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April 26, 2018 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A bicyclist has been struck by a car at Jackson and Main, Batavia.

No word on how serious the injuries might be. 

City Fire and Mercy EMS.

Also dispatched, City Fire and Mercy EMS for a person who has fallen from a ladder extended to the second floor of a residence on Davis Avenue, Batavia.

UPDATE 6:33 p.m.: The victim of the accident on Jackson is complaining of shoulder pain.

April 26, 2018 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia, accident.

A tractor-trailer rollover accident is reported on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 389 in the eastbound lane.

No injuries are reported.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

April 26, 2018 - 4:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, batavia, news.
From the Holland Land Office Museum:
 
It's finally starting to look like April weather, so hopefully May will keep it up! In May, the Holland Land Office Museum is going to be having some great events going on!
 
Thursday, May 10th
Every second Thursday of each month, starting with May 10th, the museum will be hosting a History Trivia & Team Challenge! Starting at 7 p.m., this event is only $3 per person and $2 for museum members. Please call for team pricing. Come on over and test your seemingly trivial knowledge against your friends. Drink and snack concessions will be available (not included in price of admission).
 
Saturday, May 12th
Each month we will be hosting a children's program from 10 a.m - 12 p.m. This event is for children ages 7-12. In May, the theme will be beautification. We will start off the day reading about different plants and soil. Then we will go outside and get our hands dirty planting flowers and other plants around the museum. This is a great way for children to get outside, enjoy the sun, and get their hands dirty! Each program is $5 per child and $4 museum members. Please R.S.V.P. to the museum by May 10th.
 
Thursday, May 17th
As part of our guest speaker series, we are welcome to present Earl McElfresh of McElfresh Map Company in Olean. He is going to speak on his map making process and the use of historical maps. Program will begin at 7 p.m., $3 per person and $2 for museum members. Please R.S.V.P. to the museum by Tuesday, May 15th.
 
Thursday, May 24th
We will be having our morning "Java with Joe E." from 9-10:30 a.m. for coffee, pastries and lively conversation about historical and cultural characters and events. In April, we discussed World War I and Genesee County's part in it. Join us in May for another lively historical discussion. 
 
Feel free to email or call the museum with any questions you may have and make sure to keep an eye on our website for any updates or news.
April 26, 2018 - 3:50pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Batavia/Genesee Police and Fire Hockey Team participated in the third annual 2018 Police and Fire Ice Hockey Tournament in Buffalo this past weekend.

Twenty teams participated in the tourney, coming to Buffalo from as far south as South Carolina, and as far north as London, Ontario, Canada.

It was another enjoyable, face-paced weekend for our local boys, who played against teams from Canada, Erie County, and Homeland Security.

All our thanks to those who came out and cheered us on! The team was once again sponsored this year by Ken’s Charcoal Pits & BBQ, with many thanks going to Ken Mistler.

April 26, 2018 - 3:33pm
Submitted photo and press release:
 
Girl Scout Troop 31750 is proud to announce the completion of requirements for their Silver Award.
 
Their project was to raise money for the Genesee County Animal Shelter in Batavia, as well as making two dog beds and several cat toys.
 
They also each acquired certification as shelter volunteers, enabling them to walk the dogs, and play with the cats outside of their cages.
 
The Troop members are: Megan Aquard, Susie Aquard, Myah Fisher, Maggie Johnson, Kaitlin Pusateri and Kieara Waterbury.
April 26, 2018 - 3:01pm

Press release:

A dinner dance with music of the '40s, '50s, '60s, and a little bit of country, organized with Genesee County residents age 55 years and older in mind is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 31, at the Ascension Parish Center, 17 Sumner St., Batavia.

Presale tickets for the "Always on My Mind Dinner Dance" are $15 and available for purchase at the Senior Center, 2 Bank St., Batavia, through May 18 or until sold outTickets will not be available at the door.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; dinner service will begin at 5:30 p.m.; dancing and music start about 6:30.

The dinner menu is: black angus top round beef with mushroom sauce; roasted chicken breast with cornbread stuffing; rosemary roasted red potatoes, vegetable, green garden salad, fresh rolls and butter, beverages, apple crumb (French) apple pie.

Ruth Spink, director at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, noted that, “As I was growing up, my folks would go out to dinner and dancing on a regular basis. Whether it was through church or my dad’s horse clubs, they’d be out on the dance floor every chance they got.

"When I was old enough and even beyond college, I’d join them. Restaurants all over the area had dance floors and bands playing. Sadly, those days are pretty well gone. Often, the only chance you get to have a meal and enjoy some good music and dancing is if you go to a wedding.

"We want to give people a chance to hear music of their era and feel those memories come rushing back.”

She also went on to say that, “This will be a fun evening whether you dance or not, have a date, come alone, or come with friends.”

Catering will be provided by Fred Hamilton, Chris Kalen will "spin the tunes," and the Senior Center Quilters will be selling tickets for a chance to win a handmade patriotic quilt and there will also be a basket raffle.

Further information is available by calling the Senior Center at 343-1611.

Below is a request for the DJ in advance -- The Chords' "Sh-Boom" from 1954. 

April 26, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in assemblyman steve hawley, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that New York has once again topped the list for the number of bills introduced into state legislatures nationwide in 2017, despite only 3.1 percent of all legislation being signed into law.

“The amount of useless legislation introduced into our Legislature each year is mind-boggling. These items surely clog the legislative process, preventing us from tackling real issues important to our citizens,” Hawley said.

“Some of these bills, such as budget bills, are still printed despite the Assembly going ‘paperless’ a few years ago, which raises a serious environmental concern.

A total of 16,691 bills were introduced into the New York State Legislature in 2017, which dwarfs other states in comparison. Ranked second and third were New Jersey (7,165) and Indiana (1,831), respectively.

“While many legislators simply take credit for introducing bills which they know will eventually die, my focus will remain the real issues: reining in government spending and waste, tax relief and crucial infrastructure repair of roads, bridges and highways,” Hawley said.

April 26, 2018 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, dwyer stadium, news.

dwyerinfieldapril2018.jpg

Crews from Batavia Turf and DuraEdge have been working diligently at Dwyer Stadium this week (these pictures are from Tuesday) to get the field ready for baseball season.

Local high schools will be able to start playing on the field soon and the Batavia Muckdogs open their season June 18.

Above, a laser on a tripod sends a signal to the grader in the background, which automatically adjusts its blades to level the playing field.

The infield was laser-leveled with the old infield mix and then a DuraEdge professional mix, the same infield mix used by the Miami Marlins, was applied and laser-leveled.

"Mike Robinson and his crew (from DuraEdge) do a lot of professional fields and they know what they’re doing," said Chuck Hoover, with Batavia Turf.

Hoover said the grass in the infield and the outfield was overseeded, fertilized, and top-dressed so it will grow into a smoother playing surface in a couple of weeks.

The lip of the infield was cut down and back about six inches so the lip of the grass is removed. There is a slight incline around the back of the infield. Robinson said it will take more time to repair that than is available before this season.

Hoover said the pitcher's mound, by Major League standards, should be 10 inches higher than home plate. It's just a tad lower. Asked if home plate and the mound were otherwise aligned, Hoover said, "They haven’t gotten to that yet — that’s their game. I’m not sure but we’re going to have to remove the rubber anyway to adjust things."

Once the infield is level, an overcoat will be applied, with a similar material added to the warning tracks.

"It will be a pretty red," Hoover said.

dwyerinfieldapril2018-3.jpg

dwyerinfieldapril2018-2.jpg

dwyerinfieldapril2018-4.jpg

April 26, 2018 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, music, arts, education, news, batavia.

jazz_picture_3.jpg

Press release:

Batavia Middle School and High School ensembles will be performing at the 11th Annual Jazz Cabaret on Friday evening in the Batavia High School gymnasium beginning at 6:30.

Dessert, coffee and water will be served. A $5 donation is suggested.

Ensembles performing tomorrow evening include MS jazz and string ensembles, HS jazz and brass ensemble, string ensemble, beautyshop ensemble, saxophone and flute ensemble.

The event supports our music scholarships given out every year for our graduating seniors. Music students hope to see you there!

Submitted photo.

April 26, 2018 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, news.

A natural gas line, reportedly a high-pressure gas line, has been struck by an excavator at 6377 N. Lake Road, Bergen.

A gas leak is reported.

Bergen fire dispatched. National Fuel notified.

April 26, 2018 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Pavilion.

A school bus was reportedly rear-ended by a vehicle at the railroad crossing on Route 63 in Pavilion.

Minor injuries are reported.

Pavilion fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 8:12 a.m.: Mercy EMS can respond non-emergency. One Mercy rig is back in service.

UPDATE 8:33 a.m.: Pavilion is back in service. Mercy EMS is transporting patients to Strong hospital.

April 25, 2018 - 8:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander Central Schools, alexander, news, notify.

A number of parents in the Alexander Central School District are unhappy with how some disciplinary issues are being handled and are speaking out at school board meetings, expressing frustration that district administration is, in their views, failing to meaningfully meet the requirements of safety and Code of Conduct policies.

The school board, and Superintendent Catherine Huber, for their part, are trying to limit what parents can tell them about their concerns and how Huber and her staff have responded to specific complaints.

Attempts to interview a board member or any board members after a meeting Monday night were rebuffed and a reporter was told only Huber could speak for the district or the board.

"Student safety and student well being is our top priority," Huber said that night. "Every parent who approaches the board or any administrator in the district, their concern is heard."

She would not comment further, she said.

Asked if based on parental feedback there was any need to make policy changes, all she said was, "I can tell you our Code of Conduct is updated on an annual basis."

Board President Reed Pettys was not present at the meeting. Reached the next day by email, Pettys issued a statement (copied in full at the bottom of this story) and said he could not and would not comment on specifics.

At a March 28 meeting, a mother of an elementary school student, Liz Felski, spoke during the public comment period and told the board a child in her daughter's class was continuously disruptive.

After mentioning she is an Alexander alumna, she said, "So you cannot imagine how disappointed I was when my daughter came home and said she was terrified to go to her class. She has encountered many violent disruptions in class, including hitting and kicking..."

At that point, Pettys cut her off and said she couldn't talk about specifics in a classroom.

Felski, herself an educator with a docorate in education (Ed.D.), then cited the Code of Conduct's language on providing a safe and orderly school environment. 

She said she doesn't believe the Code of Conduct is being followed.

"My daughter has told me her class is disrupted five or six times to redirect and get them focused," Felski said.

Felski's remarks were captured on an iPhone recording of the meeting provided to The Batavian by another parent.

"After I conveyed my concerns to Dr. Huber, she said all she (Felski's daughter) was entitled to was an education and this would be in a classroom."

Pettys interrupted her remarks again and said Felski could not mention specific individuals.

After some cross talk, Pettys said, "This is public comment and I understand there are emotions behind your thoughts. Talking about our policies is appropriate. We can’t speak to specifics in the classroom."

Felski responded, "I'm talking about my daughter's comments to me. I’m not talking about a specific student. I’m talking about what my daughter is witnessing in a classroom on a day-to-day basis."

Pettys told her specific issues should be taken up with the administration. A parent in the audience said, "they were repeatedly ignored."

Pettys said, "We are a policy-making board."

The audience member said, "We know your policies and we don't believe you're following them."

Felski tried to continue her statement and was admonished by Pettys again not to discuss classroom specifics.

"That is something to be addressed with the superintendent or the administration," Pettys said.

A parent in the audience said, "If they don't respond?"

Pettys said, "This isn’t a discussion. We’re just here to listen. This back and forth is not what it is intended for."

At which point he called another parent to the podium, who also raised concerns about student safety and the Code of Conduct. Then another parent spoke.

"Many parents are worried on a daily basis about some things that are occurring," said the mother whose name wasn't clear on the recording. "Hopefully, we can all work together to improve on the policies so they make sense for everybody."

After her, another mother spoke who said her child was also in the elementary school and she was very worried about the safety of her child.

Before Felski spoke, another mother addressed the board and laid out at least a half dozen proposed policy changes.

None of these suggested changes were captured in the board minutes, so as to give the board a better chance to consider them and discuss them at a later date.

At Monday's meeting, among the speakers was Jerome Morrison, father of Liz Felski, who said he was speaking on his daughter's behalf after she left the previous meeting in tears because she was repeatedly interrupted at the March 28 meeting and wasn't allowed to finish her statement.

"She is as well qualified as anybody in this room and she was treated like she doesn’t belong," Morrison said.

He said he didn't think the district was being responsive to the concerns of parents.

"When you refuse to grant meetings to concerned parents, or do not respond to emails, and threaten teachers and staff members about speaking out ,and cut people off who are trying to voice serious concerns, you leave parents with no options but to be heard," Morrison said.

As for his granddaughter, he is much less concerned about her safety in school. 

"There’s good news on my granddaughter’s account," he said. "She now goes to school safely and without fear. Unfortunately, she had to change schools to do it."

Outside the board meeting, Morrison told The Batavian, the child who is reportedly disruptive once raised a desk over his head threatening his granddaughter. He said the child wasn't disciplined.

Another parent said the same child brought a knife to school a few days later and received a three-day suspension.

Three other parents spoke Monday, including two who said they were frustrated because their children had been given lengthy suspensions for minor violations while the elementary school student who is said to be so disruptive never receives serious punishment. 

One of the parents, Casey Scott, said her teenage son is part of the program for students with disabilities and he used to struggle in school. This year, he had been doing great academically until he was suspended for the rest of the school year and now he's failing two classes. She said one of her complaints is that he's been out of school for nearly two weeks and she has been unable to get his assigned homework so he can keep studying.  She got some assignments from his BOCES instructor, but not from Alexander HS.

"I was also told if I pursued the issue any further it would backfire on us," Scott said.

Another parent shared similar concerns about homework for her suspended child.

Outside the meeting, Scott said her son was suspended because, on a bus trip to the BOCES campus, her son and another boy grabbed and bear-hugged another student. She said she thought it was playful, the school took it as bullying. She said he had no other disciplinary issues.

Below is the email The Batavian received from Reed Pettys (Note, in our initial set of questions to him, we asked a general question about whether he prevented a parent from speaking at the "previous" meeting. It turned out, that was actually a meeting before the last meeting. We say that to explain his final sentence.)

Thank you for attending our Board meeting last evening.  

The District takes matters of student safety, discipline, and learning very seriously.  

The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.  

We cannot and will not comment about issues specific to any student or staff.  

Our Code of Conduct is updated on an annual basis.  I can assure you that in all cases, the Code of Conduct is and has been applied fairly and consistently.

The administrators and Board of Education listen and take action as appropriate to all concerns brought to us by students, parents, and community members.

Please know that no members of the public spoke at our last meeting on 4/11/18.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: At 11:24 p.m. The Batavian received an email from an attorney for the school district demanding that The Batavian retract this story. While alleging many faults with the story, the attorney did not assert that it was in any way libelous or defamatory. We are not going to retract this story. We stand by our reporting. We affirm the story is factually accurate and does not suffer from the deficiencies she claims; though, in fairness, we should acknowledge one point she made. The school board, as with all public bodies in New York, is under no obligation to provide for public comments on its agenda. Further, it is not legally obligated -- though it might be wise -- to keep minutes on public comment.

April 25, 2018 - 6:30pm


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Home has public water as well -- all the pluses of country living with amenities! Definitely one to check out -- why build when you can buy this beautiful home at almost half the cost!

Call Lynn Bezon at 585-344-HOME today or click here for more information on this listing.

April 25, 2018 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in O-AT-KA, batavia, news, business, NHRA.

Press release:

O-AT-KA Milk Products is proud to announce that Donna Maxwell, vice president of Human Resources, was presented with the prestigious HR Executive of the Year Award by the Rochester Affiliate of the National Human Resources Association (NHRA).

Maxwell was honored at the NHRA’s fifth annual awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 18th, at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford.

The award recognizes exceptional leadership in innovation and operational excellence. Nominated along with four of her peers in the region, Maxwell was selected for her exemplary leadership in organizational development.

She was also presented with the Transformational Business Partnership Award in recognition of outcomes achieved in labor relations management.

“To be effective as a leader it takes courage; strength of character; intellectual honesty; the ability to build trust; integrity; experience and wisdom,” said Bill Schreiber, CEO of O-AT-KA. “These are all personal characteristics that Donna Maxwell brings to the job each and every day. She never mails it in.”

Maxwell has had responsibility for Human Resources and Technology strategy for O-AT- KA Milk Products for the past three years. During that time she has driven the company to a new and sustainable technology vision that includes mobile technology and remote functionality in a manufacturing environment.

She has solidified O-AT-KA’s position as an employer of choice with the renegotiation of cost effective, best-in-class employee benefit options.

For information about working at O-AT-KA and to view open positions, visit www.oatkamilk.com/careers.

April 25, 2018 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, news, STAMP, GCEDC, notify.

After an apparent inability to reach an agreement with 1366 Technologies that would have paved a path for the company build its solar wafer plant in the STAMP project in Alabama, an attorney for the Department of Energy is threatening legal action against the startup for planning its factory in Southeast Asia.

John T. Lucus, acting general counsel for the DOE, submitted a letter to trade representatives last week in opposition to a request by 1366 for an exemption from a proposed tariff on solar panels manufactured overseas.

Citing a claim by 1366 in its application for the exemption that it is building a factory in Southeast Asia, Lucus wrote, "1366, however, made U.S. manufacturing commitments to DOE as part of millions of dollars in funding agreements with 1366. Constructing and operating the Southeast Asia facility is likely contrary to 1366's U.S. manufacturing commitments to DOE. DOE takes this matter very seriously and is currently looking into 1366's compliance with its DOE funding agreements."

A spokeswoman for 1366 declined to comment.

"We are not providing comment on the letter at this time as we’re working to consult with the DOE to gain additional clarity," said Laureen Sanderson.

The letter from Lucas makes it sound like the DOE either released funding or followed through on commitments to help fund the $700 million plant 1366 had hoped to build in Genesee County.

In fact, 1366 withdrew its application for funding late last year and announced its plans to build a plant overseas instead of in the U.S. after the DOE failed to finalize a 2011 agreement for a $150 million loan guarantee.

After 1366 selected Genesee County for its facility, the company sought to renegotiate part of the agreement. The negotiations were put on hold following Donald Trump's election and did not resume until well after Secretary Rick Perry was confirmed. According to sources, the DOE was unwilling to make any changes to the agreement, specifically as it related to a requirement that 1366 raise $100 million in private investment. At that point, the company had raised $80 million.

The other part of the agreement used by the DOE to justify withholding the loan guarantee was that the company had not selected a location in the United States for its manufacturing facility even though 1366 had signed documents with both the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Empire State Development naming STAMP as its future manufacturing home.

The 1366 manufacturing process is patented and touted as potentially disruptive to the energy industry because it eliminates waste, lowers costs, and boosts power efficiency. It was developed at MIT.

The factory in Alabama was expected to employ as many as 1,000 people at full capacity making just solar wafers, not solar panels, and the company said all of the initial customers would be overseas and not in the United States.

The letter from Sanderson to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding the Trump administration's proposed tariff on solar panels says the company is seeking an exclusion on the portion of any panels imported into the U.S. using direct-to-wafer technology. The wafer comprises 70 percent of a panel's expense, Sanderson said.

The exclusion application also states that 1366 still plans to build a factory in the United States at some point that will employ 700 to 1,000 people.

The company said the exemption would give the U.S. solar industry "breathing room" in order to compete in the global market.

In the request summary, 1366 states:

The greatest barriers facing U.S. companies today come from a trade imbalance that places U.S.-based firms at an obvious disadvantage, scaring off private investors, stifling on-going U.S.-based manufacturing innovation and forcing U.S. companies to negotiate product sales and technology licensing agreements with foreign, state-funded companies from a position of weakness. The U.S. now has a very real opportunity to correct this imbalance and right the course for U.S. manufacturers and innovators so that they, in turn, can focus on job creation.

SolarWorld, based in Bonn, Germany, and one of two companies (along with Suniva, which has since gone bankrupt) that lobbied for U.S. tariffs of 30 percent on solar panels, opposes the 1366 exemption. While acknowledging the innovative manufacturing process employed by 1366, SolarWorld's Timothy C. Brightbill says the final product is indistinguishable from existing wafers.

SolarWorld itself has received $121 million in state and federal grants and tax breaks and another $61 million in loan guarantees. SolarWorld is also struggling and is currently seeking bankruptcy protection in Germany.

SolarWorld is also opposing an application by Panasonic/Telsa for an exemption for a part used in solar panels manufactured in Buffalo.

April 25, 2018 - 3:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, indictments, crime, news, notify, Le Roy, Darien, batavia, alexander.

Michelle A. Condidorio is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 2 in the Town of Alexander that Condidorio drove a 2013 Chevrolet on Telephone Road while intoxicated. In count two, she is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI on Jan. 20, 2011, in the City of Batavia, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes currently alleged.

Jeremy J. Schraufstetter is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 28 in the Town of Darien that Schraufstetter drove a 1984 Chevrolet on Broadway Road while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI on March 19, 2008, in Village of Depew Court, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes currently alleged.

Michael J. Smith is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 2 in the Town of Le Roy that Smith drove a 2003 Chrysler on East Main Street while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI on Dec. 1, 2008, in the Town of Le Roy, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes currently alleged.

April 25, 2018 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in assemblyman steve hawley, news, NRA.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized Gov. Cuomo’s attempt to use his official position to turn private insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions against the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Last week, the governor directed the Department of Financial Services to urge certain financial institutions to examine and possibly cease their relationship with the NRA. This follows the governor’s attacks on congressional Republicans and national support for the Second Amendment advocacy group.

“The governor’s alienation of law-abiding citizens continues as now he is using his office to leverage private businesses against the NRA and its members,” Hawley said. “It’s an absolute overreach and clear abuse of power when the governor sidesteps the public by unilaterally using his office to attack groups and their members who have done wrong except believe in liberty and constitutional rights.

"One million New Yorkers and prominent businesses have fled the state since Gov. Cuomo took office and sadly he seems content with that reality.”

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

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