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July 21, 2021 - 8:12am

quicklees_2.jpg

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee on Tuesday night approved the site plan and special use permit application by Quicklee’s to renovate the former Bob Evans Restaurant at 204 Oak St. into a convenience store/fuel station with drive-thru restaurant.

Following a 10-minute discussion that focused on proper signage and traffic flow, the committee unanimously approved both referrals – giving the go-ahead on the site plan contingent upon developers adding “signage to direct vehicles going into the drive-thru from blocking the exit between the canopy and the building so they can exit out onto Noonan Drive.”

The special use permit allows Quicklee’s to operate as a convenience store and quick-service restaurant.

Patricia Bittar, director of land development projects at WM Schutt Associates, and Lou Terragnoli, director of real estate for Quicklee’s, appeared before the PDC at the City Centre Council Board Room in anticipation of gaining final approvals for the project, which was introduced (and reported first on The Batavian) in late April.

Plans call for the reuse of the 3,771-square-foot restaurant and involves construction of a four-pump fuel station island with canopy and underground fuel storage tanks. The convenience store with retail fuel sales will take up about two-thirds of the space, with the drive-through restaurant – Quicklee’s is in negotiations with Tim Hortons – using the remaining space.

Last month, the PDC conducted an environmental review, which showed no adverse effects, but held off on approving the site plan or special use permits until the applicant provided details on traffic flow patterns, including an updated study by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Also, in June, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved area variances that permit the business to be within 500 feet of a church (Emmanuel Baptist at 190 Oak St. (corner of Noonan Drive) and to have 40 parking spaces instead of the required 68.

Questions from the PDC last night focused on signage on Noonan Drive to ensure that motorists are informed of the proper way to access the location as members were concerned about the stacking of vehicles, especially near the fuel pump island.

The DOT traffic study submitted to the PDC calls for the removal of a proposed right-out driveway (onto Route 98) and that “all site access utilize the existing Noonan Drive roadway.” Additionally, the internal access driveway will remain that connects to the Super 8 Hotel parking lot behind the restaurant.

The study also indicated that during peak times of 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m., the business is expected to generate an additional 79 entering/71 exiting vehicle trips, and 53 entering/55 exiting vehicle trips, respectively. Terragnoli said the site plan can accommodate stacking of up to 15 cars.

Terragnoli said renovations of the inside of the restaurant and construction of the fuel island will start in September, with completion by the end of the year. Currently, the Quicklee’s chain has 23 locations – mostly in Livingston and Monroe counties.

Photo at top: Architect's rendering of the new Quicklee's business at 204 Oak St.

July 20, 2021 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, elba.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported on Main Street between Church Street and Oak Orchard Road in Elba.

Injuries are reported.

Elba fire dispatched. Mercy EMS, including a second ambulance requested to the scene.

UPDATE 6:57 p.m.: A first responder reports no vehicles blocking traffic. Two vehicles are parked in the driveway of a house.

UPDATE 6:58 p.m.: Only one vehicle had people in it. A third ambulance requested to the scene because three children were involved.

UPDATE 6:59 p.m.: Mercy Flight is not available.

UPDATE 7:03 p.m.: Darien Byron ambulance requested to the scene.

UPDATE 7:04 p.m.: Route 98 from Church Street to Oak Orchard is being shut down.

UPDATE 7:10 p.m.: An officer informs dispatch there was a single vehicle "occupied times five" struck a parked vehicle.

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: Three children are being transported in three separate ambulances to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 8:14 p.m.: Elba assignment back in service. The roadway is reopened.

July 20, 2021 - 6:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway, news.

Toxic smoke is reportedly blowing over the Thruway from a fire in Amherst.

The westbound Thruway is closed.

Emergency responders can use the Thruway to respond to a commercial building fire in Amherst.  

Pembroke, Indian Falls, Darien, Corfu, are on stand by for the fire.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: First responders are informed the Thruway is backed up with traffic.

July 20, 2021 - 5:07pm

Update: July 24, 9:30 a.m.

Comment from Anne Constantino, president and CEO of Horizon Health Services, which has an office in Batavia:

“We are grateful to the Attorney General for her success in this settlement that will absolutely deliver much needed resources in our efforts to prevent, combat and treat the serious public health crisis of addiction.”

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The executive director of a local substance use prevention and treatment agency is hailing today’s announcement that four major pharmaceutical distributors are close to an agreement to pay out $26 billion to states and municipalities for their roles in perpetuating the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“Yes, this is welcome news and I’m just hoping the money ends up going to assist individuals and families struggling with opioid addiction,” said John Bennett, executive director of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. “It definitely is needed to stabilize the treatment system that has been impacted negatively by the recent pandemic.”

According to multiple media outlets, Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen are near a deal that would resolve multiple legal challenges as well as pay for prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout the United States.

Genesee County Attorney Kevin Earl said it will be awhile before it is known how much money will be allocated locally.

The New York City law firm of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is representing Genesee County as well as several other counties, Earl said.

“Most of the particulars are up in the air right now,” Earl said. “The county has retained this law firm to represent us in the litigation and they have advised us of the settlement with three of the distributors and Johnson & Johnson, but it’s too early to tell what Genesee County or any other participant in the litigation will get.”

A published report in today’s online edition of The New York Times indicates that the pact has yet to be finalized and “could still fall apart or have significant changes.”

The Times’ story also included the following:

-- According to lawyers familiar with negotiations, Johnson & Johnson, which made an opioid painkiller and a fentanyl patch and supplied opium-based ingredients to other drug manufacturers, would pay $3.7 billion in the first three years and $1.3 billion over the next six years. It had already shut down its supply business and discontinued its opioids, and agreed to refrain from selling opioids.

-- The distributors as well as several manufacturers are in the midst of a trial in a case brought by the State of New York and two of its counties. This morning, Letitia James, the attorney general for New York, announced a $1.1 billion deal with the distributors to settle that case. That money would be a part of the overall $26 billion settlement, but so far, it is the only deal that has been formally agreed to. Payments to New York State could begin in two months, Ms. James said.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said he was “fairly certain” that the money awarded to the county is for specific purposes, unlike the tobacco settlement, which gave counties more leeway to use the money for general operations.

“This money would have to go towards specifically combatting opioids,” he said. “So, it would lead to us partnering with agencies in the community to help deliver these services – agencies such as GCASA and others.”

Marcus Molinaro, president of the New York State County Executives Association, said in a press release that the settlement “comes at a crucial moment as counties across the state and nation grapple with a startling resurgence in overdose deaths.”

“No amount of money can bring back the lives lost to the opioid epidemic, but it can honor those lost by investing in prevention, education and treatment services to save lives,” he said.

“New York’s county executives were proud to work in collaboration with Attorney General Letitia James to pass legislation creating an Opioid Settlement Fund to ensure those most responsible for plunging us into this crisis, and not local taxpayers, pay for treatment, recovery, and abatement efforts critical to defeating this deadly scourge.”

July 20, 2021 - 3:05pm
posted by Press Release in news, Bethany, Divide NY Genesee Co., east bethany.

Press release:

All are welcome to attend a meeting on the topic of "Divide NY Genesee Co." at 7 p.m. Monday, July 26 at Bethany Town Hall.

It is located at 10510 Bethany Center Road in East Bethany.

Attend to learn more about this plan and how we can begin to implement it here in Genesee County!

We ask that you please RSVP to: [email protected]

July 20, 2021 - 2:55pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau is seeking applicants for the Genesee Youth Lead Program. Applicants should be a Genesee County high school student entering their freshman through senior year.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 3.

The eight-month program is focused on developing leadership skills within an individual through each specific session and through hands on experience. Each session will have a different focus on our community and leadership.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at GVEP BOCES beginning Oct. 13, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be held once a month on the second Wednesdays of each month. Students will take the BOCES bus from their school to attend the program.

The program dates are: Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9, April 13, and May 11.

Youth that complete the program are encouraged to use the skills and information gained through their experience to support the communities in which they live.

The selection process will be done through an application and interview process by the staff. The class size is limited.

The program will cost $75 for each student. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

Applications for the program can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/youthbureau/genesee_youth_lead.php

Please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585) 344-3960 or at [email protected]us.

July 20, 2021 - 2:03pm

hens_1.jpgIt might not be fair to say that Genesee County is desperate for water, but when you slice it and dice it, Genesee County is desperate for water.

County officials -- understanding the impact that water has on the future of economic development -- are going all out in an effort to pump another 7.6 million gallons a day into the municipality.

On Monday afternoon, the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee recommended approval of four resolutions on measures designed to increase or enhance the water supply.

County Engineer/Highway Superintendent Tim Hens (photo at right) provided details about the resolutions as he looks forward to wrapping up Phase 2 of the Countywide Water Supply Program and embarking upon Phase 3, a $90 million project that would increase significantly the daily capacity of water.

All four resolutions likely will be on the agenda of the full legislature meeting on July 28 at the Old County Courthouse.

The four resolutions, with comments from Hens, are as follows:

-- A contract with the consulting firm of Clark Patterson Lee in the amount of $950,00 for a Basis of Design Report and Source Supply Change Studies for Phase 3.

“In Phase 2, which we started in the fall of 2019, at the outset we were kind of behind the 8-ball, so we rushed some things. We started working on the actual design documents for construction bidding somewhat concurrent with the Basis of Design, which is the document used for the Monroe County Water Authority to say exactly how they want things constructed,” Hens said.

“So, were doing a lot of things in parallel – the environmental work, the land acquisition – and, at the end of the day, even though we were trying to make things go faster, I think it just got more confusing for folks and it slowed down the review process quite a bit.

“This time, were not quite behind the 8-ball as we were with Phase 2 – we have a little bit of time, albeit not a lot, so we’re going to get the Basis of Design squared away with Monroe County so we know exactly how they want everything built, what types of pumps they want to use, what type of pipe material – things like that – and get that squared away before we actually put together construction documents for bidding.

“I think that will make the designs for the project move a little smoother and will make the timeline ultimately a little bit shorter.”

Hens said the Basis of Design outlines how the system will work: How the hydraulics between the Genesee County system and the Monroe County system mesh, and determines the required pump speeds and flow rates.

The $950,000 contract includes many “pieces and parts,” Hens said, adding that CPL will not be receiving all of that money (which is being expended from the County Water Fund).

“There are a lot of subcontracts for geotechnical exploration, contracts for land acquisitions and easements. Also, part of the contract is the Source Supply Change.

“With 7.6 million more gallons coming in through Phase 3, that’s enough to basically shut off the City of Batavia water plant. When we do that, the water chemistry from Monroe County is slightly different from the water chemistry in the City of Batavia.

So, if we’re going to replace the city water plant and use Monroe County water, we want to make sure the chemistry lines up and we don’t run into a Flint, Michigan-type of situation (high lead levels). There’s a fairly sizeable chunk of that $950,000 that is dedicated to doing the analysis on the water chemistry to make sure we don’t have that problem.”

-- Rejection of bids for construction of new chlorination stations for Phase 2.

Hens said that the county is at the midpoint of Phase 2, having completed water main work on Vallance Road and North Road in crossing the Thruway in Le Roy, water main work on Chestnut Ridge Road in Chili, new pump stations in Mumford and Churchville.

Several pump station upgrades are in the works in Le Roy and three locations in Monroe County, and another is being built on Golden Road in Chili. That construction is set to take place through the winter, with completion earmarked for next summer.

As far as new chlorination stations, Hens said the county solicited bids to contractors to build three small sheds spread out around the county that had little chlorination injection pumps in them to re-chlorinate the water once the chlorine dissipates.

“The bids we got back were ridiculous; they were probably three to four times more than we thought they were going to be,” he said, reporting that hopes of spending $200,000 for this project was going to be at least $600,000. “And we just don’t have the money to spend on these stations.”

So, Hens turned to Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain, and they agreed that the town will install temporary, skid-mounted systems inside the bases of the water tanks. “That will fix the problem and a much cheaper cost,” he said. “The county will then reimburse the town for the expense.”

-- Rejection of bids for a disinfectant byproduct removal system within the Village of Oakfield water storage tank for Phase 2.

“So, THM (Trihalomethane) is a chemical that builds up in water over time as the chlorine dissipates and breaks down into other things. Typically, what you do is put a spray system into the storage tanks and it takes the chemical out of the water,” he said.

“Again, the bids for this were crazy expensive so we’re looking at doing a different method that's quite a bit cheaper, and we’re having conversations with the Village of Oakfield about that.”

-- A contract with the Carpi & Clay lobbying firm of Washington, D.C., for up to $60,000 to seek grant and other funding for Phase 3.

“There’s a lot of new money for infrastructure in Washington, D.C., right now; there’s a lot of money for water. With the cost of Phase 3, we want to get as much outside help as we can to get federal aid to support our projects, rather than putting it all on the backs of county residents,” he said.

The contract calls for the county to pay $7,000 per month to Carpi & Clay at least through the end of this year, with the stipulation that the firm provides detailed reports of its activities.

Hens said the original estimate for Phase 3 was $76 million but due to inflated construction costs, that figure likely will increase to $90 million or more.

The net result in water supply will be about 3.1 million gallons per day, he said, when considering that the 4.5 million gallons generated by the City of Batavia water plant will be removed from play.

“That still helps us considerably,” he advised.

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HEAVY RAIN LIFTS GROUNDWATER LEVEL

Hens said that last weekend’s heavy rain has raised the groundwater levels up by about eight inches, a good sign for the aquifer heading into August.

“How the aquifer works is that you normally see your highest levels in March and early April,” he said. “Seasonally, as the snow melts and things start to dry out, the groundwater will drop in pretty much a straight line through the summer and into the fall. When you get into the November and December timeframe, sometime into early January, that drops stops and it starts climbing.

“We were on a path as of a week ago, the groundwater was dropping by a half-inch a day, pretty routinely. We were scheduled to drop by another six feet by December. We’re already pretty low; we probably would have been at record level lows by then.”

Hens said he sees the bump in the aquifer as just a temporary respite.

“I think we will continue to drop once we get through this wet period, but I don’t think our drop is going to be as deep as we thought it would be. The deeper the groundwater, the harder it is to pump,” he said.

“A lot of the spike in usage in the summer is related to people filling pools, washing their cars, watering their lawns and gardens – that’s where all the extra water usage comes from. We’ve seen that drop off substantially due to the amount of wet weather we’ve been having. That’s got us knocked back to wintertime water level usage.”

Hens reported that as of yesterday, per day water usage in the city was at 2.8 million gallons – down from the peak usage level of 4.3 million gallons, while Monroe County Water Authority usage dropped back from about 3 million gallons per day at the end of June to 2.2 million gallons per day.

July 20, 2021 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, schools, education.

Scott Bischoping has been named interim superintendent for Batavia City Schools following the resignation of Anibal Soler.

Bischopping was the interim superintendent following the departure of Chris Dailey and preceding Soler's appointment at the start of 2020.

Soler accepted an appointment as superintendent of the Schenectady school district.

"His knowledge and leadership will guide us into the new school year," the district said in a statement.

July 20, 2021 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hockey, sports, schools, news, batavia, Notre Dame, Batavia United.

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A Batavia City School District trustee who held up approval of a merger between the Batavia and Notre Dame hockey teams at the district's school board meeting on Thursday afternoon met with the schools' athletic directors and coaches and said he had his questions answered and looks forward to the agreement being on the board's next agenda.

The Batavian has attempted to clarify with John Marucci that his statement means he intends to vote in favor of the merger but he has not responded to two emails.

Three Four other members of the board have responded to emails and said they intend to support the measure. One hasn't responded.

Previously, The Batavian emailed five questions to Marucci about his apparent objections to the merger, trying to clarify his position and didn't get a response until yesterday. He didn't provide answers to the question but did make this statement:

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Just so you know that today at 3:15, I was able to meet with BCSD BOE President Alice Ann Benedict, BCSD AD Mike Bromley and hockey coaches Marc Staley and John Kirkwood. We had a very lengthy and thorough discussion about the proposed merger between Notre Dame and Batavia as it pertains to hockey. I feel very satisfied that I had my questions and concerns answered and look forward to having this item on our agenda for our August 5th BCSD BOE Meeting. 

At last week's meeting, Marucci expressed concern about other schools in the county being eased out of a combined hockey program with Batavia and that once current players from those districts have graduated, students at those schools would have to attend Notre Dame if they wanted to play hockey. He suggested Notre Dame recruits athletic students and that he was concerned the merger wouldn't be fair to Batavia students.

Our questions to Marucci included trying to find out how the merger wouldn't be fair to Batavia students. He didn't answer that question.

At the meeting, he said, "I just want clarification," and, "I'm not trying to be that guy but I guess I'm being that guy."

With two seats vacant on the board due to resignations and one person absent, Marucci's unwillingness to vote to approve the agreement meant there wasn't a quorum, so the board had to table the matter until its Aug. 5 meeting.

The merger would mean Notre Dame, which has won two sectional championships in recent years under Head Coach Marc Staley, and Batavia players would form a single unit.

Last week the schools announced the new team would be known as Batavia United.

Advocates of the merger argue that the merger would allow both schools to have a JV program, which will help produce a more successful program and end the dangerous practice of including JV-aged and -sized kids on varsity rosters.

And yes, students at schools such as Le Roy, Alexander, Oakfield-Alabama, and Pembroke, who want to play hockey in the future, will need to attend a private school such as Notre Dame. Which is how it was for those schools before Batavia, in a bid to increase its hockey numbers seven years ago, accepted those schools into its hockey program.

Since that realignment, Batavia has won 13 games with only two of those wins coming against Section V opponents and no wins against teams with winning records.

The merger is going to get the support of at least three trustees.

Statement from Alice Benedict:

I wholeheartedly support the Batavia Notre Dame Hockey merger. It will help both schools be able to offer hockey opportunities for grades 7 through 12.

Statement from John Reigle:

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding the hockey merger. 

As you are aware we tabled the agenda item at our last school board meeting for some final clarification and questions. It is a big decision for our district and I’m glad our board of education is putting in so much collaborative thought and consideration into the topic. Unfortunately, our athletic director and/or the coaches were unable to attend the last meeting to have more discussion on the topic. However, it is my understanding they were able to meet with our board president and Vice President yesterday to discuss. 

After speaking with some hockey families from both schools, along with learning more of Coach Staley’s & Coach Kirkwood’s goals and intentions for the United program, I am in favor of the merger. I look forward to bringing back a competitive hockey program to our city that the student-athletes, our schools, and our community are proud of. 

Statement from Barbara Bowman:

I am in complete support of the hockey merger because it will be advantageous to BHS and ND students and the community in general.

Newly elected Trustee Jennifer Lendvay did not respond.

UPDATE: Lendvay's statement: 

I am in favor of the merger of the BHS/ND hockey teams and look forward to seeing them play.

July 20, 2021 - 12:21pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) held a press conference this morning with Jim Butera, president of the WNY Chapter of the NYS Restaurant Association and owner of Butera’s Craft Beer and Craft Pizza, to discuss the labor shortage caused in part by enhanced unemployment benefits.

“I consistently hear from small businesses in my district that have multiple open positions and cannot find anyone willing to work. In February, against numerous warnings, Democrats and President Biden forced through a massive partisan package filled with unnecessary spending. The result is they have made it more lucrative to stay home than to seek employment,” Jacobs said.

“This has become detrimental to our economic recovery, and many businesses are losing money, shortening hours, or closing down entirely because they cannot find employees. Unfortunately, this translates to longer wait times, higher prices, and shortages of numerous products families need.”

“The government keeps providing stimulus money instead of encouraging people to find and get employment, and it is hurting my business and all those around me," Butera said.

"This is equivalent to ‘give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for life.’ Our government needs to end disincentives, get back to working for the people, and make our economic recovery and small businesses a priority."

Jacobs introduced the Help Wanted Act (H.R. 3148) in May to combat these disincentives and prioritize our economic recovery. Specifically, the legislation: 1) restores work search requirements, 2) removes the expansion of unemployment to individuals who voluntarily left their job, and 3) clarifies that general safety concerns related to COVID-19 are no longer sufficient grounds to claim unemployment benefits.

“Our regional economy relies heavily on the service industry and manufacturing – the businesses hurt most by this government spending,” Jacobs said.

“The President’s reckless spending has forced businesses to compete with the government. As long as these benefits remain in place, businesses will continue to struggle from massive labor shortages, prices will increase, and supply chains will suffer. I call on the House to consider the Help Wanted Act to end these disincentives to work.”

July 20, 2021 - 8:49am
posted by Billie Owens in Pavilion, scanner, news.

A tree trimmer was dangling from a broken white harness while hanging 40 feet in the air. He was clutching onto the bucket of a work truck he was using at 10096 Perry Road, Pavilion.

He is now safely in the bucket, which has been brought down and he denies injury. Pavilion fire and Le Roy's ladder truck were responding but they are standing down. Mercy medics will continue in nonemergency mode to confirm everything's OK.

UPDATE: Reader-submitted photo.

UPDATE: The person who provided the picture asked us to take it down.

July 20, 2021 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

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A two-car accident, unknown injuries, is reported at East Main and Clinton streets, Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:21 a.m.: Eastbound traffic is being shut down at Harvester Avenue.

UPDATE 8:56 a.m.: No injuries. The white pickup truck was westbound on East Main Street. The black sedan was coming off of Clinton, making a right turn. The black car failed to stop at the intersection and struck the pickup, according to Sgt. Dan Coffey.

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July 20, 2021 - 7:38am

jill_w.jpgWhile she didn’t grow up in Batavia, Jill Wiedrick nevertheless considers her appointment as assistant city manager as a homecoming since she will be returning to the place where she spent seven years as a senior planner with the Genesee County Planning Department.

“I can’t wait to move back to the community and be part of it again. We’re really excited,” Wiedrick said by telephone Monday -- two days before the Elma native continues her career in government as a key member of the City of Batavia’s administrative staff.

Wiedrick (photo at right) said she came to understand “how great Batavia was" by having lived and worked here from 2006-13.

“Part of the reason (for taking the city position) is that my husband and I have two young kids and I’d like them to grow up a little bit the way I did,” said Wiedrick, who graduated as Jill Babinski in 2000 from Iroquois Central School. “I grew up in a small community – not that there’s anything wrong with the City of Rochester; I think it’s fantastic – but we wanted to try something different.”

She also indicated she decided to leave her job as manager of zoning for the City of Rochester to be closer to her parents, who continue to live in Elma.

“And, professionally, I’ve been really interested in city management and other facets of government. So, this seems like something that perhaps that I would enjoy and be successful at,” she said.

Education Includes Professional Certificate

A graduate of Geneseo State College, Wiedrick received her master’s degree in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning and, this spring via online distance learning, earned a professional certificate in Municipal Finance from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

She began employment with the City of Rochester as senior city planner in November 2013 before moving up to zoning manager in February 2020. She is credentialed with the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Wiedrick said that she relished her time as a Genesee County planner.

“I learned so very much and became such great friends with everyone. Jim Duval (the former planning director) was my first boss there and I cannot say enough awesome things about him. He continues to be a strong person in my life and a mentor,” she offered.

“And obviously, I worked with (current Planning Director) Felipe (Oltramari), who brings so much to the table in terms of helping the county and its municipalities be successful and how they want to look in the future.”

Oltramari said he was impressed with Wiedrick’s positive attitude and work ethic during her time at the planning department.

“Everyone always had good things to say about her work,” he said. “She was a hard worker -- very passionate about her work -- and I’m really glad that she is back in the area.”

Previously Interacted with City Manager

Wiedrick also interacted with City Manager Rachael Tabelski when the latter was employed as the marketing director with the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“I got to know Rachael when I worked on projects with the GCEDC,” Wiedrick said. “On occasions we would be at the same meetings and run in the same circles, as far as development.”

Wiedrick said she is keen on economic development, stating that GCEDC officials and others realized that the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park project in the Town of Alabama was a long-term venture.

“Going into it, we knew that we weren’t going to see development occur immediately,” she said. “A lot of the things that you do in any sort of development is that you’re making an investment that is intended to be long term and to be developed over a number of years.”

She compared it to the planting of a tree.

“You don’t plant that tree for yourself; you plant it potentially for your children,” she said. “Much of development tends to work that way. In Western New York in particular, we’re planting the seeds now and we’re reaping the benefits maybe five or 10 years out.

“A good example is the City of Buffalo. Over the past 20 years, they’ve done a lot of small things and now we’re seeing the resurgence of Buffalo. Now, people are going, ‘Wow, how did this happen?' It has been calculated and people are taking steps knowing that we’re not going to see the benefits of these actions for a number of years.”

Promoting Genesee County

Wiedrick agrees that the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will go a long way to expanding the city’s appeal and she is eager to have a role in its rejuvenation.

“To be a part of such a tremendous team, I feel that I am going to learn so very much from, and to have an impact on a place that is near and dear to my heart is incredibly exciting,” she said.

“I would tell colleagues from the City of Rochester, 'you’ve got to go to Batavia. You’ve got to check it out. It’s not just farmland. They just laugh at me and say, ‘OK. How did they do that in Genesee County?’ "

As the assistant city manager, Wiedrick will be responsible for various projects, including administrative services, organizational risk management, organizational values, community/neighborhood development, public relations, information technology and implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning software. She also will help draft the annual budget and take part in capital planning initiatives.

Her starting salary has been set at $91,800.

Tabelski said that Wiedrick’s extensive background in land use, planning, community engagement, policy development and budgeting as well as her proficiency with technology mesh well with the requirements of the city position.

Putting Technology to Good Use

“Jill brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through her professional roles in government including with the Genesee County Planning Department and City of Rochester Zoning Department,” Tabelski said. “She will make an immediate impact to the city organization -- focusing on supporting the ongoing software implementation projects, neighborhoods, community development initiatives, and administrative needs.

“She is a positive, outgoing professional who will participate with residents and businesses to make improvements. I am glad she choose the City of Batavia to call home, and look forward to working with her.”

Wiedrick said she has an eye on utilizing technology to enhance the quality of living in Batavia and the surrounding area.

“One of the things that I’m excited about working on is community development efforts, and I’m also going to be working a lot with technology – which I am very comfortable with,” she said. “What I’m intrigued about -- and have been for the majority of my career in government – is what forms of technology can be used to make things easier for the public and make things easier for staff.”

Wiedrick is married to Andrew Wiedrick, a quality assurance analyst at Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Rochester. The couple has a son, Ty, who is turning 6 this month, and daughter Jolene, who turned 3 in May. The family is in the process of moving to the city.

An accomplished violinist, she plans on performing with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra in the near future.

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File photo: Jill Wiedrick performing with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Howard Owens.

July 19, 2021 - 8:46pm

Next Wednesday, July 28th, is shaping up as round three in Genesee County’s attempt to get a grip on the size and cost of the new county jail it has been mandated to build by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At the end of the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting today at the Old County Courthouse conference room, County Manager Matt Landers said he has received an updated 10-page bed study from the SMRT architectural firm of Portland, Me.

Landers said he plans to go over the report at a meeting of the full legislature next week, and expects to have a revised cost estimate from the Pike Company of Rochester at that time as well.

“We’ve done this twice before,” Landers said. “Going back three or four years, the legislature gave me a thumbs-up, and probably two years ago when we were getting a better handle on the costs, I did it again and got the legislature to agree to $60 million. We were all in agreement – thumbs up.”

Calling the coming session a “good gut check,” Landers said it will be the first time that two new legislators – Brooks Hawley and Chad Klotzbach – will get to hear the full scope of the project.

Genesee County has been conducting its due diligence on the construction of a 184-bed jail on land just east of County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

Landers is hoping that $60 million figure is still in play, but things could change in this post-COVID environment.

“Now, we’re in a different world, COVID, numbers, everything. So, once again we need to make sure everyone is on board for whatever cost estimates are before us,” he said. “The next thumbs up is going to dictate preparing our bid documents and going out to bid sometime in the spring. If cost estimates are two or three times (what we budgeted for), we’d have to stop and wait.”

He noted that SMRT reported that the 184-bed number is still intact, but even that isn’t etched in stone.

“We all know that the state is taking a left turn, to a degree, with social justice reforms,” he said. “Is that the way it’s going to be for awhile or is there going to be a pendulum swing, using the sheriff’s (William Sheron) words. But how much of one?”

Another factor is whether the state will allow those sentenced for one or two years to be kept in county jail.

“Now, if it’s longer than a year, you’re sentenced to state prison,” Landers said. “The state, using the mantra of social justice and to save money, may decide to shift these people and keep them in (county) jails, which meets their argument of keeping them closer to their families.”

WHAT ABOUT THE CURRENT JAIL BUILDING?

When asked if it was possible to sell the current jail in tandem with the sale of the City of Batavia police station building, Landers said it was “an interesting concept but there a lot of pieces that would have to work together.”

“It’s going to take longer to build a jail than it’s going to take to build a police station. We’re not going to be out of the current jail for two or three years and that’s if there are no cost overruns and we are ready to go in the spring,” he said.

Landers also mentioned that Genesee Justice and the backup 9-1-1 center are housed in the jail building.

“We have to make sure we have the ability to move all of that out into a new location. All of that has to happen,” he said. “And to tie that with the city. They may be waiting on us, and we’re still not out.

“Timing is everything. If everything tied up and we wanted to sell it, maybe it would work, but we have as part of our contract with SMRT a dedicated study to see what we could use the current jail building for in the future.”

The county manager said he has thought about using the jail portion of the building at West Main Street and Porter Avenue as a countywide records’ center.

“I have been thinking that it could be a shared services model because all of these towns have permanent records,” he offered. “We could take a jail cell and say ‘Town of Byron, here’s your permanent records'; 'Town of Bergen, here’s your permanent records’ and actually have a centralized shared service project where all the records from the county come to one area.”

July 19, 2021 - 7:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, byron.

A combine and field fire is reported off of Townline Road east of Swamp Road in South Byron.

A first responder reports the combine is fully involved.

There is heavy black smoke in the area.

Byron and South Byron dispatched. Mutual aid is requested from Elba.

UPDATE 7:46 p,m.: "Fire is under control. Hitting hot spots."

July 19, 2021 - 7:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Northside Meadows, city of batavia.

northside_driveway.jpg

The City of Batavia’s Bureau of Inspections is giving management of the Northside Meadows apartment complex at 335 Bank St. until Sept. 1 to rectify roof and driveway maintenance issues or risk court action.

A violation notice dated July 1 and issued by Doug Randall, city code enforcement officer, to Northside Meadows Association, which is managed by David Renzo of V&V Development Corp., indicates that his investigation found the following items to be in violation of the Property Maintenance Code and Residential Code of New York State:

  • Roofs and drainage. The asphalt roof coverings are deteriorated, missing material, and not maintained in a sound and tight condition on two of the three residential buildings located on this property. You must repair or replace the roof covering using approved materials.
  • Roof covering materials. Two of the residential buildings have been covered with grey plastic tarps. The tarps are not approved roof covering materials.
  • Sidewalks and driveways. The asphalt driveway and parking areas have uneven surfaces with loose and missing materials in various areas throughout the property. You must maintain these areas in a proper state of repair and eliminate hazardous conditions. Immediate action must be taken to ensure safety.

The notice, which was obtained by The Batavian through a Freedom of Information Law request earlier today, also states the following:

That a building and/or plumbing and/or electrical permit may be required to make some or all of these corrections. If a permit is required you must obtain one prior to starting work on the items for which the permit is needed. All corrections not requiring a permit should be commenced immediately.

Contacted about the violation notice along with a tenant’s report of a leaky ceiling in one of the Building B apartments and other issues, Renzo said he has a “workout plan” in place to correct the situation.

It should be noted, that the property manager had a similar reply in a June 22 story by The Batavian on similar problems at Le Roy Meadows, another low-income housing project overseen by V&V Development. (More on that at the end of this story).

“Workers will be here tomorrow at 7 a.m. to put more tarps on the building so we can fix the ceiling in that apartment and we have plans to put new roofs on Buildings B and C this summer,” Renzo said. “We’re in the process of contracting with a roofing company right now.”

Northside Meadows, located just west of Walden Estates, consists of three buildings – A, B and C – with eight apartments (four lower and four upper) in each building.

Renzo said he also is soliciting bids to fix the large potholes in the driveway.

Saturday’s heavy rain caused a build-up of water on the roof of Building B and, eventually, resulted in a leak in the ceiling.

Renzo said he went to the apartment, staying there for three hours to shore up the ceiling – punching additional holes in it to relieve the water pressure.

“We had four inches of rain … and this could have happened even with a new roof; the water accumulated in the valley of the roof,” he said.

He explained that he punched some more holes in the ceiling to prevent it from bubbling and placed plywood on the ceiling, supported by long boards extending to the floor.

Meanwhile, the woman who had just moved in to that apartment was forced to evacuate, and is staying with her mother until it is fixed, Renzo said.

“She’ll be out a couple days … but she was all happy because we’re giving her a month’s free rent,” Renzo said.

Currently, tarps are covering Building B and Building C (which is not in compliance with city code), while the roof was replaced on Building A 10 years ago – only after receiving violation notices from the city.

The tarps on Building B and Building C have been in place for at least eight years.

The mother of the tenant who did not disclose his/her name called the property “a hot mess,” citing evidence of drug use, mold, car repairs in the parking lots and excessive noise.

“Starting from the street, you’ve got craters in the driveway that do not get fixed,” said Connie Porter, a Birchwood Village resident who provides rides for her son/daughter. “For several years – and I don’t mean days and I don’t mean months – these roofs have been covered with tarps. Let’s not fix them. Let’s keep collecting rent and leave them.”

Porter said there is no policing of tenants who are violating the rules.

“There are people that are taking advantage of putting their cars in there and doing work that should be done at a mechanic’s shop,” she said. “And at Building C – the needles There is not one diabetic that I know of who goes outdoors to inject themselves with insulin and throws it on the ground. Something else is going on. Plus, the noise at all hours of the night.”

She asked what it was going to take before something gets done.

“Why should it be that you have to turn somebody in before the landlords … actually do something to keep the place the way it should be? Are they going to wait until somebody gets hurt or dies? That’s a health risk over there … a serious health risk.”

Renzo responded by saying that the police, specifically the drug task force, are “very well aware of the situation.”

“The problem is that if they know someone is doing something, it takes about a year to build a case,” he said. “The next plan of action is that we’re going to be putting video cameras in, probably, which would help. That’s our plan – to put video cameras in each building in the common areas.”

He said the management firm’s accounts receivable are thousands of dollars in arrears because many tenants have not paid rent since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

The federal moratorium on eviction ends on July 31, and the state moratorium concludes a month later.

“I sent a letter last week to all the people who haven’t paid and let them know the eviction moratorium is ending …,” Renzo said.

He said that all prospective tenants are subject to background checks and sex offender checks.

“Back in 1993 when the place was built, things were so much different,” he offered. “Now, all these people from Rochester are moving into town and there is a criminal element we’re dealing with. You rent to a single mother with children and her boyfriend comes in from Rochester …

“If there’s any drugs involved, the police are called and they’re doing their part. It’s no different than any other apartment complex.”

Renzo said he has yet to receive a complaint about mold in the apartments.

He advised that he is working with the United States Department of Agriculture on a plan to get the roofing replace before fall and also to pay off $60,000 in back taxes owed to Genesee County.

Renzo said the facility is owned by Northside Meadows Associates, a limited partnership.

He said that 95 percent of it has been syndicated to a company called Sterling, which utilizes National Tax Credit Fund No. 37, a real estate investment trust based in Manhasset. Renzo said he has only a 2 1/2 percent stake in the complex, with the remaining 2 1/2 percent owned by a local rural preservation company.

-----------

LE ROY MEADOWS UPDATE

Renzo said the investment group from California is submitting a workout plan to the USDA and “we expect funds to come in within a week or two.”

“Back taxes are being taken care of by the vouchering of HUD (Housing & Urban Development) money,” he said. “HUD and the USDA have agreed to the plan.”

The county is owed more than $600,000 in back taxes at the 10-building, 80-unit complex at 18 Genesee St., which also is in immediate need of roof and driveway repairs.

Previously: Le Roy Meadows manager says plan will address $600,000 in back taxes, needed repairs

northside_tarps.jpg

northside_sign.jpg

Photo at top: Driveway at Northside Meadows apartment complex. Photos at bottom: Tarps covering Building B; sign along Bank Street. Photos by Howard Owens.

July 19, 2021 - 6:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia, notify.

A 76-year-old Batavia man struck by a car on West Main Street on June 22 remains hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Nathan J. Maniace is in stable condition at this time, according to the hospital.

Before today, Batavia PD had not released the names of the people involved in the accident. The Batavian acquired the accident report through a FOIL request.

According to the report, Maniace was walking southbound across West Main Street from the area of Burger King toward Ken Barrett Chevrolet when he was struck by a 2019 GMC sedan driven by Lloyd J. Miller, 72, of Stafford.

Miller reportedly told police that he did not see Maniace in the roadway.

No citations were issued.

Maniace was transported by ground ambulance to a landing zone in the grass lot between the County Courthouse and the Batavia Fire Station. He was flown by Mercy Flight to Strong.

The accident report was completed by Officer Stephen Quider.

July 19, 2021 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, Grand Jury, notify, batavia, alexander, Le Roy.

Andre L. Roberts is indicted for the crime of assault on a police officer, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 21 in the Town of Alexander, that Roberts, with intent to prevent a Genesee County Sheriff's deputy from performing a lawful duty, caused serious physical injury to the officer. In count two, Roberts is accused of resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor, for intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent a police officer from arresting him or another person.

Robert J. Williams is indicted for the crime of aggravated cruelty of animals, contrary to NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353a(1) -- a felony. On Jan. 14, with no justifiable purpose, Williams is accused of intentionally killing or intentionally causing serious physical injury to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty. In count two, Williams is accused of the same crime involving a second animal. In counts three and four, Williams is accused of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor contrary to Penal Law Section 145.00(1), for intentionally damaging property belonging to another -- to two dogs.

Dejon J. Smith is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 25 in the City of Batavia that Smith knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with the intent to sell it. In count two, Smith is indicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony. It is alleged in count two that on that day, he knowingly and unlawfully possessed one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing the narcotic cocaine; these had an aggregated weight of one-eighth ounce or more. In count three, Smith indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for knowingly and unlawfully possessing a controlled substance -- alprazolam. In count four, Smith is accused of tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count four that Smith, believing certain evidence was about to be produced or used in an official proceeding, intentionally acted to prevent this. He is accused of hiding some cocaine behind a stack of storage container lids in a storage shed while hiding from a uniformed officer who was searching for him. In count five, Smith is indicted for the crime of second-degree obstruction of governmental administration, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count five, that Smith intentionally obstructed, impaired or perverted the administration of law or other government function by means of intimidation, physical force or an independently unlawful act.

Shane M. VanName is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 1 while in the first block of North Street in the Town of Le Roy VanName violated an order of protection. He is accused of intentionally harassing, annoying, threatening or alarming a protected person, or subjecting the person to physical contact or threatening to do so. In count two, VanName is indicted for second-degree criminal contempt, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count two that he intentionally disobeyed a court order of protection out of Darien Town Court issued Oct. 23. In count three, is indicted again for second-degree criminal contempt. It is alleged in count three that he intentionally disobeyed a court order out of Darien Town Court to stay away from a second person at the same address on North Street in Le Roy.

Alexander L. Baldwin is indicted for third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that between November and December that Baldwin stole property from a couple -- U.S. currency valued at more than $3,000. In count two, Baldwin is accused of the same crime for receiving funds in excess of $3,000 from the couple to perform home improvements, thus creating a trust, and then appled the funds for a purpose other than the trust intended.

Christopher L. Taylor is indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Jan. 16 in the Town of Pembroke that Taylor stole property with a value in excess of $3,000.

Myles D. Macleod is indicted for the crime of aggravated driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 27 on Route 77 in the Town of Darien that Macleod rode a 2005 Harley-Davidson motorcycle while he had a BAC of .18 percent or greater. In count two, the defendant is accused of DWI as a Class E felony for operating the motorcycle that day while he was intoxicated. In count three, Macleod is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree for riding his motorcycle that day in Darien while his driver's license was suspended or revoked by the NYS DMV Commissioner and while he was under the influence of alcohol or a drug. In count five, the defendant is indicted for circumventing a required ignition interlock device, since the motorcycle did not have one. In count five, Macleod is accused of refusing to submit to a breath test. In count six, he is accused of the violation of operating an unregistered motorcycle that day on Route 77. In Special Information filed by Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Macleod is accused of having been convicted of DWI as a Class E felony on Nov. 5, 2014 in Genesee County Court. The conviction forms the basis for the suspension or revocation referred to in the current indictment and it was still in effect on the day of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Joel Morales Cruz is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 25 in the City of Batavia that Cruz drove a 1996 Honda on Oak Street while his driver's license was suspended or revoked by the NYS DMV Commissioner. In count two, Cruz is accused of driving while intoxicated, as a misdemeanor, that day on Oak Street. In count three, Cruz is indicted for DWI, per se, as a misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three, that Cruz drove on Oak Street that day while he had a BAC of .08 percent of more. In Special Information filed by Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Cruz is accused of having been convicted of driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor on April 22, 2010 in Batavia City Court and the conviction forms the basis for the suspension or revocation referred to in the current indictment and was still in effect.

July 19, 2021 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

mr.wl_larceny.png.jpg

Batavia PD is investigating a larceny at Mr. Wine and Liquor Store in Tops Plaza. 

The department did not release information on what was stolen.

The photo is of two people the police would like to question in connection with the incident to find out what they may know about it.

Officer Sean Wilson is handling the investigation.

The Batavia Police Department can be reached at (585) 345-6350 or phone the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

July 19, 2021 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.17, up 2 cents in the past week. One year ago, the price was $2.20. The New York State average is $3.20 – up 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.27.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $3.17 (up 1 cent since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $3.12 (no change since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $3.17 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Rochester -- $3.16 (no change since last week)
  • Rome -- $3.25 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $3.16 (no change since last week)
  • Watertown -- $3.22 (up 1 cent since last week)

The national average price for gasoline is on the rise after demand reached an all-time high. Summer travel is in full swing as many people look to vacation after the coronavirus pandemic put plans on hold for some time. A recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that gas demand decreased from the all-time high of 10.04 million b/d to 9.28 million b/d.

The decrease, alongside a one million bbl increase in total domestic gasoline stocks to 236.5 million, has helped to slow pump price increases. However, with oil prices above $70 per barrel, pump prices will likely remain high (above $3 per gallon) throughout the busy summer driving season.

From GasBuddy:

"Gas prices across the country have been a bit sideways in the last week with a mixed bag of decreases and increases, but overall, the national average hasn't seen much meaningful direction as oil prices remain under their early-July levels thus far, thanks to OPEC coming to an agreement on production over the weekend," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"OPEC's plan is to raise oil production by 400,000 bpd each month until 2022, at which time OPEC's oil production will be back at pre-COVID levels. It's a positive development in light of U.S. gasoline demand which last week rose nearly 2 percent, which should act as a loose ceiling on the price of oil, and could mean we're even closer to seeing a peak in the national average if we haven't already."

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