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September 4, 2015 - 4:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, YARD SALES.

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You would have needed to get to out to Herb Neal's yard sale on Harvester Avenue this morning pretty early to buy this nice white casket. Neal said he sold it within 10 minutes, and a few minutes later he sold the military casket (below) he also had out.

He said he acquired the caskets in a trade.

His son Matthew is in the top picture.

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September 4, 2015 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.

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The 2015 football season kicks off this evening. It should be an interesting year. Batavia High School starts the season ranked #1 in the region. Le Roy, always a powerhouse, has a new coach. And the Genesee Region league is stacked with talent and experienced, quality coaches.

The Batavian will cover games every week, doing our best to cover each team at least once.

This year's schedule for local teams is below. Head out to a field near you and catch a game. It should be interesting and exciting.

Tonight:

  • University Prep at Batavia, 7:30
  • Notre Dame/Batavia at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 o'clock
  • Le Roy at Letchworth/Warsaw, 7:30

Tomorrow:

  • Pembroke at Elba/Byron Bergen, 1:30 p.m. (CORRECTION: Section V listed this game on the schedule incorrectly.  It's at 7 p.m. at Byron-Bergen's field)

Friday, Sept. 11

  • Cardinal O'Hara at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Pembroke at Attica, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 12

  • Alexander at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen at Holley, 1:30 p.m.
  • Dansville at Le Roy, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 18

  • Batavia vs. Wilson, at Sahlen's Stadium, 7 p.m.
  • Oakfield-Alabama at Pembroke, 7 p.m.
  • Attica at Alexander, 7 p.m.
  • Le Roy at Wayland-Cohocton, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 19

  • Notre Dame at Elba/Byron-Bergen, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 25

  • Edison Tech at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.
  • Bath-Haverling at Le Roy, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 26

  • Alexander at Holley, 1:30 p.m
  • Pembroke at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 2

  • Batavia at Penn Yan, 7 p.m.
  • Notre Dame at Bishop Kearney, 7:30 p.m.
  • Holley at Pembroke, 7 p.m.
  • Oakfield-Alabama at Alexander (TBD)
  • Le Roy at Hornell, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3

  • Attica at Elba/Byron-Bergen

Friday, Oct. 9

  • Wayne Central at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Le Roy at Cal-Mum, 7:30 p.m.
  • Alexander at Pembroke, 7 p.m.
  • Notre Dame at Attica, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 10

  • Oakfield-Alabama at Holley, 1:30 p.m.
  • C.G. Finney at Elba/Byron-Bergen, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16

  • Batavia at Geneva, 7 p.m.
  • Attica at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen at Alexander, 7 p.m.
  • Livonia at Le Roy, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17

  • Holley at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.

Here's a recap of our football preview stories:

Here's a slide show of all of our pre-season photos, including some that weren't published with the original stories. Prints of photos may be purchased through this link to my photography Web site.

September 4, 2015 - 3:21pm

The Batavia High School Blue Devils want to spray chalk designs on your dirveway, your lawn, your parking lot -- wherever you choose -- to raise money for the Batavia Cheerleading Program and boost pride.

Each design is $10 and can be done once, or weekly, to suit your budget. All designs are to be completed each week by Thursday. They feature a giant capital letter B with the well-known Blue Devil logo superimposed over it. Size is 3 feet by 55 inches.

All spray chalk is temporary and can be removed with water. The designs fade in one to three days and/or in water. All design completions are final.

"The community will be full of pride and Devil Spirit -- Show yours!"

To get your chalk-spray design, provide your name, the address, details of what/where, phone number, and e-mail and send cash or check to Batavia Cheerleading Boosters c/o:

Batavia High School

Attn: Athletic Department

260 State St.

Batavia NY 14020

If you have questions, please e-mail:

[email protected]

September 4, 2015 - 3:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today wished his constituents a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend. The holiday, falling on Sept. 7 this year, is regarded as a day of rest for America’s workforce and signifies the ceremonial end of summer.

“I would like to wish all of my constituents and residents across New York State a restful and safe Labor Day Weekend,” Hawley said. “Labor Day is a time of rest and relaxation for America’s workforce.

"We are the hardest-working country on Earth, and that is evident as we pave the way with technological advances and create brands used all across the world. Please remember to be responsible during the long weekend and take time to enjoy the company of family and friends.”

September 4, 2015 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Labor Day Weekend is the last hurrah for summer fun and Batavia Downs is taking full advantage of the great weather Western New York is in the midst of by presenting a full slate of giveaway’s and activities to help its racing fans ease into fall.

It all starts on Saturday (Sept. 5) when the Downs presents Drew Monti bobblehead night.

Monti is one of the rising stars at Batavia Downs and has quickly become a fan favorite. So much so the fans themselves asked for this promotion featuring “Driving Drew." So starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, fans can pick up a ticket at the Players Club desk and redeem it for a Drew Monti bobblehead after the seventh race in the Paddock Room. Distribution is limited while supplies last. You must be a Players Club member for this promotion.

You are encouraged to bring your bobblehead back to the track on Labor Day, Monday afternoon (Sept. 7) to get it autographed by Monti trackside, prior to the first race.

The Drew Monti bobbleheads are sponsored by TAG Jewelers and Gold Brokers (www.tagjewelers.com), of Cheektowaga.

Saturday the Downs will also be honoring longtime local horseman, Anthony “Tony” Strollo with a memorial race in the seventh. Strollo died this past April after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The Labor Day matinee card also features a list of promotions that offer something for everyone in the family.

The feature event of the day is the annual Batavia Downs driver’s bike race. This “friendly” competition between the horsemen has been going on at the Downs since 1979 and the tradition will continue this year. Eight local drivers will line up at the quarter pole and make their way around the far turn and head for the wire.

Last year’s winner was “Driving Drew” Monti in a photo over Mickey Holliday. Monti will be back to defend his title against Holliday and face new challenges from Shawn McDonough, Dave McNeight III, Lee Dahn, Rock Vinci, Denny Bucceri and Bradley Jackson.

But the best part is the fans get to win the actual brand new bikes used in the race.

Each patron can put their entry in one of eight boxes; each coinciding with a driver in the race. Then from the winning driver’s box, eight winners will be randomly drawn and each will be given one of the bikes. The bike race will be held after the seventh harness race and the drawing, after the bike race has been declared official.

There is no purchase necessary but you must be at least 18 years old to enter and present to win.

The bike race is sponsored by Crazy Cheap Cars (www.crazycheapcars.com), of Oakfield.

And what would Labor Day be without a cookout? Batavia Downs has that covered, too, and for any size appetite.

Charcoal grilled Sahlen’s hot dogs for $1 along with $1 beer and soda will be available on the apron from noon until the last race.

In the clubhouse, there will be a $10.95 chicken barbeque with all the fixings. And for every barbeque purchased you will receive $10 back in free-play on the gaming floor. So you can enjoy a holiday cook-out without the work or mess for only $0.95 net! This food special will only be available from noon to 3:30 p.m.

Chicken barbeques will be prepared by the Center Street Smoke House (www.centerstreetsmokehouse.com), of Batavia.

Post time for Saturday (Sept. 5) is 6:35 p.m. Monday (Labor Day, Sept. 7) is a matinee with first post set at 1:15.

September 4, 2015 - 2:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in road safety.

Press release:

As the kids head back to school, Genesee County Undersheriff William Sheron reminds parents, commuters, kids and teens to make safety a priority and provides the following safety tips to review and share.

Know New York’s School Bus Law:

It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights are flashing, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.

You must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.

Drive Safely:

Obey signs, signals, and crossing guards in school zones.

Slow down, especially around bus stops, in school zones and during before and after school hours.

Stay alert behind the wheel. Avoid use of electronic devices and other distracting behaviors while driving.

Look for and expect to see pedestrians and bicyclists, especially before and after school.

Remind Walkers to:

Walk on the sidewalk if one is available; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic.

Pay attention when walking. Avoid texting, talking on the phone, and using headphones.

Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street. Never cross the street while using an electronic device.

Cross only at crosswalks.

At the Bus Stop, Remind Children to:

Stay three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb when waiting for the bus; and wait until the driver says to board.

Quickly board the school bus, find a seat, sit facing the front, and do what the school bus driver.

Getting off the bus, wait for the driver to signal it is safe to cross. Then cross at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the front of the bus. Look left-right-left for traffic.

September 4, 2015 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, batavia.

A pole and wires are down in front of 56 Harvester Ave. They are blocking traffic. A female is trapped in her vehicle there and wires are around the vehicle. City fire is responding.

UPDATE 2:18 p.m.: City police are asked to respond to direct traffic.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: The second platoon is asked to respond to city fire headquarters. It appears that a train accidentally yanked the pole and wires down and the train is stopped on Harvester, blocking the roadway.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: There are two power poles down, one on each side of the train tracks. There are also two vehicles draped with live wires, both occupied. The roadway is blocked by a cargo train hauling tank cars manufactured by the adjacent Graham Corp. It appears the cargo train snagged the wires, bringing down the poles.

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: National Grid crews removed the wires and the drivers inside the trapped vehicles were able to back out of their predicament and move to safe locations.

UPDATE 4:29 p.m.: City Fire is clearing the scene, but Harvester remains barricaded.

(Photos by Howard Owens.)

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September 4, 2015 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education.

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Yesterday, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School hosted its year-opening Pride Day. Principal Tim McArdle sent over these photos and this message:

Today (yesterday) we kicked off our Le Roy PRIDE character education program by hosting our annual school-wide assembly. Our newly named All-State Music performer, Sophie Farnholz, played the national anthem to begin the festivities!

I then reviewed highlights from last year and shared how we want to continue our momentum into this year. We talked about the importance of students honing their own character skills and how they will be vital in being career ready. Our Student Council president Kieran O’Halloran addressed our students encouraging them to rally around each other and fully support all of our teams, clubs and music groups this year.

The assembly was highlighted by national motivational speaker Zach Gowen. Zach is a professional wrestler who has overcome many obstacles in his life, one being losing his left leg when he was 8 years old. He is the first one-legged competitor in professional wrestling. His real life message was well received by our students and teachers. We hope that students really take to heart his story and the many important points he made.

I would like to thank senior Paul Elliott who originally pitched Zach as a potential speaker last spring and also our Emerging Knights Leadership Team who interviewed Zach this summer to confirm he would be a perfect fit for our assembly and, boy, was he! Please ask your child about their impressions from today’s assembly! 

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September 4, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oakfield-alabama.

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There was a point during the off-season where it looked like the tradition of Hornets football might come to an end. The team was struggling to fill its roster and negotiations were under way to merge with Pembroke.

But the coaches and the players rallied, and when Oakfield-Alabama takes its home field tonight against Notre Dame, 26 players will suit up.

"We talked about keeping the football team here and keeping the tradition here and they (players and coaches) really stepped up to the plate and did a nice job of being here and keeping our program going," said Head Coach Brian Palone.

This will be a season where a young team needs to grow, especially on the lines, where this year's starters are last year's second string, or modified player. But it's also a team other GR coaches acknowledge needs to be taken seriously every week with returners Allen Chatt at QB and Sal Schwable and Reice Woodward as wideouts. Those three alone give Palone some weapons he can use to challenge opponents.

"Our goal is to improve every day," Palone said. "I tell the guys how fortunate they are to come out every day and wear the Hornets' uniform and represent their school and their community. We're going to compete and get better every game."

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September 4, 2015 - 12:27pm

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(Photos from last night's show.) Luke Bryan headlines a second, soldout show, at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center tonight.

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September 4, 2015 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Farm to Fork, Le Roy, Stein Farms, agriculture.

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Amidst verdant rows of corn in nearby fields, with rays of golden, late afternoon sunshine lighting the sky, and a bounty of locally grown meat and vegetables ready for the guests, Shelly Stein beamed.

"We love this land," Stein said. "We really love this land. What we hope to do tonight is really invite others to have this same experience that we do every day out here, on the land, appreciating all of the food and the good fiber it provides for us, every day."

The Stein family opened their land to the community for a feast called Field to Fork Feast. It was a fundraiser to help support the America's Greatest Communities effort, but it was also a chance to highlight Genesee County's beauty, abundance and goodwill.

"There's a great deal of hard work that goes into what we do, but there's also a deep appreciation and the fact that we don't farm alone," Stein said. "We always farm with God and Mother Nature at our right and left hands, along with our family, and we're just blessed to be able to to support the contest that is America's Best Communities for Le Roy and Bergen and to share our passion. We feel honored."

The locally grown food was prepared by D&R Depot and served by their catering staff.

About 150 people attended and the goal was to raise $5,000 of the $15,000 needed in support of the America's Best Communities contest.

"We call Genesee County the 'Breadbasket of Western New York,' " Stein said. "All across the country, we are known as a county that is highly educated in our agricultural fields and that we adapt technology quick and fast and we are great producers here, so to be able to share that tonight is incredibly important."

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September 4, 2015 - 11:48am

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Batavia resident, decorated Iraq War veteran, author and former congressional candidate David Bellavia (center) will be the emcee for the annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala at Genesee Community College on Sept. 19.

The annual event is a fundraiser organized by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and Justice for Children. In its fifth year, organizers expect to cap the initial goal of raising $150,000 for a new CAC center. The CAC is now in quarters on East Main Street and the money may be used for rehabilitation of that facility.

The event is in the Forum starting at 5:30 p.m. and includes live, silent and basket auctions, entertainment and food. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10. 

To make a donation, become a sponsor or purchase tickets, visit GLOWGala.org.

With Bellavia in the photo, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and CAC supervisor Anne Bezon.

September 4, 2015 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, BARNS.

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This shot is actually from a couple of days ago, but I didn't get a chance to post it then.

September 4, 2015 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, corfu, Darien, Stafford.
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   Rebecca Santiago

Rebecca L. Santiago, 29, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with possession of stolen property, 4th, and four counts of identity theft, 3rd. Santiago allegedly stole a credit card from a person under her care while working as a health care provider in Livingston County. She allegedly possessed and used the card while in the Village of Le Roy and other jurisdictions multiple times. Santiago turned herself in to Le Roy PD and was issued an appearance ticket. Santiago was also arrested by the Sheriff's Office and charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and identify theft, 3rd. She allegedly used the stolen credit card to make purchases at Walmart.

Eric H. Pannell, 44, of Buffalo, is charged with DWI. Pannell was arrested at the Crosby's Gas Station in Corfu. Troopers reportedly observed a vehicle at the station and initiated an interview with one of the passengers. During the interview, another passenger was reportedly seen tossing a beer can out of the car. A trooper allegedly detected the strong odor of alcohol coming from Parnnell, identified as the driver. He was subjected to a field sobriety test and allegedly failed. At SP Batavia's barracks, his BAC was allegedly recorded at .17, more than twice the legal limit. He was jailed on $500 bail. Citations were issued for allegedly consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle and for littering.

Nicholas Morath, 26, of Bullis Road, Elma, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, unregistered motor vehicle and speeding (55 in a 35 mph zone). Morath was stopped at 11:15 p.m. Thursday on Route 77, Darien, by Sgt. Ron Meides.

Eric J. Merritt, 26, of Rose Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass. Merritt allegedly forced entry into a dwelling on Bank Street Road at 2 a.m., Wednesday.

Deborah Elizabeth LaMartina, 34, of Ravine Street, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for first degree aggravated unlicensed operation, DWI and criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. She was arraigned in County Court and ordered held without bail.

Jose Antonion Martinez, 45, of Broadway Road, Alden, is charged with second-degree harassment. Martinez was being held in the Erie County Jail on an unrelated matter and was arrested on a warrant upon his release. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

September 4, 2015 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, darien lake performing arts center.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Luke Bryan concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday. 

Daniel J. Zybezynski, 22, of Toelsin Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with two counts of second-degree harassment after allegedly punching two CSC security officers while they were escorting another patron out of the venue.

Richard A. Anzalone Jr., 26, of Beaver Lane, Grand Island, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Kapry A. Packard, 25, of Mt. Vernon Avenue, West Seneca, is charged with for unlawful dealing with a child after allegedly providing alcohol to a subject under 21.

Rita H. Buettner, 59, of Cedar Street, Akron, is charged with for second-degree harassment after allegedly punched a CSC security officer while being ejected from the concert.

Luke Bryan performs again tonight at Darien Lake. The show is sold out.

September 3, 2015 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, batavia.

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Taken today while returning from the accident in Alabama.

September 3, 2015 - 6:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia.

A car is reportedly entangled in wires from a power pole on East Saile Drive in front of the Genesee County Airport. A transformer was yanked down, too. The wires are believed to be live. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m.: Command on scene says responding unit can go back in service.

September 3, 2015 - 1:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama.

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(Photo by Howard Owens.)

A tractor-trailer vs. car accident with serious injuries is reported at Alleghany and Ledge roads. Mercy Flight's availability is being checked. Alabama fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 1:38 p.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls fire police are requested to assist Alabama fire by shutting down Phelps Road at Route 77.

UPDATE 2:02 p.m.: This is a fatal accident. A car is wedged under the semi-truck.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble said a tractor-trailer was southbound on Route 77 and a Mercury Grand Marquis was heading eastbound on Ledge Road when the sedan failed to stop at the stop sign and drove straight into the side of the semi. Witnesses said it did not attempt to brake nor stop at the intersection. The impact wedged the car under the semi and both traveled several hundred feet before coming to a halt. The sedan's driver is dead and they are working on notification, but the body has not yet been extricated. The coroner is on scene. There were several witnesses. There is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role for the truck driver, who did not appear to be speeding, according to witnesses. Indications are the deceased driver is from out of town. The case is being investigated; the truck's mechanics will be examined; a press release is expected later today. Dibble acknowledged that the intersection has been the site of several bad accidents, and he said so has the nearby intersection of Gabbey Road and Route 77. He said the sheer volume of traffic may account for the higher number of accidents at those intersections, but there's "nothing beyond that" such as a steep grade or curve that sets them apart. Possibly the driver in this case wasn't being attentive, was distracted.

UPDATE 6:17 p.m.: The roadways are reopened.

UPDATE 8:08 p.m.: The name of the female driver who was pronounced dead at the scene by County Coroner Karen Lang is not yet being released because the Sheriff's Office has not yet been able to complete notifications. The driver of the semi is identified as James L. Cereghin, 55, of County Road, Defiance, Ohio. A third vehicle was either struck by the Grand Marquis or debris from the vehicle. It was a Jeep Wrangler driven by Dennis R. Carroll, 64, of Transit Road, East Bethany. Neither Cereghin nor Carroll were injured in the accident. The 53-foot box trailer was hauling 46,000 pounds of boxed food product.  

UPDATE 5:40 a.m., Friday: The name of the woman who died is Donna L. Ray, 61, of East Avenue, Buffalo.

September 3, 2015 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be repairing a broken water main today on State Street. State Street will be closed to traffic from Denio Street to the City line until repairs are completed.

There will be a water service interruption for residents from Denio Street to the City line. Other residents in the area may experience low water pressure or discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: DPW sent us an update 15 minutes ago that said water was restored on State Street after a leak was fixed and now they are working to repair the road.

September 3, 2015 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI.

In an effort to maximize the return on fines paid by drunken drivers, Assistant County Manager Matt Landers is proposing using some of that money to fund the addition of a deputy to the Sheriff's Office with the position being dedicated solely to DWI enforcement.

If a dedicated DWI deputy could make just one more DWI arrest per week over the course of a year above the current arrest rate, the position would be fund itself in future years, Landers said.

Landers is proposing using $60,000 from STOP-DWI cash reserves to fund the $100,000 position for the first year.

The County Legislature must consider whether to budget the balance of the $40,000 cost to get the new position started. The additional $40,000 will cover the cost of fringe benefits for the new deputy.

The STOP-DWI plan was recommended for approval by the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, but not without some concerns and skepticism raised.

Legislators asked whether other deputies not assigned to the STOP-DWI detail might be less inclined to enforce DWI, thinking, "That's the other guy's job," but Landers expressed confidence that the other deputies' professionalism would prevent that mindset.

Legislator Ray Cianfrini, an attorney, raised concerns that a dedicated DWI patrolman might feel the pressure to make quota and engage in practices courts have determined to constitute entrapment, but Landers said he believes there's enough DWI activity that isn't being thwarted now to keep a full-time DWI deputy busy.

In fact, Landers thinks a dedicated patrol might actually arrest more than just one extra drunken driver per week, but his budget numbers remain conservative at one per week.

After the meeting, Landers said DWI arrests have dropped off the past couple of years, either because more deputy hours are being tied up with prisoner transports, or because staffing has been constrained both in the Sheriff's Office and Batavia PD.

"I don't necessarily believe it was due to fewer drunks on the road," Landers said. "I think they're out there. I'm trying to give the resources to the local law enforcement agencies to go after the drunks who are out there."

The Sheriff's Office has typically received STOP-DWI funds to provide overtime pay to deputies to engage in extra anti-DWI enforcement patrols. Under the new plan, that OT amount will be cut from $30,000 to $25,000, so there will still be dedicated part-time patrols in addition to the full-time, dedicated DWI deputy.

Batavia PD and Le Roy PD would receive their usual amount of STOP-DWI funding for overtime pay for dedicated DWI patrols.

"I figure this is a better way to spend STOP-DWI money and a better way and more efficient way to get more drunks off the road," Landers said.

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