Byron-Bergen School District now accepting registration for UPK and kindergarten this fall

Submitted by Press Release on Thu, 01/21/2021 - 13:00

Press release:

Registration is now available for kindergarten and prekindergarten students in the Byron-Bergen Central School District.

The District plans to once again offer a half-day universal prekindergarten (UPK) program at the Byron-Bergen Elementary School. The UPK program is focused on socialization, learning through play, and self-exploration.

Children learn through a hands-on learning environment that includes activities, learning centers, concrete materials, and manipulatives. Students learn through a nurturing environment that is enriching, challenging, and developmentally appropriate.

Students must turn 4 years of age by Dec. 1 to be eligible for the program.

Those with an eligible child interested in attending the UPK program should send a letter of interest by Friday, April 9 with child’s name, parents’ names, address, phone number, and date of birth to:

Brian Meister

Byron-Bergen Elementary School Principal

6971 W. Bergen Road

Bergen, NY 14416-9747

Those who have already contacted the Elementary School by phone will still need to send in a letter to be eligible for UPK. If interest exceeds allowed capacity, students will be selected using a lottery system.

Children who will be 5 years of age, on or before Dec. 1 are eligible for entrance to kindergarten in September of 2021. New families in the school district should notify the school if they have a child that will enter kindergarten in September.

Parents may contact the Elementary School Office by calling 494-1220, ext. 1301. Information may also be sent to the Byron-Bergen Elementary School, 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen, NY 14416-9747.

All children registering for kindergarten will be scheduled for a screening appointment this summer. The results of this screening will be used to plan for the 2021-2022 kindergarten program.

The following items are necessary to complete the registration process: child’s birth certificate; certificate of immunization; proof of residency; and completed registration packet.

Additional information and kindergarten registration packets are available here.

USDA extends evictions and foreclosure moratorium on loans until March 31

Submitted by Press Release on Thu, 01/21/2021 - 12:46

Press release:

In one of his first acts in office, President Joe Biden requested federal agencies to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for millions of Americans.

In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an extension of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on USDA Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed loans (SFHDLP and SFHGLP) through March 31. The actions announced today will bring relief to residents in rural America who have housing loans through USDA.

USDA recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis in the United States. Today, 1 in 10 homeowners with a mortgage are behind on payments.

In addition to the actions taken, the Biden Administration looks forward to working with Congress to take more robust and aggressive actions to bring additional relief to American families and individuals impacted by the pandemic.

Visit for additional information on USDA’s Rural Development COVID-19 relief efforts application deadline extensions and more. USDA Rural Development will keep our customers, partners and stakeholders continuously updated as additional actions are taken to bring relief and development to rural America.

Foreclosure Moratorium Extension

The actions announced today make it possible for the foreclosure and eviction moratorium announced by USDA, Single Family Housing Direct Loan Program (SFHGLP) and the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) on Aug. 28 to be extended until March 31. The moratorium does not apply in cases where USDA or the servicing lender has documented the property is vacant or abandoned.

Forbearance Requirements

Lenders should continue to provide impacted borrowers relief in accordance with the CARES Act by offering forbearance of the borrower guaranteed loan payment for up to 180 days. In addition, the initial forbearance period may be extended up to an additional 180 days at the borrower’s request. Lenders should outline potential solutions that may be available at the end of the forbearance payment and explain to borrowers that a lump sum payment of the arrearage will not be required.

During the forbearance options outlined above, no accrual of fees, penalties or interest may be charged to the borrower beyond the amounts calculated as if the borrower had made all contractual payments in a timely fashion.

Lenders may approve the initial 180-day COVID-19 Forbearance no later than the earlier of the termination date of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020 or March 31.

Post Forbearance Options

Upon completion of the forbearance, the lender shall work with the borrower to determine if they can resume making regular payments and, if so, either offer an affordable repayment plan or term extension to defer any missed payments to the end of the loan. If the borrower is unable to resume making regular payments, the lender should evaluate the borrower for all available loss mitigation options outlined in HB-1-3555.

The special relief measured that are outlined in Chapter 18 Section 5 “Assistance in Natural Disasters” will apply. These options include Term Extensions, Capitalization and Term Extensions, and a Mortgage Recovery Advance.

COVID vaccination clinics announced for next week

Submitted by Press Release on Thu, 01/21/2021 - 11:54

Press release:

Genesee County today announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. at Genesee Community College (1 College Road, Batavia) starting Monday, Jan. 25.  

Orleans County today announced that its COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. starting Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Ridgeway Fire Hall (11392 Ridge Road, Medina).

Vaccinations at both sites will be conducted inside and are based on the availability of the vaccine.

Vaccinations for the GCC vaccine clinics are through online appointment only at:

Vaccinations for the Orleans County vaccine clinic are through online appointment only at:

People should not be calling the health departments, vaccination sites such as pharmacies or their provider to schedule a test.

The registration links will direct people to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) website specific to available appointments for that provider. If a person visits the Genesee County Department of Health Vaccine webpage (, clicks the Clinic Schedule button, and clicks one of the listed provider links to schedule an appointment, they will be directed to the appointment page on NYSDOH data management system for that provider’s vaccine clinic.  

Those making appointments should be aware that the state appointment system has experienced technical issues due to the volume of people trying to access it for appointments.

If a person tries to schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy e.g. Tops Markets, Rite-Aid, etc., by visiting their website, whatever link you click on will direct you to the NYSDOH website for that location. Providers’ clinic schedules are subject to change based on vaccine availability.

“As we have stressed since the vaccine became available and the number of people eligible to receive the vaccine has increased significantly, we are urging people to be patient,” said Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments Director Paul Pettit.

“Everything regarding scheduling a vaccine appointment, no matter if you are trying through the county health department through a local pharmacy or for the state-run clinics. is being funneled to the state’s data management page.”

Pettit noted that at this time, there are approximately 50,000 residents in Genesee and Orleans counties eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 1,600 doses available this week, although all appointments are full. Vaccine allocation is on a week-by-week schedule, with the possibility of no vaccine to each of the providers requesting it.

“This is resulting in people receiving the message of ‘no appointments available’ when clicking on the link and we are being told anecdotally that some people keep clicking on the link for hours at a time and getting this same message,” Pettit said.

“We don’t want to deter people for going online and trying to schedule an appointment, but we want to make them aware of what to expect because it can get frustrating very easily.”

Please continue to monitor and the state site ( for a list of additional clinics to receive the vaccine.

Burdick, Lawrence hit 300 games in Toyota of Batavia league at Mancuso's

Submitted by Press Release on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 18:26

Press release:

Two members of the Toyota of Batavia Thursday 5-Man League at Mancuso Bowling Center found perfection last week -- each right-hander registering their third United States Bowling Congress-certified 300 game.

On lanes 15-16, 40-year-old Justin Burdick of Olean fired 300 for the Ken Barrett Chevy team while on lanes 17-18, 63-year-old Ron Lawrence of Batavia did the same for The Expendables team.

Both 300 games came in game two of their respective series, with Burdick finishing with 734 and Lawrence ended with 701.

Top series honors for the night went to Tom Baker of the Eastown Beverage team with a 738.

Elsewhere around the Genesee Region, Rick Saunders of Batavia finished with a 278 game and 775 series in the Turnbull Heating Triples League at Mancuso's, while Rob Husted of Bergen posted a 258 game and 771 series in the Thursday Owls League at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

For a list of high scores, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

County reports 55 new COVID-cases, county's 100th COVID-related death

Submitted by Press Release on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 18:21

Press release:

Genesee County received 55 new positive cases of COVID-19.

  • The new positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke)
    • Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield)
    • East Region (Bergen, Byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • Fifty-seven of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. 
  • Fifteen of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • We are saddened to report the loss of an individual over the age of 65 who resided at Genesee Senior Living. We do not provide any further information to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends during this very difficult time.


Orleans County received 28 new positive cases of COVID-19. 

  • The positive cases reside in the:
    • West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby)
    • Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre)
    • East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon)
  • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • Zero of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive.
  • Twenty of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list.
  • Thirteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
  • Four of the new positive cases are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
  • We are sorry to report the COVID-19 related death of a community member. The individual is over 65. We will not report any further details to protect the privacy of the individual and their family. We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very sad time.

COVID-19 related fatality data: The Health Departments are only able to report the number of COVID-related deaths that are provided to us by the hospitals, nursing homes, and family members. The hospitals and nursing homes are not required to report these deaths to the local health departments but have been as they are able. Please note the chart will now include the state fatalities link on Monday – Thursday and will include the state’s updated data on the Friday report. The State updates the data as they receive it and can be seen here:

The counties will continue to report the COVID-related fatalities as we receive them locally in the narrative and update the fatality total number of deaths on a weekly basis only. 

State has recorded 56 COVID deaths at local nursing homes

Submitted by Howard Owens on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 16:06

There have been 56 confirmed COVID-related deaths at nursing homes in Genesee County, according to data from the State Health Department.

Before yesterday, not all of those deaths were included in Genesee County's Health Department regular COVID-19 briefing, which created a public discrepancy between what the County was reporting and what the state was reporting for total deaths locally.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, there were 99 confirmed COVID-related deaths of Genesee County residents, a number that was more than double what the county had been reporting in previous reports.

Nursing homes are not required to report deaths to local officials, only to the state.

The state is reporting deaths at:

  • Le Roy Village Green, 22
  • Premier Genesee, 10
  • Grand Rehabilitation, 6
  • NYS Vets Home, 18

Bids coming in lower than expected on county's 2021 bridge and culverts projects

Submitted by Howard Owens on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 15:49

Genesee County is gearing up to undertake a host of bridge and culvert projects this spring and summer, including some projects that were put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told the Public Service Committee on Tuesday.

The better news might be that contractors are eager for work, meaning lower bids on projects.

The committee agreed to recommend to the full legislature a $1.8 million contract for three culvert projects to Union Concrete Construction Corp. of West Seneca.

That bid is about $400,000 less than the engineer estimated, Hens said.

"It's just that the contractors are starving right now," Hens said. "Thankfully, there's been no drawback on state and federal money so there's an empty slate of work and the contractors are all anxious to get back to work and get stuff moving."

The three projects were bundled together, which may have also helped the county save some money, Hens said.

The resolution for the bid also includes hiring CHA Consulting out of Buffalo to handle project inspections. The cost, under the terms of the contract, will not exceed $340,000.

The three projects being awarded to Union Concrete are Meadville Road ($458,527), Sharrick Road ($727,508), and Tower Hill Road ($581,349).

Other anticipated projects in 2021 include a bridge on Hundredmark Road in Elba, the bridge at South Lyons (currently in the design phase), and Darien Alexander Townline Road (also in design).

The projects are funded by BridgeNY, which covers 95 percent of the costs.

Also related to the Highway Department, recommended for approval:

  • Purchase of a 6x4 dump truck for $242,371.
  • Purchase of a 1/2 ton pickup truck for $31,735.
  • Purchase of a skid steer loader for $56,354.
  • And for the airport, purchase of Jet-A Refueler for $189,600, and purchase of a AvGas Refueler for $134,990.
Protesters outside Buffalo Federal Detention Facility concerned about COVID protocols

A couple dozen protesters outside the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia yesterday afternoon wanted to be heard by detainees inside so they know there are people who support their health and safety, said Mary Rutigliano.

Rutigliano, a Genesee County resident aligned with the Rochester Rapid Response Network, said there have been COVID-19 positive detainees transferred to Batavia and five of the detainees are on hunger strike.

"If you make enough noise, people on the inside can hear," Rutigliano said. "Last week, we were outside of the ICE field office where Thomas Feeley works, the same office as Delaware North in Buffalo, letting them know and this was part of an effort to let the people here know they don't have as much of a community, (but) there are people out here in this rural area that support them and want them to keep up their efforts."

Feeley, the director of the Enforcement and Removal Office in Buffalo, said there are only two detainees on hunger strike. One was transferred from New Jersey for medical reasons (BFDF has its own medical unit) and his current immigration case is under appeal.

The other case, he said, is being deported and his hunger strike just started.

As for COVID-positive cases in the facility, Feeley said there are currently three in the facility. One was arrested by the border patrol, the other transferred from an outside hospital, and one was arrested and transferred from Boston. All are asymptomatic, he said, and are quarantined.

Rutigliano claimed that there is a COVID-positive person in a pod with 40 other detainees. Feeley said that wasn't accurate. His statement also contradicted Rutigliano's claim that there are symptomatic detainees in the facility. 

Yesterday's protest drew the attention of State Police after dispatchers received a complaint that protesters were blocking the entrance to the facility. A trooper on scene said the protesters moved to an open space next to the gate when three patrol units arrived. The protesters ended their chanting and banging on pots and pans and dispersed a short time later.

Howard Owens Wed, 01/20/2021 - 14:28
Jacobs attends Biden inauguration, calls for national unity

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing the following statement after attending the Inauguration of President Joe Biden.

“It was an honor to represent the citizens of the 27th Congressional District at the 59th Presidential Inauguration to witness the peaceful transition of power that has, and always will be, a cornerstone of our democracy. I wish President Biden and Vice President Harris well as they lead our nation and I commit to working with their administration to advance the interests of Western New York.

“This is a time to move our nation forward and unite. It is not the time for partisan agenda items – but actionable solutions that directly address the serious needs of the American people. We must work together to safely reopen our economy and schools, confront the national security threats facing our nation, and set a course toward future prosperity for small businesses, farmers and workers.

Press Release Wed, 01/20/2021 - 13:55

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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