Power outages reported in Genesee County

By Howard Owens
Dec 11, 2021, 3:57pm

There are three significant power outages reported in Genesee County -- one north of the Thruway in the Pembroke/Alabama area, one north of the Thruway and just west of Lewiston Road in the Town of Batavia and one just east of North Spruce Street and north of East Avenue in the City of Batavia.

The first outage effects 75 National Grid customers, the second, 137 customers, and the third, 88 customers.

There is no ETA yet for when power will be restored in these areas. National Grid has assigned work crews to each outage.

National Grid prepared for heavy winds, encourages resident safety during storm

By Press Release
Dec 11, 2021, 3:49pm

Press release:

For the second consecutive weekend, National Grid has increased staffing, extended evening and overnight work shifts, and is closely monitoring weather forecasts that include wind gusts of up to 70 mph and heavy rainfall across portions of upstate New York today into Sunday. Areas along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are expected to experience the strongest wind gusts. More than 2,500 lines, service, tree, damage assessment, and public safety workers are ready to respond to damage that may occur.

To prepare for the storm, the company activated its comprehensive emergency response plan, including:

  • Calling in outside resources and mobilizing field and tree crews.
  • Pre-staging crews and materials in areas anticipated to be most severely impacted.
  • Proactively reaching out to elected, municipal and emergency management officials to keep them updated on our preparations and provide safety information.
  • Reaching out directly to customers through traditional and social media, email and texts and on our website to provide safety information and to urge them to be prepared.
  • Conducting outbound calls to life support and critical facility customers to ensure they are prepared.
    In addition, on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the company will distribute dry ice and bottled water at targeted locations expected to be hardest hit by the storm.

Company personnel will provide information about proper handling of dry ice, and customers are asked to bring a bag or cooler to transport it.
Western New York Dry Ice and Bottled Water Locations:

  • City of Batavia Fire Dept. 18 Evans St. Batavia, N.Y. 14020

The company also is encouraging customers to keep safety a priority with the following reminders:

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.
  • Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642- 4272. In a medical emergency, always dial 911.
  • Keep working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.
  • Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.
  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors, and others who may need assistance during an outage. Click here for details on the company’s storm preparation and restoration process.

High wind warning in effect for tonight

By Howard Owens
Dec 11, 2021, 2:03pm

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy winds in the area from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. this evening.

The westerly winds could hit 35 to 45 mph with gusts of 70 mph.

Impacts:  "Damaging winds will blow down numerous trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are expected. Some property damage is likely. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles."

Photos: Santa on State Street

By Howard Owens
Dec 11, 2021, 1:43pm

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Amanda Sutton snaps a photo of her son Kannon, 3, and daughter Alora Wolff, 10 months, with Santa at the house of Angelina Pellegrino on State Street.  Pellegrino invited Santa and Mrs. Claus to her place on Friday evening to spread even more Christmas cheer.

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Batavia City Council set to vote on appointment of Republican Tammy Schmidt as Sixth Ward representative

By mikepett
Dec 10, 2021, 4:38pm

Updated, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. with comments from Schmidt:

The City of Batavia has drafted a resolution appointing Tammy Schmidt as city council’s new Sixth Ward representative, replacing Rose Mary Christian, who resigned on Nov. 15.

The matter is the only item on the agenda of a Special Business Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, prior to the governing body’s Conference Meeting and Regular Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room.

According to the resolution, Section 3.3 of the City Charter provides that when a position of Council Member becomes vacant, pending the election and qualification of a Council Member to fill the vacancy, the council shall fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment of a qualified person, who shall be the same political affiliation as the Council Member whose place has become vacant.

Schmidt is a Republican, as is Christian, who switched from the Democratic Party sometime after she was elected to her eighth -- and final -- term.

When Christian announced her retirement, it triggered a back-and-forth among the City Republican and Democrat committees as well as current City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Batavia resident John Roach, who was part of the City Charter Commission.

Republicans contend that the Charter wording clearly indicates that a Republican should fill the seat, while Democrats were looking for a legal ruling in light of Christian changing affiliations. That, apparently, did not happen.

RICHMOND: CHARTER IS VERY CLEAR

City Republican Chair Rich Richmond today said the “Charter is very clear – the appointment will be made by the Republican Party; a Republican will take that position.”

Richmond said he is going with what the Charter actually states “and not on what if, or how come or whatever?”

He added that Democrats have made this a political issue.

“There is nothing political about it. When they did the Charter, it was a bipartisan commission, including Republicans, Democrats and Conservatives. Nobody had a problem with it until it has come up now,” he offered.

Schmidt, a lifelong Batavian who grew up as Tammy Trigilio, has been employed for the past seven years as the financial management assistant for Genesee Justice and the Child Advocacy Center.

Prior to that, she worked for Genesee County Mental Health and Genesee County Workforce Investment. She and her husband, Mark, live on Osterhout Avenue. They have a daughter and son-in-law, Kristina and Tony Ferrando, and two grandchildren.

Richmond said he is impressed with Schmidt's credentials.

"Tammy has an excellent resume and is very intelligent and well-informed," he said. "I'm sure she will do a great job."

SCHMIDT: IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET INVOLVED

Contacted Saturday morning, Schmidt said that she has been part of the political workings in the city for quite some time and is looking forward to applying her experience -- and her love for her hometown -- "to help make it grow and prosper and be a great place for our kids and grandkids to want to stick around."

She currently is the Republican Committee Sixth Ward chair and previously served in that capacity for the Fifth Ward. Both her and her husband have been on the committee for several years and she said she is committed to learning more about city government.

"We're invested in this community," she said, adding that they own three rental properties in the Sixth Ward. "I don't want to use the tagline that Batavia Downs (Gaming) uses when they say, Dine, Stay and Play, but we live, work and play in Batavia."

When asked about replacing Christian, who served for 29-plus years, Schmidt said she has "big shoes to fill."

"Actually, I have had several conversations with Rose Mary, and she was very generous in giving me her endorsement," she said."And I still told her I plan to pick her brain. You can't beat that type of experience.

"Rose Mary was very vocal and she advocated for people to speak their minds. To me, if you want to incoporate any change, you need to be active and involved. You can't just sit home. Things aren't going to happen that way."

Previously: Will it be a Republican or a Democrat stepping in to replace Christian as Sixth Ward representative?

Local nurse practitioner appreciates the little joys during first year at UMMC

By jfbeck_99_272012
Dec 10, 2021, 4:05pm

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Perspective is everything, so the saying goes.

And for one nurse practitioner at Batavia’s United Memorial Medical Center, it’s been a lesson worth remembering from this past year of all things COVID-19.

“I didn’t expect to lose so many people in a year. The wins are great; it’s so awesome to take a breathing tube out and hear them saying good morning to you,” Marie Campbell said during an interview with The Batavian.

“I was hoping for more wins than losses … it’s one hour, one day, one minute at a time.”

Campbell, originally from Connecticut and a current resident of Akron, first joined the Air  Force on her way to a medical career path. It was while stationed In Texas that she met her future husband Bill. They moved to his hometown of Akron and had three boys, James, now 7, Alexander, 4, and 18-month-old Malcolm. Mrs. Campbell wanted to find a job that was “exciting and interesting,” she said, and opted to attend D’Youville College and University at Buffalo, eventually completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Once done with the educational portion of learning, Mrs. Campbell landed a job in the neurological Intensive Care Unit at Buffalo General, and then in the ICU at UMMC a year ago Nov. 30. To bump up the stress another notch, she was pregnant during those first tenuous months of the pandemic, giving birth to Malcolm in May 2020.

Mrs. Campbell was shielded from COVID-19 patients initially, she said, until after she gave birth. When she first came onto the ICU floor, it was a safety protocol all the way, she said: Here’s your N95 mask, gloves, gown, and special headgear. 

“It’s scary,” Mrs. Campbell said. “I’m changing my clothes in the garage and I don’t go into the house … it’s really tough when three kids want to tell me about their day.”

She has emphasized that they’re not to touch her until she has changed and cleansed thoroughly. It has become a habit for them to ask “can I touch you?” and the cautious mom has had to say “no” all too often, she said.

As a nurse practitioner, she deals a lot with the families of patients, explaining what’s going on and what the medical treatment plan entails. Patients with COVID-19 could not have visitors whereas those with illnesses other than the virus could. 

“Most of the interactions with families were on the phone,” she said. “COVID patients don’t get visitors unless they’re end of life. I’ve lost track of all the patients we’ve lost over the last year; I’ve stopped counting.”

One of the most difficult talks she has with patients is that they need a breathing tube and be intubated. “That terrifies people,” she said, “and family members are terrified.”

“In people’s mind, if you put a person on a breathing tube, they won’t survive,” she said.

Although that’s not true, it’s what many people have come to believe about having that tube down their throat, she said. Those with COVID-19 are more often than not unvaccinated and in their 50s and 60s, she said. Their reasons for not getting the shot vary, from their belief it is not safe and decisions to wait awhile longer to see more results, to not thinking the virus is a real threat, she said.

“Being vaccinated makes a difference; it does not mean you’re 100 percent safe, but it does make a huge difference in going into the ICU,” she said. “A large percentage of those not vaccinated … end up getting really sick.”

Her job also includes performing intubations, putting in central lines (which are larger IVs), and reviewing patient charts and lab results. The challenges of a pandemic and constant loss of life have been outweighed by the less intrusive rewards.

“As hard as it was, it was the right decision for me,” she said, highlighting a perk of her job. “The feeling I can make a difference in someone’s life. Often they’re very, very sick, and I can talk to their families. Being able to talk to them, explain things to them … giving them comfort in knowing we’re doing everything we can.”

Her schedule puts the mom of three at work seven days at a time, followed by seven days off. Her days typically begin with waking up the kids and spending some precious time with them before taking care of urgent matters at the hospital, she said.

Despite their tender ages, her children seem to be quite aware of COVID-19 and what it means. She laughed when describing a time she was carrying her 18-month-old son into a medical office, and he reached over to grab some hand sanitizer. 

There are also those sad times, she said. The 35-year-old has been surprised, given she’s in a “small community hospital,” to see the number of sick people coming through the door. Her husband contracted COVID-19 before the vaccine was available to him, and he has since gotten it. The couple is thankful he did not suffer the serious side effects known to so many. Those others have not been as fortunate, she said.

“There are multiple people who wished they had gotten vaccinated, and they passed away,” she said, sharing a piece of advice she’s had to embrace. “When you leave work, you just have to leave it at work. My focus is being at home, enjoying my family.” 

One such patient — a gentleman who had gotten the virus at a wedding — came to her mind. His last words were that “I never should’ve gone to that f- - - ing wedding.” He then died.

It hasn’t all been so bleak, though, Mrs. Campbell said. Many younger patients have gone on to do “really well” and get discharged, even after being on a ventilator. 

“It does happen; the tube is removed and they go home,” she said. “And those are always the best ones.”

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Top photo: Marie Campbell, a nurse practitioner at UMMC in Batavia, enjoys time spent with her family, including son Malcolm, 18 months. Sons James, 7, and 4-year-old Alexander also look forward to being with mom, who works with a patient on the Intensive Care Unit floor at UMMC, and dad, Marie's husband Bill, above. 

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