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April 10, 2014 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Ralph Peterson, the controversial mayor of Corfu, is now the former mayor.

Peterson turned in a one-sentence letter of resignation effective Monday.

His resignation follows an eight-month-long medical leave and comes after the village board put forward a budget proposal reducing the mayor's salary to $4 per year.

For nearly two years, Peterson and board members have been locked in a tangle over his conduct in office, including controversies over setting up an office in the mayor's office, his request for passwords to employee computers and keys to locked file cabinets.

Some board members suspected Peterson of trying to run interference for his friend, former village justice Robert Alexander.

Alexander was in the midst of his own controversy after it was discovered through a comptroller's audit that his daughter, and former court clerk, Brandi Watts, was stealing court funds.

She eventually admitted to stealing more than $10,000. As part of the plea deal, charges of coercion and official misconduct were dismissed against Alexander provided that he resign from his justice position in Pembroke (he'd previously not run for reelection in Corfu).

Peterson became the target of calls for his resignation and efforts to figure out how to remove him from office. In the midst of the kerfuffle, Peterson was reportedly hospitalized and a short time later, he turned in a doctor's note putting himself on medical leave.

No word yet on how Corfu's mayor position will be replaced.

There's a public hearing on the proposed budget scheduled for April 21.

April 10, 2014 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in cool kids eco-fest.

Press release:

Just a reminder that the 9th Annual Cool Kids ECO-Fest at GCC is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by the documentary "Comfort Zone" at 3.

Coordinators would like to emphasize that this year Cool Kids ECO-Fest will NOT BE ACCEPTING ELECTRONIC WASTE!

Instead, planners are excited to be welcoming Habitat for Humanity's call for non-fabric, wood or metal furniture including desks, book cases, tables and dressers. In addition, old bicycles and reusable bike parts are being collected by Trailside Bikes of Orleans County, as well as paperback books, rubber sneakers, worn American flags, ink cartridges and eyeglasses.

In addition, the first 250 people will receive free tree seedlings to plant. New this year will be the Seeds of Change -- The Earth Charter and Human Potential Exhibit created by the Soka Gakkai International and The Earth Charter Initiative.

ECO-Fest 2014 features more than 60 exhibitors, exotic wildlife, make-it take-it activities and all kinds of opportunities to celebrate Earth Day. Participants receive an ECO-raffle ticket for each recycled item and at the end of the event, the ECO-Raffle features a drawing for great prizes including the grand prize, a mountain bike from Batavia's Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle (winners must be present).

This year planners are also very excited about the screening of the environmental film "Comfort Zone" at 3 p.m. after ECO-Fest in the Conable Technology Building through GoART! The film has screened at numerous film festivals and helps people understand climate change on a personal level. Two of the producers of the film, including Batavia native David Danesh will be at the screening and the Q&A session following the film.

The film was made entirely in Western NY and discusses the impacts that climate change will have on Western New Yorkers. Tickets are $15 for non-GO ART! members, $10 for GO ART! members. For further information about the film, please go to: www.COMFORTZONEproject.com

April 10, 2014 - 12:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom.

The Holland Land Office Museum is seeking individuals who were residents of the Children’s Home in Batavia to come to the museum and record their remembrances. Also if anyone
has any pictures of the Children’s Home that we could make copies of, these would be appreciated.

Please contact the Director Jeff Donahue at the Holland Land Office Museum for more information at 585.343.4727.

April 10, 2014 - 12:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, multiple sclerosis.

Press release:

Just as the National MS Society invests $29 million in new research to support an expected 83 MS research projects to stop multiple sclerosis, local MS researchers will be updating the community on “MS Research: The Progress, The Promise,” at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia tonight (Thursday, April 10). The free event is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public and hosted by the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter. The Clarion is located at 8250 Park Road.

Researcher Fraser Sim, Ph.D, assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, will be presenting. Dr. Sim specializes in neurodegenerative disorders. He was recently awarded a three year, $554,973 grant from The National MS Society to study myelin-forming cells. Dr. Sim and his fellow University of Buffalo researchers are investigating the ability of an FDA-approved drug to improve myelin synthesis and repair in mice.

Also presenting is Brandon Yehl, Pa., who has lived half of his life with MS. He graduated from the RIT physician’s assistant program in 2006. For four years he worked in a neuro-ophthalmology clinic playing a role in the care of more than 750 patients with MS. He now works in a private neurology clinic.

The National MS Society has already invested more than $50 million in 2014 to support 380 new and ongoing studies around the world. The 83 new projects are part of a comprehensive research strategy aimed at stopping MS, restoring function that has been lost, and ending the disease forever  ̶  for every single person with MS.

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. The rate of diagnosis in Upstate New York is about double the national average. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and more than 12,800 people in the 50-county region served by the Upstate New York Chapter. For more information, visit <http://www.MSupstateny.org>

“MS research is a priority, and we strive to pursue all promising research paths and collaborate worldwide to drive progress toward a cure,” says Stephanie Kunes-Mincer, president and CEO of the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter. “The Society has fueled many advances in understanding and managing MS, and we will keep moving forward until we can say goodbye to MS forever."

April 10, 2014 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, accidents.

A rollover accident with injuries is reported at 5461 Ellicott Street Road in the Town of Bethany. Bethany and Stafford fire departments are responding. The location is between Mayne and Clapsaddle roads.

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: Law enforcement is on scene and reports there are no injuries.

April 10, 2014 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

Sometime during the early morning hours March 8, a person put glue inside the door locks of Mill Street Wine and Liquors, according to Le Roy PD.

The purpose of the act is undetermined but investigators speculate it could have been to further a crime or aid in a future crime.

The locks were damaged.

Investigators are looking for the public's assistance in identifying the man in the photo above.

Anybody with information that may help the investigation are asked to contact Le Roy PD at (585) 345-6350.

April 10, 2014 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcment.

Press release:

Three dozen sites throughout Western New York will host a medication drop-off day on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s the largest single day drop-off in Western New York. The Drug Enforcement Administration is leading the effort as part of a national campaign with the support of local police agencies.

The locations for Genesee County include the Le Roy Village Hall hosted by the Le Roy Police Department, the Pembroke Town DPW (intersection of State routes 5 and 77) hosted by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, and the Batavia City Police Department hosted by the Batavia Police Department.

A similar event held in October collected more than four tons of unwanted and unneeded medications from residential homes. Western New York leads the state in collections.

The purpose behind this event is to keep medications out of the hands of teens looking to experiment and to keep our water safe. Flushing old medications contaminate the water table and eventually our drinking water.

April 10, 2014 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Police, law enforcment.

Press release:

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and traffic crashes continue to be the greatest threat to the safety of the average New Yorker and the number one killer of teens in America. Cell phone use and texting are responsible for a significant proportion of traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths. These behaviors continue to become increasingly common despite their obvious danger.

State and local law enforcement are participating in stepped up traffic safety enforcement efforts including “Operation Hang Up” announced by Governor Cuomo yesterday. “Operation Hang Up” will consist of high visibility, stepped up cell phone and texting enforcement statewide April 10 – April 15.

“The State Police has always been in the forefront of trying to keep our highways safe for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Operation Hang Up is a campaign about protecting everyone using our roads and highways from preventable injuries and property damage caused by distracted drivers using cell phone and other electronic devices,” said Major Michael Cerretto, Troop A Commander.

The dates for this year’s spring "Operation Hang-Up Campaign" correspond with a coordinated nationwide effort to combat distracted driving through ad campaigns and enforcement. In response, Troop A will partner up with other law enforcement agencies and will make distracted driving enforcement a priority.

Operation Hang-Up will run from Thursday, April 10, through Tuesday, April 15.

April 10, 2014 - 8:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
April 9, 2014 - 7:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, corfu.

A fully involved garage fire with exposures to other property is reported at 68 E. Main St. in Corfu. Mercy medics are responding along with Corfu Fire Department and mutual aid from Darien, East Pembroke, Pembroke and the city's Fast Team.

UPDATE 7:26 p.m.: Corfu Fire Police are shutting down traffic at routes 77 and 33.

UPDATE 7:36 p.m.: An engine from Indian Falls is requested to fill in at Corfu's hall.

UPDATE 7:55 p.m.: Indian Falls is told to return to its fire hall.

UPDATE: Photos submitted by Officer Rich Retziaff, Corfu PD.

April 9, 2014 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in safety, business, motorcycles, Stan's Harley-Davidson.

It's spring. It's traditional each spring to remind car drivers in WNY that motorcyclists are going to be out on the road again.

Look for them.

But a big part of Jon DelVecchio's message to motorcycle riders is you're the one most responsible for your own safety.

Yes, drivers of four-wheeled boxes need watch the roadways better, but there are things that alert and trained motorcycle riders can do to avoid crashes, even when confronted with the most inattentive drivers.

"Riding a motorcycle takes years of practice and effort to master," said DelVecchio, who will be teaching a motorcycle safety course at Stan's Harley Davidson at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 26. "You have to do something to improve your skills every year. A lot of people say, 'I'm going to go out, hope for the best. Those damn car drivers. It's always their fault.' "

DelVecchio, a Churchville resident, is a certified Motorcycle Safety Instructor who teaches the basic licensing course at Learn to Ride in Rochester. He's also started his own motorcycle safety business, Street Skills. He writes articles, produces videos and podcasts and sells a deck of flash cards riders can use to brush up on their skills each spring.

Too often, he said, riders take the basic riding course, pass the test, get their license and they think they're ready to ride. They never take another course, read a book or even watch a training video.

He doesn't take credit for the saying, but somebody once said that the typical motorcycle rider who has been riding for 10 years really only has one year of experience. They just keep repeating the first year over and over and over.

"Your skills are never fully mastered and in the spring you're off your game, so do something different this season," DelVecchio said. "Take a class. Read a book. Do something to improve skills, not just this year, but every year."

DelVecchio started riding in 2001. He had a wife and two toddlers, plus he taught driver's ed at Rush Henrietta High School, so he already took safety seriously (he's also a business teacher at RHHS). By 2007, he was offered a chance to teach at Learn to Ride and found that teaching motorcycle safety combined his two biggest passion -- teaching and riding.

During this time, he also formed a group through MeetUp.com of riders who shared a love of bikes, but also took their skills seriously. They ride together regularly and take trips together throughout the Northeast.

He's found riders have varied attitudes toward bike safety. There are the riders who get big bikes, like to ride without helmets or only with small helmets, and combine riding with maybe a few beers along the way, then there's the younger riders who get fast bikes, ride them fast and take risks.

DelVecchio was careful to not criticize either kind of rider. "To each his own," he indicated, but he would clearly like to see all riders take to improving their motorcycle skills more seriously.

The most common kind of motorcycle accident is the car turning left in front of an oncoming motorbike.

Drivers are reminded constantly this time of year to look twice, take extra care, but even that isn't enough, DelVecchio said.

Riders need to be aware that even careful drivers are going to have a hard time seeing you and if they do, it is difficult for drivers to gauge a motorcycle's speed and distance.

A video on YouTube demonstrates how a motorcycle coming down the road looks small in the distance and continues to look small to the driver until suddenly it looks very big. A bike and rider also have a greater likelihood than a car of blending into the background.

Motorcyclists need to be acutely aware of these visual impairments for drivers and either weave in their lane of traffic when approaching an intersection with a car present (making themselves more visible) or take other defensive driving action.

The second most common type of motorcycle accident involve riders coming into curves. They might be going too fast (relative to skills and experience) or they might not be familiar with the curve, or they might hit a substance on the roadway. The less experienced or knowledgeable a rider, the less aware they are of how to handle turns.

Turning a bike involves something called a countersteering. With a four-wheel or three-wheel vehicle, if a driver wants to go right, he or she turns right. Go left, turn left. But on a two-wheel vehicle, a rider who wants to go right needs to turn the front wheel to the left slightly and then lean into the turn.

Most of the time, riders do this instinctively, but when confronted with a new circumstance, the rider might pull the wheel in the wrong direction causing the rider to be ejected.

That's one reason extra training, knowledge and experience are so important for riders, DelVecchio said.

While acknowledging that helmets are controversial in the motorcycle community, DelVecchio believes riders should wear them, even full-face helmets, which offer the most protection.

He said he often tells his students that if they could talk to a person who was killed or suffered a serious head injury in a motorcycle accident, how do you think that rider would answer a question about going back in time and wearing a helmet.

"If you could rewind the clock and crash again but with the helmet, how many people out of 100 do you think would actually say, 'no I want to crash again without the helmet.' Right? None," DelVecchio said.

The point is he said, "is how do you know when you're going to crash?"

That said, he isn't in favor of forcing anybody to wear a helmet.

"I'm conservative. I'm tired of the government trying to tell me how to do things, but in that conservative view, I think if a crusty old rider, who has 10, 20 years experience, wants to go riding without a lid and he knows the risk, to me, OK, knock yourself out," DelVecchio said. "But there are so many new riders out there (riding without a helmet)."

As for beer and biking, DelVecchio doesn't do it himself.

"I love a beer, but when I ride, I never even have one," DelVecchio said. "It could be that little edge I give up."

DelVecchio's last bit of advise for riders: Be nice. Riders who are rude just make car drivers care less about the safety of other riders.

"If somebody's a real jerk, they've got a real loud bike and they're doing a wheelie next to a car, that person is not going to necessarily be punished for that wheelie or loud bike," DelVecchio said. "It's the next person on a bike who comes to the intersection where the other driver thinks, 'they don't care about their safety and I'm going to worry about him.' They're not going to purposefully gun for him, but they're going to think he dosen't care about his safety and he's obnoxious and discount him a little more."

DelVecchio also sells flash cards for beginning car drivers on his Web site. The seminar at Stan's, located at 4425 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia, is free and open to all riders.

Photo: DelVecchio on the front bike. Behind him are his friends, from left, Lennie Rugg, Paul Hendel, Matt Ostrowski and Gene Rinas. The riders meet regularly at the Leaf & Bean in Chili Center, which is owned by Bergen resident (and a motorcycle enthusiast himself) Bill Scharvogel.

April 9, 2014 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.
Jackie L. Taft

A 62-year-old man living in Corfu has been arrested by State Police in Steuben County and charged with course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree.

Jackie L. Taft, who has been living in an apartment in the 800 block of Main Road, Corfu, is accused of having sexual contact at least 10 times over the period of a year with a child less than 13 years old.

Investigators claim Taft had access to a child less than 13 years old during multiple visits with family in Steuben County.

Because of Taft's prior criminal history, investigators in Genesee, Wyoming and Steuben counties are concerned Taft may have other victims in other jurisdictions who have never come forward.

Taft was indicted in Wyoming County in 1979 and again in 1984 on counts related to alleged sex crimes against children less than 11 years old.

With the 1979 case, Taft entered a guilty plea to a felony charge and was placed on five years probation, according to the Wyoming County DA's Office. The 1984 case was disposed of in Wyoming County Family Court.

Those arrests came prior to the creation of the sex offender registry, so Taft has never been required to register as a sexual offender.

Investigator James Vaughn, of the State Police barracks in Painted Post, said Taft hasn't been all that cooperative with police and they have little information on how long he's lived in Corfu.

"There's a possibility there could be somebody else out there," Vaughn said. "We don't know where he's been that whole time."

Following arraignment in Town of Campbell Court, Taft was jailed on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.

April 9, 2014 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) continued his fight to restore the Second Amendment rights of his constituents in Albany by pushing for a repeal of the SAFE Act. Hawley helped force a vote on legislation he cosponsors (A.6238) in the Assembly Codes Committee, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. While vowing to continue fighting to repeal the SAFE Act, Hawley noted that his bill was defeated by Downstate, New York City interests.

“I am working hard with my colleagues who cherish the Second Amendment to see the rights enshrined by it restored. We got a vote on legislation that would repeal the SAFE Act, but it was unfortunately voted down by Downstate Assembly liberals,” Hawley said. “They voted to put honest, law-abiding people in jail for exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protect their families. Their actions have only strengthened my resolve to stand up for the good people of Western New York who should be enjoying their full Second Amendment rights.”

As long as the Assembly is controlled by Downstate liberals, Hawley recognizes that repeal through legislative means is likely dead on arrival. However, he is hopeful that a lawsuit working its way through the court system will find the SAFE Act unconstitutional when it arrives at the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Hawley vows to continue doing his part to restore the Second Amendment through outspoken advocacy and organizing fellow Second-Amendment enthusiasts.

April 9, 2014 - 2:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in theater, GCC.

Press release:

Genesee Community College Forum Players Children's Theatre ensemble is pleased to present "Tales from Japan," a unique collection of traditional Japanese stories written by Patricia Montley and produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 25 - 26, with a Sunday Matinee at 2 p.m. on April 27 in the Stuart Steiner Theatre at GCC's Batavia Campus.

The traditional tales presented in the show bring to life subtle and surprising aspects of Japanese culture. Treasure is discovered in unexpected places, beauty is found in all aspects of nature and even the most unassuming characters are heroes. The exciting stories feature a variety of interesting characters from an old woman using her wisdom and wit to save a kingdom from tyranny to a young girl fighting a horrific undersea dragon and a peach boy defeating the village monster.

"These tales speak to all ages. Because they are folkloric, they speak meaningfully to the spectrum of emotions and human experience," said Director Norm Gayford, English professor at GCC.

Special performances of "Tales from Japan" are also scheduled for students from area schools. Batavia, LeRoy, Geneseo, Alexander, Perry and Pavilion, and also homeschool students are being bussed or transported to GCC's Stuart Steiner Theatre in Batavia on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 23 - 25, for two shows, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day. While most of these school group performances are sold out, there are still plenty of seats available at the public performances listed above.

"Our children's theatre program has always been very well received, and this year is no exception," said Maryanne Arena, director of Fine and Performing Arts at GCC. "Last year we performed for more than 2,000 people at our theatre and on location."

The cast of "Tales from Japan" includes: William Rupp, of Batavia, Kayli Wilson, of Canastota, Amber Lively, of Barker, Christian Hoffman, of Hilton, Kathleen Kwasniewski, of Alexander, Tony Heard, of Fillmore, Ryan McKenrick, of Rochester, Brianna Jones, of Batavia, David Wysocki, of Hamburg, Courtney Amesbury, of Bergen, Jerry Jordan, of the Bronx, Cameron Pollard, of Mount Vernon, Sania Hyatt, of NYC, Kaori Shinchi, of Japan, GCC paralegal instructor Karyn Bryson, and Jordan Griffiths, of Milford, who is also serving as stage manager for the show. Ali Scharvella of Copake Lake is assistant stage manager. William Rupp has served as Tai Chi and Katana trainer as well as mask maker, and Kaori Shinchi as language consultant.

Tickets for the show at the Batavia Campus in the Stuart Steiner Theatre are $8. GCC students with ID and children pay $3. Seniors and GCC faculty/staff are $5. GCC alumni receive $2 off with ID. Contact the Box Office for more information at (585) 345-6814 or [email protected].

For more information, visit http://www.genesee.edu/campuslife/arts/calendar.cfm.

April 9, 2014 - 2:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is looking for yearbooks from the schools in Genesee County. We are looking for Batavia, Alexander, Oakfield, Elba, Pembroke, Byron/Bergen and Le Roy.

Please contact the Holland Land Office at 343-4727.

April 9, 2014 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Sponsored Post, Insource Urgent Care.

Insource Urgent Care Center of Batavia is offering a free seminar for the greater Genesee County Business and Professional Community:

The following topics will be discussed in an Open Community / Town Hall Forum:

  • The impact of the Affordable Care Act on Employers and Patients
  • Telemedicine and Telehealth improving Access and Quality
  • Obama Care...from the physician's perspective (special guest, Dr. Victor DeSa)
  • Services offered to the community by Insource

Date: Friday, April 11

Registration: 8 a.m.; Continental Breakfast 8:15-8:45

Seminar: 8:45-10 a.m.

Location: Homestead Event Center in the City Centre.

Please RSVP to Tina Wilcox via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone 585-750-2794

April 9, 2014 - 9:00am
posted by Daniel Crofts in music, entertainment, schools, education, Batavia HS, Talent Show.

This is Batavia High School student Ross Chua busting out with his beatboxing talent at the 2014 "Batavia High School Talent Show" last night, which aimed to raise funds for Thomas Ackley, a former student of the Batavia City School District who is fighting cancer (see April 7 article).

Masters of Ceremony Amanda Schelemanow (member, BHS chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society) and Spencer Hubbard (Mr. Batavia 2013) introduced 16 entertaining performances by students and faculty. Here they are (all performances are vocal unless otherwise specified):

Tim Martin and Lauren Dunn, piano/vocal performance of "Little Talks"

Steven O'Brien doing yo-yo tricks (which the event's faculty supervisor, BHS chorus teacher Dan Grillo, called the best he has ever seen in person).

Darneisha Thomas, "Bound to You"

Mason Russ, "Boss of Me" (theme from the TV show "Malcolm in the Middle")

Nephy Williams, "Beautiful"

Kesa Janes, "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" (from "The Phantom of the Opera")

Justin Baiocco, "My My, Hey Hey" (from the Neil Young album Out of the Blue). Baiocco's talent consisted not only of the vocal performance, but also his ability to play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time.

Laura Guiste, "Hallelujah"

Marissa Carbonell, "Oh! Darlin' "

Andrea Gilebarto, "Nightingale" (vocals and piano)

Hannah Bluhm, "If I Die Young"

Dan Grillo, "Good Bye Yellow Brick Road" (piano and vocals)

Rachel Flint and Ashley Williams, "There You'll Be"

McKenna Dziemian, "Set Me Free" (sung in both English and Korean)

And finally, there was the "Faculty Dixieland Band" playing "Down By the Riverside" and "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue"

Dan Grillo (drums), Stuart McLean (bass)...

Sean Krauss (clarinet), Brandon Ricci (trumpet) and Jane Haggett (piano)

April 9, 2014 - 8:30am
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, grackles.

There was quite a gathering of grackles around our place recently. Common grackles they were, and over a three day period they alternated between hanging out in the trees, patrolling the lawn and laying seige to the bird feeder.

At first glance, especially from a distance, the grackle appears all black. But depending on the light, they can exhibit a lustrous sheen, displaying iridescent shades of green, blue, purple and bronze.

Despite the brilliant coloration, grackles possess another look, one sinister and menacing in appearance. Looking at this pic I'm reminded of three wildlife dramas involving grackles from years past. My reaction after each varied. The first was not exactly endearing; the second can be described as "WOW!" After the third event my reaction was, surprisingly, a certain degree of admiration.

The first one occurred one summer not so many years ago.

On that day I was thatching the yard with a leaf rake when I noticed a blackbird on the ground, interested in what I first thought to be a small piece of plastic, much like a wadded up bread wrapper, being slowly pushed along by a slight breeze. The blackbird followed after it, striking it repeatedy with its bill. It took a second for my brain to register what I was seeing.

The blackbird was a grackle, and the "piece of plastic" was a fledgling robin that must have either fallen or was robbed from its nest and was doing its best to escape its tormentor.

About that time I let fly with the rake and naturally the grackle took flight. Scooping up the baby robin, I could see it was still alive, but barely. I tucked it in the shade beneath some vines in hopes that its mom was nearby.

Ever vigilant, even during the late March snowstorm.   

A second incident occured when former Batavians Tim Martino, Keith Emminger and I were mowing lawns on Woodcrest Drive. We had just pulled the equipment trailer up to the curb when a small raptor  --  I'm thinking Cooper's hawk  --  slammed into a grackle in midair.  This happened right in front of our pickup truck. The hawk proceded to land atop its fallen prey where it lay in the street. Whether it intended to make a meal of the grackle I can't say as the hawk immediately flew off, perhaps suddenly aware of our presence. 

The third incident caused me to look at grackles in a different light.

It was a spring day when I heard some rustling coming from within a small stand of dry, brittle phragmites. Judging from the sound, it wasn't a large animal but there was definitely something going on. Try as I might, I was only able to see small, dark flashes of movement. Moments later a grackle took flight, a snake dangling from its bill. The snake was limp, and I'm guessing the commotion in the dry reeds was the grackle dispatching its quarry.

April 9, 2014 - 7:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BOCES, food.

Press release:

Culinary Arts students from the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center brought home the Culinary Cup for the third consecutive year! 

These students took first place in the eighth Annual Taste of Culinary Competition hosted by the American Culinary Federation of Greater Buffalo, New York. This event was held at Erie Community College’s City Campus. 

Chef Nathan Koscielski's culinary team of 14 students consisted of morning and afternoon juniors and seniors. The team competed against other student teams from other colleges, high schools and BOCES. 

Last year, the team brought home the Culinary Cup; two years ago, the team tied for second place; and three years ago, the team took third place.

Jarrod Wall is a first year Culinary Arts student from Notre Dame Academy.

“This was an awesome experience and it’s the third year in a row that our school has won first place.  We got to work as a team and see firsthand how professional chefs work, ” Jarrod said.

Chef Koscielski described his students as talented and skilled.

“Our score was only two points away from being a perfect score and was higher than scores earned by teams that entered the professional division including restaurants and country clubs. The competition was a tremendous educational experience for our students.  It was exciting for our team to compete and win for the third time,” he said.

The team served guinea hen confit with Parisienne gnocchi, roasted red and yellow pepper coulis and pignoli gremolata served with a punch made of black currant and pineapple juices, coconut milk, and fresh mint.

April 9, 2014 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron.

Decodie Tanner Adams, 22, of Lake Street, Ogdensburg, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd, a felony, resisting arrest, harassment, 2nd, disorderly conduct, public lewdness and indecent exposure. Adams is accused of causing a disturbance and urinating on the carpet at the Red Roof Inn in Batavia at 10:28 p.m. Monday, causing property damage. Adams was reportedly intoxicated at the time and allegedly resisted arrest.

Luke William Ritzenthaler, 31, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Ritzenthaler is accused of violating an order of protection twice by calling the protected person twice shortly after being served the order. Earlier, Ritzenthaler was arrested and accused of grabbing another person by the arms and pushing that person to the floor and allegedly striking the victim's head against the floor. On the criminal contempt charges, bail was set at $250.

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Stock #: 7707 Mileage: 59,817 miles Exterior: Black Onyx Interior: Black Engine: 3.5L V6 Transmission: Automatic 5-Speed CLEAN CARFAX**NAV**REARVIEW CAMERA**HEATED LEATHER SEATS**This 2008 Lexus RX350 luxury crossover SUV is equipped with18-inch alloy wheels, a power rear liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors all around, 10-way power front seats, wood interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, four one-touch power windows and second-row seats that slide and recline, the Premium P

WE RENT INFLATABLES!

WE RENT INFLATABLES! M&E Spacewalks is a small, local business that is family owned and operated out of Batavia NY. We rent out inflatables for parties or just because. We have Bounce Houses and a Waterslide available for rent. We have weekday discounts available starting at only $100 for the day. We would be happy to work something out with you and get an inflatable in your yard. You can visit our website, Facebook or call for more information and reservations. (585)297-6789 facebook.com/mandespacewalks www.mespacewalks.wix.com/rental

6460 Albion Road, Oakfield

6460 Albion Rd Oakfield, NY. The definition of a Gentleman's Farm! Custom built three bedroom, 2 and a half bath located on 20 acres won't disappoint! Both large and cozy, this home is well laid out and has something for everyone -plus an unfinshed bonus room that gives you a chance to finish and make your own! This home features a beautiful livingroom with floor to ceiling rock fireplace definitely made for entertaining! There is a lot to see inside but don't forget your walking shoes because the land is beautiful in all seasons!

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