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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:07 am

Issues remain with new radio system, but officials confident Harris will solve the problems

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

Yes, there are still problems with the new emergency radio system, county legislators were told Monday, but the Sheriff's Office is confident all of the issues can be resolved and Rochester-based Harris RF will deliver the quality communication system it promised the county.

In the field, members of law enforcement and fire services continue to report problems, and those problems are logged with an eye toward resolving all issues, said Steve Sharpe, director of emergency communication.

Three new communication towers have been built, to go along with the three that already existed, but they're not yet fully operational and tested.

The county is paying $10.8 million for the system (about half of the money comes from state and federal grants) and legislators want to ensure Harris is fulfilling its contract.

Legislator and Public Service Committee Chairwoman Maryanne Clattenburg said for what the system cost, everybody certainly expects it work as well or better than the old system.

The change over in communication systems was mandated by Homeland Security as part of its effort to create a nationwide interoperable emergency communication network.

There's still about $1.3 million due in payments to Harris and that money is being withheld until the county is convinced the system is working right.

"There's no date specific for Genesee County to sign off and close out the project," Undersheriff William Sheron said. "Until all the work is done, there's some power with Harris in how much money hasn't been released."

The contract calls for the Harris system to provide 95 percent coverage of the county. That doesn't mean 95 percent geographically, but that 95 percent of the calls provide functional two-way communication.

There are apparently dead spots in the county and Harris is working the the Sheriff's Office to address those issues.

"The bottomline is that 95 percent technically meets the standard, but that's not going to mean we're going to say, 'OK,' if there's still issues," Sheron said. "We're going to sit down with Harris and talk about it."

Sheron said he's confident the remaining issues can be solved with Harris.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Nursing home generating interest from potential buyers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, nursing home

So far, one potential bidder for the Genesee County Nursing Home has submitted a letter stating an intent to make an offer on the 260-bed facility.

Interested buyers have until Sept. 23 to submit a letter of intent and until Oct. 6 to submit proposals.

So far, some 25 to 30 potential buyers have expressed interest in the nursing home, County Manager Jay Gsell said, but there's still just the one written intent to submit a bid.

The nursing home has been dragging down county finances for years, and financial disclosures included in the RFP package show the facility losing $2.9 million in 2011, $3.7 in 2012 and $4.3 million in 2013.

A non-government agency (whether a not-for-profit group or for-profit company) will have greater flexibility in generating revenue than the highly regulated government-owned facility, have greater leeway in reducing expenses, and won't be facing a squeeze on funding from the State of New York, according to county officials.

The county Legislature decided to sell the home to escape the ongoing financial drain on the budget.

The RFP states the facility will be sold to the most qualified, responsible bidder who meets a range of criteria. The highest bid won't necessarily win the purchase contract.

The current assessed value of the nursing home, on Bank Street, is $10.9 million.

Of course, currently no taxes are collected on the government-owned property.

Serious bidders will be invited to pre-proposal site visits Sept. 24, 25, 26 and 29.

Bids must include a $100,000 refundable deposit and provide financial statements and a letter of credit indicating not only the ability to close on the final purchase price, but to operate the facility at the current level or improved level of services after the purchase is completed.

The purchaser will be prohibited from involuntarily transferring or evicting any current resident of the nursing home.

Bidders must agree that the RFP process is subjective and the Legislature has the final say on whether to accept or reject any and all bids, and the county reserves to right to enter into negotiations with a bidder to modify a proposal.

The company must provide a company history, executive bios, information and qualifications on employees, experience with similar facilities, and plan for a smooth transfer of ownership.

There will be no public bid opening and bids won't become public until after a proposal is accepted by the Legislature. It's up to the company to declare any portion of the proposal that would be exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law.

The sale of the nursing home has generated a little public opposition. There is a "Save the Genesee County Nursing home in Batavia NY" group on Facebook with 166 members currently.

The complete RFP package is available on the county's Web site.

Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Local moms start group to help kids, families

post by Daniel Crofts in family, genesee county, youth

From left: Iris Hatcher, Jessica Polk, Jessica Simmons and Kenyetta Reese.

Leave it to a group of mothers to figure out what their community needs, and then to do something about it.

Pictured are the four founding members of "Mothers Supporting Children and Families" (MSCF), a new nonprofit designed to "provide inspirational support and positive direction to children of all ages" and "empower children and families" (per their mission statement.)

Polk, the WSCF president, said she conceived the idea during a dinner party at her Batavia home.

"There were a bunch of us mothers there," she said. "We got to talking -- Jessica (Simmons) had had the idea for a long time about doing something for the youth in the community to get them off the streets and doing something productive."

Polk and her friends were concerned about what appeared to be an increase in instances of local youth getting in trouble -- "and at a younger age" -- in recent years.

In order to help address this problem, she and her fellow MSCF moms are joining forces with Care-A-Van Ministries, a local Christian street ministry.

"They were extremely instrumental in giving us spiritual guidance from the very start," Polk said.  "They've taken us under their wing, and they've given us advice on how to start a nonprofit. We ask for their advice all the time."

Elsewhere in their mission statement, they name an important aspect of how they intend to address the problem of troubled youth: "MSCF lends a helping hand to the community so there are fewer children in unhealthy home dynamics."

Ways of positive self-expression, adult role models, and trusted adults that kids can come to with their concerns if, for whatever reason, they cannot go to their parents or legal guardians, are among what they seek to offer young people.

"And I hope that we, as an organization, will be able to show them the different resources available to them that they may not know of," Hatcher said." We want to guide them into whatever they need to relieve that pressure that is causing them to get into trouble."

But their mission is not limited to kids; rather, it is founded on "the concept of parents helping parents" and "promotes positive parenting, and healthy families."

MSCF is open to all families in Genesee County. Despite the group's name, Polk wanted to make it clear that men are welcome to be involved as well (they just cannot be official members).

Hatcher said that eventually, they would like to be able to arrange for situations in which families and children can get together for fun and socialization.

"We just have to get on our feet first and get our name out there," she said.

For more information on MSCF:

Web site: www.mscfmothers.wix.com/mscf-
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MSCFMOTHERS
Facebook: M.S.C.F. Mothers
Email: [email protected]

People can also contact Polk at 300-3804.

Photo submitted by Jessica Polk.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Photos: Today in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, genesee county, Le Roy, photos, Stafford

The morning in Batavia started out kind of gloomy, but by the afternoon, the skies had cleared a bit and it was another beautiful day in Genesee County.

Above, a tree and barn off Selden Road, Le Roy.

A barn on Thwing Road, Stafford.

The view from Clinton Street Road, Stafford.

And below, three shots of Richard Oderkirk's sunflowers in Stafford.

Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

With new law, county will be able to consider 'best value' instead of just 'lowest price' in bids

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

The lowest price isn't always the best deal, but awarding public works contracts to the lowest bidder has been the law for Genesee County for some time.

The Legislature is considering a change in local law that would allow the county to consider such things as differences in warranty, materials used and quality of workmanship.

"Sometimes the better value is not just the lowest cost," County Attorney Chuck Zambito said during a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. "But there is a process to go through to approve a bid. You can't just do it."

Among the requirements, the request for proposal must specify the criteria for awarding a bid, the contractor must specify value-added aspects of the bid and department heads and purchasing agents must review and make recommendations to the Legislature based on these specifications.

A public hearing on the proposed change to local law is set for 5:30 p.m., Sept. 10.

Two things that don't change under the proposed change -- giving preference to local vendors (barred by state law) and the county can still eliminate from considerations vendors that don't measure up to "responsible" (business reputation matters).

New York is one of the last states to change the law to allow local governments to change its own rules governing contracts and accept "best value" bids.

The specific criteria that could be considered for "best value" bids are:

  • Lowest cost of maintenance for goods or services;
  • Durability of goods or services;
  • Higher quality of goods or services;
  • Longer product life of goods or services.

"As long s you protect the interest of the taxpayer then you're going to be OK (awarding bids on these criteria)," Zambito said.

Friday, July 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm

The College at Brockport honors this Spring's academic achievers

post by Billie Owens in genesee county, Milestones, SUNY Brockport

Press release:

BROCKPORT, NY -- The College at Brockport, State University of New York, recently honored students who excelled academically by naming them to the dean's list for the Spring 2014 semester.

Students who earn a GPA of 3.70-3.99 are named to the dean's list with honors, while students who achieve a 3.40-3.69 are named to the dean's list.

Jennifer Alexander of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Eric Wood of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Kylie Britt of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Shonta Carpenter of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Jacob Jones of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Courtney Butzbach of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Lucas Phillips of Alexander, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Robert Adams of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Benjamin Cherry of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Steven Marchese of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Gianni Zambito of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Alyson Tardy of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Alicca Vigneri of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Mathew Klein of Alexander, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Ashley Walter of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Dalton Rarick of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Ryan Gugel of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Travis Fenstermaker of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Anthony Macaluso of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Dylan Versage of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Lindsay Stumpf of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Kayla Barclay of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Elizabeth Corrado of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Adam Hughes of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Kristin Aidala of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Patrick Carr of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Kelly Hoitink of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Victoria DiStefano of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jennifer Gremer of Linwood, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Keenan Hughes of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Elias Seward of Basom, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Micah Brill of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Sydney Gallup of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Sean Hale of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Benjamin Heintz of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Meghan Bishop of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Erin Suttell of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Claire Vanderberg of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Cody Pierce of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Yangyan Dong of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

James Mangefrida of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Olivia Talley of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Kristen Gaik of corfu, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Cady Hume of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Alexander Gunther of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jason Birch of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Gena Korn of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Anthony Young of Alexander, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jacob Sojda of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Casey Herman of Corfu, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Anne Culliton of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Ainsley Dungan of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Melanie Monroe of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jeana Pfalzer of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Alissa Phillips of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Lauren Hughes of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Haley Huey of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Brittni Loewke of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Eric Kowalik of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Meg Stucko of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Lisa Halat of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Bridget Chartraw of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Darren Kwiatkowski of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Cara Ferraro of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jenna Kent of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jennifer Alexander of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Eric Wood of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Kylie Britt of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Shonta Carpenter of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Jacob Jones of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Courtney Butzbach of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Lucas Phillips of Alexander, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Robert Adams of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Benjamin Cherry of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Steven Marchese of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Gianni Zambito of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Alyson Tardy of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Alicca Vigneri of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Mathew Klein of Alexander, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Ashley Walter of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Dalton Rarick of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Ryan Gugel of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Travis Fenstermaker of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Anthony Macaluso of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Dylan Versage of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Lindsay Stumpf of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Kayla Barclay of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Elizabeth Corrado of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List with Honors.

Adam Hughes of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Kristin Aidala of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Patrick Carr of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Kelly Hoitink of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Victoria DiStefano of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jennifer Gremer of Linwood, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Keenan Hughes of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Elias Seward of Basom, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Micah Brill of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Sydney Gallup of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Sean Hale of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Benjamin Heintz of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Meghan Bishop of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Erin Suttell of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Claire Vanderberg of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Cody Pierce of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Yangyan Dong of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

James Mangefrida of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Olivia Talley of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Kristen Gaik of corfu, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Cady Hume of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Alexander Gunther of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jason Birch of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Gena Korn of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Anthony Young of Alexander, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jacob Sojda of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Casey Herman of Corfu, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Anne Culliton of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Ainsley Dungan of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Melanie Monroe of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jeana Pfalzer of Le Roy, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Alissa Phillips of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Lauren Hughes of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Haley Huey of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Brittni Loewke of Bergen, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Eric Kowalik of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Meg Stucko of Elba, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Lisa Halat of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Bridget Chartraw of Oakfield, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Darren Kwiatkowski of Byron, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Cara Ferraro of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

Jenna Kent of Batavia, NY was named to the Dean's List.

The College at Brockport is a comprehensive four-year public college, located in Brockport, NY. The College offers 50 undergraduate majors, more than 50 graduate programs as well as 24 teacher certification programs. The College has been rated among a "Best Regional University" by US News & World Report and a "Best Value" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.
 

Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

State finally paying past-due Nursing Home expenses, but it's not enough and it won't last

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, nursing home

New York will finally pay off some of their IOUs to the county.

County Treasurer Scott German learned Tuesday that $4.1 million in funds meant to cover 2013 Nursing Home expenses will be transferred to the county Aug. 13.

That's the good news. We'll get to the bad news shortly.

The $4.1 million is what is known as an Inter-Governmental Transfer. It's money that originates with the federal government and sent to the states so the states can transfer it to county governments that run nursing homes. The money is meant to help offset the difference in reimbursement fees between Medicaid and Medicare (it's more complicated than that, but that's the easy explanation).

In June, the county received $4.3 million in back IGT payments from 2012.

Of the $8.4 million IGT received, the taxpayers of Genesee County paid an amount equal to 50 percent, or $4.2 million, as a local match.

But that isn't all of the bad news.

County Manager Jay Gsell said the feds are phasing out the IGT program. The Aug. 13 payment is probably one of the last two or three the county will ever receive.

No program has been announced to replace it.

Once there's no IGT -- and if there's no program to replace it -- the local share cost of running the Genesee County Nursing Home will likely be at least $3 million a year, and that figure is growing each year, German said. The operating deficit will need to be funded by local taxpayers.

Of the $4.3 million received in June, $2 million went into the general fund to pay off money the Nursing Home borrowed from the general fund.

Some of that IGT money will be used to pay off a $5.8 million Revenue Anticipation Note (RAN -- a short-term loan based on the promise of anticipated revenue).

The $4.1 million the county receives Aug. 13 should pay off the rest of the RAN, a loan that must be retired by November.

If for some reason, there is a shortfall, the county will either need money from the general fund or another loan, German said, to pay off this RAN.

But it's anticipated there will be a $200,000 surplus from the IGT payment, which will be gobbled up by Nursing Home expenses in short order. The county will then need to borrow more money to cover Nursing Home expenses with no guarantee the feds or the state will help with the expense at a later date.

The County Legislature met with an attorney today who is helping them explore options for dealing with the Nursing Home. The meeting was held in close session and was purely informational for the legislators, Gsell said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

The myth of the 'brain drain' in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

A story in today's Buffalo News begins:

The decades-long brain drain among young people in the Buffalo Niagara region is turning into a brain gain.

There's some truth in the statement, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan, which created an online database tracking net migration rates on a county-by-county basis throughout the nation.

Erie County has been losing population in nearly all age groups going back to the 1960s, but Niagara County has had some success gaining population among adults 1990s and 2000s.

For us, the good news -- exploding a commonly held "brain drain" myth locally -- is that Genesee County has traditionally done well drawing in workers who are 25 years old and older, at least until people hit about 40 years old.

The chart below (larger version here) shows that for every decade since the 1950s, Genesee County has lost population in the teenage age group and college-age adults, but consistently seen gains in population for people in their 30s. Genesee County starts losing mid-career workers in their 40s (along with, apparently, their teenage children), suggesting -- if we can speculate on the point -- that there are insufficient job opportunities locally as people advance in their careers. In the past two decades, it looks like there is a trend toward retirees coming to Genesee County.

The chart reflects a gain or loss in an age bracket compared to that cohort a decade earlier. What it doesn't tell us is whether it's the same people coming or going from one decade to the next. For example, the thirtysomethings migrating to Genesee County may not have lived here in their younger years. Just as the data doesn't tell us where people are coming from, it also doesn't tell us where they're going to.

The chart for Erie County (larger version here) shows a much grimmer picture. Our neighbors to the west have been suffering population loss in all cohorts decade after decade since the close of the 1950s.

Niagara County (larger version here) has shown less decline than Erie County and some gains among people 35 to 50 in the 1990s and 2000s.

Wyoming and Orleans counties show migration patterns very similar to Genesee County.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Anti-Rabies Immunization Clinic at the Pembroke Highway Department

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday April 3, 2014 from 4pm until 7pm at the Pembroke Highway Department located on the NE corner of Route 77 and Route 5; at 1145 Main Road (Route 5), Pembroke, NY. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County; out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc. There is no need to display any licensing information! Pets must be at least 3 months old to be effectively immunized. This is a free service offered by the Genesee County Health Department 585-344-2580.

Event Date and Time

April 3, 2014 - 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:08 am

Don't feed the animals!

post by Bea McManis in cropwalk, genesee county, poverty

A recent article in the Batavia Daily News telling about an upcoming fundraiser and awareness program gave some very disturbing statistics about Genesee County.  7114 people live below the poverty level.  6259 receive food stamps.  40% of our children qualify for free or reduced lunches.  6000 residents were helped by the food pantry.  Over 9000 meals were served by Stephen's table.  The numbers are alarming.  What I found more alarming was the one comment to the article, "Don't feed the animals.  They become dependent.".  That statement made me physically ill.  Have we, as a society, become that callous?  

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