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February 12, 2016 - 2:24pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement announcing this year's Congressional Art Competition and encouraging local high school students in New York's 27th District to participate.

"It is a tremendous experience for members of Congress and the hundreds of thousands of capitol visitors to view the artwork submitted by high school students from around the country as a result of this competition," Collins said. "I always look forward to seeing the artwork submitted by the talented students of NY-27 and the opportunity to welcome our winning artist to Washington."

Last year there were more than 85 submissions. The winning artist will receive a roundtrip flight to Washington, D.C., to see their artwork in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be on display for one year.

Now in its 34th year, the competition is open to all high school students in New York's 27th Congressional District. Submissions are due to either of Congressman Collins's two district offices by April 4. A reception and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 9, at Genesee Community College in Batavia. Local high schools have been notified regarding contest rules and submission guidelines.

Interested students should see their art teacher for details or contact Chris Catt from Congressman Collins's office at (585) 519-4002.

February 12, 2016 - 2:11pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce announces the release of the Genesee County 2016 Vacation Planner for travelers. The travel resource is produced each year by the Chamber to showcase the wide array of activities and attractions that visitors can enjoy while visiting our area.

This year’s cover features visitors enjoying Darien Lake’s 600,000-gallon wave pool on a warm, summer day.

“We were are proud to be able to present our county’s largest tourism attraction on the cover of our vacation guide," said Kelly Rapone, the chamber's Tourism Marketing director. "The cover image was actually taken from aerial drone footage that was filmed of the park and conveys the fun that visitors can expect to have in our region.”

The visitor guide is a great planning tool for visitors, but is also very informative for our area residents who may be unaware of the leisure and recreational opportunities that we have right here in our own county, Rapone said, adding that the chamber hopes residents will plan fun, local outings when welcoming visiting friends and family this year.

Special features of this years’ guide include: the announcement of a new waterslide complex at Darien Lake; a new hotel offering at Batavia Downs Gaming; a local bee farm that has begun making mead; stay and play packages for golf; indoor waterpark and Darien Lake, as well as a new coupon section which provides even more value to this already affordable destination.

The Chamber produces 80,000 copies for year-round distribution at key tourism locations and consumer and trade travel shows throughout the Northeast United States and Canada.

Locals will receive a free copy inserted in the Feb. 27th Penny Saver. A digital version can be viewed on the chamber's tourism Web site at www.VisitGeneseeNY.com.

February 12, 2016 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Batavia PD, batavia.

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Students and staff of Batavia High School along with officers of the Batavia Police Department participated in a volleyball tournament at the high school Thursday night.

The idea for the tournament started with Officer Pete Flanagan who contacted Lisa Robinson at the school. Robinson "took the idea and ran with it," Flanagan said, doing most of the work to get the event organized.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will help with education costs for a student or students interested in a career in law enforcement.

Flanagan said he was really pleased with the turnout for a first-year event.

"Especially now days, with everything the way it is, we want to build a good relationship with the community and we wanted a chance to give back," Flanagan said.

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February 12, 2016 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Anya R. Rambuski, 45, of Batavia, is charged with aggravated DWI, refusal to take breath test and turn signal violation. Rambuski was stopped on Route 5 by State Police. A trooper reported immediately smelling alcohol on Rambuski's breath and there was further investigation. Rambuski was transported to the Batavia Barracks where she allegedly refused a breath test.

Joshua David Watkins, 24, of West Bank Street, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Watkins is accused of shoplifting from Target.

February 11, 2016 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, L & L Transmission, news.

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If you play basketball or baseball, you hope to get a write-up in Sports Illustrated, a musician, Rolling Stone, a chef, Cook's Illustrated.

If you're a mechanic, a three-page spread in Transmission Digest puts you at the top of your game.

The folks at L&L Transmission were elated yesterday when the latest edition arrived and there they were on page four.

"It's pretty exciting for us to be featured in a nationwide magazine," said Danyell Selapack.

The article begins where Leon Selapack began, at 14, working in an automotive shop in Williamsville.

In 1978, he returned home to Batavia and opened a single-bay shop on the Southside. In 1998, he moved the business to its present location on Route 98.

The article also covers his inventions, including a two-piece plastic gear for Ford three-speed transmissions. It was a replacement part for a Ford-built part that often broke. The repair involved removing the entire transmission and tearing it down. With the new invention, the transmission could remain on the car and the new part easily slipped in.

Ford eventually fixed the problem.

"If I had invented it five years earlier, I would still be in Tahiti," Leon said.

To read the full story, click here.

Pictured, Danyell, Leon and Cameron Selapack.

February 11, 2016 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

That snowstorm that may be heading our way, the National Weather Service isn't backing down on the prediction, but they did push back the estimated time of its arrival.

And they added a wind chill watch.

The storm is now expected between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m., tomorrow.

It may bring accumulations of 7 to 14 inches.

The wind chill watch is for late tonight through Sunday morning.

Winds from the west at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph late Friday and Friday night.

Visibility less than a quarter of a mile at times.

Temperatures could drop to zero at times with a wind chill value of 30 below.

Travel conditions could be hazardous. 

The forecast confidence remains at medium.

February 11, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Today, Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, announced a $1.5 million capital investment that will be used to build a new extreme water ride – the RipCurl Racer. Upon the approval of an incentive package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and building permit completion, the park will begin construction on the new water ride, with plans to be fully operational for the water park’s 2016 opening on May 21.

The RipCurl Racer Experience:

42 feet above the pool, six mat-riding competitors launch themselves headfirst into side-by-side tunnels and rocket through the twisting tunnels before accelerating into separate racing lanes.

Riders drop and slide down the home stretch, enjoying speed, compression and zero-gravity moments as they blast into a high-velocity finish.

“Bringing in RipCurl Racer, the third new thrill ride to join the park’s lineup over the past year, is really exciting for us,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager at Darien Lake. “The continued growth and expansion at Darien Lake is a testament to our dedication to providing guests with the best entertainment value in the region.”

“As one of the premier tourism destinations in Western New York, Darien Lake once again is investing in Genesee County,” said Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull. “It’s been proven in the past that adding new ride attractions increases the number of visitors to the park and we’re expecting the new RipCurl Racer will do the same. And that’s good not only for Darien Lake but for Genesee County as a whole.”

Paying for itself in just two visits, Darien Lake’s 2016 season pass is a greater value than ever before!

The park is open May 7 to Sept. 25 and welcomes overnight guests in a wide range of accommodations – from a full-service hotel and modern cabins to rental RVs and campsites. For more information or to order season passes, visit www.DarienLake.com.

February 11, 2016 - 3:30pm
posted by Lisa Ace in Sponsored Post, advertisement, Mooney's, LeRoy, ny.

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February 11, 2016 - 3:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy, news.

A two-car accident has been reported on South Street Road, Le Roy, in front of Le Roy High School.

Unknown injuries.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy Ambulance responding.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: Apparently, no injuries.

February 11, 2016 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

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With blueprints spread out in front of him on a long table, the city's director of public works, Matt Worth, walked a group of Washington Avenue residents through plans for an upgrade to the sewer system along their street this summer.

The impact on residents during construction should be minimal, Worth said, but, hey, it's a construction project.

"It's going to be a busy summer," Worth said. "I'd like to tell you it's not going to be disruptive, but I'd be kinda kiddin' ya. It's going to be noisy and loud and (with) bumps and things like that, but hopefully, when it's all said and done, the end product is going to be very good."

When it's done, residents will have a new sewer line, many will have new water service hookups and the street from Ross Street to Ellicott Avenue will be completely repaved.

The entire project will cost about $1.4 million and is part of the city's capital project, paid for with rate increases, to improve the water and sewer system, which in many parts of the city is buckling under the strain of age.

Once started, the project will take four months to complete.

During construction, residents along Washington should always have sewer service, Worth said.

The contractor will work to keep disruptions to a minimum. If a driveway is blocked, it will only be for a day and the contractor will provide advance notice. The sidewalk will be kept clear and walkable and a engineer will be on site at all times to ensure the project goes smoothly.

"Construction projects like this are dirty," Worth said. "They create dust. If it rains, they create mud. There are bumps and bruises and stuff, however, the contractor is expected to require to maintain the project in a safe manner."

Residents shouldn't need to worry about driving into a big hole, Worth said.

Where the sewer line crosses a connect from a residence to a water main, the connection from the main to the shutoff valve (by the property line at the sidewalk) will be replaced.

Which raised a question from a resident about replacing the water line to the house. Worth said if the line is galvanized, it might be best to replace it with copper pipe. The galvinized pipe isn't a health issue, Worth said, but the circumference of the pipe could be greatly constricted, reducing water pressure. 

"Quite often, the homeowner does use this as an opportunity to change the pipe all the way to the house," Worth said. "You would hire a plumber to do that."

The project might also uncover problems with sewer connection, such as damaged clay tile or roots growing through the line. If workers discover anything like that when connecting the new line to the homeowner's line, they will let the homeowner know.

"If (the line) is cast iron and has worked as a sewer it's likely to continue to work as a sewer," Worth said.

Washington Towers won't be affected by the project because all of their connections are on State Street.

The doctors' offices along Washington all share common sewer and water lines, so there is only one connection to deal with.

Water service should not be affected, unless the connection line needs to be replaced, in which case the homeowner will be given advance notice, water will be shut off for only a few hours during the day, and there should be no water discoloration.

"However, there's going to be large excavation equipment digging adjacent to where all this is and unfortunately sometimes bad things happen," Worth said "If there is a water main break or a significant event, yes you could very well see conditions like that."

The contractor will reseed the parkway, but the quality of the grass will really depend on the attention and care given to it by the homeowner.

"If the homeowner is there and waters it every other day, you're going to have grass and it's going to stabilize and it's not going to be a headache for you," Worth said.

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February 11, 2016 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron, bergen, batavia, pembroke.

Jaime Vega Tinuco, 26, of Walkers Corners Road, Byron, is charged with stalking, 4th, and endangering the welfare of a child. Tinuco allegedly showed up at the residence of a 16-year-old female after being told numerous times to cease contact. Bail was set at 2,500.

Woodrow Horseman, 39, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass and endangering the welfare of a child. Horseman allegedly refused to leave the residence of another person. Horseman was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Kyle B. Smith, 27, of Knox Road, East Aurora, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding and failure to signal. Smith was stopped at 12:36 a.m. Saturday on Richmond Avenue, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

A 17-year-old resident of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. The youth is accused of menacing a 14-year-old with a realistic looking BB gun.

Amber L. Ostrander, 25, of West Main Street, Fillmore, was arrested on a warrant. Ostrander was arrested by the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office and turned over to Batavia PD. She posted $500 bail and was released.

Martin F. Jones, 44, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Jones allegedly stole two cans of beer valued at $2.67 from Southside Deli. Jones was jailed on $2,000 bail or $4,000 bond.

Nicole Georgantopoulous Belluccio, 35, of Juliane Drive, Rochester, is charged with possession and transport of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes and obstructed plates. Belluccio was stopped at 12:47 p.m. Wednesday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Belluccio was allegedly found in possession of 6,400 untaxed cigarettes.

Jimmy Ray Wenzel, 29, of Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Wenzel was allegedly in contact with a person in violation of an order of protection. Wenzel has a prior criminal contempt conviction within the past five years.

Amy Lynette Cliff, 44, of West Main Street, Byron, is charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol, refusal to take prescreen test and speeding. Cliff was stopped at 9:35 p.m. Tuesday on Parkview Drive, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

February 10, 2016 - 10:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

As much as six inches of snow is expected from a storm that may be headed toward Genesee County and could hit sometime between late Thursday night through Friday evening.

The National Weather Service has issued a lake effect snow watch.

Winds will be from the west at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph with visibility as low as a quarter of a mile at times.

Travel conditions could be hazardous with blowing and driving snow.

The forecast confidence is medium. 

"There is still some uncertainty in the location and intensity of a band which is expected to develop late Thursday night and Friday," the weather service stated in its alert.

February 10, 2016 - 10:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A car-deer rollover accident is reported on Powers Road near Pratt Road.

Minor injuries are reported.

East Pembroke and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 10:57 p.m.: Assignment back in service. 

February 10, 2016 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, Bergen Fire, Barry Miller, news.

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By this time tomorrow, the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department will have a brand-new ambulance in service.

It's a big moment for the department. 

The 2016 Ford Rescue replaces the ambulance involved in the crash Sept. 23 that took the life of Barry Miller.

"It’s a wonderful moment for us," said Julie Donofrio, of the Bergen Rescue Squad. "We all do this to give back to the community. We, of course, wish Barry was here, but this was a push from the whole department and something Barry would be proud of. It's also something the whole community can be proud of."

Donofrio said the whole community has been so supportive of the department and that enhances the meaning of the moment.

"It means the world to us to have this ambulance on the road representing Bergen," she said. "For the department, for the community, to help provide (for) all the people of the community that we provide service to, it's a wonderful feeling."

The new rig is fully outfitted with the latest rescue technology, including touch screen systems to monitor patients and also has state-of-the-art safety equipment, from the brush grill and light bars to the interior accommodations for responders and patients.

The department has been using a loaner the past several months and Donofrio said the plan is for volunteers to arrive at the department and transfer equipment from that ambulance to this new one in the morning and then put the new rig in service.

 

February 10, 2016 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in warming center, batavia, news.

The Warming Center is open tonight from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for women and children in need of shelter at the United Methodist Church, Lewiston Road, Batavia.

For assistance, call (585) 993-6371.

There will be pickups at both McDonald's locations in Batavia.

Light meals will be served.

February 10, 2016 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after President Obama released his budget for Fiscal Year 2017.

“President Obama has proposed a liberal wish list instead of a budget,” Congressman Collins said. “The president’s spending proposal shows how out of touch he is with fiscal reality and the priorities our country needs to address. His proposal fails to enact meaningful entitlement reforms while raising taxes on hardworking families, increasing our nation’s deficit, and never balancing.

“The president’s proposed oil tax will increase the cost of gasoline by 24 cents a gallon and cripple already struggling families and businesses. Western New Yorkers need pro-growth policies that will jump-start stagnant wages and increase economic opportunities for the middle class. Unfortunately, President Obama still harbors the flawed belief that we can spend our way to economic growth. House Republicans are working on a budget that balances and provides the pro-growth solutions Western New York needs to get back on track.”

February 10, 2016 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey, batavia, Batavia Ramparts.

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From Jeffery Whitcombe:

The Batavia Ramparts Squirt Tier 3 team participated in the Empire States Winter Games last weekend (Feb. 4th thru 7th, 2016) in Lake Placid. The Squirt Ramparts were the only team representing the Western Region of New York State. The Team ended up winning a bronze medal ending up in third place for the weekend. The Team is made up 9- and 10-year-olds from the Batavia area. They are:

Mason Cook
Chase Cummings
Cooper Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton
Noah Hudson
Alex Johnson
Brady Johnson
Jamison Motyka
Brenna Munn
Carter Prinzi
Noah Whitcombe
Mac Wormley

Kevin Hamilton- Head Coach
Jeff Whitcombe - Assistant Coach
Dan Hudson - Assistant Coach
Fred Hamilton- Assistant Coach
Bob Johnson- Manager

February 10, 2016 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Park Road, Batavia Downs, batavia, business, news.

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Members of the Batavia City Council are ready to raise a ruckus about a proposal for the Town of Batavia to sell a portion of Park Road to Batavia Downs, leading to a closure of the road to thru traffic.

About a dozen Redfield Parkway residents attended Tuesday's council meeting to express their concern about the potential for increased traffic on their residential street if Park Road is closed.

"Redfield will become the new Park Road," is the battle cry.

But that won't necessarily be the case, said Mike Nolan, COO of Western OTB. A traffic study commissioned by Batavia Downs indicates there will be minimal impact on city streets, Nolan said.

"We've been working on this for a year," Nolan said. "We've met with all the stakeholders, the business owners on Park Road, the Sheriff's Office, the fire department and we're trying to mitigate the impact in every way. This wasn't just something thought up a month ago."

City Manager Jason Molino worried that the traffic study doesn't really address the impacts on parallel streets, such as Redfield, Bogue, Union, all the way down to Oak Street.

A couple of weeks ago, Park Road was closed on an emergency basis because of construction work related to the new hotel at Batavia Downs and traffic backed up on Redfield. 

Nelson Baker (top photo) and other speakers expressed concern that the congestion represents Redfield's future if Park is closed.

Maybe, maybe not, Molino said.

"Obviously, people are concerned with that closure that is going to be the type of traffic congestion that could take place," Molino said. "That has some merit to it. On the flip side, it was an emergency and that is going to cause traffic to congest because nobody has time to plan on getting around it. If the closure is well known ahead of time, then people have time to plan. With one incident, it's hard to judge, but it certainly raises awareness and puts focus on it."

That congestion was a one-time event and the traffic study indicates people will find alternatives, more sensible routes, if Park is permanently closed, Nolan said.

The main issue for Batavia Downs, Nolan said, is one of pedestrian safety.

When the racetrack was first built in 1940, the kind of high-volume entertainment center Batavia Downs has become wasn't envisioned, so building it right on Park Road wasn't an issue.

Last year, more than a million people visited Batavia Downs, creating two million pedestrian crossings on Park Road, and Batavia Downs is just going to continue to grow, Nolan said. 

"This is all about trying to solve a big problem, and that's public safety," Nolan said. "That is what the town and Batavia Downs are addressing."

The City Council will take up the issue at its next conference meeting to discuss drafting a letter to the Town Board opposing the plan and maybe directing a council member to personally carrying the city's concerns to the town.

The decision is entirely within the hands of the Town of Batavia. All the city can do is share concern and monitor the issue.

"We as a city are going to be affected and we don't have a say in this, so I would encourage everybody in the city to speak out to the town as well," said Councilman John Canale. "I'm not sure how much of an effect that is going to have on the decision, but it's frustrating because it's going to have a negative effect on city streets."

February 10, 2016 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia.

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Fifth Ward Councilwoman Kathy Briggs presented Dan Fischer, co-owner with Debbie Fischer of WBTA AM/FM, with a resolution Tuesday night from the Batavia City Council in recognition of the radio station's 75th anniversary.

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