"Here at WNYHeroes, we are no different than you, the veteran. We don’t dress in fancy clothing, we don’t drive fancy cars, we simply just want nothing more than to provide support while sustaining your dignity at the same time.”

April 15, 2021 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in livestream, COVID-19, video.
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Genesee County COVID-19 Briefing April 15, 2021

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