Local News

Evening News Update

All schools in New York may resume section 6 wrestling according to the state health department on May 3rd.  The only sport that is not allowed to return to schools thus far is indoor track and field.  Section 6 President Brett Banker says that Section 6 has proven that we are committed to providing opportunities for our athletes within the guidelines set forth to us by local health departments.  Erie County will not be resuming wrestling.

Genesee counties unemployment rate for March has been released and it is 6.1 percent.  Last march it was 5.2 percent with the pandemic and shutdowns coming in at halfway through the month.  In April of 2020 it was 15.9 percent.  March of 2019 was the lowest unemployment in Genesee county for the last 30 years at 4.6 percent.

The Lilac festival will happen this year in Rochester’s Highland Park but there are some changes.  The festival will be held in May over 3 weekends starting May 7th instead of over 10 days.  There will be no live music on the lawn instead ticketed music under a tent will be offered for 20 dollars a ticket.  Beer, wine and food tastings will also happen under that tent.  The flowers and vendors will be mostly unchanged.

Midday News Brief

COVID-19 has claimed another life in Genesee County.
The health department reports a person over the age of 65 has succumbed to the virus.
Just four new positive cases were confirmed on Wednesday.
Seven of the current positive cases are hospitalized.
In Orleans County, 20 new cases were reported; Seven additional cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

A grand jury has indicted the principal of Northwood Elementary School on 25 charges.
Prosecutors say Kirk Ashton sexually abused multiple boys at the Hilton school over a period of several years.
It was also announced yesterday that two more alleged victims have come forward in the case.
Ashton has been on administrative leave from his job since April 8th. Anyone with information is asked to call State Police.

Starting tomorrow, New Yorkers 60 and older won’t need an appointment if they want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
That’s because they’ll be able to walk-in and get vaccinated at 16 mass-vaccination sites run by the state, including ones at the Rochester Dome Arena and former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot. Folks will still need to bring identification and be able to provide health insurance information. Wait times at each location are going to vary depending on how many people show up.

The Town of Batavia Planning Board will be adding a “public comments” segment to its meetings. In response to Planning Board Member Don Partridge’s inquiry into the procedure for conducting an annual review of Area 51 Motocross, the board has agreed to give residents time at the beginning of each meeting to bring up pertinent issues.

The Buffalo Sabres will be back on home ice tonight as they look to rebound from a tough loss. Buffalo was held scoreless for the eighth time this season in their two-to-nothing defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins Tuesday night.
The Sabres have already been eliminated from playoff contention,

Morning News Brief

The Town of Batavia Planning Board will be adding a “public comments” segment to its meetings. In response to Planning Board Member Don Partridge’s inquiry into the procedure for conducting an annual review of Area 51 Motocross, the board has agreed to give residents time at the beginning of each meeting to bring up pertinent issues.

A new service for people 55 and older is available in Genesee County. Lifespan’s Community Care Connections service helps older adults navigate health care and supports at home. Nurses meet patients at medical appointments, communicate with doctors’ offices and ensure the correct medications are being taken at home. Our social workers also help connect older adults to help at home and governmental benefits. Lifespan is a regional nonprofit based in Rochester dedicated to providing information, guidance and services that help older adults take on the challenges of longer life.

COVID-19 has claimed another life in Genesee County. The health department would only say the victim was over age 65. Meanwhile, just four new positive cases were confirmed on Wednesday. Seven of the current positive cases are hospitalized. However, in Orleans County, 20 new cases were reported; Seven additional cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed flags on State government builds to be flown at half-staff beginning today and through interment in recognition of Spc. Abigail Jenks, a native of Saratoga County, who died Monday following a training exercise at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The 20-year-old died following a Blackhawk helicopter static line jump training exercise at Fort Bragg. The incident is under investigation.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee announced that Operation Safe Stop—an enforcement and education campaign designed to deter drivers from illegally passing stopped school buses—will be held today.  Law enforcement throughout the state will be participating. Drivers who pass school buses that are stopped and flashing their red lights will be ticketed. Surveys show that approximately 50,000 motorists illegally pass school buses statewide each school day.

Jason Molino is returning to the GLOW region. Molino, the City of Batavia manager for 11 years prior to leaving in January 2018 to become administrator for Tompkins County, has accepted the executive director post with the Livingston County Water and Sewer Authority based in Lakeville. Molino said he was looking forward to “a little more balance” in his life as he moves closer to extended family members who live in Western New York.

A 22-year-old Wellsville man is headed to state prison for his role in the murder last March of Nicholas Burdge in his North Main Street home. During a 14-minute court appearance Wednesday, Allegany County Judge Thomas Brown sentenced Brandon J. Poehmel to serve 15 years in prison, followed by five years of post-release parole supervision for his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter. Poehmel was dressed in orange prison clothing with his hands and feet shackled. Burdge had been tied to a chair and savagely beaten, repeatedly. He was also cut repeatedly. His body was later dumped in the Genesee River, where it was discovered the following day. In a Victim Impact Statement written by Burdge’s mother, she said “the system clearly failed my son in giving eight monsters 16 years or less.” She said she prays that Poehmel “seeks God.” While the statement was read, Poehmel stared straight ahead. Speaking to Poehmel, Judge Brown said “you’ve caused hurt and suffering. The sentence is appropriate.” In total, eight people were charged with Burdge’s murder. Seven have taken or plan to take plea deals. Several are now in state prison. Howard Burroughs of Wellsville has rejected a deal and a trial is pending.

State Police have arrested Joshua Bennett for first-degree Burglary, Menacing of a Police Officer and Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd Degree. Bennett was released from Strong Hospital and was processed at the State Police Station in Rochester and taken to the Monroe County Jail and will be held on a New York State Parole Warrant. According to a press release, Bennett was a parole absconder who armed himself with a butcher knife then allegedly held a woman at knife point before advancing at police.  The 37-year-old was shot by a state trooper, who is assigned to the US Marshal Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Evening News Update

Jason Molino

Jason Molino when he was city manager

Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino is leaving.

Molino, who’s been county administrator since January 2018, will be joining the Livingston County Sewer and Water Authority as its new executive director.  In a letter to county staff, Molino describes the decision to leave as difficult but one that’ll give him a better balance between work and life.  Molino was a former Batavia City Manager, serving here for over 10 years.  An interim county administrator will be named in a few days, and the search for a permanent replacement will begin later this year.  Molino will leave Tompkins County at the end of May.

Tops Friendly Markets is partnering with Convergent Energy and Power to make more than 75 stores green.  They are planning on reducing their carbon footprint and the solar solution by Convergent Energy and Power works whether the sun is shining or not.  So far Tops has not announced which stores will be getting the solar upgrade.

The Buffalo Sabres were shut out 2 to 0 last night against the Boston Bruins.  This is the 8th time this season that the Sabres have been shutout.  Buffalo hosts Boston two more times this week on Thursday and Friday.

Midday News Brief

Some public opposition has been expressed over a proposed outdoor shooting range on Harloff Road in the Town of Batavia.
Developer Brandon Lewis, who owns the Firing Pin range in Bergen needs a special use permit in order to proceed with his Harloff Road project.
Lewis is proposing more than a shooting range.
Resident Rich Schildwaster says that’s where his concern comes in:

Other residents spoke out against the noise of the range.
The public hearing was conducted by the Town of Batavia Planning Board. No action was taken on the proposed project.

Genesee County reports 21 new positive cases of COVID-19. Twenty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Seven of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

The Rotary Club of Batavia has donated an AED defibrillator to the Salvation Army. The 15-hundred dollar device is used on persons in cardiac arrest.
Todd Rapp says in the time he has been with Salvation Army there have been at least two instances where s defibrillator could have been used.
The Batavia City Fire Department provided the Army with training on how to use the device.

As expected, the border between the United States and Canada is going to remain closed for a bit longer. Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the shutdown will stay in place until at least May 21st. Officials say there are still lingering concerns about the number of COVID-19 cases in both countries. The ban still allows Americans to travel to Canada by air, however they’re being asked to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving.

Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee are scheduled to meet today to discuss the impeachment inquiry involving Governor Cuomo. The Committee Chair says over 100 tips have been received as the investigation into the governor moves forward. The governor has come under fire lately after several women came forward claiming he sexually harassed them, allegations that he has denied.

Local COVID-19 Update

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) have first dose Pfizer vaccination clinics with appointments available targeting those who are 16 and older and open for any New York State individuals, who reside, work or study in the state.

Currently in New York, being fully vaccinated will begin to offer opportunities that have been limited for the past year. Anyone who is fully vaccinated (2 weeks after the J&J vaccine or the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna) will be able to participate in various activities without having to be tested for entry for events such as professional sports, weddings with over 100 guests, proms, graduations and more.  Also, when fully vaccinated, the individual will not have to quarantine if they are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  Most importantly, you are protecting your health along with others you come in contact with.

“We have clinics scheduled on Thursday, April 22nd at the Ridgeway Fire Hall, Route 104, Medina; and on Saturday, April 24th at the Athletic Center at GCC Batavia Campus Center,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for GO Health.  “These clinics are open to anyone who is 16 and older.  We want to see all of these clinics filled up with those who can also commit to returning for the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days later.”

Visit the vaccination web page at https://bit.ly/GOHealthVaccineChoose either the GCC Pfizer Clinic or the Orleans Pfizer Clinic button and follow the directions.   Keep the link handy, as there are Moderna clinics scheduled on April 27th at Ridgeway Fire Hall and on the 28th at GCC.  The buttons are live when we have that particular vaccine available.  If the clinic is full or we do

not have vaccine, it will show ‘No Appointments Available.’  Please share this information with family, friends, co-workers and social groups.  For those who do not have internet they can call the GO Health Vaccine Registration Help Lines:

Genesee:  585-815-7168

Orleans:  585-589-3170

These lines are ONLY to make vaccine appointments, are not able to answer COVID-related questions, and are not associated with either Health Department. 

If you are interested in making an appointment to get your COVID-19 vaccination, now is the time to do it locally!

Morning News Brief

Batavia-based troopers continue to investigate an Orleans County cold case. On October 29, 1983, a body was found by a hunter off the shoulder of State Route 63 in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, in the town of Shelby. The victim was found in a severely decomposed state and was believed to have been there for several months. In 1984, the Center of Human Identification was used by state police to make a facial reconstruction from the remains. In October of 2013, the still unidentified body was exhumed and DNA testing was performed. Through a multi-step investigation, the body was identified as Shari L. Ball. The 20-year-old was reported missing by her family in June 1983 to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. She had told her family that she was going to New York State with an unknown friend to pursue a modeling career. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Batavia.

Genesee County reports 21 new positive cases of COVID-19. Twenty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Seven of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County reports nine new cases and Wyoming County reports four more COVID cases.

The Batavia Rotary Club has donated an AED defibrillator to the local center of The Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army regularly serves community residents at its center on East Main Street. After two recent incidents when patrons at the center were stricken with health issues, the Salvation Army leadership realized the need to have a defibrillator on the premises in order to assist visitors in a timely manner. The City Fire Department provided training to Salvation Army staff members.

With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 20th Take Back Day on Saturday. DEA’s October 2020 Take Back Day brought in a record-high amount of expired, unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.

On the 51st anniversary of the first Earth Day, the latest poll from the Siena College Research Institute says that 64 percent of New Yorkers are very concerned about water pollution, 61 percent with air pollution, 60 percent with deforestation, and 56 percent are very concerned about climate change. The research institute adds that large majorities support redesigning cities to be more pedestrian friendly, promote the widespread use of electric cars, have New York produce 100 percent of its electricity with zero-emissions by 2040 and the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.

Evening News Brief

Did you receive a text message about a package delivery?  You aren’t alone.  Police are warning of a texting scam that asks you to follow a link to receive a package and is being used to steal personal information.  This is a form of what is called “smishing” where a thief sends a text purporting to be from a business or bank or agency in order to trick people into giving them information.  Authorities are saying if you get this text to delete it and not follow the link.

The Canada US border will remain closed at least until the 21st of May due to COVID.  All non essential travel remains banned and has been since March of 2020.  On April 11 dozens of families separated for more than a year by the border closure protested to have families considered essential, so they can travel to see one another but the Canadian Government refuses to open the border.

Genesee county has launched a new website which will allow property owners to get their assessment data online.  This is called the PROS or Property Record Online System.  The online assessment roll system will no longer be used.  Property owners can find the new tool at geneseecounty.prosgar.com or follow the link on wbtai.com.

Midday News Brief

A Genesee County Grand Jury has indicted Juan M. Mendez of Holley for first-degree rape, a Class B violent felony.
Lawmen say that Mendez engaged in sexual intercourse with another person who was incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless. The victim was allegedly highly intoxicated. The attack occurred on September 4th at Genesee Community College Batavia Campus.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Genesee and surrounding counties.
It takes effect at midnight and runs until 2 tomorrow afternoon.
Total snow accumulations of 3-6 inches possible.
This will be a heavy, wet snow, and may result in isolated power outages and downed tree limbs.

Capacity limits are going to be expanding soon at several businesses and venues statewide. Beginning April 26th, attendance at museums and zoos can increase from the current 33-percent to 50-percent.
Also, the capacity limit for movie theaters will expand from 25-percent to 33-percent.
And beginning May 19th, arenas can sell 25-percent of tickets for sporting events and shows, up from 10-percent.
Officials say as the spread of COVID-19 slows, the state will be able to open up more.

The state Attorney General’s office has been asked to look into Governor Cuomo’s alleged use of state resources to help write his book on how he handled the COVID-19 crisis. The request was made by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who recently sent Attorney General Letitia James a letter requesting an investigation begin.

A new poll shows support for Governor Cuomo is continuing to fall among New Yorkers. According to Siena College, only 40-percent of the people surveyed had a favorable opinion of the governor, down from 56-percent in February. But when asked if the governor should resign due to the multiple scandals involving his administration, 51-percent of people said they believe he should stay in office.

Morning News Brief

A Genesee County Grand Jury has indicted Juan M. Mendez of Holley for first-degree rape, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 4 at Genesee Community College in the Town or Batavia, Mendez engaged in sexual intercourse with another person who was incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless. Mendez was also indicted for the crimes of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D violent felony and third-degree sexual abuse.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic may be the source of a new criminal investigation by the New York attorney general’s office. In response to allegations that the governor used state resources to produce and promote his book, state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli sent a letter to state Attorney General Letitia James requesting a criminal investigation into Cuomo’s actions. DiNapoli’s office released the letter, dated April 13, on Monday. It authorizes the attorney general to investigate whether the process of writing and promoting the book violated state laws. James’ office said it received the referral letter from the state comptroller but didn’t comment further.

Here’s the latest on the New York State COVID vaccination efforts. Officials say more than 131,000 have been administered across the state’s distribution network since Sunday and nearly 1.4 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The Finger Lakes Region has surpassed 358,000 people who have finished the complete vaccine series.

A Grand Jury has handed up a seven-count indictment against Rachelle N. Laney. The top count is criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 10 in the Town of Le Roy, Laney knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug — fentanyl — with intent to sell it.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is railing against the Assembly Majority after they tabled a bill he sponsored during a Ways and Means Committee meeting that would have exempted veterans over the age of 85 from paying state income taxes. The cost to the state in lost revenue from excluding veterans over 85 years old from state income taxes is estimated to be about $6 million. Hawley called the move shameful.

The proper way to dispose of medications will be the focus of Thursday’s quarterly meeting of the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force. The meeting will be livestreamed via Zoom, starting at 9:30 a.m. It is expected to last for an hour. Scott Wilson, superintendent of the Orleans County Jail, has agreed to make a presentation on National Drug Take Back Day, which is scheduled for this Saturday, with locations in the three counties. This meeting is open to the public and the community is invited to join and share any questions they may have.

Staff training will impact some services Wednesday and Thursday at the Batavia City Clerk’s office. For those two days, the office will be unable to issue marriage licenses, copies of birth and death certificates, new dog licenses and fishing or hunting licenses.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s favorability, job performance and re-elect ratings all continued to head in a downward trend. At the same time, a majority of New Yorkers continue to say both that he should not resign and that he can effectively do his job as governor…that’s according to a new Siena college poll. By a 44-22 percent margin, voters think Cuomo has committed sexual harassment, with 34 percent undecided.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo is dropping in popularity according to a Sienna Poll.  For the month of February Cuomo had a 56 percent approval rating and it dropped to 43 percent for March and April.  Overall voters approve of his handling of the pandemic. The rate of 60-32 percent is practically unchanged from 60-33 percent the previous month.  Most voters think Governor Cuomo committed sexual harassment, by a 44-22 percent margin. Thirty-four percent are undecided.  Cuomo told reporters today that he will not hold briefings with reporters present for the time being because of covid concerns.

Governor Cuomo announced changes to the tax rates for this year.  Income tax rates will be lowered for taxpayers filing jointly in the $43,000-$161,550 income bracket, from 6.09% to 5.97% – and from 6.41% to 6.33% for citizens jointly filing in the bracket of $161,550-323,200.  Additionally, the state will create a Middle Class Property Tax Credit, which the governor said will give up to $382 million in savings for more than a million homeowners with incomes up to $250,000. This is in addition to the permanent property tax cap.

The Muckdogs are hosting Challenger Baseball on June 19th at 1pm.  Challenger Baseball is a community program sponsored by the YMCA and Arc of Genesee Orleans that provides children in the area with disabilities the opportunity to play organized baseball. With the support of volunteers trained in disability awareness and sensitivity, athletes who range from ages 5-21 can have the unique opportunity to play the sports they love.  The game will take place at Dwyer stadium and Muckdogs players, coaches and personnel will be on the field assisting.  The game will be free to attend.

The Buffalo Sabres had a busy weekend with 2 games against the Pittsburg Penguins.  On Saturday the Sabres lost 3 to 2 and were knocked out of playoff contention.  On Sunday Buffalo beat the Penguins 4 to 2 for their 12th win during this season.  Buffalo will be back on the ice against the Boston Bruins Tuesday Night at 6:30.

Midday News Brief

Starting today, bars and restaurants across the state will be able to serve customers for a bit longer.
That’s because curfew at those establishments is being pushed back from 11 p-m until midnight. And, catered events such as weddings must now wrap up by one a-m instead of midnight.
Capacity limits will remain in place and customers still have to follow health and safety protocols. Today’s change comes just a couple of weeks after curfews were lifted at places such as gyms, movie theaters and casinos.

28 year old Andre Roberts was patronizing a bar on School Street well within the curfew limits.
As he got up to leave he allegedly forgot on thing…he didn’t pay.
He’ll be in City Court tomorrow.

Genesee County continues to be in a state of moderate drought. So are Wyoming and Orleans Counties. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 25% of New York is classified in moderate drought while more than 70% of the state is considered abnormally dry.

After rising and falling for weeks, gas prices are remaining pretty consistent in Western New York.
According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular in Batavia is now $2.85. That’s the same as what drivers were paying last week and is a penny less than this time one month ago.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in Genesee County rate dropped to 2.2%, the lowest since November.
In the Finger Lakes Region as a whole, there are 199 people hospitalized with coronavirus.

Morning News Brief

 

The Royalton-Hartland school district has come under scrutiny for its Information Technology Contingency Planning. According to a state audit summary, the board and district officials have not developed and adopted a comprehensive written information technology (IT) contingency plan. The district pays $10,500 for central site infrastructure support, which includes a disaster recovery plan template, a key component of an IT contingency plan. Although the district paid for a template, officials did not obtain it. Important financial and other data could be lost, or suffer a disruption to operations. The District serves the Towns of Hartland, Lockport and Royalton in Niagara County, the Town of Alabama in Genesee County, and the Towns of Ridgeway and Shelby in Orleans County. In response, the District said it generally agrees with the audit findings and will develop a comprehensive corrective action plan.

Court action is pending for an Akron man involved in a collision on West Main Street Road in Batavia. Sheriff’s deputies say they arrested 30-year-old Johnny Early Anthony of Knapp Road. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, moving from a lane unsafely and not having a license. No injuries were report. He’ll appear in Town of Batavia court May 24th.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that spring turkey season opens May 1, in all parts of Upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place April 24 & 25. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters aged 12 to 15 is open in all parts of Upstate New York and Suffolk County. Last year, turkey hunters took approximately 21,500 birds in New York during the spring season, an increase of about 25 percent from 2019.

Genesee County continued to be in a state of moderate drought. So are Wyoming and Orleans Counties. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 25% of New York is classified in moderate drought while more than 70% of the state is considered abnormally dry.

Tax collections for New York’s Fiscal Year 2020-21 totaled $82.4 billion — $3 billion higher than forecast by the state Division of the Budget. However, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said total tax collections were $513.3 million lower than the previous year. He says New York faces a long road to recovery, and the state’s economy still faces serious challenges, both in the short-term and long-term. DiNaploi noted that better-than-anticipated tax collections, federal resources and new revenues in the recently adopted budget allow for important investments in critical programs and services, but state policymakers must ensure that spending commitments are in line with recurring revenue sources.

New York will require Internet service providers to give high-speed Internet access to low-income households at an affordable cost. The new law requires all ISPs to offer high-speed Internet to low-income households at a cost of $15 per month. High-speed Internet will include the Internet access itself, as well as any equipment such as a modem and router.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday announced that the COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.35%, the lowest since November 7. In the Finger Lakes Region, there are 199 people hospitalized with another 346 in Western New York.

Weekend News Brief

Rochester has earned a distinction as the number 1 best city to live in post pandemic in the northeast.  Business Insider compiled the list and judged based on ability to work from home, housing affordability and cost of living among other factors.  Rochester came in 7th overall for the whole country.

Missing 14 year old Elizabeth Jones has been located and returned home safely.  She went missing on Wednesday and Batavia Police were asking the community for help finding her. They say that tips from the community lead them to her.

Batavia Police are asking the community for any information on an accident that occurred March 17th on Norris Ave.  The accident involved a Doordash driver who was operating a dark colored older model compact truck.  If you have any information call 5853456444 or email officer Perkins at aperkins@batavianewyork.com.

COVID Update:  From Friday at 4pm Genesee county has 17 new cases and 19 people have recovered.  1 of the new cases is at the Grand Rehab and Nursing Center.  We are saddened to report the death of a community member from COVID.  Orleans county has 16 new cases and 9 people have recovered.  1 of the new cases is a resident at Orchard Rehab and Nursing Center.  There are 86 active cases in Genesee county and 74 in Orleans.  Genesee county has nearly 14 thousand people who have completed their vaccine series and Orleans county has 8 thousand people who have had both shots.  In New York State 26.4 percent of the population have had both vaccine doses.  New York is 11th in the country in rate of vaccination.

Next Saturday is Earth Day and the Ellicott Trail needs some TLC.  From 9am till its done volunteers are needed to do Earth Day Cleanup on the trail.  Gloves, trash bags and a trail assignment will be given out to complete the 5 miles of the trail.  If you would like to volunteer but cannot attend the Earth Day Cleanup, please sign up through “Friends of Ellicott Trail” with John Roche from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle at: adammiller2@verizon.net or go to their website.

For the second year in a row the Stafford Historical Society has announced that the Taste of Stafford will not be held this year due to COVID concerns.  According to their statement “The Taste of Stafford, started in 2005, was usually held in Ilette Park in July. We usually worry about the weather, but now we have more to consider in light of the coronavirus pandemic.”

St Paul Lutheran School is doing 2 fundraisers the first is on Wednesday with Batavia’s Original from 4 to 9pm.  Order between those times and a percentage of the sales will benefit the Tuition Assistance account for the school.  The second is a hanging basket fundraiser.  Buy a coupon from the school for 22 dollars and use them at Delre’s Greenhouse for a flower and color of your choice between May 15th and May 28th.

Evening News Brief

Did you get both your COVID shots yet or have an appointment to get them?  You aren’t done yet.  Modern and Pfizer CEO’s have announced booster shots for both vaccines that will need to be administered within 12 months of getting the second shot.  Researchers in Rochester have found both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be over 90 percent effective in preventing the coronavirus over the course of six months and are studying efficacy over 9 months.  University of Rochester Medical Center has begun testing booster shots in a select group of participants who took part in the initial Pfizer trial there.  Rollout for the general population is expected to begin in the fall.

Governor Cuomo announced a new law today that requires internet providers to provide access to high speed internet for low income families for 15 dollars a month.  Cuomo signed the Affordable Broadband Bill into law at the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo.  High-speed Internet will include the Internet access itself, as well as any equipment such as a modem and router. This applies to companies including Spectrum, Altice, Verizon, Frontier, Windstream, and Greenlight Networks.  No word yet on when this goes into effect.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 10 new cases and 8 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 14 new cases and 9 people have recovered.  There are 86 active cases in Genesee county and 76 in Orleans.  Genesee county has nearly 14 thousand people who have completed their vaccine series and Orleans county has 8 thousand people who have had both shots.  In New York State 26.4 percent of the population have had both vaccine doses.  New York is 11th in the country in rate of vaccination.

On Sunday April 25th Los Samaritanos and the Country Neighbors churches of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley would like to invite anyone who wishes to help to come to the North Bergen Presbyterian Church to put together bags of comfort items for released detainees from the Buffalo Federal Detention center.  The bags are basic necessities and other useful items for the newly freed.  The packing party starts at 12:30 pm.  They are also collecting supplies.  They need, backpacks, warm clothes, snacks, travel size toiletries, flashlights, water bottles, large envelopes and 20 dollar bills.

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Washington Capitals 5 to 2 last night.  Their next game is on Saturday at 3 versus the Pittsburg Penguins.

Midday News Brief

Jared “Jake” Taft

Alexander Central Schools have a new superintendent.
He is Jared “Jake” Taft.
If his name sounds familiar, Taft has served as interim superintendent for Alexander since last September. Prior to that, Taft served as principal of Alexander Elementary.
He began his teaching career 20 years ago in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Elizabeth Jones

Batavia Police asking for the public’s help in finding a missing 14-year-old girl.
Elizabeth Jones was last seen Wednesday in Batavia.
She may now be in the Buffalo or Rochester.
Elizabeth is approximately 5’ 4”, 130 lbs, and has blonde hair.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the NYS Missing Persons Clearinghouse at 1-800-346-3543.

 

The Genesee County Local Drug Task Force reels in a Niagara Falls man. 30 year old LeRoy Thornton III is suspected of dealing crack cocaine in and around the Town of Batavia.
He is facing felony charges, but at his arraignment in Genesee County Court, he was released on his own recognizance.

Genesee County reports ten new positive cases of COVID-19. Three people from the group have been hospitalized. Orleans County reports 14 new cases with three people hospitalized. In Wyoming County, nine new cases were confirmed with 113 people in mandatory quarantine and 38 people in isolation.

More than 50 percent of New Yorkers 18 years of age and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than one in three in the same age group have been fully vaccinated.
More than 1.5 million doses have been administered over the past week. Here in the Finger Lakes Region, more than 337,000 people have been completely vaccinated.

Morning News Brief

Genesee County reports ten new positive cases of COVID-19. Three people from the group have been hospitalized. Orleans County reports 14 new cases with three people hospitalized. In Wyoming County, nine new cases were confirmed with 113 people in mandatory quarantine and 38 people in isolation.

More than 50 percent of New Yorkers 18 years of age and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than one in three in the same age group have been fully vaccinated. Officials report this morning that more than 12.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in New York State. More than 1.5 million doses have been administered over the past seven days.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York State have dropped to under 4,000 for the first time since December 1st. The number was pegged at 3,963. The statewide positivity rate dropped to 2.76 percent, its lowest since November 21. The statewide 7-day average positivity rate also declined to 3.05 percent, the lowest since November 25.

The Batavia Police Department is seeking public assistance in locating a missing 14-year-old girl. Elizabeth Jones was last seen Wednesday in Batavia. She may now be in the Buffalo or Rochester area and is believed to be with a male. She was last seen wearing a red and black hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants and carrying a blue and black duffle bag. Elizabeth is approximately 5′ 04″, 130 lbs, has piercings on both sides of her nose, and has blonde hair.

Acting on an Indictment Warrant, the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force, with help from the Niagara County Probation Department, arrested 30-year-old Leroy Thornton III of Niagara Falls. The arrest concluded an investigation into the transportation, sale and possession of crack cocaine in and around the town of Batavia. He was charged with felony counts of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned in Genesee County court and released on his own recognizance. The Genesee County DA’s office assisted in the investigation.

A former Webster Central School District coach who was accused – and later acquitted – of raping a student is now suing the district, as well as the Town of Webster and its police department. Kali Watkins, a former girls basketball coach, had been accused of raping a 14-year-old student in a locker room in January 2017. A jury found him not guilty in August 2019. In the lawsuit filed this week, the plaintiff and his attorneys paint Watkins as the target of an investigation driven by personal animosity by those in the Webster Police Department and the school district for which he worked, alleging his coaching style, grudges over personal relationships and racism may all have played roles in what unfolded.

Assessors Create New Website for Assessment Information

A new website has been recently designed and launched which will allow property owners in Genesee County to access their assessment data online.  All municipalities in Genesee County will no longer be using the existing OARS (Online Assessment Roll System) website and instead will now be utilizing the new PROS website:  https://geneseecounty.prosgar.com.

“The local assessors in the county which comprises the Genesee County Assessors Association wanted to create an easy and quick way for property owners to access their assessment information and we are confident this new site will accomplish that,” said Kevin Andrews, Director, Genesee County Department of Real Property Tax Services.

The new website gives property owners in Genesee County the ability to conduct a basic “Quick Property Search” as well as an “Advanced Property Search” in order to find their properties as well as any other properties within the county that matches their search criteria.  Assessment information displayed on the website includes structure information such as square footage, building style, and year built as well as information regarding exemptions, sales, and more.

“All municipalities in the county have already made the move to the new website,” Andrews continued.  “Eventually the current OARS website will no longer be available so we want to get the word out to our property owners about the change, which we believe will be a better resource tool for them.”

Morning News Brief

With New York ranking 12th among the states with the best school systems and some schools in the state holding online-only learning due to COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2021’s Best Public High Schools in New York State. WalletHub compared over 1,200 institutions across 26 key metrics. Two area schools made the top 500 list…Le Roy and Medina.

Teachers at Batavia High School have proposed three new courses that were approved by the city school’s Board of Education this week. The courses, two in Social Studies and one in English will only go forward if students show sufficient interest in taking the elective classes. The new courses are Sports and Race Relations through Digital Media; Law and Justice in America I and II will provide students an overview of the various areas of Civil and Criminal Law in our American legal system and 1960s Literature, Lyrics and Culture.

Southern Tier State Senator Tom O’Mara has introduced legislation that would require Governor Andrew Cuomo to seek the approval of the State Legislature before extending or modifying any of his existing COVID-19 executive orders. O’Mara said that the legislation, known as the “Stop Continuing Unnecessary Orders and Mandates At Once Act,” represents an ongoing effort to restore legislative checks and balances in state government.  It would require the governor to provide a five-day notice to the Legislature for any modification or extension of an existing executive order and provide legislators the opportunity to vote on whether the governor can move forward.

When Genesee Country Village & Museum opens its doors on Saturday, May 8, it will mark the 45th season of connecting visitors with history, art, and nature. Many guests don’t realize that the 68 historic buildings that comprise the picturesque Historic Village were all painstakingly moved there from locations around Western New York. The Museum is also hosting weekly discounted days for seniors and families, to give everyone the opportunity to come out and enjoy a day in the 19th century.

Batavia school district voters will head to the polls May 18th to cast ballots on the proposed budget adopted earlier this week. The budget doesn’t increase the district’s tax levy over the current budget. With rising property values and other factors, most property owners should see the education portion of their property taxes going down next year. The proposed budget calls for spending a little more than $52 million.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Buffalo has ruled that three debts of former funeral director Michael Tomaszewski cannot be discharged under bankruptcy law. The three debts are part of more than $3.2 million in liabilities Tomaszewski listed when filing for bankruptcy in February 2020. He initially filed for Chapter 11, a reorganization of debts, but changed the filing to a Chapter 7, forgiveness of all debts not covered by available assets, last month. In his ruling, the judge cited a section of federal bankruptcy law that says a debtor cannot discharge any debt that was the result of fraud or misrepresentation. In criminal court this week, Tomaszewski entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial.

Genesee County reports 15 new COVID-19 cases. Four people are currently hospitalized with virus-related illnesses. Orleans County reports 13 news cases while Wyoming County reports seven new cases.

A Warsaw man is dead after he crashed his ATV early Wednesday. 24-year-old Gregory E. Kersch died when he was trapped underneath the machine on Miller Road near the Railroad Crossing in the Town of Warsaw. Investigators said he struck the railroad crossing signal light post at the railroad crossing.  Gregory Kersch was ejected and the ATV was on top of him.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says hours for New York’s curfew rule for bars and restaurants amid COVID-19 are being extended. Starting Monday, establishments will be able to remain open until midnight. For months, these establishments could be open no later than 11 p.m. Catered events will also gain an hour of operation, and will be able to run until 1 a.m.

Congressman Chris Jacobs joined a bipartisan group of representatives and senators to call on President Biden to prioritize funding and policies in his budget proposal that bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains. Jacobs says “China is investing billions of dollars into developing this technology and mass manufacturing. We cannot afford to rely on them or other foreign manufacturers.”  Specifically, the letter calls for prioritized investment into initiatives outlined in the CHIPS for America Act that was enacted into law as part of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation creates incentives to support semiconductor research and development and the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

A chilling crime-story update from the Southern Tier in Allegany County… A Wellsville teenager is expected to spend the next decade in state prison, under a plea deal, for his role in the savage beating death and torture of 23-year-old Nicholas Burdge inside the victim’s Main Street apartment March 21, 2020. His lifeless body was then dumped into the Genesee River. The teen is one of eight defendants; three have already been sentenced. Justin L. Darden of state Route 417 pled guilty Wednesday afternoon to first-degree Manslaughter, a class B felony. We were the only media in the courtroom. Judge Thomas Brown told Darden that “Youthful Offender status is off the table.” Outside the courtroom, ADA Michael Finn said he was satisfied with the plea. Another defendant, Brandon J. Poemel of Wellsville, is expected to plead guilty next Wednesday to first-degree Manslaughter and will accept a 15-year prison sentence. Howard Burroughs of Wellsville is expected to go to trial.

Evening News Brief

NY is now shifting its attention to the farmers and food production facilities for vaccines.  The state says it “will coordinate with local health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers to bring pop-up vaccination sites to workers, including migrant workers, at their places of employment.”  Governor Andrew Cuomo said it is critical to get the vaccine to every part of the state, not just the highly populated areas.

The City of Batavia Fire department responded to a fire at 1 Jerome Place early this morning.  At about 5:12am firefighters arrived at the scene and had the blaze under control by 5:27.  Due to the intensity of the fire, the home received significant smoke damage to the second floor with minimal water damage to the first floor. One animal was rescued by bystanders prior to fire department arrival and all occupants were able to self-escape.

The Town of Batavia Fire Department Inc is doing its 2021 recruitment drive starting April 24th.  From the 24th to the 30th you can call to get a tour of the fire station, speak with a line officer and receive an application packet.  The fire department does accept applications from 16 and 17 year old’s, though if you are 16 to 17 you need an adult to accompany you.  Call 585 344 3284.

The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t hold on to an early lead last night against the Boston Bruins.  The game was lost for the Sabres 3-2 in a shootout.  Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Cozens scored for Buffalo.   Their next game is against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

Midday News Brief

Former Funeral Director Michael Tomaszewski appeared before a judge and admitted he bilked Batavia area families out of more than a half-million dollars.
He pleaded guilty to several felony counts that he miss used funeral pre-payments funds that should have been deposited in trust accounts.
Prosecutors say over 200 local families were impacted by the scam.
Most recently, Tomaszewski was charged with keeping a body in his West Main Street funeral home for two years.
Tomaszewski struck a plea deal and could get up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced July 13th.

Genesee County reports 19 new cases of COVID-19. Six of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals in an inmate at the Genesee County Jail. Orleans County reports 14 new cases. Wyoming County confirms just four additional cases.

Governor Cuomo says the state will start using Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine again once the federal government lifts a pause on its use.
There are concerns surrounding the one-dose shot after a few people who received it had issues with blood clots. The governor says there’s enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccine available at state-run clinics to make sure everyone who has already signed up for an appointment can still get their shot.
The pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is expected to last a few days.

High school football later today on WBTA.
The Oakfield-Alabama-Elba Aggies host York-Pavilion this evening.
Our John Vazquez and Jim Ernst call the action life from Oakfield. Kick-off is 6pm.

Morning News Briefing

Michael Tomaszewski, the former local funeral home owner accused of misusing his client’s deposit money and improperly disposing of human remains, has pleaded guilty to felony charges that could send him to prison for up to seven years. The plea offer included no promise of a sentence of lesser than the statutory time in prison of two and a third to seven years for his guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial. The sentences for each count will run concurrently under the terms of the plea.  Sentencing for the 49-year-old Batavia resident is scheduled for July 13 at 1:30 p.m.

All fans attending Buffalo Bills and Sabres home games next season will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination…that’s the word from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Poloncarz says the policy should be in place by the time the Bills start their preseason games this summer. The plan does not need New York State approval.

Genesee County reports 19 new cases of COVID-19. Six of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals in an inmate at the Genesee County Jail. Orleans County reports 14 new cases. Wyoming County confirms just four additional cases.

Genesee County will be taking walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic this afternoon at Genesee Community College from 1 – 4 p.m. No appointment necessary. This will be for the first-dose Moderna vaccine. Those getting a first dose today will have to schedule the second dose while at the clinic. The college is located at 1 College Road in Batavia, off of Stephen R. Hawley Drive.

After investigating a domestic squabble in Pembroke, sheriff’s deputies arrested 26-year-old Caleb Swendsen of Akron Road. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. He’ll appear in court May 24th.

New York hit a new record high in vaccine distribution in the last seven days. More than 1.5 million doses were administered during that time and more than 200,000 in the last 24 hours. New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

According to the New York State coronavirus website, international travelers are no longer required to quarantine upon arrival — including travelers who are unvaccinated. The state cites the CDC guidance which requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test. New York still requires the completion a health traveler form.

A Rochester man is facing three felonies after three people were arrested following a traffic stop on Route 33 in Bergen. The operator, 29-year-old Paula G. Pierce of State Street in Batavia, was allegedly driving with a suspended NYS driver’s license. There were two other occupants, 48-year-old Michael R. Whitman of Federal Street in Perry, and 29-year-old Justin P. Porter, of Bennington Drive, Rochester. Deputies conducted a vehicle search and allegedly found drugs and the three occupants were arrested. Porter is accused of providing deputies with a fake name and refusing to disclose his true identity. It is also alleged that while in custody at the Sheriff’s Office, he attempted to conceal drugs by hiding them in an interview room. Porter was charged with felony criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree — with intent to sell, felony tampering with physical evidence, felony conspiracy and several other counts. He was released on his own recognizance. Pierce and Whitman were issued appearance tickets on charges of fourth-degree conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.

On Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Batavia Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to the Alva Place parking lot across the street from Batavia Showtime (located in the Genesee Country Mall). Sharps will also be accepted at this location, as the United Memorial Medical Center will have staff on hand. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, which include masks for citizens dropping off medication.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County reports 45 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the county total to more than 4,800 cases.
31 of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Five of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two are residents of the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing.

The City of Batavia has implemented a “Carry-in — Carry-out” trash policy in all city parks. All park users are requested to remove any trash generated and take it with them.

Graduation season is about to get underway, and now health and safety guidelines have been announced for those events. State health officials say both indoor and outdoor commencements are allowed this year but capacity limits are going to be in effect. And depending on the size of the ceremony, people may have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test or show they’ve been vaccinated. Guests will also need to sit six feet apart and wear a mask at all times.

New York State is taking another step towards helping college students get vaccinated against COVID-19. It was announced yesterday that SUNY schools will be getting 21,000 doses of vaccine while 14,000 doses will be distributed to private schools. The hope is that students are able to get their shots before leaving campus for summer vacation. That would likely help reduce the infection rate among young people and prevent them from spreading the illness to their family members.

Tom Redband, head coach of Elba’s Lady Lancers has announced that he and his assistant, Marci Redband, also his wife, are stepping down from their coaching positions. They called it a difficult decision. The team is coming off its fifth straight championship season. A new head coach has not yet been named.

Morning News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new updated guidance for graduation and commencement ceremonies organized by schools, colleges and universities. Effective May 1, indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies will be allowed with limited attendee capacity, depending on the event size and the location. All event organizers and venues hosting ceremonies must follow the State’s strict health and safety protocols, including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information. For events that exceed the social gathering limits of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, event organizers and venues must notify the local health department and require attendees to show proof of a recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization prior to entry.

Tom Redband, head coach of Elba’s Lady Lancers has announced that he and his assistant, Marci Redband, also his wife, are stepping down from their coaching positions. They called it a difficult decision. The team is coming off its fifth straight championship season. A new head coach has not yet been named.

The City of Batavia has implemented a “Carry-in — Carry-out” trash policy in all city parks. All park users are requested to remove any trash generated and take it with them. The city Bureau of Maintenance asks everyone to help keep the parks clean for everyone’s enjoyment.

911 Dispatchers are in the spotlight this week, and properly so. National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week is a time to thank these men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving the public. The Genesee County Legislature will be issuing a proclamation at its Wednesday night meeting recognizing April 11 – 17 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week. The lights on the Old County Courthouse cupola will be changed to red, white and blue to acknowledge this week. Typically, more than 80,000 events are dispatched yearly in Genesee County. The Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center (Public Safety Answering Point-PSAP) is comprised of 25 men and women who dispatch to five local police agencies/New York State Police; 19 fire departments/Emergency Management Service; three ambulance services; as well as 41 other local, county, regional, state, and federal agencies.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that New York State will provide a new, separate allocation of 35,000 vaccines to address the college student population at SUNY schools and private colleges. This initial allocation will include 21,000 vaccines to be administered to SUNY students and 14,000 vaccines to be administered at private colleges. The vaccines will be administered to residential and non-commuter students who are leaving for the summer. SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “Vaccinating SUNY students before they leave for summer break is the key to restoring normalcy on our campuses when students return in the fall.”

The Finger lakes region currently has 203 COVID patients hospitalized. Gov. Cuomo says while we have made incredible progress, COVID is not over and we must all continue to practice the guidelines we know stop this virus in its tracks.

Added to the list of programs offered by Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse last September, the Reentry Program continues to provide support to men and women seeking to find their place in the community after being incarcerated. The main goal of this program is to help reduce or remove some of the barriers that are associated with reentry. The Program provides case management and peer recovery services to those who have been in jail or prison by connecting them to necessities. Eligible individuals are those who have a history of substance use, who were sentenced to jail or prison for a minimum of three months and who are returning to communities in Genesee County or Orleans County.

Genesee County reports 45 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the county total to more than 4,800 cases. 31 of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Five of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two are residents of the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing.

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has announced that all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive the maximum allowable level of food benefits for April. Additionally, those households already near or at the maximum benefit level now will receive a supplemental payment of at least $95 per month for as long as the supplemental payments continue. The additional food benefits will be distributed starting this week and continuing through the end of the month.

Midday News Brief

Colleges and universities around New York will soon be getting the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to get young people inoculated.  This comes as New York expanded eligibility for the vaccine to all people 16 and older – and as younger demographics continue to see spikes in infection rates.  Gov, Andrew Cuomo announced Monday at Suffolk Community College that SUNY schools would be taking the lead in a new initiative aimed at vaccinating college students directly on-campus.  Cuomo said the state is pushing to get all students vaccinated by the end of the school year, SUNY schools will be receiving an allotment of the vaccine to help achieve that goal.

New York still has the 2nd highest unemployment in the country with 8.8 percent compared to the national average of 6 percent.  The number 1 spot goes to Hawaii with 9.2 percent.  Genesee county is at 6.6 percent unemployment which is way down from last year when it was above 12 percent.  A hiring boom is expected as more and more restrictions are lifted.

Senator Chuck Schumer is trying to get money released to help combat the massive increase in anxiety depression and other mental health illnesses this year.  More than 3 times as many people reported mental health problems than last year.  5 billion dollars was included in the American Rescue Plan for New Yorkers dealing with mental health problems but has yet to be released.  Schumer is asking for a quick release.

If you paid for a vaccine for COVID then you may have been scammed.  New York Attorney General Letitia James is issuing an alert urging people to report any charges they got for COVID vaccines.  The vaccines are free and available for anyone over 16 years old.  If you were charged call 18007717755.

The price of Gas is down 1 penny in Batavia this week.  It is 2.84 for a gallon of regular.  The New York State Average is down a penny to 2.89.  Last year the average was 2.26.

The Sabres won against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday 5 to 3.  The Sabres announced that they are trading Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to the Bruins in return for Anders Bjork and a 2nd round pick.  Their next game is against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday at 7pm.

Morning News Briefing

 

State Police today are continuing to investigate a deadly ATV crash in Oakfield. Troopers said 43-year-old Thomas S. Butler of Oakfield was traveling northbound on Bliss Road and crossed Lockport Road.  The ATV exited the intersection and struck a rock embankment, causing the ATV to overturn several times. Butler was ejected and died at the scene. A 55-year-old passenger was also ejected and taken to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo with non-life-threatening injuries.  Troopers said neither were wearing helmets.  An autopsy is scheduled. This is still an active investigation.

When the Batavia City School Board meets this evening, members will be asked to accept the retirements of two staffers. The positions include a 4th grade elementary teacher and a food service helper. According to the meeting agenda, action will also be taken on a number of appointments. The Board will take action on a memorandum of agreement between the Batavia Administrators’ Association and school district. The meeting begins at 6:30 pm. and will be held at Robert Morris, 80 Union Street. The meeting will also be live-streamed.

COVID vaccination clinics are planned for today, Wednesday and Thursday. The clinics are available for any New Yorker age 18 and above. The vaccine is the first-dose Moderna. Today’s clinic will be at the Ridgeway Fire Hall, Route 104 in Medina. On Wednesday it will be at the athletic center at Genesee Community College Batavia Campus Center. Thursday’s clinic returns to the Ridgeway Fire Hall. Online appointments are required.

Genesee County deputies arrested 21-year-old Abdi A. Abdi of Rochester following a traffic stop in Byron. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Deputies also allege that Abdi possessed crack cocaine. He’ll appear in court May 3rd.

COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped in New York State to 4,083, the lowest since December 2. 197 people in the Finger Lakes region are currently hospitalized. New positive cases have been rising in the region. Positive cases have increased 2.85% to 3.09% as of Saturday. Western New York cases have also been slowly climbing. Genesee County has reported a total of 4,987 positive cases, 22 are new as of the weekend.

A New York Army National Guard soldier has been promoted in recognition of his capability for additional responsibility and leadership. Rick Hubbard from Bergen, assigned to the 222nd Military Police Company received a promotion to the rank of specialist. Army National Guard promotions are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential.

Weekend News Brief

Genesee and Orleans counties will host a moderna vaccine clinic on Monday in Medina.  The clinic will take place at Ridgeway Fire hall on rt 104 from 9am to 6pm.  The clinic will target Genesee Orleans county residents but the clinic is open to all eligible New Yorkers.  You can register for the clinic by following the link on wbtai.com.

https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=BF38DE56DA0E0B2CE0530A6C7C164AA4

The New York State Department of Health has released new guidance for schools reducing the social distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet as long as they are wearing appropriate face coverings.  This followed the CDC making this recommendation on March 19th and schools calling on the state health department to allow them to do the same.

As marijuana is made legal towns and villages have to decide whether they want it to be sold in their areas and some towns are saying no.  The town of Marilla says it is optin out while Tonowanda isn’t so sure.  The arguments for banning  dispensaries include worries over marijuana use being a gateway drug, increased accidents and health problems.  The arguments for include tax revenue, people going out of town to buy and then coming back anyway, and public support.

The House ethics committee in Washington DC is investigating Representative Tom Reed over the sexual misconduct allegations brought up after Reed said he was thinking about running against Governor Cuomo.  Reed has announced that he will not seek reelection or run for any office in 2022 and said that he has been struggling with alcoholism.

The New York State Empire Trail and Utica’s Boilermaker Race are coming together to sponsor the Empire State Trail Challenge.  Over 4 months participants can join in and virtually ride the trail as part of the race.  Participants are expected to register and each entry costs 25 dollars, registrants receive a t shirt, to ride one leg of the trail, New York City to Albany, Albany to Buffalo, or Albany to the Canada Border at Rouses Point.

The Buffalo Sabres lost last night to the Washington Capitals 4 to 3.  Casey Mittelstadt, Tage Thompson and Henry Jokiharju scored for Buffalo.  The Sabres will be facing off against the Philadelphia flyers in Philly Sunday at 2pm.

Evening News Brief

The pilot who was killed in the airplane crash in Cattaraugus county was a well known flight instructor at the Genesee County airport.  William Mandelare, of Brockport, died in the crash, which seriously injured Raymond Groetsch, also of Brockport. Groetsch, who also frequently flew in and out of Genesee County Airport, is reported in critical condition.  Mandelare was 80 years old.  Groetsch says that he was flying when the plane stalled on takeoff and its left wing hit the ground and caused the plane to cartwheel.  The plane was a Cessna 177 cardinal.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 24 new cases and 27 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 17 new cases and 10 people have recovered.  There are 84 active cases in Genesee county and 60 in Orleans.  In Genesee county 12 thousand 2 hundred people are fully vaccinated. In Orleans county 69 hundred people are fully vaccinated.   NY is 14th in the country with 22.6 percent of the population vaccinated. NY leads the county in the most new cases per day and the 4th most deaths per day due to COVID.  In totals NY has the 3rd most cases and the 2nd most deaths in the country.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the New Jersey Devils last night 6 to 3 in New Jersey.  Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson scored goals for the Sabres and Linus Ullmark had 32 saves.  The Sabres are back at home tonight when they host the Washington Capitals.

Midday News Brief

Local contractor and developer Eric Biscaro is proposing an adult residential community, similar to his Clinton Crossing in Batavia, for a 20-acre site in LeRoy.
Biscaro tells the county planning board his plan would be similar to Clinton Crossing but 50-percent bigger. He needs a zoning change for the project that is proposed for a site along East Ave.
The plan cleared the Planning Board with some modifications. Biscaro says there is still a lot of work to be done before construction can begin.
The planning board also approved a special use permit for a drive-thru at the proposed Chipotle Grill on Veterans Memorial Drive.
Also approved was a design change for Ellicott Place, the 10 unit apartment project on the second floor of the Save-a-lot building. Contractor Victor Gaultieri was given the go-ahead to build outdoor patios for each apartment.

New COVID cases in Genesee County remain in the double digits. The health department reports two dozen new infections.
Orleans County reports 17 new cases.
One is an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility. Four are inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility.

For the first time in quite a while, amusement parks across New York State will be allowed to reopen today. They were shut down last year as the number of coronavirus cases continued to increase statewide. Capacity is being limited to just 33-percent and health and safety protocols will need to be followed, including the wearing of masks.

Le Roy Central Schools have been designated as one of the best communities for Music Education in the country.
This is according to the National Association of Music Merchants.
LeRoy was one of 686 schools districts in the nation to be honored

Morning News Brief

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors has approved more than $48 million in grants, interest-free loans, and low-cost loans to support vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across New York State. The village of Albion is earmarked to receive nearly $1.3 million in short-term low interest financing and a nearly $2 million grant for water treatment plant upgrades, transmission main repairs and distribution system upgrades.

The New York State Police and local law enforcement will be participating in the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” mobilization to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Law enforcement throughout the state will be stepping up patrols during this enforcement initiative, which runs through Monday. During the October 2020 distracted driving campaign, law enforcement throughout the state issued 30,151 tickets for vehicle and traffic law violations, including 2,897 tickets for distracted driving. New York State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin Bruen said accidents that result from the use of hand-held devices are completely avoidable and often result in terrible tragedy, like the recent death of Trooper Joe Gallagher. Trooper Gallagher was struck by a distracted driver in 2017 while helping a disabled motorist. He passed away on March 26.

The Le Roy Central School District has been designated as one of the 2021 Best Communities for Music Education in the country. This national designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Le Roy is one of 686 districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2021. Le Roy has received this designation 15 out of the last 16 years and continues to thrive in providing music education through many opportunities throughout the district.

A curfew order for bars and restaurants in New York has been extended. Under an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, these businesses cannot stay open past 11 p.m. The administration enacted the order amid the pandemic. Under an order announced Thursday, the governor said the curfew would be extended through May 6. Numerous bars and restaurants have pushed back against the order, suing the state to resume regular business hours.

COVID cases in Genesee County continue to climb. The health department reports two dozen new infections. Eight of the current positive cases are hospitalized. Orleans County reports 17 new cases. Four of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One is an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility. Four are inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility. In Wyoming County, 14 new cases have been reported and 53 people are in mandatory isolation.

The New York State Liquor Authority has extended the executive order permitting takeout alcohol. A new update on its COVID guidance website names the new expiration date as May 6. Previously, the order was set to expire this week.

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in New York increased last week. According to the U.S Labor Department, the number of new jobless claims in New York jumped 15,714 to 67,309. That’s the highest level since January 30.

Cattaraugus County deputies have released new information on a deadly plane crash Wednesday at the Great Valley Airport. 72-year-old Raymond Groetsch of Brockport was critically injured and taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC in Buffalo. 80-year-old William Mandelare of Brockport was fatally injured. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced the allocation of $689 million through the nation’s Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing. New York was allocated $73 million. The Housing Trust Fund was launched in 2008 as an affordable housing production program.

Cutbacks are coming to the General Motors facility on Lexington Avenue in Rochester. A union representative said 255 people, both hourly and salary, will lose their jobs in August. It’s nearly one-third of the workforce at the facility. The union has been told if the plant doesn’t receive any new work from GM, the plant will have to close in 18 months.

Evening News Brief

Long Island Republican congressman Lee Zeldin has announced that he is going after the governor’s seat in 2022.  He is the first republican to officially announce that he will be running against embattled Cuomo.  Zeldin says that this is the last stand to save the state and said he is aiming to stop record numbers of people leaving New York over high taxes and lost jobs, suffocating regulations and rising crime.  He says he is ready to bring New York back from the brink and return it to being a leader. After the announcement 2 more republicans joined in the race, Andrew Giuliani and Rob Astorino also threw their hats in the ring.

Governor Cuomo renewed 2 executive orders that were set to expire, one allows restaurants to deliver or serve takeout alcohol and the other requires a food purchase with alcohol.

Rochester police are issuing warnings about carjacking’s in Rochester for all travelers who may go to the Flower City.  They warn travelers that someone might rear end you on purpose to get you to stop and get out of your vehicle and then rob you or steal your car at gunpoint.  Police say in the case of an accident to lock your doors and stay in your car and call the police.  Rocehster has seen a marked increase in crime and homicides this year.  In the past week there have been dozens of people shot in the city and a death in an apparent carjacking of a 71 year old man in Gates last night.

Starting today there is a campaign to curb distracted driving throughout New York State running through the 12th.  Last year during the campaign over 30 thousand tickets were issued.  Governor Cuomo dedicated this years campaign to Trooper Joe Gallagher who died this in March from injuries sustained in 2017 in a distracted driving accident where he was struck by a motorist who was texting on their phone.

If you have old electronics cluttering up your home Ascension Parish wants them to recycle for a fundraiser.  They will be collecting used electronics for 13 days starting today and going through April 20th to fundraise for Camp Good Days and Special times on Keuka Lake south of Branchport.  Camp Good Days and special times is a camp for kids who have been touched by cancer whether they had it themselves or someone in their family has had or has cancer.  They also have programs for those who have or have family with sickle cell anemia.

Midday News Brief

You hardly think of the Genesee County Department of Motor Vehicles office, but the presence of an armed guard is expected to become a permanent fixture.
Originally the guard was posted at the DMV to maintain order and social distance during the COVID pandemic. But County Clerk Mike Cianfrini thinks the guard is invaluable.
The cost is $28,000 dollars a year to be paid for COVID-19 relief funding. A committee of the legislature has approved he guard and it now goes to the full legislature for final approval.

Genesee County has reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 infections over the past day. Nine of those individuals are hospitalized, two are inmates at the Genesee County jail.

The Genesee County Planning Board meets tonight and will consider a plan for a Chipotle Grill on Veterans Memorial Drive.
The owners are seeking a special use permit to add a drive-thru to the building.
So far, few concerns have been expressed.

The son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he’s considering a run for governor next year.
Andrew Giuliani says he believes he has a good chance of unseating Governor Cuomo in 2022 due to the growing number of scandals surrounding his administration.

High School Football tonight.
At 6 tonight WBTA brings you live play by play coverage of Clyde-Savannah against Notre Dame. The game to be played at VanDetta Stadium. John Vazquez and Dan Drummey call the action.

Morning News Brief

Resolutions to keep a security guard at the DMV and forge a secure arrangement with Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden are on their way to the full Genesee County Legislature. The board’s Ways & Means Committee has voted in favor of amending a contract to continue funding a security guard position. Cost of the added expense of $28,800 is expected to be covered by funding connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee also voted in favor of a memorandum of understanding between the county and the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden — the volunteer group that services and supports the approximately 11,000 square feet of county property on West Main Street, adjacent to the Holland Land Office Museum.

Genesee County reports ten additional COVID cases. Nine of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Genesee County Jail. Orleans County also reports ten new cases. Four of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile in Wyoming County, officials report 17 new cases of COVID.

New York will continue to apply state income tax to 2020 unemployment benefits in full despite the federal government exempting the first $10,200. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration confirmed the decision Wednesday during a news conference on the new $212 billion state budget. The decision came almost a month after the federal government, in the most recent stimulus package, opted against taxing the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received by individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 in 2020. Cuomo’s budget director said those benefits have been subject to state tax for decades and that has not changed.

The Genesee County Planning Board meets tonight and will consider a plan for a Chipotle Grill at Towne Center on Veterans Memorial Drive. The owners are seeking a special use permit to add a drive-thru to the building. So far, few concerns have been expressed.

Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, announced plans to run for governor of New York in 2022. Giuliani told the Washington Examiner he plans to run and says he believes he can win the race. Giuliani previously worked as part of Donald Trump’s presidential administration. Current Governor Andrew Cuomo has faced backlash for his administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, as well as at least ten women accusing the him of sexual misconduct.

Congressman Chris Jacobs is in Texas for a three-day trip to the Southern border to tour immigration facilities and receive briefings from Border Patrol and local law enforcement. Jacobs is traveling with seven other members of the House of Representatives. Jacobs says “We are seeing a growing humanitarian crisis and a surge in criminal activity at our Southern border that is a direct result of President Biden’s reckless policies.”

New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider says he is pleased with the newly proposed state budget. He said a $1.4 billion increase in foundation aid will strengthen support for individual districts by at least 2% this year and put all districts on track for full funding of foundation aid within three years. This is a goal that has been elusive for far too long in New York and that NYSSBA has called for consistently. The Association also says it appreciates the Legislature’s rejection of proposals that would have consolidated or eliminated several important expense-based aids, including reimbursement for programs and services provided to students through BOCES.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced a new opportunity for young hunters. The new state budget includes legislation that now allows youths ages 12 and 13 to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow under the supervision of an experienced adult hunter in upstate counties that opt-in to participate. Until now, New York was the only state that didn’t allow 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt big game with a firearm. The legislation requires each county to “opt-in” to the program by adopting a local law allowing for 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer in accordance with the Environmental Conservation law.

NY Congressman Tom Reed will no longer serve as the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. According to a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County, Pennsylvania has been elected to replace the Southern Tier Republican as co-chair of the bipartisan caucus. Reed announced in March that he will not seek re-election in 2022 after a former lobbyist accused him of sexual misconduct.

Evening News Update

The COVID vaccine is now available for every New Yorker 16 and up but the only vaccine 16 and 17 year old’s can get is the Pfizer vaccine.  There are no Pfizer vaccines available in Genesee county so 16 and 17 year old’s must travel to Rochester or Buffalo to get the shot.  Although teens arenot as impacted nearly as heavily by COVID medical experts are still urging them to get vaccinated to protect other’s who may be more susceptible than them.

Friday is the deadline for the Genesee County Youth Bureau’s 18th Annual Family Game Night which takes place on April 29th from 5:30 t 7:30 pm at County Building 2.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Family Game Night will be a “Grab ‘n’ Go” style event. Families will drive up to the main entrance of County Building 2 and staff will greet them with a family tote that will consist of information about the services provided by the Genesee County Departments as well as prizes and activities.  Each bag will also have snacks, beverages and of course a brand new board game for families to start their own “Family Game Night” at home.  To register call 344 3960, only the first 30 families will be able to sign up.

Six flags Darien Lake is holding a drive through hiring event this and next Saturday to fill their over 1500 positions for the 2021 season.  They ask prospective employees to apply inline at sixflags.com/darienlake/jobs.

Midday News Brief

Batavia Downs is holding a job fair today.
The gaming facility and harness track is looking for servers, dining hosts, cooks, bussers, bartenders and gaming hosts.
No experience is necessary for some positions. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Batavia Downs has full- and part-time positions available with benefits.
The in person job fair is taking place from 2 until 6 p.m. today in the Park Place room at the Downs.

Six flags Darien Lake is looking to fill 1,500 jobs for this summer. Darien Lake is holding a drive-thru hiring event this Saturday, April 10th and again next Saturday, April 17th. Applicants should apply online prior to attending the drive-thru event. You will then be given an interview time.
A variety of positions are available including lifeguards, ride operators, cashiers, front gate ticket takers and sellers as well as positions in Medical Services, Security, Guest Relations, Accommodations, Retail and Food Service. Positions start at $12.50 an hour.

SUNY has announced a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all students before they leave campus for Summer vacation. Right now, officials are working on distributing over 18,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine to 34 SUNY campuses in the state. Since the Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires one dose instead of two, it’ll speed up the vaccination process significantly.

After weeks of negotiations, Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature have finally reached an agreement on the new state budget. The fiscal plan calls for $212-billion dollars in spending, which is roughly 18 billion dollars more than last year. The deal includes a plan to raise taxes on high-income residents, legalization of mobile sports betting and sets aside funds for schools. There will also be comprehensive reforms put in place at nursing homes. Once the Senate and Assembly pass the budget, it’ll head to Governor Cuomo so he can sign it.

For the first time in quite a while, the Buffalo Sabres have won two games in a row. The Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils five-to-three at Prudential Center last night. The same two teams will meet again tomorrow in New Jersey.

Morning News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have announced an agreement on the New York State Budget. The final budget accomplishes major legislative priorities, including a record $29.5 billion in aid to schools; $29 billion in public and private green economy investments; Legalizing mobile sports betting; and Implementing comprehensive nursing home reforms. In combination with more than $12 billion in federal budget relief, New Yorkers will get green infrastructure spending. Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt said provisions like unemployment for undocumented workers are “out of whack.” The minority leader also said the budget will only contribute to people further leaving the state.

State lawmakers have renewed their call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow all schools to return to full-time, in-person classroom instruction. The move has also been supported by area school superintendents.  The lawmakers said that the only thing still standing in the way of the return to in-person learning for all students is a Cuomo executive order requiring a minimum distance of 6 feet between students in classrooms. In a joint statement, the area legislators said, “It is time for students to go back to school. The Cuomo administration should immediately issue revised guidance to allow all schools to return to full-time, in-person classroom instruction. It is a critical action that needs to move forward for the health and well-being of all of our students.”

Genesee County reports 27 more COVID-19 cases. Nine of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Genesee County Jail. Officials in Orleans County report 11 new cases while Wyoming County reports just two new cases.

The final three candidates for the Byron-Bergen superintendents job will interview today. The finalists are Patrick McGee who is Byron-Bergen’s Junior-Senior High School principal; Dr. Jennifer Sinsebox, executive director of curriculum and data management at Wheatland-Chili Central School; and Tracy Marchionda. assistant superintendent for the Geneva City School District. Additional final interviews are scheduled for next week as well. The job begins July 1st.

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras has announced a program specifically designed to begin vaccinating SUNY residential students prior the end of the spring semester. SUNY has secured its first reserved shipment of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate SUNY residential students prior to their departure for summer break. Because the J&J vaccine requires just one dose, tens of thousands of on-campus students scheduled to finish the semester in early May can get their one shot without having to wait weeks for a second dose before going home.

NY Congressman Tom Reed continues to lay low. The Corning Republican had often appeared on cable TV shows and his staff routinely sent out press releases. Reed also had stopped, at least for now, his regular town hall sessions with his constituents. Reed hasn’t posted anything on Facebook since March 22 when he announced his public meetings would be rescheduled. On March 21, the congressman issued a press releases saying he wouldn’t be running for any public office in the future and apologized after being accused of sexual harassment involving a female lobbyist. Reed said he entered treatment in 2017, saying he was powerless over alcohol.

RG&E is marking the completion of a major effort to help upgrade its systems. For a decade, the company has been working through its Rochester Area Reliability Project. The $389 million effort aims to boost local electric transmission services. The new substation was one element of the project, which also included upgrades to existing substations and the installation of more than 27 miles of new or rebuilt transmission lines.

Evening News Brief

Smoking marijuana recreationally may be legal now but other laws, specifically the use of firearms and marijuana, have not changed.  The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits anyone who owns marijuana a from also owning a firearm.  So if you own a firearm and also are found in possession of marijuana the police can still arrest you for unlawful possession of a firearm, though the weed would be legal.  This is currently in effect and will also pertain to those who work in the marijuana industry.

The Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is warning people against taking pictures of their vaccination card and posting it to Social Media.  That card has a lot of information. A lot of information that could be used inappropriately in the wrong hands.  For instance someone could fake having had the vaccine by copying the card with their own information.  Or use your name and date of birth in nefarious ways.

Community Action of Orleans and Genesee Counties Head Start Program is doing a fundraiser to put books in the homes of all head start families.  Build a library, create a reader is looking to send books home with kids once a month and is asking the public to jump onboard the reading train with a 60 dollar donation which will buy 12 months worth of books for a single family.

Midday News Brief

Two robberies in Orleans County lead to a police pursuit with shots fired.
It all started yesterday morning with an armed robbery at Crosby’s in Albion. A lone suspect brandished a weapon and demanded cash then fled in a vehicle.
Then just after 10:30 yesterday morning, another armed robbery at the Family Dollar in Medina. Again, a weapon was shown – this time a handgun – the suspect fled with cash in a small black car with out of state plates.
That vehicle was later spotted by Albion police and the chase was on. Road blocks were established. The suspect vehicle then drove toward a deputy causing the lawman to have to jump out of the way to save his life.
At this point shots were fired into the suspect’s car. It then traveled several more miles before losing a wheel and coming to a stop. Two suspects, a man and a woman, were taken into custody. There were no injuries to either the suspects or police. It is believed the suspects are linked to multiple robberies in Monroe and Orleans Counties.

An important chunk of state aid for Batavia makes its way into the final budget bill.
It means $800,000 dollars for the city of Batavia in the form of Video Lottery Terminal (VLT)  aid. Basically, this is extra cash for the city to have Batavia Downs within its border.
That budget bill has yet to be approved and signed by the governor.

As of today, any New Yorker over the age of 16 will become eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.
But, there are some things these people should know before signing up for their shots.
Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for people ages 16 and 17.
In order to get a Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine you must be at least 18.

The Buffalo Sabres will be on the road tonight as they search for a second straight win. They’ll be taking on the New Jersey Devils in Newark.
The Sabres are coming off of a three-to-two shootout victory over the New York Rangers Saturday night and have earned a point in each of their last four games.

Morning News Brief

Orleans County Law Enforcement agencies have been working two robbery cases in the Villages of Albion and Medina along with a pursuit of the suspect vehicle through several Towns in Orleans County. The armed robberies happened at the Crosby’s Store on North Main Street in Albion and later at the Family Dollar in Medina. The suspect vehicle was spotted by police in the Town of Ridgeway. The vehicle sped away refusing to stop and travelled through several towns including Ridgway, Gaines and Carlton. Police said the vehicle was travelling at high rates of speed at times, driving through lawns and ditches and avoiding police road blocks. At one point the suspect vehicle intentionally drove at a deputy blocking the roadway with a marked patrol vehicle causing the deputy to jump out of the way to avoid being struck and killed. As the suspect was attempting to strike the deputy, shots were fired into the suspect vehicle in an attempt to stop the suspect from using the vehicle as a deadly weapon. The suspects, a male and female, were eventually taken into custody. There were no injuries to any police officers or the suspects. The cases remain under investigation.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have vaccination and testing clinics with appointments available for Genesee and Orleans County residents. Starting today vaccine is now available for people age 16 and older.  Pfizer is a 2-series dose, 21 days apart, and is recommended for people aged 16 and older.  Moderna is a 2-series dose, 28 days apart, and is recommended for people aged 18 and older.  Johnson & Johnson is a one-series dose and is recommended for people age 18 and older. In Genesee County, the clinics are held at the Athletic Center at GCC in Batavia and in Orleans County, the clinics are held at the Ridgeway Fire Hall in Medina.

Genesee County is reporting 47 new positive cases of COVID-19, including data from over the weekend. Seventeen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Nine of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Twelve of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Genesee County Jail.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that New York restaurants are now eligible for their own direct federal pandemic relief. This was all part of the American Rescue Plan that recently went into effect. Schumer announced that more help is on the way for the Southern Tier economy, but that local restaurants need to apply through the Small Business Administration.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.87, up 1 cent from last week. One year ago, the price was $1.94. The New York State average is $2.90 – down a penny from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.30. AAA Western and Central New York reports Batavia gas prices are $2.85 (up 1 cent since last week).

It’s been two weeks since the state was asked about new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that states students’ desks can be separated by three feet rather than six feet. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team addressed the guidance Monday during his press briefing. New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the state will need to work with local school districts on the guidance because each district is different. The Governor said the new recommendations should be coming out within a week, but he said it’s not easy coming up with the guidance.

Evening News Brief

The Batavia Center Culinary Team out of BOCES ranked in the top 10 in national rankings for the NASA culinary challenge this week with their Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie.  According to the judges’ feedback, Isaiah Merrell, Alexa Wolcott, and Sara Logsdon had one of the best creations in taste, texture aroma and appearance.  Isaiah is a senior from Byron-Bergen High School, and Alexa and Sara are both juniors from Pavilion High School.  Some other entries were Roasted Butternut Squash risotto from New Jersey, Granola Bars from Connecticut, and Grilled Steak with Asparagus from Alabama to name a few.  If their recipe is chosen number 1 it could be sent to the ISS for astronauts to enjoy in space.

2 Batavia Men have been arrested for Rape.  The first, 35 year old Kyle Gugel is charged with violating an order of protection, illegally entering a residence and forcibly raping a victim on March 18th at 9:30am on West Main street.  He was arrested on the 31st.  The second man is 19 year old Hezekiah Burch is charged with first degree rape, first degree sex abuse, and attempted sex abuse all with forcible compulsion.  The charges come from aleggedly forcibly raping a 15 year old over a month long period earlier this year.  He was arrested on the 29th.

Gas prices are up a cent in Batavia but overall fairly steady.  This week a gallon of regular will run you 2.85 in Batavia but the New York State average is down a penny to 2.90.  Nationally it is up a penny to 2.87.  Oil Prices are down but the amount of travel is up causing a wavering effect but no firm up or down movement in the price of gas.

The Buffalo Sabres won in a shootout against the New York Rangers Saturday Night.  Their 3-2 victory is thanks to Tage Thompson who scored the winning goal and Victor Olofsson and Casey Mittelstadt put a puck in a piece.  Buffalo’s next match up will be against the New Jersey Devils in New Jersey at 7 Tuesday night.

Midday News Brief

New data shows Western New York has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the state.
During the past week, over four-percent of residents have tested positive, which is above the state average of three-point-six-percent.
Genesee County is showing a 7-day average infection rate of an even 3-percent.

Starting tomorrow, all New Yorkers over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Since such a large number of people will be able to get vaccinated, appointments could fill up fast and officials are urging everyone to be patient.
So far, one-in-three New York residents have received at least one vaccination while one-in-five are fully vaccinated.

It’s a very big day for businesses such as casinos, movie theaters, gyms and bowling alleys statewide.
That’s because they no longer have to follow an 11 p.m. curfew the state put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
But, catered events like weddings and parties must end by midnight. Restaurants and bars still have to follow rules they’ve been dealing with for months, but a decision on when those establishments could be allowed to remain open longer is expected in a few weeks.

A Rochester man faces multiple felony counts after he was pulled over on Clinton Street Road in Stafford.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested 33-year-old Kerwin Vega early yesterday. He was charged with DWI with an 11-year-old passenger, driving without a license, DWI with a previous conviction in the past ten years and endangering the welfare of a child,
Vega will answer the charges in Town of Bergen court next week.

New York begins the new week without benefit of a state budget. The spending plan was due last Thursday and negotiations reportedly are ongoing. Thursday is a key day for many. Without a budget adopted today, 39,000 state employees who work in health care and correctional facilities and other state institutions might not get their paychecks on time.

Morning News Brief

A Batavia teen has been accused of raping a child under the age of 15. City police say they arrested 19-year-old Hezekiah Burch stemming from a January 18th incident on Hutchins Place. Burch has been charged with two counts of first-degree rape with forcible compulsion, first-degree sex abuse with forcible compulsion, and attempted sex abuse in the 1st degree with forcible compulsion, all stemming from separate incidents over a one-month time frame. He was initially remanded to Genesee County Jail pending court action.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Genesee and Orleans counties are now under a Drought Watch. There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch, but residents are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. The drought watch is triggered by the State Drought Index, which reflects precipitation levels, groundwater levels, and stream flow in nine designated regions throughout New York.

An Ontario man lost his appeal stemming from his arrest nearly four years ago in Genesee County. 49-year-old Ronald Barber was convicted in 2018 on a felony criminal mischief charge. A jury found that Barber damaged limousines belonging to S & S Limousines of Le Roy where he was employed as a driver. Barber maintained he was denied effective assistance of counsel.  The Appellate Court ruled in a two-page decision that although “an acquittal would not have been unreasonable,” the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence. Finally, the Court ruled that the sentence was not unduly harsh or severe.

New York begins the new week without benefit of a state budget. The spending plan was due last Thursday and negotiations reportedly are ongoing. Thursday is a key day for many. Without a budget adopted today, 39,000 state employees who work in health care and correctional facilities and other state institutions might not get their paychecks on time. Another 146,000 state employees at administrative and executive state agencies are expecting their pay day April 14.

Beginning today, New York State will lift the 11 p.m. curfew for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, pool halls, and gym and fitness centers. However, bars and restaurants will still be saddled with the 11 p.m. curfew.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has identified eight villages and three cities in New York that were in some level of fiscal stress in 2020, based on scores that largely reflect the time period before the COVID-19 pandemic. DiNapoli evaluated all non-calendar year local governments and designated three cities and three villages in “significant fiscal stress,” one village in “moderate fiscal stress” and four villages as “susceptible to fiscal stress.” The good news…no communities in Genesee County made the list.

United Memorial Medical Center announces renewed visitation beginning today. Hospital officials say visitors will be capped at two per patient for up to four hours. However, only one person can visit at a time. Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Visitors are still banned in the Emergency Department.

Batavia Police arrested 24-year-old Alexandro Rodriguez after a domestic incident on Dellinger Ave. where he allegedly punched another person in the face and stole property from her. Police leveled charged of robbery and assault. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of cash bail. Rodriguez is scheduled to reappear in Batavia City Court May 6th.

Weekend News Brief

Ellicott street has been run down for a long time in the area where Santy’s Tire Sales used to be and Savarino Company of buffalo says it may be only a short time before something is done with that parcel.  Savarino’s says they are trying to get a grant from the New York State Homes and community Renewal to turn it into a retail, housing and entertainment development complex and may close as early as May.  The $22.5 million project calls for construction of a five-story apartment building with 55 new, modern workforce housing units, as well as a brewery, restaurant/beer garden and potential further development on 3.31 acres. It is expected to create 20 jobs in the city’s downtown area.

The CDC has updated its guidance for travel to say that those who have been fully vaccinated and waited the 2 weeks for the vaccine to take effect can travel freely within the US without being tested for COVID or quarantining when they arrive in different states or when they return home.  They still caution that mask wearing and social distancing will be important.  The CDC still recommends that international travelers get tested and quarantine citing variants that exist in other countries which may be resistant to the vaccine.

COVID Update from Friday at 4pm: Genesee county has 13 new cases and 10 people have recovered.  8 people are hospitalized/  Orleans county has 10 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  3 people are hospitalized.  There are 68 active cases in Genesee county and 53 in Orleans.  Nearly 10 thousand people in Genesee County have been fully vaccinated which is roughly 1/6th of the population.  In Orleans county almost 6 thousand people or 1/7th of the population have been fully vaccinated.  New York State surged ahead in the percentage of the population who had been fully dosed this week with 19.1 percent.  New York now ranks 13th in the US by percent.  New Mexico is still in the lead with 25 percent.

Be careful when you step out your front door.  A family in Holley learned that lesson when they stepped out on their concrete front porch only for it to collapse under them into a 10 foot deep hole.  The porch was only a 2 foot by 6 foot stoop between the door and front yard and is only about 6 inches off the ground but collapsed into the space between the foundation and basement.  Structural engineers say the metal holding the concrete slab up deteriorated leading to the father and son falling in as it gave way beneath them.  The concrete folded over on the father and pinned him, he was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.  His son had an ankle injury.

Thursday the 8th at 7pm is the next trivia night at the Holland Land office Museum and the topic will be the life and works of the Bard, William Shakespeare.  The next event on the schedule is April 4th with a presentation by James Black on the edged weapons of the Civil War.  You can attend either event in person or Via zoom or facebook live.  Seating is limited to 12 people in person at each event.

Guided Dog Walks At the Genesee County Park

Bring your best friend and join us for a guided dog walk through the Genesee County Park & Forest on Saturday April 3rd, Saturday May 1st, Saturday June 12th and Saturday July 10th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

This guided walk is great for socialization and healthy exercise! Meet at the Interpretive Nature Center.Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Current license or proof of up-to-date rabies vaccination is required. Aggressive dogs will not be allowed to participate. Cost is $5/dog and all proceeds go to the Genesee County Animal Shelter.Masks must be worn whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance. Participants are encouraged to wash their hands often or use hand sanitizer. Pre-registration is required!

Call (585) 344-1122 to register!Call(585) 344-1122 to register. For more information visit our website HERE 

Midday News Brief

New York State Troopers will soon be wearing body cameras.
The directive is expected to begin in Western New York by the end of the summer.

Batavia is headquarters for Troop A which covers all of Western New York.

 

 

State Police Field Commander Steven Nigrelli talks about how the cameras will work:

The requirement for Troopers to wear body-worn cameras is the result of legislation that was signed into law last June.

Genesee County reports ten new positive cases of COVID-19.
Twenty-one of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
Seven of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

The State has released unemployment data for February.
Last February,, just before the COVID lockdown, Genesee County’s unemployment rate was 5-percent.
This year, the jobless rate for February was 6.6-percent.

Let your dog take you for a walk.
Beginning tomorrow, the Genesee County Park and Forest welcomes you and your best four-legged friend for the first in a series of walks in the park.
The guided walk is great for socialization and exercise for both dog and human.
The one hour walk begins at 10 tomorrow morning and ill continue on select Saturday mornings through July. There is $5 per dog registration fee with proceeds benefiting the Genesee County Animal Shelter. Call: 344-1122 to register.
Remember to bring a mask…for yourself.

Morning News Briefing

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York State Police has deployed its first body-worn cameras as the agency’s new program begins its statewide rollout. The requirement for Troopers to wear body-worn cameras is the result of legislation that was signed into law last June. The body-worn cameras will be worn by uniform members at the rank of Trooper while they are on patrol. The first cameras will be deployed in the Capital Region. The expansion will reach this area throughout the summer and fall. State Police Field Commander Colonel Steven A. Nigrelli said under the law, the cameras will automatically start recording whenever a patrol vehicle’s emergency lighting is activated, and anytime a member unholsters his or her firearm or taser.

Court action continues in the case of a Bergen man who was killed after his vehicle was struck by a garbage truck February 3rd in the town of Gates. 63-year-old Paul Laudico sustained a fatal injury. In Gates court this week, 31-year-old Jerry Moore entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of criminally negligent homicide. Police allege Moore was watching a cellphone video while driving when the crash occurred.

National restaurant chain Chipotle has its eye on Towne Center at Batavia for a new location according to a special use permit application filed on its behalf by COR Development Company, owners of the plaza. The building is the former location of Metro Mattress in the same structure as Game Stop and Five Guys. If approved, the location would be modified to include a drive-thru and outdoor seating. The application for a special use permit and site plan review will be heard this month by the County Planning Board before being sent to the Town of Batavia Planning Board.

Legislation has been signed into law in Albany, reforming the practice of solitary confinement in New York State correctional facilities. This legislation limits the amount of time an incarcerated person can spend in segregated confinement to 15 days, clearly defines and reduces the number of disciplinary infractions eligible for segregated confinement, and exempts certain vulnerable populations, including the young, elderly, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and individuals with a serious mental illness.

Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt, along with members of the Senate Republican Conference, called for an end to dangerous and extreme pro-criminal, anti-police policies and rhetoric being driven as a result of One-Party rule in Albany. Ortt said a convicted cop killer, has been appointed to sit on one of Governor Cuomo’s “police reform” boards in Ithaca. The senator says allowing a cop killer to have the authority to provide public safety policy advice and to “reimagine” police departments is unimaginable.

Genesee County reports ten new positive cases of COVID-19. Twenty-one of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Seven of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. From Orleans County…eight new positive cases were confirmed Thursday. Five of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. In Wyoming County, just five new cases were reported. Officials also reported one additional virus-related death. Thirty-seven residents remain in mandatory isolation. Overall, the region has experienced a slow decline in COVID cases.

As New York enters its second day of the new state fiscal year, it does so without benefit of a new budget. The spending plan way due Thursday, but the day came and went with little action. A budget spokesperson said negotiations are continuing. GOP leaders say they have been shut out from the negotiations. Several sticking points remain and talks will most likely continue into next week.

Evening News Brief

New Allegations that Governor Cuomo used his Governor’s office staff to type and edit his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” have surfaced in a New York Times article.  According to the article Cuomo made more than 4 million dollars off the book deal.  Production has been paused since the allegations against Governor Cuomo started coming last month.

New Yorkers who travel out of state no longer have to quarantine when they return home as long as they didn’t leave the States.  International travelers still have to quarantine.

An Allegany county man has been charged with sexual assault and rape of minors stretching back to the mid eighties in Livingston county.  75 year old Frank Wright was charged with 5 counts of first degree rape stemming from the rape in 1987 and 88 of a child who was 12 at the time, 5 counts of first degree sodomy against a victim who was 5 years old in 1992.  2 counts of sexual abuse of a 4 year old in Avon in 1998.  More victims are coming forward and allege a history of abuse spanning over 60 years.  Wright is held in Livingston County Jail and any other victims are encouraged to come forward by calling 585 243 7100.

The family that lost their home to the fire on Maple street earlier this week is getting some help form an unlikely source.  The Easter Bunny is raising money in an event on Saturday in Leroy by having people make a donation to the family to get a picture with the furry holiday mascot from 9 to 11:30 at the gazebo on Wolcott Street.  The fundraiser is being organized by Jenna Read and Ally Scofield and all proceeds go to helping the family.  The Store in Batavia, Junk Drawer is also accepting donations of clothes and personal items such as shampoo and soap.  See Our News Partner The Batavian for details.

Chipotle may be coming to Batavia.  The national chain has submitted a special use permit application for the building that used to house Metro Mattress next to GameStop in the Batavia Towne Center Plaza.  If approved the location would be altered to include a drive through and outdoor dining.

Midday News Brief

Governor Cuomo has signed a law legalizing recreational use of marijuana for people over the age of 21. It could still be up to 18 months until you can buy it at a local dispensary.

The big push for legal pot was fueled by the potential for tax revenue at the state level.

 

 Rachael Tabelski

 

But City Manager Rachel Tabelski tells us there is a payoff at the local level as well:

 

 

Municipal governments do not have any authority on adult use, but can decide whether the city allows for a dispensary.
At that point Tabelski says, the city can regulate the times and location n through local zoning.

The April 1st deadline has arrived, but members of the Legislature are still trying to finalize a new state budget. Each chamber did pass one of the several bills required for the budget to be completed. The Legislature is expected to be back at the Capitol later today, but there’s no word yet how much longer the budget process could take.

An online fundraiser has been established to help a Batavia family of six after a fire this week destroyed the home they were renting at 37 Maple Street. Several pets perished and the family lost all their belongings.
A GoFundMe page has already raised more than $5,800. So far, more than 80 residents have donated.

Genesee County reports 17 new cases of COVID-19.
Five of the current positive individuals are hospitalized and three new cases involve inmates at the Genesee County Jail.
A dozen new COVID cases have been confirmed in Orleans County while, officials in Wyoming County reported six new virus cases.

For the first time since February 23rd, the Buffalo Sabres have won a game and avoided setting a new NHL record in the process.
Buffalo came into the game having lost 18 in a row, tying the mark set by the 2003-2004 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sabres will look to make it back-to-back victories tonight when they host the New York Rangers.

Morning News Brief

Batavia Police have cleared a man who stopped by a house on Maple Street before it erupted into flames. Police have been assisting the Batavia City Fire Department in the investigation of the fire at 37 Maple St. that occurred Tuesday morning. The investigation has currently shown that an individual who had stopped at the home to pick up refrigerators did not have anything to do with the fire’s origin. The fire is still under investigation this morning.

Genesee County reports 17 new cases of COVID-19. Five of the current positive individuals are hospitalized and three new cases involve inmates at the Genesee County Jail. A dozen new COVID cases have been confirmed in Orleans County with three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile, health officials in Wyoming County reported six new virus cases.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Institute will begin its annual Honorary Membership drive in Genesee County within the next 10 days according to Sheriff William Sheron, Jr. The Institute was established in 1979.  The flagship program of the Sheriffs’ Institute is the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp for economically challenged children.  The Camp, in its 45th year of operation, is located on Keuka Lake and 840 children from across New York State attend each summer.  The Sheriffs’ Institute pays the entire cost of the camp stay and transportation.  Most children attending would not otherwise have an opportunity for vacation travel or a summer camp experience.

Every year, the New York State Budget is due on April 1, but this year, lawmakers missed the mark. Some members of the state Assembly told an Albany TV station that the budget is expected to be passed by the end of this week, or early next week at the latest. However, if weeks go by without a complete budget, there could be implications.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined other members of the Assembly and Senate Minority Conferences in calling on Gov. Cuomo to release $1.3 billion in CARES Act housing assistance funding to aid tenants and landlords. If the money were to go unused by the end of September, it is possible the federal government could take the funds back, leaving tenants and landlords without much-needed assistance. Tenants have struggled to pay rent due to the pandemic, causing many small landlords to face difficulty in paying their mortgages.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis. The move came less than twenty-four hours after the legislature approved the bill. The bill also expands New York State’s existing medical marijuana and hemp programs. Cities, towns, and villages may opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by December 31. They cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization. Some of the tax money generated by the law will go to education and drug treatment. The legislation includes additional funding for drug recognition experts and law enforcement to ensure safe roadways. The use of cannabis by drivers will remain prohibited and will carry the same penalties as it does currently.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today urged hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger to hikers due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. Hikers are advised to take extreme caution on low elevation trails. Hikers will encounter variable conditions such as thick mud, flooded areas, and deep slushy snow.

Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. announces the appointment of Deputy Sheriff Kyle J. Tower.  Deputy Tower recently completed the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office field training program and is assigned to the road patrol division. Tower brings over eight years of public safety experience to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputy Tower currently resides in Darien.

An online fundraiser has been established to help a Batavia family of six after a fire this week destroyed the home they were renting at 37 Maple Street. Several pets perished and the family lost all their belongs. A GoFundMe page has already raised more than $5,700.

Midday News Brief

Batavia Downs will be extending its hours beginning Monday.
Effective April 5th, the Downs will be open from 8am until 1am Sunday through Thursday and until 3am Friday and Saturday.
Patrons of the Down will must still undergo a temperature check at the door and will be required to wear a mask at all times.

A bill that would make New York the 15th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana is on its way to Governor Cuomo’s desk.
Members of the state Senate and Assembly passed the bill late last night following several hours of debate.
The legislation allows New Yorkers over the age of 21 to legally possess under three ounces of pot and clears the way for retail sales of the drug to happen in about 18 months.

This should come as no surprise to those of us who live here but New York State leads the country with the overall number one tax burden
The personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2021 Tax Burden by State report.
New York also leads the nation with the number one individual income tax burden.
Alaska has the lowest tax burden.

The Buffalo Sabres will be looking to keep their name out of the NHL’s record books tonight. They’ll be hosting the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center. When Buffalo lost to the Flyers in overtime Monday, they tied the 2003-2004 Pittsburgh Penguins with their 18th consecutive loss. Should they lose again, they’d set a brand new record of 19 straight defeats. Face-off for tonight’s game is set for seven-30 p-m.
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Morning News Brief

After years of attempts, New York’s lawmakers have voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. After Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law — which he’s expected to do — New York will join more than a dozen other states that have legalized cannabis. The state Senate and Assembly hashed out final details in a Tuesday debate. It passed the Senate with a 40-23 vote and the Assembly with a 100 – 49 vote. Senator Rob Ortt called the legislation “deeply flawed” and he, along with every other senate Republican, voted against the measure. New Yorkers won’t be able to immediately purchase marijuana; it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.

The investigation continues into a two-alarm fire that heavily damaged a home at 37 Maple Street in Batavia. Everyone made it out of the two-story home safely. Four adults and two children were living in the rental property. Heavy smoke and flames confronted firefighters when they arrived. Fire crews remained at the scene for around two hours. The tenant said the fire started outside but they don’t know how it happened. Three dogs and six cats perished in the fire.  The Red Cross assisted.

Two Genesee County residents remain hospitalized from COVID-19 and health officials say nine new positive cases have been confirmed. Another nine cases were also reported in Orleans County – one person is hospitalized. Beginning tomorrow, New York State will no longer require quarantine for domestic travelers. International travelers will still need to quarantine. All travelers will still be required to complete the Traveler Health Form.

Genesee Community College will recognize its students during its 53rd Commencement Ceremony, taking place completely online. Honoring this group of deserving achievers, will be keynote speaker, Dr. Susan Salvador, former Vice President for Student Affairs at Monroe Community College in Rochester. As Genesee Community College continues to develop its virtual commencement, details will be made available on www.genesee.edu/commencement. The event is set to take place May 22nd.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that collegiate sports can bring fans back to the stands under strict state guidelines, beginning Friday. Intercollegiate sports at large-scale venues that hold more than 1,500 attendees indoors or 2,500 attendees outdoors can host up to 10 percent indoor or 20 percent outdoor capacity. All attendees must present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or completed COVID-19 immunization prior to entry. Small-scale college venues that host intercollegiate, intramural, or club sports can host spectators at either two fans per player, or the social gathering limit of 100 attendees indoors or 200 attendees outdoors.

Tickets were issued stemming from a debris fire Monday night behind a home on Lake Street Road in Le Roy. Multiple fire departments were brought in to extinguish the flames. The DEC also responded and an environmental conservation police officer issued a ticket for unlawful open burning. It carries a minimum $500 fine. The DEC reminds residents there is a statewide ban on open burning that runs through May 14.

Court action is pending for a Pavilion man following his arrest. Genesee County deputies arrested 51-year-old Daniel Knauss of West Park Street. He was charged with menacing after he allegedly chased and threatened another person, causing fear of physical injury. He’ll answer the charge in Pavilion Town Court on April 6th.

Morning News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning this morning, all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. To date, nearly 369,000 residents of the Finger Lakes have had at least one vaccine dose and 203,000 have had the complete vaccine series.

The Buffalo Bills have announced that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York will be the new naming rights partner for Bills Stadium. Effective immediately, the home of the Bills will now be named Highmark Stadium. Under the agreement, the Bills and Highmark will work together towards enhancing regional health and wellness through various activation opportunities at Highmark Stadium. Fans can expect to see the signage transformation completed over the coming months and will be in place by the kickoff of the Bills 2021 season in September. The Buffalo Bills will host a ceremony today with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to celebrate the partnership. The event will be streamed live on the Bills’ social media channels.

The Western New York National Cemetery is open and accepting donations of interment flags for their Avenue of Flags program. To donate your interment flag to be flown in memory and in honor of your loved one or for more information contact 585-344-4295 or info@bataviafuneralhomes.com. Of the 143 national cemeteries in the United States, only three are participating in the Avenue of Flags program, including the Western New York National Cemetery.

The national average price of gas is down two cents this week, while New York’s didn’t change. Batavia prices dropped a penny from last week to $2.84. The New York average is $2.91/gallon; One year ago, the national average was $2.02 and New York’s was $2.34. Triple-A says growing stock levels have helped to put downward pressure on pump prices.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have Pfizer and Moderna vaccination clinics with appointments available for Genesee and Orleans counties’ residents. Whichever COVID-19 vaccine is available is the right vaccine to get now! All approved vaccines are effective and saves lives.

Since Friday, Genesee County reports 34 new COVID cases. Twenty of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Two infected people are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals is a resident of the New York State Veteran’s Home at Batavia. Orleans County reports 11 new cases with one hospitalization. Four of the new positive individuals are inmates of the Albion Correctional Facility. Meanwhile, 18 new cases have been reported in Wyoming County since Friday. Twenty-seven people are in mandatory isolation. Forty-nine people have died from virus-related complications.

Embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing another accuser. This one is a resident of Western New York who says the state elected official made her uncomfortable – in her own home. Sherry Vill claims Cuomo made her uncomfortable when he kissed her on the cheek in front of her husband and son during a 2017 tour of flood damage to her home near Lake Ontario. Vill says she is not pressing charges but is willing to participate in the New York Attorney General’s investigation into the governor.

St. Paul Lutheran School announces that they will be adding sixth grade, beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year. The school is currently accepting registrations for preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as kindergarten through sixth-grade. The school is located at 31 Washington Ave. in the City of Batavia.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced that starting tomorrow all New Yorkers 30 and over are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.  Starting April 6th all New Yorkers 16 and up will be eligible.  The governor says, to date, more than nine million vaccine dosages have been administered statewide – two million of those at mass vaccination sites run jointly by the state and FEMA. More than a million have been administered in the past week.  New York’s positivity rate currently stands at 4.13% as of Monday, with more than 4,500 people hospitalized for the virus.

Oak Orchard Health which has a branch on West Main Street has been awarded 3.7 million dollars form the American Rescue Plan Act.  These funds will be used to: expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.

St. Paul Lutheran School located on Washington Ave in Batavia is adding 6th grade beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year.  They are currently accepting registrations for preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as kindergarten through sixth-grade.

Gas prices are up just a bit in Batavia and down across the country.  In Batavia the price per gallon of regular is up 1 penny to 2.84 while the New York average is the same from last week.  The National average is down 2 cents to 2.86.  Gasbuddy predicts that gas prices will fluctuate because of the Suez canal blockage last week and over the weekend.

Midday News Brief

The Genesee County Health Departments says it has a supply of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
And, they have appointments available in both Genesee and Orleans Counties.
The vaccine is now available for people 50 and over. Both the Pfizer and Moderna is a 2-series dose.
In Genesee County, the vaccination clinic is held at the GCC Athletic Center and in Orleans County shots are available at the Ridgeway Fire Hall in Medina.
You still need an appointment.  This is the link to make an appointment:  https://bit.ly/GOHealthVaccine

Village of Oakfield residents: This one is for you. A public Hearing is scheduled for the proposed Village Budget and Proposed increases in water and sewer rates. There are no increases in salaries for the mayor and village trustees. The hearing will take place on Monday, April 12 at 6:30p.m.

Our weekly gasoline price report:
Batavia: the average prices for a gallon regular is down a penny from last week…but still up 40-cents from a year ago.
The numbers are according to Triple-A.

By the end of the week, New York could become the 15th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. The law would allow people 21 and older to possess a small amount of the drug, however retail sales likely wouldn’t begin for up to two years. It’s projected marijuana legalization could bring in an additional $350-million in tax revenue to the state each year. The Legislature is expected to vote on the measure in the coming days and if passed it would likely be signed by Governor Cuomo shortly after.

The Buffalo Sabres will be back at home tonight following their recent road trip and they’ll be trying to avoid tying an NHL record. Buffalo is set to host their fellow East Division rivals the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center. Should the Sabres lose, they’d tie the mark set by the 2003-2004 Pittsburgh Penguins with 18 consecutive losses. The last time Buffalo won a game was February 23rd against the New Jersey Devils.

Morning News Briefing

A Rochester woman will appear in court next week following what deputies say was an alcohol-fueled vehicle crash in Bergen. Sheriff’s deputies said that 22-year-old Cynthia McKnight of Avenue D allegedly failed to yield for a stop sign, causing her vehicle to go off the road and into a field. There were no injuries. McKnight was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .18% or more as well as failing to stop at a stop sign. She was directed to Town of Bergen court April 7th.

VA Western New York Healthcare System says it has now tallied its 20,000th COVID-19 vaccination. The milestone includes the vaccination of enrolled and eligible Veterans, Homeland Security employees and VA health care staff. Enrolled U.S. Army Veteran Kanesha Hicks, who deployed to Afghanistan with her Military Police unit, was the 20,000th person to receive their first of two Pfizer vaccinations from the VA System. In the coming weeks, the new SAVE LIVES ACT legislation will authorize access to COVID-19 vaccinations for those not currently enrolled or eligible for VA health care.

New York is taking a major step toward legalizing marijuana. The State Assembly and Senate will take up a bill next week that would allow for personal possession of up to 3 ounces and legalize recreational weed. Despite his ongoing scandals, state leaders say they have now reached an agreement with Governor Cuomo to legalize marijuana for people over the age of 21. Municipalities can opt out of sales.

A man remains in the Genesee County Jail today. Batavia police arrested 28-year-old Andrew Roberts, charging him in in three separate bench warrants issued by City Court. He was arraigned and remanded to jail. He’ll return to court April 28th.

A Williamsville man accused of violating an order of protection has been arrested on multiple counts. Deputies allege that 32-year-old Peter Mancuso went to a home on Roberts Road in Alabama and caused damage to a door, which violated the protection order. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance. A full stay-away order was issued.

A Batavia man is facing charges after allegedly being caught with a firearm on school grounds earlier this month. City police say 32-year-old Emery Green allegedly had a firearm on Batavia City School District property. He is charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Green was arraigned virtually in Batavia City Court by Judge Durin Rogers and was released on his own recognizance. Additional court action is set for April 13th.

This is National Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day. The annual observation will be conducted at the Botts Fiorito American Legion Post this afternoon at 5 p.m. The ceremony will take place outside at the Flagpole. The Auxiliary President will offer a reading in memory of three area servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They are Gary Scott, Harry Van Alst and George Fry. Following the remembrance reading, a wreath will be placed in memory of their service to this community, state and nation.

Weekend News Brief

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has a plan for what to do with the money from legal recreational Marijuana if and when it gets approved.  She has proposed using it to fund reparations to bridge the wealth gap between people of color and whites.  She proposes creating a universal basic income program for Black and Brown people or a home ownership program that would work in formerly redlined areas.  Warren compared the program ideas to tax breaks and incentives for large companies and real estate developers.  Evanston Illinois recently began a similar program with households being eligible to receive up to 25 thousand dollars for home repairs or paying off loans or late penalties.

The two teens who allegedly set a man on fire on his porch on Lyle Ave in Rochester have been indicted on murder and arson charges.  14 year old Adriel Riley and 16 year old Zayvion Perry are indicted on two counts of second-degree murder and one count each of fourth-degree arson and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Riley is charged as a juvenile offender.  They are accused of dousing 53 year old Steven Amenhauser with a flammable liquid and then setting him on fire, he died 4 days later in the URMC Trauma Burn Unit at Strong.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 7 new cases and 24 people have recovered.  Orleans County has 4 new cases and 2 people have recovered.  There are 54 active cases in Genesee county and 37 in Orleans.  Tracking the vaccine in Genesee county just over 8 thousand people have had both doses and in Orleans county just over 43 hundred people are fully vaccinated.  New York State has vaccinated 14.1 percent of residents which makes us 40th in the nation in percentage of the state population fully vaccinated.  Number 1 is New Mexico with 21.5 percent.

If you missed it on Friday the Genesee Symphony Orchestra concert in tribute to Bob Knipe recording is available on our news partner the Batavian.  This hour long concert is to honor Mr. Knipe who was a member, board member and active community musician for many years.

The wind on Friday knocked out power to more than 36 thousand people across western New York with gusts recorded as high as 70 mile per hour.  Genesee, Niagara, Chautauqua and Erie Counties were the hardest hit.  National Grid deployed more than 13 hundred workers and had restored power to 97 percent of households by 9pm Friday night.

If you live in low income housing that was built before 1978 and have a child under 6 or there is an expectant mother living there and also have lead paint there is money to get rid of the lead in your home.  The Genesee Orleans county health department has received a grant of 1.3 million dollars to deal with lead based paint hazards in residential buildings in Genesee and Orleans counties.  For information call 585 344 2580 or visit the Genesee County Health Department website.

Evening News Brief

The Excelsior pass for events such as weddings and venues such as movie theaters, stadiums and arenas was just announced by Governor Cuomo.  This vaccine passport app on your phone is a free and voluntary way to prove you are vaccinated or have recently had a negative covid test via a qr code which will be read at the door.  Cuomo says that this app can be used to gain entry to events which would normally be above the gathering size limit.  You can download the app for android or iOS.

The New York State Attorney Generals office is calling for an investigation into Governor Cuomo over preferential covid testing for high ranking officials and Cuomo’s family members.  AG Letitia James wants state ethics investigators to get involved.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center has approved Plug Powers project for the STAMP facility neat Alabama NY.  They are hoping that the investments by the green energy company into the infrastructure, jobs and facility itself will bring much needed development and revenue to the area.  GCDEC also approved incentives for a new solar farm in Elba and Pembroke.

Midday News Brief

A High Wind Warning is in effect for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties until 4 this afternoon.
The National Weather Service predicts Southwest Winds of 25 to 40 miles per hour, gusting to 60.
The weather service says potentially damaging winds will down trees and power lines. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.
National Grid is making preparations for power failures. The electric utility says has increased staffing in Western New York by 13-hundred workers.

The Board of Western Region OTB, owner of Batavia Downs, has approved nearly 400-thousand dollars to fix up Park Road in front the track.
The work will include new street lighting and landscaping.
The project is expected to begin next month.

Western New York restaurateur Russ Salvatore has written a $6,000 dollar check to the Pembroke Varsity Girls basketball team.
The donation to the girls’ annual “Shooting for a Cure” campaign brings the 10 year total fundraising to $200,000 dollars
The proceeds benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Genesee County COVID cases from over the past day:
24 new positive cases reported. Three more inmates at the county jail have tested positive.

 

Visitor restrictions at all New York nursing homes are being eased.
The State has announced that visitation is now allowed at all times and for all residents. Exceptions include unvaccinated residents in areas of high community spread and residents with confirmed COVID infections.

The Buffalo Sabres have lost 16th consecutive games– a franchise record. They lost to Pittsburgh Wednesday and Thursday nights. Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams coached the team last night. This came after interim head coach Don Granato was ordered to self-isolate as part of COVID-19 protocols.

Evening News Brief

The health department has 2 clinics which have appointments available for residents of Orleans and Genesee counties.  They are encouraging anyone eligible who hasn’t received their vaccine yet to sign up.  A reminder that people 50 years old and up are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

Did you pay for live sports that didn’t air or even get played during the 2020 pandemic?  Seven cable and satellite companies are now pledging to refund their subscribers in New York a total of 76 million dollars.  The Attorney General’s Office says that 4 million people have already received their refunds or rebates and more are possible in the future.

The City Yard Waste Station on Law Street will open on April 5th and remain open Monday-Saturday 12-6pm until November when the hours will change to 11am to 5pm.  Batavia residents can bring yard waste material (grass, leaves and tree limbs) to the Law Street Yard Waste Station as there is no spring curbside pickup of these materials.  No stumps, building materials, rocks or fill.

We may soon be inundated with red eyed black bugs that will set up quite a racket in the trees.  Billions of Cicadas are set to emerge from the soil across western NY and it will be a bigger emergence than usual.  Periodic cicadas, which emerge every 17 years and are different from the green bodied yellow eyed annual cicadas are set to come out this spring and summer.  This is in addition to the annual cicadas.

The Buffalo Sabres are now holders of an ignominious record.  They have now lost the most games in a row of any team in the NHL since the shootout rule went into effect in the 2005-2006 season.  Their 15th loss straight was to the Pittsburg Penguins on Wednesday night 5-2.  Their next game will be against the Penguins again tonight at 7.

Morning News Brief

A new report claims Governor Cuomo told top state health officials to prioritize coronavirus testing for his family in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sources tell the Times Union several of his relatives were screened by high-ranking members of the state Department of Health. Associates of the governor were also reportedly given similar priority, but there are no signs pointing to those tests being done by high-ranking officials. A senior advisor to the governor claims these allegations are an attempt to rewrite the past and that the state went above and beyond to get all residents tested for coronavirus.

Here in Genesee County there have been 12 new COVID-19 cases over the 24 hours – four are hospitalized. Officials report five of the new cases are individuals who are inmates at the Genesee County Jail.
Seven new positive cases of the virus reported in Orleans County.

The area’s community theatre, Batavia Players, cashes in big from New York State.
The Main Street Theatre 56 project is getting a $417,000 grant to put toward construction of their new theatre in the City Center Mall.
Batavia Players, a not-for-profit organization for over 80 years is the longest continuing regional theater company in New York State.+
The Main Street 56 Theater and the Main Street 56 Dance Company will occupy 14,000 square feet in the City Centre.

A Batavia family, that has operated businesses in the city for nearly 60 years, are selling and plan to retire. Gary VanValkenburg operated The Bedroom on East Main Street which later became the Rest and Revive float Center. His parents operated the first business on the site, known as Central TV. He says until a new owner is found, it will be business as usual at the Float Center.

After years of trying, it appears state lawmakers have finally reached an agreement on legalizing recreational marijuana. Under the tentative deal, people 21 and older would be able to purchase and use the drug through a distribution and cultivation system run by the state. For weeks, lawmakers involved in negotiating the bill have been working through key parts of the legislation including how impaired driving laws would be enforced. If approved, retail sales of marijuana could begin in about two years

Governor Cuomo’s office is promising the two women making sexual harassment accusations against the governor, but who still work for him, will not face retaliation. In addition to the sexual harassment investigation, the governor’s office is facing two other investigations. They include an FBI criminal probe on nursing home death data and an assembly review of both, which could lead to impeachment proceedings.

Afternoon News Brief

Congressman Chris Jacobs announced the formation of an Advisory House Agriculture Committee to hear directly from farmers and share information that effects farmers.  Congressman Jacobs’ Agricultural Advisory Committee is comprised of members who represent all areas of NY-27 agricultural production. The committee is set to have its first official meeting later this month and will meet quarterly. Jacobs is also a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Maple Caucus for the 117th congress.

Doctors are saying that in order to get maximum protection a person must get both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine if they are getting a two shot vaccine.  University of Buffalo’s Chief of infectious disease at the Jacob’s School of Medicine, Dr. Thomas Russo says that “With the second dose, your antibody response increases 10 fold. It will significantly increase the duration of how long the vaccine is going to be effective for.”  Younger people, which means under 55,  and women are more likely to have side effects after the second dose but they should clear within 24 to 48 hours.

Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee say a decision on whether Governor Cuomo should be impeached could take months to reach. The investigation is expected to cover several issues including multiple allegations of sexual harassment made against the governor and how his administration handled nursing home residents in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be high winds on Friday according to the national weather service which has issued a high wind watch for Friday from 8am to 5pm effecting most of western NY including Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties.  Expect winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour with up to 60 mph gusts.  Officials warn of widespread power outages and travel difficulties.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 12 new cases and 30 people have recovered.  We are saddened to report the death of another person over the age of 65 in the community.  This brings the total dead to COVID in Genesee county to 120.  There are 3 new cases in Orleans county and 5 people have recovered.  Genesee county has 63 active cases and Orleans has 27.

The New York State Assembly has passed a bill that will extend unemployment insurance to parents who were forced to leave the workforce to care for their children.  Over the last year, more than two million working mothers have had to leave their jobs because of the pandemic.  The new legislation clarifies that meeting child care obligations constitutes a “compelling family reason” to leave the workforce, therefore qualifying those parents who quit their jobs to take care of their children for unemployment insurance benefits.

The Muckdogs have announced that Batavia Native Griffin Della Penna is going to be the voice of the Muckdogs.   The class of 2019 graduate was a batboy for the Muckdogs during the 2017 season and currently studies at Canisius College with a major in Sports Broadcasting and Strategic Communication.  He writes for the Griffin school newspaper and covers men’s and women’s basketball and soccer.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo is being accused of attempting to manipulate the Attorney General’s investigation into sexual harassment claims that surfaced against him over the last month.  Governor Cuomo’s office has been having lawyers meet with staff members before they are interviewed by the AG office.  State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat, said that Cuomo’s move is a form of intimidation. “The lawyers the governor is providing do not represent staff questioned by the attorney general’s office. It’s highly inappropriate. New Yorkers should be outraged, and it’s another example of the governor using his position of power to circumvent accountability.”  These reports come after ethics concerns were raised over State Vaccine Czar Larry Schwartz making several calls to county executives across NY State asking if they were loyal to Governor Cuomo last week.

President Biden has created a new national day, March 23rd is now National Agriculture Day.  Mr. Biden in a press release said that this is to recognize farmers across the country who stepped up to help during COVID 19.  Specifically he said that black, indigenous and other farmers of color have faced the harmful effects of systemic racism and National Agriculture Day will address “racial inequities for all to participate in the Great American Enterprise of agriculture.”

The Genesee Orleans County Health Departments have several upcoming vaccination clinics with appointments available for Genesee Orleans county residents.  County Health officials are urging all eligible residents to sign up for a vaccine appointment.  Links can be found on WBTAi.com

Genesee Clinic at GCC

https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=B9996975FE3A04BCE0530A6C7C166199

Orleans Clinic at Ridgeway Fire Hall, Medina

https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=B9996975FE3C04BCE0530A6C7C166199

The Buffalo Sabres streak of losses continues with a 5 to 3 loss to the New York Rangers last night.  The Sabres are now down 14 games in a row which ties the longest losing streak in NHL history since the shootout rule was implemented.  They are tied for most straight losses with themselves in the 2015 season, The Hurricanes in 2011, and the Islanders in 2010.  If they lose again to the Penguins on Wednesday night they will have the longest losing streak record.

Morning News Brief

Rachel Tabelski

Batavia City Hall is looking to fill two key positions.
Newly named City Manager Rachel Tabelski says the she has placed two help wanted ads: one is for her assistant City Manager, the other is for Director of Public Works:

The salary range for the assistant city manager is is between $82,946 and $100,604  per year. No salary range was listed for the DPW director.
The Acting head of the DPW, Ray Tourt, doesn’t want the job. He wants to go back to manager the maintenance bureau.

Starting today, the number of New Yorkers eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination will grow again significantly. Beginning at eight a-m, anyone over the age of 50 can sign up to get their shot either online or by calling 1-833-697-4829. Governor Cuomo made the announcement yesterday while discussing the new “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign.
The goal of the program is to get more houses of worship to team up with medical providers and create community vaccination sites.

Livingston County deputies have released the name of the woman who lost her life in a weekend fire.
21-year-old Mikayla Ross died Saturday after flames engulfed a two-story home on Caledonia Avon Road. Several first responders were injured at the scene but none seriously. The investigation into what started the fire continues.

The state budget deadline is coming up soon, and it appears New York’s finances are in better shape than first thought. State Budget Director Robert Mujica said yesterday that thanks to billions of dollars from the federal government and increased tax revenues, cuts proposed by Governor Cuomo are no longer needed. Now, members of the Legislature are calling for increased spending to support programs aimed at helping New York recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Lawmakers and the governor have until April 1st to reach a budget agreement on-time.

Today members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee will be meeting with the lawyers hired to handle the impeachment investigation into Governor Cuomo.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says the private law firm will look into sexual harassment claims made against the governor.
The investigation will also look into how the governor’s administration handled nursing home patients in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo has announced the roll up your sleeves initiative attempting to get churches on board to serve as vaccination centers.  New York Ranks 41st out of the 50 states in percentage of the population vaccinated with only 12.4 percent of people in New York having received both doses of the vaccine. Cuomo Says that the reason New York is so far behind is because of mistrust.  Governor Cuomo also announced that vaccines are now available to people 50 years of age and up.

Now pharmacies in New York can vaccinate the same people that previously only vaccination sites and pop up clinics could.  Until Sunday pharmacies have been able to vaccinate people who were over the age of 60 or teachers.  Now people 16 and over with comorbidities such as cancer, Intellectual and Developmental disabilities, those who are severely obese or have liver disease.

Regulations for indoor and outdoor gatherings are being relaxed a little today.  Private outdoor gatherings can now have up to 25 people. Private indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people.  Public indoor gatherings are capped at 100 people.  Public outdoor gatherings can be up to 200.

Gas prices are still going up albeit a bit more slowly.  Over the past week gas in Batavia went up by a penny to 2.85 for a gallon of regular.  The NYS average is also up a penny to 2.91.  The national average went up 2 cents.  Demand is still on the rise but the price of oil is dropping so experts at Gas Buddy believe the price will come down a bit in the near future.

Morning News Brief

A multiple agency investigation continues after a Batavia police officer fired a shot at a man, which prompted a wild car chase that ended when the suspect vehicle crashed. It started around 2:30 a.m. Sunday at Speedway on West Main Street. As police approached the vehicle with three men inside, a handgun was in plain view. An officer attempted to remove the gun from the car and a struggle ensued. At one point, the officer fired at the suspect. No one was hit. The man then took off leading police on a wild chase that ended when the suspect vehicle crashed on Woodland Drive in the town. The driver and two passengers were taken into custody without further incident. A handgun was recovered from the crash scene. Charges are pending. The incident is being investigated by the City of Batavia Police Department. The discharge of the duty weapon and the incidents that took place outside of the City of Batavia are being investigated by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

NY Republican Congressman Tom Reed announced he will not be running for office in 2022. The announcement follows allegations of sexual misconduct. Nicolette Davis, a lobbyist, accused Reed of inappropriately rubbing her back and unhooking her bra at a networking event in 2017. In a statement Sunday, Reed apologized to Davis and took full responsibility for his actions. Reed was among the lawmakers calling for the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo over sexual harassment allegations. Reed issued a statement Sunday night which explicitly ruled out a run for governor, which Reed had long hinted was a possibility. He says he will not seek any elected office in 2022. He also described his “powerless” struggle with alcohol and says the alleged incident Ms. Davis describes happened during a time he was “struggling.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new guidance has been rolled out allowing pharmacies to vaccinate New Yorkers with comorbidities. Pharmacies were previously able to vaccinate New Yorkers over the age of 60 and teachers. The governor said “New Yorkers with comorbidities are among our state’s most at-risk residents, and access to the COVID-19 vaccine protects this vulnerable population.” He added “As New York receives more doses and more people receive the vaccine, we’re able to expand the population pharmacies can serve, and this is a commonsense step forward that will help make it easier to protect New Yorkers.”

A single-engine plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Orleans County Sunday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office says they received a call for a plane down 2 miles east of Pine Hill Airport. Crews found the plane and pilot in a corn field. The pilot, from Rochester, told authorities two skydivers jumped from his plane before he ran out of fuel and made the emergency landing.  The pilot was not injured and the plane was not damaged. The sheriff’s office is still investigating the incident.

Additional details are expected today following Saturday nights deadly house fire in Caledonia. Three first responders in Livingston County were injured and one person was killed. Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty later reported that a 21-year-old female had died. Due to the large size of the fire, several companies were called in to help put out the fire. Crews are still investigating what caused the fire.

Fatal Crash in Bergen

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Offic eis investigation a one car, fatal, motor vehicle crash on Dublin Rd., in the Town of Bergen.
Deputies responded to the scene at 12:23 a.m. Saturday morning. When deputies arrived on scene it was determined that one car had struck a utility pole and the driver of the car was dead.
The driver was later identified as Bryan S. Holland of Clinton Street Road in Bergen. M r. Holland’s age was not available.
Deputies determined Mr. Holland was eastbound on Dublin Road when his vehicle traveled off the south shoulder of the road, striking several mailboxes, a utility pole and coming to rest after hitting a large tree.
Holland was pronounced dead at the scene.

Weekend News Brief

An 8th woman has come forward with allegations against Governor Cuomo.  This time it’s a current aide to the governor.  According to the New York Times, Alyssa Mcgrath said that Cuomo would “ogle her body, make remarks on her looks, and make suggestive comments to her and another executive aide.”  So far those making the accusations have been former employees, aides and reporters and this is the first woman to be a current employee of the governor to come forward.

Taxes are due a little later this year due to COVID.  The department of Tax and Finance has moved the filing deadline to May 17th instead of April 15th.  The Federal and State tax dates have both been pushed back 30 days.

The Buffalo Sabres game that was supposed to be played against the Boston Bruins on Saturday has been postponed as 4 Boston players were added to the COVID protocol list on Friday afternoon.  This was supposed to be the first game where fans were allowed back in the stands for the Sabres.  According to the Sabres’ FAQ on their website, tickets and related expenses will be refunded and fans can receive a free ticket to a game next season. The team can’t directly refund the costs for the COVID tests required by New York State.

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra is having a livestreamed memorial concert to honor late musician and educator Bob Knipe.  In a note to friends and supporters about the concert, Music Director and Conductor S. Shade Zajac, says Bob was truly a “force for the arts,” one who “worked tirelessly to make our GSO a vibrant part of our GLOW region.”  Knipe played in the Orchestra and served on the board for many years.  The concert is set for Friday March 26th at 7:30pm.  The link on the GSO website will go live at 7:20. The GSO is also establishing a Memorial scholarship fund in Knipe’s name to help students advance their music education through camps, festivals and Area All State festivals.

Wbta Evening Update

The Genesee County Sheriffs office has found another body that was turned over to Tomaszewski Funeral Home and Internment center that was not properly disposed of.  No more information such as where the body was found or the identity or condition of the remains.  There is an ongoing investigation and more information will be released if charges are filed.

COVID Friday Update:  On the last official day of winter Genesee county has a big bump in cases with 36 new cases and 9 people recovered.  Orleans county has 6 new cases and 7 people have recovered.  There are 83 active cases in Genesee county and 41 in Orleans.  72 hundred people have had both doses of the vaccine in Genesee county and 36 hundred have been fully dosed in Orleans county.

Representative Tom reed of New York’s 23 district has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former insurance company lobbyist.  Nicolette Davis said that in 2017 Reed put his hand on her back and unhooked her bra before rubbing her thigh in a bar in Minneapolis before another patron kicked Reed out of the restaurant.  Reed, who said he was mulling a run at the governors office and has been a vocal critic of governor Cuomo especially since the allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment came out against the governor has said “This account of my actions is not accurate.”

Maple Weekends was slated to start Saturday but was canceled by the NYS Maple Association for the second year in a row due to COVID 19.  Concerns that maple production locations were too small and hard to properly socially distance along with farmers being focused on getting their crop processed and ready for consumption lead the association to pull the plug.  Several maple producers including Merle Maple south of Attica are still having activities such as wagon rides, tours, and concessions not to mention maple syrup and candy sales.  Also Congressman Chris Jacobs is set to be at Merle Maple at 11am Saturday morning to tap a tree.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County making significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. County Manager Matt Landers says just last week, a major milestone was reached

The COVID Positivity rate has also been dropping. Landers says it has now dropped to 2-percent

As for the homebound, shut-ins unable to get to a clinic. Health Director Paul Petit said process is being made on that front

Pettit emphasized that you should not worry about which brand of vaccine you get, just get the vaccination. All are safe and effective.

Batavia Downs has made one change in their Summer Concert Series.
The Grass Roots will replace The Sweet that had been originally scheduled for July 30th.
The Grass Roots originated in the mid 60’s with hits like Midnight Confessions, Temptations Eyes, and others.
The Downs has also announced that American Alternative Rock Band “Puddle of Mud” will return this summer.
Puddle last perform in 2018. They will return on August 20th.

A new poll shows Governor Cuomo’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since 2011. Only 39 percent of people surveyed by Quinnipiac University said they think the governor is doing a good job. Even worse for the governor, 58 percent of voters said he’s not honest and trustworthy.

The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester has announced the finalists for enshrinement into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. This year’s nominees include classic games such as Call of Duty, Animal Crossing, Guitar Hero and Microsoft Flight Simulator among others. Voting is already underway and can be done online through March 25th. The Class of 2021 will officially be revealed on May 6th.

Morning News Brief

New COVID cases have ticked up slightly in Genesee County. On Thursday, 15 new cases were confirmed. Eleven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile in Orleans County, 11 new positive cases have been reported with three hospitalizations.

The American Rescue Plan includes an estimated $2.6 billion for New York’s public, private, and proprietary institutions of higher education. In Genesee County, Genesee Community College is expected to get $9.1M and Genesee-Livingston-Steuben-Wyoming BOCES is expected to get a total of $662,000. The total allotment for the Finger Lakes Region is almost $164M. Sen. Schumer said that public and nonprofit schools will use half of their award on emergency financial aid grants to students to help them with college costs and basic needs like housing, food, and healthcare. The other half of the funds will allow institutions to provide additional student support activities.

As New York State legislators finalize negotiations on a measure to legalize recreational marijuana, NY Senator George Borrello from the southern tier is calling for the deal to include the requirement that all police officers be trained and certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) and $600 million to fund the mandate. In calling for the expansion of this specialty training for law enforcement, Borrello noted that he is opposed to legalization of marijuana for many reasons, including its impacts on public health, rates of substance abuse and traffic safety. Yet, with the momentum towards legalization growing, he noted that legislators have a responsibility to incorporate provisions to help mitigate the risks.

The Genesee County Interagency Council is offering a $1,000 scholarship for the Fall 2021-2022 semester for Genesee Community College students and high school seniors. Those eligible will be students living in Genesee County and attending Genesee Community College or high school seniors; in good academic standing, and majoring in or intending to major in Human Services, Social Work, Sociology or Psychology ONLY. Because the goal of this scholarship is to support those students who have a strong drive to contribute to the field of Human Services, special consideration will be given to those students who have already demonstrated a commitment to the field through their employment, volunteer, academic, or extracurricular pursuits.  Completed applications must be received by Friday, May 7.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center has announced that with the anticipated completion of a $2 million infrastructure project this summer, water capacity will increase to more than 1 million gallons per day at the 1,250-acre STAMP mega site in Genesee County. Development President & CEO Steve Hyde says “Every infrastructure milestone adds to the tremendous momentum behind STAMP. Our ability to deliver low-cost, 100-percent renewable power, and utility infrastructure aligned with project timelines and capacities, is driving even greater interest from site selectors and companies looking to locate in Genesee County.”

The New York Mets and New York Yankees can resume play with spectators in the stadiums, beginning April 1. Professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening. The New York State Department of Health will re-evaluate the testing and vaccination entry requirements in May, and if the public health situation continues to improve, they may be discontinued in mid-May.

Evening News Update

Batavia Downs has added a headliner and swapped one out for their concert series this summer.  Puddle of Mudd is coming on August 20th and The Grass Roots are replacing The Sweet in their spot on July 30th.  Check the downs website to see all the acts coming to the Downs this summer.

The border with Canada remains closed for at least another month.  The Department of Homeland security announced that restrictions are extended till April 21st.

The 2 teens who allegedly set 53 year old, Steven Amenhauser of Lyle ave, on fire in Rochester have confessed but have not provided a motive for the grisly killing.  16 year old Zayvion Perry and 14 year old Adrien Riley Jr are being held at the Monroe County Children’s Detention Center. In a virtual court appearance, each suspect plead not guilty, and a judge ordered them held with no bail and no release.  Police say that they confessed at the scene and then in writing but are now saying they didn’t do it.

Midday News Brief

Two new retail stores are coming to Veterans Memorial Day in the Town of Batavia over the next few months.
Old Navy and Ulta Beauty are moving in.
Old Navy will take over the space vacated by Bed, Bath and Beyond, a space of more than 14,588 sq ft. Ulta Beauty is planning an an 10,723 sq ft. store at 4192 Veterans Memorial Drive.

Rather than reorganizing his debt, Michael S. Tomaszewski, the local funeral director also facing mcriminal charges, is now seeking to dismiss all of his debt. A judge has signed an order converting Tomaszewski’s bankruptcy filing from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. This means Tomaszewski can liquidate most of his assets and have any debts not paid after liquidation discharged. Tomaszewski shows a million dollars in assets and 3.2-million in liabilities. That doesn’t include any restitution he may be ordered to pay if convicted of the nearly 200 criminal charges he faces locally.

In just a couple of weeks, New York State will be lifting a curfew that’s been in effect for places like gyms, movie theaters and casinos. Starting April 5th, they’ll be able to stay open past 11 p-m, but restaurants and bars still have to follow guidelines they’ve been dealing with for months. Catered events like weddings and parties also still need to end by midnight. However, if the state’s COVID-19 infection rate continues to fall, it’s possible certain establishments will be able to stay open later in the coming weeks.

The Buffalo Sabres are mired in a 12-game winless streak, and it’ll be up to a new head coach to try and turn things around. The Sabres fired Ralph Krueger yesterday, less than two years after he was picked for the position. Buffalo’s general manager Kevyn Adams says he feels like a change needed to be made now and announced that Don Granato will serve as interim coach until a permanent replacement is found.

Morning News Brief

The Batavia retail scene is getting a boost. Two new stores – Old Navy and Ulta Beauty – will be coming to the Towne Center on Veterans Memorial Drive within the next few months. Town of Batavia Building Inspector Dan Lang confirmed that the merchandising giants are expected to open at the retail hub this spring. He said that the Old Navy clothing store will feature more than 14,000 square feet of retail space while the Ulta Beauty cosmetics store will have nearly 11.000 square feet of retail space. The Old Navy store is taking space formerly used by Bed Bath and Beyond.

Court action is pending for a Batavia woman who faces felony and other counts. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 28-year-old Angeline Escudero of Columbia Avenue. She was charged with felony grand larceny, criminal mischief and conspiracy. The alleged crimes occurred at Walmart when the woman allegedly stole property valued at more than $1,000. She will appear in Town of Batavia court on April 8th.

Batavia Downs Gaming has donated nearly $1,500 to the Batavia Police Department’s K-9 Unit.  The money was left at Batavia Downs and was turned into the police.  When the money went unclaimed, Batavia Downs decided to donate that money to the Police Department’s K-9 Unit.  The money will be used to help fund the program. The Batavia Police Chief said the funds will be used to offset the cost of food, veterinary services, training, equipment and other K-9-related expenses.

The Genesee County Health Department brought a COVID-19 vaccine clinic to Washington Towers for residents who can’t get to a vaccination site. Office for the Aging organized the clinic, Washington Towers staff registered residents online and the health department sent over the providers to administer the vaccines for up to 50 residents. The residents received the Pfizer vaccine with a second dose schedule for early April.

Rather than reorganizing his debt, Michael S. Tomaszewski, the local funeral director also facing more than 200 criminal charges, is now seeking to dismiss all of his debt. A judge Wednesday signed an order converting Tomaszewski’s bankruptcy filing from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, which would allow Tomaszewski to liquidate most of his assets and have any debts not paid after liquidation discharged. Tomaszewski, both personally, and his company Acme Holdings of New York filed for bankruptcy in Federal Court on Feb. 5. Combined, he lists about one million in assets against $3.2 million in liabilities. That doesn’t include any restitution he may be ordered to pay if convicted of the nearly 200 criminal charges he faces locally.

Justice For Migrant Families has been advocating for detainees at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center, and the organization launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to support those that have been released. The GoFundMe organizer wrote, “Batavia has begun releasing people from immigration detention where they are dropped off at a gas station with very little resources to secure basic needs. People need funds for temporary housing, transportation, phones, and food.” The community has poured support into the fundraiser, contributing over $12,000 in 7 days. Justice For Migrant Families is also hosting a supply drive on Saturday.

Genesee County on Wednesday reported a dozen new COVID-19 cases. Fifteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Six new cases were reported in Orleans County with seven new cases confirmed in Wyoming County.

Next Friday is Healthy Kids Day 2021 and there will be a free drive-thru event sponsored by the Genesee County YMCA. Healthy Kids Day provides all the ingredients for developing healthy, resilient kids and to celebrate kids being kids! It will take place behind United Memorial Medical Center’s Jerome Center, located at 16 Bank St. in the city. Get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny and pick up a Healthy Kids Day activity kit (one per vehicle while supplies last). Registration for the drive-thru is required and will be capped at 100 children. Call the Y to register.

Evening News Brief

There is more money for schools in Genesee county on the way.  As part of the American Rescue Plan 2 and a half billion dollars are allocated to Upstate New York to help school districts fill budget gaps, address learning loss, help students with disabilities and more.  The Finger Lakes region is getting 392 million dollars and Genesee county is getting 10 million 677 thousand dollars in aid money.

Money that was left at Batavia Downs has been donated to the Batavia Police department’s K-9 unit.  1463.14  was left at the casino and turned over to the police.  After no one claimed it the casino decided to donate it to help fund the k-9 program.

Agricultural Literacy Week is this week, the 15th through the 19th and this year it is focused on the Dairy industry.  Agricultural Literacy Week has been celebrated for the past 17 years as a way to promote agricultural literacy and learning to students across New York State. This year’s program highlights the dairy industry as the book “Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish (Tales of the Dairy Godmother)” by Viola Butler will be read to students. The book will help students understand the importance of dairy farms and how ice cream is made.  Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been visiting classrooms digitally through prerecorded videos.

Midday News Brief

The case against Michael Tomaszewski has been delayed again.
A plea deal is expected in the case against the former Batavia funeral director. Tomaszewski was been charged with more than 200 counts of grand Larceny. He’s accused of accepting prepayment funds for funeral services and not placing the money in a truck account, as required by law.
He was in court earlier this month where his acceptance of a plea deal was widely anticipated. Now, his case has been put off until April 13th.

Michael Tomaszewski

New York State’s Assembly now has a top team of lawyers to lead the impeachment investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says the team at Davis Polk And Wardwell will be authorized to go after all evidence in regards to serious allegations against the governor. One of the attorneys was part of a team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and part of the prosecution of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Starting today, even more New Yorkers are going to be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. Among those who can now get their shots include public works employees, DMV employees, sanitation workers and child service caseworkers. The hope is by vaccinating those individuals, it will further limit the spread of the coronavirus since they’re often in contact with other people.

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Easter Egg Hunt is a rite of spring.
Last year, the egg hunt was cancelled entirely due to COVID-19 but this year Kiwanians has vowed to hold the egg hunt – with some modifications.
Instead of hunting for eggs all at one time on one morning, the hunt will be spread out from this Friday through the end of March.
A golden egg will be placed in Centennial Park in different places at different times.
The egg hunt is open to all kids 12 and under. The finder of each day’s Golden Egg will win a Chocolate Bunny from Oliver’s Candies.
Complete details are in this story 

The Buffalo Sabres have fired head coach Ralph Krueger has been relieved of his duties.
He has been with the team since 2019 and was the sixth coach of the Pegula ownership.
The Sabres have struggled through the 2021 season, they have a 6-18-4 record and are currently on a 12-game losing streak. Krueger finished his tenure with the Sabres with a 36-49-12 record
No word yet on who will replace him as head coach of the team.

Kiwanis Club Easter Egg Hunt Starts Friday

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia is excited to offer a modified version of its annual Easter Egg Hunt for the community to come together and enjoy.  Due to Covid restrictions, the typical Easter Egg Hunt could not be safely run, but the Kiwanis members couldn’t stand the thought of cancelling the event outright for a second year in a row due to COVID-19.

 

This year’s event takes one of the fun aspects of the annual event, the Golden Prize Egg, and is makes this the focus of the hunt.  Starting on Friday, March 19th, there will be one golden prize egg hidden each day in Centennial Park for the kids to look for.  One egg will be hidden each day through March 31st.  The eggs will be hidden at different times to allow for families with different schedules to walk the park looking for the eggs.  Each egg will entitle a child to an Oliver’s Chocolate bunny as with past year’s winners.  There will be a note inside each egg with instructions on where to gather for a picture with the Easter Bunny and to collect the prize chocolate bunny.  Winners must bring this note with them to collect the prize bunny. There will be a limit of one prize egg per family.

 

The Kiwanis Club is very happy to provide this safe and healthy activity for families to participate in over the course of two weeks.   We encourage the whole family to come out and spend time together in the park, but since this is an Easter Egg hunt for kids, prizes will be restricted to kids 12 and under, as with past years.  That’s not saying a big brother or big sister can’t help though!

 

 

Morning News Briefing

An anticipated plea from Michael S. Tomaszewski in his funeral home fraud case has been delayed until April 13. During the virtual hearing, the judge and attorneys mentioned a prior off-the-record discussion about the case without indicating what was discussed but it seemed to have some bearing on Tomaszewski’s decision not to enter a plea on Tuesday. There is no indication that Tomaszewski won’t accept the plea deal that’s been offered by the District Attorney’s Office.  Tomaszewski, who operated the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home and Cremation Chapel in Batavia for more than a decade, faces more than 200 charges stemming from accusations that he took money from customers who intended to prepay for funerals and, instead of depositing the money in appropriate accounts, he allegedly used the money for other purposes.

Genesee County reports ten new COVID cases. Seventeen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Two of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Two new cases were reported in Orleans County with three hospitalizations. Officials in Wyoming County report three new cases.

NY officials have announced toll plaza removal and interchange reconstruction will resume on the New York State Thruway’s former ticketed system this week and is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by the end of summer. This next phase of construction is the second and final portion of the $355 million cashless tolling design-build project which went live on Nov. 14, 2020 and was immediately followed by the removal of toll plazas at six high-volume interchanges statewide. The second wave of removal and road reconstruction is scheduled to begin at Exit 47 at LeRoy and Exit 48 at Batavia.

***Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced nearly $15 million has been awarded to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting 147 farms. The funding supports projects that address water quality challenges in priority watersheds and protect the environment. $264,000 was awarded to the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District to work with one farm in the Lake Ontario Watershed. This project will construct a concrete manure storage facility to improve waste collection and management.

Genesee County deputies report the arrest of 33-year-old Christine Jones of Hutchins Place in Batavia. She was charged with felony counts of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. She allegedly filed SNAP benefit applications that either omitted or had false information on them resulting in her receiving more than $17,000 in benefits. Court action is pending.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 54-year-old Dawn Puleo of Maple Street in Batavia. She was charged with felony grand larceny and four felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing. She allegedly obtained more than $4,500 in questionable SNAP benefits. She was arraigned and released pending further action by the court.

NYS officials announced more than 4.5 million New Yorkers have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. More than 134,000 doses have been administered across New York’s distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days.

New York Farm Bureau members continued to make generous food donations during a challenging year for so many families in need. This past weekend, American Farm Bureau Federation recognized New York Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program for its efforts to donate more than eight million pounds of food to the regional food banks across the state last year. That was the second highest donation total in the country for 2020, behind Florida.

Evening News Update

Batavia Police have completed their investigation into the crash involving a minivan and the fire chief, 41 year old Daniel Coffey on Sunday Morning.  Coffey was driving west on West main st in Batavia with lights and siren on when 81 year old Constance Lamilia attempted to turn left in front of him out of the Tops parking lot and collided with the Fire chief’s front ride side.  Her minivan appeared to accelerate and struck a utility pole and flipped on the side in front of 389 West Main St.  She was taken to ECMC and treated for minor injuries. Coffey was not injured.  Lamilia was issued a traffic ticket for failing to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle.

The Thruway Toll plazas at Batavia exit 48 and Leroy’s exit 47 are coming down this week.  This is the latest phase in the $355 million project that started in November to make I-90 completely cashless. When it’s complete, 52 toll plazas made up of approximately 230 individual toll booths, will be gone.

The Kiwanas club is not going to cancel the annual Easter egg hunt again this year, but is altering it.  Instead of one big egg hunt they are hiding eggs over the course of 2 weeks.   Starting on Friday, March 19th, there will be one Golden Prize Egg hidden each day in Centennial Park for the kids to look for. One egg will be hidden each day through March 31st.  The eggs will be hidden at different times of day and each egg will have a note inside which entitles the finder to a chocolate bunny from Oliver’s as well as instructions on where to take a picture with the Easter Bunny.

Midday News Brief

A Batavia woman has been arrested following a Sunday morning crash involving an emergency vehicle.
Batavia police ticketed 81-year-old Constance Lamilia with failure to yield the right of way. Police said as she exited the Tops Market she struck the Town of Batavia Fire Chief’s vehicle which was headed to a serious crash on Galloway Rd.
Lamilia was treated at ECMC in Buffalo. She’ll answer the charge in city court in June.

A new poll shows there are a lot of New Yorkers who believe Governor Cuomo should not resign from office. According to Siena College, 50 percent of people surveyed think the governor should keep his position compared to 35 percent who don’t. The governor has faced pressure to step down due to a growing number of sexual harassment claims made against him.

A Pembroke woman will answer animal cruelty charges at the end of the month.
47 year old Lori Ann Adolf of Akron Road has been arrested for allegedly torturing animals and failing to provide them with proper food.
The case dates back to January when deputies responded to a complaint at the Adolf home and found 13 dogs, caged, in deplorable condition. They also found 10 dead rabbits and one dead dog inside the home.
The dogs and two cats were taken to the county’s animal shelter where they have been receiving care. Adolf is also facing a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

The state Board of Regents has announced the cancellation of most Regents exams this year. That means many students must only pass their courses to advance to the next grade or graduate.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached 11 games following a blowout loss at home. None of the Sabres were able to score last night as they were shutout by the Washington Capitals 6-0.
They’ll be back on the ice again tonight when they visit the New Jersey Devils. Face-off for the contest is set for 7p.m.

Evening News Brief

COVID Update: Since Friday evening Genesee county has 26 new cases and 19 people have recovered.  1 more person has passed away from coronavirus in Genesee county.  Orleans county has 10 new cases and 18 people have recovered.  1 of the new cases is at Orchard rehab and nursing.  There are 65 active cases in Genesee county and 28 in Orleans.

The Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System says COVID-19 vaccines are available for all enrolled veterans in Western New York regardless of age. As of Saturday, over 50 percent of enrolled veterans have been vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  Vaccine sites are already open in Buffalo and Batavia.

47 year old Lori Ann Adolf has been charged with 26 counts of torturing or injuring animals and one count of child endangerment after deputies went to her house on Akron rd in Pembroke following an animal complaint on January 22nd.  Police found 13 dogs in cages covered in their own filth and surrounded by garbage, 1 dead dog and 10 dead rabbits and 2 cats.  The dogs and cats were removed from the home to the animal shelter, they were underweight and in need of medical attention.  Adolf is set to appear at the Town of Pembroke Court on March 31st.

You now have the opportunity to vote for the new Genesee County flag design.  Go to wbtai.com’s local news page to look at the 5 options for the new design for the county and follow the link to the genesee2050 website to vote.  There are also 5 designs submitted by children to be voted on as well.

Over the weekend local basketball teams ruled the courts with the Elba Lady Lancers winning their 5th straight title against Prattsburg/Avoca 66 to 27.  Notre Dame’s Lady Irish became the Class d1 Champions by beating South Seneca 55 to 48.  Oakfield Alabama boys took the Class C2 Section 5 title by beating Caledonia Mumford 55 to 50.

Midday News Brief

A driver told deputies he fell asleep prior to a head-on collision on Galloway Road that sent both that driver and another driver to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. It happened around 9 yesterday morning.
As the Town of Batavia Fire Chief was responding to the call, his vehicle was involved in a crash on West Main Street when a mini-van pulled into the path of Chief Dan Coffee’s car operating with lights and siren.
The driver of the mini-van then crashed into a utility pole blocking traffic on West Main for several hours. Fire Star Bank on West Main and River Street is still without power and has closed for the day.

For the first time, President Biden is publicly addressing the sexual harassment allegations involving Governor Cuomo. Biden said quote “I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us.” Several Democrats, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have called for the governor to step down.

With the state budget deadline looming, members of the Senate and Assembly will be casting important votes today. Each chamber will vote on their own versions of the fiscal plan which include proposals involving issues such as tax increases for the wealthy and legalizing online mobile sports betting. An agreement on recreational marijuana legalization will likely be negotiated outside of the budget process. Lawmakers and Governor Cuomo have until April 1st to pass the budget on-time.

The price of gasoline has spiked again.
According to Triple A the average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia is $2.83, up 7 ½ cents since last week, and up 40-cents from a year ago.

The Batavia Police Department has a new community crime fighting and awareness tool. It’s CRIMEWATCH, a new website that gives people who use social networks and mobile devices an easier way to help fight crime and stay informed.
The online tool gives the public direct access to crime and public safety-related information happening in the community.

Time to Vote for New Genesee County Flag

Finalists have been selected for a new county flag and now the public will determine one winner from five flags designed by children and five flags designed by adults.

Please visit: https://www.genesee2050.com/pages/get-involved to vote for your favorite.  Voting will end on Friday, April 30 and the winning selections will be announced the following week.

“We are excited about the entries for the contest and when residents go online to vote, we also are strongly encouraging them to fill out the various surveys for our 2050 Comprehensive Plan,” said Felipe Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Department of Planning. “It is very important that we hear from our residents, business owners, and other stakeholders as we go about drafting a plan that reflects community priorities decades from now.”

Those who vote online will have to win free shelter reservations at DeWitt Recreation Area and the Genesee County Park & Forest for the upcoming season.  Voters are automatically entered into the drawing by voting for one of the flag designs and by filling out any of the Genesee 2050 surveys.  The more surveys someone completes, the more chances that person has to win.

“Kudos to everyone, both adult and child, that participated in the flag design contest,” said Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein. “I know the committee had a difficult time in selecting the finalists in each category and that can only attributed to the vision, passion, and pride we all have for Genesee County.”

The five entries from the adult category are described below:

Flag 1 symbolizes Genesee County’s farming heritage as its foundation, in the blue horizon line over a green field of crops backed up by the sunshine, coming together to form a G for Genesee.

Flag 2 features a green shape in the center as the geographic boundary of the county; the G is for Genesee and it is surrounded by 13 stars representing the County’s 13 towns.

Flag 3 – includes the Holland Land Office Museum as its main graphic, symbolizing the birthplace of Genesee County (and all of Western New York). The enclosing shape has 12 stars, plus one more within it, representing the 13 towns in the County.

Flag 4 – Sunshine and the plant growing from a cultivated field represent the agricultural character of Genesee County. The graphic within the sun is an indigenous star symbol, which means courage and purity of spirit. The valley symbol comes from the Iroquois word Gen-nis’-Thee-yo, meaning “The Beautiful Valley”. The combination of these images symbolize the County’s Seneca heritage.

Flag 5 – It is a bicolor design with two horizontal color fields in royal blue and gold. A blue and gold representation of the county seal is in the center consuming the middle two quarters of the width. It has a gold half circle outlining the top half of the seal to provide contrast against the royal blue field.

 

Follow this link to vote for your favorite!

https://www.genesee2050.com/pages/get-involved

 

Morning News Briefing

A driver told deputies he fell asleep prior to a head-on collision on Galloway Road that sent both that driver and another driver to ECMC. It happened around 9 a.m. Sunday. According to the accident report, 18-year-old Rylend L. Callicutt of Batavia was driving eastbound when he crossed the center line. The vehicle struck a sedan driven by 31-year-old Danielle C. Neuhaus of Batavia. Neuhaus was trapped in the vehicle and sustained serious injuries. She was transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC. Callicutt was transported by Mercy EMS. He was issued a ticket for failure to remain in the right-hand lane.

Police investigators have yet to determine what may have caused a driver of a minivan to accelerate after the vehicle struck a Town of Batavia Fire chief’s car that was heading to a serious injury accident on Galloway Road. The minivan appears to have been exiting the Tops Market parking lot when it struck the emergency vehicle, which was in emergency mode, driven by Fire Chief Dan Coffey. Coffey’s vehicle sustained damage on the passenger side front fender. The minivan then swerved and struck a utility pole, snapping the pole off near the base.  The minivan continued east and came to rest on its side in the yard of 389 W. Main St. Charges are pending.  Coffey was uninjured in the collision and did eventually make it to the accident scene on Galloway Road.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts in NY start tomorrow and will end on Sunday. St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is a notoriously deadly period for impaired driving due to the number of celebrations and drivers on the road. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across-the-board effort to reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and deaths.

Le Roy Town Supervisor James Farnholz said that while he respects the wishes of his colleagues on the town board to restrict community solar farms in residential and agricultural districts, his preference would have been finding a “middle ground” to give farmers the chance to repurpose their land. The subject of the town’s proposed local law and zoning on solar projects was part of the agenda of the recent Genesee County Planning Board. Planners discussed the Le Roy Town Board’s 4-1 vote to not allow these smaller solar projects in the aforementioned designated zones. Farnholz cast the lone vote to permit them.

The City of Batavia Police Department has launched CRIMEWATCH, a new website that gives people who use social networks and mobile devices an easier, more effective way to help fight crime and stay informed. The new Batavia Police Department website was developed in partnership with CRIMEWATCH Technologies and is part of the CRIMEWATCH Network. The website is an online tool that gives the public direct access to crime and public safety-related information happening in their community. The City Police Department is the first New York based police department to go live on the CRIMEWATCH Network. The new Batavia Police Department Website can be found at BataviaPolice.org.

Two people, including a woman from Batavia, are facing drug charges following a traffic stop in the Wyoming County Town of Sheldon. Sheriff’s deputies say a metal cylinder with 2.19 grams of methamphetamine was recovered in the front seat of the vehicle.  Multiple pieces of methamphetamine paraphernalia were also seized.  Through investigation, it was also alleged that the passenger had another bag and a glass vial containing 1.97 grams of methamphetamine, both concealed. 35-year-old Michael Sweet of Varysburg and 34-year-old Rachel Baehr of Batavia were both was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. Sweet faces additional charges as well. Both were issued appearance tickets for court on March 29.  They were both processed and then released.

The operation of youth sports in the LeRoy community will never be more important than in the coming months. LeRoy Youth Softball’s Board of Directors announced that it is getting a grant for $3,700 from the Victor L. Blood and Maudaline L. Blood Charitable Foundation to support youth athletics in the community of LeRoy. Youth softball in Le Roy has been steadfast for decades, in the local community. The Blood Foundation, as it is commonly known, was created on April 14, 1989 through the generosity of Vic Blood, a prominent businessman from LeRoy. He envisioned a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the residents of the Town and Village of LeRoy. Vic Blood passed on in 1996, but his legacy lives on through the work of the Blood Foundation.

Weekend News Brief

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand along with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are calling on Governor Cuomo to resign as the impeachment investigation into him goes into action and a 7th accuser has come forward.  Jessica Bakeman said Friday that the governor used touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in female aides and reporters.  She said that his actions are a textbook example of sexual harassment.  Cuomo came out Friday with a blanket denunciation of the accusations, saying that he did not do the things he was accused of and that there are often many motivations for making allegations.

New York State is 40th in terms of percentage of the population who have had both doses of the COVID Vaccine with 10.7 percent.  Alaska is number 1 in percentage with 17 percent of it’s population fully dosed.  In terms of sheer numbers the Empire State is 4th with California in the lead. New York is also behind most of the rest of the country in the rate that COVID is declining.  The rate of newly diagnosed cases per day is twice the national average as is the rate of hospitalization.  Part of this could be explained by the fact that over half the new cases being diagnosed in New York City are new variants of the Coronavirus according to the New York City’s Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi.  New York City also has it’s own variant, called b.1.526 which is more infectious.

A Rochester Music teacher has plead guilty to 61 counts of production of child pornography and 13 counts of possession of child porn.  43 year old Philip Close, owner of Close School of Music on West Ridge Rd and former teacher at another music school was accused of placing cameras in bathrooms and other locations throughout the schools and recording young girls while they were naked between 2012 and 1019.  Hundreds of videos and 13 recording devices were discovered.  The charges carry a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum 2,090 years in prison, and a $18,500,000 fine.

COVID update from Friday night: Genesee county has 16 new cases and 24 people have recovered.  Orleans County has 7 new cases and 7 people have recovered.  There are 56 active cases in Genesee County and 37 in Orleans.  6482 people have had both doses of the Covid vaccine in Genesee county and 3230 Orleans county residents have had both doses.

In local basketball the Batavia Blue devils lost 55 to 56 to the Wayne Knights.  Both teams had identical undefeated stats of 14 to 0 before the Sectional final game Friday night.

Evening News Brief

A smell of natural gas ended the school day for students at Pavilion High School today.  At around 10AM students and staff reported smelling gas in the building and students in 6-12th grade were sent home while Pavilion Fire and RG&E attempted to hunt down the source of the odor.  The Pavilion girls basketball team is scheduled to play a Section V championship game at home tonight. The status of the game is unknown at this time.

Firefighters across New York state say, check your smoke detectors and change your batteries this weekend.  This weekend marks the spring forward of daylight savings time and it is also the standard time to replace smoke detector batteries.  If you have ten year batteries then check the alarm on the smoke detector by pushing the test button.  It is also important to have a plan to get out of the house if those smoke alarms go off.

The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is hosting its annual Spring into Nature celebration on May 1st.  The theme for this pared down COVID friendly event will be Sing, Fly, Soar like a Bird.  Visitors will get to participate in a variety of nature-related activities. There will be activities for all ages, including sunflower seed feeder construction, track casting, a guided hike, pollinator planting, fisheries discoveries, origami, sun art projects, feather ID, and archery and fishing games. You must register to participate.  To register follow the link on wbtai.com

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-into-nature-sing-fly-soar-like-a-bird-registration-144667052047

The Buffalo Sabres fell short in their match up with the Pittsburg Penguins last night at home 5 to 2.  The Sabres are now in their second longest skid with 9 lost games in a row.  Their first place longest losing streak was in 2015 with 14 games.  Tage Thompson and Victor Oloffson scored the only goals for Buffalo.  Their next match is against the Penguins again at home on Saturday at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has announced the start of an impeachment investigation into Governor Cuomo.
This latest development comes after even more lawmakers urged the governor to resign as controversy grows around his administration.
The impeachment inquiry will reportedly include both the sexual harassment claims involving the governor and how his office handled nursing home patients during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.
If Cuomo is impeached, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would take over as acting governor.

Starting April 1st, most people who travel to New York State will no longer have to quarantine after arriving. Last year, a mandatory 14-day quarantine order was put in place a blunt the spread of coronavirus. That guideline will still remain in effect for people who travel to New York from international locations.

A Batavia man is returning to prison for Drunk Driving.
43 year old Walter Hale Jr. has just been sentenced to five more years upon his fifth felony DWI conviction.
Hale was just released from prison last year, after serving time for DWI.

A second arrest has been made in a Corfu burglary case from last summer. Sheriff’s deputies collared 19-year-old Chance Luke Flanagan of Corfu.
He was charged with felony counts of burglary, criminal mischief and grand larceny and a lesser count of conspiracy. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

A big night in High School Basket tonight. Number 1 seeded Batavia Blue Devil’s host Number 2 Wayne in the Class B-1 Championship.
Both teams ate 14 and 0 on the season.
Live Play-by-play coverage with Bob Brown begins tonight at 6 on WBTA.

Morning News Briefing

A second arrest has been made in a Corfu burglary case from last summer. Sheriff’s deputies say they took 19-year-old Chance Luke Flanagan of Corfu into custody. He was charged with felony counts of burglary, criminal mischief and grand larceny and a lesser count of conspiracy. He was arraigned and release. Corfu Village Police assisted.

A Batavia woman faces a drug charge. 32-year-old Christina Sanchez-Anderson was charged by deputies with criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over. Deputies said a search revealed she allegedly possession cocaine. She’ll respond to the charge in city court March 25th.

According to preliminary figures released by the New York State Department of Labor, the number of private sector jobs in the State increased over the month by 29,400 to 7.3 million in January. However, jobs dropped by 1,700 in Genesee County compared to January 2020. In addition, New York State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.7% to 8.8% in January 2021.

13 new COVID cases were reported in Genesee County on Thursday. Four of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Five who tested positive are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals is an inmate at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Six new cases were reported in Orleans County with seven new cases in Wyoming County.

A man has been accused of stealing more than $50,000 in property from a Bergen business. Bruce D. Smith has been indicted for second-degree grand larceny. It is alleged that between April 2018 through March 2019 in the Town of Bergen that Smith stole property having a value of more than $50,000. He is also accused of falsifying business records in the first degree, a Class E felony.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says an impeachment investigation will begin following mounting allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In a statement Thursday night, Heastie said he’s authorized the Assembly Judiciary Commission to begin an impeachment investigation. The committee will be able to subpoena documents, examine evidence and interview witnesses. More than 120 lawmakers now say the governor should resign. Members of the Senate Republican Conference say if the governor doesn’t resign, the next step is impeachment. Democrats calling for his resignation say Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is capable of stepping in and serving the remainder of his term.

A grand jury has leveled a four-count indictment against a man stemming from a violent crime last October on Liberty Street in Batavia. Christopher C. Good faces a top count of first-degree burglary, a class B violent felony. It is alleged that he entered and remained unlawfully in a home and caused physical injury to a victim inside. He was also indicted for felony assault, menacing and aggravated harassment.

A Batavia man is headed back to prison after being convicted of his seventh DWI charge. A judge sentenced 43-year-old Walter Hale Jr. to up to five years behind bars. The case was his fourth felony impaired driving conviction.

Domestic travel restrictions have been lifted for New York residents. Travelers are no longer required to quarantine after entering New York from any U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all safety guidelines to stop the spread – wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

Evening Update

Are you looking to travel but don’t want to because you cant afford to sequester yourself for 2 weeks when you get home?  Well, April 1st the quarantine order will be lifted for people traveling within the US or it’s territories.  If you travel internationally you will still have to quarantine for the 10 days or 4 days with 2 tests.  All travelers will still have to fill out a health form upon entering New York.

The Western New York Independent Living family of agencies is now putting out a 30 minute public radio program called “Independent Perspective – In Depth” on the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service which is available online by going to their website and clicking on “Listen Live.”  The show airs at 8:30 in the morning on Sundays and includes leaders from the community talking on topics such as Disabilities, Governmental Agencies, as well as elected officials who speak to issues important to people with disabilities in Western NY.

 

Midday News Brief

Batavia City Fire Fighters answer an alarm for a grass fire that quickly spread to a home.
It happened just after 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Crews responded to a grass fire encroaching a home at 30 Vine Street.
The fire was declared under control in 12 minutes.
Damage was contained to the outside of the home with minor smoke and water damage. The adjacent house at 32 Vine sustained minor heat damage to the siding. There were no injuries, the cause was labeled accidental.

More information has been revealed about the latest sexual harassment claim made against Governor Cuomo. According to the Albany Times Union, the sixth woman to come forward saying the governor acted inappropriately towards her says he groped her in a sexually aggressive manner. The alleged incident happened last year while she was at the governor’s mansion to help him with a phone problem. In a statement, the governor called the details of the woman’s allegations gut-wrenching but said he didn’t do anything wrong.

 

Genesee County reports 18 new cases of COVID-19. Four of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. 11 of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center.
Orleans County has confirmed six new cases and Wyoming County reports four new cases.

From the police blotter this afternoon:
27 year old William Nichols of Holley arrested by State Police following a fracas in the Town of Batavia.
Nichols was charged early yesterday morning with felony assault with intent to cause injury with a weapon.

19 year old Thomas Hofmeier of West Seneca man has been collared by Corfu Police for burglary and grand larceny.
Authorities said Hofmeier offenses occurred back in early June.
He was arraigned I n Corfu village court, then released on his own recognizance.

 

In just over one week, fans of the Buffalo Sabres will be able to watch their team in-person and tickets for that game go on sale today. The Sabres are set to take on the Boston Bruins March 20th at KeyBank Center, the first time people have been in the stands this season. Season ticket holders are going to get first choice of seats with the general public having their opportunity tomorrow. Attendance will be limited and all fans will have to test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed inside the arena

Morning News Briefing

Court action is pending for a Holley man following a violent incident in the Town of Batavia. State Troopers say they arrested 27-year-old William A. Nichols. He has been charged with felony assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon. He also faces lesser counts of menacing with a weapon, criminal obstruction of breathing and preventing an emergency call. The incident was reported at 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Genesee County deputies have leveled multiple felony counts against a West Seneca man. 19-year-old Thomas Hofmeier is charged with burglary, two counts of grand larceny, criminal mischief and conspiracy. He was arraigned and released to return to court April 5th.

Officials have announced the award of up to $50.7 million to providers throughout New York State to expand access to addiction services. The majority of this funding will go towards regional networks designed to support a continuum of care that includes prevention, treatment and recovery. $3.1 million is earmarked for Value Network Behavioral Health Care Collaborative Network. It serves Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming and five other counties.

Police in New York make impaired driving arrests everyday…but sometimes, there are more coordinated efforts. The next crackdown focuses on St. Patrick’s Day, which is next Wednesday. State Police, county and local police plan to have a full-court press beginning March 16th and continuing thru the 21st. There will be increased patrols…some you’ll see and others you won’t. There will also be STOP-DWI checkpoints.

New York State still has nearly 4,800 people hospitalized for COVID…with another 999 patients in an intensive Care Unit. As of Wednesday, the statewide positivity rate was 3.16%. 58 COVID-19 deaths were reported in NY on Wednesday. The Finger Lakes Region reports 158 COVID patients in area hospitals and 397 patients in the ICU.

Following what has been arguably one of the most challenging years for athletics departments across the nation, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has recognized Genesee Community College’s Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement & Inclusion and Director of Athletics, Kristen Schuth as the Junior/Community College Athletics Director of the Year. In addition to the countless impacts the coronavirus pandemic has had on collegiate communities, the Association has also had to reinvent its recognition ceremony and will present Schuth with the Director of the Year honor at its 56th Annual Convention virtually in July. This prestigious award has earned Schuth a place in GCC’s Recognition Matters series which highlights the accomplishments of the College’s faculty, staff and students.

Genesee County reports 18 new cases of COVID-19. 17 of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. 4 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. 11 of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Orleans County has confirmed six new cases and Wyoming County reports four new cases.

The Genesee County Highway Department has created a website to help keep the public informed during the reconstruction of the South Lyon Street Bridge. The project is being paid for by a $498,000 federal grant and $124,600 from county funds. Construction is expected to begin in the spring. Considering the importance of this bridge to the traveling public in our community, a website was created to keep residents and businesses apprised of the project’s progress.

New York Senate Republicans have announced a resolution to repeal Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s requirement that bars serve food with alcoholic beverages. Cuomo issued the order in July, and some restaurants created small snacks to satisfy the requirement. Senate Republicans say the order caused “mass confusion” for restaurants and bars, an industry that was already struggling to comply with pandemic regulations.

Evening News Brief

Congressman Christ Jacobs has introduced legislation that would make it easier for Dairy Farmers to hire migrant labor by expanding h-2A temporary agricultural visas to include the dairy industry.  As of right now the dairy industry, because it is year round, can’t qualify for temporary or seasonal hiring of migrant labor.  Jacobs said,  “The bottom line is that we need a migrant worker program that respects and enforces our immigration laws while providing farmers with the workforce that they need,” He was thanked by the president of the New York Farm Bureau, David Fisher, and the president of the National Milk Producers Federation, Jim Mulhern.

The USDA is extending the Summer meals program through September 30th.  It is estimated that 12 million children in the US live in homes where they may not always have food to eat.  These summer meal programs fill the need for these kids and are also open to those over 18 who have mental and physical disabilities.  Schools, Parks, Community Centers, Libraries and churches can be sites for these meals.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has issued a reminder that all motorboat operators, regardless of age must have a boating safety certificate by 2025.  Information on taking the boating safety course in-person or online can be found at https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/

Midday News Brief

Authorities in Wyoming County today have released the names of two women killed in a Gainesville crash as they left a COVID vaccination clinic.
The driver 83 year old Jacqueline Simpson and her passenger, 82 year old Jessie Button, both from Perry, were killed when their Volkswagen bug pulled into the path of another car yesterday afternoon..
Deputies said the women were leaving the vaccination clinic held at the Wyoming County Highway department on Route 19.
The driver of the second car suffered only minor injuries.

A sixth woman has now come forward claiming that she was sexually harassed by Governor Cuomo. The alleged incident happened last year at the governor’s mansion when she went to help him with a work-related matter. Once the woman’s supervisors found out about what happened, they reported it to the governor’s counsel. The governor has denied all allegations of misconduct and says people should wait for the results of an ongoing investigation before judging him.

Another Genesee County resident has died from COVID-related complications. This brings the county total to 120 deaths.
The latest victim was over the age of 65.

Starting today, even more New Yorkers are going to be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. All folks over the age of 60 can sign up to get a shot starting at eight a-m. And beginning March 17th, people like public works employees, DMV employees, sanitation workers and child service caseworkers will also be eligible to get vaccinated. Until now, vaccination efforts have been focused on the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions and health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres is now at eight games following another disappointing defeat. Sam Reinhart had a pair of goals while Brandon Montour and Riley Sheahan also scored, but the Sabres still fell to the Philadelphia Flyers on the road last night five-to-four in a shootout. The Sabres will be back home tomorrow night when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Morning News Briefing

The investigation continues after two people, just vaccinated for COVID-19, were killed car crash in Wyoming County. The collision occurred in front of the Wyoming County Highway Department on Route 19 in the Town of Gainesville.  The Wyoming County Vaccination Clinic was in operation at the Highway Department and EMTs from the clinic immediately responded to render aid. Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies said two people were a vehicle leaving the clinic, when they pulled onto Route 19 into the path of an oncoming vehicle. A “T-bone” type collision resulted. The driver of the other vehicle received minor injuries. The investigation is continuing, but charges are unlikely.

Genesee County received 14 new positive cases of COVID-19. Ten of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.  Four of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. The death toll has also climbed. Health officials report the death of a resident who was over the age of 65. Orleans County reports just two new cases of COVID while ten new cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

New York State officials say there is a record 5.8 million New Yorkers enrolled in healthcare coverage through the NY State of Health, which is nearly one in three people in the state. The enrollment period began in February 2020 and ended last month. The Marketplace programs saw a surge in new applicants last year. It increased by nearly 900,000 people.

NYS Farm Bureau President is annoyed with the Governor for excluding farmworkers from the COVID vaccine eligibility list. In a statement, David Fisher said… “It is frustrating that Governor Cuomo visited a location synonymous with New York agriculture, the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, to announce the expansion of the state’s COVID vaccine eligibility list, yet he still refuses to protect farmworkers by including them in the ongoing rollout of phase 1b. The CDC recommends that food and agricultural workers be eligible for their own safety and that of our food system. (Fisher said) It is time do what is right and prioritize the essential workers who help ensure New Yorkers have food on their tables.”

New York State United Teachers has launched a $1 million statewide television and digital advertising campaign drawing attention to the critical safety guidelines that schools need to follow as they reopen more classrooms for in-person learning. Titled “My Kids,” the new 30-second ad notes the critical importance of in-person learning for students, drawing attention to the need for COVID-19 testing in schools, vaccine availability for education professionals, social distancing, mandatory masking, and sanitization and hygiene protocols as part of reopening strategies. It will air in all regions of the state for the next month.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning today, all New Yorkers 60 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine, while public facing essential workers from governmental and nonprofit entities will be eligible beginning March 17. This expansion also includes public-facing essential building services workers. Additionally, the Governor announced that with increased supply of the vaccine, restrictions concerning which segments of the eligible population specific providers can vaccinate will be relaxed to align with the expanded eligibility on March 17.

Evening News Brief

Batavia Downs has announced who is going to be Rockin The Downs this Summer after the 2020 drought of concerts and performances for most people.   It kicks off with Steve Augeri at the end of June followed by Molly Hatchet, Don Felder, Tommy James and the Shondells, SkidRow and The Sweet in July.  In August The Pink Floyd cover show The Machine and Queensryche will be playing.  More information such as dates and prices can be had at the Batavia downs website www.bataviadownsgaming.com

New Yorkers 60 and above will be eligible to receive the COVID Vaccine starting March 10th at 8am.  Also starting on the 17th, public-facing public employees, public-facing not-for-profit emergency workers and public-facing building workers will be able to schedule vaccine appointments and all vaccine sites except pharmacies will be able to vaccinate anyone who is eligible.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is among the Republican legislators who have introduced impeachment proceedings against Governor Cuomo.  More than 40 Democrats in the assembly and senate have called for Cuomo to resign over the sexual harassment accusations while Republicans have focused more on the deaths in nursing homes.  Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes says that Cuomo’s scandals have “brought Albany to a grinding halt.  “There have been days where we’ve been scheduled to go into session, and we never did just because there’s been so many conferences going on, on how to handle the governor.”  A New York Governor has only been impeached once before, in 1913 with Democratic Governor William Sulzer being convicted of perjury.

The New York DEC wants to remind everyone that the Brush burning ban is in effect starting March 16th and going through May 14th.  Dry conditions are expected to be highest during those 2 months and open burning of brush and debris are the leading cause of wildfires in New York State.

UMMC is following through on its commitment to keep babies safe by giving every family who delivers a newborn baby at the hospital a Halo Sleepsack Swaddle.  The UMMC League donated enough swaddles for a year’s supply, so that no baby leaves the hospital empty handed.

The Genesee County Fair is set to run July 24th through 31st this year.  The Genesee County Agricultural Society has plans to ensure attendees, participants, and organizers will be safe and will be following a plan supported by the State Department of Health and Local Officials.

The Shooting for a Cure fundraiser by the Pembroke Girls Basketball team has raised over 41 thousand dollars for the Roswell Cancer Center and they hope to raise even more by April 1st.  The team has raised 192 thousand dollars for the cancer research center in the last 10 years and hopes to break 200 thousand this year.  If you would like to give to help them reach their goal you can follow the link at wbtai.com

https://give.roswellpark.org/site/TR;jsessionid=00000000.app334a?px=1009177&fr_id=1571&pg=personal&NONCE_TOKEN=02AB38BCAA67EAF14F2671C61A27A2C4

A bill has passed the state senate to make flamethrowers illegal.  Bill s1269 would make owning a flamethrower a felony.  A flamethrower is described as a device capable of projecting a stream of burning fuel a distance of 3 feet.  An exception to the ban is for agriculture, construction or historical collection purposes.

Morning News Brief

Batavia City Council approved the odds on favorite for the permanent post of City Manager.

Rachel Tabelski won a unanimous vote and a three year contract.
Tabelski said her first goal will be hire an assistant city manager, a position that has been open since Tabelski took on the interim assignment.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said he likes the idea of a manager with local roots:

Tabelski will earn $110,000 a year in the permanent role

A Wyoming County man fights for his life this morning with extensive burns.
68 year old Al Kilanski was injured late Sunday night when fire swept his home on Gardeau Street in Perry.
Perry volunteers said Kilanski’s home was fully engulfed when they arrived on the scene.
Kilanski was able to get out of the house just as firefighters arrived but not before he suffered serious burns.
He was airlifted to Strong Memorial and is listed in guarded condition this morning.

The family of Daniel Prude has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the Rochester Police Department and city. Prude passed away last year several days after being involved in an encounter with police and his death was ruled a homicide. But, it was recently announced the officers involved in the incident wouldn’t be prosecuted. The family is seeking unspecified damages for Prude’s pain and suffering.

State Attorney General Letitia James has announced who will be leading the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo. The case is going to be handled by former acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne Clark. So far, five women have come forward claiming the governor acted inappropriately towards them. The Attorney General has already said once the investigation is done, a report will be made public.

The number of Finger Lakes residents hospitalized due to COVID-19 has fallen to its lowest level in nearly four months. There are currently 156 people receiving treatment for the virus which is the fewest since November 12th.

Evening News Brief

2 more women have joined the 3 already accusing Governor Cuomo of sexual harassment.  Ana Liss, a former staffer, and Karen Hinton a press aide for Cuomo are the latest women to say Cuomo harassed them.  Democratic leaders such as assemblyman Pat Burke, Sarah Clark and Senators Samra Brouk and Jeremy Cooney as well as Majority leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and 35 other democratic state politicians are calling on Cuomo to resign but the governor says “I was elected by the people of the state. I wasn’t elected by politicians. I’m not gonna resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic.”  The assembly can vote to impeach Cuomo which would start a trial by a special impeachment court and Cuomo would be replaced by Lt Governor Kathy Hochul until the trial was over.  Unlike States such as California New York has no recall law.

The CDC says that fully vaccinated people are able to gather with others indoors without social distance or masks in a report released today.  The CDC also says that vaccinated people can gather with those who have a low risk for the disease even if those people are not vaccinated.  A person is fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they have received their second dose.  About 9 percent of Americans have had both doses.

Gas prices continue to rise but a bit slower than the last few weeks.  A gallon of regular was up 4 cents to 2.76 in Batavia.  The national average is 2.77 and the New York state Average is 2.83.  Last year the average national price was 2.39.  The rising prices are being blamed on continued issues after the blackouts and cold weather in Texas and the Gulf Coast along with OPEC nations cutting their supply.  Demand is also on the rise as more people are traveling and covid restrictions are being lifted in more and more places.

The Buffalo Bills after their deepest playoff run in the last 25 years are raising prices for season tickets and are hoping to open the stadium up at 100 percent capacity during the next season barring restrictions from Albany.

Midday News Brief

Rachel Tabelski

The Batavia City Council tonight is expected to approve Rachel Tabelski as the next, permanent, City Manager.
Tabelski has been serving as the interim City Manager since the departure of Martin Moore.
City Council President Gene Jankowski said the search came down to two candidates with Tabelski being one of them. Council will vote on the permanent appointment during its business meeting tonight.

 

Governor Cuomo is standing firm, saying he won’t resign even though two more women have accused him of sexual harassment.
The governor again asked New Yorkers to withhold judgment until an investigation into the allegations is complete. Five women have come forward in the last couple of weeks claiming the governor acted inappropriately towards them.

 

The search continues for a Batavia man who went missing in Ecuador.
On February 21st, 36-year-old Travis Sackett went for a day-long hike near an extinct volcano. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Since his disappearance, local authorities and the US Embassy in Ecuador have been notified. The family is offering a $2,000 reward for any information that helps locate him.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been established to add to the reward and cover expenses. It has grown to more than $10,000.

A much-needed financial boost is on the way for most restaurants in New York State. Beginning March 19th, restaurants outside of New York City can operate at 75 percent capacity, but tables will still need to be spread apart.
The number of customers at restaurants has been limited for months in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Gasoline continues to cost more in Batavia. The average price of a gallon of regular is $2.76, up 4-cents from a week ago and up nearly 22-cents from a month ago.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now hit seven following another loss on the road. Jeff Skinner and Colin Miller had a goal apiece, but it wasn’t enough as Buffalo fell to the New York Islanders yesterday by a final score of five-to-two.
Buffalo will look to get back on the winning track tomorrow night when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers.

Morning News Briefing

More than $31.5 million is being awarded to strengthen New York’s agricultural industry through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants program. These projects will protect a total of 15,600 acres on 22 New York dairy farms and eight non-dairy farms. The Western New York Land Conservancy will receive $453,000 to protect Schmieder Farm, located in the Town of Alexander. The Genesee Valley Conservancy is earmarked to receive a little more than $10.3 million. One of the projects involved Heindale Farm, located in the Town of East Bethany.

Court action is pending after a Holley woman who face multiple felony counts following a fraud complaint in Albion from nearly two years ago. State Troopers arrested 31-year-old Margaret Yarbrough, charging her with felony counts of welfare fraud and first-degree filing a false instrument. She was initially detained.

In the midst of a pandemic, when attendance was limited, Pembroke’s annual “Shooting For A Cure!” fundraiser has raised at least $39,200. Organizer Mike Wilson said that amount breaks last year’s record-breaking total of $33,000. Donations are still trickling in and Wilson is hoping the event goes over $40,000.

State Police say they filed multiple felony counts against an Elba man. Troopers arrested 33-year-old Kevin Moscicki. He was charged with felony aggravated driving while intoxicated and a separate count of felony DWI. He’ll appear in court at a later date.

An unattended propane heater triggered a weekend fire that destroyed a garage, a car and tools. Flames were reported at 344 W. Main Street in Batavia. Destroyed along with the building was a 2014 Toyota Camry and several tools. Two nearby structures received minor damage from radiant heat. There were no injuries.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is now calling for the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — a sign of escalating pressure from members of his own party to step aside amid allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct. Cuomo said Sunday he has no plans to step down. Stewart-Cousins’s decision to join a growing number of state Democratic lawmakers pushing for Cuomo to step down upped the pressure on the three-term governor, who appears to be losing his grip on the state capitol he has ruled for a decade.

New York is increasing restaurant capacity to 75 percent for areas outside of New York City. The change will take effect on March 19, pending the Legislature’s review. Restaurants outside of New York City are currently capped at 50 percent capacity. The increase in capacity comes as some neighboring states have loosened capacity restrictions in restaurants and New York has seen a continued decrease in COVID-19 positivity and hospitalizations.

A vehicle crash in the Town of Bergen resulted in charges for the driver. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 55-year-old Reginald Sampson of Ellicott Street in Batavia. He allegedly drove off the highway and struck a sign on Route 33. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, having a blood alcohol content above .08%, aggravated unlicensed operation and moving from a lane unsafely. He’ll appear in Bergen Town Court March 17th.

Former Eastman Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Colby Chandler has died. He led the company from 1983 to 1990. While CEO, Kodak expanded its consumer product lines, acquired Sterling Drug and ranked number 18 on FORTUNE’s list of America’s largest corporations. Chandler was 95.

The Batavia City Council is primed to select Rachel Tabelski as the new permanent City Manager for Batavia when it meets tonight.  Tabelski has been serving as Interim City Manager since August of 2019.  If approved by Council, Tabelski’s annual salary will become $110,000 plus benefits.

Weekend News Brief

Monday night the City Council is set to select Rachel Tabelski as the new permanent City Manager for Batavia.  Tabelski has been serving as Interim City Manager since the departure of Martin Moore in August of 2019.  If approved by Council, Tabelski’s annual salary will become $110,000 plus benefits.  City Council went through a search process using the same company that found Moore in 2018. Moore lasted one year in the job.  Tabelski has held a series of politically appointed jobs including as a legislative aide to Assemblyman Steve Hawley, communications director with the county’s Economic Development Center and stint with the Batavia Development Corporation.

The New York State Assembly and Senate passed a bill Friday that limits the Governors emergency powers to renewing and extending and modifying the orders that he already has in place.  It also gives the assembly the power to reject any of these and makes it so all orders will expire within 30 days unless the governor’s office comes to the assembly 5 days in advance of the deadline to make the changes or extensions.  Assemblyman Hawley was not happy with the bill and said that “What people expected of us today was simple—a clean ending of the governor’s emergency powers. What they got was a sham of a deal the governor himself had a say in that does nothing to rein in his power in a meaningful way, and instead preserves his emergency powers indefinitely.”  Other republicans also complained.  One criticism is that this bill allowed the emergency powers to be sustained indefinitely, all of the Governors mandates passed with emergency powers were set to expire on April 30th and this bill effectively extends all of them past that if they are renewed.

COVID Update from Friday at 4pm: Genesee county has 12 new cases and 19 people have recovered.  Orleans County has 4 new cases and 14 people have recovered.  There are 74 active cases in Genesee county and 34 in Orleans.  As of Friday Afternoon 5200 Genesee county residents had 2 doses of the vaccine and 2500 Orleans county residents had had both doses.  8.8 of the New York State population has been vaccinated completely against COVID.

The state health department responded to questions about the pop up Mass Vaccination clinic at GCC having most of it’s appointment slots booked up by urban counties instead of rural counties as planned.  The state said that all non FEMA state run mass vaccination sites are open to all New Yorkers and when more vaccines are available they will determine if exclusive sites are necessary.  Assemblyman Hawley says that there was a statewide free for all that left Rural counties behind.  County Health director Paul Petit said that “With only 864 of the 3,500 doses of vaccine remaining in our three counties, we are still well below the current state-wide vaccination rate. We will continue to seek additional allocations to bring parity for the counties’ vaccination rates.”

The City Water Department is planning to make repairs to a water line in the area of 53 River Street on Monday. Repairs will begin at 8:00 AM and should be completed by 3:00PM. The water may have to be shut off from #73 River to South Main Street. Residents in the area may experience low water pressure or discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.  Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry.

Pembroke High School Girls Basketball Team broke all previous records by raising almost 38 thousand dollars Friday night for Roswell Cancer Center with their Shooting for a Cure fundraiser.  This is the tenth year doing the fundraiser and it has grown each year.

Tabelski New Batavia City Manager

Rachael Tabelski

Rachel Tabelski has been selected to become the new permanent Batavia City Manager.
City Council will vote on her appointment at its meeting Monday night.

Tabelski has been serving as Interim City Manager since the departure of Martin Moore in August of 2019.
If approved by Council, Tabelski’s annual salary will become $110,000 plus benefits.

City Council went through a search process using the same company that found Moore in 2018. Moore lasted one year in the job.
City Hall officials said the choice came down to two candidates, one of them Tabelski, who was said had the support of Council President Gene Jankowski from the beginning

Tabelski has held a series of politically appointed jobs including as a legislative aide to Assemblyman Steve Hawley, communications director with the county’s Economic Development Center and stint with the Batavia Development Corporation.
Her husband, Adam Tabelski was a former Batavia City Councilman who had to resign his seat when Rachel entered the management ranks at City Hall.

Evening News Brief

Genesee Orleans County Health Director Paul Pettit put out a press release this morning about who signed up for a vaccination at the GCC 5 day mass vaccination clinic and Genesee Orleans and Wyoming Counties are getting less than a quarter of the vaccines.  Out of the 3500 doses expected residents from Genesee county got appointments for less than 600, Orleans county residents signed up for 169 and Wyoming County residents only got 99 spots for shots.  Erie County residents signed up for 1666 appointments.  Petit Says that “With only 864 of the 3,500 doses of vaccine remaining in our three counties, we are still well below the current state-wide vaccination rate.” He also says that “For those who live in our GOW region and were shut-out of this clinic, we will continue to advocate for vaccines for our residents.” Residents from 23 counties and some out of staters have appointments for the vaccine at GCC.

More allegations are coming out about Governor Cuomo’s role in the cover up of nursing home deaths to COVID 19.  The Wall Street Journal and New York Times are reporting that top advisors to the governor pushed the state health department to remove data from a public report on those deaths. The revised data lowered the number of COVID deaths in nursing homes.  According to the newspapers, state officials knew the number of residents who had died from COVID, but the health department did not release the data, despite calls to do so, for several months. The governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, previously admitted withholding in fear of a federal investigation.

The GCEDC board has approved Plug Power’s incentives for the proposed 232.7 million dollar green energy plant at the STAMP park in Alabama.  Under the terms of a proposed 20-year PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement, Plug Power would pay approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure, including Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District.  Plug Power is also investing 55 million dollars into a substation for the STAMP park as well as over 100 million in investments into site infrastructure and municipal partners.  The county expects a 4 times return on investment for the project.  The Board also accepted applications for several new solar farms and approved incentives for a John Deere facility.

Midday News Brief

Fire of undetermined cause destroyed a barn on Starowitz Road.
Flame were reported around 10 last night at Star Growers and brought multiple fire companies to the scene.
Elba Fire Chief Mike Healy directed firefighting

PHOTO: Elba Fire Chief Mike Healy

There was equipment inside the barn but no livestock. A dollar estimate of damage was not available. No injuries reported.

In an effort to get schools closer to normal Assemblyman Steve Hawley is asking the State Health Department and the Governor to allow a three-foot distance between students.
Right now, the rule requires a six-foot distance for in-school learning.
Hawley says that in many ways, remote, on-line learning is harmful to young students.

Genesee County reports 16 new cases of COVID-19. Twelve of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Four of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. In Orleans County, officials report five new positive cases with two people hospitalized. Wyoming County also reports five new COVID cases.

That new state run mass COVID vaccination site opened today at Genesee Community College.
The site has 35-hundred doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to distribute between now and Tuesday.
Health officials say that although all appointments were filled in the first 90-minutes of the website going live, you should keep checking because cancellations do occur.

Call:  1-833-697-4829 or Check this website HERE

State lawmakers could vote today on a measure that would strip Governor Cuomo of his COVID-19 emergency powers. In the early days of the pandemic, the governor was granted the authority to make important health and safety decisions without getting approval from the legislature. Since then, he’s put several orders in place including a mask mandate and has also played large role in deciding what businesses should be open

Morning News Brief

Flames destroyed a barn in Elba. The 10 p.m. three-alarm blaze was reported at Star Growers on Starowitz Road. Crews heard explosions inside the shop-type building upon their arrival. Elba firefighters made the initial attack and were assisted by Town of Batavia, Byron, South Byron, along with City Fire’s Fast Team. Ten departments in total responded. No injuries were reported. The cause remains under investigation.

State Police continue to investigate a fatal vehicle crash on State Route 237 and East Morganville Road in the town of Stafford. Troopers said a vehicle was struck on the driver side by a garbage truck traveling south on State Route 237.  The operator and only occupant of the passenger vehicle was 73-year-old Ann K. Wood of LeRoy. She died at the scene. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Collision Reconstruction Unit assisted. This is still an ongoing investigation.

Genesee County reports 16 new cases of COVID-19. Twelve of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Four of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. In Orleans County, officials report five new positive cases with two people hospitalized. Wyoming County also reports five new COVID cases.

A Wyoming County man is headed to prison stemming from a deadly car crash. 21-year-old Michael Conrad of Eagle was sentenced Thursday to serve 1 1/3-4 years in state prison. He was convicted of manslaughter and felony assault. Conrad was driving 100 mph when he crashed in Wethersfield. The crash killed 20-year-old Cori Lynn Shearing, a 2018 graduate of Letchworth Central.

A temporary COVID vaccination clinic begins today at Genesee Community College’s main campus Athletic Center. The clinic runs today from noon- 4p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday from 9a.m.-1p.m. Appointments must be made through the New York State ‘Am-I-Eligible’ webpage. The state-run clinic, expecting to vaccinate 3,500, is targeted to Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County residents who are in the state eligible groupings. The state has confirmed the vaccine will be the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) one dose vaccine.

With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposing to commit no funding in the 2021-2022 state budget dedicated to combating the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases throughout the state, Southern Tier State Senator Tom O’Mara this week joined other members of the Senate Republican Conference and a coalition of researchers and advocates to put a spotlight on the need to invest in research, education and prevention initiatives. The group is calling on Cuomo and other state leaders to commit at least $1.5 million in the final 2021-22 budget to badly needed Lyme-related initiatives.  O’Mara said, “Now is no time to ignore funding for critical public health responses.

New York State United Teachers is calling for school districts to ramp up COVID testing efforts for students and staff as many explore ways to bring more students back for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year.  Joined at a virtual press conference by the American Federation of Teachers and local education unions, the National Football League Players Association and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Union called on districts to look to effective testing strategies for New York City schools, SUNY and the NFL as models they can adopt best practices from in creating or expanding their own testing programs. The union also is calling for federal and state funding to implement testing.

Update on Deadly Stafford Crash

More details are now available about the crash in Stafford.  The New York State Police are confirming that the driver of a 2010 Kia, 73 year old Ann Wood of Leroy was killed in a collision with a Peterbilt Refuse Truck at the intersection of E Morganville Rd and St Rt 237.  It appears that Wood failed to yield right of way to the truck and was struck on the drivers side.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fatal Crash in Stafford

News Release

On March 4, 2021 at 11:12 A.M., Troopers out of SP Batavia responded to a two-vehicle collision on State Route 237 and East Morganville Road in the town of Stafford. Further investigation revealed that a 2010 Kia was traveling east on E. Morganville Road and stopped at the stop sign at State Route 237. The Kia proceeds into the intersection, not yielding the right of way and was struck on the driver side by a 2002 Peterbilt refuge truck traveling south on State Route 237. The operator and only occupant of the Kia, Ann K. Wood, 73 of Leroy, NY was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Collision Reconstruction Unit assisted in this investigation.

This is still an ongoing investigation.

Evening News Update

An accident in Stafford between and garbage truck and a passenger vehicle was deadly.  Details are scarce at the moment but it appears to have been a tbone accident at the intersection of Rt 237 and Randall Road.  Mercy Flight responded to the scene and additional emergency responders were needed to extricate the driver of one vehicle.  There has been 1 fatality confirmed.

Genesee county park and forest is starting up their birding walks March 6th.  There will be 4 walks, the 6th, 20th, April 10th and May 1st from 7am to 10am.  Birding walk is led by a guide and takes you through forest, meadow and wetland habitats and helps you identify birds by sound and sight.  Perfect for beginner and experienced birders. These 1 mile walks are free.  Masks must be worn whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance.  Pre-register by calling 585-344-1122.

Midday News Brief

The COVID vaccination Clinic at GCC is now under state control.
But don’t get too excited – all appointments for the five days of the clinic, are gone.
The clinic will be open tomorrow from Noon until 4, Saturday and Sunday
8 to 4 and Monday and Tuesday, 9 to 1.
Clinic started accepting appointments at 8 this morning and in about 90-minutes, the all appointments were taken.
A total of 3,500 doses of the vaccine were available.

 

No sooner had the state announced that the clinic was open and available to anyone, Republican assembly Steve Hawley criticized the effort saying the original intent was only for residents of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia)

It is unknown how many of the 3,500 doses allotted to GCC went to residents outside of the three county area.

 

Governor Cuomo isn’t planning to resign despite three women making sexual harassment claims against him. The governor said yesterday that he was sorry for making those women feel uncomfortable and that he’s embarrassed. Two of his former aides are accusing him of asking them inappropriate personal questions. A third woman named claims the governor put his hands on her during a 2019 wedding reception. The governor is asking people to withhold judgment until the state Attorney General’s office finishes its investigation.

 

As the number of New Yorkers testing positive for COVID-19 falls, limits on gatherings are about to see a change. Beginning March 22nd, the limit on outdoor gatherings at private homes will increase from 10 to 25. However, gatherings inside a residence will still be limited to 10 people. Social gatherings in public spaces are also allowed to grow from 50 people to 200 outdoors and 100 indoors

Mass Vaccination Clinic Opens Tomorrow at GCC

UPDATE: All appointments have been taken through Tuesday, Mar 9. Site filled appointments in 90-minutes.

The New York State Department of Health have agreed to host a temporary regional mass vaccination clinic at Genesee Community College (GCC) main campus center (1 College Rd, Batavia) to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to rural counties.

The announcement comes after the legislative leaders and public health directors of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties sent a letter last week to the Governor urgently requesting the designation of such a clinic to serve rural populations in the region.

“We are pleased to see this allocation for the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County area,” stated Lynne Johnson, Chairperson of the Orleans County Legislature.  “Our three counties have been underserved throughout this pandemic, especially with the lower vaccine allocations which in turn produces lower vaccination rates.”

This state-run clinic, expecting to vaccinate 3,500, is targeted to Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County residents who are in the state eligible groupings.  The state has confirmed, as of 03/02/21, the vaccine will be the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) one dose vaccine.  The clinic is located at the GCC Athletic Center where signs will guide those with appointments to the entrance.  The clinic will be held starting:

  • Friday, March 5th from 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.,
  • Saturday and Sunday (March 6th and 7th) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Monday and Tuesday (March 8th and 9th) from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Appointments must be made via the New York State ‘Am-I-Eligible’ webpage  HERE or by calling the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-697-4829 only.

“We are pleased to be a part of this mass vaccination clinic,” stated Rebecca Ryan, Chairwoman of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors.  “This will help put a dent in our priority groups.”

Morning News Brief

A Batavia resident with years of volunteer service locally and overseas, including the Peace Corps, is reportedly missing in Ecuador.  Travis Sackett, a 2003 graduate of Batavia High School, has reportedly been missing since Feb. 21 after going on a hike. Recently, he has been a volunteer at a farm in Ecuador. The U.S. Embassy in Ecuador has reportedly been notified that Sackett hasn’t been heard from since he left for the hike. Local search efforts began on Feb. 25. A GoFundMe page says Sackett’s parents are offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the safe return of their son. The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo says…he’s not resigning. Governor Cuomo apologized during a press conference for his actions and promises to be better.  At least three women have accused Governor Cuomo of inappropriate behavior and unwanted sexual advances towards them. This comes as his policy keeping COVID-19 patients in nursing homes in the early days of pandemic and undercounting coronavirus deaths is under federal investigation.

State Senator Rob Ortt and more than 60 state Senators and members of the Assembly Wednesday joined the call from county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders from throughout New York for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. It’s been an annual movement since 2013. The Senator says “Maintaining our roads and bridges is essential not only for the safety and well-being of our communities, but it’s a critical component to help spur job creation and economic revitalization.”

Genesee County received 21 new positive cases of COVID-19. Thirteen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Seven new cases are reported in Orleans County with one hospitalization.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 33-year-old Michael Flatley of Buffalo following a traffic stop on Alleghany Road in the Town of Alabama. He was charged with felony DWI and felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned in court and released. He’ll return to court May 5th.

U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of NY has announced the introduction of the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act, which will create a new program for all essential workers and personnel who have been injured or impacted by COVID-19. Modelled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), the new fund would provide compensation to any individuals, or their families, who were deemed essential workers that were required to leave their home to perform services, and became ill or died as a result of COVID-19. The legislation would also create a website to facilitate access to the fund and simplify the application process to maximize compensation for essential workers and their families.

Evening News Update

Multiple NY State democrat politicians are calling on Governor Cuomo to resign.  Republicans including Tom Reed also echo the call but Reed says he doesn’t expect Cuomo to step down.  In fact, he expects to see Cuomo run for governor again.  Reed says, “the only way Andrew Cuomo is not the candidate is if he is impeached.”  Cuomo has been under fire from republicans over the deaths due to COVID in nursing homes after the march 2020 order that nursing homes and long term care facilities had to accept COVID-19 positive patients into their vulnerable populations.  The calls for his resignation from democrats didn’t come until late last month when Attorney General Letitia James released a report showing that the numbers that the Sate Health Department had released were off by more than 50 percent and then an aide in a call to democrat politicians said that they had covered up the real number out of fear.  Next came a renewal of an allegation of sexual harassment from 6 months ago and 2 more women coming forward to accuse Cuomo.

Darien Lake will be holding their first ever virtual hiring event this and next Saturday.  The Amusement park is looking for over 1500 seasonal workers for positions in the park, water park, hotel and campground.  Interviews are done in Microsoft Teams once candidates have applied at sixflags.com/darienlake/jobs.  Pay starts at 12.50 an hour for employees 14 and up.

North Darien Bible Church is debuting its free clothes closet this Saturday with free clothes, coats, and shoes for all ages and sizes.  Starting at 9am and running to noon the closet will be running the first Saturday of each month.  The church is located at 9762 Simonds Road in Corfu.

Midday News Brief

State lawmakers have reached a deal to strip Governor Cuomo of the emergency powers he was granted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since last year, the governor has had the authority to do things like issuing a mandatory mask-wearing requirement and choosing which businesses should be opened or closed. At any time, the Legislature could have voted to override those decisions but decided not to. The Times Union in Albany reports a vote on this latest measure is expected to take place Friday.

The Governor is facing increased calls for his resignation after three women have come forward accusing him of sexual harassment. Pressure to step down has even been coming from some of his fellow Democrats and at least one member of Congress.

 

Batavia P D’s newest K-9 has taken tracked down his first suspect.
Police say 21 year old Dejon Smith of Rochester was collared after a short foot chase last Thursday..
K-9 “Batu” located Smith behind a home on Ellicott Street.
Smith was charged possession of drugs with intent to sell, resisting arrest and burglary.

 

State Troopers file a felony charge against an Elba man.
State Police say they arrested 38-year-old Robert Douglas. He was charged with grand larceny involving property valued at more than $1,000. Police said the charge stems from a theft from a building in the Town of Batavia.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached four games following a disappointing defeat on the road. The Sabres fell to the New York Rangers by a final score of three-to-two last night.
Their next game is set for tomorrow night against the New York Islanders.

Morning News Brief

The Genesee County Economic Development Center board of directors will consider approving incentives for a $9.2 million project at its board meeting on Thursday. LandPro Equipment LLC is proposing to acquire and develop a 14-acre parcel to build a 50,000 square-foot facility for a full-service John Deere Agriculture and Turf Dealership. The facility would primarily be used for operations and training, with a portion of the facility used for retail.  The project proposes to create 5 new jobs and retain approximately 60 jobs in Genesee County. The Development board also will consider initial applications for three community solar projects. Forefront Power LLC (Elba Solar) is proposing to invest $9.7 million in a community solar project on Norton Road in the town of Elba.  Solar Liberty is proposing to invest $7.7 million in two community solar projects on Tesnow Road in the town of Pembroke.

State Police have leveled a felony charge against an Elba man. Troopers say they arrested 38-year-old Robert S. Douglas. He was charged with grand larceny involving property valued at more than $1,000. Police said the charge stems from a larceny from a building in the Town of Batavia. Douglas was initially detained.

Batavia Police filed multiple counts against two Rochester men following a traffic stop on Otis Street in which one man fled the scene on foot. Police charged 21-year-old Dejon Smith with felony counts of burglary, criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, tampering with physical evidence and resisting arrest. Police also arrested 27-year-old Germayne Session, charging him with driving with a suspended registration and unlicensed operation. Suspected crack cocaine and marijuana was recovered at the scene of the traffic stop and additional crack cocaine was located inside of a storage shed on Ellicott Street.

Genesee County reports 15 new positive cases of COVID-19. Twenty-six of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Three of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Three of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Orleans County reports just four new cases with no hospitalizations. In Wyoming County, health officials report seven new cases.

A Grand Jury has indicted Jennifer D. Abrams and Tarus O. Fluitt for third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 16 in the Town of Le Roy, the pair unlawfully entered the Kwik Fill on West Main Street Road intending to commit a crime. They are also accused of felony third-degree criminal mischief for allegedly damaging the front glass door of the Kwik Fill. In count three, Abrams and Fluitt are accused of fifth-degree conspiracy.

Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt and his legislative colleagues in the Senate and Assembly will hold a news conference in Albany this morning to call for increased state funding for local roads, bridges, and culverts in the final New York State budget. The news conference coincides with the “Local Roads Are Essential” advocacy campaign getting underway this week and sponsored by the New York State Association of County Highway Superintendents and the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, Inc. Numerous studies over the past decade have highlighted the decline of New York’s locally maintained transportation infrastructure and its impact on economic development, local property taxes, and motorist safety.

Roy A. Newton has been indicted for felony driving while intoxicated and having a blood alcohol content above .08%, also as a felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 30 in the Village of Le Roy Newton drove on Main Street while intoxicated.

Midday News Brief

More COVID-19 vaccines are available in Genesee County.
Public health officials say the county has received 885 does of the vaccine, that’s more than three times the number of does the county has received over the past several weeks.
Health Director Paul Petit says several community partners have also received more vaccine including Tops Markets in Batavia and LeRoy, UMMC, Oakfield Family Pharmacy.
GCC will hold two clinics this week: Wednesday from 11 until 3 for first does and Friday from 9 until 11 for second doses.

A third woman has now come forward claiming Governor Cuomo made unwanted advances towards her. Anna Ruch says the governor put his hand on her bare back during a 2019 wedding reception and later put his hands on her face asking if he could kiss her. The state Attorney General’s office is investigating those cases and says a report will be issued to the public.

Genesee County reports 30 new positive cases of COVID-19.
Forty-three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Nine of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
Orleans County received 8 new positive cases of COVID-19. Wyoming County reports 20 new cases.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board will consider accepting an initial application for incentives for Plug Power’s proposed $232.7 million green energy project at the STAMP site.
The GCEDC Board meets this Thursday. The project is expected to be under construction this summer creating 68 well-paying jobs.

The Buffalo Sabres are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and they’ll be hoping to snap it tonight. The Sabres will be at Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers. Buffalo’s offense struggled over the weekend during a pair of home shutout losses to the Philadelphia Flyers. Face-off for this evening’s contest in the Big Apple is scheduled for seven p-m.

Morning News Brief

Additional doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine have been coming into Genesee County this week — a welcome sign of better days ahead, according to the Genesee/Orleans public health director. Paul Pettit said after the allocation had been flat for four weeks, the county Department of Health has received 885 doses of the vaccine – 300 of the Moderna and 585 of the Pfizer. Pettit also mentioned that several “community partners” have received vaccine, with United Memorial Medical Center getting 200 doses and Tops Market in Batavia, Tops Market in Le Roy and Oakfield Family Pharmacy receiving 100 doses each. He reported that Genesee Community College will be the site of two local vaccination clinics this week – from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday for first dose only and from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday for second dose only. This is not the mass vaccination clinic at GCC that leaders in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties have been vigorously asking for, but Pettit said good news may be around the corner. More details on that are expected today.

Another woman has come forward to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual impropriety – prompting calls for the Governor to resign. Unlike his prior two accusers, Anna Ruch told the New York Times she did not work for Gov. Cuomo but instead met him at a 2019 wedding. Cuomo has long positioned himself as the champion of women in the workforce, but Ruch is the third to come forward with a similar story. Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James has received a referral letter to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo. Her office released a statement saying it’s not a responsibility taken lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously.

Genesee County reports 30 new positive cases of COVID-19. Thirteen communities are impacted, including Batavia and LeRoy. Forty-three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Nine of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County received 8 new positive cases of COVID-19. Wyoming County reports 20 new cases.

The Genesee County Emergency Management Services has received a $3,800 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. FM Global representatives presented the award to the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management in Batavia.  The award will be used to assist with fire investigations to help fire investigators more efficiently investigate and determine the cause of a fire. Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 40 years FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of New York-based organizations.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors will consider accepting an initial application for incentives for Plug Power’s proposed $232.7 million green energy technology facility at the STAMP facility at its March 4 board meeting. The facility would produce green hydrogen through an electrolysis process of water utilizing clean hydropower. The production facility would produce approximately 45 metric tons of liquid hydrogen on a daily basis and sold to customers to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector. Construction is anticipated to begin this summer. Plug Power would initially create approximately 68 new jobs at an average starting salary of approximately $70,000 plus benefits.

Gas prices continue an upward trend. The New York State average is $2.78 – up 8 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.60. Batavia prices are up, around 9 cents from a week ago, now at $2.72 a gallon.

Evening News Brief

The back and forth over whether restaurants in the Buffalo are can stay open after 11pm continues as a judge ruled that the restaurants involved in a lawsuit against the state can stay open till their normal closing time.  Judge Walker issued a temporary restraining order on the 5th of February allowing restaurants in the suit to stay open but 5 days later that order was overruled by an appellate court judge.  This decision overrules that ruling.  This only effects the 90 restaurants in the suit but they hope it will open up the rest of the state.

The Johnson and Johnson Vaccine that only requires 1 dose has been authorized for emergency use by the CDC and University of Rochester infectious disease experts are weighing in to say get whatever vaccine you can.  Dr Anne Falsey, professor of Medicine at U of R says “Don’t wait a month for something you perceive is better. It may or may not be better” Falsey and Dr Branche, an infectious disease researcher at U of R both agree that any of the vaccines are worth getting.

On Saturday The Genesee county Sno Packers held a rally to fight breast cancer that involved snowmobiling in slightly less clothes than usual.  The Bikini rally in Oakfield raised nearly 30 thousand dollars for the Pink Fund with bikini bottom and t shirt clad ladies riding for the cause across the countryside.

Midday News Brief

The number of Western New York residents testing positive for coronavirus is continuing to trend downward. The latest data shows the seven-day average positivity rate in the region is one-point-eight percent. That’s far below the state’s average rate of three-point-one percent.
Genesee County’s positivity rate stands at 2.9%.

The state Attorney General’s office will be overseeing the investigation of recent sexual harassment allegations made against Governor Cuomo. Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story where a former staff member named Charlotte Bennett claimed Cuomo asked her personal questions about her

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

relationships and if she’d ever been intimate with older men. Last week, another ex-staff member published an essay saying the governor asked her to play strip poker and that he kissed her without consent.

Following this second sexual harassment claim made against him, Governor Cuomo has released a statement involving his conduct in the workplace. The governor apologized for making jokes that some people may have interpreted as insensitive or too personal. He also said that he hasn’t inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone and never intended to make colleagues feel uncomfortable.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties. The advisory continues until just after midnight.
Look for Northwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

A Batavia man faces felony charges after police responded to a domestic incident on South Main Street.
Police tell WBTA  57-year-old Terry Marvin Conrad was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing with a weapon.
Police say that Conrad menaced his son with a knife after becoming involved in a physical confrontation.
He was released from custody after a court arraignment and will return to city court next month.

Western New York drivers are continuing to see higher prices when filling up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia is $2.72.That’s up 8-cents since last week and up 32-cents from a month ago.

The offense of the Buffalo Sabres is struggling again following back-to-back shutout losses at home. Yesterday, goalie Carter Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced as his Philadelphia Flyers beat the Sabres three-to-nothing at KeyBank Center. Buffalo currently sits in last place in the East Division, 13 points behind the first place Washington Capitals. Up next for the Sabres is a road game against the New York Rangers tomorrow night.

Morning News Brief

A large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic begins later this week at Genesee Community College. The clinic begins Friday and runs for seven days. Officials say there should be 500 daily doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Once sign-ups open, residents can call the state’s vaccination line for an appointment.

The Batavia School Board of Education is expected to appoint election inspectors when it meets tonight. The Board will also be asked to make a dozen appointments. Members will also receive an update on Richmond Memorial Library. The meeting begins at 6:30 and will be live-streamed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an apology after a second former aide came forward with accusations of sexual harassment. In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said he “never intended to offend” or “harm.” He conceded he has “teased people about their personal lives” and said he now understands his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal.” Cuomo’s statement, the fourth of the day issued from his office, said “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.” It follows 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett’s accusation in the New York Times that Cuomo asked repeatedly about her sex life and made her feel like he wanted to sleep with her. New York attorney general Letita James announced she plans to bring in an independent third-party to investigate these allegations against the governor.

Genesee County Human Resources has announced an open competitive examination for a firefighter in the City of Batavia. Starting salary is around $51,400. Everything you need to know is posted on the City’s home page.

The New York State COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped to the lowest rate since December 12th.  There are around 5,200 people in hospitals with virus-related conditions. The number has dropped by nearly 200 in the past few days. Admissions to the ICU have also declines, but remain over 1,100. Eighty-five new COVID deaths have been reported statewide.

A Batavia man faces felony and other counts after city police responded to a domestic incident on South Main Street. Police said they arrested 57-year-old Terry Marvin Conrad. He was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing with a weapon. In a press release, police allege that Conrad menaced his son with a knife after becoming involved in a physical confrontation with him. He was released from custody after a court arraignment and will return to city court April 7th.

Batavia police arrested 35-year-old Cody Bush of Walnut Street. He was charged with felony grand larceny and lesser counts of assault and criminal mischief. Those charges were filed following a physical domestic dispute. Additional court action is pending.

Weekend News Brief

Hotel Workers are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine under 1B status.  Governor Cuomo announced Friday that they were to be added to the list and that it will be up to local health departments to determine how hotel workers will be included in vaccine distributions, as well as where and when.  So far just over 4 million people have had at least 1 dose of the vaccine in New York State and about 7.4 percent of New Yorkers have had both shots.

2 sheriffs department staff said their farewells Friday afternoon.  Corrections Officer Kelly Creegan retired after 19 years and Catherine Uhly retired from a 20 year career at Genesee Justice. Uhly began her career on July 8, 2002, as a Principal Clerk at Genesee Justice, then Case Manager in 2014, and in 2016 was appointed to her current position as Program Coordinator. She has received two Meritorious Service awards for continuous excellence and the 2020 Distinguished Service Award.  Uhly was pictured with Sheriff Sheron and Undersheriff Mazur for her last day. Deputies and staff lined the walk in front of the Genesee county jail and saluted Creegan.  During his career, Creegan has been the recipient of a Commendation, Certificate of Appreciation, and Meritorious Service for continuous excellence.

COVID Update from Friday Evening: Genesee county has 18 new cases and 18 people have recovered. 4 and a half thousand people have gotten both doses of the vaccine in Genesee county and 2100 people have had both doses in Orleans.  Orleans county has 4 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  There are 95 active cases in Genesee county and 53 in Orleans.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is sponsoring a blood drive on Monday the 1st at Batavia Downs from 2 to 7 pm.  Paula’s Donuts will be providing free donut coupons to those who give blood.  The drive is being done by Connect Life and you can register if you are over 18 years old at their website connectlifegiveblood.org

The 3 National Guard killed in the helicopter crash in Mendon were remembered in a service on Friday.  Christian Koch, Daniel Prial, and Steven Skoda – all chief warrant officers – died when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter went down in a field.  Friends and family members spoke about them.  A permanent Memorial is planned near the crash site.  An Army Safety Investigation team with the National Guard and Federal Aviation Administration are both conducting investigations into the cause of the crash. Both of those are expected to take several months to complete, though no definitive timeline has been set.  Senator Schumer is calling on a mass investigation of all National Guard Helicopters and vertical lift vehicles after a this and another crash on February 3rd in Idaho both claimed 3 lives each.

Evening Update

Friday Evening COVID Update: Genesee county has 18 new cases and 18 people have recovered. 4 and a half thousand people have gotten both doses of the vaccine in Genesee county and 2100 people have had both doses in Orleans.  Orleans county has 4 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  There are 95 active cases in Genesee county and 53 in Orleans.

Dr Howard Zucker, director of the New York Department of Health, said in a budget hearing that there is an examination of the 6 foot distancing school policy.  He said that they may be open to moving instead to a 3 foot policy with some kind of barrier between students.  The 6 foot social distance school policy has forced many students to work from home, causing many students to struggle.  Dr Zucker said the end goal is to get students back into school.

Midday News Brief

Plug Power, a hydrogen fuel production facility, will build a $290-million production facility on the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama.
The governor’s office and the Genesee County Economic Development Center, confirms that the project will move forward. The company says the facility will employ 68 people.
On WBTA’s Main and Center program this morning GCEDC spokesman Jim Krencik explains what Plug Power is all about

 

Jim Krencik, GCDEC Marketing Director

There is a major side benefit to the PLUG power project. Chris Suozzi of the GCEDC explains that the company will fund a 450 megawatt electric substation which will benefit future developments at STAMP

 

GCEDC Vice-President Chris Suozzi

Plug Power says the 68 new jobs will pay, on average, $70,000 a year. The company is receiving a variety of state and local tax breaks.
Construction of the Town of Alabama facility is expected to begin this summer.

The much talked about STAMP site has had a difficult path. Potential projects never materialized.
The closest a project came was back in 2015 when a company called 13-66 Technologies said it would break ground on a 700-million dollar solor panel manufacturing park. The project fell apart three years later without a shovel in the ground.
More recently, interest in the site has been shown by Samsung who reportedly is considering STAMP as one of three locations for a milti-billion dollar facility.

For the first time in months, most nursing homes across New York State will start allowing visitors back inside their facilities today. People haven’t been able to visit their loved ones and friends due to lingering concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

After waiting patiently all season, Buffalo Sabres fans will soon have the chance to see their favorite team in-person. The franchise announced yesterday that it’ll allow people in the stands of KeyBank Center starting with the March 20th game against the Boston Bruins.

Morning News Briefing

Leading alternative energy technology provider Plug Power will invest $290 million in the construction of a state-of-the-art green hydrogen fuel production facility and electric substation at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park located in the Town of Alabama. The Plug Power project is the first build at the STAMP site and will require that the company fund the construction of a 450-megawatt electric substation to support its expansion as well as future growth opportunities at the business park. Plug Power has additionally committed to creating 68 jobs at the new production facility, which will produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

The City of Batavia Police Department, in partnership with the City of Batavia School District (BCSD), has announced the addition of Officer Miah Stevens as the newest School Resource Officer (SRO). Officer Stevens is replacing retiring Officer Jason Davis who has held the post for the last two years and has served the City for 20+ years as a police officer. Officer Stevens is a 2013 graduate of Pembroke High School, she went on to attend Genesee Community College and SUNY Brockport majoring in Criminal Justice. Stevens has previously worked for the YMCA – Batavia as a children’s swim instructor and lifeguard, City of Batavia – Bureau of Maintenance as a summer laborer and the City of Batavia School District as a teacher’s aide.

It’s the Winter Fun Night Hike from 7:00 to 9:00 pm tonight at the Genesee County Park & Forest. Park guides will lead people on a night hike for ages 18 and over. Meet at Pavilion A on Raymond Rd. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required, call 585-344-1122. Masks must be worn whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance.

Genesee County reports 21 new positive COVID cases, bring the total number of confirmed cases to more than 4,200. The new infections involve residents of 13 communities, including Batavia and LeRoy. 14 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Orleans County reports just five new cases but also another death, which involved a resident at Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. Wyoming County health officials also report five new cases.

Officials with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) don’t see things the way a group of activists in the area do when it comes how detainees at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility are being treated in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Activists say the conditions have led to two detainees going on a hunger strike.  Representatives of Justice for Migrant Families of WNY, which is based in Buffalo, claimed during a press conference that during the recent outbreak, COVID-positive patients have been kept in solitary confinement, that conditions in the facility are unsafe and represent a health threat to the Genesee County community, particularly since, in their view, detainees are being held purely for violations of immigration laws. ICE officials dispute these allegations. According to a source, there is no such thing as “solitary confinement” at the facility.

Today is the day hundreds have been waiting for: the chance to visit their loved ones at nursing homes in New York. New state restrictions are to take effect on this morning. The goal is to expand visits – but the reality is different. In order for nursing homes to allow visitation, they must go 14 days without a positive case. This is leading to frustration on the part of families. The advocacy group Essential Care Visitors says around 30 percent of nursing homes across the state will quality for visitations. On Tuesday, state lawmakers will vote on a caregiver bill. It would lessen restrictions and would give families more opportunities to finally be together.

Evening News Update

University of Rochester Medical Center is testing a booster version of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to see if a third dose will make immunity even more effective against the virus.  Side effects will be closely watched and antibodies will be measured.

The State of New York now has new guidelines for weddings and catered events.  According to the new guidance, venues are restricted to half capacity, with no more than 150 people per event. However, guidance states that “social gathering limit is 50 or fewer people in non-residential settings” and local health departments must be notified if a gathering will include more than 50 people. Cluster zones may have lower gathering limits.  Anyone in attendance at an event will be required to provide information for use in potential contact tracing efforts.  Guests, along with venue staff, will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test ahead of the event. Those who have received a full vaccination may have to show proof.

Midday News Brief

Western Region OTB, owner of Batavia Downs, has purchased at adjacent Hotel at Batavia Downs for $8-million.
The hotel was owned and developed by ADK Hospitality of Buffalo. It opened in November of 2016.

OTB President Henry Wojtaszek told WBTA this morning:

PHOTO: OTB President Henry Wojtaszek

Wojtaszek says the Downs will be better able to market the hotel with tie-ins to the casino such as weddings, tradeshows and overnight dinner packages.

 

NY Gov Andrew Cuomo

A former staff member of Governor Cuomo has published an article detailing alleged incidents of sexual harassment against her.
Lindsey Boylan, who previously accused the governor of misconduct, claims he kissed her without consent and asked her to play strip poker on a private jet.
Boylan used to work for Empire State Development and is currently running for Manhattan borough president.
The governor denied her allegations saying they simply aren’t true.

 

Congressional Republicans are calling for Governor Cuomo to be subpoenaed so he can testify about his administration’s handling of home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
GOP members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform want to look into any connection between the number of deaths at those facilities and the governor’s directive that they take in people from hospitals who tested positive for COVID-19

An almost $11-million project to rehabilitate the Erie Canal in Orleans County has been completed.
Assemblyman Steve Hawley says the project included the repair of seven 100-year old bridge trusses over the canal.
The project will allow the safe passage of trucks, farm equipment and commercial and emergency vehicles to pass safely due to the replacement of the steel flooring on the bridges, which raises their legal weight limit.

After a brief road trip, the Buffalo Sabres will be back on home ice in hopes of securing a second straight win. They’ll be hosting the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center tonight.

Morning News Brief

Timothy Tundo

A Bethany man faces a slew of drug and gun charges after the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force and others raided a home on Linden Road. As a result, 57-year-old Timothy Tundo was taken into custody. During a search, police said they found LSD, ten high-capacity magazines, an ammunition belt, brass knuckles, an AR-15 style pistol, two machine guns, marijuana, five assault weapons and cash. He was arraigned on 23 felony and misdemeanor counts and was jailed in lieu of bail.

State Police arrested 20-year-old Benjamin J. Lathan and 20-year-old Brandon C. Lewis, 20, both of Bergen for Larceny and Trespass. Troopers investigating the January theft of three trail cameras from a property in Allegany County allege both men were involved in the thefts. Both were arrested and released with appearance tickets for Genesee Town Court, where they are due to appear in March.

Congressman Tom Reed and potential NY gubernatorial candidate, says he has no intention of supporting the coronavirus relief package in its current form. Reed says he can’t believe the federal government would provide $1,400 to convicted felons and child molesters.

Wyoming County deputies arrested 22-year-old Johnathan Falk of Batavia. He was charged in separate warrants with felony criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor petit larceny. Other drug charges, as well as a bail jumping count, are also pending. He was remanded to the Wyoming County Jail pending further court action.

New York Farm Bureau outlined its federal public policy agenda Wednesday as farmers from across the state are meeting virtually this week with their U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives. The main priority issues range from agricultural labor reform and COVID relief to trade policy and climate change mitigation. Farm Bureau President David Fisher and Senior Associate Director of Public Policy and National Affairs Lauren Williams unveiled the priority issues during a Zoom press conference.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee reminds parents and caregivers in Orleans County that free car seat checks by certified child passenger safety technicians are available tomorrow in Albion. All attendees over two years of age must wear a mask and must practice social distancing. The event is part of a yearlong safety initiative in which state and local law enforcement agencies, together with various community safety partners, offer free inspections. It happens from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Arnold Gregory Complex (North Parking Lot), 243 South Main Street, Albion.

Genesee County today reports 14 new cases of COVID-19. Twenty-three of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fourteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. There are 19 new cases in Orleans County with two hospitalizations. Wyoming County health officials report seven new cases

A former member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration who previously accused him of sexual harassment offered new details about her claims against him. According to an Associated Press report…Lindsey Boylan said in an article posted Wednesday on Medium that he once kissed her on the lips without consent after a private meeting. Cuomo has previously said her allegations are “just not true.”

Evening News Update

57 year old Timothy Tundo of Linden Rd in Bethany was arrested by a joint team of Genesee County Sheriffs and city of Batavia Police after an investigation into illegal drugs and firearms on Tuesday morning.  He was found in possession of LSD with intent to sell, brass knuckles, a unmarked and unregistered ghost gun, 2 fully automatic machine guns, and a large quantity of Marijuana.  He was charged with 21 felonies and 1 misdemeanor related to drugs and weapons possession.

The Diamond Dance Team has been chosen to provide entertainment between innings when the Muckdogs take to the field this year.  Le Beau Salon will have the Diamond Dance Team wowing the crowd with their moves and abilities.  The team is managed by KMS Dance Studio.

Midday News Brief

A Wind Advisory in effect for Genesee and Orleans counties until 10 tonight. Winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour are expected with possible gusts up to 50 miles per hour.
The National Weather Service says tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

A Batavia man charged with attempted murder could go on trial by April.
22 year old Jacob Sponaugle is accused of shooting another man entering the lobby of the Days Inn last July.
Sponaugle’s court appearance up to now have been held virtually. Judge Charles Zambito wants Sponaugle to appear in court – in person – on April 12th.
If no plea deal is offered and accepted, the trial would be the first in the county since of Coronavirus pandemic started.

There have been 15 new coronavirus cases reported over the past 24 hours. 12 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
There have been five new COVID positive cases reported in Orleans County,

Attorney General Letitia James

 

The seven Rochester police officers who were investigated by the New York State Attorney general for their role in the death of an unarmed black man last March, will not face criminal charges – despite the death being ruled a homicide.
Attorney General Letitia James expressed disappointment after she learned of the grand jury’s decision Tuesday

Police handcuffed Daniel Prude while he was naked and held face down with a spit hood placed over his head. He had stopped breathing and was taken to a hospital. He died seven days later.

After some recent struggles, the offense of the Buffalo Sabres got on track in a big way last night as the team picked up a much-needed win.
The Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils four-to-one last night at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Morning News Briefing

Just 15 new COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. Twelve people remain hospitalized. Orleans County reports five new cases and Wyoming County reports 13 new cases.

A Batavia man is going to serve at least a year in prison for a violation of probation but his fate on rape charges remains pending. While held in the Genesee County Jail, 30-year-old Justin T. Gladney appeared virtually in County Court on his violation of probation conviction. His appearance on his rape charges was continued until March 23, when all parties are expected to appear in person.

The legislative leaders and public health directors of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties sent a letter to New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo urgently requesting the designation of a regional mass vaccination clinic at the Genesee Community College (GCC) campus to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to the rural counties. The letter reads that “Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties have consistently been left out of the COVID-19 response with delays in testing supplies and now with very limited vaccine allocations. All three counties are medically underserved and having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher will hold a virtual press conference today to unveil the organization’s national public policy agenda. This will be held in conjunction with meetings this week between more than two dozen NYFB members and the state’s congressional delegation. Farmers will be discussing major federal issues with lawmakers, including the Biden administration’s new immigration proposal, additional COVID relief, and the future of trade policy in this country.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York’s health care distribution sites have administered 91 percent of first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations so far delivered. The week 10 allocation from the federal government was delayed due to winter storms impacting much of the country, and week 10 deliveries continue to arrive today. The week 11 allocation will begin arriving mid-week. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

From the cold case files…State Police in Warsaw continue to investigate the 41-year-old missing person case of James Dean Knox. On December 21, 1979, the grandmother of James Dean Knox reported him missing. She reported she last saw him at her home in South Warsaw on December 9, 1979. Further investigation by the New York State Police revealed Knox had been seen by friends, associates and local business people in the village of Warsaw on December 10 and 11, before his sudden disappearance. At the time of his disappearance, Knox was residing at 35 Wyoming Street in Warsaw and on medical leave from Leroy Machine Co., in Leroy.  Knox was known to frequent a local pizzeria in the village of Warsaw. Knox is described as a white male, 5’11” tall, 150 pounds, dark blonde hair, blue eyes and wore eyeglasses.  Knox was 24 years old at the time of his disappearance. Troopers say…they won’t stop looking.

The U.S. Department of Education has said that states must administer standardized tests this year, but the tests can be shortened and will not be used to evaluate schools. New York officials have expressed disappointment by the decision. Local educators, many of whom spoke out in favor of canceling testing this year, are now waiting to hear from the state about how assessments will proceed — and how much time and money it will cost them. New York was among several states that had requested federal permission from the Biden administration to cancel standardized testing for the 2020-21 school year. The move had strong public support and was backed by key education groups like New York State United Teachers and The Council of School Superintendents. Now New York must fulfill the federal requirement to test students in grades 3-8 in ELA and math. Those assessments are currently scheduled to begin in April.

Evening News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing homes which go along with CMS and CDC guidelines to begin on Friday the 26th. The Department of Health recommends that visitors take a rapid test before entry into the facility, and DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes at no cost. Visitation depends on the nursing home being free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days, the rate of transmission in each county, and needs to be kept below 20 percent of the total resident population.

Congressman Jacobs is calling for the border to be opened up between the US and Canada as a summit between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden approaches.  In a press release Jacobs said: “In one of his early executive orders, President Biden signaled that re-opening the U.S. – Canada border in a safe and cooperative manner was a priority. As a member of the Northern Border Caucus and a representative of a district with a vast amount of New York’s northern border, I urge the administration to uphold that commitment and work with Prime Minister Trudeau on a plan to reopen the border. Western New York families, small businesses, and property owners are relying upon it.”

The Genesee Orleans County department of weights and measures has put out a statement saying that the gas pumps in service are all up to date and inspected and approved.  The hike in prices has to do with the storms and outages in Texas and the Gulf coast along with an increase in demand and a drop in supply coming from the OPEC countries and not with any pumps being tampered with or being broken.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Islanders last night 3 to 2.  Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart scored goals on the Islanders.  Lazar is now third in scoring for the Sabres this season.  Buffalo will be going up against the Jersey Devils again tonight at 7.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia City Council appears to be prepared to move forward with a proposed four-year contract that would put the Genesee Area Family YMCA in charge of running city youth services. Rob Walker, the YMCA’s CEO, said the YMCA can offer “enhancements” beyond the scope of the contract because they have a complete facility and the gymnastics center. A resolution outlining the formal agreement with the YMCA and another to dissolve a pact with Genesee County to provide a youth bureau executive director were forwarded to Council’s Business Meeting on March 8th for a vote.

The City of Batavia says it will conduct a Conference Meeting Thursday morning…and the hot-button topic could be a new city leader. The Batavian reports that it has learned from multiple sources the Council will interview finalists for the vacant city manager position at the meeting, which will go into executive session immediately and is closed to the public. Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski has publicly announced her intention to apply for the position.

Genesee County reports 59 new COVID cases, that’s since Friday. Thirty-one of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Ten of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Seven of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Just 14 new cases have been reported in Orleans County with two hospitalizations. Wyoming County officials report 22 new cases of COVID-19.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.64, up 13 cents from last week. The New York State average is $2.70 – up 10 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.61. AAA Western and Central New York reported Batavia prices were $2.63 (up 11 cents since last week).  Pump prices continue to increase again this week. New York State average gas prices are on par with last year’s level.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new, expanded guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing home facilities in accordance with CMS and CDC guidelines to begin on February 26. The Department of Health recommends that visitors take a rapid test before entry into the facility, and DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes to facilitate their ability to test visitors on-site and at no cost. Visitation continues to depend on the nursing home facility being free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.

Evening News Brief

Genesee Orleans and Wyoming Counties are under a winter weather advisory until 7pm tonight.  There could be snow mixed with rain falling and up to 2 inches of accumulation.  This could make for slippery conditions on the roads.

For the first time since November western New York has a positivity rate of less than 3 percent.  The finger lakes region and western NY have a positivity rate of 2.3 percent.  Nationally the rates of death and transmission has dropped significantly.  Hopes are being expressed by officials in the medical community of new vaccines such as Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine being approved and more production being brought to bear that will speed up vaccinations and lead to things getting back to normal.

The South African Strain of COVID has been identified in Nassau County, the first time it has been detected in New York state.  Governor Cuomo warns that people still need to be cautious about masking and hand washing.  The South African strain has not been shown to be any more dangerous that COVID 19 and the vaccines have so far proven to be equally effective at fighting the new strains including the South African strain.

Senator Schumer is calling for an investigation into army and national guard vertical lift programs after the crash of a helicopter and death of 3 national guardsmen East of Rochester and a second crash in Idaho that claimed the lives of another 3 guardsmen.  Schumer cited a report that in 2019 Congress created the Commission to examine past aviation safety and readiness mishaps and it reported that since 2013, more than 6000 U.S. noncombat military aviation mishaps occurred during training or routine operations, claiming the lives of 224 servicemembers.  The senator said that these reports, cite a perfect storm of issues, including budgetary and administrative, that have resulted in lives lost, 186 aircraft destroyed, and taxpayers costs of approximately $11.66 billion.

Gas prices are up 11 cents since last week to 2.63.  The price also has gone higher than last years average across New York state.  Last year the price for a gallon of regular was 2.61.

The Sabres broke their 4 game losing streak with a win against the Jersey Devils Saturday.  Their 3 to 2 victory was thanks to 2 goals from Sam Reinhart and 1 from Colin Miller.  Their next game will be against The New York Islanders tonight at 7pm.

Morning News Brief

A driver from Albion faces multiple felony counts after he was pulled over in the Allegany County Town of Caneadea. State Police early Sunday arrested 23-year-old Aaron Burnside. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, both felonies. He was released on his own recognizance.

After finding a vehicle off the road, a Darien man now faces multiple charges. Deputies say they found the vehicle off Attica Road in Darien. An investigation resulted in the arrest of 22-year-old Tristan Michael Vaughn of Richley Road. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, unregistered vehicle and moving from a lane unsafely. No injuries were reported in the incident. Vaughn will appear in court March 16th.

Restaurants are in trouble amid the pandemic – that warning Sunday from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY…talking up the Restaurant Act, which includes 25 billion dollars in flexible grants to eateries. The Restaurant Act of 2021 contains 120 billion dollars in aid to the nation’s restaurants. But since it’s included in the coronavirus relief act it may not get any Senate Republican votes.

A weekend fire destroyed a barn in Ridgeway. It also killed more than 50 animals.  When firefighters arrived, the structure was fully involved in fire. The intense flames also damaged a nearby house. One horse was saved, but turkeys, chickens, pheasants and rabbits perished. Ridgeway firefighters were assisted by Medina, Lyndonville, Shelby, Middleport and Hartland. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Batavia police have leveled an attempted robbery charge against a Wyoming County man. Police recently leveled that count against 32-year-old Nicholas Cory Longhini of Wyoming, NY. He was further charged with criminal mischief and criminal contempt. The charges stem from a domestic incident at a Batavia home. He turned himself in and was issued appearance tickets for court returnable April 13th.

Batavia police have charged 52-year-old Mark Farley of Harvester Avenue in Batavia with felony first-degree criminal contempt. According to a police report, Farley allegedly violated an order of protection when he forcefully entered a home and physical contact with the protected person. He was also charged with felony burglary, harassment and criminal mischief. He was initially jailed on $10,000 cash bail. He is due in Batavia City Court March 10th.

Weekend News Brief

Starting Monday the 22nd nursing homes can begin allowing visitors once again, according to governor Cuomo’s announcement on Friday.  The governor said all nursing home staff and residents have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and 73% of nursing home residents are now vaccinated.  The governor’s office will send out guidelines to nursing homes and long term care facilities soon that will include rapid testing and screening provided by the department of health.

In a response to the nursing home protests and ongoing issues with nursing homes Governor Cuomo announced reform legislation to target transparency, care and profiteering at long term care facilities.  Some of the reforms include: requiring nursing homes to disclose all rates on an annually updated website, a cap on salaries for managers and executives, requiring that nursing homes spend 70 percent or more of revenues on direct patient care, and increasing the penalties for violations of public health law.

COVID vaccine shipments have been delayed by the winter weather across the country.  Governor Cuomo’s office released a statement saying that Pfizer shipments scheduled for Friday have been delayed till Monday.  Moderna shipments should arrive by the middle of the week. No appointments at state run sites have had to be rescheduled.

Covid update from Friday evening: Genesee county has 18 new cases and 11 people have recovered. Orleans county has 7 new cases and 4 people have recovered.  There are 71 active cases in Genesee county and 47 in Orleans.

There is a report of a train on snowmobile collision in Darien late Friday night.  The train operator believes that the snowmobile was unoccupied and left on the tracks.  The snowmobile was not registered but it’s last registration was in Rochester.  A CSX employee witnessed a person leaving the scene and fresh footprints were found leading away from the snowmobile.

The Firing Pin in Bergen is partnering with the American Warrior Festival which is having it’s events virtually this year.  Their events are going on right now and end March 25th.  There is a virtual marksmanship competition where you can record yourself doing a ten shot firing drill and submit it and a 5 or 10k with a fun run or walk for sponsorships.  All money raised through registrations, sponsors, merchandise and concessions goes to help veterans.  The American Warriors Festival strives to provide entertainment, encouragement and resources to veterans and work toward veteran suicide prevention.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo announced the beginning of construction on a new trail at Letchworth.  The first of its kind autism nature trail is a mile-long loop, which is designed to address the sensory needs of people with ASD, a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.  The trail loop will feature eight stations with simple mazes, signage, a cuddle swing, a music corner, and other sensory options for all travelers.  The trail will be near the Humphrey Nature Center.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 5 new cases and 1 person has recovered.  Orleans county has 5 new cases and there is no reporting on the number of people recovered as of yesterday at 5pm.  Totals and numbers will be updated for the weekend news.

Darien Lake has just announced that their opening day, for the first time in a year and a half, will be May 21st.   To keep park goers healthy safety and security measures including contactless security and temperature checks for guests and team members will be in place.  Mobile ordering will also be available at many locations. The park is converting from cash to a card kiosk system, accepting only Mobile and Card Payments.  They will be using a reservation system to stay below the 33 percent capacity cap imposed by NY state.  As one of the largest seasonal employers in New York, Six Flags Darien Lake is hiring more than 1,500 team members for the 2021 season.  For a full list of positions and safety protocols check out the press release at our news partner the Batavian.

Midday News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Republicans in the New York State Assembly are calling for the creation of an impeachment commission to investigate Governor Cuomo.
GOP lawmakers say they want more details on how the governor’s administration handled nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
They claim the governor’s office withheld information about the number of people who died at those facilities due to COVID-19. Republicans believe a bi-partisan commission should look into the issue and report its findings to the Legislature.

 

 

State Police have released the name of the man who lost his life during a crash in Orleans County. Troopers say 46-year-old Steven Noah was driving on West County House Road in Albion Wednesday when his Jeep slammed into another vehicle head-on. Noah wasn’t wearing a seat belt and died at the scene while the other driver suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police are still looking into the accident.

Voters in the Pembroke school district have approved the reconstruction of the bus garage at the Intermediate School campus. Thursday’s vote was 139 yes and just 35 no. The $1.69-million project will not impact the local tax rate. The project will be funded by state aid and $400,000 from the district’s capital reserve.

Since Monday, the national gas price average has increased seven cents to $2.58. This quick four-day jump is a direct result of all major Gulf Coast refineries being impacted by the recent winter storm, which has caused gas supplies to tighten and pump prices to increase.
Triple-A is reporting a 3-cent a gallon increase in Batavia since yesterday.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached four games after a disappointing effort on the road. Victor Olofsson had Buffalo’s lone goal as they fell to the Washington Capitals 3-1 Capital One Arena last night. With the defeat, the Sabres remain in last place in the NHL’s East Division, 12 points behind the first place Boston Bruins.

Morning News Brief

Voters in the Pembroke school district have approved the reconstruction of the bus garage at the Intermediate School campus. Thursday’s vote was 139 yes and just 35 no. The $1.69 million project will not impact the local tax rate. The project will be funded by state aid and $400,000 from the district capital reserve.

The COVID-19 2nd Dose Vaccine Clinic scheduled for today at Genesee Community College in Batavia — for appointments between 9 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. — will be rescheduled due to the weather-related delay of vaccine delivery. Anyone with an appointment during this time slot will be contacted directly by email or phone to reschedule your appointment next week.

Just five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Genesee County. One of the previous positive individuals has recovered and has been removed from the isolation list. Officials report today that 14 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals is an inmate at the Buffalo Federal Detention center. Meanwhile, Orleans County also reports five new cases…as does Wyoming County.

Six Flags Darien Lake will be kicking off its season after April 9th. Dan Stokes is the marketing and public relations manager…he says they are really excited. Stokes said the park will be utilizing an online reservation system this spring, similar to one that is in place for the laser shows that currently are scheduled for the next three weekends. The theme park was unable to open in 2020, but the campground was open for a few weeks last summer. Stokes said the process of hiring seasonal employees is underway. Six Flags Darien Lake employs more than 1,000 part-time workers during its peak season, filling jobs in areas such as performance, games, retail, food service, rides, park services, promotion and clerical.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region welcomes Kara Beth Baker to assist people with disabilities in the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming county region as a New York Connects Independent Living Outreach Specialist. Baker brings 22 years of experience in counseling and accessibility.

Since Monday, the national gas price average has increased seven cents to $2.58. This quick four-day jump is a direct result of all major Gulf Coast refineries being impacted by the recent winter storm, which has caused gas supplies to tighten and pump prices to increase. The situation is very similar to a Gulf Coast hurricane’s impact. Until things thaw out and Gulf Coast refineries are running again (likely early next week), expect more expensive pump prices across the country, varying another 5-15 cents.

Evening News Brief

New York’s COVID vaccine tracker website has added county data.  The website provides information on the number of first and second dose vaccinations distributed and administered across the state. The site is updated daily at 11 a.m.  The regional data comes from sites including: hospitals, mass vaccination sites operated by state and local governments, pharmacies and other providers registered to serve as points of distribution. The regional data does not include vaccinations reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program.

The FBI is now investigating the handling of Nursing Home COVID deaths by Governor Cuomo.  Cuomo’s office says that the department of justice has been looking into this for months and that they have been cooperating with them.

Nursing Home workers in Western NY are protesting for reform in the nursing home industry.  Members of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East say that the system is broken and that the Attorney General’s report was an indictment of the whole industry.  Nearly 800 complaints were filed with the NYS Attorney General’s office from family members of people in nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic.  The union wants nursing homes to commit 70% of revenue towards resident care and spend more hours per day providing care along with increased accountability and transparency.

Last week gas prices jumped up 8 cents in Western NY and this week, since Monday prices have risen by a further 7 cents.  This, after several months of gas prices waffling up and down a penny at a time but staying roughly even.  While the 8 cent jump was because of increased demand and lower supply coming from oil producing countries this weeks rise was a result of the oil refineries freezing up during the storms in the gulf coast.  It is expected that prices will rise by another 5 to 15 cents over the next week and then fall slightly as things thaw out and supplies return to normal operations.

Rich Wagner almost got a 900 series by bowling three perfect games in a row at Mancuso’s Bowling Center.  He got two back to back 300 score games and then missed the 6 pin in his last frame to get a total score of 899.  If he had reached the 900 he would have been one of only 37 bowlers to ever get that score since reporting started in 1982.

 

Midday News Brief

 

Coronavirus numbers are improving in Genesee and Orleans Counties.
Public Health Director Paul Pettit reported on the local situation this morning. He cited statistics from just five weeks ago

Paul Pettit, Public Health Director

Similar improvements were shown in Orleans County. Pettit also said about 11 percent of Genesee County’s population has received at least the first dose of COVID vaccine.

State Police are continuing to investigate a crash in Orleans County that left one person dead.
Troopers say the two-vehicle collision happened yesterday on West County House Road in Albion. Police haven’t released the name of the person who was killed or said if anyone else was hurt.
They’re asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to call them immediately.

As the state’s COVID-19 infection rate falls, more entertainment options will soon be open to all New Yorkers. Officials say indoor family entertainment centers can open March 26th, followed by amusement parks on April 9th. Capacity will be limited to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other health and safety guidelines are also going to be in place.
Day and overnight summer camps can also start making plans to reopen, but no specific date has been announced.

New York State has announced reopening dates for amusement parks and other similar venues in New York. Governor Cuomo said outdoor parks will be able to reopen on April 9, while indoor family entertainment centers will be able to reopen March 26. For any such venue, masking, temperature checks and distancing will be mandatory. Outdoor parks will be limited to 33% capacity, while indoor centers will be limited to 25% capacity. It was also that overnight summer camps, for now, will open in June.

The Buffalo Sabres will be taking the ice again tonight, and for the first time in weeks, no players are on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. After dropping two games at home this week, they’ll be in Washington, DC to take on the Washington Capitals. Face-off for tonight’s contest is set for seven p-m.

The Buffalo Bills are among one of several teams in contention to sign one of the top players in NFL history. The Buffalo News and ESPN report the Bills have reached out to free-agent J.J. Watt and that there is mutual interest between both sides about potentially reaching a deal. Watt, a three-time defensive player of the year, was released by the Houston Texans last week. He’s reportedly looking to sign with a team that’s close to reaching the Super Bowl and who also has a top-level quarterback.

Morning News Brief

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and the FBI are investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing home death data. The governor has struggled with nursing home deaths from the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Though he rescinded an initial directive to return infected residents from hospitals to nursing homes and explained he followed federal guidance at the time, critics blamed Cuomo for the high number of nursing home deaths in the state. The New York Attorney General accused the state of under-playing the death toll and the governor’s office conceded it withheld the numbers from state lawmakers, who are now considering stripping Cuomo of some pandemic power. We’re told the FBI and federal prosecutors are in the early stages of their investigation.

It looks as though the Genesee County Legislature has found a qualified person to fill the vacant position of county coroner. The county Ways & Means Committee has voted in favor of a resolution appointing longtime paramedic Wade Schwab as coroner, effective Feb. 24 through Dec. 31. The measure will be put on the agenda of next Wednesday’s full legislature meeting. One of the four county coroner jobs became open earlier this year upon the resignation of Jeffery McIntire, who moved to Florida.

Genesee County reports 17 new COVID cases. Those impacted are from Batavia Le Roy and eight other communities. Eleven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fifteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals is a resident of the Le Roy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Eleven of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention center.

The Batavia City Planning & Development Committee has approved a site plan for a radiology/intensive care unit addition at United Memorial Medical Center at 127 North Street. The hospital’s request for an area variance is scheduled to be considered by the City Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 25. Doug Randall is the city code enforcement officer…and says that he expects the variance to be approved as well since the two-story, 5,100-square-foot addition will be in line with the previous cancer treatment center addition. According to information provided to Randall, the project will feature a new building entrance off of Summit Street Extension, three new parking spaces and landscaping along the entire frontage of the addition. About 75 percent of the proposed addition perimeter will abut the existing hospital structure. Additionally, plans call for an extension of the 90-degree parking area in front of the cancer center, but do not include any new hospital beds.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, will be offering a CDL (Commercial Driver License) Training Program for Genesee County agriculture producers and their employees for Class A and Class B licenses. This training program is designed for producers and farm employees that have some experience with commercial truck operation. An informational meeting will be held on March 11 at 7 p.m. at the Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Campus, 8250 State Street Road, Batavia. This meeting will explain how the program works and answer any questions you may have. The required training materials and medical forms will also be passed out at this time.

An inmate fight at the Genesee County Jail has led to a felony charge for one. 37-year-old Wayne Potter of Batavia was charged with felony assault. The sheriff’s office says he injured another inmate during a fight.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region welcomes Kara Beth Baker to assist people with disabilities in the Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County (GOW) Region as a New York Connects Independent Living Outreach Specialist. Baker brings 22 years of experience in counseling and accessibility. In her new role, Baker will connect people with disabilities and their families to needed home and community-based supports and services, as well as facilitate access to public benefits.

Evening News Brief

Democrats join with republicans to demand Cuomo’s emergency powers be stripped. 14 democratic lawmakers have called for the powers to be taken away and now 2 are soliciting support for a bill to repeal them and have 9 signatures in the assembly. They say that Cuomo intentionally obstructed justice and also that Cuomo could be impeached. The proposed legislation follows growing controversy over his administration’s reporting of nursing home deaths. More than 15,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID in New York.  At the same time lawmakers are calling on the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences to vacate Cuomo’s Emmy award for communication during the COVID pandemic.

Governor Cuomo’s office has, after silence on the issue for almost half a year, issued guidance for family entertainment attractions, including amusement parks such as Darien Lake to reopen.  Indoor entertainment venues can reopen March 26th and outdoor attractions can open April 9th.  Restrictions apply.  When they reopen they must stay below 25 percent capacity for indoor attractions and 33 percent for outdoor attractions, masks, temperature checks and social distancing as well as sanitization and frequent cleaning are all required.  Also, overnight summer camps may open in June.

The Buffalo Sabres lost their second game to the New York Islanders 3 to zip last night.  Now Buffalo’s record is 4, 6 and 2 and they’ll be back on the ice Thursday the 18th against the Washington Capitals at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

Governor Cuomo’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana now includes an option to have the drug delivered right to your home. Last month, the governor unveiled the framework of his latest proposal to legalize pot, which would allow people 21 and older to buy it from state-approved dispensaries. Local governments would be able to prevent the home delivery option from being available. The governor believes legalizing the drug could generate billions of dollars in needed revenue for the state.

New York State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 3.71 percent, the lowest since November 28. Genesee County’s positivity rate is down slightly to a seven day average of 2.5-percent.

Genesee County Public Health Director Paul Pettit will deliver an update tomorrow on the Coronavirus situation. Pettit expected to talk about area vaccination efforts.
WBTA will carry Pettit’s remarks live, beginning at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

As cases of COVID-19 are trending downward, Rochester Regional Health and UMMC in Batavia are expanding visiting hours.
The hospital is allowing visitors seven days a week.
You still must wear masks, practice hand-washing and stay socially distanced when possible.

From Batavia City Hall: The Batavia Department of Public Works Administration and the Bureau of Inspection will be closed this Monday, Feb. 22, for mandatory training.
The offices will reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Celebration. The awards include the Youth Recognition Award, the Adult Volunteer and Adult Youth Worker. Nominations are due by Friday, March 5. For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau 344-3960). The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website.

Morning News Briefing

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Celebration. The awards include the Youth Recognition Award, the Adult Volunteer and Adult Youth Worker.  Nominations are due by Friday, March 5. For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau. The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website.

The offices of the Batavia Department of Public Works Administration and the Bureau of Inspection will be closed on Monday, Feb. 22, for mandatory training. The offices will reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Anyone needing to do business with either office please plan accordingly.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 3.71 percent, the lowest since November 28. Those hospitalized in the Finger Lakes Region has dropped to 301, with 397 in an ICU.

Genesee County received 39 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday afternoon through the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend. Forty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Fourteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County received 15 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday afternoon through the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend. Meanwhile, Wyoming County saw an increase of 34 cases since Friday.

As cases of COVID-19 are trending downward, Rochester Regional Health is welcoming visitors back to its hospitals seven days a week. Please continue to wear your mask, practice hand hygiene and stay socially distanced wherever possible. It’s also important to get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you, although current supplies are limited.

The first steps are underway to take away Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency executive powers. Two downstate Democrats are soliciting support of a bill to repeal the emergency legislative abilities granted to Cuomo last spring in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed legislation follows growing controversy over his administration’s reporting of nursing home deaths. More than 15,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID in New York.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo has announced a proposal for a social equity fund to benefit minority communities.  The 100 million dollar fund will be paid for by taxes from marijuana sales as part of the new legal adult use marijuana legislation that was in the State Budget for this year.  Community-based nonprofits would apply for funding to support efforts that would include: Job placement and skills services, Adult education, Mental health treatment, Substance use disorder treatment, and many more.  Cuomo also put out rules for dispensaries to deliver marijuana to customers and reduced charges associated with illegal marijuana sales.

Are you worried about allergic reactions to the Covid vaccine?  Rochester Regional health has an answer.  By delivering the second dose of the vaccine, which more people have an issue with than the first, in multiple smaller dosages, RRH says it can minimize any allergic reactions.  Dr Shahzad Mustafa,  the lead physician for allergy, immunology and rheumatology at Rochester Regional Health, says that they can give the vaccine in five doses, given 15-20 minutes apart which will allow the body to induce tolerance in the immune system which is the same system they use for peanut allergy treatments.

The amber alert for 17 year old Stephanie White of North Tonawanda has been cancelled.  Police say she was found safe and returned home.  No further details have been released.

Midday News Brief

The city wants to know what you think of planned improvements to Jackson Square.
A special Zoom meeting will be held for business owners and the general public this Thursday at 6pm.
Jackson Square is a popular spot on Friday nights during the summer featuring a variety of music. The square lies between Center and Jackson St. The city has a fist full of state money, part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to improve the stage and the pavement in the square.
Link to the Zoom Meeting

A Genesee County man arrested twice in less than two and a half hours. 41 year old Edwin Standcliff of Corfu was arrested in the Town of Batavia for Felony DWI. A short time later, he was arrested again for felony assault in an unrelated matter.

An AMBER Alert has been issued following the abduction of a teenager in North Tonawanda. Police say Stephnie White was abducted last night by Michael Mesko on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Investigators believe White may be in imminent danger of either serious harm or death. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call 911 or North Tonawanda police.

Governor Cuomo is responding to claims his administration intentionally withheld data on the number of nursing home residents who died after contracting COVID-19. During a news conference yesterday, the governor said his administration should have responded quicker to requests for that data, which were made by lawmakers and the media. The governor says failing to do that caused a void where misinformation was created and spread. He also said that his office did everything it could to keep people from losing their lives.

The Buffalo Sabres were back in action for the first time in weeks last night, but things didn’t go as planned. Victor Olofsson had Buffalo’s lone goal as they fell to the New York Islanders three-to-one at KeyBank Center. The Sabres hadn’t played since late January after several members of the team were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

City to Hold Virtual Meeting on Jackson Square

The city wants to know what you think of planned improvements to Jackson Square.

A special Zoom meeting will be held for business owners and the general public this Thursday at 6pm.

Jackson Square is a popular spot on Friday nights during the summer featuring a variety of music. The square lies between Center and Jackson St.
The city has a fist full of state money, part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to improve the stage and the pavement in the square.

Link to Zoom meeting HERE

Morning News Briefing

A Genesee County man is facing multiple felony-level charges. Batavia-based State Police say they arrested 41-year-old Edwin L. Stancliff of Corfu. He is charged with felony second-degree assault, felony criminal mischief and resisting arrest. Troopers leveled the charges following a disturbance early Monday in the Town of Batavia. Stancliff was initially detained. But the story doesn’t end there…two and a half hours before that, he was pulled over in the town and charged with DWI and a felony count of having a blood alcohol content more than .08%. It’s a felony because he was convicted of the same crime within the last ten years.

Due to the wintry weather, Genesee County has canceled COVID-19 testing scheduled for today.

An adamant Andrew Cuomo insisted there was no coverup in the number of nursing homes deaths in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic when New York was the epicenter. During a Monday press conference … the Governor said he will accept the blame for allowing the “disinformation” to go on … pointing the finger at the media … and others. Cuomo insisted his administration was complying with the Department of Justice’s request … and asked the legislature to wait on their request. He also said nursing homes were never forced to accept patients with COVID.

Additional charges have been leveled against a Cheektowaga man who led police on a three-county chase, including Genesee County. 61-year-old Patrick Thomas Fuhr has been charged by Deputies with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree; aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree and other counts. He is due in Bergen Town Court on March 3. Other charges were filed last week in Batavia.

Here are the latest COVID numbers. In the Finger Lakes Region, 325 patients are currently hospitalized, with 280 in the Western Region. 397 people occupy an ICU bed in the Finger Lakes Region with a 7-day average positive test results of 2.31%. A Connecticut resident who is a patient in a New York City hospital has tested positive for the South African variant. There is no evidence of any spread in New York State to date.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.51, up 4 cents from last week. The New York State average is $2.60 – up 4 cents from last week. A year ago, the state average was $2.62. At the pumps in Batavia, Triple A says the price is $2.52 a gallon, up 8 cents from last week, but 7 cents lower than a year ago. Increasing pump prices have been supported by higher crude oil prices and gas demand, which grew slightly last week though it remains lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Evening News Brief

A winter storm warning is effect from 7pm tonight through Tuesday afternoon at around 1pm.  The weather service expects form 7 to 14 inches of snow across all of western NY.  Genesee Wyoming and Orleans counties are all going to be affected.  COVID 19 testing in Genesee county is canceled for Tuesday, as is the Bus Garage Capital Project Vote In the Pembroke Central School District.  It has been postponed to Thursday, February 18 from 12:00-8:00 p.m.

The New York State Department of Health urges patience to those who are eligible to receive a vaccine for COVID 19.  Last week about a third of New Yorkers were eligible but starting on Sunday that number was increased to accommodate those with comorbidities such as cancer or certain disabilities that increase their risk should they get the coronavirus.  With this group added to the eligibility list the number of New Yorkers who can sign up for an appointment is likely over half the population of the state which would be over 10 million people.  New York only gets roughly 310,000 doses a week so it will take many months to get that number of people vaccinated. At the current rate of receiving doses it will take about 6.5 months to get that number vaccinated.  Nearly 2.2 million people have been vaccinated in the Empire State with the first dose, about 800,000 have been fully vaccinated.

Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order extending the party registration enrollment deadline to February 16th.  This will allow voters to change their party affiliation.  Cuomo says it will allow Board of Elections to have more time to process changes.

The Rochester International Airport is now the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.  This announcement happening on Valentine’s Day, the day Douglass chose to be his birthday.  Douglass’s great great great grandson, Kenneth Morris Jr spoke at the unveiling.  Rochester plans to put up a statue at the Airport to greet travelers.

Gas prices keep going up.  This week the prices in Batavia jumped up 8 cents, nearly reaching last years prices.  Last year the New York state average was 2.62 and it is currently 2.60.  The national price is 2.52 which is 7 cents more than last year’s.  Higher demand and a lower supply are fueling the rise.

Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger was back at practice on Sunday after his battle with COVID-19, along with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin who was taken off the COVID-19 list.  The Sabres are scheduled to play their first game since January 31st on Monday against the New York Islanders.

Midday News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the 7-day average positivity rate dropped below four percent for the first time since November 30. The 7-day average positivity rate stands at 3.90 percent, according to state data. The Finger Lakes region has a 7-day percentage of positive tests of 2.39 percent.
Here in Genesee County, the 7-day positivity rate remains at 2.6-percent.

 

All of Western New York – including Genesee County – will be under a Winter Storm Warning beginning at 7 o’clock this evening.
The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy snow, accumulating 7 to 14 inches. Travel could be very difficult to impossible.
The warning continues through Tuesday afternoon and will impact tomorrow morning’s commute.

Due to the winter storm warning, the Bus Garage Capital Project Vote In the Pembroke Central School District has been postponed to Thursday, February 18 from 12:00-8:00 p.m. The vote had been scheduled for tomorrow.

Due to the impending storm, Genesee County has canceled COVID testing for Tuesday, February 16th.

The LeRoy Fire Department is asking residents there for a little help.
With snow on the ground and more on the way, the LeRoy department is asking residents to clear snow at least three feet from fire hydrants.
You are also asked to clear a path from the hydrant to the street.

Western New York drivers are continuing to see increasing prices at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular in Batavia is $2.52. That’s up 8-cents from last week and is 13-cents higher than this time one month ago.

Morning News Brief

A winter storm will blanket the region from today through Tuesday afternoon. Portions of the area could receive 6-12 inches of snow. The heaviest snow is expected tonight into Tuesday morning.

Felony and other charges have been filed against a man who crashed his vehicle on Alleghany Road in Darien. Sheriff’s deputies say they arrested 33-year-old Myles Daniel MacLeod of Corfu. He now faces felony counts of aggravated DWI and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was additionally charged with refusal to take a breath test and circumventing an ignition interlock device as well as other counts. He’s due in Town of Darien court on April 6th.

Court action is pending for a man who allegedly ran down a woman with his vehicle during a heated domestic dispute. 49-year-old Jason Jones of Brooktondale in Tompkins County was taken into custody on an arrest warrant stemming from the December 16th incident on Dewey Avenue in Batavia. Police charged him with felony second-degree assault, felony first-degree reckless endangerment and other lesser counts. Jones was arraigned and initially remanded to jail in lieu of bail. He is due in court Match 11th.

The LeRoy fire department is asking for a helping hand. With snow on the ground and more on the way, the Department is asking residents to clear the snow around fire hydrants. Officials recommending the snow be cleared at least three feet around the hydrant so firefighters can work. Also, you’re asked to clear a path from the hydrant to the street.

The Finger Lakes Region has, to date, received more than 196,000 total COVID vaccines. Through Friday, state officials say 87% of the total doses have been administered. New York’s health care distribution sites have received 2.1 million first doses and already administered 90 percent of first dose vaccinations and 83 percent of first and second doses.

A state court has rejected multiple appeals filed on behalf of a name-protected Genesee County teenager, who was granted youthful offender status. The teenager was placed on probation after being convicted of possession of child pornography and sexual misconduct. Then, while on probation, he was convicted of felony burglary. He was then sentenced to a maximum state prison term. The teen argued the sentence was too severe. The Appellate Court ruled that his plea was in full satisfaction of numerous other residential burglaries, and several of those burglaries involved the theft of firearms from the homes.

Batavia police say they arrested 32-year-old Alexander Baldwin of East Main in Batavia. He was charged with felony grand larceny. Police said he was paid for a construction job that he never began. He’ll appear in court April 15th.

A Batavia man has been charged with forcible touching. 69-year-old Benjamin Lucas of Bank Street allegedly touched an employee inappropriately. He was issued an appearance ticket for court.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the 7-day average positivity rate dropped below four percent for the first time since November 30. The 7-day average positivity rate stands at 3.90 percent, according to state data. Hospitalizations are down by 916 this week, a 26 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. The Finger Lakes region has a 7-day percentage of positive tests of 2.39 percent.

The New York Lottery has announced one top-prize winning ticket was sold for the February 13 TAKE-5 drawing. The ticket, worth a little more than $64,000, was purchased at DELTA SONIC CARWASH on E Main Street in Rochester.

Weekend News Brief

Its not just republicans who want Governor Cuomo held accountable for the nursing home deaths during the early months of the COVID pandemic, 14 democratic state senators have joined the call to have Cuomo stripped of his emergency powers and an investigation launched into the governor and state health director Howard Zucker.  Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Senator Chris Jacobs, and Senator Ed Rath joined republicans across the state earlier this week in the same call after information about a phone call where a top Cuomo aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to the governor’s office withholding the nursing home death numbers because Cuomo’s administration feared a federal investigation.  The phone call was to democrat lawmakers.

Rochester Regional Health and UMMC will begin allowing visitors on Tuesday the 16th with restrictions.  At UMMC the visiting hours will be between 9am and 1pm and 3pm and 6pm.  Only 1 visitor allowed at a time and visitors must be 19 or older.  No visitors allowed in emergency, with cancer patients, with covid positive patients or people awaiting covid test results or with inpatient behavioral health.  Exceptions to these rules are pediatric patients who can have one support person there at all times. In Labor and delivery there may be one visitor and a doula.  People with developmental or mental disabilities  including dementia can have 1 full time support person there.  And in end of life situations there can be 2 people the bedside at once.

COVID Update from Friday Evening: Genesee county has 12 new cases and 12 people have recovered.  Orleans County has 14 new cases and 9 people have recovered.  There are 82 active cases in Genesee county and 65 in Orleans.

The Holland Land Office Museum will be hosting a virtual guest speaker Michael Broccolo for a presentation titled “Underground Railroad in the Niagara Frontier” starting Thursday the 18th at 7pm.  There is unlimited availability via zoom and all the information to join is on the Land Office museum’s website.  There is limited in person seating at the Museum for 12 people but you must preregister by calling 585 343 4727.  A donation will be taken up at the museum during the presentation.

Fantasy Island has been closed since 2019 but hope springs eternal for someone to pick it up and open the gates once more.  Grand Island Town Supervisor John Whitney says a “notable entity” with a track record in family recreation has approached owners Apex Parks Group and are working through the financing options.  Apex had said they would work to reopen the park with new partners but reports of bad smells and heavy vandalism, plus trucks seen removing restaurant equipment have damped hopes of the park returning.

Midday News Brief

Genesee County reports 20 new COVID cases.
These new infections were reported in Batavia, Le Roy and 11 other communities.
Two more COVID-related deaths were also reported.
Both were over the age of 65. Health officials said one person resided at the New York State Veterans’ Home and the other resided at the Batavia VA Medical Center.
There have been five COVID deaths in Genesee County over the past two days.

In just two days, even more New Yorkers are going to be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. That’s because the registration process for people with serious medical issues begins on Sunday. Shots will start being given as early as Monday.
Among those eligible to be vaccinated include people suffering from severe obesity, cancer and pulmonary diseases. You will need a doctor’s note.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in NYS is 3.54 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since November 25.
The Genesee County positivity rate is down to 2.2-percent for a seven day average.

New York State is easing its quarantine rules for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those folks will no longer have to be in isolation if they’re exposed to COVID-19, but only if it’s been 90 days since their last shot and they have no symptoms of the virus.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation says New Yorkers will be able to fish at no cost this weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday are among the several free days being offered this year to boost interest in the activity. While the requirement for a fishing license is waived, all other fishing regulations will remain in effect.

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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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