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Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 1:39 am

Photos: Winterfest 2013 in Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, festivals, winterfest

Saturday, the Village of Corfu celebrated its annual Winterfest with music, hockey, magic, clowns and food.

Above, Paul "Sebar" Schuler fashions a balloon butterfly for 3-year-old Sydney, with her mother, Laura Corbitt, of Corfu.

Deputy Brian Thompson provided demonstrations of his K-9 work with "Pharaoh."

Aaron Wilkins, of Corfu, brought several of his snakes for visitors to see.

Joanne Furer and Ben, 10, of Pittsford, make a "bobble head" video.

To purchase prints: These photos along with some others from Corfu today (along with other Saturday photos) are in this gallery (click here).

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm

'Overloaded fireplace leaking fire' on Roanoke Road, Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, Stafford

An overloaded fireplace is reportedly "leaking fire" at 9767 Roanoke Road, Stafford.

Stafford fire is responding. York fire is responding, and also filling in for Le Roy at Le Roy's fire hall, as well as any other available Le Roy personnel (Le Roy held its annual awards and installation dinner tonight).

UPDATE 10:54 p.m.: Chief on scene reports fire contained to the fire box.

UPDATE 11:05 p.m.: Fire is out. Ventilating.

UPDATE 11:36 p.m.: Stafford and York back in service. York returning to Le Roy's hall for standby duty.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Transformer on fire on Pine Hollow Drive, Batavia

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

A transformer is reportedly on fire and electrical wires are arcing at 11 Pine Hollow Drive. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 6:58 p.m.: The chief says Engine 24 can return in service and he asks that National Grid be contacted. The pole number is 5201 and there is presently "nothing showing" and the residences of 10 and 11 Pine Hollow Drive have no power outage.

UPDATE 7:03 p.m.: The Town of Batavia assignment is back in service. National Grid was notified but provided no ETA.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Large structure fire on West Bergen Road

post by Billie Owens in bergen, fire, Le Roy, Stafford

A large structure fire is reported at 8251 W. Bergen Road. It's next to a garage. Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding along with mutual aid from Bergen. Pavilion and Stafford fire departments are requested to send an engine to stand by in Le Roy's fire hall. The location is on the curve between Randall and Selden roads.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: Fire police are requested to shut down that portion of West Bergen Road.

UPDATE 1:57 p.m.: Pavilion is now requested to stand by in its own quarters.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Pavilion is called to the scene in emergency mode. A thermal imaging camera will be used to check for heat in the garage.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.: EMTs are asked to check the well-being of a volunteer firefighter.

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: A deputy is requested to the scene, possibly to deal with bystanders. Earlier, command asked that they told to back away from the scene. When Bergen is through with its task, the crew can go back in service.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: The fire is out and they are breaking down their equipment and preparing to go back in service.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

Sheriff Maha issues statement on passage of SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, Gary Maha, guns, SAFE Act

From Sheriff Gary Maha:

I have been receiving numerous inquiries in reference to what is the New York State Sheriffs' position with regard to the NY SAFE Act.

Fifty-two of the 58 Sheriffs met during our annual winter conference last week in Albany, NY, and discussed this legislation at length. There are a number of provisions in the law that the Sheriffs find to be helpful to law enforcement and to our citizens. However, there are also a number of provisions which cause us concern, and which we think should be revisited by the Governor and State Legislature. The Sheriffs of New York State are willing to work with the Governor and State Legislature as revisions and additions to the NY SAFE Act are considered.

Attached is the position statement of the New York State Sheriffs with regard to the NY SAFE Act. This position statement was sent to the Governor and State Legislative leaders.

Click here to read the position statement (PDF).

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 10:47 am

Local administrators react coolly to governor's proposed pension plan

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Andrew Cuomo, genesee county, pensions

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a program that would help local governments save on near-term pension costs, potentially relieving local administrations of a major budgeting challenge, but both County Manager Jay Gsell and City Manager Jason Molino are reacting to the news with some caution.

Molino said until he can fully study the budget bill, assuming this provision even moves forward, he can't really comment on it.

He isn't yet ready to agree with the governor that the city will realize $3.1 million in pension savings over the next five years.

In a press release yesterday, Cuomo isn't promising local governments that they will completely avoid the pension expense, just some relief from near-term pension cost instability.

From the press release:

Under the plan, localities are given the option for a stable pension contribution rate that significantly reduces near-term payments but still keeps the pension systems fully funded over the long term. Local governments which opt in would avoid significant volatility in contribution rates and be better able to plan for the future. Though the locality receives short-term relief, because the contribution rate remains fixed, the total amount paid into the fund by the locality would not be diminished over the life of agreement, thereby maintaining the fiscal stability of the pension fund.

While over the next five years, Genesee County could receive a $11.5 million benefit over five years under the plan, Gsell is also keeping the proposal at arm's length.

Here's his e-mail response:

On the surface it is intriguing, but there are concerns as to the back-end balloon escalators in 10 to 25 years and what Comptroller Dinapoli will do every 5 years to "protect" the retirement system dollars is a major note of caution. This could be the NYS version of the Titanic iceberg, only it involves our budgets and employees retirement assets. Once the full details and not just the second-floor spin are revealed we will look at our pay-as-you-go options.

A year ago, Albany enacted a Tier VI retirement plan, which covers only new hires by government agencies. The plan will supposedly greatly reduce local government pension costs, but not for decades from now. What Cuomo is proposing now is to shift those savings so local governments can realize some benefit from Tier VI in the near term.

In the press release, Cuomo hails the plan as a major step toward helping local governments.

"The difficult financial pressures facing localities are well-known here in Albany, and my administration from day one has been committed to helping local governments meet their budgetary obligations as well as continue to provide critical services to their residents," Governor Cuomo said. "While the Tier VI reforms were a major step toward helping local governments deal with the pension crisis, we understand that more help is needed. For this reason, the Executive Budget proposed the Stable Rate option to offer local governments and schools a bridge to the long-term savings of Tier VI, as well as greater predictability."

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Sheriff Maha reelected vice chair of NY State Sheriffs' Association

post by Billie Owens in Milestones

Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha was reelected vice chair of the Executive Committee of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association on Wednesday at its 79th Annual Winter Training Conference. New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy swore in Sheriff Maha.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association, Inc., is a not-for-profit corporation, formed in 1934, for the purpose of assisting Sheriffs in the efficient and effective delivery of Sheriffs’ services to the public. It comprises all of the elected and appointed Sheriffs of New York State.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Law and Order: Duo accused of fighting at the Longhouse on the reservation

Heather M. Ground, 27, of Meadville Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, and Casey A. Jonathan, 35, of Skye Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, are charged with harassment, 2nd. Ground and Jonathan allegedly became involved in a dispute during a ceremony at the Longhouse on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Ground allegedly pushed and then punched Jonathan. A few minutes later, Jonathan allegedly punched Ground in the mouth.

Shawn C. Wetmore, 40, of 38 Maple St., Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, harassment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. During a fight, Wetmore allegedly kicked a door open, which was close to an infant. He allegedly threw an item at another person. Wetmore was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Carrie Q. Blunt, 20, of 24 Thomas Ave., Batavia, is charged with false personation. Blunt was arrested on a bench warrant during an unrelated investigation.

Keith Joseph Jackson, 18, of Slusser Road, Batavia, is charged with possession/consumption of alcohol under age 21. Also charged, Corey Jarome Mooney, 19, of Lockport Road, Oakfield, and a 17-year-old female resident of State Street, Batavia. The trio was allegedly at an underage drinking party at 12:04 a.m., Saturday, on Orchard Street in Oakfield. The case was investigated by Deputy Patrick Reeves and Deputy Matthew Fleming.

Devine Raheem Worthy, 28, of Congress Street, Buffalo, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay restitution.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Council to discuss the future of garbage collection at Monday's council meeting

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection, Genesee ARC

The Batavia City Council will discuss a resolution to award a refuse and recycling collection contract to Allied Waste Services at its Monday meeting. A public hearing date has not yet been announced, but there will be one before a vote on the matter Feb. 25.

City staff is recommending Allied as the lowest responsible bidder for the contract.

Allied's bid for the first five years was $4,341,125.

Genesee ARC, which has provided trash service to city residents for nearly 30 years, submitted the highest bid at $5,073,673.

Cascade Engineering has received staff recommendation as the lowest responsible bidder for a supply of wheeled trash and recycling carts to be delivered to residents.

At the Feb. 25 meeting, the council will also need to vote on a resolution amending the local law to make the new tote-based system possible. This resolution likewise will be the subject of a public hearing with the date to be announced beforehand.

Also on this Monday's agenda:

  • Councilwoman Rosemary Christian has asked the council to approve a letter supporting a ban on assault rifles;
  • There's a request to discuss sidewalk snow removal under Section 159-8 of the municipal code;
  • Prospective owners of the former State Police barracks are asking that the property be rezoned, as it once was, to industrial. A purchase offer for the property is contingent on the zoning change. The property is located at 655 W. Main St.;
  • The council will be asked to schedule a public hearing on the proposed city budget.
Friday, January 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Pembroke girls play in pink to raise money for breast cancer research

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, pembroke, sports

It started out as a simple idea and now it has become a big annual event for the Pembroke Lady Dragons.

Last year after the wife of Pembroke Coach Ron Funke was diagnosed with breast cancer, the girls basketball team thought they would show support by playing a game with a pink basketball.

They wound up raising $4,000 for breast cancer research after Disney donated amusement park passes, another company donated pink uniforms and dozens of local businesses donated items for auction.

"It just kind of grew to something that for these girls as a team, it’s their identity," Head Coach Mike Wilson said. "These are community-minded kids. They think about other people."

Last night, for Pembroke's game against Holley, the girls again donned pink uniforms and hundreds of community members showed up for the event.

"When they saw how many teachers and how many community members were affected by this and the difference what they did made for those people, it became something that meant a lot to them to try and keep going," Wilson said. "They feel responsible to those people. They feel responsible for the community.  This is just a way for them to give back in some small way to the community that has gone the extra mile for them."

The goal for last night was to raise $6,000. We haven't heard yet how much was raised. Pembroke won the game 34-13.

Coach Mike Wilson, his daughter and the Buffalo Bisons mascot.

Dannielle Della Penta takes the court prior to the start of the game.

Cora Erb with a lay up.

Holley's Kassy Sutton and Pembroke's Rylee Moser tangle over a loose ball.

Cassie Williams goes for a rebound.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

Photos: Water line repair on Wood Street, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, dpw, Wood Street

City workers were on Wood Street this morning in 12-degree weather repairing a water main -- actually a residential feeder line off the main.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:30 am

Date for Muckdogs Hot Stove Dinner announced

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, muckdogs, sports

Press release:

The Genesee County Baseball Club will hold its annual Batavia Muckdogs Hot Stove Dinner and Auction from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Clarion Hotel at 8250 Park Road. in Batavia. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.

The evening will begin with a cocktail hour followed immediately by dinner. The Hot Stove Dinner is a time for good food, friendship and baseball talk. The night also features silent and live auctions of baseball-related memorabilia (including signed bats and balls), work by local artists, and gift certificates from a variety of local businesses.

This year’s dinner will also benefit the Genesee County Animal Shelter. Each attendee is asked to bring a bag of dry dog or cat food to be donated to the shelter.

Tickets may be purchased in Batavia at Dwyer Stadium, Gerace’s Hair Care, the Williams Law Firm, and the offices of Dr. Ross Fanara and Dr. Alan Barcomb.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

UMMC, RGH release statement of affiliation agreement talks

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC

UMMC and Rochester General Hospital have released a joint press release regarding talks over a closer affiliation:

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) and Rochester General Health System (RGHS) announced today that they are finalizing details of an expanded affiliation. This more defined affiliation will broaden and strengthen health care service provided to patients in Genesee County, help UMMC address the changes and challenges of healthcare reform, and will maintain all local control of UMMC operations in Batavia.

The two healthcare institutions are no strangers to each other, having partnered in the areas of Pathology, Urology, General Surgery and GI since 2008. Like United Memorial Medical Center, Rochester General has served residents of Genesee County and its surrounding areas for more than a century.

“As a regional health care delivery system, a core element of our mission is to collaborate with smaller area healthcare providers to help them better serve their local communities,” said Mark C. Clement, president and CEO of Rochester General Health System. “We currently participate in a number of collaborative relationships with hospitals, including Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, an owned affiliate of the system.

“Changes in state and federal reimbursements along with regulations associated with national healthcare reform have shown that a partnership with a larger, regional healthcare center will be imperative to the success of continuing to provide quality care right at home,” said Mark C. Schoell, president and CEO of United Memorial Medical Center. “Rochester General is a high-quality organization with a depth of resources, well established physician organization and similar cultural ideals.”

In making its decision to affiliate with RGHS, the UMMC board cited the system’s national recognition and longstanding focus on high-quality patient care and safety, its expertise in clinical integration, its comprehensive medical specialties that will enhance existing services available in the Batavia community, and its successful track record of collaboration with smaller acute care hospitals like Newark-Wayne. The UMMC board is committed to keeping appropriate health care local and providing the best care possible.

RGHS is the only area health system to be nationally rated by SDI – a premier health care analytics firm – as a TOP 100 Integrated Health Network (2007-2012). Integrated care networks are consistently recognized for delivering higher levels of quality, service, patient safety and efficiency. These are important factors, made even more so, as the government and insurers shift reimbursement to value-based health care.

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