Local News

Afternoon News Brief

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating their 50th birthday. John Dwyer was one of the original county chamber leaders and noted the basic role of the chamber has remained the same since its inception 50 years ago. In attendance of the ribbon cutting ceremony at their Park Road office were chamber leaders past and present. Chamber leaders have had about 30 business ribbon-cuttings over the last year.

The Batavia Police Department has closed out the Mo-Vember/Don’t Shave December campaigns for 2021. They were able to raise over $1700 for Genesee Cancer Assistance. Members of the department want to thank the community for their support and donations.

A body found in West Seneca is believed to be that of a man reported missing earlier this week. Police say the discovery was made yesterday in a wooded area near Mayer Brothers off of Transit Road. Police had been searching for 53-year-old Milton Monnin who was last seen on Tuesday in the area of Transit Road. Police say the body of the male victim is consistent with the description of Monnin. The cause of death and determining the identity of the victim could take several days, according to investigators.

Tim McArdle has resigned his principal position at LeRoy Junior-Senior High School and accepted the assistant principal position at Caledonia-Mumford. He acknowledged it was a difficult decision to make but is looking forward to working in his home school district.

A Buffalo Bills Fan Appreciation Skate will be held at Canalside today. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is hosting the event, where one dollar from each admission will be donated to the Patricia Allen Fund benefiting Oishei Children’s Hospital. Fans will also have a chance to win a 90-minute reservation in the Bills Igloo at the Ice. The event is being held from four this afternoon until eight in the evening.

Buffalo is once again showing its pride for the Bills. The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority is lighting the Peace Bridge in Buffalo Bills
colors ahead of Sunday’s divisional round game with the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition, whenever the Bills score a touchdown, there will be a brief light show on the bridge.

The owner of a Kansas City bar and grill is throwing his support behind the Bills in Sunday’s divisional round game. Al Burns, a South Buffalo native
and owner of Al’s Bar and Grill, says his establishment is a home base for Buffalo Bills’ fans. He is preparing two-thousand pounds of chicken wings
for Sunday’s game.

The Town of Batavia will be distributing free COVID test kits on Monday, January 24 from 5-7 pm at the Batavia Town Hall Window. There are 110 available kits, with two tests per kit. Individuals seeking free kits must be a Genesee County resident and may take up to two kits per household, while supplies last. Proof of residency is required.

New York Attorney General Letitia James today issued guidance to remind New Yorkers of the various rights and protections for residents following the expiration of New York’s eviction moratorium on January 15. Though landlords are now able to start new eviction cases, proceed with existing cases, and issue eviction warrants against some tenants, New Yorkers still have some protections under state laws and access to rental assistance programs. All of which are designed to help keep them from losing their homes as the COVID pandemic continues. State residents should apply to have their rent arrears paid by the state under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Some good news on the local job front…there were 200 more private-sector jobs in Genesee County last month, than there were in December 2020. This, according to the NYS Department of Labor. Analysis of the data, shows that the county added goods-producing and business service jobs. Meanwhile, the total number of government jobs dropped by 100, to 5,200. The entire state added more than 45,000 new jobs in December.

Cody Bush of Batavia, who has been on post-release supervision from his third state prison term, is now facing a new felony indictment. He had been charged last Valentine’s Day for beating a woman and now faces charges of second degree burglary, criminal contempt of court, resisting arrest, and two counts of misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance.

An Albion man has been sentenced to 5 years in prison in the Orleans County Court. 62-year-old Isaiah Alexander pleaded guilty to stabbing his 17 year old stepson in the chest, during an altercation last May. The boy’s 20 year old sister was also cut in the altercation when she intervened in an attempt to stop the fight. The initial charge against Alexander was attempted murder, but was reduced to first degree assault. Upon release from prison, he has also been ordered to serve 5-years post-release supervision.

Mayor Malik Evans says a consolidation of Rochester’s anti-violence programs will help tackle the rise of gun violence in the city. The mayor’s advisor on violence prevention programs — Victor Saunders — will lead the coalition of programs that previously reported to the Department of Human Services. At a news conference yesterday, Mayor Evans said while more officers are needed, the community can help by becoming involved in such programs as Pathways to Peace. On Wednesday, one man was killed in a triple shooting, another man was stabbed, and a teenager was arrested for allegedly shooting at police investigators.

The city of Rochester is going to ask the public who it thinks the next police chief should be. Mayor Malik Evans announced an online survey will ask residents for the qualities they think the city should look for in its search. The survey is available at the city’s website. Mayor Evans says community focus groups will also gather the public’s thoughts on the search. The city has hired a national search firm and Mayor Evans says he hopes to have someone hired by the spring.

Rochester police say they’ve arrested a teenager in an incident in which they say someone shot at investigators while they sat in their unmarked car. The shooting happened Wednesday night on Glenwood Avenue. Police say a suspect with a long gun fired at least one shot at investigators in their car. The shooting was unprovoked. No one was hurt. The suspect is identified as 18-year-old Kenneth Nixon. He’s to be arraigned today.

Morning News Brief

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 50th birthday.
Instead of cutting a cake, they cut a ceremonial ribbon at their Park Road office.

John Dwyer was one of the original county chamber leaders. He told WBTA last night the basic role of the chamber has remained the same for the past half-century

PHOTO: John Dwyer, Courtesy: GCC

Attending the ceremony were chamber leaders past and present.
Chamber leaders say they have had about 30 business “ribbon cuttings” over the past year.

Mercy Flight, the medical helicopter service, says they are not conducting a door-to-door fundraising campaign. Someone has been going around trying to solicit donations.
If you have been approached, call Batavia Police.

Devon Wright

Devon Wright of Batavia is a wanted man. So much so, that Western New York Crime Stoppers has put up $2,500 for information leading to his arrest.
Wright is wanted for a slew of charges including Attempted Assault and Criminal Sexual Act.

Contact WNY Crime Stoppers at: 716-867-6161

(https://crimewatch.net/us/ny/genesee/batavia-pd/submit-tip)

 

The region is once again showing its pride in the Buffalo Bills.
The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority is lighting the Peace Bridge in Bills colors ahead of Sunday’s divisional round game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In addition, whenever the Bills score a touchdown, there will be a brief light show on the bridge.

Single digit cold is greeting us this morning.
Expect bitter cold today and tonight with light and variable winds.
The low could drop below zero.

Midday News Brief

The Batavia Police Department has partnered with Crime Stoppers Buffalo, which is offering a $2500 reward for information leading to the arrest of Devon Wright. Wright is wanted for violating his release terms on a recent plea pertaining to a long list of charges, including Attempted Assault, Criminal Sexual Act, Harassment and Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon. Citizens are urged to come forward with information on where to locate Wright.

Call Crime stoppers at:  716-867-6161] or log on to: this website

The furnace is now repaired and the Richmond Memorial Library has reopened. Although temporarily fixed while waiting for parts that have been ordered, the library has resumed their normal hours and is now once again open to the public. [9am – 9pm Monday through Thursday; 9am – 5pm Friday and Saturday]

Mercy Flight has issued a scam alert. An individual has been going door-to-door in Batavia soliciting donations; however, none of the money is going to Mercy Flight, and they do not seek donations in this manner. Anyone who receives this type of solicitation should notify Batavia police immediately, at 345-6350.

Low and moderate income homeowners should soon be able to make critical repairs and accessibility modifications. Governor Hochul announced this morning that $25 million in grants will be available to aid seniors, veterans, and disabled households, as well as assistance for first-time homebuyers. Monies will go directly to nonprofit organizations and municipalities to be distributed locally.

Genesee County is considering a nearly $23,000 adjustment to the budget to move forward with the replacement of the South Lyon Street bridge. The County has federal aid funding for the design and right-of-way portions of the bridge. The amendment to the budget would allow moving forward with what remains of the right-of-way portion of the project. The total cost of both phases of the project is a little over $650,000, with 80% of the total covered by federal aid and the remaining 20% matched from 1% local sales tax.

Every household in the United States is now eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free and orders usually ship within 7-12 days. It’s recommended you order the tests now so that your family will have them, when needed.

There are some things to keep in mind about the antigen tests so that they are used correctly and will yield accurate results. Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University, explains that most people using the tests get the timing wrong by using the test too soon in the disease process. Schaffner noted if the individual is fully vaccinated, it is best to wait until day 5 following exposure to obtain an accurate result.

Police in Rochester are searching for suspects after two shootings and one stabbing leave one person dead and four injured. It all happened yesterday morning. Police say a shooting on North Clinton Avenue near Rialto Street left one person dead and two others injured. Not long afterward, police were called to a stabbing on Pardee Street and Joseph Avenue where a man was stabbed in his chest. He’s being treated for potentially life-threatening injuries at Strong Memorial Hospital. In the third incident, a man in his 30s was shot on South Plymouth Avenue on the West Side. He’s expected to recover from his injuries.

Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Addison is being limited in practice due to a shoulder injury. Addison suffered the injury during the Bills’ 47-17 win over the New England Patriots. All other healthy Bills participated in practice yesterday.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments reported 1,659 new Covid cases in the two counties the past week. That is the second most during the nearly two-year Covid-19 pandemic, but is down from the 2,703 the previous week.

 

Catholic Charities of Buffalo’s Annual Appeal is underway. Catholic Charities launched its fundraiser yesterday with the goal of raising $9.5 million by June 30th. Money raised provides services to those in need throughout the region. This year’s theme is “Hope.”

The man known as the “Bubble Man” of Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood has passed away at the age of 75 after a long illness. Chuck Incorvaia would blow bubbles out of the window of his home above Jim’s Steakout. The restaurant posted a message on Facebook, which reads in part “We are saddened to share the news of the recent passing of our family member and good friend to all of Allentown: Mr. Charles “Chuck” Incorvaia.” The post went on to say, “For decades, he would make everyone smile by blowing bubbles out of his window.” Jim’s Steakout is planning to hold a celebration of life for Incorvaia in the spring.

Evening News Brief

Wesley Thigpen

A Genesee County Grand Jury has handed up an indictment against a former Batavia man serving time for raping children.
40-year-old Wesley Thigpen is now charged with four counts of predatory sexual assault against a child.
Thigpen is already behind bars in Greene County serving a four-year term for the 2019 rape of a girl under the age of 13.
This latest indictment accuses Thigpen of sexually assaulting children under 13 dating back to 2014.
With these latest charges, Thigpen could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

 

The Richmond Memorial Library is closed again today. Officials there tell us there is still no heat in the library. They are working on the problem.

The family of 7-year-old Brittany Spaniel Bentley is so distraught over their missing fur baby they have posted a $250 reward for his safe return.
Bentley has been missing since Sunday from his home on Vine Street.
He is described as cream and brown, freckled, wearing a red e-collar.
If you have any information about Bentley, call his frantic humans at 861-0013.

PHOTO: Bentley

A new poll is providing some very good news for Governor Hochul as she looks to win a full four-year term this November. According to the Siena College poll she has a large lead over her fellow competitors in the race to secure the Democratic party’s nomination.
The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 28,

Tickets are still available for this weekend’s big showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but they’re not cheap. According to VIP-TIX, there are thousands of seats up for grabs at Arrowhead Stadium with prices ranging from $124 to more than $1,250 each.

Midday News Brief

Governor Hochul has revealed a budget plan that she says will help improve the state’s finances while also making investments in several important programs. The 216-billion-dollar proposal sets funds aside for coronavirus pandemic recovery initiatives and includes a record high 31-billion-dollars in school aid. Money from the budget would also go towards gun violence prevention, healthcare, pothole repair and a middle-class tax credit. Hochul and lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly have until April 1st to pass the budget on time.
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This morning, Governor Hochul announced that more than $12 million has been added to the Drive Clean Rebate Program. The program helps consumers save between $500 and $2000 when purchasing or leasing electric vehicles. This is available at car dealerships throughout the state of New York.
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A new poll is providing some very good news for Governor Hochul as she looks to win a full four-year term this November. According to the Siena College poll she has a large lead over her fellow competitors in the race to secure the Democratic party’s nomination. The poll shows Hochul with a 34-point edge over former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said yesterday he isn’t running for governor. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was in third place with 11% and Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi was in fourth place with 6%. The Democratic primary is scheduled for June.

The Richmond Library remains closed today, once again due to the mechanical failure of their heating system. They hope to reopen tomorrow.

Security is being increased at a parking garage in Rochester after a man was assaulted over the weekend. Police say the 52-year-old victim was walking with his family to the Civic Center Garage from Blue Cross Arena on Saturday when he was attacked. Officers later arrested 24-year-old Tyrone Oliver in connection with the case. Officials say there will now be 24/7 security at the parking garage to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

Here’s a timely reminder from The American Heart Association: Shoveling heavy snow may put you at an increased risk for a heart attack, even if there is no history of heart disease. The risk extends to the use of snow blowers as well; the energy required to move the machinery may also quickly raise blood pressure and heart rate. The Association recommends you take it slow at first; move only fresh, powdery snow, only partially fill your shovel and then lift with your legs (not your back), and preferably push the snow rather than lifting; and do not work to the point of exhaustion.
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Full list of suggestions for staying safe during snow removal:
• Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
• Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
• Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
• Push the snow rather than lifting it
• If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
• Lift with your legs, not your back
• Do not work to the point of exhaustion

A garbage truck and semi collided yesterday on Rte 63 in Bethany. The semi-truck driver said he looked down for a moment and then looked back up and rear-ending the waste management truck was unavoidable. The accident caused something in the semi truck’s engine to catch fire, which crews were able to get under control. Estimates of 50-100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled. The semi-truck driver was taken to Rochester Regional Health/United Memorial Medical Center for evaluation of minor injuries. The accident remains under investigation.

The Buffalo Sabres have put an end to their two-game winless streak, and they have their goaltender to thank for it. Michael Houser stopped 43 of the 44 shots he faced as the Sabres beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 at the Canadian Tire Centre last night. Alex Tuch, Dylan Cozens, and Mark Jankowski each had a goal for Buffalo in the win. Up next for the Sabres is a home game against the Dallas Stars tomorrow night.

Tickets are still available for this weekend’s big showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but they’re definitely not cheap. According to VIPTIX, there are thousands of seats up for grabs at Arrowhead Stadium with prices ranging from $124 to more than 250 bucks each. VIPTIX says there is a high demand for tickets and recommends anyone who wants to see the game in-person should secure their seat soon. Kickoff for Sunday’s contest in Kansas City is set for 6:30pm.

Every household in the United States is now eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free and orders usually ship within 7-12 days. It’s recommended you order the tests now so that your family will have them, when needed: covidtests.gov

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office has announced an arrest in connection with a homicide in Buffalo last year. Officials say 30-year-old Steven Tyler shot 30-year-old Bashir Ingram outside of a home on Keppel Street November 2nd. Ingram was taken to a nearby hospital but died from his injuries. Tyler was arraigned on a murder charge yesterday and sent to jail without bail. He faces a sentence of 25-years to life behind bars if convicted.

The Monroe County Department of Public Health has announced another double digit increase in the number of residents who have died due to COVID-19. The agency says 30 people passed away between December 15th and January 12th, pushing the overall death toll since the health crisis began to 1644. There have also been nearly 5800 new coronavirus cases reported since Friday. Right now, 741 people in the Finger Lakes are hospitalized for treatment of the illness with 125 of them in intensive care.
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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says there are signs that the COVID-19 surge is past its peak in the area. Poloncarz says the number of new cases has dropped steadily over the past couple of weeks and he’s hopeful the trend will continue. Infections skyrocketed recently due to the extremely contagious omicron COVID-19 variant. So far, 193,758 have tested positive for the illness since the start of the pandemic. The countywide death toll is now sitting at 2425

 

Morning News Brief

A Garbage Truck and a Semi collided in a fiery wreck on route 63 in Bethany Tuesday night.  Garbage was strewn across the road and the semi truck became fully involved before Stafford Firefighters were able to put it out.  Traffic was stopped at Batavia Stafford Townline Rd and Ellicott Street.  Minor injuries were reported and the crash is under investigation.  

The City of Batavia Water Department is repairing a water main break at the intersection of Liberty Street and Ellicott Street.  Expect the water to be shut off on Ellicott Street, from Liberty Street to Jackson Street.  There is the potential that the water may need to be shut off on Liberty Street, from Ellicott Street heading north to Main Street.  Traffic will not be able to pass through the Ellicott Street intersection coming off of Liberty Street in both directions while the repairs are being made.  The length of time the water will be off is unknown.

A vine street family is searching for any information about their lost dog.  Bentley, a Brittany Spaniel, escaped from his electric fenced in yard Sunday night around 6pm.  He is a brown and cream speckled, 7 year old friendly dog.  He was spotted on State street and Richmond Ave but fled.  If you see Bentley, please call 585-861-0013 as soon as possible. Treats may help to lure him to someone, but it’s best to call first, she said.

The Buffalo Sabres emerged victorious in their matchup against the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night.  The final score was 3-1 Sabres.  The Sabres are now at 12 and 20 and 7.  Dylan Cozens, Mark Jankowski and Alex Tuch scored for Buffalo.  Michael Houser blocked 43 of 44 shots against him.  The Sabres will be back on the ice Thursday when they host the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m.

Evening News Brief

Batavia and Genesee County continues to dig out today from snow accumulation measuring at least a foot and a half…some places, considerably more.
For today partly sunny with a high of 23, tomorrow we could reach 38.
But then, much colder air moves in the region on Thursday through the weekend. Wind chills may drop to 15-below zero or colder Thursday night through Friday.
If you haven’t done so already, city firemen ask that you clear snow from fire hydrants in your area.

City Manager Rachel Tabelski issued a snow removal statement Tuesday afternoon:

Due to the volume of snow that fell in the last 24 hours, approximately two feet, the cleanup process will take time to complete for City staff and for residents alike. While this was not the worst snow event that the community has seen, it was certainly significant.

“I would like to take the time to remind residents and business owners that we will continue to make our best efforts to clear the City streets and remove snow from City owned parking lots. These are the primary target areas that our Public Works staff focuses on, and then sidewalk clearing as time allows,” said Rachael J. Tabelski, City Manager, City of Batavia.

“In terms of students who walk to school, there are many sidewalks that have been cleaned and snow removed, however there still remains some sidewalks that are not passable. This presents a hazard that could force students to have to walk in the street. I ask that parents and guardians take this under advisement if they have children that walk, and we urge drivers to be more alert and understand the difficult conditions in the City at this time,” said Jason Smith, Superintendent, Batavia City School District.

”If pedestrians are forced to walk in the streets due to sidewalks being unpassable, pedestrians should walk facing traffic and wear bright colored and reflective clothing. Pedestrians should also be sure to cross at intersections using crosswalks whenever they are visible.” said Shawn Heubusch, Police Chief, City of Batavia, “Drivers should always be more cautious after snow events and keep an eye out for pedestrians in the streets.”

Snow operations by the City of Batavia have run continuously from 10 PM on Sunday January 16th until 8 AM Tuesday January 25th with the primary objective of fighting the snow to allow for safe vehicular traffic. Now that the snow event is over, snow removal will begin.

“For the most part the snowfall was uniformed within the City. The City ran a full plow run, 14 pieces of equipment and personal, for over 36 hours during the snow event. The long duration events are the most taxing on staff and equipment,” said Ray Tourt, Superintendent Bureau of Maintenance.

The city has fielded a few complaints regarding clearing sidewalks in the last 24 hours. The Batavia Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 159-8 explains that, property owners have the responsibility to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, however as staffing allows, the City will remove snow from sidewalks. The cleanup process will take time for City staff and for residents alike.

The Richmond Memorial Library will be closed today while they try to restore heat to the building. The heat stopped functioning overnight for unknown reasons.

BPD has arrested a Batavia resident on arson and several other charges in connection with a weekend fire at Washington Towers.
Officers accuse 42-year-old Matthew Zakrzewski of setting fire to a chair in the common area of the building. Zakrzewski is now in county jail.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is unveiling a fiscal year 2023 budget plan that covers everything from coronavirus to schools to clean energy.
The $216-billion budget includes $2-billion for coronavirus recovery, $4.5-billion for clean energy including offshore wind and $1-billion for fixing potholes.
As expected, the budget plan does not include an appropriation for a possible new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.
A Hochul spokesperson said those talks are on going and if a deal is reached before April 1st, an appropriation could be inserted into a final budget deal.

The Mega Millions jackpot is still growing, and someone could end up winning a massive sum of money. There will be at least $347-million up for grabs tonight which is the highest jackpot since September.

Midday News Brief

Batavia police have arrested a city resident and current parolee, on arson and several other charges in connection with a fire on Sunday at Washington Towers. Fire crews were called to the scene after getting a report that a chair was on fire in a common area of the building. They were able to quickly put the flames out and a short time later, officers took 42-year-old Matthew Zakrzewski into custody. Additional charges include breaking into multiple vehicles, breaking windows, and stealing a bicycle. He was identified on security camera footage. Zakrewski was arraigned yesterday morning and sent to Genesee County Jail. The investigation continues. Police are asking anyone with information on the case to call them at 345-6350.

 

The Rochester Institute of Technology is making it easier for faculty, staff and students to get their COVID-19 booster shots. On-campus clinics have been scheduled for January 28th, February 23rd, March 9th and March 21st. Registration is required in advance, and anyone interested in attending can sign up online. All students and staff are required to get their booster shot by January 31st or within 14 days of becoming eligible.

 

49-year-old Cindy Frank of Jamestown has been arraigned in Wyoming County Court on charges of fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She has an extensive history involving drugs; the most recent indictment is on charges that she tried to smuggle drugs into the Attica Correctional Facility. She entered a not-guilty plea and will return to court in March.

Batavia received about 16 inches of snow through late last night. City residents are encouraged to clear snow from fire hydrants. When seconds count, this makes it easier for the fire department, to both find and access them in emergencies.

The Mega Millions jackpot is still growing, and someone could end up winning a massive sum of money in just a few hours. There will be at least 347-million dollars up for grabs tonight which is the highest jackpot since September. Tickets to play the game are just two dollars each. The drawing will be streamed live online at megamillions.com. Please play responsibly.

The Buffalo Sabres are now on a two-game winless streak after falling to a division rival on home ice; they lost to the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime at KeyBank Center yesterday. The Sabres have earned 29 points this season and are currently in 6th place in the Atlantic Division, far behind the first-place Florida Panthers who have 57 points. Up next for Buffalo is a road game against the Ottawa Senators tonight at 7:00.

Morning News Brief

A 42 year old man from Batavia is in custody after police were called to a fire in the communal area of the Washington Towers Sunday.  Matthew Zakrzewski allegedly set a chair on fire and then left the building.  He is also accused of breaking into multiple vehicles in the area by breaking windows and setting one on fire.  Police say they can identify him on security camera footage.  He is also accused of stealing a bicycle on Bank Street.  A current parolee, Zakrzewski was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on 50,000 bail. 

Batavia got roughly 16 inches of snow from Sunday into Monday.  The weather advisory that was supposed to be in effect through mid to late morning today was canceled late Monday.  There may still be some blowing snow and continue to watch out for drifts and whiteouts.

Local politicians are gonna try to shake things up.  On January 21st Go Art is sponsoring a bartender challenge between City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. and City Manager Rachael Tabelski as a fundraiser for arts programs in Genesee and Orleans counties.  In these challenges, amateur bartenders compete at GO ART!’s Tavern 2.o.1 to see who can wow the crowds and earn the most tips for our donation jars.  If you have not been to Go Art! Or have not been in a while, this is an open event to explore the space and connect with the community and the art that makes it special. This event is 21+, bring cash to tip, and may the best bartender win!

A reminder with the snow piling up.  City residents are encouraged to clear snow from fire hydrants to make it easier for the fire department to both find and access them in emergencies.  Every second counts so help out by clearing your fire hydrants of snow and debris today.

The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t sink the last puck against the Detroit Red Wings Monday afternoon as they lost in overtime 3 to 2.  The Sabres are at 11-20 and 7 in the season and have lost 8 of their last 9 games.  The Sabres had 3 points but lost one to an offside call.  Aaron Dell Stopped 32 of 35 shots on goal.  The Sabres are on the road to visit the Ottawa Senators at 7pm tonight.

Afternoon News Brief

Messy conditions are expected on roads throughout Western NY today as the winter storm moves through. The winter storm warning remains in effect through 7pm this evening. Strong winds are also possible, with gusts as high as 40mph, which will create even more hazardous, if not impossible driving conditions, as deep snow covers roads, coupled with poor visibility. Power outages are also a possibility. Many businesses closed today so if you must be out on the roads, it would be best to first click on the Cancellations tab at WBTAi.com and also call ahead to your destination to make sure they are open.

Governor Hochul has signed a bill that allows government agencies to hold meetings and other public business remotely, until the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. Recordings of the meetings do not necessarily need to be posted on line. And public comment sessions at public meetings are not required. The bill allows remote meetings until the state of emergency ends.

The Elba Fire Department and Town of Batavia responded over the weekend to Norton Road in Elba for what started out as a garage fire but spread to the house. According to Elba fire Chief Mike Heale, it appeared there may have been something by the wood stove in the garage that exploded, which started the fire and ultimately destroyed the garage. More will be known after the investigation is completed. The two adults and one dog that occupy the residence are being assisted by the Red Cross.

The City of Batavia Police Department, along with City Fire Investigators, has conducted an investigation into the fire of a chair in the communal area of Washington Towers. While doing so, it was discovered that Matthew Zakrzewski of Batavia, had been described by witnesses to have engaged in the larceny of a bicycle in the area of Bank Street. He also matched the description of the suspect in the arson investigation. Zakrezewski, who was also on parole, was arraigned in Batavia City Court today and remanded to the Genesee County Jail. The investigation into these incidents is ongoing

There is a Covid-19 list for homebound residents in Genesee and Orleans Counties. And so far, 85 individuals who were unable to leave their homes have received the vaccine of their choice. The health departments for each county are closed today but will reopen tomorrow.

Parents of students in Batavia City Schools will soon be contacted by the district seeking permission to administer COVID-19 Rapid Tests to their child. The goal is to keep children in school. Superintendent Jason Smith also announced that the district is working toward enhancing their communication strategies, efforts which include website updates and improvements.

Starting today, New Yorkers will have another option available if they want to participate in mobile sports betting. BetMGM is joining Rush Street Interactive, DraftKings, Caesars and FanDuel as a sportsbook that people may use to place wagers. Mobile sports betting launched earlier this month and officials say it has been a big success. More sportsbooks are expected to be added in the future.

Following their blowout win against the New England Patriots, the Bills are now packing their bags for the trip to Kansas City. They’ll be taking on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday evening, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30, for the next round of the NFL playoffs. When Buffalo and Kansas City met back in October, the Bills ended up on top, 38-20. Buffalo has yet to win a playoff game on the road; if they come away with the W on Sunday, they’ll be one step closer to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.

Rochester police have made an arrest in connection with a triple shooting late last week. They say 33-year-old Richard Burchard-Lopez was taken into custody following a police pursuit on Saturday night. Burchard-Lopez is accused of shooting a three-year-old child and two adults at a home on Glendale Park Thursday. All of the victims were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive. Burchard-Lopez is facing several charges including assault.

Western New York drivers are still seeing consistent prices at the pump when filling up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is still $3.49. That’s the same as it was last week and is two cents less than this time a month ago. The state average is $3.48 a gallon while nationally is $3.31.

No injuries have been reported following a three-alarm fire at a vacant building in Buffalo. Crews were called to the scene on Hampshire Street yesterday and spotted smoke and flames coming from the building when they arrived. Officials believe the fire started on the first floor and quickly spread. Just what sparked the blaze is still under investigation.

Morning News Brief

Some Closures Today:

Advanced Podiatry Associates, Dr. Carzoneri Closed Monday

Alberty Drugs Batavia Closing at 1pm Monday

ARC GLOW Programs Closed In All 4 Counties Monday

ARC Trash Pickup Canceled Monday

Bens Appliances Closed Today

Casella Waste Management No Garbage Pickup Monday. 1 day delay

Foxprowl Collectibles Closed Monday

Golden Coin Closed Monday

Mental Health Associations of Batavia and Albion closed Monday

Optique Optical Closed Monday

Premiere Genesee Adult DayCare Closed Monday

Reed Eye Associates Closed Monday

Dr. Suwarna Naik Closed Monday

Dr. Thomas Mazurkiewicz Closed Monday

The winter storm warning continues until 7pm tonight with heavy snow expected.  1-3 inches an hour is predicted by the National Weather Service in Orleans and Genesee Counties.  Winds could gust up to 40 miles per hour which may produce drifts and whiteouts.  Travel will be very difficult or even nearly impossible with deep snow cover on roads and very poor visibility. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning and evening commute Monday

There were 2 fires over the weekend with the first being a garage fire in Elba at 7504 Norton Rd early Saturday morning.  Firefighters had a difficult time because of the extreme cold temperatures making the water freeze and causing firefighters to work in shifts.  2 people and a dog were displaced as the fire spread to the house attached to the garage.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.  The second fire was in Batavia at 142 Hutchins Street Sunday evening at around 5pm.  The fire was in the basement and was related to the washer and dryer.  Firefighters were able to defeat the flames and the home was ventilated.  

The Buffalo Bills trounced the New England Patriots Saturday late at night in near sub-zero weather 47-17.  Jeff Allen scored more touchdowns than had incomplete passes during the game.  The Bills made NFL history by having the first game where a team played the whole game without a single punt, field goal or turnover.  The Bills will be headed to Arrowhead Stadium next week after the Chiefs win over the Steelers.  The Bills team has yet to win a playoff game on the road.

Cheerleaders, known for creating words out of shouted letters, want 3 letters gone.  Specifically R, I and T.  The NYSPHAA Competitive Cheerleading Championships are to be held at the Rochester Institute of Technology but over 11 thousand people have signed a petition to have them moved.  The reason?  RIT has a COVID vaccine policy in place for all events held on campus and dozens if not hundreds of cheerleaders across the state would not be able to compete as they are not vaccinated.  The NYSPHAA and RIT have stated they have no intention of changing the policy or moving the event.

WEATHER WARNING ISSUED

UPDATE: Winter Storm Warning upgraded at 12:45pm on Saturday. Warning begins at 9pm Sunday and continues until 7pm Monday. Snow accumulation of 12 to 18 inches, winds gusts to 40 mph

 Take extra care when driving north or south as wind blowing the snow across the roadway could result in low visibility.

A Rochester man is going to jail for 18 years after being part of a Ponzi scheme which defrauded over 1000 people over 11 years.  41 year old Perry Santillo was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering.  Santillo bilked his victims out of over 100 million dollars from 2008 to 2019.  

A judge in Buffalo has granted another temporary restraining order against the demolition of the Great Northern Grain Elevator.  The temporary restraining order is the result of an appeal by preservationists of a ruling that allowed for the demolition of the damaged grain elevator by its owner Archer Daniels Midland.  The city issued a demolition permit during the week but the order puts a stop to it for now. The matter is due back in court on the 24th.

The Leroy Ambulance Service is asking for donations in order to buy a new ambulance.  The ambulance responds to over 1300 calls every year.  According to a press release: Due to continuous repairs and anticipated maintenance costs, there is a need to replace our older ambulance. We are hoping that you value LAS as much as we do and will consider making a tax-deductible donation to Le Roy Ambulance Service, Inc.  100% of all donations will be applied directly toward the fund for a new ambulance.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center has approved an investment by Mega Properties incorporated to spend 8.5 million to buy a vacant building on Federal Drive in Batavia.  They hope that the new warehouse distribution facility will bring add 11 new full time employee positions.  The project will be given 600K in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.  

Afternoon News Brief

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties from tonight at 6pm till Saturday at 1pm. This means extremely low temperatures and wind chills of 20 degrees below zero. Exposed skin could turn to frostbite within 30 minutes. They advise us to stay indoors if possible and when traveling, cover up and limit time outside.

In addition, a winter storm watch is also in effect from 6pm Sunday through 6pm Monday. Travel could be very difficult to impossible, with hazardous conditions that will likely impact the morning or evening commute.

Governor Hochul says New York State is getting additional help from the federal government in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus. The governor said yesterday National Ambulance Contract Teams will be arriving in the Empire State in the coming days. Members will be going to hospitals all across Upstate region to help out workers who are struggling to treat a growing number of patients. In a statement, the governor thanked President Biden for sending the necessary resources to help fight the winter surge of new COVID-19 cases that are being fueled by the omicron variant.

This from Dan Ireland, Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center president, 75% of COVID admissions to UMMC, are for unvaccinated people. As of yesterday, the Center’s occupancy rate was 86% and all COVID patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit have not had the vaccine. Ireland encourages everyone qualified for the shots and the booster, to get vaccinated. This will not only protect individuals and families, it will also free up space in the hospital.

Confer Plastics in North Tonawanda is providing a $10,000 grant to the Friends of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. The money will be used to expand a trail near the visitor’s center. It will also help to make the trail more handicap accessible, including interpretive signage, trail markers and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant benches.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says he’s not going to get in the way of the Great Northern grain elevator being demolished. Local preservationists had asked the mayor to step in and save the structure which was damaged in a windstorm last month. Brown says city officials don’t believe the building can be salvaged. A ruling from a State Supreme Court judge last week cleared the way for the building to be knocked down, but there’s no word yet on when that’s going to happen. The grain elevator has stood in the city since 1897 and is the last of its kind in North America.

Rochester police are asking for help from the public in tracking down the person who pulled the trigger in a triple-shooting. They say a three-year-old child and two adults were shot yesterday at a home on Glendale Park. The child initially had life-threatening injuries but their condition has improved while the adults suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police say the shooting appears to have been the result of a domestic incident. They’re asking anyone with information on the case to dial 911 immediately.

The investigation continues into what sparked a fire at an apartment building in Rochester that displaced 12 people and left a firefighter hurt. Crews arrived at the scene on Rowley Street yesterday and found flames in the basement and smoke spreading throughout the building. They were able to contain the blaze in about 40 minutes and all of the residents made it out safely. The firefighter was taken to nearby hospital for treatment of a minor upper body injury. The residents affected by the blaze are being helped by the American Red Cross.

The Buffalo Bills will begin a journey this weekend that they hope brings them one step closer to winning a Super Bowl. The Bills are taking on the New England Patriots in an AFC Wild Card game at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. These teams played twice this season with the Bills and Patriots winning one game each. Weather could be a major factor in the game as both cold temperatures and gusty winds are expected. Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 8:15pm.

The Buffalo Sabres have finally snapped their six-game winless streak and picked up their first victory in nearly a month. Jeff Skinner scored twice; Mark Jankowski scored first for Buffalo, which was his first as a Sabre. He’s now made 41 goals in his NHL career. Final score was Sabres 4 and the Nashville Predators 1. Buffalo got a strong performance from goaltender Aaron Dell who stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The Sabres will be back in action tomorrow when they take on the Detroit Red Wings.

Morning News Brief

There is a Wind Chill Advisory for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties from tonight at 6pm till Saturday at 1pm.  The National weather service is warning of low temperatures and a wind chill of down to negative 20 degrees.  Exposed skin could turn to frostbite within minutes at those temperatures.  Stay indoors if possible.  If you are traveling, cover up and limit time outside.

Unvaccinated employees at companies with over 100 workers are breathing a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden Administration’s COVID vaccine or testing mandate Thursday afternoon saying it overstepped government and OSHA authority.  This means that companies do not have to fire or incur costs in testing any unvaccinated employees they have.  The White House said after the ruling that they still hope companies will fire their employees who aren’t vaccinated.  The Supreme court did allow a second, similar mandate which applied to healthcare workers to go into effect.

The ice rink is ready to go when cold weather hits this weekend in Leroy.  A rectangular-shaped ice skating rink will be available at Bunnel Park as soon as the temperatures drop low enough for the water to freeze.  Funding for the rink came from COVID relief funds.

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Nashville Predators Thursday night 4 to 1 in the first victory in almost a month.  Jeff Skinner’s scored twice for the Sabres with his second goal, scored in the third period, marking the 500th point of his NHL career. Buffalo’s first goal was Mark Jankowski’s first as a Sabre. He has 41 in his NHL career.  Buffalo’s road trip continues on Saturday night when the Sabres visit Detroit. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.

Midday News Brief

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch

City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is collaborating with the community to reform and reinvent the department, as mandated by an executive order in 2020 from former Governor, Andrew Cuomo. In addition to more foot and bicycle patrols, Chief Heubusch is proposing enhanced training through a partnership with Genesee County Mental Health, enhanced crisis intervention training, and the department maintaining a de-escalation trainer.

Governor Hochul announced today plans to prioritize additional rental relief funding for states that have exhausted their initial federal allocation. Under the Governor’s direction, the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance had requested $996 million in funds from the Treasury, which would potentially assist tens of thousands of tenant applicants. However, late last month, the Treasury indicated New York would receive only $27 million from the initial reallocation.

Both Genesee and Orleans Counties are reporting major increases in the past week in the number of Covid cases, with nearly 3000 between the counties. The increase is being attributed, in part, to a combination of factors, including the post-holiday surge, delay in case investigations, and recent changes in the investigation protocol.

Nearly 5% of the KN95 face masks distributed by the state over the last month are potentially defective, and may not provide quality protection against Covid-19. Some of the bad ones went to Monroe County. However, counties in the GLOW region have reported no issues. At this time, the state Health Department did not respond as of yesterday about the number of masks sent to each county, along with what officials should look for to detect defective face coverings, or if the masks should continue to be distributed.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has announced the recipients of the 50th Annual Chamber of Commerce awards. This year’s honorees are: Business of the Year: Valle Jewelers, Agricultural Business of the Year: Alleghany Farm Services, Entrepreneurial Business of the Year: Batavia Muckdogs Baseball, and Geneseean of the Year: Jay Lazarony. The awards will be given out at the 2021 awards ceremony to be held at Batavia Downs on March 12th. Tickets to the ceremony are 50 dollars per person or 360 for a table of 8.

Genesee Community College will hold a symposium on climate change and sustainability in Western New York. The focus for the panel discussion is to inform community members of global issues and encourage action to improve local economy and environment. The symposium will be held on Thursday, April 21 in The Richard C. Call Arena.

The American Red Cross reports the current blood supply is at its lowers level in over 10 years. They are urging blood donors to schedule and appointment to help ensure blood is available to support patients’ ongoing needs, including emergency situations like car crashes and household accidents. The next local donor opportunity will be Tuesday, January 18 from 2 – 7 at the First United Methodist Church, Lewiston Road.

Morning News Brief

If your child plays sports after school the New York State Department of Health has released guidance on whether they can play after being exposed to COVID. If they are vaccinated they have to quarantine from after school programs for 5 days but can go back to school for instruction and ride the bus. The guidance says that this is regardless of booster shot status but if the child is unvaccinated against COVID they have to stay home from school at least 5 days and can’t play.

Governor Hochul has a plan to get more bus and truck drivers. The plan is to expand how many road tests are available and also open up road testing to third parties. The idea is to get as many people as possible CDL licenses. Schools in Buffalo and Rochester have suffered from not having enough drivers to get kids to school each day, causing some students to miss school or have to do remote education. The third parties will be overseen by the state and the governor promises a strict system of oversight to make sure the state’s standards are upheld. 

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has announced the recipients of the 50th Annual Chamber of Commerce awards.  This year’s honorees are:  Business of the Year: Valle Jewelers, Agricultural Business of the Year: Alleghany Farm Services, Entrepreneurial Business of the Year: Batavia Muckdogs Baseball, and Geneseean of the Year: Jay Lazarony.  The awards will be given out at the 2021 awards ceremony to be held at Batavia Downs on March 12th.  Tickets to the ceremony are 50 dollars per person or 360 for a table of 8.  

As the snow falls you may not be thinking about gardening but spring and planting season will be here before we know it and the Genesee County Master Gardeners are here to help.  Starting February 3rd the monthly Garden Talks series will begin with “Monarchs, their flight, their plight and what you can do.”  Each month there will be a new discussion, the February talk will be via zoom but following months will return to in person talks.  The series is free and each talk is 45 minutes starting at noon.  To register, visit the events page at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee.

Midday News Brief

Batavia’s Board of Education unanimously approved many items last night, including the over $400,000 bid from Enviro-mist for disinfecting equipment. The devices also provide air purification, intended to help combat the increasing cases reported of Covid-19. Funding will come from the federal American Relief Act, which provides school districts money for various virus-related solutions.

Also during last night’s meeting, Superintendent Smith announced the district will be receiving more COVID test kits, as part of their test-to-stay policy.

The New York State Department of Health reports there are some issues regarding the quality of KN95 masks that were sent to the Monroe County area. Noteworthy is that the masks may not provide the expected level of protection from COVID but that people should continue to use them if they do not have another mask available. The Department of Health is working to distribute new masks and is also conducting an internal review of masks that are currently in storage.

In other Covid news, the state is experiencing a pattern that experts are finding hard to explain: Downstate hospitals are dealing with a majority of COVID patients; yet upstate hospitals are running out of beds. This contrast was noted yesterday when Governor Hochul ordered a halt to elective procedures in the Finger Lakes, Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions. The differences also raise questions about the usefulness and accuracy of the metrics the state has historically used to track the pandemic in hospitals. One possible reason for the regional differences could be the state-imposed vaccine mandate for health-care workers, which might have been less popular in our part of the state than downstate.

Governor Hochul reports that this most recent wave of Covid may have peaked in our state. This, in light of the fact that last week New York averaged about 75,000 cases daily; this week, 48,000 cases were reported Monday. The health department in both Genesee and Orleans Counties announced changes to contract tracing, now leaving it up to the individual to call friends and families after receiving word of a positive test, if they fall within the age of 19 and 65. The governor also urged people not to go to emergency rooms to get tested for Covid.

Governor Hochul has announced a new initiative aimed at getting more children vaccinated against COVID-19. The hashtag ‘Vax for Kids’ campaign is urging doctors, parents and guardians to do their part to prevent kids from contracting the illness. This effort will include TV, radio, and digital advertising and additional PSA’s will be released in the coming weeks. Over 1,500,000 New York children between the ages of 5 and 17 have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

County health departments are no longer being required by New York State to conduct contact tracing of people who test positive for coronavirus. State Health Commissioner Doctor Mary Bassett says this change will allow local agencies to shift resources they were using for contact tracing towards vaccination and testing efforts. The state will be issuing specific guidance today about isolation and quarantine for infected individuals. That information can be found online at ny.gov/isolation and ny.gov/quarantine.

Fans who will be watching the Buffalo Bills battle the New England Patriots in-person this weekend are going to want to wear a few extra layers. Forecasters say the temperature is expected to be in the single digits and the wind chill will make it feel even colder. When the Bills and Patriots played in Orchard Park back in December both teams had to deal with very strong wind gusts. Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 8:15pm.

The winless streak of the Buffalo Sabres has reached six games following a defeat at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champions. Vinnie Hinostroza had the lone goal for Buffalo as they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning six-to-one at KeyBank Center last night. The last time the Sabres won a game was back on December 16th; their record is now 10-19-6. Up next for Buffalo is a road contest against the Nashville Predators tomorrow night.

The Main Street lift bridge in Albion will close for about two years as part of an estimated $21,000,000 project that includes major repairs to the lift bridge on Route 19 in Brockport. The Albion bridge was build in 1914. it is one of 16 lift bridges on the Erie Canal, and one of 7 in Orleans County. It typically closes a few days annually for short-term repairs. The state Department of Transportation is currently reviewing bids. At this time, no schedule has been set for when the lift bridges will close and construction will start.

Steve Hawley

In 2020, an overtime threshold for farms in New York State was set at 60 hours a week. They are now again facing the prospect of another change. Assemblyman Steve Hawley, a former cash crop and livestock farmer in Batavia, expressed concern about this. He noted these days, farmer’s very existence is jeopardized unlike ever before. Hawley added, individuals pushing for lowering the overtime threshold have good intentions but miss the reality that the change will result in smaller paychecks for workers, who may end up pursuing farm jobs in other states where they can make more money. Additional virtual hearings on the subject are scheduled for January 18th and 20th. [https://dol.ny.gov/farm-laborers-wage-board-hearings]

Niagara County deputies are still trying to find the suspect involved in a deadly stabbing. Officers were called to a home on Niagara Road in Wheatfield last night after receiving a report that someone had been stabbed. They arrived to find a man had been attacked and he later passed away due to his injuries. Police believe the stabbing was the result of a dispute and say the case is being treated as a homicide.

Morning News Brief

Batavia City schools are spending more than 400 thousand dollars on classroom disinfecting devices after the Board of Education unanimously approved a slate of proposals Tuesday night.  The funding for these devices will come from the federal American Relief Act, which was doled out to school districts for various virus-related solutions. The board agreed that Enviro-mist came in with the best bid for air purification and disinfection devices, at $1,665 each for 250 disinfection units, or $416,250. 

Governor Hochul took to the airwaves in New York City to say that COVID may have peaked in the Empire State.  Over the last week the state averaged about 75 thousand cases daily with a high of 90 thousand new cases on Saturday.  Monday saw far less with 48 thousand.  The state is ending its contract tracing program. Hochul said the decision on whether to contract trace will be left up to individual counties.  In Genesee and Orleans counties, the health department has already announced the changes to contact tracing, making it up to the individual to call friends and families after a positive test if they fall within the 19-65 age group.  The governor also urged people not to go to emergency rooms to get tested for COVID.

In weird news: According to Oregon State University there is a strange benefit to using hemp products.  They apparently stop COVID from entering human cells.  Not to be confused with THC, the hallucinogenic ingredient in recreational marijuana, CBD appears to bind to the spike protein of the COVID virus so it can’t bind to cells in the body.  The researchers also said that they have found CBD helps with HIV and Hepatitis and another odd product, Black Licorice, also appears to bind to COVID spike proteins.  

The Sabres were thunderstruck as they lost to the Lightning 6 to 1 Tuesday night.  Vinnie Hinostroza scored the lone goal for the Buffalo team and Lukkonen left the game with a lower body injury after stopping 7 of the 9 shots sent his way.  With the loss, the Sabres fall to 10-19-6. They’re back on the ice Thursday in Nashville.

Midday News Brief

Batavia City Firemen remain on the scene of a working house fire on Porter Avenue. The house is located between Washington and West Main.
That blaze broke out shortly before Noon.
Two alarms have been sounded.
Initial reports said all occupants had escaped.
Upon arrival, firefighters were greeted by flames from the second floor that quickly spready to the attic.
National Grid and National Fuel have been called to the scene to shut off utility service to the house.
The fire was declared nearly out by 12:15pm.

The City of Batavia’s is proposing a 78-cent decrease in the property tax rate. City Manager Rachel Tabelski unveiled her proposed budget last night. It totals $17.7-million.
The proposed tax rate for the coming fiscal year stands at $8.94 per thousand. The City Council now reviews the financial plan and can either increase or decrease the proposed budget.

With the State’s eviction moratorium, expiring on January 15th, landlords may start the legal process of evicting tenants who have not paid rents. Although both democrats and republicans have expressed concern about the moratorium and what it does to landlords in business who are receiving reduced or no income, advocacy groups are expecting Governor Hochul to extend the moratorium again. The same advocacy groups believe housing should be a right and if tenants cannot pay landlords, then the state should.

Genesee Community College is preparing to launch a new program of study, Solar Electric Technician. The courses will provide students hands-on learning opportunities, as well as theoretical foundations in tools, safety and testing equipment. Students will be able to register for the program beginning on April 1.

The Buffalo Sabres will try and avoid another loss tonight, but they’ll have a tough task in front of them. The Sabres are hosting the defending Stanley Cup champions the Tampa Bay Lightning at KeyBank Center. Buffalo hasn’t played since last Thursday when they fell to the San Jose Sharks. The Sabres are in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 26 points while the Lightning are in second place with 51 points. Face-off for tonight’s game is set for 7pm.

Morning News Brief

 

Wyoming and Livingston Counties are under a Wind Chill advisory till 10am today.  Wind chill may reach down to -15 degrees Fahrenheit.  Frostbite may appear on uncovered skin within 30 minutes at those temperatures.  Make sure to cover up, stay inside if possible and limit time outside if you have to go out.

A NewsRelease from the Department of Public Works:  The City Water Department is making repairs to a water line on the corner of Liberty and Ellicott Street today.  Expect the water to be turned off on Liberty from Main to Ellicott Streets. Due to the uncertainty of the repair water may also be turned off or experience low pressure in adjacent areas.  Traffic will not be allowed through the southern side of the intersection of Ellicott and Liberty, while repairs are being made.

Former Corfu Fire Chief and a police officer save man from fiery building.  Brian Schollard saw heavy smoke coming from a home at 13 East Main St in Corfu at about 2:30 Monday, and also a man hanging from a window.  He describes jumping into action.  The fire was knocked down by Corfu Firefighters quickly.  The man, who has not been identified, was taken to the hospital for treatment for cuts on his feet and smoke inhalation.

Starting January 15th the New York State eviction moratorium will expire.  If you haven’t paid your rent landlords will be able to evict you legally.  Advocacy groups such as PUSH in Buffalo are expecting Governor Hochul to extend the moratorium again.  She already extended it in September.  Democrats and Republicans in the State assembly and Senate have complained about the moratorium and what it does to landlords who are forced to house people for no pay.  Advocates for renters say housing should be a right and they shouldn’t have to pay landlords or the state should pay.

The registration is open for the Parks and Trails annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour which will run form July 10th through the 17th.  In 2020 the tour was moved online due to COVID but this year, starting at Buffalo and ending in Albany, cyclers will have the chance to go the full 750 mile distance in a group.  The cost for 8 days of meals, lodging, entertainment, historical presentations and baggage transportation is 975 for adults and 535 for ages 6-17.

Midday News Brief

Starting tomorrow, a new visitation policy is going to be in effect at facilities that are operated by Rochester Regional Health. Due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the area, no visitors will be allowed to see emergency room patients, cancer infusion center patients or patients who are in enhanced isolation and being treated for coronavirus. There will be exceptions made for pediatric patients or people receiving end-of-life care. Also, all patients and visitors must wear medical masks in the hospital.
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Researchers from the Center for Disease Control reports that children who have recovered from COVID-19 appear to be at significantly increased risk of developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The heightened risk has already been observed in adults who recover from COVID. The CDC study is among the first to examine insurance claim databases in the United States to estimate the prevalence of new diabetes diagnoses among children under the age of 18.
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The number of Erie County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. The Department of Health says in the past week, more than 19,000 people have contracted the virus. That number includes over 2200 infections the agency reported yesterday. Overall, there have been 175,405 confirmed cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Erie County since the pandemic started.
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Over the weekend, New York State reported a record of over 90,000 new cases of COVID-19. The state has now had over 4,000,000 infections since the start of the pandemic. Another 154 individuals died, one of the highest daily totals since the pandemic started over a year ago. The already-strained health-care system in the state saw an increase of over 11,800 new hospitalizations. Only three other states have reported a total of over 4-million cases of COVID; they are Texas, Florida and California.

A week after his 14-year-old son was shot dead near the family’s Rochester home, the boy’s father, Julius Greer, Sr., is asking anyone who knows anything about the killing to come forward. Julius, Jr. died last Sunday evening, becoming the first homicide victim in Rochester in 2022. Anyone with information about the case should call 9-1-1. [or Crime Stoppers at 585-423-9300]

When the Batavia City School board meets tomorrow evening at 6pm, one agenda item for consideration is a contract with Enviro-Mist to use medical grade disinfectant devices in the schools. The goal is to kill pathogens on surfaces and in the air. Also on the agenda are repairs to the High School’s roof, which was damaged in last month’s wind storm. The two phase repair being considered will cost a total of $43,000.

Parts of Orleans and Monroe counties have the best chance of accumulating snow tonight, with 3 – 5 inches predicted. Snow showers could leave up to 3” of snow in Genesee County by early morning.

Two people have been taken into custody after robbing an elderly woman and leading officers on a chase through Rochester. The 84-year-old victim told investigators she was carjacked in the area of the Sunoco station on West Ridge Road in Greece last night moments before the pursuit began. Police haven’t released the names of the suspects or said what charges they could be facing. The woman wasn’t seriously hurt during the robbery.

While a judge has approved its demolition, local historical preservation groups are still trying to stop the Great Northern grain elevator in Buffalo from being torn down. State Senator Sean Ryan, Assemblyman Jonathan Rivera and a representative of Preservation Buffalo Niagara held a news conference yesterday where they said the building can still be saved and repaired. It was damaged by a windstorm in December and has been the subject of a weeks long legal battle. The grain elevator was built in 1897 and is the last of its kind in North America.

For the second year in a row, the Buffalo Bills have been crowned as the kings of the AFC East. Quarterback Josh Allen threw for 239 yards and tossed a pair of touchdowns as the Bills beat the New York Jets 27 to 10 at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park yesterday. Devin Singletary also had a rushing score for Buffalo who finished the regular season with a record of 11 wins and six losses. Up next for the Bills is a home playoff game on Saturday against the New England Patriots.

Western New York drivers still aren’t noticing much of a change in prices when filling up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is now $3.49. That’s the same as it was last week and is two cents cheaper than this time one month ago. The state average is the same – $3.49 a gallon – while nationally it’s $3.30.

After having a few days off, Buffalo Public School students will be heading back to their classrooms today. They haven’t been in school since last week due to winter weather and some staffing shortages. Superintendent Doctor Kriner Cash also says 300,000 KN95 masks are going to be available to kids and teachers and that 500,000 more have been ordered. The district is holding a COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 3:30pm until 7:00pm Thursday at the International School on Hoyt Street.

Morning News Brief

Daily Cancellations: Attica central schools are closed today because of a water main break

As part of her State of the State address last week, Governor Hochul proposed a measure that would ban new buildings built in New York State from having natural gas hookups.  Hochul said that “New construction in the state will be zero-emission by 2027, and we will build climate-friendly electric homes and promote electric cars, trucks and buses.”  The plan would also require energy analyses of every new building’s energy usage, known as ‘benchmarking.’ Hochul’s climate change agenda also sets a goal of 2 million electrified homes by 2030.”  Green Energy think tank Rocky Mountain Institute estimates that this may have the carbon reduction equal to taking 450,000 cars off the road by 2040.

UMMC suspended elective surgeries on the 23rd of December and it was supposed to go for 2 weeks.  The New York State Health Department just extended that for another 2 weeks.  The directive came down Saturday that, because of a limitation on staffed patient bed capacity, 40 hospitals across NY have to cease these operations.  Also in our area are Wyoming County Community Hospital and Medina Memorial Hospital.

Gas Price Update:  The average price of a gallon of regular dropped in Batavia by 2 cents to 3.44 according to AAA.  In NY the average price stayed at 3.49.  Prices across the country are more than a dollar up from last year at this time.  New York’s difference is 1.16.  Prices are expected to drop through January.

Batavia City Schools is considering a contract with the company Enviro-Mist to deploy medical grade disinfectant devices in the schools to help combat COVID.  Enviro-Mist uses a Ionized Hydrogen Peroxide technology to kill pathogens on surfaces and in the air.  The Board is set to review the bid on Tuesday at 6pm.  Also on the agenda are repairs to the Batavia High School Roof after the wind storm in December damaged it.  The board is looking at a 2 phase repair that costs a total of 43 thousand dollars.

The Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 27 to 10 Sunday afternoon, clinching the AFC East for the first time since 1995.  The Bills are at 11 and 6 and are the number 3 seed going into the playoffs.  They are playing the Patriots in a wild card round on January 15th.  This is the first time the Bills and Patriots will play against each other in the playoffs since 1966.  In other Bills related news, Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan has been fined 10 thousand dollars for taunting Bills Safety Jordan Poyer during last week’s game.  Ryan thought he scored a touchdown to cut the Bills lead late in the fourth quarter and got up while throwing the ball down at Poyers feet and saying something to him before pulling away quickly.  The touchdown was overturned and the Falcons had to move back 15 yards.

Weekend News Brief

Governor Hochul announced Friday that a new mandate is going into place for healthcare workers across New York State.  That mandate will make it so healthcare workers must get the COVID booster shot.  She talked about how this is the first state wide booster mandate in the US.  Hochul did not say when this would go into effect but that when it does all eligible healthcare workers must comply within 2 weeks.  Hochul also announced new rules for visiting nursing homes.  Starting Wednesday all visitors must show proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of their visit.  

UMMC has new visitation policies going into effect on Tuesday the 11th due to the increase in Omicron Cases.  No visitation will be allowed for Emergency Room patients, Cancer infusion patients, or patients on enhanced Isolation Precautions.  Patients may designate 2 people to visit.  A maximum of 4 hours of visitation daily.  The exceptions to these rules are pediatric patients, labor and delivery patients and patients in end of life or with cognitive disabilities.  They have also changed their masking policy, cloth masks are no longer allowed.  Only surgical masks will be allowed.  The hospital will provide one if you don’t have one.

GO Health is changing its COVID policies because of the number of cases exceeding the number that can be contact traced.  Starting Monday they are ending contact tracing for those between 19 and 64.  Those who take a COVID test and get a positive result should self isolate for 5 days and contact those they might have been around.  If they are asymptomatic at the end of 5 days they can stop isolating.  If they have symptoms isolate 5 days from the first day of symptoms.

The Buffalo Bills announced they will be without defensive end Efe Obada for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets due to an ankle injury.  Obada played in ten of the Bills 16 games this season.  The Bills also announced wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is questionable with a knee injury.

Midday News Brief

Wyoming County residents will now be able to go online to report positive results from at-home Covid tests. Residents may now visit www.wyomingco.net and follow the instructions provided. They will then be provided instructions, and advised as to how long they will need to isolate.

As of yesterday, the total positive Covid-19 tests is now at 10,440 in Genesee County. Approximately 9500 individuals have recovered and no longer need to be in isolation. According to the State’s Department of Health, a total of 164 deaths have been recorded due to the coronavirus. Just over 64% of Genesee County’s population five years of age and older have received at least one COVID vaccination; nearly 59% have completed the series of shots.

A 24 year old woman is dead after falling into the Warsaw Falls Wednesday morning. The woman’s car was found at the Warsaw Village Park around 11:30 a.m. Footprints found in the snow from the car led to the nearby waterfall. Police say they believe she was headed home when she slipped into the gorge. Investigators are conducting an autopsy and the woman’s name is not being released at the request of her family.

Monroe County deputies have arrested a Rochester man for his involvement in a stabbing that left a person seriously hurt. Police say 31-year-old Dante Hills broke into an apartment at the Pines of Perinton complex on Balsam Lane last Sunday and attacked the victim. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital but is expected to survive. Hills is facing several charges including assault and burglary.

New Yorkers will soon be able to place bets on their favorite teams without having to head to a casino. The State Gaming Commission says that mobile sports betting can begin tomorrow. Anyone who wants to gamble can do so once proof of age has been verified, using Rush Street Interactive, FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook. Officials say online betting may generate up to 500-million-dollars in revenue for the state each year.

Well, as you have undoubtedly heard by now, Buffalo got slammed with record-breaking amounts of snow yesterday. The lake effect snow band, which was approximately 12 miles wide, was persistent in the metro area of Buffalo and south town areas but tapered off as it approached Genesee and Wyoming Counties. On a positive note, there were no major accidents or weather-related difficulties in the GLOW regions; at this time, it appears that Attica, Alexander and Bennington received the most accumulations, amounting to a few inches of snow.

The Buffalo Sabres got close but couldn’t clinch a win against the San Jose Sharks Thursday night. The Sabres lost 3 to 2 for their fifth straight loss since they exited the NHL Covid protocol. Jeff Skinner and Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Buffalo team. Buffalo made almost twice as many shots on goal as San Jose with Adin Hill saving 35 vs Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen saving 18. However, the ‘W’ remains elusive. The Sabres face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at 7pm at KeyBank Arena.

The Buffalo Bills are just one victory away from winning the AFC East for the second year in a row. The Bills are set to battle their longtime division rival the New York Jets at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. Should Buffalo lose and the New England Patriots defeat the Miami Dolphins, New England will win the division. Kickoff for the Bills game with Jets is set for 4:25  Sunday afternoon. Go Bills!

Morning News Brief

Four applications will be available for sports bettors who want to use their mobile devices for gambling.  The New York State Gaming Commission announced that  Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive can accept wagers beginning Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.  There are 5 more applications working toward being approved and will be available as soon as they finish the process.  

A 24 year old woman is dead after falling into the Warsaw Falls Wednesday morning.  Investigators say they found the woman’s car at the Warsaw Village Park around 11:30 a.m. and followed footprints in the snow from the car to the nearby waterfall.  Police say they believe she was headed home when she slipped into the gorge, and her body was recovered by the Wyoming County Rope Rescue Team.  Investigators are conducting an autopsy and the woman’s name is not being released at the request of her family.

After the Chief of police of Greece resigned in disgrace following a drunk driving incident and attempted coverup the new acting police chief was just in an accident wednesday afternoon.  A statement from Greece Police says Acting Chief Jason Helfer was traveling east on Kuhn rd when a westbound vehicle turned in front of him. It goes on to say Helfer tried to avoid a collision but was struck by the other vehicle, losing control and hitting a telephone pole.  State Police say Helfer was taken to Unity Hospital with minor injuries. The other driver was not injured.  Helfer was driving his department-issued Chevy Tahoe.

Christmas may come but once a year but there is something else that only comes once every 5 years.  Perry’s Zero Visibility Ice Cream is being brought out and put back onto store shelves.  The coconut rum ice cream commemorates the Blizzard of 77.  It was first available in 1997.  It will be on shelves for a limited time and then disappear till 2027.

The Buffalo Sabres got close but couldn’t clinch a win against the San Jose Sharks Thursday night.  The Sabres lost 3 to 2 for their fifth straight loss.  Jeff Skinner and Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Buffalo team.  Buffalo made almost twice as many shots on goal as San Jose with Adin Hill saving 35 vs Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen saving 18.  The Sabres face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at 7pm at KeyBank Arena.

Evening News Brief

A Lake Effect snow band can still impact Genesee and Orleans Counties.
A Lake Effect Snow Warning is remains posted until 7 tomorrow morning.
But, so far at least, Genesee County had dodged the dangerous snows.
In the city it has been plenty cold with crisp winds but snow accumulation has been only between 1 and two inches.
The forecast for tonight has a precipitation chance of 60% with less than 3 inches accumulation.
Just the threat of bad weather was enough to close virtually all public schools in Genesee County today.
You didn’t have to go far to find deep snow today. Up to a foot of snow fell on Buffalo into Alden – 13 inches was recorded at the Buffalo Airport.
The potential for more snow is still with us tonight and into early tomorrow.

Governor Hochul has laid out her agenda for the year to come during her first State of the State speech. The Governor addressed several issues such as restoring the public’s trust in the government by using ethics reforms and term limits, combating gun violence, and improving the health care industry.

Genesee County is holding a COVID-19 rapid testing kit distribution this Saturday, January 8th at the Genesee County Fire Training Center, on State Street Rd. The distribution will take place between Noon and 2pm.
There are 2,580 available test kits, with two tests per kit.
Those attending may take up to two kits per household, while the supplies last.
You will have to show proof of residence in Genesee County.

Wyoming County residents are encouraged to pick up KN95 masks weekdays during regular business hours, at the County Health Department on Mungers Hill Road. The masks are also available to residents at public libraries in the county. Local businesses in need of a supply of masks to have on hand should contact the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce.

Midday News Brief

Many schools and businesses closed today due to the predicted lake effect snow. If you are planning to go out this afternoon, it may be best to call ahead to make sure your destination is open. Stay with WBTA for the latest information on the storm and impact on our area.

Governor Hochul has laid out her agenda for the year to come during her first State of the State address. During her speech in Albany yesterday, the governor addressed several issues such as restoring the public’s trust in the government by using ethics reforms and term limits, combating gun violence, and improving the health care industry. The governor also promised New Yorkers she’ll do her best to make sure their basic needs are met. Governor Hochul is also offering every full-time healthcare worker in the state $3000 if they remain in their positions for one year. Part-time healthcare workers will be eligible for a prorated amount.

After weeks of debate and multiple court hearings, a judge has finally decided the future of the Great Northern grain elevator in Buffalo. The judge said yesterday that the building can be taken down after it was damaged in a severe windstorm last month. Local preservation groups have tried to stop the demolition, saying parts of the structure could still be restored. The grain elevator was built in 1897 and is the last of its kind in North America.

Wyoming County residents are encouraged to pick up KN95 masks weekdays during regular business hours, at the County Health Department on Mungers Hill Road. The masks are also available to residents at public libraries in the county. Local businesses in need of a supply of masks to have on hand should contact the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce. 585-786-0307

Starting today, students in the Rochester City School District are going to be taking their classes remotely. The district says the ongoing coronavirus crisis has caused staff members to call out sick and there aren’t enough substitute teachers available. Online classes are scheduled to continue through at least January 10th with in-person learning set to resume on the 11th. Teachers will still have to report to their buildings even though students won’t be there. // The latest data from the Erie County Department of Health continues to show how bad the COVID-19 crisis is in the area right now. There were 2439 new cases reported yesterday which brings the overall total since the start of the pandemic to 162,480. Nearly 16,000 of those cases were uncovered in just the last 7 days and that number doesn’t include the results of at-home tests. // Today, Niagara County businesses are going to have the chance to get some free masks that’ll help protect both employees and customers from COVID-19. A drive-thru giveaway is happening at the Public Safety Training Facility on Niagara Street Extension Lockport from 11 a-m until six p-m. The masks will be handed out on a first come, first served basis and supplies are limited. Officials say today’s event is part of plan to distribute thousands of masks to people around the county.

The number of Monroe County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 has seen yet another massive increase. The Department of Public Health announced 4094 new cases yesterday, bringing the total since the pandemic started to 126,364. The county is averaging 2059 cases per day over the past week and the seven-day rolling average positivity rate is 18.5%.

Rochester police say they’ve made an arrest in connection with a stabbing that sent an 18-year-old man to the hospital. A 19-year-old woman is facing an assault charge after attacking the victim on Webster Avenue yesterday. The man was stabbed in the lower body and is expected to make a full recovery. Anyone with information on the incident can contact police.

From last night’s 32nd Annual Batavia Rotary Club Girls’ Basketball Tournament, which you heard on WBTA, the following results. In the consolation game, Pembroke beat Batavia, 46-42; and the Championship Game found Notre Dame victorious over LeRoy, 42-33.

After having the last few days off, the Buffalo Sabres will return to the ice in front of their home crowd. The Sabres are hosting the San Jose Sharks at KeyBank Center. Buffalo hasn’t had a game since January 1st when they fell on the road to the Boston Bruins 4-3 in overtime. The Sabres have earned 26 points this season and are currently in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Face-off for tonight’s game is set for7:00pm.

Morning New Briefs

Most schools are closed all day Thursday due to the snow. Here is a list of the ones closed:  Alexander central Schools, Attica Central School, Batavia City Schools closed with no remote instruction, Byron Bergen Central Schools, Elba Central Schools, GCC is remote only, Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Campus, Leroy Central Schools, Notre Dame High, Oakfield Alabama Central Schools, Pembroke Central Schools, St Josephs School, St Paul Lutheran School was already off for the week.  Also St James Thrift Shop is closed and so is the Richmond Memorial Library.

3000 dollars.  That’s how much Governor Hochul says she is offering every healthcare worker in New York if they will remain in their positions for one year.  She announced that there is 10 billion dollars set aside, 2 Billion for supporting healthcare wages, 2 billion for retention bonuses, 500 million for Cost of Living Adjustments, and 2 Billion healthcare capital infrastructure and lab improvements.  The rest is investments in workforce and healthcare access.  The money for staying at the job for a year will be prorated for workers who work less hours.

Orleans County is distributing free at home COVID 19 testing kits to residents.  Each county office building and Town hall will have a limited supply to give out starting today during normal business hours.  A maximum of 2 kits will be given per family till supplies run out.  

Governor Hochul proposed that Alcohol to Go where restaurants and bars are able to sell alcoholic beverages in to go containers should become permanent in the State of the State address she gave Wednesday.  The program ended in July of 2020 and both patrons and owners asked for it to be reinstated.  Hochul said that “To-go drinks were a critical revenue stream for New York’s bars and restaurants during the pandemic, helping many small businesses across the state pay their rents or mortgages.”

It has long been a joke that the Buffalo Bills are the only New York football team since the Jets and Giants home field in New Jersey.  But now there is a class action lawsuit against both teams in the Southern District Court of New York alleging that calling the teams “New York” teams while they play at Metlife Stadium harms New Yorkers by “siphoning off billions of dollars in interstate commerce that should rightfully be spent in New York State.”  The lawsuit demands that the teams either change their names to reflect their East Rutherford play location or move to New York State by 2025.  It also seeks monetary damages of 2 to 6 billion dollars.

A judge in Buffalo has lifted the stay on demolition of the Great Northern Grain elevator on the Buffalo waterfront.  Allowing demolition to begin.  The grain elevator was damaged during the wind storm on December 11th and Arthur Daniel Midland, which owns the elevator, asked for permission to demolish the 120 year old structure.  Preservation groups sued to halt the demolition.

Evening News Brief

The National Weather Service has upgraded its weather alert for tonight.
There is now a Lake Effect Snow Warning posted for Genesee and Erie Counties at 7 o’clock tonight that remains in effect until 1am Friday.
Heavy Lake Effect snow is forecast to accumulate 8 to 15 inches in the most persistent lake snows. Winds gusting as high as 40 to 45 miles per hour.
Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.
Heavy snow will fall in relatively narrow bands. If traveling, be
prepared for rapidly changing road conditions and visibilities.

The forecast of Lake Effect snow has prompted some cancellations:
The Office for Aging has cancelled Meals on Wheels and lunchtime meal sites for tomorrow, Thursday. Clients should use emergency meals.
Genesee Community College has announced remote operations only for all locations tomorrow.
The Rotary Club Girls Basketball Tournament final two games at GCC will be played tonight starting at 6pm.

Due to the surge in COVID-19 infections rates the Western New York V-A system has issued new visitation requirements for both the Buffalo and Batavia campuses.
In Batavia, visitation in the Community Living Center will be limited through glass partitions.
All visitors will be screened.
Some exceptions may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
The new policy remains in effect until further notice.

Makeem Ithna-Asheri

A Batavia man has been charged with manslaughter after he and his wife overdosed on drugs in their Northside Meadows apartment.
Police responded on Thursday night, Dec 30th, and found Anda Ithna-Asheri dead and her husband, Makeen, unresponsive,
Their two children were home at the time but unharmed.
Makeen was revived with several does of Narcan. He was then charged with providing the drugs that killed his wife.
Makeen was on lifetime parole for murder in an unrelated case.
He’s locked up in the county jail.

Genesee County is holding a COVID-19 rapid testing kit distribution this Saturday, January 8th at the Genesee County Fire Training Center, on State Street Rd. The distribution will take place between Noon and 2.
There are 2,580 available test kits, with two tests per kit.
Those attending may take up to two kits per household, while the supplies last.
You will have to show proof of residence in Genesee County.

Midday News Brief

A Batavia man who previously served time in prison for a downstate murder was arrested yesterday for the overdose of a woman in his apartment. 61-year-old Makeen Ithna-Asheri is charged with manslaughter, criminal possession of a controlled substance and, because the overdose was witnessed by two children, endangering the welfare of a child. He was also charged with violating parole. The manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Thousands of prison inmates were wrongfully punished after false positives resulted from prison drug tests. As a result, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision could face legal action or penalties. The department has since stopped imposing penalties based solely on positive Microgenics drug test results when confirmation from an outside laboratory was unavailable. They have subsequently agreed to reverse and expunge all related disciplinary actions based on faulty results.

Governor Hochul will be laying out her vision for the year ahead during her first State of the State address today. The governor is going to give her speech at one p-m in the Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol. Among the items she’s expected to discuss are the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis and putting term limits in place for statewide elected officials. Anyone who wants to watch the Hochul’s speech this afternoon can do so at governor.ny.gov.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says all sides involved in negotiating a new stadium lease for the Buffalo Bills are getting closer to striking a deal. But, Poloncarz said yesterday that while talks are ongoing, a final agreement isn’t imminent. The owners of the Bills want to build an over one-billion-dollar facility across from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park which is where the team plays its home games. The Bills’ lease is scheduled to expire in 2023.

The Monroe County Department of Public Health says nearly two-thousand more residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There were 19-hundred 95 new cases reported yesterday which brings the overall total since the pandemic started to 122-thousand 270. The county is averaging 16-hundred 99 cases per day over the past week. The rolling seven-day rolling average positivity rate is also on the rise and now sits at 18-point-five percent. // New data from the Erie County Department of Health shows the spread of COVID-19 is continuing to worsen. Yesterday, the agency said that over 15-thousand residents have tested positive for the virus in the past week, bringing the overall total since the pandemic started to 160-thousand and 40. It’s important to note that data doesn’t include the results of at-home COVID-19 tests. The death toll due to the virus has also increased over the last seven days and now sits at 23-hundred and 19.

A Middleport man could be spending up to the next seven years behind bars after pleading guilty in connection with a knife attack. Prosecutors say 59-year-old Scott Whittaker admitted to assaulting Jason Tschetter on Freeman Road in Royalton this past August. The victim was treated for an injury to his face. Whittaker is being held in jail on five-thousand-dollars bail and will be sentenced in March.

The Rotary Girl’s Basketball Tournament – initially scheduled for tomorrow night – has been moved to tonight, due to the threat of bad weather tomorrow. The consolation and championship games will be played at GCC tonight, beginning at 6pm. Hear live coverage on WBTA with Paul Spiotta.

The Genesee County Office for Aging is cancelling home delivered meals and lunch-time meal sites for Thursday. Clients should use emergency meals.

An inmate at the Monroe County Jail is facing charges after attacking a female deputy at the facility. Officials say the deputy was serving 23-year-old Dawntaya Harris dinner on Sunday when she pushed her cell door open and knocked the deputy to the ground before putting her in a chokehold. The deputy was taken to the hospital for treatment but later released. Harris was arraigned yesterday on two felony charges.

In just a few hours, one of the largest prizes in lottery history is going to be up for grabs. Tonight’s Powerball jackpot has grown to at least 610-million-dollars, which is the seventh-highest in the history of the game. No one has won the top Powerball prize since October. Tickets to play are just two dollars apiece. Tonight’s drawing will be streamed live online at Powerball.com.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares is explaining his decision to no longer prosecute groping allegations made against former Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is accused of inappropriately touching a female aide at the Executive Mansion in Albany back in December 2020, a claim that he’s denied. Soares says while his office found the woman to be both cooperative and credible, there isn’t enough evidence to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Two other district attorneys in New York have also declined to prosecute Cuomo for alleged inappropriate conduct with women.

Morning News Brief

The Manhattan District Attorney has announced that they will not bring any charges against former Governor Andrew Cuomo in relation to the handling of nursing homes during the early stages of the COVID pandemic and subsequent coverup of the numbers of dead.  A lawyer for Cuomo says they have been informed that “after a thorough investigation there was no evidence to suggest any laws were broken.”  Cuomo administration officials admitted to underreporting the number of people who died in nursing homes from COVID by as much as 50 percent in February of 2021.  The estimate is now that over 15,000 elderly people died.  Cuomo was also under fire for a policy that sent COVID positive patients to nursing homes to free up hospital space which many allege caused a large portion of the deaths.

The Better Business Bureau issued a warning Tuesday about fake COVID tests, vaccines and treatments going out into the market.  According to the FDA, scammers are selling fraudulent test kits online and are taking advantage of shortages in stores to dupe desperate people.  There are also fake vaccines being sold.  The BBB reminds us that the vaccines are free and should only be given at authorized sites by authorized workers.  Vaccines are not available for home administration.  Tests can be covered by insurance and you should go through your doctor to determine where to get tests.  Never share your personal information, medical or financial, with a stranger.

The Batavia VA Medical Center has suspended all physical visitation. Visitors to the Community Living Center will only be allowed to visit with a glass partition between them and the resident.  Screening, including a temperature check, and wearing of a VA provided face mask will still be practiced for all visitors.  

The Justice Department has awarded several grants to Western New York organizations to assist in fighting Human trafficking.  Over 2 million dollars was awarded to the International Institute of Buffalo for housing assistance and youth services to victims of human trafficking, 800,000 dollars has been given to the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Project for legal services for victims of human trafficking, and Erie county has been awarded 750,000 dollars for their efforts.  This is part of over 10 million given to groups and organizations across western ny and the finger lake region.  

Midday News Brief

A larger winter storm has definitely been overdue for us, and it now seems likely. A winter storm watch is issued for Genesee, Wyoming and Erie counties, in effect from 7pm Wednesday to 7pm Thursday. Heavy lake effect snow is possible, according to 13 WHAM forecasters. Total accumulations of 9 inches or more are possible in the more persistent lake snows. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow. Travel could be very difficult to impossible as areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.

Starting today, Governor Hochul is asking hospitals statewide to change the way they report COVID-19 cases. The governor wants hospitals to clearly identify which patients are being treated for the illness and patients who later tested positive for COVID-19 after going to the hospital for another reason. The governor says she wants this data in order to show New Yorkers how bad the health crisis is. Hochul says hospital capacity has improved a bit in recent weeks and fewer facilities are having to limit elective surgeries. // As part of her State of the State address tomorrow, Governor Hochul will propose term limits and a ban on outside income for elected officials, with an exception for academic positions. Rochester police have released the name of their city’s first homicide victim of 2022. They say 14-year-old Julius Greer Junior was walking to get food on Sunday night when he was shot on North Street. Greer was a ninth-grader in the Rochester City School District and attended the Leadership Academy for Young Men. Police are trying to determine a motive for the shooting and figure out if Greer was the intended target of the gunfire.

A new report says Albany County District Attorney David Soares is expected to drop the groping complaint against ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is accused of inappropriately touching a female aide at the Executive Mansion in Albany back in December 2020, a claim that he has denied. The Times Union reported this new development and says Cuomo is scheduled to be in Albany City Court on Friday to face a misdemeanor charge, but there’s no word if that appearance will still happen or if the investigation into the groping allegation is going to continue. The Albany County DA’s office hasn’t commented on this report.

A judge is planning to issue a decision soon that will determine the fate of the Great Northern grain elevator in Buffalo. The company that owns the building wants to tear it down after it suffered damage during a severe windstorm last month. But local preservation groups have fought to spare the building from demolition. A judge heard from both sides yesterday but there’s no word on when a ruling will be handed down. The grain elevator was built in 1897 and is the last of its kind in North America.

The Buffalo Bills will be finishing up their regular season at home this weekend, but kickoff for their final game has been pushed back. The Bills were supposed to host the New York Jets at one p-m Sunday, but the contest is now set to start at 4:25pm. If the Bills come out on top, they’ll win the AFC East for the second straight year. But if they lose and the New England Patriots win, New England will finish in first place. The Patriots are taking on the Miami Dolphins Sunday, also at 4:25pm.

The City of Batavia will be picking up Christmas trees throughout the month of January, weather and operations permitting. They will only pick up real trees. Residents are asked to place trees in the parkway near the curb, keeping them clear of the roadway and sidewalks. All decorations, lights, stands and bags should be cleared of the trees. Also, when high winds are forecast, residents are asked to delay putting their trees out until winds subside.

Batavia City Schools now have COVID at-home Rapid-Antigen Test kits available to parents. The district was provided with over 2000 kits yesterday, one for each student, according to Superintendent Jason Smith. It is the parents’ choice whether to take advantage of test kit distribution. However, Mr. Smith noted that a child should be tested if they are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or is out sick with any of the related symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, body ache, loss of taste and/or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea). Parents who would like to pick up a kit or have questions should phone the Batavia City Schools district office: 585-343-2480 (extension 1004).

Morning News Brief

The State of the State address from Governor Hochul is set to be given Wednesday and we already have one announcement that will be given.  Hochul will propose term limits and a ban on outside income for elected officials as part of her speech.  A release from the governor’s office says Hochul will introduce a constitutional amendment to set limits of two consecutive terms for statewide elected officials. The governor will also propose legislation to ban earned outside income for statewide elected officials, with an exception for academic positions that must receive ethics board approval.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from this Wednesday Evening through Thursday evening.  The watch area includes all of Genesee and Wyoming Counties and most of Erie County.  Heavy lake effect snow is possible with accumulations of nine inches or more in the most persistent snows. Winds could gust as high as 40 miles per hour resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow.  The weather service says travel could be very difficult to impossible.  These conditions could impact the Thursday morning or evening commute.

Monday was new Batavia city schools Superintendent Jason Smith’s first day on the job.  He isn’t a stranger though as he graduated from Batavia high before teaching in Albion and being the principal of Elba Middle and High school and being the superintendent for Lyndonville Central School District.  He lives in Batavia and says that his commute has gone from 40 minutes to 4.  Smith started that day at Batavia high by using the announcements time to tell the kids that he likes Bruce Springsteen, The Buffalo Bills, and is finishing up the 4th Season of Cobra Kai.  

The Bills game against the Jets coming up on Sunday has been rescheduled from 1pm to 4:25pm.  The Bills clinched a playoff spot for the  fourth time in five seasons with their win over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday combined with the loss by the Baltimore Ravens.  With a win over the Jets in Week 18 the Bills would secure the top spot in the AFC East.

Afternoon News Brief

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from this Wednesday Evening through Thursday evening.
The watch area includes all of Genesee and Wyoming Counties and most of Erie County.,
Heavy lake effect snow is possible with accumulations of nine inches or more in the most persistent snows. Winds could gust as high as 40 miles per hour resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow.
The weather service says travel could be very difficult to impossible.
These conditions could impact the Thursday morning or evening commute.

 

Gasoline prices in Batavia have dropped an average of two cents over the past week. The Triple A now puts the price of a gallon of regular locally at $3.43 a gallon. One year ago this week, gas was selling for $2.26.

An 18-year-old woman who was hit by a pick-up truck, while walking with her 13-year-old sister, in the Orleans County Town of Gains has now been identified.
Deputies say Theresa Karlak was struck and killed on Saturday night along Eagle Harbor Road. The younger girl was injured but will recover.
Authorities believe darkness and poor weather conditions likely combined to cause the accident.

A rechargeable battery exploded in a Perry apartment over the weekend, which then ignited nearby flammable materials. The fire was contained to one room, which sustained smoke and water damage. One tenant was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The City of Batavia has started to pick-up real Christmas Trees that are getting past their prime.
The city will dispose of Christmas Trees through the end of the month as weather and operations permit.
The city will only pick-up artificial trees placed on the parkway near the curb. Be sure you remove all ornaments and lights.

Midday News Brief

Orleans County deputies have released the name of the woman died at the scene after being hit by a vehicle. Police say 18-year-old Theresa Karlak was walking with her 13-year-old sister on Eagle Harbor Road in Gaines Saturday night when they were struck by a pickup truck. The youngest victim was injured but will be OK. Deputies said their investigation indicates that a second vehicle had pulled over on the west shoulder. Officials believe darkness and weather conditions, including heavy rain and ice, played a role in the tragedy.

Officials with the Rochester City School District say the death of a student has been connected to COVID-19. The student has been identified as Derrick Watson, who attended Rochester’s Leadership Academy for Young Men. No other information has been released. Counselors are going to be available to students and staff who need help coping with Watson’s death. A GoFundMe has already been set up to help his family with funeral expenses. // An ongoing surge in the number of coronavirus cases has led to the Erie County Department of Health changing its contact tracing policy. They say because there are so many infections, they can’t reach out to every resident who tests positive for COVID-19 to conduct contact tracing. Instead, anyone who is infected should self-quarantine and notify family and friends who they’ve recently been around. People who test at Health Department sites will be notified of their results.

A rechargeable battery exploded in a Perry apartment over the weekend, which then ignited nearby flammable materials. The fire was contained to one room, which sustained smoke and water damage. One tenant was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The price at the pump is still holding steady at gas stations across Western New York. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $3.50. That’s the same as it was last week and is two cents less than this time one month ago. The state average is currently $3.49 a gallon while nationally is $3.28.

 

The Buffalo Bills have extended their winning streak to three games and clinched a playoff spot in the process. Quarterback Josh Allen ran for two touchdowns while running back Devin Singletary added two more as the Bills beat the Atlanta Falcons 29 to 15 at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park yesterday. With the win, the Bills improve their record to ten and six this season and remain in first place in the AFC East. They’ll finish up their regular season Sunday when they host the New York Jets.

No injuries have been reported after a fire quickly spread through a home in Rochester, causing serious damage. Crews were called to battle the flames at a residence on Webster Avenue. No one was at the house when the fire began, and firefighters were able to get things under control in about 20 minutes. There’s no word yet what caused the fire.

Buffalo police are continuing to investigate a weekend shooting that left two men dead. Officers were called to the scene on Elmer Avenue Saturday morning and found the victims. The names of the men haven’t been released but police do believe this was a targeted shooting and that there’s no threat to the public.

A judge is scheduled to hold another hearing today that could decide the fate of the Great Northern grain elevator in Buffalo. The building was damaged during a severe windstorm last month and the owner of the property wants to tear it down. But local historical preservation groups believe the structural integrity of the elevator is intact and can be saved. Last week a judge ordered both parties to reach a solution but neither side was willing to compromise.

Some lucky person could be just a few hours away from winning over a half-billion dollars. The Powerball jackpot continues to grow and will be at least 522-million bucks tonight. No one has won has the top Powerball prize since October which is a span of over 30 drawings. The cost of a ticket is two-dollars and the drawing will be streamed live online at powerball.com. Please play responsibly.

A Roswell Park study published last week shows that adult smokers with no plans to quit are more likely to give up the habit if they switch to daily vaping. The focus of the study shows daily vaping dramatically increases the quit rate among a group of the most highly addicted smokers. They are not studied often and are typically at the highest risk of health problems due to smoking. While this study is not intended to offer a green light to vaping, since there are still many unknowns regarding long-term effects of vaping. If you or someone you know is looking to quit, you’re encouraged to check out:  https//nysmokefree.com/quittingsmoking/howtoquit?

 

Weekend News Brief

Governor Hochul announced a few things before the beginning of the New Year.  First, that all CUNY and SUNY Schools will require COVID vaccines and boosters and mandatory pre-testing for all students planning on campus attendance for the spring semester, and ongoing testing plans on all campuses.  Hochul also announced a 5 point plan to combat COVID during the winter surge called winter plan 2.0.  The 5 points are keep schools open, keep masking and testing, prevent severe illness and death, expand access to vaccines and boosters and work with local partners.  Hochul also announced extending the State Wide Mask mandate till February 1st.

 

A home on West Main Street may have been caused by a furnace explosion.  At around 5pm Batavia Fire received a report of a structure fire at 367 West Main Street.  The fire appears to have started on the second floor.  The furnace is located in the attic.  When firefighters arrived they found heavy smoke and no visible flames.  Son after flames began to come out of the rear of the structure.  No one was in the building.  Firefighters were able to get the blaze extinguished.  The building suffered severe smoke and fire damage and is now uninhabitable.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

ECMC in Buffalo has announced that it is prohibiting inpatient visitation because of too many Omicron cases in the hospital.  The only cases where visitation is allowed is when it is medically necessary and during end of life circumstances.   The change in patient visitation guidelines began December 31 and ECMC says it is an effort to protect the medical center’s vulnerable patients and caregivers from avoidable exposure to infection.  All those meeting the exceptions will be required to undergo screening and wear masks.  Patients families and loved ones are urged to keep connected electronically

The Red Cross is asking western New Yorkers to step up and donate as levels of donated blood are at the lowest they’ve been in over a decade.  The lack of blood has lead to slower treatment times for people who need transfusions.  Anyone who has had an exposure to COVID-19, has symptoms, or a confirmed positive test should wait to donate.

Late Afternoon News Brief

Today was the deadline and now that all municipalities have weighed in, 15 of 20 in Genesee County have ‘opted out’ of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption places. Batavia, Darien, Pavilion, Pembroke and Corfu have opted-in. The municipalities that opted out now will be able to opt back in at a later date and there will also be options for public referendums to put the questions up for community vote.

The ban on single-use Styrofoam food and drink containers, as well as packing peanuts begins tomorrow. Expanded polystyrene foam, usually referred to as Styrofoam, has long been regarded to be a major contributor to pollution. A similarly environmentally focused ban on plastic bags went into effect last March.

Genesee County dispatchers were called last night around 8pm, to respond to a mobile home fire at Hidden Valley Estates in Bergen. A neighbor had kicked in the front door to help get the sole occupant, an older woman, out of the residence. The neighbor had thought the occupant was on the other side of the door; however, he could not get her out. The resident was ultimately rescued and not breathing; first-aid techniques were required to get her breathing again. She was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital but may be transported to Syracuse for the necessary treatment for smoke inhalation.

The number of new Covid cases in both Erie and Monroe Counties has hit another record high. Of the new cases, 142 from Monroe came from at-home tests. And in Erie County, due to the rise in number of cases, nearly all patient visitation is being suspended at Erie County Medical Center. Exceptions include if visits are deemed medically necessary, or if the individual is a family member of the patient’s legal representative. There is no word at this time as to how long this change will remain in place.

The investigation continues into what sparked a fire in Buffalo that caused $3,000,000 in damage. Crews were called to battle the blaze at the Buffalo Grand Hotel on Church Street yesterday after a police officer reported seeing smoke coming from the building. The flames were found in a ballroom and firefighters had to run their hoses through the main lobby to get water on the fire. Dozens of hotel guests were briefly evacuated and no injuries were reported at the scene. There’s no word when the hotel will reopen.

Rochester police are still trying to track down the person responsible for a stabbing that sent a woman to the hospital. They say the 32-year-old victim was found injured yesterday in the area of East Main Street and University Avenue. Officials believe the woman was attacked near the World of Inquiry School. She’s expected to make a full recovery and anyone with information on the case is asked to dial 911.

Starting today, thousands of workers in Upstate New York are going to get paid just a little bit more each hour. That’s because a minimum wage increase will raise their hourly rate from $12.50 an hour to $13.20 an hour. The increase is part of a plan approved in 2016 to phase-in a minimum wage of $15.00 an hour for all workers. That means the labor department has to bump up minimum wage each year until it reaches that benchmark.

It would be a very happy New Year to whoever ends up winning one of the two massive lottery jackpots up for grabs the next two nights. The jackpot for this evening’s Mega Millions drawing is now at $221,000,000 while there’s $500,000,000 bucks up for grabs in tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing, bringing the combined total to 721-million-dollars. The price of a ticket for each game is just $2.00. Both the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

The Buffalo Bills are back on top of the AFC East and they’ll be looking to make it three straight wins in front of their home crowd this weekend. The Bills are taking on the Atlanta Falcons at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. Buffalo is coming off of a big victory over the New England Patriots last weekend which put them back in first place. The Bills could clinch a playoff spot depending on the result of their game and other contests around the NFL. Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is scheduled for 1:00.

Happy new year! Stay safe.

Afternoon News Brief

Municipalities across the state have until the end of today to opt-out of allowing recreational marijuana to be sold or consumed on-premises in their community. In the GLOW region, over two thirds of communities have decided to opt out of allowing retail sales and on-site consumption. Any municipality opting out now will be able to opt back in at a later date and there will also be options for public referendums to put the questions up for community vote.

Genesee County dispatchers were called last night around 8pm, to respond to a mobile home fire at Hidden Valley Estates in Bergen. A neighbor had kicked in the front door to help get the sole occupant, an older woman, out of the residence. The neighbor had thought the occupant was on the other side of the door; however, he could not get her out. The resident was ultimately rescued and not breathing; first-aid techniques were required to get her breathing again. She was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital but may be transported to Syracuse for the necessary treatment for smoke inhalation.

The number of new Covid cases in both Erie and Monroe Counties has hit another record high. Of the new cases, 142 from Monroe came from at-home tests. And in Erie County, due to the rise in number of cases, nearly all patient visitation is being suspended at Erie County Medical Center. Exceptions include if visits are deemed medically necessary, or if the individual is a family member of the patient’s legal representative. There is no word at this time as to how long this change will remain in place.

 

The investigation continues into what sparked a fire in Buffalo that caused three-million-dollars in damage. Crews were called to battle the blaze at the Buffalo Grand Hotel on Church Street yesterday after a police officer reported seeing smoke coming from the building. The flames were found in a ballroom and firefighters had to run their hoses through the main lobby to get water on the fire. Dozens of hotel guests were briefly evacuated and no injuries were reported at the scene. There’s no word when the hotel will reopen.

Rochester police are still trying to track down the person responsible for a stabbing that sent a woman to the hospital. They say the 32-year-old victim was found injured yesterday in the area of East Main Street and University Avenue. Officials believe the woman was attacked near the World of Inquiry School. She’s expected to make a full recovery and anyone with information on the case is asked to dial 911.

Starting today, thousands of workers in Upstate New York are going to get paid just a little bit more each hour. That’s because a minimum wage increase will raise their hourly rate from 12-dollars and 50 cents an hour to 13-dollars and 20-cents an hour. The increase is part of a plan approved in 2016 to phase-in a minimum wage of 15-dollars an hour for all workers. That means the labor department has to bump up minimum wage each year until it reaches that benchmark.

It would be a very happy New Year to whoever ends up winning one of the two massive lottery jackpots up for grabs the next two nights. The jackpot for this evening’s Mega Millions drawing is now at 221-million while there’s 500-million bucks up for grabs in tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing, bringing the combined total to 721-million-dollars. The price of a ticket for each game is just two-dollars. Both the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings will be streamed live online.

The Buffalo Bills are back on top of the AFC East and they’ll be looking to make it three straight wins in front of their home crowd this weekend. The Bills are taking on the Atlanta Falcons at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. Buffalo is coming off of a big victory over the New England Patriots last weekend which put them back in first place. The Bills could clinch a playoff spot depending on the result of their game and other contests around the NFL. Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is scheduled for one p-m.

 

 

Morning News Brief

A good neighbor helped save a woman from a fire in Bergen late Thursday night.  Bergen Fire received a report of a fire at 84 Woodside Lane in the Hidden Valley Meadow Park just before 8pm and arrived to find a working structure fire.  A neighbor said he thought the owner was in the home and had tried to kick the door in unsuccessfully because he believed the woman was laying against the inside of the door.  Bergen Assistant Chief Garrett Dean was able, with the help of the neighbor to push in the door and reach around it to grab the woman and drag her out.  At first, the woman wasn’t breathing, Dean said. With the assistance of the neighbor, he used first-aid techniques to get her breathing again.  The resident, whose name has not been released, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital but Dean said he’s been informed she may be transferred to Syracuse for a higher level of treatment for her smoke inhalation.  The fire is under investigation.

It may be a long way off but a new regulation will significantly affect the trucking industry in New York.  The Advanced Clean Trucks or ACT regulation requires all trucks over 8500 pounds sold or leased for registration in the Empire state to be zero emissions by 2045.  Starting in 2025 manufacturers will be hit with penalties if they sell non-zero emission trucks in New York but will get incentives if they offer zero emission vehicles.  This complements the rule saying all cars and personal motor vehicles sold in New York must be electric in the next 15 years as the state tries to go green as laid out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.  

Are you an aspiring young film maker?  The Tobacco Free Genesee Orleans and Wyoming and Reality Check organizations are inviting anyone ages 13-18 to make a 1 minute film about how the tobacco industry has been manipulating kids into starting smoking through the entertainment industry, specifically movies and tv.  Video submissions are due by February 9th.  One video will be recognized as the state wide winner and 4 will be regional winners.  All participants will get a Reality Check Swag Bag.  Check out www.realitycheckofny.com for full details.

The Sabres fell before the Islanders Thursday night 4 to 1 in their third straight loss.  Sabres goalie Malcolm Subban made 28 saves on 32 shots faced and Kyle Okposo scored the lone goal for the Buffalo team.  Buffalo’s next chance to turn their losing streak around will be against the Boston Bruins in Boston. Puck drop is at 1:00 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

Late Afternoon News Brief

Governor Hochul announced today the success in awarding $900 million in Child Care Stabilization Grants to child care programs statewide. The Office of Children and Family Services awarded funding to nearly 15,000 eligible child care providers from August through November. The funds are intended to help cover costs of personnel, rent or mortgage, utilities, facility maintenance or improvements, mental health supports for children and employees, and more.

WBTA News has learned from our news partner, The Batavian, that a local man, James Simonds has been indicted on counts of burglary and false report; characterized by false reports of fire, explosion, hazardous substance on school grounds, and endangering the welfare of a child. He is accused of entering John F. Kennedy School in Batavia with intent of committing a crime. While there, communicated false or baseless information of dangerous or hazardous substances on school grounds. He is accused of knowingly acting in a manner to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child.

New York State Fair officials have announced a major change to the smoking policy for the 2022 event. For the first time, smoking is only going to be allowed in some outdoor areas. The fair director says there have been complaints about smoking and this decision was made to make the fair as comfortable and family-friendly as possible for everyone. Smoking inside of buildings on fairgrounds property is already banned. The 2022 fair will run from August 24th until Labor Day, which is Monday, September 5th.

The Genesee Community College campus in Albion is hosting a COVID testing center. This announcement comes as the US is hitting its highest amount of people testing positive for COVID since the beginning of the pandemic. The CDC scaled back their estimate from over 80 percent which they said on Tuesday. Experts are saying this is good news since Omicron results in 80 percent fewer hospitalizations than COVID and produces immunity in the same way. Vaccinated people seem to be catching Omicron at the same rate as unvaccinated people but vaccines and boosters appear to lower the severity of the symptoms.

The University of Rochester says all students who are eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot will need to get one before the start of the Spring semester. Anyone who currently isn’t eligible to get the additional vaccine dose must receive it within 30 days of becoming eligible. Students with a valid medical or religious exemption won’t have to meet the requirement. Information on how students can submit proof of their vaccination status is going to be released in the next few days.

A Stafford man has been charged with multiple felonies in connection with an incident on Saturday that led to Route 5 being closed to traffic in both directions for several hours. Residents who live nearby were evacuated. Christopher Say of Stafford was arraigned in Stafford Town Court and charged with five felonies. Making a terroristic threat, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief in the second degree, attempted arson, and criminal mischief in the 3rd degree. Say was remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail, $40,000 bond and $80,000 partially secured.

The investigation continues into a shooting in Rochester that left a man seriously hurt. Police say the 31-year-old victim was shot once in the upper body on McNaughton Street yesterday. He was driven to a nearby hospital in a private vehicle and is being treated for injuries that aren’t considered to be life-threatening. Police believe the victim may have been targeted and that there’s no ongoing threat to the public. They’re asking anyone with information on the shooting to dial 911.

The Buffalo Sabres played their first game in nearly two weeks last night, but unfortunately they didn’t come away with a win. The Sabres fell to the New Jersey Devils by a final score of four-to-three at KeyBank Center. Buffalo hadn’t taken the ice for a game since December 17th due to the NHL putting the league on pause following several COVID-19 outbreaks. The Sabres will be on the road tonight to battle the New York Islanders.

Morning News Brief

The man who barricaded himself in his garage and threatened to blow it up if firefighters approached has been charged.  Christopher Say of rt 5 in Stafford has been charged with Making a Terrorist Threat, Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, Criminal mischief in the 2nd degree, Assault in the second, Attempted Arson in the third, and Criminal mischief in the third.  All Felonies.  Sunday afternoon there was a 911 call saying a garage was on fire.  Authorities found a man saying the garage was wired to blow.  After negotiations stalled, Say allegedly drove a motor vehicle backward through a closed garage door, breaking the garage door and damaging the vehicle. He reportedly continued down the driveway, striking a fence and a marked patrol car.  He was then taken into custody without further incident.  During the incident, Say also allegedly burned another person’s face causing a physical injury.  Say is also accused of possessing a metal knuckle knife.  Investigators claim there was evidence found in the garage to support Say’s claim that the garage was equipped to explode.

Governor Hochul announced Wednesday that the GCC campus in Albion is hosting a COVID testing center.  This announcement comes as the US is hitting it’s highest amount of people testing positive for COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.  Over 277 thousand people are testing positive per day with the CDC estimating Wednesday that over 60 percent of new cases are Omicron.  67 thousand of those people were New Yorkers.  The CDC scaled back their estimate from over 80 percent which they said on Tuesday.  Some experts are saying this is good news since Omicron results in 80 percent fewer hospitalizations than COVID and produces immunity in the same way.  Vaccinated people seem to be catching Omicron at the same rate as unvaccinated people but vaccines and boosters appear to lower the severity of the symptoms.  

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History Architecture and Culture has released a plan for what it would do if it could buy the Great Northern Grain Elevator on the Buffalo waterfront.  After the windstorm damaged the structure earlier this month ADM petitioned for a permit to demolish the building saying it posed a safety threat to people around it.  Historical conservationists sued for a stay so they could attempt to buy it and restore it.  The group wants to turn the 120 year old building into a small business center and workhouse with a new outer shell that would have the word Buffalo in 3 story letters on the outside. 

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in their first game since December 17th.  Tage Thompson scored twice and Ethan Prow made a single goal.  The Sabres are now 10 and 16 and 5 for the season.  They play next against the New York Islanders in an away game tonight at 7:30pm.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County residents will have the chance to get their hands on free KN95 masks today. A distribution event is being held until 6:00pm, 12/29 at the Alva Place parking lot which is located at Alva Place and Bank Street in Batavia. The county has roughly 12,000 masks to give out and any masks that remain can be picked up at the County Clerk’s office and Department of Social Services office during regular business hours. Officials say the masks will help limit the spread of COVID-19 and go a long way towards keeping businesses open.

The trustee in the Michael Tomaszewski bankruptcy case has asked the court to order Tomaszewski’s wife to turn over an anticipated income tax refund once it is received. Over the previous two years, the Tomaszewski’s have jointly claimed refunds of over $27,000; the court order asks Ms. Tomaszewski to provide about $13,000 of this to the court to help settle some of Tomaszewski’s debts.

The ban on Styrofoam containers and packing peanuts goes into effect January 1st. Instead of the cheap containers restaurants have become accustomed to using for takeout needs, more expensive biodegradable containers are needed. This is part of the state’s effort to cut down on single use containers and waste. Some restaurants are complaining that this will increase their price on containers by over 300 percent.

Governor Kathy Hochul is urging New Yorkers to celebrate the upcoming New Year’s holiday safely as the spread of COVID-19 worsens across the state. Governor Hochul says before visiting any family and friends, it’s a good idea to get yourself tested for the virus so you don’t infect anyone. The governor also suggests that anyone who hasn’t received their COVID-19 vaccination or booster shot should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. As a reminder, there’s a statewide indoor mask mandate in effect through at least January 15th.

For the first time since December 17th, the Buffalo Sabres will be taking the ice for a game tonight. The Sabres are set to host the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center. Buffalo had several of its recent games postponed after the NHL decided to put the league on pause due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases among players and staff. The Sabres will be without their head coach as well as multiple players while in the league’s COVID-19 protocols; meanwhile, the Sabres called up players from the Amerks, to sub. Face off for this evening’s contest is scheduled for 7:00pm.

The Holland Land Office Museum will be closed from Tuesday, January 4th through Saturday, January 8th. The museum will be resuming its regular operating hours of Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesday, January 11th. For further information or questions please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or hollandlandoffice@gmail.com

Midday News Brief

Genesee County residents will have the chance to get their hands on free KN95 masks today. A distribution event is being held until 6:00pm, 12/29 at the Alva Place parking lot which is located at Alva Place and Bank Street in Batavia. The county has roughly 12,000 masks to give out and any masks that remain can be picked up at the County Clerk’s office and Department of Social Services office during regular business hours. Officials say the masks will help limit the spread of COVID-19 and go a long way towards keeping businesses open.

The trustee in the Michael Tomaszewski bankruptcy case has asked the court to order Tomaszewski’s wife to turn over an anticipated income tax refund once it is received. Over the previous two years, the Tomaszewski’s have jointly claimed refunds of over $27,000; the court order asks Ms. Tomaszewski to provide about $13,000 of this to the court to help settle some of Tomaszewski’s debts.

The ban on Styrofoam containers and packing peanuts goes into effect January 1st. Instead of the cheap containers restaurants have become accustomed to using for takeout needs, more expensive biodegradable containers are needed. This is part of the state’s effort to cut down on single use containers and waste. Some restaurants are complaining that this will increase their price on containers by over 300 percent.

Governor Kathy Hochul is urging New Yorkers to celebrate the upcoming New Year’s holiday safely as the spread of COVID-19 worsens across the state. Governor Hochul says before visiting any family and friends, it’s a good idea to get yourself tested for the virus so you don’t infect anyone. The governor also suggests that anyone who hasn’t received their COVID-19 vaccination or booster shot should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. As a reminder, there’s a statewide indoor mask mandate in effect through at least January 15th.

For the first time since December 17th, the Buffalo Sabres will be taking the ice for a game tonight. The Sabres are set to host the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center. Buffalo had several of its recent games postponed after the NHL decided to put the league on pause due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases among players and staff. The Sabres will be without their head coach as well as multiple players while in the league’s COVID-19 protocols; meanwhile, the Sabres called up players from the Amerks, to sub. Face off for this evening’s contest is scheduled for 7:00pm.

The Holland Land Office Museum will be closed from Tuesday, January 4th through Saturday, January 8th. The museum will be resuming its regular operating hours of Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesday, January 11th. For further information or questions please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or hollandlandoffice@gmail.com

Morning News Brief

Genesee county is planning to host a free KN95 mask distribution today from 2 to 6pm at the Alva Place parking lot at the corner of Alva Place and Bank Street.  Additional KN95 masks will be available to the public during normal business hours at the Genesee County Clerk’s Office in County Building 1 at 15 Main St, Batavia, and the Genesee County Department of Social Services at 5130 East Main St, Batavia, while supplies last.  The free masks are provided by New York State. 

Governor Kathy Hochul says she has no intention to shut down schools in New York even with rising COVID numbers.  Instead the state is promising to send testing kits home with students.  The state is planning on distributing the kits to BOCES districts which will distribute them to the schools with enough for every student in New York.  Gov. Hochul said the tests likely won’t be delivered in time for students to be tested before returning from winter break, but she hopes they will be in by early next week.

Attorneys for victims of Michael Tomaszewski have filed a motion to have his and his wife’s tax refunds turned over to pay some of the debts from his many crimes.  Tomaszewski was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison for defrauding at least 91  people using his Funeral Home.  According to the motion, Michael and Valerie Tomaszewski have jointly claimed refunds of $27,121 for their 2019 and 2020 income tax filings.  The motion asks the court to order Valerie to turn over $13,560 to the court. In bankruptcy filings, Tomaszewski lists $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities.  The bankruptcy judge, Robert H. Jackson, has not yet responded to the motion.  

The ban on Styrofoam containers and packing peanuts goes into effect January 1st.  Instead of the cheap containers restaurants have become accustomed to using for takeout needs more expensive biodegradable containers are needed.  This is part of New York’s effort to cut down on single use containers and waste.  Some restaurants are complaining that this will increase their price on containers by over 300 percent.  

The Buffalo Sabres are recalling players from their Rochester Team the Americans to cover for players who are out on COVID protocol.  Peyton Krebs, Artuu Ruotsalainen and JJ Peterka are being brought back to be ready for the end of the holiday break tonight at 7 against the New Jersey Devils.  

 

Midday News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul says there are no plans to shut down schools as the number of COVID-19 cases rise across the Empire State.  Governor Hochul said yesterday that testing kits will soon be distributed to districts in an effort to help them test students for coronavirus.  Her administration will talk with superintendents today to discuss the best ways to keep kids safe in school.  Governor Hochul is continuing to urge parents whose children are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to have them get their shots immediately so they have additional protection against the virus.

 

The investigation continues into an armed robbery that happened at a T-Mobile store in Rochester.  Police say an employee at the West Main Street store told them he was robbed at gunpoint and that the suspect took at least one phone and cash before leaving the scene.  No one inside the business at the time of the robbery was hurt.  No arrests have been made and anyone with information is asked to dial 9-1-1 immediately.

 

There are a few laws going into effect in the New Year that impact every New Yorker.  The big one is of course the legality of recreational marijuana. Many municipalities have voted to allow the sale of marijuana and the whole state is open to use.  If you want to get married and rent a limo you need to find one that has seat belts for every passenger. A new law goes into effect that stops insurers from charging more for homeowner insurance based on the breed of dog you have. Renters are not affected.  And lastly, mobile sports betting becomes legal this year.

 

Batavia Police continue to welcome information about 2 separate burglaries of Batavia gas stations over the weekend.  In both incidents, two suspects smashed a front window with construction debris found near the gas stations. The Batavia Police Department is looking for assistance identifying the suspects or if any citizens observed any suspicious events near the Valero Gas Station on Sunday, December 26, at or about 5:00 a.m.  You may use the CONFIDENTIAL TIP LINE at (585) 345-6370.  Pictures of the suspects are available on the website of WBTA’s news partner, The Batavian.

 

After urging from a majority of the state Senate, the state survey assessing gaps to New York’s broadband internet access was expanded to include paper surveys. This is provided to include individuals who lack access to high-speed Internet. New Yorkers have until February 28th to complete the survey. Paper surveys are available by calling 1-855-692-2627.

 

The Monroe County Department of Public Health says the number of residents who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus has increased by 18.  The latest victims passed away between December 8th and 20th, bringing the death toll since the pandemic started to 1,568.  There were also over 1400 new infections reported between Saturday and Monday, pushing that tally to 109,309.

 

The CDC has issued new guidance on how quarantines after a person has tested positive for COVID should be handled.  Their new advice is that persons who test positive should only be in isolation for 5 days instead of 10 or the initial recommendation of 14. To minimize risk the people who are released after 5 days should be asymptomatic and agree to wear a mask for the next 5 days. Governor Hochul says she agrees and that New York State will keep following the data and science-based public health policies to protect New Yorkers.

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has donated dog food, cat food, litter boxes, cat litter and more to the Genesee County Animal Shelter. Batavia Downs gift bags also went to all shelter volunteers to thank them for helping with animals in need.

 

 

 

 

Morning News Brief

There are a few laws going into effect in the New Year that impact every New Yorker.  The big one is of course the legality of recreational marijuana.  Many municipalities have voted to allow the sale of marijuana and the whole state is open to use.  If you want to get married and rent a limo you need to find one that has seat belts for every passenger.  A new law goes into effect that stops insurers from charging more for homeowner insurance based on the breed of dog you have.  Renters are not affected.  And lastly, mobile sports betting becomes legal this year.  9 platforms have been approved so far. 

The CDC has issued new guidance on how quarantines after a person has tested positive for COVID should be handled.  Their new advice is that persons who test positive should only be in isolation for 5 days instead of 10 or the initial recommendation of 14.  To minimize risk the people who are released after 5 days should be asymptomatic and agree to wear a mask for the next 5 days.  Governor Hochul says she agrees and that New York State will keep following the data and science-based public health policies to protect New Yorkers.

A multi vehicle accident on East Main Street called for a sobriety test and ended with a man in custody.  At about 7pm an Audi sedan struck a parked car in front of KeyBank in Batavia, pushing the car into the one in front of it and driving the initial car up onto the curb.  City fire and EMS were dispatched.  The name of the driver has not been released.

Batavia Police are looking for any information about 2 separate burglaries of Batavia gas stations over the weekend.  In both incidents, two suspects smashed a front window with construction debris found near the gas stations. The suspects then made entry into the businesses and stole property.  The Batavia Police Department is looking for assistance identifying the suspects or if any citizens observed any suspicious events near the Valero Gas Station on Sunday, December 26, at or about 5:00 a.m.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jason Ivison at (585) 345-6312.  You may also use the CONFIDENTIAL TIP LINE at (585) 345-6370.  Pictures of the suspects are on our new partner the Batavian’s website.

Midday News Brief

All vendors and visitors to state correctional facilities will now require proof of having been vaccinated against COVID 19 or have had a negative COVID test within 48 hours of their visit; this, according to a State department of Corrections announcement. No physical contact between visitors and incarcerated individuals is allowed. The recent surge in COVID cases led to unions requesting stricter visitation protocols.

Dr. Anthony Fauci urges Americans not to get complacent about the threat of COVID, despite studies suggesting the surging Omicron variant might be less severe than Delta, “because it might still lead to a lot of hospitalizations in the United States.” The number of Omicron cases has increased in both Erie and Monroe Counties. Today a vaccine mandate goes into effect in New York City, requiring workers and customers at indoor dining, fitness, entertainment, and performance venues to show proof that they have received a coronavirus vaccine.

A teenager has been taken to the hospital after being shot while inside of a home in Rochester. Police say the victim was at a residence on Hollenbeck Street last night when she was struck by a bullet that went through a wall. At the time of this report, information has been released about her condition. Anyone who has information on the case is asked to call police immediately.

Route 5 in Stafford was closed for a short time on Sunday pursuant to a call received by dispatchers that a detached garage on Main Road was burning. Stafford Fire responded and reported an uncooperative male had barricaded himself in the garage and was claiming it was rigged with explosives to blow up if anyone approached. Additional deputies, along with the State Police, and DEC responded. Route 5 was closed and
residents in the area were evacuated. The Batavia’s Police department’s armored emergency response vehicle was deployed along with negotiation specialists. The subject was taken into custody and criminal charges are pending. There was no threat to the general public. The incident was classified as a mental health emergency and the man taken to Strong.

The Buffalo Bills are back on top of the AFC East following a huge win on the road against a longtime rival. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen threw for 314 yards and tossed three touchdown passes as the Bills beat the New England Patriots 33 to 21 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts yesterday. Running back Devin Singletary also had a rushing score for the Bills who improved their record this season to nine and six. Up next for Buffalo is a home game against the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday afternoon.

 

Western New York drivers are continuing to see consistent prices when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is now $3.50. That’s the same as it was last week and is three cents cheaper than this time one month ago. The state average is now $3.50 per gallon while nationally it’s $3.29.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum in Buffalo invites children and families to spend their winter break week playing at the museum. The museum will be open every day for safe, hands-on fun for the whole family with special activities planned daily. The week’s activities include:

• Storytelling throughout museum exhibits that focus on holidays around the world.
• Immerse yourself in a winter wonderland with storytelling and activities by Barb’s Book Buddies.
• Magic and game shows with Rob & Carol Allen, presented by Milk for Health.
• Learn to African dance and drum with the African American Cultural Center, followed by a live performance!
• Holiday-themed interactive activities throughout the museum.
• More fun surprises!

Morning News Brief

Route 5 in Stafford was closed for about an hour Sunday as 911 dispatchers received a call that a detached garage on Main road was on fire.  Stafford Fire responded and reported an uncooperative male had barricaded himself in the garage and was claiming it was rigged with explosives to blow up if approached.  Additional deputies, along with the State Police, and DEC responded.  Route 5 was closed and residents in the area were evacuated.  The Batavia’s Police department’s armored emergency response vehicle was deployed along with negotiation specialists.  The subject was taken into custody and criminal charges are pending. There was no threat to the general public.  This is being classified as a mental health emergency and the man was taken to Strong.

State correctional facilities will now require all visitors and vendors to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID 19 or a negative COVID test within 48 hours of their visit according to a State department of Corrections announcement.  Physical contact between visitors and incarcerated individuals will not be allowed.  Unions requested stricter visitation protocols because of the surge in COVID cases. There is no set end date for these new rules.  

Gas price update for Batavia the average price of a gallon of regular is 3.47 which is about the same as last week.  The State average is 3.50 which is 1 cent down from last week and the national average is 3.29.  According to Gasbuddy the amount of oil available is trending downward but the amount of Gas being refined is trending up.  Demand is up by about 10 percent.  This is leading to prices maintaining and only fluctuating mildly.  We can expect to see a slow drop in gas prices as there will be less travel after the holidays.

The Bills punished the Patriots on Sunday afternoon for their defeat several weeks ago by taking over the AFC East lead in a 33-21 win at the Patriots Foxborough stadium.  The Bills got an early lead with a 4th down touchdown pass in the 1st quarter.  The Patriots could not gain the lead at any point in the game.  This was the Bills last road game of the regular season, they host the Atlanta Falcons at 1:00 p.m. on January 2nd.

The Buffalo Sabres have placed head coach Don Granato along with forwards Dylan Cozens and Mark Jankowski in COVID-19 protocol.  The Sabres say all three are asymptomatic at this time.  The Sabres now have five players and their head coach in COVID-19 protocol.  Forward Vinnie Hinostroza entered COVID-19 protocol on Monday, while forwards Zemgus Girgensons and Jeff Skinner entered protocol on Tuesday.  The NHL is still on holiday with the planned resumption of the season on monday being pushed back to Tuesday.  The Sabres next scheduled game is against the New Jersey Devils at 7pm Wednesday at Keybank Center.

Morning News Brief

12 cases of the Omicron Variant of COVID 19 have been identified in Monroe County and several more have been reported in Erie County.  The Omicron variant is thought to have overtaken the Delta variant as the most dominant form of COVID in the US.  This suggests that there are many more cases than are being reported with most cases being asymptomatic and those which have symptoms being mild and most likely not being reported or tested for.  Omicron is up to 70 times as contagious as Delta, which was twice as contagious as COVID 19.  Dr Robert Mayo of Rochester Regional Health says that those who are vaccinated will still likely contract Omicron.

Governor Hochul has signed legislation that declares Racism a public health crisis in New York State.  It also establishes a working group to promote racial equity throughout the Empire State.  She also signed the Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act which makes it so data is collected about the demographics of victims and perpetrators in any hate crimes.  At the same time Hochul also signed environmental protection legislation which forbids Hotels from using single use plastic bottles for shampoo and other personal care products and also prohibits summer and day camps from using pesticides.  

The Batavia Area’s unemployment rate has dropped, mainly because the number of people in the workforce has dropped.  The unemployment rate was at 3.3 percent in November.  Last year at the same time it was 4.9 percent.  The number of people in the laborforce is down by roughly a thousand people.  There are actually 500 less people with jobs than a year ago.  There are 900 people in the labor force who are currently unemployed, down from 1,400 a year ago, and down by 100 from last month.

The Aquarium of Niagara is holding a post Christmas promotion giving patrons 5 dollars off the entry ticket if they donate a winter accessory for Western New Yorkers in Need.  Yule Tide days include Ice formation and melt demonstrations, Visit by Santa and Mrs Claus to the Penguin Coast, Sea lion Shows, An activity time with the Snow Queen and Snow Princess from Frozen along with a Siberian Husky presentation, Scavenger hunts and Hot Cocoa and Cookies.  YuleTIDE Days will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. between December 26 and December 31.

Midday News Brief

United Memorial Medical Center has stopped certain procedures for the next two weeks, to include non-essential elective inpatient, 23 hour and same-day elective surgeries and procedures. This decision resulted from the lack of bed capacity; at present, they now have less than 10% of their beds available. They are now considered an ‘impacted facility’, although this is not due exclusively to COVID-19 hospitalizations. UMMC encourages individuals with non-emergency needs to try to go to their Primary Care Physician first.

Governor Hochul has signed several pieces of legislation aimed at making it easier to combat the spread of COVID. The first, makes claiming to have been vaccinated against COVID falsely, a misdemeanor offense. The legislation classifies the crime as forgery of a written instrument. The second, allows schools to access and download the statewide immunization database for easier searching and keeping tabs on which student is vaccinated against what. Other legislation enacted several studies into the COVID response.

When it comes time to head to your holiday destination, it may be quicker to take state highways to get where you’re going. That’s because until six a-m Monday, temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on those roads are suspended. Travelers are urged to take advantage of rest stops on the Thruway so they can get a break when needed. Drivers can also receive traffic updates on their phones by downloading the Thruway Authority’s mobile app.

If you’re planning to attend a game or event at the Bills Stadium, Blue Cross Arena, or KeyBank Center with a child aged 5-11, proof of their vaccination will also be necessary. All guests age 5 and older now must show an original vaccination card, Excelsior Pass, or government proof of vaccination to enter. At this time, this is only for large venue locations requiring vaccination for entry.

GO Health now accepts results of at-home COVID tests. The Health Department has announced that they have developed an online form that allows people to report their positive test results from at-home kits. The form requires you take a picture of the test to prove the results as well as authenticity of the test. Any positive results must be reported within 24 hours of taking the test. Negative tests do not need to be reported.

 

And in the spirit of the season, the LeRoy Knights have donated gifts to residents and staff at LeRoy Village Green. WBTA News learned of this kindness for our news partner, The Batavian; their website has a video with details.

 

Morning News Brief

Wednesday afternoon Governor Hochul signed several pieces of legislation aimed at making it easier to combat the spread of COVID.  The first piece makes claiming to have been vaccinated against COVID falsely a misdemeanor offense.  The legislation classifies the crime as forgery of a written instrument.  The second of note makes schools able to access the statewide immunization database and download the database for easier searching and keeping tabs on which student is vaccinated against what.  Other legislation enacted several studies into the COVID response.

The United Memorial Medical Center has suspended elective surgeries for the next 2 weeks starting today.  The hospital now counts as an impacted facility.  UMMC will suspend all non-essential elective inpatient, 23-hour and same day elective surgeries and procedures.  The Health department says that the hospital has less than 10 percent of its beds free.

Want to go to a game or event at the Bills Stadium, Blue Cross Arena, or KeyBank Center with a child 5-11 years old?  Better be ready to show a proof of vaccination for the kid too.  All guests 5 and up now must show an original vaccination card, Excelsior Pass, or government proof of vaccination to enter.  So far these are the only large venue locations in the area requiring vaccination for entry.

GO Health is now able to accept the results of at home COVID test.  The Health department announced on Wednesday that they have developed an online form that allows people to report their positive test results from at-home kits.  The form requires that you take a picture of the test to prove the results and the authenticity of the test.  Any positive results must be reported within 24 hours of taking the test.  Negative tests do not need to be reported.

West Seneca Police are warning of people using Apple Airtags to stalk people.  Airtags are quarter sized metal disks that can be used to find things by tracking the disc and anything it is attached to on your phone so long as it is can connect to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal.  People noticed that they had been tagged with one of these devices when their phone warned them that someone could see their location.  Police were able to find one of the devices secreted into a car’s undercarriage but were not able to find others.  They say it can be nearly impossible as the tags are so small.  Police warn that the tags can be used to follow someone electronically and possibly set them up for robbery or other crimes.  You can install a Bluetooth scanner on your phone that tells you when there are Bluetooth devices near you to see if you have been tagged.

Evening News Briefing

Michael Tomaszewski

The Batavia funeral director who bilked local customers out of more than a half-million dollars will do prison time.
49-year-old Michael Tomaszewski was sentenced today in Genesee County Court to 2 to 6 years in prison.
Tomaszewski had nothing to say to the court when sentenced by retiring judge Charles Zambito.
Tomaszewski was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims.
He was arrested in July of last year. Prosecutors said Tomaszewski accepted money for pre-payment of funerals and never deposited in a trust account, as required by law.
He pled guilty earlier this year and has managed to avoid sentencing until today.
He had also pled guilty to a public health law violation for storing a body in his funeral home garage for 10 months.

National Grid is reporting 740 Genesee County customers are without
Power this afternoon.
The outage has occurred in the Towns or Batavia and Alexander and a few customers in the city.
Power is expected to be restored later this afternoon.

It was a tractor-trailer crashing into a utility pole that darkened about 400 homes on Batavia’s west side early this morning.
The big rig struck the pole around 10 last night on North Lyons Street.

For the second year in a row, students in New York State will not be taking Regents exams in January. The Education Department has once again canceled the tests due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.
No decision has been made on whether Regents exams will be offered in June or August.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual home show on April 8, 9 &; 10. The Show will be held at the Batavia Ice Arena. Contact the chamber to reserve a space for your business.

Midday News Brief

Power was knocked out for over 400 National Grid customers on the west side of Batavia early this morning, for a total of four and a half hours. This resulted when a tractor trailer truck hit a pole and took down lines in the area of 75 North Lyons Street, around 10:00pm last night. At this time, power due to this outage has been restored to all National Grid customers in that area.

The former Santy’s Tires building on Ellicott Street, along with the former Soccio & Della Penna building are nearly gone.  WBTA News partner The Batavian reports the project is part of the redevelopment effort downtown known as Ellicott Station. The brownfield redevelopment site has been vacant for many years and has been a challenge to redevelop because of environmental contamination. Grants and tax abatements, about 15 percent of the project’s $22 million price tag, help to offset the cost of environmental clean-up. Savarino Companies of Buffalo plans for the site 55 apartments, office space, and a restaurant.

For the second year in a row, students across state are not going to be taking any Regents exams in January. The Education Department has once again canceled the tests due to concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. The Board of Regents is now being asked to modify the requirements students must meet in order to earn their diplomas, endorsements or credentials. No decision has been made on whether scheduled Regents exams will happen next June or August.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has advised us that the 2022 Home Show has been scheduled for April 8, 9 & 10. The Show will be held at the Batavia Ice Arena. Vendor applications are being accepted and can be downloaded from the Chamber’s home page online and are also available at the Chamber’s office, 8276 Park Road. Space is limited and on a first come basis.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles announced today that wait times at their offices have dropped to the lowest they have ever been. Many customers are served within 15 minutes. This is due in large part by their offering more than 60 transactions online, including renewing a license or registration, registering a vehicle, ordering replacement documents, and changing an address.

Evening News Brief

A Buffalo Bills touchdown celebration goes viral for a life-long Bills fan from Batavia.
Insurance Agent Richard Donahue has been attending Bills games for 30 years. He has perfect seats in what has become known over the years as the Batavia Party Zone.
During Sunday’s big win over the Carolina Panthers the Bills’ Offensive Lineman Spencer Brown where celebrating Stefan Diggs touchdown catch.
Donahue tells us today: that’s where things got crazy…

 

PHOTO: Bill’s Stefan Diggs grabs beer from Rich Donahue (dark blue cap) of Batavia 

But he did take it and Diggs later tweeted he owes the fan a beer. Richard says he hasn’t heard from Diggs or Brown but he’s heard from fans around the country as the scene has gone viral on social media.

 

With the number of new COVID-19 cases reaching another record high, New York State is taking more steps to combat a winter surge of the virus.
Governor Hochul says the state is ordering millions of at-home coronavirus tests, opening more testing sites and sending more support staff to hospitals to help doctors and nurses treat a growing number of patients.
New York State’s seven-day average COVID-19 positivity rate is now seven-point-four percent.

 

Genesee County currently has 35 residents hospitalized with COVID-19.
The county health department reports today that 209 people have tested positive COVID-19 tests since last Thursday.

 

A 72-year-old Batavia man has been arrested for stalking.
Sidney Underhill was collared by Batavia Police for allegedly a Swan Street resident eventually showing up in the resident’s backyard.
An order of protection was issued and Underhill was released on his own recognizance.

Midday News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced New York State’s Restaurant Resiliency Program will be delivering 200,000 meals to New Yorkers in need through the end of the holiday season. Restaurants involved in the program are in all regions of the state and represent the diversity of the state; for example, many participating restaurants prepare Kosher meals and minority and women owned businesses are represented, as well. Follow this link for more information.

 

Today marks the official start of the winter season. Winter will run through Sunday, March 20th. Winter is the period where depression and mental illness reach their annual highs. Make sure to reach out and connect with loved ones periodically and look out for the markers of mental health issues. One source of support locally is available by contacting Genesee County Mental Health. (344-1421)

There’s a new development to report in the ongoing negotiations to build a brand-new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Governor Hochul said that the state will accept the facility being built in Orchard Park if that’s where team officials want it to be. Talks have been underway for months on the construction of a new stadium across from Highmark Stadium which is where the Bills currently play their home games. Hochul says everyone involved in the discussions wants to keep the Bills in Western New York.

 

The Buffalo Sabres won’t be playing any games this week due to the NHL deciding to put the league on pause due to multiple COVID-19 outbreaks teams. The Sabres were set to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets last night and on Thursday and the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Buffalo’s next scheduled contest is set for December 27th when they host the New York Islanders. There’s no word yet on when the postponed games will be made up.

 

Just four days to Christmas, and it looks increasingly like the majority of the nation, including our area, won’t have snow on the ground when Santa comes down the chimney. A white Christmas may be a reality for some but wishful thinking for us. Some locations across the country have been blanketed by recent snowfall from the many storms that have moved across the country so far this month, but the inch or so predicted for us over the next day or so, won’t likely be sticking around too long. 13 WHAM meteorologists have been keeping a close eye on the Christmas forecast. However, with highs predicted to reach the mid-40’s on Saturday, our chances for a White Christmas seem low this year.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced funding for county health departments to help with COVID.  Up to $1 million will be available for most counties, with larger counties eligible to receive up to $2 million. She said that enforcement of the COVID mandates will be done primarily by the local health departments. The new funds will apply to expenses incurred by counties and local health departments from when the “mask-or-vaccine” mandate was announced on Dec. 10 until its planned expiration on Jan. 15, 2022.  The money will be for reimbursing county health departments and they will have to apply for any funds.  Hocuhl also announced more at home tests and masks being distributed. 

You may have been singing about walking in a winter wonderland since the end of Halloween but that was all unofficial till the 21st of December.  Today marks the official start of the winter season.  Winter will run through Sunday, March 20th.  Winter is the period where depression and mental illness reach their annual highs.  Make sure to reach out and connect with loved ones periodically and look out for the markers of mental health issues.  

The Great Northern Grain Elevator in Buffalo won’t be demolished just yet.  The State Supreme Court has issued a restraining order till Wednesday when a court hearing will be held on the matter of it’s demolition.  The order comes as The Campaign for Greater Buffalo preservation group sued to stop the destruction of the 120 year old site which was on the cover of the Christmas Issue of the 1897 Scientific American and was one of the first buildings to be lit by Tesla Generating Station.  ADM which owns the building says it is a risk to public health because of falling debris hitting an active rail way and flying metal from the roof. 

The Sabres next game will be against the New York Rangers.  All Three of the games they were supposed to have this week, Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche and then Thursday back to the Blue Jackets, have all been postponed due to COVID cases on those teams.  Their next game that hasn’t been rescheduled is Monday the 27th at 7pm in buffalo at the Keybank Center.

Evening News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul this morning visited the Wyoming County Community hospital with words of gratitude for healthcare workers and a renewed call for COVID vaccinations…
She called the healthcare workers, “angels on earth” ..

 

PHOTO: Gov Hochul speaks at WCCH this morning

The governor noted that 14 percent of Wyoming County residents have tested positive for COVID and that does not include those who are testing at home. Hochul predicts that after Christmas the number will go up again.

Batavia gasoline prices are up a penny from last week. The average price of a gallon of regular is now $3.46.
Just one year ago, the average price was $2.22 a gallon.

The annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is on for now but that could change because of the coronavirus surge. All revelers must be fully vaccinated. Officials say a decision will be made before Christmas if changes to ball drop festivities are needed.

With controversy over former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s book, there’s legislation in Albany that would ban state officials from helping their co-workers with side businesses or money-making projects even on their own time. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics accuses Cuomo of using state resources and staffers to help write the book.

The Buffalo Bills have finally put an end to their two-game losing streak.
The Bills bested the Carolina Panthers yesterday 31 to 14.
Up next for Buffalo is a showdown on the road with the Patriots this coming Sunday.

UPDATE: The Buffalo Sabres game scheduled for tonight and Thursday night against Columbus has been cancelled due to COVID.

Midday News Brief

For the second week in a row, Western New York drivers will be paying a bit less at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is $3.50. That’s down a penny from last week and is three cents cheaper than this time one month ago. The state average is sitting at $3.51 a gallon while the national average is $3.51.

 

Wreaths Across America honored veterans at the Western New York National Cemetery in Pembroke Saturday with a ceremony and wreath laying. Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia who grew up in Orleans County and graduated Lyndonville High spoke about the meaning of sacrifice and being part of the family of service. During the ceremony, Wreaths Across America also celebrated the over 3000 locations across the country.

Governor Hochul continues to talk about plans to bring a vaccine mandate for all school age children to New York State this coming September. Hochul notes experiencing some constraints by her lack of emergency powers which Cuomo had but she does not. She also said she has to bring it before the State Legislature which other states, for example California, do not have to do. The governor says she has the goal of making the mandate a reality in schools come September.

After a rough couple of weeks, the Buffalo Bills have finally put an end to their two-game losing streak. Quarterback Josh Allen threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns as the Bills beat the Carolina Panthers 31-to-14 at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park yesterday. Buffalo running back Devin Singletary had a rushing score as the Bills improved their record to eight and six, which puts them one game behind the New England Patriots in the battle for first place in the AFC East. Up next for Buffalo is a showdown on the road with the Patriots this coming Sunday.

The number of New Yorkers who have tested positive for the coronavirus has reached yet another record high, with single-day increases in cases the largest since the beginning of the pandemic. Governor Hochul is once again reminding people about the importance of protecting themselves and others from contracting the illness. She says wearing a mask indoors or in large gatherings plus being vaccinated against the virus will slow the ongoing surge in cases. Currently, the seven-day average COVID-19 positivity rate in the Finger Lakes region is at eight-point-three percent, which is down from eight-point-five percent last week.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul talked about her plans to bring a vaccine mandate for all school age children to New York State this coming September over the weekend.  Hochul said she is constrained by her lack of emergency powers which Cuomo had but she does not.  She also said she has to bring it before the State Legislature which states like California do not have to do.  The governor says she has the goal of making the mandate a reality in schools come September.

Wreaths Across America honored veterans at the Western New York National Cemetery in Pembroke Saturday with a ceremony and wreath laying.  Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia who grew up in Orleans county and graduated Lyndonville High spoke about the meaning of sacrifice and being part of the family of service.  Wreaths Across America celebrated 3,136 locations across the country on Saturday.  

Interested in a guided hike through the Genesee County Park and Forest?  Or maybe you want to see the snow covered trees under the stars?  Join a hike on January 8th or February 12th from either 1 to 3 or 7 to 9.  Snowshoes can be provided with a lesson included in the price of admission.  Price for the hikes is 5 dollars an individual or 15 for a family.  Pre-registration is required, call 585 344 1122 to get a spot.

GO Art has a new library dedicated to the family of Jim Owen, who, himself not being an artist, had a family of artists and contributors to the arts.  The Owen Library features art books, a white baby grand piano, a fireplace and table games.  Stop into GO Art at Seymour Place and relax with a book or game.

The Buffalo Bills slew the North Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon 31-14.  The Bills approached the game at Highmark Stadium with 5 players out.  2 were on COVID reserve and the other 3 had injuries.  Allen recovered from his sprained foot last week to play and after a lackluster 1st quarter the Bills and Panthers both started racking up points on the board.  The game ended with an interception and the Bills kneeling to win.  The Bills are set to play the Patriots in Foxborough the day after Christmas for the AFC East champion spot. 

Evening News Brief

Genesee County’s Local Drug Task Force slaps metal bracelets on a Porter Avenue man. 22-year-old Tarrance Williams is facing felony drug charges and a felony firearm charge. Deputies say they were called to the Quality Inn and Suites on Park Road last night where Williams got into a fracas with another man. When taken into custody, deputies found a quantity of crack cocaine on Wilson along with a suspected illegal gun.

The Genesee County Grand Jury hands up indictments accusing two local people of assault. Rae C. Cook has been indicted for assault and criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly going after another a person with a pair scissors during a fracas last October.
Joshua Webster has been indicted for aggravated criminal contempt and third-degree assault. Webster is accused of violating an order of protection by hurting a person covered by the order. The suspected incident took place in LeRoy bank in September.

New York State Police will be keeping eye out for potential impaired drivers during the Holidays.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign begins today.
Through the holidays, drivers can expect to see increased patrols with the goal of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related traffic accidents. Police ask that you make sure you have a safe ride home by choosing a designated driver or planning to use a ride-sharing service.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for Wyoming County beginning early tomorrow morning.
The National Weather Service is forecasting snow, chang8ing to sleet and freezing rain.
The advisory also covers Livingston County and remains in effect until 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

Midday News Brief

Beginning today, state police will be keeping a close eye out for dangerous drivers as the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign begins. Through the holidays, drivers can expect to see increased patrols with police goals of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related traffic accidents. Police ask that you make sure you have a safe ride home by choosing a designated driver or planning to use a ride-sharing service.

Federal funding of over $150,000 is on its way to the Genesee County Airport. The money can be used for improvements related to safety, runways, taxiways, as well as terminal, airport transit connections and roadway projects.

People who are past due on their payments to utility companies may soon have their utilities turned off as the statewide moratorium on shutoffs ends next Tuesday, December 21. As of September, there were over 1.2 million households in the state that were late with payments; this, according to the Public Utility Law Project. There are options. Governor Hochul noted the Home Energy Assistance Program is available to assist homeowners and renters with heating costs. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance as well as the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program may also be available to help.

The Buffalo Bills will be back in front of their home fans this weekend as they try and avoid a three-game losing streak. The Bills are hosting the Carolina Panthers. Buffalo is hoping to have starting quarterback Josh Allen in the lineup after he suffered a foot injury in last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bills have a record of seven wins and six losses this season and are in second place in the AFC East. Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is scheduled for one p-m.

Anyone who is concerned about paying off those holiday bills may want to play the lottery the next couple of days since there’s over 500-million-dollars in prize money up for grabs. The jackpot for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is $160-million, while $353-million will go to whoever wins tomorrow’s Powerball jackpot. As always, the cost of a ticket for each game is just two-dollars. Both the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings are going to be streamed live online.

Morning News Brief

Parents call for faculty and administration to enforce the rules at Batavia City Schools.  According to Rebecca Eldridge, her son who attends Batavia high was assaulted in class which resulted in a bloody nose, swollen eye, bruised ribs and cuts to his legs and then the teacher sent him to his next class.  Afterwards he was suspended for fighting back against the bully who beat him.  School staff confirmed that administration lied to Eldridge saying there was no recording of the incident but IT staff said there was.  Other parents have come forward at School Board meetings demanding change at the city schools as violence and bullying are reaching new highs every week.  One student was suspended from school for printing handouts that pointed out bullying incidents that went without any response from the school.  Interim Superintendent, Scott Bischoping, when asked by our news partner the Batavian, said “he couldn’t comment on specific student discipline.”

The statewide moratorium on utility shutoffs is ending December 21st.  What this means is people who are overdue on their payments to the gas, electric and water companies can have their utilities turned off starting next Tuesday.  More than 1.2 million homes in New York were late on their payments as of september according to Public Utility Law Project.  Governor Hochul says that New Yorkers have options for covering their costs.  Home energy assistance program can assist homeowners and renters with heating costs.  The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance as well as the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program are also able to help.  

The Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator announced thursday 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.  This will go from Friday the 17th through Saturday January 1st.  

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Minnesota Wild 3 to 2 in a shootout Thursday night at the Wild’s home ice.  Tage Thompson scored the winning goal with Dylan Cozens and Mark Pysyk setting up the tie game.  Buffalo’s road trip continues tomorrow night when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Puck drop in the Steel City is at 7:00 p.m.

Midday News Brief

The Batavia Town board has opted out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries in the town.
The vote last night was 3 to 2. Town Supervisor Greg Post and councilmembers Patti Michalak and Sharon White all voted to opt out.
Councilmen Chad Zambito and Dan Underhill voted to opt in.
But…by opting out, the town can later put the issue to a public referendum.
If they had opted in, the town would lose the option of putting the issue to a vote.

From Genesee County Court: Plush Dozier has been sentenced to 25 years to life for setting girlfriend on fire in a Maple Street apartment more than three years ago.
Dozier was charged with arson and attempted murder. He was found guilty following a jury trial.

Also from County Court:

Jason Sponaugle has been sentenced to two 15-year terms in state prison for his role in the in a gun deal gone bad.
Sponaugle was charged with the attempted murder of Jason Whitehead at the Days in Batavia in July of 2020.
Sponaugle will serve the two terms consecutively, and then be put on probation for five years.

A wind Advisory remains in effect until 1 AM Friday morning.
The advisory covers all of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties and most of Western New York.
Winds are forecast out of the Southwest at 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts as high as 55.

After picking up their first victory since late November on Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres will try and win their second straight game tonight.
The Sabres are set to take on the Minnesota Wild.
he Sabres are currently in sixth place in the Atlantic Division.

Morning News Brief

The Child Tax Credit program is reaching its end for this year.  The program, which sent 300 to 250 dollars per child 17 and under to families is expiring at the end of December unless Congress renews it.  The tax credit was half of the usual tax credit that people have been claiming for over 20 years.  The difference this year was that instead of just being a credit on your year end taxes, the government paid it forward by sending half the money in monthly installments and reserving the other half for tax time.   

The Batavia Town Board voted Wednesday night to opt out of Marijuana retail dispensaries.  The vote was 3 to 2 with Greg Post, Patti Michalak and Sharon White voting to opt out and Chad Zambito and Dan Underhill voting to opt in.  This sets up the issue to public referendum.  Kelly March of Clinton Street Road, appearing before the board for the second straight meeting to voice her support for the cannabis legislation, said she was “disappointed” in the outcome but vowed to press on through the permissive referendum process.

There is a Wind Advisory until 1am Friday for Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming Counties. Winds on Thursday will gust 40 to 50mph.  Remember to secure anything that may be blown away by the wind and take care when driving in a high profile vehicle.  This storm is not expected to be as severe as Saturday’s wind storm.

Jacob Sponaugle, convicted at jury trial on Nov. 17 of attempted murder, assault in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, was sentenced to two 15-year sentences in state prison as well as a 2 1/3 to seven-year sentence.  The prosecution argued that Sponaugle shot Jason Whitehead for no reason and showed no remorse for the crime.  Sponaugle’s co-defendant, Devon Wright, made a plea deal to be free for the birth of his first child and then went missing.  He has been wanted by Batavia PD since November 27th.

Livingston County’s bicentennial year is coming to a close.  The last event of 2021 includes the placement of a time capsule in the safe at the government center in Geneseo on Wednesday.  The county historian’s office is inviting the public to sign a parchment scroll, which will be placed in the time capsule to be opened in 50 years.

Midday News Brief

The National Weather Service has posted a Wind Advisory of most of Western New York, including Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.
The advisory takes effect tomorrow morning and runs through the day.
Southwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour are forecast with gusts up to 50.
The weather service says that gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects and cause a few isolated power outages.
It was just last weekend the area was struck by winds in excess of 70 miles per hour and caused thousand to lose power.
So far, at least, winds that high are not forecast for tomorrow.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies say what appeared to be a deadly auto accident in the Town of Alabama was most likely a fatal medical emergency.
The incident happened early last evening on Alleghany Road.
A pick-up was located about 100 yards off the highway.
A 9-1-1 call was made by On-star but all dispatchers could hear was a horn blowing. There was no response from the victim.
The victim, a man who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Governor Hochul is defending her order that masks must be worn in all public places statewide unless there’s a vaccine requirement in place. She cites an anticipated holiday spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations combined with the highly contagious omicron variant as reasons for the mask rule. The governor says she hopes the mask rule will be temporary.

Members of the state ethics commission say ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo must repay the proceeds generated by his multi-million-dollar book deal. The ethics panel says Cuomo broke a promise not to use state resources or government staff in writing the book and that he must hand over the proceeds to the Attorney General’s office within the next 30 days.

The long winless streak of the Buffalo Sabres has finally come to an end following a much-needed win on the road.
The victory was the first for the Sabres since they defeated the Montreal Canadiens in late November. Buffalo’s next game will be tomorrow night when they visit the Minnesota Wild.

Morning News Brief

Police respond to a voiceless 911 call and find a man dead in a field.  At about 5pm on Tuesday the Sheriffs office received a 911 call from On-Star services saying there was an emergency in the area of 7033 Rt 77 in alabama.  In the call the dispatcher could hear a car horn and the sound of 4 way blinkers but there was no response to questions.  Deputies found a Ford f-150 in a field about 50 yards off the road.  The truck appeared to have little to no damage and had one person, the driver, in it who was unresponsive.  After attempting life saving measures the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.  He was identified as 55 year old Mark Morlock of Cheektowaga.  It is believed he had a medical episode while driving and managed to signal for help with his On-Star before veering off the road and passing away.  Genesee County Sheriffs are investigating.

There is a Wind Advisory for Thursday for most of Western New York including Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.  It starts at 9am Thursday and goes through 1am Friday.  It is not expected to be as severe as Saturdays storm.  20-30 mile per hour southwest winds and gusts of up to 50 mile per hour are expected.

Former Governor Cuomo has been ordered to give the money he took for his book on New York’s COVID response back to the state.  An ethics panel decided this based on Cuomo using government resources to produce the book.  He owes 5.1 million dollars.  An attorney for Cuomo immediately called the action unconstitutional and promised a fight.

44 year old Jon Magliocco of Batavia has plead guilty to rape and sexual abuse.  Magliocco has prior sexual abuse convitions.  He admitted to having sex without a persons consent in August of 2021 at a home on Mill Street.  He was charged with 3rd degree Rape, 1st degree criminal sex act, and 3rd degree crinminal sexual abuse.  He is facing up to 8 years in prison and is being held without bail.

For the first time since 2015, City of Batavia Firefighters Local 896 handed out warm jackets to children in the community as part of Operation Warm.  This year, the program was backed by a generous $2,000 donation from Batavia Downs, along with $300 from the union and another $600 in community donations.   There were 144 jackets handed out yesterday at Robert Morris.

The Buffalo Sabres have won a game for the first time since November 26th.  The Sabres beat the Jets 4 to 2 Tuesday night at Canada Life Center in Winnipeg ending their 7 game losing streak.  Rasmus Dahlin scored the first and 3rd goals and Andres Bjork and Jeff Skinner scored the other 2.  The next game for the Sabres is in Minnesota taking on the Wild Thursday at 8pm.

Midday News Brief

This week’s high winds damaged the roof over the auditorium at Batavia High School.
School officials have closed the auditorium until repairs are made.
The damage prevents outside air from entering the building and fresh outside air is required by the State Education Department.
The school has already brought a roofing contractor to make permanent repairs.
The rest of BHS is operating normally.

There is a new Councilwoman representing Batavia’s Ward Six. She is Tammy Schmidt, handpicked by long time Ward Six Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian and confirmed unanimously by the council last might.
Schmidt works in the field of financial management.

By doing nothing, the Batavia City Council has given tacit approval for legal pot dispensaries in Batavia. New York State is requiring municipalities to make their intentions known by December 31st. By taking no action, the council is opting in, automatically.
Council President Gene Jankowski says he wants to city to grab any tax money the pot shops bring in.

 

PHOTO: Eugene Jankowski, City Council President

Jankowski admitted some constituents he spoke with were critical of the way the state went about allowing legal weed.

State Police are still investigating the discovery of human remains in Livingston County. The remains were spotted yesterday in a drainage ditch in the area of State Route 36 near State Route 70 in the Town of Dansville. Officials are continuing to work on figuring out the identity of the remains.

The Buffalo Sabres will be back on the road tonight as they try and snap their long winless streak. The Sabres are taking on the Winnipeg Jets. The Sabres haven’t won a game since beating the Montreal Canadiens in late November. Buffalo currently sits in sixth place in the NHL’s Atlantic Division. Face-off for tonight’s contest is set for 8 p.m.

Morning News Brief

Genesee, Orleans and Livingston County health departments have essentially said they are not enforcing the Mask or Vaccine Mandate which went into effect Monday across New York State.  They say they don’t have the resources to police businesses and public gathering places and will instead spend their efforts on providing free vaccinations and testing.  GO Health released a statement saying they will focus on Educating to Cooperate and continue teaching people the benefits of social distancing and masking.  They join many other upstate counties which expressed similar sentiment. 

It looks like no opinion equals assent at the City council.  The city of Batavia held its Conference meeting in the City Hall Board Room Monday night and, because the matter was never brought up for discussion, appears to be opting into Recreational Marijuana sales in Batavia.  According to the legislation from the state, a municipality has to expressly opt out or they are automatically in as of December 31st.  Since the city hasn’t made a decision and doesn’t intend to by the end of the year, Batavia will be able to have stores selling Marijuana legally.  

The Batavia High school took some damage in the wind storm on Saturday.  The Auditorium is closed as the dampers that draw in air were damaged and must be repaired before the room can be used again.  The roof of the school was damaged and a repair crew started inspecting it and weatherproofing work on Monday.  

Due to the windstorm over this past weekend, operations of the Law Street Yard Waste Station have been extended from December 13th until Saturday, December 18th.  Hours of operation will remain the same, 11:00 a.m. to  5:00 p.m. each day.

GCC is hosting an open house of the new Technical Training Solar Lab in the Stuart Steiner Theatre Building.  Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with instructors, tour the lab, and enjoy coffee and refreshments. The new lab will fully prepare Solar Electric Technician students to meet the huge demand for workers in the photovoltaic field.  Further details on the Solar Electric Technician program can be found by following the link at wbtai.com.

https://www.genesee.edu/home/academics/programs/tech/solartech/

Evening News Brief

Batavia Police have arrested a 22-year-old Fulton, New York woman for allegedly breaking into GoArt last August.
Talana Savery and another unknown woman were spotted on surveillance video inside the historic GoArt building at 4 in the morning on August 28th.. Nothing was taken.
Police said the same pair broke a window and entered the Rolling Hills Asylum in Bethany later in the morning.
Authorities said their motive appeared to be “ghost hunting.”

Attica Central School Board of Education has named a new interim Superintendent. He is Timothy Hayes most recently superintendent of Geneseo Central. Hayes will serve at Attica Central until June of next year while the search for a permanent superintendent continues.

While speaking of Attica, the village will be picking up debris from this past weekend’s wind storm on Thursday, December 16th.
Also, the last day the Village will be picking up leaves will be Wednesday, December 15th.
Village of Attica government asks you to keep storm debris and leaves in separate piles.

Our weekly check on Batavia gasoline prices: The average cost of a gallon of regular gas went up a penny from last week. It is now $3.47 a gallon
The highest price ever for a gallon of regular in Batavia was $4.73, back in July 2018.

A statewide mask mandate is now in effect. Governor Hochul says facial coverings are required at all indoor public places unless the business or venue has a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in effect. Masks also must be worn in health care settings, at adult care facilities, in public schools and on public transportation regardless of a person’s vaccination status.

Midday News Brief

The high winds that were forecast over the weekend are still having an impact this afternoon.
National Grid says 2,360 customers in Genesee County are still without power. Those customers may not get their power back until midnight tonight.
3,283 customers are without power in Orleans County and just over 728 are without lights in Wyoming County. Restoration in those counties also estimated as late as midnight tonight.

This note for Attica residents: The Village of Attica will be picking up debris from this past weekend’s wind storm this Thursday, December 16th.
Also, the last day the Village will be picking up leaves will be Wednesday, December 15th.
The village asks you to keep storm debris and leaves in separate piles.

A statewide mask mandate is now in effect. Governor Hochul says facial coverings are required at all indoor public places unless the business or venue has a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in effect. Masks also must be worn in health care settings, at adult care facilities, in public schools and on public transportation regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Violators who don’t follow the mandate could receive a maximum fine of $1,000. The mandate will be in place until at least January 15th but could be extended.

Our weekly check on Batavia gasoline prices: The average cost of a gallon of regular went up a penny from last week. It is now $3.47 a gallon
The highest price for a gallon of regular in Batavia was $4.73, back in July 2018.

The Buffalo Bills are now dealing with a two-game losing streak following a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champions. After falling behind 24 to three, the Bills staged a rally and forced yesterday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to overtime. Then came Tom Brady with a TD and beat the Bills 33 – 27. The Bills are now seven and six this season and remain behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East

Morning News Brief

National Grid sent out more than 3400 workers to restore power to the nearly 235,000 people who were without power after the high winds Saturday.  The storm caused 225 broken utility poles, 100 damaged transformers, and hundreds of toppled trees, tree limbs and downed wires.  35 thousand customers are still without power.  Genesee county was among those hardest hit with over 8000 outages reported.  National Grid is estimating that it will take till 11:30pm today to finish restoring power in Western NY.

The mask or vaccination mandate is in effect.  With the new mandate businesses must choose either to make sure that all patrons are vaccinated or have all patrons wear masks or face a 1000 dollar fine for each patron who is not following the mandate.  Businesses may use CDC vaccine cards, the Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus, SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York State.  New York state health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said vaccinations and masks are necessary to slow the spread of the omicron variant.  A statement was issued by GO Health leadership, “To reduce the spread in our communities, we need to increase vaccination rates and increase testing in order to identify and isolate those who are positive with COVID-19.  However, rural county health departments continue to have issues securing additional testing resources. GO Health and local officials continue to advocate for additional resources and assistance from the state in order to have free testing in our communities.”

The Buffalo Sabres lost Saturday against the Capitals in a shootout 3 to 2.  Vinnie Hinostroza scored the first goal and Will Butcher scored the last goal.  Buffalo is going against the Jets in Winnipeg on Thursday as the start of a 3 game road trip.

The Buffalo Bills fell short in a heartbreaker loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-27 in Overtime.  The Bills had been behind 24-3 at half time and then a rushing touchdown by Allen, and throws to Knox and Davis brought it to a one score game.  A field goal with less than a minute to go tied it up.  But it wasn’t to be, after losing the ball quickly the Buccaneers scored a touchdown to win the game.  They’ll be home next weekend to take on another NFC South opponent. The 5-8 Carolina Panthers come to Orchard Park for a 1:00 kickoff on December 19.

Weekend News Brief

Monday marks the day that New York State will be returning to masking up inside all indoor public spaces according to a mandate announced Friday by Governor Hochul.  Grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses are now mandated to have customers mask up starting Monday, Dec.13, unless they require proof of vaccination.  That proof can no longer be a sign on the door saying people have to mask unless fully vaxxed but instead people are expected to show proof by using the Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus, SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York State, or a CDC Vaccination Card.  Hochul said it’s a critical step to address the surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations.  About two thirds of hospitalizations due to COVID in New York are unvaccinated people.  The mandate carries a 1000 dollar fine for the business for each person in a business found not masking and without proof of vaccination.  Several companies such as Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans have said they will comply with the new mandate, others, such as Veneto Pizza in Rochester, say they won’t be the police to their customers.  

A 15 year old boy has been arrested for making threats against Medina and Lockport schools.  The threats caused schools to shut down in Lockport although Medina remained open.  He was arrested Friday.  No word yet on the investigation into threats against Batavia schools that caused the shutdown on December 3rd.

The City of Batavia is voting on replacing Rosemary Christian, who resigned her position on the City Council when she moved out of the 6th district November 15th, with Tammy Schmidt.  Schmidt is a Republican.  She is a lifelong Batavian, has been employed for the past seven years as the financial management assistant for Genesee Justice and the Child Advocacy Center.  Before that, she worked for Genesee County Mental Health and Genesee County Workforce Investment. She and her husband live on Osterhout Avenue.

The Batavia Improvement District is looking for a new Executive Director.  Beth Kemp’s last big hurrah was the Christmas Parade last Saturday and she is leaving to take a position in Marketing and Accounting with Council Rock Wealth Advisory Group.  Anyone interested in the position must be able to provide vision and leadership as well as implementing ideas and creating strategic direction for the BID.  You can submit a resume by following the email link at wbtai.com.  downtownbataviabid@gmail.com

Catholic Charities is looking for volunteers for the Friendly Phones and Home Visitation programs.  In these programs volunteers make calls or do home visits of people who are over 60 who live independently or with family.  Volunteers engage in friendly conversation, partake in hobbies, crafts, and special interests such as reading, puzzles, baking or card games.  To take part and give the gift of time to someone, call Catholic Charities at 585 343 0614 ext 3801.

The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t clinch the win against the New York Rangers as the game ended with a 2 to 1 loss Friday night.  It seemed like they were headed for overtime after a late game goal brought the score to 2 and 2 but a challenge, after the goal had been reviewed and confirmed, saw it canceled. 

Morning News Brief

There is a high wind warning in effect for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties Saturday afternoon and evening from 1 to 10pm.  Winds from the southwest blowing at 35 to 45 miles per hour and gusts of up to 65 miles per hour are expected.  Officials warn of downed trees, power lines, and property damage which may result in power outages and travel difficulty.  

Genesee County’s COVID vaccination rate is well below the New York State average according to County Health director Paul Petit.  The County Health Department reported Thursday that only 56 percent of Genesee County residents and 52 percent of Orleans County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The New York State average percentage is 69.3 percent.  Public Health Educator Goodrich-Kresse says the Finger Lakes region is making plans to address the disparity.  Officials said another reason may be the lack of broadcast internet access in rural areas.

The WBTA Annual Christmas Toy Drive is going on today from 9 to 4 at Ken Barret Chevrolet.  The toy drive benefits the Salvation Army who have seen an increase in demand along with a 50 percent decrease in funding.  To date, The Salvation Army of Batavia has nearly 200 families registered with more than 400 children needing toys this Christmas.  You can simply drive up and pop the trunk and a firefighter will take the toys.  If you cannot participate today, toys can be dropped off at The Salvation Army offices located at 529 East Main Street in Batavia Monday thru Friday between 9:00am and 3:00pm.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is pulling out of the governor race.  She has announced she’ll instead run for re-election as AG.  Recent polling showed James trailing incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.  Siena College’s findings put Hochul at 36-percent compared to 18-percent for James.2 for one deal on arrests.  When police went to serve a warrant on East Ave in Batavia Thursday they got more than they expected.  Police executed an arrest warrant for one person and found that there was a second wanted person in the same house.  Upon calling for backup to handle the second person they discovered a third person with a warrant out may be in the residence.  The first 2 were taken into custody but the third was not there.

Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman retired Thursday after 40 years of service.  He was honored with a walk lined with applauding county officials, attorneys and police from the County courthouse as he left the building officially for the last time.

Midday News Brief

A High Wind Watch has been posted for this Saturday.
The National Weather Service says we can expect Southwest winds of 35 to 45 miles per hour with gusts to 65. The Watch is in effect for Saturday afternoon through Saturday evening.
The Watch area includes Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.
The Weather Service says the winds could be stro9ng enough to bring down numerous trees and power lines and some property damage is possible.

A woman’s body has been recovered from a car that was submerged in the Niagara River near the edge of Niagara Falls. The car was just 50 yards from the falls on Wednesday when a rescuer dangling from a Coast Guard helicopter was able to open the car door and pull the woman out. When the woman was brought to shore, rescuers determined she was already dead. It’s not clear if the woman, reported to be in her 60s, drove into the river on purpose or by accident, or exactly how she died.

Beginning today, several hospitals in the region are going to have to limit their number of non-essential surgeries.
The state Department of Health says restrictions will be in place at Highland Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital, and  Unity Hospital of Rochester.
Not on the list, at least not yet, is United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.
UMMC is part of Rochester Regional Health but is not impacted by the limits of elective surgeries.
Hospitals have been filling up in recent weeks with patients needing treatment for COVID-19, which has limited the number of available beds.

 

The Buffalo Bills are mourning the death of former player Mark Pike. The team says Pike passed away at the age of 57 following a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Pike was drafted by the Bills and played his entire career with the franchise, which included appearances in four consecutive Super Bowls. Pike still holds the Bills record for special teams tackles with 255, which is second all-time in NFL history. He is survived by his wife and children.

Morning News Brief

One person that was responsible for online threats against a Western New York school has been caught and charged in Lockport.  Lockport schools have been shut down all week for the same reason Batavia City Schools shut down on Friday and are planning to reopen on December the 13th.  In Batavia the investigation into the threats posted online is still ongoing.  Several other school districts faced the same types of threats with some closing and some remaining open.  It is unknown at this time if they were related to each other.  

To combat the shortage of goods and services because of the supply chain being disrupted a new state law has been enacted.  This law allows 18-20 year olds to get a CDL and start driving Class A big rigs.  Before only 21 and up could drive the tractor trailers.  The American Trucking Association says that they need 80,000 more drivers to be able to adequately move merchandise and other materials around the country.  This is not an immediate fix.  It will take time before 18 to 20-year-olds can start signing up for CDL-A classes.  With the law now passed, the state department of transportation must now come up with the official rules and regulations to certify younger drivers.

Monroe County has purchased 750000 at home rapid COVID tests and rural counties are feeling left out.  Genesee county Manager Matt Landers says “We are going to continue to beat the drum” of asking New York State for support in getting COVID supplies and aid.  Senator Schumer has called for more at home rapid tests for New York State but Landers says that Albany keeps telling them they are too hard to come by.

A slightly different call for help from the community.  3 year old Alana Marie has lost her stuffed giraffe on Liberty street and would very much like it back.  The giraffe is grey and has been her constant companion since birth.  It was lost between 2:45 and 3:15 tuesday.  If found please call 585 356 5818 to reunite this little girl and her friend.

Evening News Brief

Sen Charles Schumer 

 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is criticizing Republican efforts to end President Biden’s vaccination mandate on large businesses.

Schumer says the anti-vax movement is fueled by online conspiracy theories that he called “crazy.”

Sentencing for former Batavia Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski has been delayed again. Tomaszewski has COVID-19.
His sentencing has been put off until an undetermined date.
Tomaszewski pled guilty last April to charges of grand larceny, scheming to defraud, filing false instruments and untimely burials.
Prosecutors say Tomaszewski bilked local families out of nearly a half-million dollars in pre-paid funerals.

Elective and same day surgeries at Batavia’s United Memorial Medical Center will continue, for now.
UMMC’s parent group, Rochester Regional Health, has put off elective surgeries for at least two weeks at Rochester General and Unity Hospital.
The reason: COVID and saving staff to treat those patients infected with the virus.

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced two-million dollars more in state funding will be used to help Afghan refugees resettle in New Yotrk. Governor Hochul says the money will be distributed to nonprofit groups who are going to help the refugees that are coming to New York during the next few months, including approximately 500 who are scheduled to arrive in Western New York. The nonprofit groups can use the funds to help the refugees learn English and also to give them access to job.

Midday News Brief

Michael Tomaszewski

Former Batavia Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski has COVID.
Showing proof of his infection, Tomaszewski’s sentencing has been delayed again.
His sentencing has been put off until an undetermined date.
Tomaszewski pled guilty to grand larceny, scheming to defraud, filing false instruments and untimely burials.
Prosecutors say Tomaszewski bilked local families out of nearly a half-million dollars in pre-paid funerals.

 

Elective and same day surgeries at Batavia’s United Memorial Medical Center will continue, for now.
UMMC’s parent group, Rochester Regional Health, has put off elective surgeries for at least two weeks at Rochester General and Unity Hospital.
The reason: COVID and saving staff to treat those patients infected with the virus.

Over the past week, two more people have died from Coronavirus in Genesee County, one was under the age of 65.
Since the start of the pandemic the county’s death toll stands at 302.
As of last week, just 56 percent of Genesee County residents are fully vaccinated.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached four games following a shutout loss on home ice.
The Anaheim Ducks beat Buffalo 2-0 at KeyBank Center last night.
Up next for the Sabres is a home game on Friday night against the New York Rangers.

Morning News Brief

Michael Tomaszewski, the funeral director who was charged with over a hundred crimes and plead guilty to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing and untimely burial, has had his sentencing delayed again.  This time it is because he has tested positive for COVID.  County Court Judge Charles Zambito ordered Tomaszewski to the Genesee County Jail where he was tested again.  That test, according to district Attorney Friedman, was also positive.  Tomaszewski will have to quarantine.

The Genesee Orleans county health department has released that there were 236 new COVID cases over the last week in Genesee county.  250 people have recovered and been released from isolation.  35 people are hospitalized with COVID and 2 people passed away.  In Genesee county there have been 302 deaths attributed to COVID since March of 2020.  As for vaccination, 30,551 Genesee County residents are fully vaccinated, or just shy of 56 percent of the population.

Erie County is 9th in the country in COVID cases over the past month.  There were 17 thousand 484 cases over the last 28 days.  Higher than Erie were Maricopa Arizona, Cook Illinois, LA California, Wayne Michigan, Oakland Michigan, Hennepin Minnesota, Macomb Michigan and Cuyahoga Ohio.  Maricopa county had 60 thousand cases.  

As part of the COVID response strategy and the new mandate that went into effect December 3rd Rochester Regional Health is postponing elective inpatient, 23 hour and same day hospital surgeries at Rochester General and Unity hospital starting Thursday.  UMMC is not effected.  Office based procedures and ambulatory surgery centers are not impacted.

After the disappointment of losing the business of Samsung at the STAMP facility in Alabama Senator Schumer is calling on Israel based company Tower Semiconductor to build in New York.  Schumer says that Tower is considering the location, or somewhere in New York for their 5 billion dollar semiconductor fabrication plant.  If they moved in the plant would bring over a thousand jobs to the area.  Samsung decided to build in Texas after many months of looking at several sites including STAMP.

The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t top the Ducks on Tuesday night and were shut out 2 to 0.  One goal was a trick shot where Trevor Zergas of the Anaheim team flipped the puck over the goal and then Sunny Milano tipped it in.  Zergas said after the game, “I can’t believe it worked.”  Buffalo has lost 5 in a row and stays home to face the New York Rangers Friday night at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced $539-million in federal funding for a new state-based Homeowner Assistance Fund.
This is the first such program in the United States and that it’s intended to help those struggling amid the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials say they expect to receive more claims than what the fund can pay-out, so applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information follow this link.

Just in case you haven’t heard: the Buffalo Bills have come up short in their effort to regain first place in the AFC East after a tough loss at home. Quarterback Josh Allen completed 15-of-30 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown but Buffalo fell to the New England Patriots 14-to-10 at Highmark Stadium last night.
Up next for the Bills is a road contest against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are led by former Patriots QB Tom Brady. Kickoff for that game is set for 4:25 Sunday afternoon.

A revolver once owned by Batavia native Emory Upton has sold at auction for $345,000.
The Colt Single Action Army revolver sold last Friday at the Rock Island Auction company in Illinois.
It was the same gun Upton used to take his own life in 1881.
Holland Land Office President Don Burkel said the local museum would have loved to add the Upton revolver to its collection but at $345,000 it was a bit out of its price range.

Batavia’s leaf collection has ended for the year.
If you still have leaves you want to get rid of you will have to take them to the city’s Yard Waste Station on Law Street by the end of this week.
The Yard Waste Station will close for the season on Saturday.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced yesterday that there is 539 million dollars set aside to help homeowners pay their mortgages and avoid delinquency, default, foreclosure, and displacement in a Homeowners Assistance Fund.  Applications for aid will be accepted beginning January 3rd.  Hochul says they will prioritize “vulnerable” areas and those who are already in litigation.  

Flags in New York are at half staff today to remember the day that will live forever in infamy, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military that entered the US into World War 2.  2400 civilians and service members lost their lives on that day 80 years ago.  

Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation Monday to protect seniors from fraudulent use of personal information.  The legislation incorporates identity theft into the definition of elder abuse to provide support services and programs for older people.  It allows the Office of the Aging and law enforcement to recognize identity theft as one of the many forms of elder abuse and take appropriate action to help seniors.  Hochul said that identity theft affects older New Yorkers worse than others.

There is little change on the price of Gas this week. Triple A reports today the average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia is $3.46 which is down a penny from yesterday but up from last week.  President Biden announced that his opening up the national fuel reserves had dropped the price of gas 2 cents.  Gas is up more than a dollar from when he took office.

There were a few power outages in Batavia yesterday due to the wind.  Areas of Stafford, East Bethany, Byron and GCC had their power knocked out for some time.  A wire was down on Sunset Terrace, and a tree fell across State Street near the Thruway.  All these issues have been cleared up for today.  

Buffalo bowed to the Patriots in a windy matchup yesterday.  The Bills lost to New England 14 to 10.  Winds reached 50 miles per hour during the game which may have influenced the Patriots decision to run the ball as often as they could.  Next week the Bills are headed for warmer climes.  They are the road to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom Brady, and the NFL’s top-ranked passing offense on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

Midday News Brief

A high wind  advisory has been posted for Genesee and Orleans Counties until 10 o’clock tonight.
The National Weather Service says we can expect winds out of the Southwest at 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 55.
Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.
National Grid says it is increasing staffing and increasing evening and overnight works shifts to handle any potential power outages.

Batavia drivers will see little price change at the pump.
Triple A reports today the average price of a gallon of regular locally is $3.46 down a penny from yesterday but up a week ago from last week.
One year ago, the average price was $2.22 a gallon.

The Buffalo Bills will be taking on a longtime rival tonight as they look to move back into first place in the AFC East. Quarterback Josh Allen will lead the Bills as they battle rookie quarterback Mac Jones and the New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park for Monday Night Football. This is the first of two times the Bills will square off against the Patriots over the next few weeks. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.

With the spread of COVID-19 continuing across New York State, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for at-home tests for the virus to be available free of charge. Schumer says with the rising threat of the omicron variant, it’s important that people be able to test themselves for the virus right from home, which would prevent them from infecting others if they receive a positive result. Schumer wants the tests to be available at all community health centers and says funds to pay for them have already been appropriated as part of the American Rescue Plan. The omicron variant has been detected in New York and countries around the world.

Morning News Brief

With the high winds last night and through today National Grid says it is upping its workforce hours by increasing evening and overnight shifts.  According to National Grid, staffing has been increased to include more than 2,300 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers statewide.  The power company says it is staging trucks and workers in areas it anticipated will have need, calling in outside resources, and reaching out to customers and elected officials to keep the public updated on safety information and preparedness.  High winds are expected to continue through 10pm tonight with winds blowing southwest at 30 to 40 miles per hour and gusts of up to 50 mile per hour.

75 towns across New York state have decided to opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and use sites in their areas.  Opting out means a dispensary or on-site smoking location would be prohibited from setting up shop in that town. A person could still legally consume marijuana in a municipality even if it opted out.  In Genesee county, Oakfield, Alabama and Bethany have said no while Leroy, Batavia and Alexander have held public hearings on the subject but not made a decision yet.  Most Orleans county towns and villages have said no with a couple being undecided.  The only exceptions are Albion village and Medina which voted yes.  In Wyoming County only Arcade has said yes while most towns and villages are undecided.  If a municipality does nothing by the end of the year, it will be automatically opted into the state’s recreational marijuana program.

Senator Charles Schumer is calling for a rapid surge of at home testing kits for COVID 19 in order to control the Omicron Variant’s spread in New York.  Schumer joined Governor Hochul in saying that they are concerned as now there are 8 confirmed cases of the new variant in the state.  The federal government has restricted travel from 8 African countries and changed their rule making it so flyers coming into the US have to have a negative covid test within 24 hours of boarding.  Schumer says he wants all tests to be free and have no fine print.  The omicron variant has been circulating in South Africa for several months, it is now in 17 States and at least 40 countries, there have not been any cases requiring hospitalization as of yet and researchers are suggesting that it may be more contagious than COVID 19’s other variants but have much milder symptoms.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 6 to 2 at PNC Arena on Saturday night.  Their season record now stands at 8 and 13 and 3.  Buffalo’s losing streak is up to four games. The Sabres return home to KeyBank Center on Tuesday to face the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30pm.

Weekend News Brief

The Batavia Police department and FBI have been investigating the social media threats of violence towards the city schools that closed all public schools in Batavia on Friday.  The police say that they have found no credible threat to the district.  Batavia was not alone in shutting down due to threats, Olean and Allegany Limestone school districts shut down for the same reason, Medina had a threat but remained open.  They are still trying to find where the post originated.  BCSD has been cleared to resume all activities beginning Saturday, December 4, and schools will open for all students on Monday, December 6.  As a precautionary measure, there will be an increased police presence in and around Batavia city school district buildings for all activities this weekend and next week.  The Batavia Police Department continues to work in collaboration with the FBI and Secret Service to monitor all social media threats to ensure the continued safety of the district’s students and staff.  Police are asking anyone with information to please call the police department or the tip line.

There is another vaccine raffle in New York and this time it’s for Ski Lift Tickets.  The “Ski for Free” sweepstakes is for children aged 5-11, and anyone who gets a booster shot. Over a six week period, eligible New Yorkers will be able to enter the random drawing for free tickets to participating mountains.  In Western NY, Holiday Valley, Bristol Mountain, Woods Valley, and Greek Peak will be participating.  For more information including how to enter, follow the link at wbtai.com. 

https://www.governor.ny.gov/programs/ski-free-vaccine-incentive

There is a high wind watch for Genesee and Orleans counties form 8am to 8pm on Monday.  Temperatures will continue to rise overnight from Sunday into Monday morning briefly reaching the 50s with rain showers. Strong winds will be the main concern as gusts could hit 60mph from Sunday night into Monday evening with temperatures quickly falling into the 30s.  Remember to secure anything that might be blown around and be careful if you are driving a high profile vehicle.

Press Release from the sheriff’s office: Due to the increase in Covid cases within the county, Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. is requiring all business (including animal adoptions and turn ins) at the Genesee County Animal Shelter be conducted by appointment only.  This goes into effect beginning Monday, December 6.  This is a precautionary measure to prevent the risk of exposure to coronavirus to community members, Animal Shelter employees, and volunteers.

Midday News Brief

City Police and the Batavia City School District continue to look for the source of what they described as threats against city schools posted on social media.
Those threats caused school officials to cancel school for today along with all after school activities. The Richmond Library is also closed.
Police are asking students or families who have any information about the threats to call Batavia Police or the confidential tip line.

34-year-old John Hobbs of Clinton Street Road: he’s charged with burglary and violating an order of protection.
Authorities say Hobbs entered the home of a person he was ordered to stay from. Hobbs fled the home before lawmen arrived. K-9 Deputy Rayzor found Hobbs hiding in the woods just south of the home.

27-year-old Alexander Scheg of Byron collared by deputies for bail jumping. Now he’s being held on $4,000 bail.

Governor Kathy Hochul says she’s not planning to issue any statewide mandates to deal with the growing number of coronavirus cases across New York. Governor Hochul says that she’s continuing to urge people to wear a mask and get vaccinated in order to keep the illness from spreading. However, Hochul said she isn’t opposed to putting mandates in place if infections keep increasing, but believes doing so now would be an overreaction.

The winless streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now hit three games following a disappointing loss on the road. After going ahead four-to-one in the second period, Buffalo gave up six unanswered goals and lost to the Florida Panthers seven-to-four. Up next for the Sabres is a road contest against the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night.

The jackpots for two popular lottery games keep rising, meaning there will be a total of $390-million up for grabs the next couple of days. The jackpot for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is currently at $112-million. Tomorrow’s Powerball jackpot is even larger and that prize currently sits at $278-million.

Morning News Brief

The Batavia City Schools are closed today after social media posts began circulating that threatened violence against specific schools in the city.  The Batavia Police are investigating the threats.  All after school activities are also canceled.  A teenage shooter in Michigan killed several people at their school after posting threats to social media earlier this week.  It is unknown whether these threats are related in any way.  If any student or family has any information regarding the threats, we ask that you please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

A DEC stop turned into a chase and subsequent drug bust.  On Monday night at around 10pm a DEC officer attempted to stop a car near Sanders Rd in the Town of Stafford for a suspected conservation violation.  The car sped off and Genesee County Sheriffs joined the pursuit and also deployed a spike strip on rt 33 and 237.  The chase came to an end in the town of Clarendon as the driver failed to make a turn and crashed into a utility pole and and street sign on Glidden Rd.  After a brief foot chase and deployment of K-9 units Alexander Sheg, Zachary Hursh and Jason Schmeer were taken into custody.  The Honda Civic they were in was found to be reported stolen, cocaine was found along with drug paraphernalia.  All three are being held in Genesee County Jail.

Governor Hochul announced that there are so far 5 cases of the COVID Omicron variant in New York state.  All were either no symptoms or mild symptoms.  All 5 were downstate.  Hochul used the announcement to say people should get vaccinated and take the booster shots.  Thus far there has not been a case of Omicron reported that required hospitalization.  The most common symptoms were muscle soreness and or fatigue that lasted for 1 to 2 days.  Several researchers working with the variant say it may be as transmissible or more than the Delta variant.

The Panthers mauled the Sabres for a loss of 7 to 4 last night.  The Sabres had an early lead being ahead 3 to 0 at the end of the first period.  Then former Sabre Sam Reinhart started off the rally that led to 6 unanswered points for the Florida team.  The Sabres’ southern road trip continues on Saturday when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

BATAVIA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOLS CLOSED FRIDAY, DEC 3

News Release: Batavia City School District

Over the last few hours, it’s been brought to the attention of the Batavia City School District (BCSD) administration that reports of threats of violence at buildings in the district are circulating on social media.

BCSD is currently working closely with the Batavia Police Department, and out of an abundance of caution, BCSD has decided to close all buildings in the district tomorrow, Friday, December 3, while the Batavia Police Department continues its investigation into whether these threats are credible.

All after-school activities are also canceled for Friday, December 3.

BCSD will continue to update students, families, and staff as relevant information on the investigation becomes available. The safety of BCSD students and staff is the top priority, and the district is taking these allegations against our community very seriously.

If any student or family has any information regarding the threats, we ask that you please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers says he needs to have financing for a new county jail in place by early next month.
The county is looking to finance 70-million dollars for the new jail house and take 30 years to pay for it. Landers say he needs the legislature to approve the bond measure by January 6th.
The annual payments on the jail would amount to between $3-million and $3.5-million a year.

An increase in COVID-19 cases has led to another Wyoming County to declare a state of emergency. The chairwoman of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors says the ongoing health crisis is putting a strain on the health system. The purpose of the state of emergency is
to make sure hospitals, doctor’s offices and school districts have the resources they need to navigate the pandemic. The emergency declaration will be in place for at least 30 days but it could be extended for additional periods of up to 30 days.

A new study from the New York State Department of Health is taking a close look at the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. The data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that the vaccines are effective in keeping people who test positive for the coronavirus out of the hospital. The study also said that any decline in vaccine effectiveness against infections could be connected to the Delta variant and people not taking preventative measures to keep themselves safe such as wearing a mask.

New documents posted by the state comptroller’s office show the investigations into ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo could cost taxpayers over 20-million-dollars. Those records indicate over eight-million-dollars has already been spent, with additional money possibly going towards legal services for the Executive Chamber.

The Buffalo Sabres will have a tough task in front of them tonight as they look to snap their two-game winless streak against one of the best teams in the NHL. The Sabres are taking on the Florida Panthers who are currently in second place in the Atlantic Division.

Morning News Brief

There is a wind advisory in effect for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties today from 10am to 7pm.  Winds are coming out of the west at 20 to 30 miles per hour and could gust up to 50 at times.  Remember to bring anything that could blow away inside and be careful if you are driving a tall vehicle.  Watch out for downed tree limbs while driving.

Police are looking for Devon Wright, again.  Wright is accused of shoving two females on Nov. 27 while at a location on Central Avenue and of tampering with the property of one of the women by throwing it all over the residence.  He is also wanted for violating his terms of release following his guilty plea on counts of attempted criminal possession of a weapon 2nd, assault 3rd, attempted assault 1st, and criminal sexual act 4th.  Anyone with information on Wright’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350 or the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370.

53 year old Matthew Barber of Batavia has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for  possession of Child pornography.  He was initially arrested in 2007 and sentenced to over 6 years for the same crime.  Then he was unsuccessfully discharged from a sex offender program after being released and going through supervision till 2017.  In may of 2020 he was caught with over 1000 images and 200 videos on a usb stick and a cell phone by the FBI.  

Wyoming County has declared a state of emergency due to COVID 19 cases rising in the county.  Wyoming County Chairwoman Rebecca Ryan says she declared the state of emergency in order to make sure the county receives resources aimed at ensuring safety of its residents.  Local emergency orders may also be enacted in addition to the county declaration.  From Tuesday, the COVID-19 positivity rate in Wyoming County was listed at 12.1 percent and 14.5 percent over the last seven days.  There are no current plans to put a mask mandate in place.

The group Constitutional Coalition of New York is planning a protest in Buffalo all next week over the mask mandates both in Erie county and in the schools.  They have published a series of events throughout the “civil disobedience” week including an outside protest in front of Buffalo City Hall, a school walkout day, and a day for all people to simply not wear masks wherever they are.  They liken their movement to Rosa Parks and Irena Sandler standing against powerful oppressors.  

Midday News Brief

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fifth Rockin’ the Downs concert series which will take place outside on the racetrack, with ten Friday dates, starting in June and running into August.
Among the acts: Performing on Friday, July 15th a double bill of great music, this time with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone. Peter Noone is a multi-talented entertainer, who achieved international fame as Herman, lead singer of the legendary Sixties pop band Herman’s Hermits.
Earlier that evening The Grass Roots will take the stage having originated in the Mid-60’s and charted with such hits as; Midnight Confessions, Let’s Live for Today. See the entire line-up HERE.

 

The Elba Town Hall has moved.
Town offices are now located in the old M and T Bank building on Oak Orchard Road.
Town Hall was located on Maple Street in the village.
The Elba Town Clerk, Town Supervisor and Town Assessor are in the new location.
Hours of operation remain the same: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., with extra hours on Friday during tax season.

Governor Hochul has signed off on a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting New Yorkers from potentially dangerous holiday decorations. Under the measure, a warning label must be placed on certain products that use lead-based electrical cord casings. Studies have shown some decorative and seasonal holiday lighting products contain an unsafe level of lead, which could put people at risk for serious health issues such as heart and kidney disease and central nervous system problems. Any manufacturer who breaks the law will face a fine.

Frontier Airlines is planning to add nonstop flights from Buffalo to a pair of popular vacation destinations.
Soon, people will be able head directly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and also Cancun.
The airline is offering fares starting at just 19-dollars, but those tickets must be bought by 11-59 p.m. on December 6th.
Advanced seating assignments will also be available for an additional charge. More information is available on the airline’s website.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is going to be spending her final day today in a position she’s had since 2014. Warren will be stepping down as mayor as part of her guilty plea to campaign finance fraud. Warren, who is the city’s first female mayor, says she’s focused on spending time with her family but isn’t ruling out a return to politics in the future.

Batavia Downs Announces “Rockin’ the Downs Concert Series for 2022

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fifth Rockin’ the Downs concert series, presented by Pepsi, which will take place outside on the racetrack, with ten Friday dates, starting in June and running into August.

Kicking off the series on Friday, June 17th will be a double bill of rock with Tommy DeCarlo and Rudy Cardenas.   Tommy has been the lead singer of Boston since 2007 and performs all of Boston’s hits from the 70’s and 80’s including More Than a Feeling, Peace of Mind, Hitch A Ride, and more!  Opening the show will be Rudy Cardenas, a season 6 American Idol finalist and who will perform a full set of Journey’s classic hits.

Next up, on Friday, June 24th, Batavia Downs welcomes Canadian Rock Band Finger 11.  Originating in Burlington, Ontario in 1990, the band has gone on to release 7 studio albums.   The Juno Award winning rockers will be performing hits such as One Thing, Paralyzer and others.

Friday, July 1st will see Get the Led Out perform at Batavia Downs. This group of professional musicians are passionate about their love of the music of Led Zeppelin, making it their mission to bring the studio recordings of the Mighty Zep to life on stage.  These musicians were fans first and strive to do justice to one of the greatest bands in rock history by touring all across the US and Canada.  Songs performed by the band will include Led Zeppelin hits like Black Dog, Immigrant Song, Stairway to Heaven and more!

Returning to Batavia Downs on Friday, July 8th is Theory.  Hailing from Delta, British Columbia, the band also known as Theory of a Deadman has turned their hard rock/alternative sound into nine top 10 hits on the US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, including four number one tracks in Bad Girlfriend, Lowlife, Rx (Medicate) and History of Violence.

Performing on Friday, July 15th is another double bill of great music, this time with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone. Peter Noone is a multi-talented entertainer, who achieved international fame as Herman, lead singer of the legendary Sixties pop band Herman’s Hermits.  His classic hits include: I’m Into Something Good, Mrs. Brown, you’ve Got A Lovely Daughter, I’m Henry VIII, I Am. 

 Earlier that evening The Grass Roots will take the stage having originated in the Mid-60’s and charted with such hits as; Midnight Confessions, Let’s Live for Today, Sooner or Later and Temptation Eyes.  Current Band Line up of Mark Dawson, Dusty Hanvey, Larry Nelson and Joe Dougherty rocked Batavia Downs last summer with an inspired performance.

On Friday, July 22nd, Batavia Downs welcomes back Southern Rock legends Molly Hatchet.  Originating in Jacksonville in 1978, the band has gone on to release 14 studio albums.   They’ll be performing hits such as Flirtin’ with Disaster, Dreams I’ll Never See and Whiskey Man.  Opening for them will be American Southern Rock Band Blackfoot, who will be playing such hits as Train, Train and Highway Song.

Rocking the stage on Friday, July 29th is the legendary band, 38 Special.  After forming in Jacksonville in 1974, they have currently achieved over $20 Million in sales.  Their signature blast of Southern Rock is unmistakable with such arena-rock pop smashes as Hold On Loosely, Rockin’ Into the Night, and Caught Up in You.

America’s top Pink Floyd Show, The Machine returns to the Batavia Downs stage on Friday, August 5th.   For over 30 years they have extended the legacy of Pink Floyd, while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine has touched the hearts and souls of many with their stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting and video performances.  Last year’s performance at Batavia Downs was well received by one of the largest crowds of the summer.

Making his Batavia Downs debut on Friday, August 12th is Mike DelGuidice – Recording Artist/Singer/Songwriter who is currently on tour with Billy Joel.

Mike DelGuidice now lives a dream come true. In October of 2013, Billy Joel was so impressed with Mike’s singing, Joel personally hired Mike to join his band.

And now you can see Mike on tour with Billy Joel all over the US & world in major arenas and stadiums including every month at the iconic Madison Square Garden.  Mike and his band play all of Billy Joel’s big hits.  They will also perform a few astonishing renditions of other classic rock hits,  plus some of Mike’s own original work.

Closing out the series on Friday, August 19th  is the Dire Straits Experience.  With former Dire Straits member Chris White, this stellar collection of professional musicians has been paying homage to one of the greatest songbooks of all time with tours across the world.  They will be playing all Dire Straits’ major hits, in all their ambition, grandeur and aching beauty.  These songs are once again presented live for the fans that that have kept them alive.

“We are looking forward to hosting what we feel is the best Concert Series Line-up we’ve ever had,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We’re appreciative to the folks at Pepsi for being our headline sponsor this year and excited to welcome back charities like Make-A-Wish Western New York & Volunteers for Animals who raise funds for their organizations through the chair rental and guitar raffle.”

Tickets for all ten concerts will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com only beginning on Thursday, December 2nd at 10am.

 

Morning News Brief

A spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations has incentivized Monroe County to announce a state of emergency starting December 1.  Like Erie County masking will be mandated for all county buildings.  But unlike Erie when it comes to private businesses, for now, the masking rules are up to them.  As of now businesses such as Tops and Wegmans are having all their employees mask and have for some time, they are encouraging customers to mask but not making it mandatory.

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now collecting his $4,219 monthly pension, according to a spokesperson for the Office of the New York State Comptroller.  In total, he will receive around $50,000 a year and he received his first payment in October 2021.  Cuomo announced his resignation in August following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. New York Attorney General Letitia James said the independent investigation found he sexually harassed multiple women and violated state and federal laws.  Currently in NYS, the pension of a public official can only be reduced or revoked if they are convicted of a felony related to his/her official duties.

Governor Kathy Hochul says there are between 32 and 36 hospitals in New York State right now that will be ordered to stop elective surgeries come Friday. This is because they’re struggling with staffing and bed capacity.  She’s also using her emergency power to work on getting National Guard members into nursing homes that need staffing help. Hochul has the power to enforce these measures through the disaster emergency declaration she issued the day after Thanksgiving.

Buffalo Bills Quarterback Jake Fromm is signing with the New York Giants according to the NFL Network.  Fromm was drafted by the Bills in the fifth round, 167th overall, in the 2020 NFL Draft. He has not played in a regular season NFL game since being drafted and he has been on the team’s practice squad this season.  Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones strained his neck early in last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles and his status is TBD for the Giants’ game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Evening News Brief

The Genesee County Economic Development Center board is scheduled to take final action on a new bus maintenance facility along Saile Drive.
The $4.5-million project will provide training space, repair areas and storage to support local school district bus fleets. The project is slated to create 19 full, and 12 part-time jobs. The board will take up the measure at its regular meeting on Thursday.

A spokesman for Andrew Cuomo is criticizing the release of more videos and transcripts involving allegations of sexual harassment made against the former governor. The Cuomo team accused State Attorney General Letitia James of using her authority to boost her own political career and editing video of Cuomo’s testimony. Cuomo left office after a report from the Attorney General’s office was released earlier this year but he has denied doing anything wrong.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will be held tomorrow night in Midtown Manhattan. Last year, the ceremony itself was closed to the public due to COVID-19. You also had to reserve a spot in line and visitors only had five minutes to check out the tree, as the coronavirus vaccine was not yet widely available. Those same restrictions aren’t in place this year, although masks and social-distancing are advised.

The Buffalo Sabres have dropped their second straight game after losing to the NHL’s newest team on home ice. The Sabres fell to the Seattle Kraken seven-to-four at KeyBank Center last night. Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski had a tough game, giving up six goals on the 31 shots he faced. The Sabres will look to end their losing streak on Thursday when they visit the Florida Panthers.

Midday News Brief

Governor Hochul says the state continues to watch for the variant, but adds New Yorkers are not defenseless against COVID-19.
She believes getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves and others from getting sick and said so far, no cases of the new variant have been found in the New York State.
In addition to getting immunized, the governor is also encouraging people to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols. But, Hochul says she is not planning to issue a statewide mask mandate.

A spokesman for Andrew Cuomo is criticizing the release of more videos and transcripts involving allegations of sexual harassment made against the former governor. The Cuomo team accused State Attorney General Letitia James of using her authority to boost her own political career and editing video of Cuomo’s testimony. Cuomo left office after a report from the Attorney General’s office was released earlier this year but he has denied doing anything wrong.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will be held tomorrow night in Midtown Manhattan. Last year, the ceremony itself was closed to the public due to COVID-19. You also had to reserve a spot in line and visitors only had five minutes to check out the tree, as the coronavirus vaccine was not yet widely available. Those same restrictions aren’t in place this year, although masks and social-distancing are advised. The forecast does look dry until after the show will be over.

The Buffalo Sabres have dropped their second straight game after losing to the NHL’s newest team on home ice. The Sabres fell to the Seattle Kraken 7-4 at KeyBank Center last night. Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski had a tough game, giving up six goals on the 31 shots he faced. The Sabres will look to end their losing streak on Thursday when they visit the Florida Panthers

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul says that she has been told the Omicron Variant of COVID 19 has been detected in Ontario Canada.  On Friday she declared a state of emergency for NY and demanded that all hospitals suspend non-essential surgeries in order to free up more bed space for COVID patients starting december 3rd.  She is also announcing the opening of 13 new Vaccination sites.  The Omicron variant of COVID was first detected in South Africa and has spurred a reaction across the globe including a travel ban in the US.  researchers so far say that the variant has not shown to be any more transmissible than other variants and doctors in South Africa report that symptoms are generally much more mild than other variants with muscle soreness and 1 to 2 days of fatigue being the most common symptoms.  Loss of taste and smell so far has not been associated with Omicron according to Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association. 

Lovely Warren’s tenure as Rochester mayor is set to end Wednesday.  Her resignation is effective at the end of the day.  She resigned as part of a plea deal for a misdemeanor charge, after accepting campaign contributions that exceeded legal limits.  That charge was originally a felony.  Warren was also facing charges related to a raid at her home. Those charges were wiped out a part of the plea deal.  Deputy Mayor James Smith will take over as mayor until Malik Evans is sworn into the office in January 2021.

A collision in Elba involved the surprise flight of a small child.  At around 4:15 yesterday afternoon a sedan crossed 98 traveling westward on Lockport Road was struck by another car going south on 98.  The collision caused the sedan to strike a guard rail and eject a 6 year old girl from the back seat and down a steep hill.  No injuries were reported although the girl was taken to the hospital for evaluation.  The crash is under investigation.

Batavia First United Methodist Church will hold its annual Cookie Walk & Vendor / Craft Sale on Saturday, December 11, from 10:00 am – 2:00pm.  The event will feature a large variety of homemade Christmas cookies for sale by the pound along with 35+ vendors and crafters with many interesting items for you or that special someone on your Christmas gift list.  There will be free pictures of the kids with Santa and the Kozy Korners Thrift Shop will be open.  Lunch will be available for takeout.

The Buffalo Sabres once again failed to defeat the Kraken, this time at home with a 7 to 4 loss.  With the loss, the Sabres finished the month of November with a 3-9-2 record. Nine of those 14 games featured the Sabres giving up five or more goals.  In this game 2 of the goals scored by Seattle in the first period were scored while short handed.  Buffalo plays the Florida Panthers Thursday at FLA Live Arena at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

Lawyers for both the Village and Town of Oakfield have agreed to extend the November 30th deadline in their dispute over fire services.
There is one fire department in Oakfield and it is owned by the village. For years, the town has paid a fee to the village for fire protection.
The village says it is owed $78,000 for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
There appears to be a compromise over a new agreement but the two sides are not saying what it is or when the new deadline is.

Gasoline prices continues their downward trend in Batavia, although they are still high.
The average prices of a gallon of regular in Batavia fell 2-cents last week to $3.45. The Triple-A says a year ago the average prices of a gallon in Batavia was $2.19

Some new data shows the COVID-19 infection rate in the Finger Lakes is still the second-highest of any region in the Empire State. The seven-day average positivity rate is now nine-point-six percent which is up from just under eight-point-six percent last week. Genesee County – which is part of the Finger Lakes Region – has a positivity rate of 13.1 percent

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Saturday the state is requiring nursing homes and adult care facilities to make COVID-19 booster doses available to all residents. The state sent a letter to nursing home and adult care facility operators and administrators Wednesday with information on the requirement.

Cyber Monday is underway and the Better Business Bureau is sharing tips with shoppers to help them avoid getting scammed online. The agency says to beware of false advertising and phony websites and make sure each site has legitimate contact information and a customer service number.

Morning News Brief

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Saturday the state is requiring nursing homes and adult care facilities to make COVID-19 booster doses available to all residents.  The state sent a letter to nursing home and adult care facility operators and administrators Wednesday with information on the requirement.

From the bad boys report: 25 year old Scott Simmons was arrested for burglary at Walmart on Memorial Drive at 4pm on Saturday.  He was charged with 3rd degree Burglary,   3rd degree Criminal Trespassing, Petty Larceny and False Impersonation.  He was given an appearance ticket and is set to go back before the Town court on December 21st.  

A shady debt collection agency in Buffalo has been shut down by the state Attorney General’s office.  The companies owned by Andrew Fanelli, Northwood Asset Management Group, Pinnacle Asset Recovery Group, and Koalaty Pay, all LLC’s are permanently banned from any debt collection.  According to the AG, call recordings revealed collectors working for those companies used illegal tactics to collect debt which included false threats of criminal action, wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension and lawsuits.  They have been ordered to shut down and dissolve all holdings within 6 months and pay the AG office 1.2 million dollars. 

Gas prices are dropping slightly this week.  In Batavia they are down 2 cents for a gallon of regular to 3.45.  The New York State Average is 3.56 which is one cent lower than last week.  The national average is 3.39 another 2 cent drop.  Lower prices per barrel and the tapping of 50 million gallons of the federal reserve are helping lower the price.  

The Buffalo Sabres, coming fresh off a win at home against the Canadiens Friday, couldn’t keep up with the Red Wings in Detroit on Saturday.  Buffalo lost 3 to 2 with Dylan Cozens and Jeff Skinner scoring for the Sabres.  This fresh loss leaves Buffalo at 8 and 10 and 3.  They play the Seattle Kraken home tonight at 7pm.  The Kraken beat Buffalo in Seattle early in November but they have a worse record than the Sabres with 7 and 13 and 1.

Weekend News Brief

Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced an executive order aimed at boosting hospital capacity ahead of a potential winter spike in COVID-19 cases.  She announced the new protocol Friday amid warnings about a new and highly transmissible coronavirus variant known as “omicron,” which has not yet been detected in New York.  Hochul’s order allows the state health department to limit non-essential surgeries, if needed, to ensure capacity.

Wreaths across America is coming to the Western New York National Cemetery in Corfu.  They would like to lay 700 wreaths for fallen soldiers at the cemetery and so far they are at 530.  The deadline for buying a wreath to lain is close of business on Monday.  If you get one you may lay it personally at the ceremony which will be Saturday December 18th or have it done by a volunteer.  Wreaths cost 15 dollars a piece and 5 dollars of the price goes to the cemetery.  You can purchase by following the link on wbtai.com.

http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/NY0368P

HE Turner Funeral homes is having their 25th Annual Service of Prayer & Remembrance at 7 pm on Wednesday, December 8 at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia.  As always, one candle will be provided per deceased loved one and will be given to attendees at the service. Those that choose not to attend but would still like a candle to participate from home, please call the funeral home to arrange pick-up.  Call (585) 344-4295 to reserve your candle by Friday, December 3. There is no cost for a candle and all who experienced the pain of loss are welcome to participate regardless of who took care of your loved one and arranged their funeral service.

After being a powerhouse all season the Oakfield Alabama Elba Aggies hit the wall that is the Tioga Tigers Friday afternoon.  The Aggies were able to score just 1 touchdown with 9 minutes left in the game and lost 49 to 6.  Oakfield-Alabama/Elba’s record this season was 12-1.

The Buffalo Bills announced Friday cornerback Tre’Davious White tore his ACL in Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.  The team said White underwent an MRI Friday morning and will miss the remainder of the 2021 season.  The two-time Pro Bowler had 27 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception before his injury against New Orleans. He was named First Team All-Pro in 2019 and Second Team All-Pro in 2020.

Morning News Brief

The town of Marilla has declared they will not be complying with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s mask mandate.  Town of Marilla Supervisor Earl Gingerich, Jr. said Thanksgiving night that “The Town of Marilla is going on record, opposed to the County Mask mandate. The Town is not going to comply or participate. The Town will defend our businesses and residents right to make their own decisions.” The Genesee Orleans County health department has stated they are not planning any mandates.  Monroe county officials have said the same.  Poloncarz responded when asked about the other counties not doing the same as Erie county and he called them reckless saying “If they want to talk about freedom, they can have the freedom to die or have their constituents die because it’s reckless.”

The Batavia Police Department is investigating a disturbance that occurred at Tops Markets Thanksgiving morning at approximately 10:55 a.m.  Batavia Police are attempting to locate and identify any witnesses to the disturbance that occurred inside of the store involving two or three adult males.  If you were inside and witnessed the altercation, please contact Officer Girvin at (585) 345-6350.

There are several open positions on Batavia boards and committees and they are looking for volunteers.  The committees and Boards that need people are: The Board Assessment Review, which handles grievance day.  The Community Garden, Historic Preservation Commission, Plumbing Board (Applicants must be Master Plumbers for this one) The Youth Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Applications are available at the City Clerk’s Office or online at https://www.batavianewyork.com

The Buffalo Bills won against the New Orleans Saints yesterday 31 to 6.  The Bills are now tied for 1st in the division with the New England Patriots who play the Titans on Sunday.  Allen finished 23-of-28 for 260 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also added 48 yards on the ground.  The Bills next game is against the Patriots on Monday December 6th.  

The Sabres were unable to prevail against the Bruins Wednesday in a 5 to 1 loss.  With the loss the Sabres fall to 7-10-2 on the season.  Kyle Okposo started off the scoring for the game but that was all the Sabres got.  With the 5-1 loss, the Sabres have now given up five or more goals eight different times this month alone.  They’re back on home ice Friday when they host Montreal.

Morning News Brief

Derek Hagen

29-year-old Derek Hagen used to teach in the Batavia City and Pembroke Central Schools. Now he has been charged with producing and distributing child porn.
Federal authorities say Hagen now resides in Mount Morris and teaches at Dansville Central.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says two computers and a cellphone were confiscated from Hagen’s apartment last summer and some 50,000 images of and videos of child pornography were found on the devices. Hagen is accused of quote: “actively producing and distributing child porn in online chats.
Members of the public who have further information on the case are asked to contact federal investigators in Buffalo at: 716- 464-6070 or hsibuffalotips@ice.dhs.gov.
Hagan faces a prison term of 5 to 30 years if convicted.

 

The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse – known simply as GCASA – plans to open its new 20-bed detox center in January. An open house is scheduled for January 6th.
Construction began on the 8,600 sq. ft. foot facility began last January.

More than 20 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie County has set a brand-new record for the number of coronavirus cases. A local business group is taking legal action in an attempt to overturn an indoor mask mandate issued by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
The sudden action by Poloncarz has promoted Genesee and Orleans County officials to issue a formal statement that the mask mandate is NOT a requirement here.

The New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will participate in a special traffic safety initiative to prevent unsafe driving behaviors as the winter holiday season kicks off. The Thanksgiving weekend initiative runs from Wednesday, November 24, through Sunday November 28.

Just days after a blowout loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts, the Buffalo Bills will have the chance to get back on the winning track tonight. The Bills are set to battle the New Orleans Saints in The Big Easy.
After spending most of the season on top of the AFC East, the Bills have slipped to second place behind their longtime rival the New England Patriots.

Midday News Update

Yesterday Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and State Senator Ed Rath unveiled a marker commemorating a portion of Route 77 through Pembroke as SP4 C. Jay Hall Memorial Highway.  Specialist Four Clarence Hall, a graduate of Pembroke High School, was mortally wounded in Vietnam on Oct. 7, 1969, while allowing his fellow soldiers to get to cover while under heavy fire.  As a result, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.  Also present at the dedication were Matthew Moscato, advisor to the Pembroke Veterans Outreach Club, and Pembroke school student Megan Stiles who both were instrumental in pushing for the highway to be named for Hall.

Governor Hochul announced a vaccine initiative aimed at getting hunters and anglers to take the COVID shot.  There will be a random drawing for the first 2000 outdoor enthusiasts between December 1st and the end of the year who get a COVID vaccination and enter into the sweepstakes.  Five Grand Prize winners will be randomly selected choice of deluxe fishing, hunting, and birding packages. Each Grand Prize package will include a lifetime license and the highest quality hunting and fishing gear. The deluxe birding package will include a spotting scope, binoculars, and more.  In addition, 25 entrants will be randomly selected to receive their choice of Second Tier fishing and hunting packages.  The first 2,000 people to enter the sweepstakes will all receive a tree seedling from DEC’s Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Tree Nursery in Saratoga, NY, and their choice of either a gift card to a major sporting goods retailer, or a free night of camping at a DEC campground. In addition, all sweepstakes entrants will receive a one-year subscription to DEC’s Conservationist Magazine.

Morning News Brief

Samsung was a hopeful investor for the STAMP site in Alabama but they have instead decided to go out of NY.  The 17 billion dollar semiconductor factory instead will go to Taylor, Texas.  A story from Bloomberg Wire stated the chip-making plant will instead be constructed in the Central Texas city, which is about 30 miles from Samsung’s giant manufacturing hub in Austin.  As late as September, Sen. Charles Schumer – during an appearance at STAMP to promote Plug Power’s decision to build a green hydrogen facility there – said that Samsung officials toured the 1,250-acre site owned by the Genesee County Economic Development Center and that he was communicating “on a regular basis” with the company’s president.  Taylor Texas is offering over 300 million dollars in tax credits plus a tax waiver and more to the South Korean company.

Erie county legislators are calling on State legislators to revoke County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s emergency powers.  Poloncarz has extended the state of emergency for Erie county every 30 days which extends his emergency powers as well.  Republican legislator Lorigo says the Erie County Legislature was not consulted about any of Poloncarz’s new phased approach to fighting COVID-19, which includes mask mandates, a potential vaccine mandate in a later phase, and capacity restrictions.  The only way to strip the powers is an act of the State legislature to change the statute which grants them.  

Democrat assemblyman Pat Burke who represents Buffalo has proposed a bill that would allow insurance companies to refuse coverage to people who don’t get the covid vaccine.  Specifically this bill would make it so companies would be able to deny coverage for COVID related treatments if the customer is unvaccinated.  In a tweet Burke said “Do your part or pay your own way.  Freedom isn’t free.”

The State Police, City police, and Sheriffs office will be participating in the STOP DWI program this week during Thanksgiving and the weekend to try to curb impaired driving.  Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, more people on the roadways means the potential for more vehicle crashes.  In a combined effort to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives law enforcement officers across New York State and STOP-DWI programs will be participating in special engagement efforts.  The increased enforcement starts today and goes through Sunday.

Genesee and Orleans county health officials have released a statement about whether they will issue and mandates to slow COVID spread.  The statement says “While we remain committed to the health and safety of our communities, Genesee and Orleans County will not be creating or implementing any new mask or vaccine mandates at this time.  We believe new mandates will only push residents into private settings where spread will still continue but local businesses will suffer.  For almost two years, businesses across the region have taken various measures to protect their workplaces and we trust them to do the same at this time.”

 

Midday News Brief

A new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department has been talked about for almost 20 years. Finally, last night, council approved spending over $370,000 to hire a private firm to manage the project.
The police station is now estimated to cost over $10.5-million and take over three years to build.
The site is Bank Street and Alva Place.
The existing police headquarters on West Main is 160 years old.

Council also approved a six-year labor contract with the CSEA. The contract covers 18 city employees. It provides a 2.5-percent pay raise in each year of the contract.

The Genesee County Jail is welcoming visitors again. Visitation resumes today for those inmates who are not in quarantine. Visitation had been halted to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When it comes to battling the coronavirus, New Yorkers 18 and older are doing their part to try and end the pandemic. Governor Hochul’s office says that 90-percent of people in that age group have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, just over 80-percent of people 18 and older have been fully vaccinated.

The final report from outside lawyers in ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo’s misconduct investigation has been released. Those attorneys found Cuomo engaged in several instances of sexual harassment, fostered a hostile work environment and also wasn’t transparent in reporting the number of nursing home residents who died due to COVID-19.
It was also discovered that Cuomo utilized state resources for the memoir he wrote on how he handled the COVID-19 crisis.

Want to give a brand-new Corvette to someone for Christmas?
If you can’t exactly afford the car, you could give a chance for one.
The Batavia Rotary Club is now selling its annual Corvette Raffle tickets.
They are $50 each, or three for $100. The drawing will be held on February 26th. Tickets are available at WBTA Studios or any Batavia Rotarian.

Morning News Brief

With covid cases on the rise again county Executive Mark Polancarz ahs reinstated the mandatory mask mandate for Erie County.  This means masks are now required in all indoor public settings across Erie county.  And this is just step 1.  Poloncarz says that if the numbers don’t decrease then the next step is mandating the COVID Vaccine for entry into all indoor dining, bars, and entertainment venues.  He says NYC already has this.  Next up would be instituting capacity restrictions and then shutting down businesses again.  Essentially lockdowns till the COVID numbers drop.  No threshold or exact numbers were given except the mask mandate is expected to go to the end of the year. As of now there are 249 COVId patients in hospitals across Erie county and the positivity rate is 9 percent.  

Visitation is back at the jail in Batavia. Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron, is reinstating visitation at the Genesee County Jail beginning noon today, for those incarcerated individuals who are NOT in quarantine.  The sheriff says in a press release, “We appreciate your understanding while this precautionary measure was in place in order to prevent the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus to incarcerated individuals’ families and employees.”

The Batavia City Council voted on 1 resolution and put forward 2 others pertaining to the new Police station planned for the area of Alva Place and Bank Street.  The possible 10.8 million dollar construction project would relocate the police from the 10 west Main Brisbane Mansion which is over 160 years old and requires expensive restoration to a 1 story modern station.  The resolution that passed authorised 3250 to A Lancaster company, WM Schutt and Associates to conduct a land survey of the proposed area.  The 2 resolutions pushed to next month would engage a project manager and authorize a Bond for the cost of designing, engineering and architecture plans for the station.

A child predator caught and put away.  37 year old Michael Mullen of Oakfield, is charged with 10 counts of sex abuse in the first (contact with a person less than 11 years old), 10 counts of sexual conduct in the second with a child less than 11 years old, and 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Mullen was arrested by State Police on Saturday. He was ordered held in jail.

The Sabres fell to the Blue Jackets Monday night 7 to 4.  This loss puts the Buffalo team at 7 and 9 and 2 in the season.  They will be back in Keybank Arena Wednesday to host the Bruins at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

The price of a barrel of crude oil has dropped below $80.
Experts say we could soon see some relief at the pump…but not quite yet.
In Batavia, the average price of a gallon of regular is now $3.47, up 2-cents from last week. A year ago, gasoline in Batavia was selling for $2.21 a gallon.

 

Governor Kathy Hochul is urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated as COVID hospitalizations begin to rise again in the state. The governor said this is “no time to let our guard down” with colder months and the holiday travel quickly approaching. Hochul said to get the shot if you haven’t already, and to get the booster to add another layer of defense.

Classes will be online in the Dansville Central School District for the rest of the month. The district announced last Thursday that all campuses will move to remote learning because of an increase in COVID cases among students and employees.

High School Football Far West Regionals this past weekend, one local team moves on to the state tournament and for another, a great season comes to an end.
On Friday night in Class D the Oakfield-Alabama-Elba “Aggies” beat the Randolph Cardinals 28 to 22.
The Aggies will advance to the state semi-finals at Cicero North near Syracuse this Friday.
The Aggies will meet a tough opponent in Section 4’s Tioga. Game time Friday is 3pm, live coverage on WBTA begins at 2:45.

On Saturday afternoon the Section 5 Class B champions Batavia Blue Devils were defeated by Western New York Maritime 22-14. Batavia’s season ended with an impressive 10 and 2 record.

The Bills are now in second place in the AFC East after a loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Buffalo fell 41-to-15 yesterday in a game dominated by Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.
The Bills play the Saints Thanksgiving night.

Morning News Brief

Mobile sports betting will soon be legal in New York State.  The New York State Gaming Commission has voted to license 8 betting providers and 9 operators.  Currently, mobile sports betting is legal in a dozen states, including nearby states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.  Here in New York, the final tax rate for online betting will be set at 51%.  That means casinos and gamblers will be paying a higher percentage for added tax revenue.  Meanwhile, licenses for approved providers like FanDuel and Draft Kings will last for at least ten years.  Just within the last few years, sportsbooks became legal at casinos statewide.

Governor Hochul announced yesterday that New York was permanently adding into law the Nourish NewYork program.  The Nourish New York initiative reroutes New York’s surplus agricultural products to the populations who need them most through the state’s food banks. The program also provides support for the food producers and farmers who have lost markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic because the state’s food banks are buying agricultural products from New York farmers and food processors.   Through three rounds of the program, New York’s food banks have purchased over 35 million pounds of food products, which equates to 29,800,000 meals. In this fourth round, New York’s food banks have purchased 6,900,000 pounds of food, creating an additional 5,750,000 meals for households in need. A total of $85 million has been committed to Nourish NY since its launch in May 2020.

The City of Batavia Democrats are upset about the process of selecting a City Councilperson to replace Rose Mary Christian as she leaves the City council.  Although Christian was a democrat when she was elected to the council she switched to Republican.  The charter says the seat that she left must be filled by someone of the same party as the person leaving.  But the question is, is it the party she was when she started or when she left.  The Democrats say it was when she started.  The Republicans disagree.  The Democrats say the city attorney has not been returning their calls and they demand a legal interpretation of the charter.  They say in a press release that this is to ensure fairness rather than one party choosing what happens.

High School Football Far West Regionals this past weekend, one local team moves on to the state tournament and for another, a great season comes to an end.  On Friday night in Class D the Oakfield-Alabama-Elba “Aggies” beat the Randolph Cardinals 28 to 22.  The Aggies will advance to the state semi-finals at Cicero North near Syracuse this Friday.  The Aggies will meet a tough opponent in Section 4’s Tioga. Game time Friday is 3pm, live coverage on WBTA begins at 2:45.  On Saturday afternoon the Section 5 Class B champions Batavia Blue Devils were defeated by Western  New York Maritime 22-14. Batavia’s season ended with an impressive 10 and 2 record.

The Buffalo Bills dropped the ball in orchard park Sunday afternoon in a 41 to 15 loss to the Colts.  The Bills threw 3 interceptions, had a fumbled kick, and had penalties take away field goal opportunities.  Overall the Bills had less than 300 yards on offense.  They are scheduled to play Thanksgiving against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Dome.  

The Sabres lost their game against the Rangers 5 to 4 in Manhattan Sunday.  Aaron Dell made 31 saves for Buffalo to start a back-to-back for the Sabres. They’re home at KeyBank Center tonight to host the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7:00 p.m.

Weekend News Brief

The Batavia School Board approved spending to repair the Batavia Middle School.  57 thousand 5 hundred dollars is needed to repair systems such as the boiler that has been in place since 1964.  Business Administrator Scott Rozanski says that the tank for the boiler is leaking, and if the tank and pumps fail they would have to close the school.  The vote to repair the school equipment passed unanimously.  They voted to use money already in the Repair Reserve Fund and that the fund would be replenished at the end of the year if funds are available.

A small group of Batavia School District parents dropped off shoes wrapped in bags on the lawn of Batavia High School to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.  Organizers of what was called Operation Shoe Drop said they were protesting a State Assembly bill that would require school aged children to be vaccinated in order to attend classes. Each discarded pair of shoes was to represent a child who could not attend class for not being vaccinated.  Operation Shoe Drop was supposed to be a statewide silent protest of the mandate.

The Oakfield Alabama Elba Aggies are moving to the Class D State Semifinal in North Syracuse after the beating Randolph Cardinals 28 to 22 on Friday night in Jamestown.  Oakfield-Alabama/Elba will take on the Tioga Tigers in the state semifinal.  The match is set for Friday the day after Thanksgiving at 3pm.  The Tigers are coming off a win against Dolgeville who they beat 50 to 12.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has now officially been named the winner in the election earlier this month.  During the final vote tally on Friday evening, Mayor Brown has 38,338 write-in votes, while Democratic nominee India Walton has 25,773 votes.  Walton conceded in a press release. 

The Sharrick Road Bridge which was closed for a bridge replacement project September 7th has been reopened.  The bridge is located between Colby rd and Harper Rd. 

Are you interested in math and science and want to go to a school that will prepare you for a course of study in one of these fields in college? The Western New York P-Tech Academy provides students with a Regents diploma, a college degree and a career path – all in one program. Trade the traditional classroom for a new way to prepare for your future.  You can earn your high school credits while earning up to 27 college credits before even graduating from high school and an AAS degree from GCC for free.  An Open House is set for Thursday, December 2 from 6-7:30 p.m. The WNY P-Tech Academy is located behind the tennis courts at Byron-Bergen High School.

Midday News Brief

A small group of Batavia School District parents dumped discarded schools on the lawn of Batavia High School to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Organizers of what was called Operation Shoe Drop said they were protesting a State Assembly bill that would require school aged children to be vaccinated in order to attend classes. Each discarded shoe was to represent a child who could not attend class for not being vaccinated.
Operation Show Drop was supposed to be a statewide silent protest of the mandate.

New York State has reached another milestone in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Governor Hochul announced yesterday that 80-percent of New Yorkers over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The governor says with the holidays and cold weather coming, anyone who hasn’t been immunized yet should get their shots so they can protect themselves, their families and their friends from the illness.

The Winter Weather Advisory that had been posted for this weekend has been cancelled. The weather service says temperatures have risen above freezing in most areas. The weather service said that snow showers will continue in some areas but impacts and accumulation will be minimal.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today reminds New Yorkers to register their snowmobiles. Snowmobile registrations must be renewed annually. DMV allows snowmobilers to renew registrations online on the DMV website, by mail or in person at a DMV office.

Midday News Brief

After a decision earlier this week in Louisiana to halt the Biden administrations vaccine mandate for companies with 100 employees or more the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced it is suspending any work towards enforcing the mandate.  President Biden said that his administration is doing everything it can to get the courts to allow the mandate to proceed.  The 3 judge court that ordered the halt said the mandate “Grossly exceeded OSHA’s statutory authority.”

There is a winter weather advisory for Western NY including Wyoming County tonight from 7pm to 1pm on Friday.  The advisory says lake effect snow of up to 7 inches is possible overnight and into the morning and early afternoon.  Low visibility at times and rapidly changing road conditions are expected.  Remember to drive carefully, take turns slower and give yourself extra time to stop.

Monday is the last day for healthcare workers who received a religious exemption from Governor Hochul’s COVID vaccine mandate.  The state department of health sent a letter to health care providers across the state that said beginning Monday those who were previously granted religious exemptions must have documentation of a first dose COVID-19 vaccination or a valid medical exemption.  In early October a federal judge ruled the state had to allow health care workers to seek exemptions as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeded in court.  In late October a federal appeals panel upheld the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers and reversed the federal judge’s decision.

The Canadian Government is planning to lift the restriction requiring that fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada after trips into the US under 72 hours get a COVID test according to the CBC.  This change is expected to take place at the end of the month.  Congressman Higgins says that getting rid of the test for short visits is step one of three in changing how COVID is handled at the border.  Also Announced yesterday was that NY would start accepting vaccine passports from Canadian provinces and that Canada’s SMART Health Card would be integrated with NY States Excelsior Pass.  The Bills and Sabres have stated that they are ready to accept visitors from Canada with Canadian Vaccine Passports.

Morning News Briefing

New York Farm Bureau’s 2021 Market Basket Survey shows the price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner saw a modest uptick from last year’s meal. The average total price, which includes a 16-pound turkey and other common items found on a holiday dinner table, is $52.59, a 1.7% increase over last year. New York Farm Bureau’s volunteer shoppers sampled prices at 21 different supermarkets throughout the state between October 31 and November 8 trying to get the best prices available, but they did not use promotional coupons or special deals such as “buy one-get one free.”

Batavia businessman Eric Biscaro’s attempt to construct a 30-duplex unit senior housing complex off East Avenue and develop 18 single-family home building lots on that street came to a screeching halt at Le Roy Village Board meeting. Biscaro introduced the project in April to the Genesee County Planning Board following discussions with Village Mayor Greg Rogers about a development that could provide upscale housing for residents age 50 and over and generate much needed tax revenue for the municipality. At the Wednesday session, Rogers clearly was disappointed as he communicated the fate of the project. Three of the five board members said they were going to vote against it. As he was leaving, The Batavian asked Biscaro if he would consider a revised plan or another location in the village. He response was clear…“No, it’s done.”

After deliberating for less than two hours, a Genesee County jury Wednesday convicted Jacob Sponaugle of attempted murder. He was convicted of trying to kill Jason Whitehead of Batavia. He will be sentenced on Dec. 15.

The NY State Dept of Health issued new visitation guidance for nursing homes so that it more closely aligns with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ recommendations. The guidance is intended to ensure that nursing homes are not unnecessarily restricting visitations, meaning there will be no limitations on the frequency and length of visits or the number of visitors. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will still be barred from coming into nursing home facilities until they’re finished with their quarantine period.

NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan marketplace, has announced its enrollment for 2022 Qualified Health Plans is now open. The coverage for these plans begins on Jan. 1st. The marketplace provides low-cost health insurance options, with a choice of Qualified Health Plans in every county. The marketplace also offers expanded tax credits through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Dept of Motor Vehicles is reminding NYers to register their snowmobiles which must be renewed annually. The DMV allows snowmobilers to renew registrations online on the DMV website, by mail or in person at a DMV office. Members of the NY State Snowmobile Association also receive a $55 discount on snowmobile registrations.

Evening News Brief

The Town of Batavia is holding a public Hearing this evening into whether or not the town should opt out of allowing legal marijuana. The Town Board is on record as wanted to opt out. Tonight’s hearing is set for 7:10 at the Batavia Town Hall. If a community opts out before December 31st, they would be able to opt in at some point in the future.

 

Batavia’s City Republican Committee seeking persons interested in serving on City Council from Ward 6.
That post was held for almost 30 years by Rose Mary Christian. She recently resigned the seat when she moved out of the ward.
To be qualified for the post you must be a resident of the 6th Ward and be a member of the Republican party.
The GOP Committee says interested persons should submit a letter of interest at P.O. Box 260, Batavia.

The 20th Wonderland of Trees begins this Friday with an opening Gala at the Holland Land Office Museum.
The gala will feature basket raffles, music by the Genesee Symphony and hors d’oeuvres by D & R Depot. Tickets for this event are on sale at the museum. Tickets are $15 per person/ $10 for museum members and $5 for children under 12.
The Wonderland of Trees continues at the museum through December 17th.

Governor Kathy Hochul says health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may return if infection numbers keep rising statewide. The governor did not reveal exactly what guidelines would be put in place or when they could go into effect. She’s still urging people who haven’t been vaccinated against the virus to get their shot and says those who have been immunized need to get a booster shot.

The Buffalo Sabres have picked up their second road win of the season thanks in large part to a great performance from their goaltender. Dustin Tokarski had a career high 45 saves as the Sabres defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins two-to-one. Up next for Buffalo is a home game tomorrow night against the Calgary Flames.

Midday News Brief

Batavia’s City Republican Committee is seeking candidates for the Ward Six council seat vacated by Rose Mary Christian.
Christian resigned the seat when she moved out of the ward. She had been on council for nearly 30 years.
To be qualified for the post you must be a resident of the 6th Ward and be a member of the Republican party.
The GOP Committee says interested persons should submit a letter of interest to the committee at P.O. Box 260, Batavia.
The candidate named to the seat will serve through 2022. There will be a special election in November of 2022 to fill the remaining year of the regular four year term.

There has been a water main break on Thomas Avenue just north of Main Street. Water Department crews are on scene making repairs.
Water should be back to normal by 3 this afternoon.

The 20th Wonderland of Trees begins this Friday with an opening Gala at the Holland Land Office Museum.
The gala will feature basket raffles, music by the Genesee Symphony and hors d’oeuvres by D & R Depot. Tickets for this event are on sale at the museum. Tickets are $15 per person/ $10 for museum members and $5 for children under 12.
The Wonderland of Trees continues at the museum through December 17th. It is sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile and WBTA Radio.

Governor Hochul says health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may return if infection numbers keep rising statewide. The governor did not reveal exactly what guidelines would be put in place or when they could go into effect. She’s still urging people who haven’t been vaccinated against the virus to get their shot and says those who have been immunized need to get a booster shot.

The Buffalo Sabres have picked up their second road win of the season thanks in large part to a great performance from their goaltender. Dustin Tokarski had a career high 45 saves as the Sabres defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins two-to-one. Up next for Buffalo is a home game tomorrow night against the Calgary Flames.

Morning News Briefing

One of two men on trial over a gun-sale deal gone bad outside the Days Inn in Batavia last year, has agreed to plead guilty on multiple charges stemming from this case and several others in exchange for a sentence cap of 10 years in prison. As part of the deal, Devon Wright will admit to attempted criminal possession of a weapon 2nd. He is also pleading guilty to assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, attempted assault 1st, a Class C Violent Felony, and criminal sexual act, also a felony. In exchange, all other pending charges against Wright will be dropped. Wright was released under the supervision of Genesee Justice while Wright awaits sentencing.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams formally announced his run for governor of New York on Tuesday. The 45-year-old launched his gubernatorial bid with the release of a campaign video titled “Always Moving.” Williams is the most progressive candidate in next year’s increasingly crowded Democratic primary race that already features current Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also said he’s considering jumping into the race.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Genesee County now stands at 326 and is nearing the heights total during the pandemic in December 2020…that’s all according to Health Department reports. Over the past few days, there have been 166 new positive COVID-19 cases reported to the county health department. There have been six recent deaths attributed to COVID-19 raising the countywide total over the course of the pandemic to 292. Of the current positive cases, 22 are hospitalized.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City’s celebration in Times Square for New Year’s Eve will be coming back this year with COVID-19 vaccination requirements. All spectators five years and older will be asked to show proof of full vaccination. People who can’t be vaccinated because of a disability will have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Just days after President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of NY will hold a press conference this afternoon announcing at least $27 billion in direct funding to help revitalize New York State’s aging infrastructure. Several of Gillibrand’s provisions were included in the package, including measures to encourage the use of local workers in infrastructure projects, increase limo safety standards, and invest in marginalized workers and communities upended by the disruptive construction of highways. Gillibrand also fought for additional funding for infrastructure projects that will help repair bridges, airports, and roads, connect local workers to good-paying jobs, and improve New York’s water and sewage systems.

State ethics officials have moved to rescind the approval of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s book about the pandemic. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted 12-1 Tuesday in favor of revoking its prior approval. Cuomo now has to reapply for approval of the $5.1 million book deal. A spokesman for Cuomo called the move part of a “political game,” and said the group acted outside the scope of its authority.

Evening News Brief

Devon Wright

Jacon Sponaugle

Devon Wright, one of the two men charged in the July 2020 shooting at Batavia’s Days Inn, has entered a plea deal at the outset of this trial.
Wright pled guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in return for a sentence cap of 10 years. Wright’s deal also included other charges in unrelated cases.
The trial in Genesee County Court continues for Jacob Sponaugle who is charged in the shooting of Jason Whitehead.
Police said that Sponaugle and Whitehead arranged for the sale to Wright of a 22-caliber pistol. The transaction was meant to take place at the Days Inn. When Wright wouldn’t pay the asking price, Sponaugle blamed Whitehead for the deal going south and shot him.
The trial of Sponaugle will continue in county court.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Genesee County has risen to 326.
The number is coming extremely close to the 343 cases reported at the height of the pandemic in December of 2020.
There have been six recent deaths attributed to COVID-19 bringing the county’s death toll during the entire pandemic at 292.

Jason Smith

 

Batavia’s new superintendent of schools is a former BHS graduate.
Jason Smith has been named the new superintendent. He will take over the post on January 3rd.
Smith is currently the superintendent of Lyndonville Central Schools.
His new job in Batavia will pay $165,000 a year.

 

The Transportation Security Administration says with more people traveling these days, they need additional officers at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.
Previous experience working in security or law enforcement is not required. Anyone who joins the TSA will receive a $500 sign-on bonus and an additional $500 after one year of service.

Morning News Brief

The Batavia City Schools new superintendent has been announced.  Jason Smith, currently the superintendent of Lyndonville Central School district, is a Batavia High school class of 1990 graduate.  He held various principal positions in the Elba Central School district from 2004-2011. He began his career in 1994 in the Albion Central School District as a high school social studies teacher.  Smith received his Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration and his Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Brockport. He is also a graduate of The State University of New York at Geneseo, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Sociology.  Smith is scheduled to start his new role on Jan. 3, 2022.

The City of Batavia will hold a gathering for the Honorable Rose Mary Christian on Monday November 22 in the Council Chamber beginning at 5:30 P.M.  All citizens and well-wishers are invited to attend.  The gathering will be followed by a City Council meeting where proclamations will be presented to Councilwoman Christian honoring her for her years of service. Councilwoman Christian announced her resignation from City Council on November 15, 2021.  She is resigning the seat because she is moving out of the sixth ward.

New York State Police are warning residents to keep an eye out for people stealing packages out of mailboxes and off porches. So far, incidents have been reported in three towns. Some helpful tips: be home when your package is delivered, if you don’t plan to be home schedule the package to be dropped off at a trusted neighbor’s home or at a FedEx, UPS or Amazon locker service. On Monday, two people were arrested and charged with the misdemeanors of Petit Larceny, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the fifth degree and Conspiracy in the sixth degree. 

New Yorkers will soon have new ways of carrying food out of restaurants.  Effective January 1 no covered food service provider or store will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute disposable food service containers that contain expanded polystyrene foam in the state. The Act will stop the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene foam containers and loose fill “packing peanuts.” 

Is there a little relief coming for high gas prices? Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.42, no change from last week when the numbers are rounded. The New York State average is $3.56 –no change from last week. In Batavia, pump prices are $3.45 which is one cent lower than last week.

The Genesee County Health department is looking for 2 dogs involved in a dog bite incident on Tuesday November 9th around 5:30pm.  A group of people were playing outside in the area of 16 Maple Street in Batavia when two dogs came running towards the group from the direction of Evans and Thorpe Street. One of the dogs charged the group and bit one individual.   The dog that bit was a shorthaired, pitbull shepherd mix and approximately 50 to 60 pounds. It is described as being tan with a white chest.  The other dog was described as a light tan, shorter-sized dog who was approximately 40 to 50 pounds.  It is important to determine if either dog has rabies.  If you have information about the location of the dogs and its owner, please contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state is opening a mass COVID-19 vaccination site for 5 to 11-year-olds at UB South. UB South Campus is one of ten locations across the state offering COVID-19 vaccinations to kids between 5 and 11.

Midday News Brief

State Police have arrested an Allegany County man in connection with a one car fatal crash in Pavilion.
20-year-old Brennan Dean of Bolivar has been charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, DWI-Drugs and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Troopers say Dean was traveling at a high rate of speed Friday afternoon when he crashed into a utility pole on Starr Road near Crossman Road in Pavilion. Dean, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, then fled the scene leaving his passenger unattended.
His passenger, who has yet to be identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
After being treated for his injuries, Dean was ordered held in the Genesee County Jail on $100,000 bail.

The Buffalo Bills have rebounded from their disappointing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars with a blowout victory on the road.
Buffalo crushed the New York Jets 45 to 17.
The Bills improved their record this season to six-and-three which keeps them atop the AFC East. Up next for Buffalo is a home game against the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday.

Two local high school football teams will enter the Far West Regional championship this weekend.
On Friday night it is the Class D Far West Regional. Oakfield-Alabama/Elba meets 10 and 0 Randolph. Kickoff is 5pm from Jamestown High School.
On Saturday, The Class B Far West Regional, the blue Devils of Batavia take on Western New York Maritime Health Sciences at 3:15. That game at Williamsville South High School.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Biden Administration to tap the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to lower prices ahead of the busy holiday travel season.
Meanwhile, gasoline prices in Batavia over the past week have remained steady at an average of $3.45 a gallon.

Morning News Brief

20-year-old Brennan Dean of Bolivar has been charged following the deadly crash in Pavilion Friday.  He is charged with Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter, possessing a stolen vehicle, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and more. Troopers said Dean was southbound at a high rate of speed on Starr Road when he lost control and struck a utility pole. A passenger was ejected and died at the scene. Dean fled the scene but was nabbed by police. The vehicle involved in this incident was reported stolen from North Tonawanda. The passenger has not been identified at this time. The investigation is ongoing

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released an audit that found the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services cannot assure the cybersecurity support they are providing to state agencies, local governments, and public authorities.  In New York, cyberattacks have impacted public and private entities large and small, including reported attacks at state agencies and 911 systems.  OatKa in Batavia was a victim of a cyber attack just a month ago.

According to the Associated Press…President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion social spending bill includes a provision that, if it becomes law, would mark the first time the federal government has offered money to local news organizations. The help would come in the form of a payroll tax credit for companies that employ local journalists. The measure would allow newspapers, digital news outlets and radio and television stations to claim a tax credit of $25,000 the first year and $15,000 the next four years for up to 1,500 journalists. 

After a year’s delay of celebrating the 25-year existence of Genesee Cancer Assistance the nonprofit will finally have its day.  The Non-Profit provides assistance by helping with expenses related to prescriptions, medical co-pays, transportation to and from medical facilities, home health care and related equipment and child care. The organization also provides biblical counseling, support groups, informative materials and the Simply Beautiful program, created to help cancer patients with personalized advice for how to deal with the side effects of treatment on their hair and skin. The organization’s dinner celebration is at 5 p.m. Saturday the 20th at Batavia Downs.

The Buffalo Bills trashed the New York Jets in Sunday’s 45-17 win. The Bills now hold the season at 6-2.  Their next game is against the Indianapolis Colts at Highmark Stadium Sunday at 1pm.

The Sabres lost their first game against the Maple Leafs in the last minute of regulation.  In the last 15 seconds of the game Toronto scored, taking the game to 5 to 4 in the Leafs favor.  Forward Jeff Skinner scored two goals for the Sabres, including a tally in the third that sparked a rally towards a late tie for Buffalo. Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin also found the back of the net for Buffalo.  The Sabres are back on the road to start the upcoming week. Buffalo will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Morning News Briefing

A man from Allegany County remains jailed after a deadly vehicle crash in Pavilion. 20-year-old Brennan Dean of Bolivar has been charged with Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter, possessing a stolen vehicle, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and more. Troopers said Dean was southbound at a high rate of speed on Starr Road when he lost control and struck a utility pole. A passenger was ejected and died at the scene. Dean took off but was captured a short time later. Dean was arraigned at the town of Pavilion court and remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. The vehicle involved in this incident was reported stolen from North Tonawanda. The passenger has not been identified at this time. This is still an ongoing criminal investigation.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released an audit that found the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) cannot assure the critical cybersecurity support they are providing to state agencies, local governments, and public authorities. The recent passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act underscores how critical strengthening cybersecurity is across New York. The legislation will provide much needed funding for local governments to modernize and protect their networks against future cyberattacks. In New York, cyberattacks have impacted public entities large and small, including reported attacks at state agencies and 911 systems.

Genesee County Deputies report the arrest of 33-year-old Jeffrey Johnson of Lake Street in LeRoy. She was pulled over and charged with driving while impaired and driving to the left of pavement markings. He was released on appearance tickets and will appear in Stafford Town Court December 7th.

According to the Associated Press…President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion social spending bill includes a provision that, if it becomes law, would mark the first time the federal government has offered targeted support in response to the decline of local news. The help would come in the form of a payroll tax credit for companies that employ eligible local journalists. The measure would allow newspapers, digital news outlets and radio and television stations to claim a tax credit of $25,000 the first year and $15,000 the next four years for up to 1,500 journalists. It’s a response to growing alarm that the elimination of newsroom jobs is leaving communities without access to critical information.

The Buffalo Bills trashed the New York Jets in Sunday’s 45-17 win. The Bills now hold the season at 6-2.
After a year’s delay of celebrating the 25-year existence of Genesee Cancer Assistance — which means founders, board members, patients and volunteers — the nonprofit will finally have its day. The organization’s dinner celebration is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road, Batavia.

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors has approved more than $83 million for drinking water and wastewater projects across New York State. The Village of Bergen has received $256,000 and $393,875 short-term, interest-free financing, and $393,875 short-term market-rate financing for the planning, design, and construction of a collection system and wastewater treatment plant improvements.

Weekend News Brief

A decision in Louisiana that affects companies in Batavia. A fifth circuit of appeals court has blocked the federal mandate for all companies with over 100 employees to have to either make sure all employees are COVID vaccinated or tested weekly at their own expense.  The 3 judge panel in New Orleans ruled that President Biden’s Mandate “Grossly exceeds OSHA’s Statutory authority.”  The judges also decided that the order imposed financial burdens on businesses that could violate the constitution.  The White House responded to the decisions by saying that businesses should start enforcing the mandate anyway.  24 states and dozens of companies are suing the Biden Administration over the mandate.

A single vehicle accident in Pavilion leaves one person dead and another injured.  Investigators say the car was being driven south on Star Road and struck a utility pole.  One occupant was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was taken to Rochester Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The name of the person who died in the crash has not been released.  State police say they are investigating the crash.

The new superintendent of Batavia City Schools will be announced Monday night after a special meeting of the Board of Education.  A brief meeting agenda lists the board vote about a contract agreement between the new superintendent and the city school district. Board President Alice Benedict says that two interviews whittled down four potential candidates to two.  The new Superintendent’s contract is set to start January 3rd.

Do you have a 401K?  You can if you work at a job with ten workers or more that has been in operation for more than 2 years.  The state 401K , the Secure Choice Savings Program is now available to New Yorkers who otherwise wouldn’t have a way to save for retirement through their workplace due to a law signed last month.  Employers do not have to contribute to the plan.  Employees can contribute up to 3 percent of their wages to the plan.

The baby rhino that was welcomed to the Buffalo Zoo in October made its public debut Thursday.  This zoo’s fifth rhino calf in 17 years is a female that was born October 16 to Tashi the greater one-horned rhino. The calf’s father, George, is a former resident of the Buffalo Zoo who now lives at another facility.  The calf doesn’t have a name yet, but you can help naming her! The zoo announced Friday its keepers have picked two names that pay homage to her father, Georgia and Georgie, and they need the public to help break the tie. You can vote by following the link at wbtai.com, voting will end November 16.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZLGL3FY

Midday News Brief

A big weekend for high school football.
Two local teams compete for Section 5 championships.
Tonight: The Oakfield-Alabama/Elba Aggies square off against Avon. The Aggies are ranked Number One in Class D. The game will be played ton9ight at VanDetta Stadium with Kick-off at 7.
Bob Brown and Pete Zehler call the game for WBTA. Coverage begins on-air and on-line at 6:45
Then tomorrow night, the Class B Sectional Final: Number 2 Batavia Blue Devils meet their nemesis, Number One ranked Honeoye Falls.
Kick-off is 6pm tomorrow night from Sutherland High School. Bob Brown and Paul Spiotta call the action on WBTA FM and AM, and on-line at WBTAi.com beginning at 5:45pm.

The Buffalo Bills will be back on the road this weekend as they look to rebound from a tough loss.
The Bills are going to take on their longtime AFC East rival the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Last weekend, the Bills’ offense struggled in a nine-to-six loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars which dropped their record this season to five-and-three which is still good enough for first place in the division.
Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is set for 1pm

Come Monday night, the Batavia City School District will reveal the name of the next Superintendent of Schools. The Board of Ed is meeting in special session Monday night to appoint the new superintendent.

Veterans across Western New York who are in need of dental care have somewhere they can go this weekend to receive it. Students with the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine will offer services such as cleanings, extractions, restorations and denture repairs.
The clinic will take place in Squire Hall on the UB North Campus in Amherst. The hours are eight a-m until three p-m tomorrow.
All services will be free.

Morning News Brief

Rochester has hit a new high and it isn’t one to be proud of.  With a shooting on chestnut Street on Thursday in which 2 young men were killed and another where a man was beaten to death after being shot outside Transit Center, Rochester stands with over 70 homicides this year.  This beats the previous high in 1993 and is the highest number since it started being recorded.  The average number of homicides for the last decade was 34 in a calendar year.  Capt. Frank Umbrino, who commands RPD’s major crimes unit, says “Rochester is worse than a warzone lately.”  He also said that the only way that it will stop is for “the community to get fed up” with the violence.

A new candidate has entered the ring for the US House of Representatives in Western New York.  Sgt Steven Sams the 2nd, a 90 percent disabled combat veteran is running for the 26th district seat.  He says division and government overreach is motivating him to run for office.  Sams says he wants to do things that will improve the lives of the people of western NY and make an actual difference in the lives of people, not just improve canalside and the waterfront in Buffalo.  Sams has also spoken out on the failure of party politics and the effect it has on the everyday life of average people.

A Batavia woman has been arrested on drug trafficking charges.  36 year old Emily Smith of Wilkinson Road in Batavia, was arrested by members of the Local Drug Task Force following an investigation into the transportation, sale, and possession of cocaine in and around the City of Batavia. Smith is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd, criminal sale of a controlled substance 3rd, criminal nuisance 1st, and endangering the welfare of a child.     Smith was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance.

The Western NY Gas and Steam Engine Grounds is putting on its second annual Christmas Light Display starting Thanksgiving night and running through December 18th.  The drive through display will run Fridays and Saturdays only, from 5 to 9 o clock.  Entry is 10 dollars a car, 20 for big vans and busses cash only at the gate, no presale tickets.  There will be food and drinks available.  

Midday News Brief

In 1938, Congress made the 11th of November each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.”
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.
In 1954 Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.”
November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

 

 

The lesson of Veteran’s Day was recognized by students and staff of Batavia High School. A ceremony was held yesterday and attended by 95-year-old Navy World War Two veteran, Roger Martin…

 

PHOTO: Roger Martin,  Courtesy Howard Owens, The Batavian

This was the fifth year in a row the school held its Veterans Day observance led by High School Principal Paul Kessler.

 

There were several Veteran ‘s Day observances held locally this morning. Among them were traditional ceremonies at VC-A and the State Veteran’s Home, the Upton Monument and the Jerome Center Monument.

Tops Markets in Batavia and all of their Western New York stores, are offering an 11-percent discount off a total order. The discount is available to all vets and their immediate family in the same household.

Some National Fuel customers may see an additional charge on an upcoming bill. According to a National Fuel spokesperson, the company stopped doing in-house meter readings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led them to regularly give estimates on monthly bills. The company resumed in-house meter readings in July 2021. Now, some customers may be seeing a “rate or billing adjustment” on their monthly statement, possibly resulting in a higher bill than usual. The adjustment is a result of the accurate meter reading. National Fuel says this is not a widespread situation and only impacts customers with indoor meters.

Morning News Brief

The raising of the flag, the stirring notes of the Star Spangled Banner, and words honoring our veterans of military service to the USA started off the Batavia City Schools ceremony Wednesday morning just after 8 o clock.  After the outside portion of the ceremony the event moved inside with a concert and recognition of local heroes who were attending.  95 year old World War 2 veteran Roger Martin says he got up early to be there.  Martin says he wishes for more people to attend.  This was the fifth year of the high school’s effort to recognize local veterans.

There are many celebrations of our veterans going on today.  Here is a list of several of them.  Genesee County ceremonies are set to begin at 9 a.m. Today at Genesee County Park in East Bethany, followed by Batavia VA Medical Center at 10 a.m. and the New York State Veterans Nursing Home at 10:15 a.m., both on Richmond Avenue, Batavia, the Upton Monument at 11 a.m. at routes 5 and 33, Batavia, and ending at 11:30 a.m. at the Jerome Center monument at the corner of Bank Street and Washington Avenue in Batavia. Participating organizations include Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County, Genesee County American Legions, Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment, and Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 193.

Some National Fuel customers may see an additional charge on an upcoming bill.  According to a National Fuel spokesperson, the company stopped doing in-house meter readings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led them to regularly give estimates on monthly bills. The company resumed in-house meter readings in July 2021.  Now, some customers may be seeing a “rate or billing adjustment” on their monthly statement, possibly resulting in a higher bill than usual. The adjustment is a result of the accurate meter reading. National Fuel says this is not a widespread situation and only impacts customers with indoor meters.

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management has created an online portal for municipalities to opt out of retail or on-site consumption licenses.  The portal, will allow municipalities if they so choose to opt-out of adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption businesses from operating in their jurisdiction.  The deadline is December 31.

Evening News Brief

Michael Tomaszewski

For the fourth time, the sentencing of former Batavia Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski has been delayed.
Tomaszewski has already plead guilty in the case involving the theft of nearly a half-million dollars in prepaid funeral arrangements.
Tomaszewski had a private lawyer but now says he wants the public defender to represent him at sentencing. The family of Al Kurek, one of Tomaszewski’s victimized families, said the postponement of sentencing was a “delay tactic by someone who doesn’t want to go to jail.”
Sentencing for Tomaszewski has now been set for December 7th. The delay today was ordered by Genesee County Court Judge Charles Zambito who told Tomaszewski at his last sentencing that it was the last delay he would allow.

 

Michael Ficarella

 

A promotion at Batavia City Hall.
Batavia native Michael Ficarella has been named the new Superintendent of Water and Waste Water.
Ficarella has worked in the department for nine years. He will earn $75,978 a year.

 

 

The investigation continues into what caused a fatal house fire in Livingston County. Crews were called to the scene on Pond Road in Lima yesterday. They arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the residence.
A neighbor used a tractor to tear through a wall of the home and pull 67-year-old Cynthia Chambery out of the fire.
She was rushed to a nearby hospital but was later pronounced dead.

The long-awaited transcript from former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment interview is now public. Attorney General Letitia James released the 515 page document which also includes exhibits from Cuomo’s July interview. Included in the transcript is the deposition of Brittany Commisso whose allegations are thought to be those which led to the current misdemeanor complaint against the Democrat filed by the Albany County Sheriff’s office. This interview preceded the bombshell August 3rd Attorney General’s report concluding Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women. That led to his eventual resignation.

City Bureau of Inspections

News Release

Although not a well known branch of municipal government, the Bureau of Inspections impacts each of us on a daily basis. The Bureau of Inspections strives to keep the City free of trash and debris by enforcing local ordinances, inspecting current structures for safety and ensuring new building construction meets State and City regulations. As a result of this, the Bureau of Inspections is tasked with many different responsibilities including, permit review, site plan review, inspections of permitted work, enforcement, and staffing the City’s three land use boards. With a staff of 3 full time employees and one part time employee, the Bureau of Inspections covers the entire City; all 5.2 square miles of it!

Over the course of the next few weeks, we are going to take a deeper dive into the inner workings of the Bureau of Inspections, including permitting, land use boards, and enforcement. Each of these is a portion of the daily tasks that are part of the responsibilities of the Bureau of Inspections, but arguably have the most impact on City residents.

“It is extremely important for residents to understand the role inspections plays here in the City of 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 Inspections mission is to ensure a City where all residents have a clean, safe environment to live, work and play.”

Midday News Brief

Michael Tomaszewski

Michael Tomaszewski has had his sentencing delayed, again.
County Court Judge Charles Zambito delayed sentencing for the former funeral director for a fourth time after saying the last delay would be the last.
Now, Tomaszewski is asking for the services of the public defender after firing his previous private attorney. Tomaszewski admitted to defrauding local families out of nearly a $500,000 dollars in pre-paid funerals. Outside the courthouse today two victims of the fraud spoke to reporters.

Kathy Tyson, said her family is out $7,000 and Al Kurek is out $2.800

The new sentencing date is December 7th.

The investigation continues into what caused a house fire in Livingston County that left a woman dead. Crews were called to the scene on Pond Road in Lima yesterday and arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the residence. Officials say a neighbor used a tractor to tear through a wall of the home and pull 67-year-old Cynthia Chambery out. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but was later pronounced dead.

New York State is offering an incentive for parents to get their young children vaccinated against COVID-19. Governor Hochul said yesterday that over the next few weeks, 50 full SUNY and CUNY scholarships will be raffled off to kids between the ages of five and 11-years-old who get immunized. The scholarships will cover tuition, fees, expenses, and room and board at two-year and four-year schools.

The Buffalo Sabres have made an addition to their team, but you’re not going to see him compete in a game. The Sabres have announced they’ve adopted an eight-month-old Newfoundland puppy who was rescued by the Niagara County SPCA. The dog is named Rick after longtime play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret who has spent decades with the team and is going to retire at the end of the season.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced yesterday that the new Vaccine incentive program, Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate will be running from now until December 19th and will give kids 5-11 the chance to win free 4 year tuition, fees, expenses and room and board at SUNY or CUNY schools if they get the COVID vaccine.  50 kids can win if they get at least the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before December 19th and then their parents register online by following the link on WBTAi.com.  Governor Hochul said “If one of your children wins this, you should probably take them to Disney World.”  Only 27 percent of parents said they were interested in getting their kids the vaccine in a recent poll.

https://forms.ny.gov/s3/Vaccinate-Educate-Graduate-Vaccine-Incentive

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is speaking out against the closing of six prisons across New York State.  The announcement went out yesterday that 6 facilities, which includes Rochester Correctional and Willard Drug Treatment Campus, will be shuttered by close of day March 10th.  Hawley says that it is disrespectful to employees and local governments and communities as it disrupts their lives and communities with little warning.  None of the facilities were operating at full or near full capacity so the inmates will be able to be absorbed into other facilities according to department of Corrections spokesman Thomas Mailey.  Ogdensburg correctional Facility, slated to be shut down, had just undergone a 10 million dollar renovation.

The pair that broke into a foster home and kidnapped two children in January have been charged with conspiracy to kill a judge.  Jonathan Cash and Dimitri Cash are accused of a conspiracy to kill Monroe County family court judge Stacey Romeo.  Dmitri had been in a 3 year custody battle over the 2 children who were kidnapped in January and spirited away to Alabama where they were discovered and returned home safely.  Earlier this month, the two were accused of trying to plot a jail escape.  Both defendants are being held without bail with the opportunity to make future bail applications.

The Buffalo Sabres are introducing their new team dog, Rick.  Rick is an approximately 8-month-old Newfoundland that was rescued by the Niagara County SPCA. He is named after Sabres Hall-of-Fame play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret, the name was decided by the fans in an online vote.  He is currently being trained to be a service dog for a local veteran and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation is sponsoring his training.

Midday News Brief

What’s wrong with working for the Batavia Police Department.
Just recently, three officers have left BPD. Some left for more money and benefits.
The city is looking to fill those positions and hire four new firefighters.
Council members John Canale and Rose Mary Christian suggested that the city look into a better pay and benefits package and look at what other police departments are paying in similar size cities.
Council President Gene Jankowski questioned if the city can get back some of the cost of training officers who leave shortly after being hired. Chief Shawn Heubusch said New York State’s Civil Service bureaucracy is partially to blame.

 

There is now a vacancy on City Council Ward Six. Rose Mary Christian is leaving council after 30 years in the seat. Council President Gene Jankowski said, she will be missed

PHOTO: Rose Mary Christian

There could also be a flap brewing on just what party Christian’s replacement on council should be from.
When first elected, Christian was a democrat when elected to her recent term but changed her affiliation to republican.
The city charter provides that if a vacancy occurs, a temporary appointment is made of the same political party as the person leaving.

Governor Hochul is taking aim at putting an end to those annoying robocalls. She has signed a new law that’s intended to build on federal action to better protect New Yorkers who are tired of the predatory calls. Under the legislation, telecommunication companies now have to block robocalls from certain numbers which are most likely illegitimate and prevent their spread across additional providers.

Thousands of employees at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo will be returning to work after voting to accept a new labor contract. The agreement will be in place for the next four years and put an end to a strike that began several weeks ago. Officials say 94-percent of union workers voted yes on the deal.

Morning News Brief

One of a slew of bills signed by Governor Hochul yesterday was aimed at combatting the plague of robocalls in New York State.  One part of the legislation implements a program that tracks whether a call is coming from the number it says it is by using the Stir/Shaken framework.  Another allows telecom companies to block calls that they deem to be from spammers or illegitimate numbers.  Hochul says that these bills will let the authorities take action against bad actors and stop annoying calls targeting New Yorkers.

Former Greece Police Chief Forsythe has been charged with misdemeanor drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and 3 officers have been suspended.  Forsythe resigned following an investigation into an accident where he totaled his police vehicle late at night after a State Police event.  He said he swerved to avoid a deer and then drove 6 miles with a busted wheel and major damage to the vehicle.  The DA says Forsythe drank 6 drinks at the event just before driving and that there is an investigation into how officers handled the crash.

Catholic Health and the striking nurses and other workers have reached an agreement which will end the strike.  The Communication Workers of America overwhelmingly voted to ratify six new contracts to cover the over 2500 workers at Mercy Hospital, Kenmore Mercy Hospital and Sisters of Charity.  All agreements are retroactive back to July 1st and workers return to their jobs on Wednesday.

Six Flags Darien Lake will start their Magic of Lights drive through light display November 18th.  It will run through January 2nd and be from 5 to 9pm.  All guests are required to purchase tickets in advance and admission is free to all current members and season pass holders. Six Flags said season passes for the 2022 season are now available and includes admission to this event.

The Sabres continue their losing streak as they fell to the Capitals last night.  It was their fifth straight loss.  Washington made 5 goals to Buffalo’s 3.  The Sabres are now at 5 and 5 and 2.  They will be hosting the Edmonton Oilers at Keybank Arena Friday night at 7.

Midday News Brief

Some new data from Governor ‘s office is taking a look at the ongoing spread of COVID-19 across the Finger Lakes. The seven-day average infection rate in the region is six-point-five percent, which is the highest of any region in the state. Genesee County is part of the Finger Lakes Region. The Genesee County passivity rate if 7.7 percent.
The governor’s office is urging everyone who still hasn’t been vaccinated to get their shots soon to prevent a spike in infections during the holiday season.

A great weekend of High School Football playoff action is set up.
On Friday, a section 5 Class D final showdown between the Number One ranked Oakfield-Alabama/Elba Aggies meeting Number 2 Avon. That game will be played at VanDetta Stadium in Batavia. Kick-off is 7pm and will be broadcast over WBTA.

On Saturday afternoon, the Class B sectional match-up between Number 1 Honeoye Falls versus Number 2 Batavia. That game will be played at 6 Saturday night at Pittsford-Sutherlund High School. You can hear all the action of that game on WBTA.

And just in case you haven’t heard: The Buffalo Bills suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of a team with one of the worst records in the National Football League. The Bills offense was only able to muster a pair of field goals as they lost on the road to the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday by a final score of nine-to-six.

Governor Hochul has signed off on a new bill aimed at protecting drivers who purchase used vehicles. Under the legislation, car dealers are banned from selling used vehicles to if they do not have a working airbag inside.

Following weeks of increases, Batavia drivers are finally seeing consistent prices at the gas pump. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is now $3.47, a penny less than last week.

Morning News Brief

Thursday is Veterans Day and Batavia City Schools are planning to honor veterans with a special ceremony the day before.  The event is set for 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, at the high school, 260 State St., Batavia.  Activities include a flag-raising ceremony by Batavia Boy Scouts, an audience participatory Pledge of Allegiance and a performance of the national anthem, otherwise known as the “Star-Spangled Banner,” by BHS Concert Band.  Keynote speaker Charles Williams, a BHS 2014 graduate, is slated to say a few words about his reason for serving in the United States Navy, and how that service helped shape his life. Williams is a Master at Arms Petty Officer Second Class.  Veterans will then be treated to a more formal concert and ceremony in the school’s auditorium. The high school’s band, orchestra and chorus are to give a musical tribute, and veterans in attendance will be introduced.

Gas prices hit a plateau.  Is this hope for a drop soon? According to AAA a gallon of regular gas will cost you 3.46 in Batavia, which is the same as last week.  The New York average is 3.55 and the national is 3.42.  There is increased demand to counter the increase in supply and the Biden Administration is making moves toward shutting down another pipeline.  All this may mean higher prices going into Thanksgiving but there is hope for a winter drop off.  

The Buffalo Bills kicking game was put to the test against the Jaguars Sunday afternoon in a no touchdown game against the Jaguars.  Jacksonville emerged victorious in the contest 9 to 6 after a late game drive saw Josh Allen drop the ball and the Bills were unable to recover.  Going into the game the Jaguars were 1 and 5 and the Bills were 5 and 2.  Next week the Bills take on the Jets.

The Sabres went to overtime against the Red Wings but were not able to pull out a win as the Red Wings scored and ended the game 4 to 3.  Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin, and Arttu Ruotsalainen all scored for Buffalo. The Sabres play the Washington Capitals on the road tonight.

Weekend News Brief

If you have a 5 to 11-year-old and you would like them to be vaccinated against COVID-19, now is the time to sign up.  The Genesee-Orleans Health Department is making appointments for next week.  In Orleans County, vaccinations will be given on Tuesdays between 4:30 and 6:30pm. Genesee County will administer shots on Wednesday, 4:30 to 6:30.  Public Health Educator Nola Goodrich-Kresse says only the Pfizer vaccination has been approved for kids. They will get 1/3 of the adult dose and three weeks later, another 1/3 dose…Complete information on the vaccine for kids, and how to make an appointment, is available on the Health Department’s website.

 

Representative Brian Higgins announced on Friday that the United States land border will reopen to international travelers at 12:01 a.m. on November 8; while the Whirlpool Bridge will reopen at 7 a.m. on November 8.  The land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.  Canadians do not need to take a COVID-19 test to get into the United States, but will need to take a COVID-19 test to return to Canada.

The New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving reminded motorists to be aware of the dangers of drowsy driving after the end of Daylight Saving Time. Despite the additional hour gained in the time change, it can disrupt sleep patterns, causing people to feel drowsy.  Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November every year. The National Sleep Foundation uses the occasion to begin its Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, November 7 to 13.  “The risk posed by driving drowsy or fatigued is known, yet each year police report ‘fatigue/drowsy driving’ and/or ‘driver fell asleep’ as contributing factors in thousands of crashes statewide, resulting in deaths and injuries that are preventable,” said NYS DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark Schroeder.  If you feel tired or drowsy while driving, find a place to pull over safely.  

Tuesday the 9th Batavia City Schools is hosting a Fall Expo at Robert Morris School.  There will be a Job Fair from 2 to 7pm with openings at local businesses for all ages.  At 5pm the Warm the Night winter clothing giveaway starts.  Families can come get Coats, Hats, Gloves, Scarves and Boots all gently used and free.  There will also be community agency tables offering information about their services along with food and raffles.

Midday News Brief

Pfizer COVID vaccinations are ready for Genesee County Kids.
The health department is scheduling 5-to-11-year-olds to receive the Pfizer vaccine beginning this Wednesday.
Public Health Educator Nola Goodrich-Krese appeared on WBTA’s Main and Center program this morning. She says only the Pfizer vaccine is currently available for children

Pfizer vaccines for kids will be available from 4:30 to 6:30 at County Building Two. They will be available in Orleans County beginning Tuesday.
You can make an appointment and read all the information at the health departments website, GOhealthn.org.

Sand, American Girl Dolls, and the board game Risk will join the National Toy Hall of Fame’s collection at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester.
They were chosen from a field of 12 finalists.
The hall of fame was created in 1998 to recognize toys that have shaped play, been popular, and have had a lasting impact.

Several weeks after it began, it looks like a tentative agreement has been reached to end the strike at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo. Catholic Health and the union representing hospital employees announced they’ve finished hammering out a four-year contract. The rank and file must now vote.

The Kraken scuttled the Sabres 5 to 2 on Thursday night. The Kraken outshot Buffalo 38 to 21. The Sabres next game is 7pm at Keybank Arena facing the Detroit Redwings.

The Buffalo Bills will be visiting the Sunshine State this weekend to take on one of the worst teams in the National Football League. The Bills are going to battle the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Bills have a five-and-two record this season and are currently in first place atop the AFC East

 

High School Football, Section 5 Semi-finals tonight:
Class B Wayne at Batavia, 7pm Vandetta Stadium WBTA Broadcast at 6:50pm
Class D Avon v Alexander, 7pm Avon HS
Class D   OAE v Cal-mum 7pm

Tomorrow:
Class C Haverling v LeRoy, 12 Noon at LeRoy WBTA Broadcast at 11:50am

Morning News Brief

It is now official, companies with more than 100 workers now have till January 4th to have all employees fully vaccinated or have every unvaccinated employee tested weekly for COVID or face hefty fines by the federal government.  OSHA will be administering the mandate which affects roughly 84 million American workers.  Regulation included in the 490 page order will force the companies to require that unvaccinated workers test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week and wear a mask while in the workplace.  It also opens the possibility to expanding the mandate to smaller businesses.  Also included in the mandate is a blanket national mandate for all healthcare workers which says they need to be vaccinated or let go.  Many companies are refusing to follow the mandate with some bringing lawsuits against the government saying that this is unconstitutional government overreach.

The mayoral election in Buffalo is hitting some rough waters as several election inspectors have been dismissed and replaced for allegedly misusing a stamp with Mayor Byron Browns name on it at the polling place.  Browns campaign bought thousands of stamps and handed them out to voters to use while voting, which is legal, but Runner up India Walton claimed that Brown was using every “dirty trick in the book” to win the election and that “republican poll inspectors were pre-stamping ballots.”  

With one small flurry hitting Batavia this week people are thinking of Christmas and the Batavia Business District is planning its Christmas in the City event for December 4th.  The event  goes from 2 to 6pm on that saturday with a parade to follow.  All businesses, groups and organizations are are invited to participate by walking riding or entering a float in the parade.  Downtown businesses are encouraged to host an activity or have a store special during the event.  This year’s event includes train rides, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, crafts, and a Downtown Scavenger hunt with chances to win some great prizes.  The BID also is hosting its second annual Wreath Contest for Downtown Batavia.  Again, any business, group, organization or family are invited to enter the contest.

Sand, American Girl Dolls, and the board game Risk will join the National Toy Hall of Fame’s collection at The Strong National Museum of Play.  The announcement was made Thursday morning.  They were chosen from a field of 12 finalists that included Battleship, billiards, Cabbage Patch Kids, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Mahjong, Masters of the Universe, piñata, the Settlers of Catan, and toy fire engine.  The hall of fame was created in 1998 to recognize toys that have shaped play, been popular, and have had a lasting impact.

The Kraken scuttled the Sabres 5 to 2 on Thursday night.  In the first matchup by the two teams Tage Thompson and Kyle Okposo scored for Buffalo and the Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski blocked 33 shots.  The Kraken outshot Buffalo 38 to 21.  The Sabres next game is 7pm at Keybank Arena facing the Detroit Redwings.

Midday News Brief

The Genesee County Health Department has begun administering COVID booster shots.
The vaccine is available every Wednesday. The clinic started yesterday and appointments are being scheduled for next week.
The clinic is at the health department offices at county building two on West Main Street. Pzizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson doses are available.
You can schedule an appointment and read the eligibility criteria, on the Health Department website.

Genesee Community College announces their fundraiser “Encore” will be held December 4th. The annual event will be held in the Richard Call arena.
A ticket includes dinner, beverages and music by Nik and the Nice Guys and it supports the GCC’s scholarship program. The school awarded 120-thosuand dollars in scholarships last year.
Tickets start at $100. They are available at gccfoundation.org.

A Buffalo Bills fan is being investigated by the state Department of Health after saying she used a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to enter Highmark Stadium.
In a message posted on Twitter, Kimberly Ray claimed that stadium staff never looked at her card before the Bills played the Dolphins on Sunday.
In the past, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has threatened to prosecute fans who use a fake vaccination card but there have been no issues this season.

The Buffalo Sabres have lost back-to-back games and they’ll try and end their western road trip on a winning note tonight. The Sabres will be taking on the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena in the first-ever meeting between the two franchises. Face-off on the left coast is set for 10 o’clock tonight.

Morning News Brief

There is still an undecided race in this year’s election.  This is the race for LeRoy Town justice where only the name of Carol DeFrancisco appeared on the ballot. She tallied an unofficial 638 votes.  But there are a total of 700 write-in votes. Tom Freely conducted a serious write-in campaign and although earlier reports had him winning as all 700 were attributed to him, none of the write-ins have yet been counted. 

The CDC has now authorized the Pfizer vaccine for Children ages 5-11 and yesterday was the first day they could receive the shot.  No mandates can be put in place till the vaccine has full authorization.  In New York a child who is in a classroom with someone who tests positive for COVID does not have to quarantine if they are vaccinated but those who are not have to go into quarantine.  Surveys done in October found that only 27 percent are eager to get their kids the shot.  Several medical experts question why the gap between shots is 3 weeks when most vaccines require 6 months to a year between shots.  Test to stay in school is still being discussed.

Former Rochester Police Chief La’ron Singletary plans to run for congress.  The announcement came on a campaign website declaring his candidacy as a republican for congress in New York’s 25th District. The seat is currently held by Democrat Joe Morelle.  Singletary retired following the controversial death of Daniel Prude in March 2020 and two weeks before his retirement date he was fired by Rochester Mayor Warren who blamed him for poor communication in the case.

GCC is announcing their fundraising dinner and dance, Encore!  This event scheduled for December 4th from 6-10pm at the Richard Call Arena is a fundraiser for GCC’s scholarship program which awarded 120,000 dollars last year.  Tickets are on sale now at gccfoundationinc.org for dinner, drinks and dancing and a holiday concert by Nik and the Nice Guys.  

Former Team Captain for the Sabres Jack Eichel has been traded away to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Alex Tuch.  The deal was announced this morning.  The Sabres drafted Eichel in the 2015 NHL Draft with the 2nd overall pick. In October of 2017, he signed an eight-year, $80M contract extension that began at the start of the 2018-19 season. Exactly a year after signing that contract extension, Eichel was named the team’s captain. He held that Captaincy until September 2021, in which General Manager Kevyn Adams took the letter ‘C’ away following an offseason of tension between Eichel and the Sabres over an injury and disagreements over which surgery he should have.  Eichel failed his pre-camp physical and has been on long-term injured reserve ever since.

The Buffalo Sabres are getting a dog, and they need your help choosing a name.  The choices for the name of the new team dog are based on things familiar to the team and their fans.  There are 5 choices, Bert, for Gilbert Perreault, Rick, for Rick Jeanneret, Audie, for the old arena, the Aud.  Punch, for George Punch Imlach.  And Puck, for that little black disc that gets hit back and forth on the ice.  Follow the link at wbtai.com to vote. https://onebuffalo.formstack.com/forms/sabres_team_dog

Midday News Brief

A new study is recommending that a brand-new stadium be built for the Buffalo Bills instead of renovating their current stadium in Orchard Park.
A private consulting firm hired by the state said the cost of building a new stadium would be over one-billion dollars compared to the 862-million-dollars in repairs and upgrades that are needed at Highmark Stadium. While the price of fixing up the current stadium is cheaper, it’s considered cost prohibitive.
The study didn’t say whether the stadium should be built in Orchard Park or possibly downtown Buffalo. Negotiations on a new stadium are continuing and the hope is a deal can be reached by the end of the year.

The election brings no changes to Genesee County Government…all nine members of the county legislature were incumbents running unopposed, all are republicans. The same is true for the Batavia City Council, the three incumbent Republican at-large council members easily won re-election over the lone Democrat.

See results of all contested races

Due to a lack of entries, live racing this Friday and next will be canceled at Batavia Downs.
All top trot classes that normally race on Friday will be moved to Saturday and the remainder of the Friday classes will be moved to Wednesday, and both moves are for the remainder of the meet.

UPS is offering people in the Western New York area the opportunity to make some extra money during the holiday season. The company is looking to add hundreds of local workers during its annual “UPS Brown Friday” hiring event which runs from Thursday through Saturday. There are several positions that need to be filled including package delivery drivers, tractor-trailer drivers, warehouse workers and package handlers.

The San Jose Sharks beat the Sabres 5 to 3 last night in San Jose.
Buffalo is now 5 and 3 and 1 on the season.
The Sabres meet the Seattle Kraken tomorrow night, 10pm ET.

Morning News Brief

Election results are in for Genesee county.  In Batavia all 3 republican At large council members, Jankowski, Karas, and Bialkowski, were re-elected.  Joseph Nowakowski and Jeff Wolak were elected Bethany Town Justice.  In Bergen Starowitz and Whalin were elected to the town council.  And in Leroy Tom Feeley won as a write in candidate for Town Justice while Paddock and Fox took the town council spots.  All results are unofficial at this time.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has declared victory as a write in candidate after he was primaried earlier this year by India Walton.  It appears that he won 59 percent of the vote over Walton’s 41 percent.  Low voter turnout due to a date change during the primary was blamed for Browns surprise primary loss and subsequent aggressive campaign to get people to write him in after the courts denied him a place on the ballot.  Walton has not conceded.

The CDC has advised that they believe that kids 5-11 should be able to receive the Pfizer ⅓ dose COVID vaccine.  Once CDC director Rachel Walensky signs off on the decision the vaccine will be open to being received by the 28 million children in that age group in the US.  NY is already preparing for the vaccine with Governor Hochul announcing that pop up clinics for kids are being prepared.  

The Buffalo Zoo has had to euthanize their 19 year old African Lion Shona.  She had had deteriorating health for some time and the zoo says her kidney and liver could no longer be treated medically.  Shona was born at the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, MN. in 2002 and came to the Buffalo Zoo with her sister Acacia and brother Tsavo when they were around a year old.  Acacia passed away earlier this year. 

New York State has released the Buffalo Bills stadium study conducted by AECOM that will be used to inform stadium negotiations.  According to the study, it will cost $862 million to renovate the current stadium and $1.354 billion to build a new stadium next to the current site.  It was recommended that the Bills, state and county proceed with options for a new stadium over renovating the existing stadium.  The two main areas of land considered in the study for a new stadium are the South Park site in Buffalo, as well as parking lots 3 and 4 at the current location in Orchard Park.

The Sharks beat the Sabres 5 to 3 last night in San Jose.  Buffalo is now 5 and 3 and 1.  Jeff Skinner scored 2 goals for the Sabres and Drake Caggiula put in one.  Their next game will be against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena.  Both the Kraken and Sabres are coming off a 2 game losing streak.

2021 Unofficial Election Results

 

Genesee County Contested Races

 

 

Batavia City Council at-large  (Top three are elected)

Eugene A.Jankowski Jr. Republican 1143    √
Jeremy W. Karas Republican 1128    √
F. Robert Bialkowski Republican 1032    √
Erica B. O’Donnell Democrat, Families of Batavia 609

Bethany Town Justice  (Top two are elected)

Joseph Nowakowski Republican, Legal Party 246      √
Jeff Wolak Republican 206      √
Peggy Johnson Justice 106
Nichole Szymkowiak Justice 81

Town of Bergen Town Council  (Top two are elected)

James S. Starowitz Republican 561    √
Anne M. Sapienz Democrat, Conservative, WOR 232
Teresa F. Whalin Republican 511    √

Town of Byron Town Supervisor  (Vote for One)

Peter N. Yasses Republican 283  
Gerald L. Heins Byron Ind. 248

LeRoy Town Justice (undecided)

Carol DiFranscisco 638
Write-in 700

LeRoy Town Council   (vote for two)

Robert E. Fussell Democrat 528
Sarah Krzemien Democrat 329
Bill Fox Conservative 792      √
David R. Paddock Republican, Conservative 930      √
Ronald B. Pangrazio Republican 501

Town of Pembroke Town Council   (vote for two)

Edward G. Arnold, Jr. Republican 687    √
Helen Trowbridge Hanes Democrat, Independence 247
K. Warren Clark Republican 588    √

 

Download all Unofficial Results from Board of Elections Website

Midday News Brief

 

 

Heavy Equipment and construction workers are on the site of the long overdue Ellicott Station project in Batavia.
Crews have begun demolition at the site once known as the Della Penna property and home of Santy’s Tires.
Sam Savarino is the chosen developer for the site. He is planning to build a five-story building of 55 apartment units on the upper four floors with parking on the first floor. The project is estimated to cost $22-million.
The project is using a fist full of state grants money and $3.5-million in county tax incentives.
The project was first proposed 51/2 years ago.

 

PHOTO: Demolition begins on the site of the long delayed Ellicott Station Project

 

 

 

 

Today is Election Day. Polls opened in Genesee County at 6 this morning.
Turn-out is said to be very light. There are few contested races in Genesee County and none are county wide. Polls are open until 9 tonight. WBTA will post the returns as soon as they are released by the Board of Elections.

New Yorkers will have the opportunity today to vote on five amendments to the state’s constitution. The first proposal would freeze the number of State Senate seats at 63 while making sure each district is equal in population while a second proposal would put the right to clean air and water in the constitution.
Also on the ballot is a proposal to eliminate the requirement that voters need to be registered for an election at least 10 days in advance. There’s also a proposal that would allow any eligible voter to request an absentee ballot no questions asked. The final proposal only affects New York City.

A LeRoy based physical therapy practice is expanding. Village Physical Therapy has opened a fourth office in Webster, Monroe County.
It is the fourth location for the company.

In advance of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, Genesee County announced that the Old Court House will be illuminated green November 7th through the 13th as part of Operation Green Light. That’s a new collaborative initiative to support veterans of all military conflicts, with a special emphasis on the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Residents are also encouraged to change an exterior or interior light-bulb on their house to green in support the week of Veteran’s Day.

Morning News Brief

Today is Election Day.  In Genesee County polls are open from 6am to 9pm.  There are only a handful of contested races locally.  In the city of Batavia, there are four candidates running for three city council -at-large seats.  At the county level, there are elections for County Court Judge, District Attorney and all nine seats on the county legislature…all are Republicans and all are running unopposed.  There is a contested race for Bryon Town Supervisor: Peter Yasses the incumbent is opposed by Gerald Heins.  In LeRoy, five candidates are vying for two seats on the town board,  There is one seat to be decided for LeRoy Town Justice. Carol DeFrancisco is the endorsed Democrat while Tom Freely is conducting a write-in campaign.  Bethany will elect two Town justices from a field of four candidates.

Paid Family Leave is expanding in New York State and will now allow for individuals to care for siblings.  Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Monday to expand the law. Currently, the law covers caring for spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren with a serious health condition.  The new law goes into effect January 1st.

You’ve seen them decorating the lamposts of Main Street for the Halloween season.  The Batavia Improvement District scarecrows made by businesses and organizations in Batavia. Well now they have been voted on and the winners picked.  The First Place Winner for 2021 is Veterans Services.  Second Place Winner is Charles Men’s Shop and Third Place goes to Eli Fish Brewing Co.  First place winner receives $100 cash prize, second place $75 and third place $50. The BID thanks Home Depot for sponsoring the scarecrows, the City of Batavia Fire Department for assembling the posts, and The Daily News for assisting with the voting process.

The sheriffs office has  announced that due to COVID-19 cases within the Genesee County Jail, Sheriff Sheron is suspending all visitations effective today until Nov. 22, tentatively.  This is a precautionary measure to prevent the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus to incarcerated individuals’ families and employees.

Tops Friendly Markets announced it will offer military personnel and their immediate families an 11% discount off their grocery bill on Veterans Day.  Customers will be asked to present proof of service that they, or an immediate family member are U.S. Veteran, active duty, reserve or retired military personnel to receive the discount.  Veterans Day is Thursday the 11th.

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Batavia is up a penny from last week to $3.46 a gallon.  The Average price in New York is 3.55 while the US average is 3.40.  The Triple-A reports the current average in Batavia is 21-cents a gallon higher than a month ago.  Gas Buddy is predicting that prices will level off this week and possibly start to drop soon.  

2021 Elections

Genesee County

2021 General Election

Contested Races

 Batavia City Council at-large  (Top three are elected)

Eugene A.Jankowski Jr. Republican
Jeremy W. Karas Republican
F. Robert Bialkowski Republican
Erica B. O’Donnell Democrat, Families of Batavia

Bethany Town Justice  (Top two are elected)

Joseph Nowakowski Republican, Legal Party
Jeff Wolak Republican
Peggy Johnson Justice
Nichole Szymkowiak Justice

Town of Bergen Town Council  (Top two are elected)

James S. Starowitz Republican
Anne M. Sapienz Democrat, Conservative, WOR
Teresa F. Whalin Republican

Town of Byron Town Supervisor  (Vote for One)

Peter N. Yasses Republican
Gerald L. Heins Byron Ind.

LeRoy Town Council   (vote for two)

Robert E. Fussell Democrat
Sarah Krzemien Democrat
Bill Fox Conservative
David R. Paddock Republican, Conservative
Ronald B. Pangrazio Republican

Town of Pembroke Town Council   (vote for two)

Edward G. Arnold, Jr. Republican
Helen Trowbridge Hanes Democrat, Independence
K. Warren Clark Republican

 

Evening News Brief

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers has released his proposed county budget for next year. The budget proposes a tax rate increase of 2.16-percent. If you break that down, Landers say the budget – if approved in its present form – would increase the average homeowners property tax bill by $24.33.
The budget increase is due in part to water system improvements, new hires in the Public Defender’s Office, jail and highways departments. There has also been an increase in the health department’s budget for combatting COVID-19.
The budget now goes to the full legislature for consideration and final adoption.

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Batavia is up a penny from last week.
The Triple-A reports the current average in Batavia is $3.46 a gallon, that’s 21-cents a gallon higher than a month ago.
One year ago today: the average price for a gallon of regular in Batavia was only $2.20.

Tomorrow is Election Day.
In Genesee County polls are open from 6am to 9pm.
There are only a handful of contested races locally.
In the city of Batavia, there are four candidates running for three city council -at-large seats.
At the county level, there are elections for County Court Judge, District Attorney and all nine seats on the county legislature…all are Republicans and all are running unopposed.
There is a contested race for Bryon Town Supervisor: Peter Yasses the incumbent is opposed by Gerald Heins.
In LeRoy, five candidates are vying for two seats on the town board,
There is one seat to be decided for LeRoy Town Justice. Carol DeFrancisco is the endorsed Democrat while Tom Freely is conducting a write-in campaign.
Bethany will elect two Town justices from a field of four candidates.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is set to make a full comeback this year after being forced to comply with extensive COVID-19 regulations last year. Crowds will once again line the New York City parade route and human handlers will be used to pull along the giant helium balloons after vehicles were utilized in 2020. Last year, the route was contained to the front of Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan as a way to reduce crowds. When the parade steps off later this month, it will feature 28 floats, 36 inflatables, and 15 giant character balloons.

Midday News Brief

Crews from then city’s water department spent much of their Halloween day fixing a water main break.
City Manager Rachel Tabelski said the trouble began to show itself on Saturday…

Come day light on Sunday crews walked the line and found a break on Law Street. Service was shut off to nearby homes until repairs were completed about 11:30 yesterday morning.

The Buffalo Bills say talks on a new stadium are moving forward and that the NFL franchise may have its new home by 2026. An official with Pegula Sports and Entertainment tells The Buffalo News it could happen if the team reaches a deal soon with both New York State and Erie County on how much public funding would be used to build the stadium. One proposal is calling for an over one-billion-dollar facility to be constructed close to Highmark Stadium which is where the team plays now. The Bills’ current lease is scheduled to expire in 2023.

The Buffalo Bills have extended their winning streak to seven straight games over a division rival thanks in large part to quarterback Josh Allen. Allen threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a third score as the Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins 26 to 11 at Highmark Stadium yesterday.
Up next is a road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this coming Sunday.

The Los Angeles Kings have collected a second consecutive win after topping the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in Los Angeles. Buffalo will continue its western road trip tomorrow with a game against the San Jose Sharks.

Our Monday gasoline price report:
The price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Batavia is up a penny from last week.
The Triple-A reports the current average in Batavia is $3.46 a gallon, that’s 21-cents a gallon higher than a month ago.

Morning News Brief

Hochul Signed legislation on Saturday which protects pets, vets and owners.  The legislative package prohibits insurers from refusing to issue certain policies based solely on the breed of the dog owned. It also would prohibit insurers from refusing to renew, cancel, charge or impose an increased premium based solely on the breed of dog owned.  The new legislation also requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty. It also protects the identity of such veterinarians and allows veterinarians to receive a copy of any report generated.  Governor Hochul said that “to own a pet is a blessing, and we owe it to the animals of New York state to keep them safe and healthy.”

Healthcare workers who were hoping for a lifting of the COVID vaccine mandate through the courts in New York were disappointed on Friday as the federal appeals court upheld the mandates legality.  The ruling late Friday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by an upstate judge who had temporarily blocked vaccination requirements on the grounds that the mandate did not accommodate religious exemptions.  In a brief order, a panel of three 2nd Circuit judges also upheld a ruling by a Brooklyn judge who had found the mandate constitutional.

There was a water main break on Law Street in Batavia Sunday morning.  The break was repaired quickly and water service was restored.  The city is asking everyone who lives on the South West side of Batavia to check their water for discoloration.  If your water is brownish they say to run the tap till it clears.

The Buffalo Bills beat the Miami Dolphins 26 to 11 at Highmark Stadium Sunday afternoon.  The Bills are now 5 and 2 and have knocked down the Dolphins twice.  They were tied at 3 3 going into halftime with a strange turnover when a snap hit a player instead of going to the Dolphins Quarterback and the ball being recovered by the Bills.  The Bills got ahead and stayed ahead to pull out the win.  Buffalo plays against the Jaguars in Jacksonville next Sunday at 1pm.   

The Sabres dropped their game against the Kings in Los Angeles last night 3 to 2.  Buffalo players Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson scored the first 2 goals of the game but even with Dustin Tokarski making 31 saves it wasn’t enough.  The Sabres play the Sharks on Tuesday night in San Jose at 10:30pm.

Weekend News Brief

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized the use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a move that will make the shots available to 28 million kids in the U.S.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off before shots can be distributed. It’s scheduled an advisory committee meeting to review the pediatric doses next week and is expected to swiftly clear them for public distribution immediately thereafter.  The company said its low-dose vaccine for kids, which is a third of the dosage given to adults, is more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic infection. It also said the shots were well tolerated in young children, producing side effects comparable with those seen in a study of people ages 16 to 25. 

State Attorney General Letitia James has now officially announced her challenge to Governor Hochul in 2022’s Gubernatorial race.  James will be running as a Democrat.  James, 63, was born in Brooklyn and has served as Attorney General since 2019.  The election for New York governor is November 8, 2022. 

You want a bit more bass or buzz from your car when you press the accelerator?  Don’t mess with the muffler.  A new bill signed friday by governor Hochul increases the fines for illegally modifying the muffler or exhaust system of a motor vehicle.  Fines are raised to 1 thousand dollars, and repair and inspection stations can lose their certificates if they install or fail to cite drivers for illegal systems.  Hochul says this is to combat noisy vehicles making neighborhoods feel less safe.

Holland Land Office invites the public to the 20th annual Wonderland of Trees opening Gala Friday November 19th.  This year’s theme to honor this milestone year is Through the Years. Visit the museum to see all the wonderfully decorated trees and displays by local businesses and organizations.  This year’s opening gala will feature many great gift baskets to win and a Silent Auction. The night will also feature holiday music by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and hors d’oeuvres provided by the D R Depot. Tickets for this event are on sale at the museum. Tickets are $15 per person/ $10 for museum members and $5 for children under 12.  For more details contact the museum or visit www.hollandlandoffice.comThe exhibit will run through December 17th.

Midday News Brief

NYS Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James is responding to a sex crime charge filed against Andrew Cuomo. A misdemeanor charge of forcible touching was brought against the former governor yesterday. James released a statement soon afterward, saying as soon as her office heard about the multiple sexual harassment allegations, they proceeded “without fear or favor.” James said the findings in their report ultimately led to the charge.

 

 

Some announcements from the City of Batavia:
The Yard Waste Station on Law Street has new hours for the rest of the season. Effective Monday, the hours of the Yard Waste Station will be 11 until 5. The facility will close for the season on December 11.

Batavia Police have that Halloween activities, including Trick or Treating, end at 8pm Sunday. for Sunday, Halloween, will end at 8:pm

High School Football playoffs begin tonight.
In Class B the Batavia Blue Devils take on Newark at Dwyer Stadium.
Kick-off is 7pm.
In Class C: 2nd seeded LeRoy meets Attica. That game will be broadcast on WBTA from LeRoy beginning at 7.
In Class D: Number 1 ranked Oakfield-Alabama-Elba meets number 8 Clyde-Savannah, that game to be played at Oakfield High School and also tonight in Class D number 2 Avon hosts number 7 Notre Dame.

The Buffalo Sabres began a four-game road trip last night by dropping the Ducks in Anaheim in overtime, four-to-three. Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots in goal for Buffalo.
The Sabres head for Los Angeles to square off against the Kings on Halloween.

Morning News Brief

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation that is aimed at combating gun violence and criminalizing the sale of ‘ghost guns’.  Ghost guns are guns that can be made or bought that have no serial numbers and are usually sold in pieces and then assembled later.  The legislation package includes the following  criminalizing the sale of ‘ghost guns’, criminalizing the sale of untraceable guns and cracking down on firearms that are designed to look like toy guns

Be careful when doing any kind of business online.  Erie County got scammed out of more than $100,000 taxpayer money after being tricked into paying a scam artist pretending to be a local construction firm.  In August, the Erie County Department of Works received an email believed to be from Mark Cerrone, Inc., a local construction company, doing work at the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo.  That email asked for the county to change the bank routing number for payment.  But when the actual construction firm called the county asking for its payment, the county realized the email was fraudulent and the comptroller’s office sent the money to a bank in Texas.

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Anaheim Ducks 4 to 3 yesterday in California.  Rasmus Asplund scored the winning goal with just 43.9 seconds left in overtime.  Zemgus Girgensons and Arttu Ruotsalainen also scored for the Sabres. Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots in a standout performance in goal.  The Sabres play the Kings next on Halloween afternoon at 4pm.

Evening News Brief

Andrew Cuomo

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is being charged with a misdemeanor in what a state spokesperson is calling a “sex crime case.” This follows a criminal probe that stemmed from a number of women who accuse the former Democratic governor of inappropriate sexual conduct. Reports indicate the charge relates to allegations of “forcible touching” and an arrest warrant is being issued by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. Cuomo resigned in August as state lawmakers were preparing impeachment proceedings.
The charge accuses Cuomo of forcibly touching a woman whose name will reportedly be redacted. More information is expected to come out this afternoon from Albany Criminal Court. Meanwhile, the Albany District Attorney’s Office says it is still investigating and this charge isn’t related to that.

A note for area motorists: a portion of Route 490 westbound will be closed from late tonight until early tomorrow for roadwork.
The highway will close at exit 2, that’s Byron/Bergen, at 11 o’clock tonight through 5 a.m. Friday morning. Detours will be posted. The work includes new overhead signage at the LeRoy Exit 47 interchange.

State Attorney General Letitia James will be revealing soon whether she’ll be running for governor next year. An adviser to the AG said in a statement yesterday that James’ announcement would be made in the coming days. Recent polls showed that James would lose in a potential head-to-head matchup against Governor Hochul if she seeks the Democratic nomination.

The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester is the recipient of fundraising proceeds from Batavia Downs.
The Downs hosted a fundraising dinner back in September to benefit the coalition. The money raised came from the sponsorship of races, direct donations, raffles and auction.
Today the Downs presented a check to the Breast Cancer Coalition in the amount of $19,650.

Midday News Brief

New York Governor Kathy Hochul held a COVID-19 update Wednesday and said a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate in public schools in the state is “on the table.”  Tuesday, a Food and Drug Administration panel voted to formally recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5 and a CDC committee will meet next week to discuss granting approval.  When asked if she will put a mandate for children 5 and up in place the governor said if there is not adequate compliance, or COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations among children begin to rise, she will have “no choice.”

The New York State Health Department has announced new guidelines for COVID protocols in schools.  Currently, any unvaccinated student who was exposed to COVID is required to quarantine.  The new guidance suggests the “test to stay” method could be used. This strategy allows students who have been exposed to COVID to stay in school without having to quarantine – if they test negative.

New divorce legislation has now been signed and it changes how pets are treated by the courts.  The new bill signed into law Monday makes pets able to be disputed in Family Court.  What this means is that instead of the family dog or cat or other domesticated companion animal, excluding livestock, being treated as property, the judge must now consider the best well being of the animal in nearly the same way as a child during a divorce proceeding.  The Bill Takes effect immediately.

Morning News Brief

State Attorney General Letitia James has signaled her intent to run for the governor’s office in the 2022 election.  Although she has not officially announced her intent yet, the New York Times is reporting that her aides have have told political and union leaders she intends to run.  The rumor of James possibly running for governor has been a well publicized one, with even former Governor Cuomo’s legal team using it as one of the factors they say led to Cuomo’s resignation.

A new exhibit at the Rochester Museum & Science Center is pretty big.  It’s so big, large machinery was necessary to move it in.  Expedition: Dinosaur opens Nov. 5. It brings robotic reptiles from the Mesozoic era to life. There’s even a climbable T-Rex.  Crews installed it earlier this week at the museum.  Advance tickets are available at the RMSC website.

Liberty Pumps broke ground yesterday on a new expansion.  The 107 thousand square foot addition is anticipated to create 30 new jobs at the Byron Bergen facility.  The ground breaking ceremony was attended by members of Genesee County Economic development Center and state and local partners.  CEO of Liberty Pumps Charlie Cook says that the new expansion will “relieve congestion” and “free up manufacturing space for large pump systems.”  

Batavia Police have announced the official hours for Trick or treating this year.  Going door to door will go till 8pm officially.  The PD remind parents and kids to cross streets at corners and in well lit areas, make sure drivers see you before crossing and use some light colors or reflective tape in your costume or candy bag.  For drivers, slow down, stay alert, and keep your headlights on.  Together we can have a safe and fun Halloween.

Over the coming weekend at several churches are having Trunk R Treat in their parking lots.  The United Methodist Church at 8221 Lewiston Rd is having theirs saturday from 2 to 4.  Emmanuel Baptist Church at 190 Oak street is putting one on Halloween Night from 5-7.  Grace Baptist Church at 238 vine street is having theirs 530 to 730 on Halloween as well.  Tunk r Treats are great for kids to have the trick or treat experience without the dangers of traffic and dark streets.

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Batavia brought in the New Year with fireworks last night at 9p at Batavia Downs.  The time was moved up to avoid potential hazards due to the high winds that arrived after midnight, the original time of the fireworks.  No reports of major damage today due to the high winds but be aware of tree limbs and downed power lines in your area.

A grand jury has indicted a man who was arrested over the summer at the August 10th Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake.  Robert Maharrey was indicted for disorderly conduct, multiple counts of harassment for striking a female patron in the face, 2nd degree assault a class D violent felony for allegedly striking a sheriff’s deputy, assaulting a police officer a class C violent felony when he spit and struck another deputy assisting in the arrest.

Friday evening Livingston County Sheriffs were in the middle of the state wide stop DWI effort, when deputies pulled a vehicle over on 390 for speeding.  Upon further investigation a 27 year old Geneseo man Patrick Dunn was charged with DWI.  Dunn’s BAC was .25% and was further charged with felony DWI from a previous 2015 conviction.  Dunn is now being held on 1,5k bail or 3k bond and remanded to the custody of the sheriff.

Yesterday afternoon, Genesee County Sheriffs made a traffic stop in Oakfield on Lewiston road when a Rochester man, 20 year old Damian Schoonmaker of Smith Street was found to be in possession of marijuana in his 2000 Buick LeSabre.  He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and is scheduled to appear in Oakfield town court 1/21

A motor vehicle accident yesterday in Elba led to a lane closure around 3:30p.  Two vehicle collided at Oak orchard and Lockport roads in Elba.  Elba fire police and 2 ambulance responded along with Elba Fire dept.

New Yorkers are seeing a number of new state laws in the New Year.  Among them, a law that requires diaper changing tables in all new public men’s and women’s restrooms.

Other changes include a requirement that health insurance companies give male patients free prostate cancer screenings and that residents be allowed to return unused prescription meds to pharmacies for free.

Many homeowners will enjoy an increase in property tax rebates, of an average of more than five-hundred dollars.

There’s the hike in the minimum wage. In our area, the minimum wage goes to eleven-dollars-and-ten-cents.



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