Flu season is here: Help protect yourself and your family

By Press Release
Dec 3, 2021, 4:45pm

Press Release from Genesee and Orleans County Health Department:

The smell of the evergreen trees, the taste of warm hot cocoa, and the cheerful Christmas songs are some lovely things that bring family and friends together during this festive season. With cold weather moving people indoors, there is also an increased risk of the spread of illnesses such as the flu , also known as influenza. However, there are ways to lower your risk of getting sick with the flu. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 5-11, 2021. NIVW is an annual observance in December to remind everyone that there is still time to get vaccinated against the flu to be protected during the upcoming winter and holiday months. “You can protect you and your family members by getting vaccinated against the flu each year,” said Paul Pettit, Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “The vaccine lowers the chance of getting you and those around you sick with the flu. We also encourage those that have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, to get vaccinated as soon as possible ahead of the Holidays.” The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Experts say that flu viruses are spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. The runny nose, sore throat and slow development of symptoms which are common for a cold, are not as common for the flu which tends to appear suddenly and includes a fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, chest discomfort and cough. Although a cold can be a bother, you usually feel much worse with the flu and sometimes influenza’s complications could be deadly.

Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu vaccine every year. It's best to get the flu vaccine early in flu season, ideally by the end of October. That way, the body develops antibodies in two weeks’ time which provides protection from the influenza virus. You might wonder, is it too late to get vaccinated? The simple answer is no. “Getting the vaccine later is better than not getting it at all,” said Mr. Pettit. “Once you have the flu vaccine, research shows that the vaccination reduces the risk of severe illness if you do get the flu.”

Below are the number of reported flu cases for Genesee and Orleans Counties since 2018 according to the New York State Department of Health. You will notice that there was limited flu in 2020-2021 because people were practicing public health precautions such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, limiting social gatherings, wearing face coverings, and staying home when ill. In addition, less germs were spread because people were staying home and limiting their contact with people outside of their household as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Flu seasons are unpredictable every year, so there is a new flu vaccine developed to potentially provide protection for the viruses that are considered to have the most potential to cause serious illness. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to protect as many people as possible. If you have not received your annual flu vaccine this year, now is the time! It generally takes 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine for your body to develop immunity.

Talk with your primary care provider or visit your local pharmacy to get the flu vaccine. To make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the GO Health website: https://gohealthny.org/covid-19-vaccine-information/.

If you want to see weekly flu updates, you can use the NYS Flu Tracker:

https://nyshc.health.ny.gov/web/nyapd/new-york-state-flu-tracker. For more information about Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, visit www.gohealthny.org. You can also visit Facebook at: Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments, Twitter, and Instagram: @GoHealthNY


Registration is open for Genesee 4-H Youth Tractor Safety Program

By Press Release
Dec 3, 2021, 4:25pm

Press Release:

The Genesee County 4-H Program is now accepting registrations for its 2022 4-H Tractor Safety Program.  The program is open to youth age 14 and over and covers farm safety, tractor safety, tractor operation and other related topics.  

The National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program is a certification program that allows youth age 14 and 15 to be certified to legally operate farm equipment for hire.  After completing the training course, youth will need to pass a written knowledge test and driving test to receive the certification.

The program is scheduled to run Saturdays, 8:00am to 12:00pm, January through April at farm machinery dealerships throughout Genesee County.  The fee for the program is $10 and youth must also be currently enrolled 4-H members.  Registrations are due January 29, 2022.  To register for the program or receive more information, please contact the Genesee County 4-H Office at genesee4h@cornell.edu or (585) 343-3040 ext. 131.  Registration forms are also available online at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4htractorsafety

GCEDC Board approves Valiant Real Estates USA Inc. investment of $4.5 million for old warehouse

By Press Release
Dec 3, 2021, 4:22pm

Press Release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved assistance for a $4.5 million project investment by Valiant Real Estate USA Inc. for a bus operations facility in the town of Batavia at its board meeting on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Valiant Real Estate USA Inc.’s 20,000 sq. ft. facility will include office space, training space, repair areas and storage in order to support school districts and school bus operators across the Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions. The proposed facility will be located less than a mile of Interstate 90 Exit 48, providing a strong logistics base for the project.

The project includes infrastructure to support future utilization of electric/clean energy vehicles and related initiatives.  Over the next three years Valiant Real Estate USA Inc. plans to create up to 19 new jobs and 12 part-time jobs. The $430,120 in estimated assistance to the project is estimated to produce a $50 return for every $1 of assistance.

The GCEDC Board also accepted an application from Mega Properties Inc. and approved scheduling a public hearing on the potential assistance for the purchase of a vacant 142,000 sq. ft building in the town of Batavia and plans to develop the building into a warehouse distribution facility. The proposed $8.5 million financial investment by Mega Properties Inc. would retain nine full-time employees and the creation of up to 11 new jobs. The project has requested approximately $600,000 in property, sales, and mortgage tax exemptions.


Law and Order: Batavia man accused of violating court orders

By Howard Owens
Dec 3, 2021, 3:33pm

John Kenneth Hobbs, 34, of Clinton Street Road, Batavia, is charged with burglary 2nd and violation of an order of protection.  Hobbs is accused of entering the home of a protected party at 1:10 p.m., Nov. 24. He then allegedly fled the property and was located in  the nearby woods by Deputy James Stack and K-9 "Rayzor."  He was also accused of burglary 2nd and disobeying a mandate for a similar incident at 11:30 p.m., Nov. 4.

Alexander Douglas Scheg, 27, of Warboys Road, Byron, is charged with bail jumping 3rd.  During an unrelated incident, Scheg was identified who allegedly failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Gerard Hart Altenburg, 26, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, speeding, unsafe passing, and reckless driving. Altenburg was stopped at 7:02 p.m., Dec. 1, on Main Road in Pembroke by Deputy Kyle Krzemien.


BID leader enjoys her last Christmas in the City parade as executive director

By jfbeck_99_272012
Dec 3, 2021, 12:44pm

Beth Kemp
(2016 file photo)

This year’s Christmas in the City parade is a special one to Beth Kemp, executive director of Batavia Business Improvement District.

It will resume the years-old holiday event after the pandemic shut down, and close out a chapter on Kemp’s career path. She is leaving the role for a position in marketing and accounting with Council Rock Wealth Advisory Group in Batavia.

“December 10 will be my last day. This is my last big parade; the parade is kind of my baby, I love it,” she said to The Batavian Friday morning. “It’s like a well-oiled machine at this point, and I hope it will continue.”

Thirty-four participants have signed up for the parade, set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday outside of Wendy’s restaurant on Main Street, Batavia. Floats, costumed characters, and music will follow a route that leads toward Summit Street. 

Christmas in the City was originally dubbed Taste of the Holidays, which is when Kemp first became involved with it. She was on an event committee and was integral to the creation of a festive parade as part of the renamed event. Meant to be a family-friendly, fun downtown happening, Christmas in the City runs from 2 to 6 p.m., ending with the parade. 

A train ride, several vendors, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, professional carolers and an elf, the Muckdogs mascot, and a GO-ART! building-turned-Whoville will be part of the excitement. There will also be hidden gnomes at downtown businesses for kids to find and take photos of for a contest boasting prizes of Muckdogs tickets, a basket full of board games, and more. 

Trio facing felony charges after fleeing conservation officer in Stafford

By Howard Owens
Dec 3, 2021, 11:37am
Zachary Hursh Alexander Scheg Jason Schmeer

A possible environmental conservation violation on Horseshoe Lake Road in Stafford turned into a two-county criminal pursuit and the eventual arrest of three men on various felony charges on Monday night, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Taken into custody:

Zachary P. Hursh, 37, of Rochester

  • Criminal possession of stolen property 3rd
  • Unlawful fleeing of a police officer
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th
  • Obstructing governmental administration 2nd
  • Reckless driving among other traffic violations.

Alexander D. Scheg, 27, of Byron

  • Criminal possession of stolen property 3rd
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th
  • Obstructing governmental administration 2nd

Jason R. Schmeer, 41, of Rochester

  • Criminal possession of stolen property 3rd
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th

According to the Sheriff's Office, a DEC conservation officer stopped to investigate a possible violation of conservation law in the area of Horseshoe Lake and Sanders road at 10:19 p.m., Monday, and when she attempted to make contact with a suspect vehicle by activation of her emergency lights, the vehicle fled the area. 

Deputies then joined the pursuit and successfully deployed spike strips at Route 237 and Route 33 in Stafford.  

The vehicle continued to flee at a high rate of speed, failing to yield to emergency vehicles operating lights and sirens.

The Orleans County Sheriff's Office was informed the pursuit.

The vehicle failed to negotiate a turn onto Glidden Road in Clarendon going off the north shoulder of the roadway and striking a street sign and utility pole. 

The vehicle was no longer operational and two occupants, including the driver, fled on foot.

A third person, Schmeer, was in the back seat and immediately taken into custody. 

A search ensued involving deputies from both counties, troopers, Albion police, and Batavia PD Officer Stephen Quider and his K-9 "Batu."  The conservation officer deployed K-9 "Handley."

A short time later, the passenger, ID'd as Scheg was located in a heavily wooded area.

Hursh was subsequently located in a nearby residential garage.

Upon investigation, officers determined the vehicle the trio fled in, a 2017 Honda Civic, was allegedly stolen from Rochester.  The vehicle allegedly contained cocaine and drug paraphernalia. 

All three suspects were arraigned in the Town of Stafford.  Hursh and Schmeer were ordered held in jail based on having two or more previous felony convictions. Scheg was released on the new charges but held in the Genesee County Jail on a City of Batavia warrant.

Alexander entrepreneur adds liquor and fish fries to her business menu

By jfbeck_99_272012
Dec 3, 2021, 10:52am


There was a time when Jenny Wall thought practically about being a prison counselor, which is why she obtained an associate degree in human services.

But, a decent salary and retirement benefits aside, she pushed away practical and went for the dream. Wall, 38, who has owned and operated J Dubs Pizzas and Subs of Alexander for more than a dozen years, just opened Liberty’s Liquor Cabinet in October of this year, and added fish fries to her menu as of Friday (Dec. 3). 

“For the most part, I really liked running a kitchen, and I took a chance,” the Alexander native said during an interview Thursday. “It’s a lot harder than people think. It’s a lot of hours and a lot of sacrifice, but you do make some great relationships in the community. You’re so grateful that you have to do what you can, you’ve just got to keep on keeping on.”

A big part of Wall’s expansion has included the purchase of a building three years ago to house both of her business ventures at 10594 Main St., Alexander. A former appliance store, it took some renovations to make the place restaurant-worthy: a “nice big kitchen” and dining room expansion to accommodate 30 people. 

The pizzeria had formerly been across the street, but a talk with her dad, doing some research, and an entrepreneurial vision prompted Wall to buy the much larger site and move in with room to grow. Two years later another renovation paved the way for the liquor store. The property also contains three apartments and another woman-owned business of a beauty salon. A 12-space back parking lot was added in the last three years. 

Opening a pizzeria wasn’t a random move, Wall said, as she had worked in the pizza industry for about seven years until the last shop she was at closed. The question of working for someone else or going out on her own wasn’t an easy one, she said. 

“I kind of knew what I was doing; I had been doing every aspect of the business,” she said. “I hemmed and hawed for a week, and then I asked the landlord if I could rent the space. It was super scary.”

J Dubs moved into a spot that had been occupied by six pizzerias, all of which had closed in a 10-year span. Wall had a strategy of not using frozen dough; only freshly made from scratch and the same for the sauce. 

“I use really good products. I’ve kind of built a reputation that if you leave my place hungry, something’s wrong. A lot of customers have turned into family.”

The liquor store seemed like a natural fit, she said, and adding fish fries — using fresh haddock and a genuine “light and crunchy” beer batter — will run through Lent. She wanted all three components to be in the same central location.

Wall’s workweek is upwards of 60 hours, which leaves precious time for her to spend with husband Craig Romesser and their 7-year-old daughter Scarlett. Wall credits her family, her husband’s help for much of the renovation work, and her employees for their ongoing support, even when she took a six-week hiatus after giving birth to Scarlett. 

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my employees; they are wonderful people. There’s no way I could do it without them,” she said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to have such a tight-knit group. I think you should treat your employees with the utmost respect, or you’re not going to survive.” 

As for respect, Wall has had to deal with people making assumptions about her as they ask to speak with the “boss.” She doesn’t think they mean any harm but wants to make it clear that women entrepreneurs are out in full force making a go of the business world. She’s been able to do it with support from friends, family, and the community, Wall said.

“Anybody can run a business, anybody can do whatever they put their mind to … it’s a different day and age,” she said. ”I have such a great circle, and am so grateful for that.” 

J Dubs is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Sundays during football season. Liberty’s Liquor Cabinet is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and seasonal hours are noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Fish fries are served at the pizzeria from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To order, call 585-591-3827.

Photos by Howard Owens








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