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March 11, 2014 - 1:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, east pembroke.

A vehicle is on fire at 8419 Indian Falls Road. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: East Pembroke commands reports the fire is under control.

March 11, 2014 - 1:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in independent living of Genesee Region.

A bountiful basket raffle is under way to benefit Independent Living of Genesee Region, which provides services to people with mental and physical disabilities. The nonprofit organization helps them continue, or begin, living on their own instead of having to go into assisted living or another type of facility.

The baskets are on display now at 113 Main St., #5, in the City of Batavia. Tickets are $1 each, or three for $2, or 15 for $5. The drawing will be held on March 27.

Contact Donna Baker for information or donations at 815-8501, ext. 411.

Baskets and raffle options include:

  • Spring Basket -- Ceramic tea light holder, Subway gift certificate
  • Pizza Basket -- Gift certificates for: Big Pauly's, Batavia's Original, Main Street, Mark's, Ficarella's
  • Pamper Yourself -- Two bottles of wine, Steve's Styles gift certificate and products, Bourbon & Burger Co. gift certificate
  • Lunch Bunch -- Gift certificates for City Slickers, Southside Deli, Subway, T.F. Brown's
  • Down Time -- Scarf, bottle of wine, Mane Attraction gift certificate, Family Video gift certificate
  • Guys' Basket -- Charles Men's Shop gift certificate, Valu Home Center gift certificate, Family Video gift certificate, T-shirt, wooden car
  • Ladies' Basket -- Maurice's coupons and goodies, T-shirt, Family Video coupons, scarf
  • Handmade Bowl
  • Wine & Dine -- Scarf, two bottles of wine, Larry's Steakhouse gift certificate
  • Easter Basket
  • Indulge
  • Family Night -- Gift certificates for Big Pauly's, Denny's, Family Video, Walmart
  • Shop & Wear -- Two T-shirts, Family Video, Kmart, Target
  • Random -- Two T-shirts, gift certificates for Alberty's Drug Store, Mark's Pizzeria, Southside Deli
March 11, 2014 - 10:53am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A car and pedestrian accident is reported at 1 Center St. in the city, and a second accident also has occurred at that same location, according to dispatch. City fire and Mercy medics responding along with police.

UPDATE 11 a.m.: This was at Center and Main. The pedestrian involved was a man in a motorized wheelchair. Howard, who is at the scene, says the man was not injured (he's a "sign-off") and his wheelchair does not appear to be damaged. The vehicles involved in the second accident have pulled into the parking lot of the Masonic Temple.

March 11, 2014 - 9:39am
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, genesee county park & forest.

Depending on who you ask, the winter has been judged somewhat lengthy and at times harsh. While Old Man Winter threw us a curve ball or two, the aftermath was sometimes asthetically pleasing to the eye. And nowhere was this more evident than at the Genesee County Park & Forest.

A trail into the hardwoods. Claudia and I logged several hours at the park this winter, trying to cover every bit of the more than 12 miles of trail.

The hike was always exhilarating, even if the air was frigid at times. Even on the coldest of days, we ran into hikers, cross country skiers, snowshoers, and even two or three hearty souls who were jogging.

Of course we met a good number of people out exercising their dogs, like Batavians Dan and Debbie Barone pictured above.

A cross country skier glides along one of the well-maintained trails.  

Gotta love the Boy Scouts. The park is in great shape thanks to many volunteers.

Snow-covered spruce trees as seen from the Turtle Pond trail.

Surrounded by needled giants, this tiny spruce sees limited sunlight.

March 10, 2014 - 11:47pm
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on Jan. 1, 1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823. The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914. I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence in 1914.

Last month, I reported on how the Village of Batavia Aldermen, the equivalent of today’s City Council, had become unhappy with the work of a Charter Revision Commission appointed several years earlier. As a result, the Aldermen wrote a competing proposal and presented it to the community on Feb. 4, 1914. Then the Aldermen announced that their proposal would be submitted to a straw vote in order to gauge community support. The ballot simply read, “Shall the charter as prepared by the Aldermen be sent to Albany?” When voters cast 488 “yes” votes versus 451 “no” votes, the Aldermen chose to see the results as a ringing endorsement of their proposal and sent it off to the State Senate and Assembly.

It was 100 years ago, March 10, 1914, that a joint committee from the Assembly and Senate met to hear the competing charter proposals. Edward Russell, chair of the Charter Revision Commission, spoke to the gathering. He asserted that: the straw vote on the Aldermen’s proposal had not been taken in a proper or legal manner; that ballots were pre-marked and passed out on the street to any who might wish to go in and vote; that the total vote was a small proportion of the eligible voters; and that persons had voted who were not eligible to do so. Furthermore, Russell said, the Aldermen had used misrepresentation and deceit to persuade “liquor interests” to pay for lobbyists to speak against the proposal of the Charter Revision Commission.

At this point, Batavia’s mayor, Louis Wiard, rose to speak against these charges. But before he could do so, Senator Thomas Cullen, who was chairing the hearing, expressed disbelief that a community like Batavia would conduct an irregular vote and gaveled the session to a close.

In two weeks, I’ll let you know what happened when the Senators and Assemblymen eventually voted on the two charter proposals.

March 10, 2014 - 10:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Attica, crime, Le Roy, corfu.
Tonia Doell

Tonia M. Doell, 44, of 14 Vine St., Batavia, is charged with three counts of menacing, 2nd, one count of criminal possession of a weapon, and one count of attempted assault, 2nd. Doell is accused of requesting medical assistance at 2:21 p.m. and when Mercy EMS personnel arrived at her residence and attempted to enter, Doell allegedly threatened them with a kitchen knife. Doell was arraigned and jailed without bail.

Jason D. Lang, 27, and Ashley R. Keene, 26, both of 244 Liberty St., Batavia, are charged with grand larceny, 4th. Lang and Keene are accused of stealing 10 pairs of eyeglass frames valued at more than $1,600 from the Lencrafters location in Hamburg. Hamburg detectives received several calls identifying Lang and Keene as the suspects after police posted pictures of the shoplifting suspects on Facebook and Buffalo media outlets picked up the story. Upon further investigation, Lang and Keene were asked to appear at Hamburg PD and did so voluntarily. Hamburg detectives report that Lang and Keene confessed to the theft. They were issued appearance tickets.

Pamela Kristene Goerss, 43, of Oak Hill Road, Silver Springs, is charged with DWI, speed not reasonable and prudent, unlicensed operator, leaving the scene of an accident and parked in roadway. Goerss was reportedly operating a 2011 Volkswagan Jetta southbound on Perry Road at 3:16 a.m. Sunday when she was involved in an accident. The other vehicle left the scene. Goerss also allegedly tried to drive away from the scene, but her vehicle became disabled. The Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in identifying the other vehicle and driver. Anybody with information can contact Deputy Frank Bordonaro at (585) 343-5000. Goerss was jailed on $500 bail.

Brian Lee Smith, 52, of Colonial Boulevard, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and aggravated family offense, a felony. Smith is accused of yelling a vulgar word at the victim, who has an active order of protection in place, Smith allegedly yelled at the victim while she was in her own driveway. Smith was jailed on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.

Bryan R. Bartholomew, 27, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Bartholomew allegedly violated an order of protection by being at the residence of the protected party. Bartholomew was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Matthew D. Derrick, 29, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Derrick is accused of being involved in a domestic incident March 6.

Dariel A. Giffith, 21, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Griffith is accused of striking another person in the hand during a dispute on South Swan Street at 4:56 p.m. March 6.

Jon David Vega, 48, of 78th Street, Howard Beach, was arrested on two bench warrants for alleged failure to appear. Vega was arrested upon his release from the Monroe County Jail on unrelated charges. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Christina M. Colantonio, 27, of Snipery Road, Corfu, is accused of failure to appear after appearance ticket served. Colantonio was located walking westbound on West Main Street near Union Street by Officer James DeFreze and she was arrested on an active warrant. Colantonio posted $500 bail and was released.

Heather Daffney Stone, 19, of Elwood Drive, Rochester, was arrested on a bench warrant related to a third-degree burglary charge. Stone was released from Monroe County Jail on an unrelated matter and taken into custody on the burglary charge. Stone was held without bail.

Johnny Uylesse Troche, 28, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Troche allegedly threatened another person with a knife at 9:26 p.m. Saturday.

Francisco Rodriguez, 37, of Portland Avenue, Rochester, is charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes. Rodriguez was stopped at 8:43 p.m. Saturday on Lewiston Road, Batavia, for alleged failure to dim high beams by Deputy Joseph Corona. Rodriguez was allegedly found in possession of more untaxed cigarettes than legally allowed.

Christina Sandra Baudanza, 37, no address given, was arrested on a Family Court warrant. Baudanza was arrested upon her release from the Wyoming County Hospital. She was arraigned in Family Court and released to a social service worker who took her to temporary housing.

Katie Lee Winnie, 20, of Exchange Street, Attica, was arrested on bench warrants related to charges of petit larceny and possession of marijuana. Winnie allegedly failed to appear for a court date in the Town of Batavia. She turned herself in and was jailed on $500 bail.

Eric X. Williams, 22, of Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Williams was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 10:46 p.m. on Feb. 24. No further details released.

Joshua J. Clark, 37, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Clark was stopped at 1:50 a.m. Friday at the junction of routes 5 and 63 by State Police.

March 10, 2014 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

A brush fire is reported in the area of 6063 Transit Road, Byron.

Byron and South Byron were dispatched more than 10 minutes ago and are on scene.

A brush truck from Elba was just requested to the scene.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: Elba requested to fill in at Byron's hall.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m.: Mercy EMS requested to the scene. Unknown reason.

UPDATE 10:27 p.m.: Elba's tanker is back in service.

CORRECTION: It was the brush truck from Elba, not a Mercy ambulance requested to the scene.

March 10, 2014 - 9:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

Michele Ann Case, granted a second chance at a trial on fraud charges after her first conviction was overturned, is likely to get that trial starting July 7, Judge Robert C. Noonan said in County Court today.

Case will have until April 18 to accept any plea offer, if one is forthcoming, Noonan said.

It's Noonan's practice to set plea cut-off dates, after which point a defendant must either go to trial or plead guilty without any conditions.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has not publicly stated whether there is any potential plea offer.

Case, 47, a home health care nurse, formerly from Bergen, is accused of bilking her former employer out of $14,000 by filing fraudulent financial records about her hours and travel.

For previous coverage, click here.

March 10, 2014 - 9:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Budget.

Story by Dan Fischer, WBTA:

By the slimmest of margins the Batavia City Council Monday night approved a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes the hiring of an assistant city manager.

The budget approval process nearly derailed when Ward 6 Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian withdrew her support of the budget and voiced opposition to the assistant manager’s position.

The budget was approved by a narrow 5-4 margin.

Joining her in opposition were Ward 5 Councilwoman Kathleen Brigs and Councilmen-at-large Eugene Jankowski and John DeLeo.

Christian said that after “dozens of telephone calls” she learned that the federal government would soon step in to address the rising cost of FEMA flood insurance.

The study of flood insurance, and how to control rising premiums, would be the primary responsibility of the new assistant, according to City Manager Jason Molino.

“We really don’t need an assistant now that the federal government is stepping in,” Christian said.

Molino took exception to Christian noting that federal intervention into the flood insurance issue was only a proposal and not a certainty.

Still, it was enough for Christian to change her vote and touch off a lengthy debate among council members to table the budget.

Councilman-at-large John DeLeo favored a delay in the budget vote and remove funding for the assistant’s position. “My constituents have told me ‘hell no’ on this assistant manager issue,” DeLeo declared.

When a vote to table the budget failed by a 5-4 vote it was clear the budget, with funds for the assistant manager, would pass.

Council President Brooks Hawley, who had stated his opposition to the assistant manager’s position in early budget debates, said his objection did not rise to the level of scuttling the entire budget. Hawley voted in favor the budget along with council members Kris Doeringer, Patti Pacino, Pier Cipollone and John Canale.

The $24-million budget calls for a reduction in the tax rate of 13-cents per $1,000 assessed valuation. A separate measure to increase water rates passed unanimously. The increase will cost the average city water customer another $10 per year.

CORRECTION: The tax rate is 13 cents less per thousand. The original store misstated the amount.

March 10, 2014 - 8:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Pavilion.

A Pavilion mother twice arrested under provisions of Leandra's Law will have to serve six months in jail after blowing a chance to avoid lockup given to her by Judge Robert C. Noonan a year ago.

Angela R. Kruse, 42, will also be on probation for five years.

Kruse was first arrested in Le Roy for driving drunk with her children in her car in June 2012. She was arrested again four months later in Wyoming County following a rollover accident.

Kruse appeared before Noonan last March after going through rehab and was told if she could stay out of trouble for 11 months she could have a chance to put her Genesee County charge behind her, but she violated the terms of her release and appeared before Noonan again today to answer for the lapse.

March 10, 2014 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia PD is looking for the public's assistance in locating a man suspected of stealing a bottle of Jack Daniel's Honey from the YNGodess Shop on Main Street, Batavia.

Owner Christine Crocker reported the alleged theft to police last weekend after confronting a person she believes took a bottle of booze from the store. Crocker chased the man down and recovered a bottle of alcohol, but the man then fled.

Crocker said she had refused to sell liquor to the man, citing state law, because she believed he was already intoxicated.

The man in the photos is wanted for questioning in connection with the incident.

The suspect is described as a white male, thinner build, with a shaved head and a goatee. He was said to be wearing a dark zip-up jacket and white and black Nike sneakers.

The anonymous tip line for BPD is (585) 345-6370.

March 10, 2014 - 6:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has joined the growing opposition to the expansion of casino gaming in Western New York.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors has unanimously passed a resolution opposing any new proposed casino in New York west of Route 14 and specifically the location of a new tax-free, Las Vegas-style casino in Monroe County owned and operated by the Seneca Nation.

The addition of another casino located in Western New York would over-saturate the regional gaming marketplace and would have negative impact on Batavia Downs Gaming and its operations. Batavia Downs Gaming is located in Genesee County and has shown to be an outstanding partner in the community and is directly and indirectly responsible for thousands of jobs in our region.

An additional casino in such proximity to Batavia Downs will greatly jeopardize the livelihoods of those thousands of individuals who rely on the continued operation and success of Batavia Downs Gaming. Not only would Batavia Downs Gaming be affected, but the addition of a full Las Vegas-style casino has shown to have a negative impact on surrounding restaurant, hotel and other hospitality businesses as well.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has asked fellow business organizations in the region to join in opposition to expanding gaming in Monroe County and all other locations in New York west of Route 14.

March 10, 2014 - 6:10pm

Press release:

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation donated its first installment of $10,000 to the new Golisano Children's Hospital which is currently under construction in Rochester, NY, with opening date slotted for 2015.

This is the first installment as the foundation has pledged a total of $50,000 to the project. The monies will be earmarked for the Child Life Office in the new facility. Child Life provides the hospitalized children with therapeutic programs, play and other activities to help children and families cope with the challenges of illness or hospitalization.

This is another way the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation continues to fulfill its mission and Lend a Hand for Hope. For more information on fundraising events, or to see how you can help, go to www.michaelshope.org.

March 10, 2014 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Darien.

Brittany Hodge sent his picture of the rekindle of this morning's fire at 1363 Broadway, Darien.

There have been a couple of rekindles today, but this one required both Darien fire and Corfu fire to be dispatched, along with a fill-in by Pembroke at Corfu's hall.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m.: Alexander fire has been dispatched to the rekindle.

Previously:

March 10, 2014 - 6:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, accidents.

A car smashed into a tree in the area of 7587 Griswold Road. The female driver "was not sure on injuries but is quite shaken up." Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding.

March 10, 2014 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Howard Owens, publisher and photographer for The Batavian, won a second-place award for photography in the spot news category in a monthly contest sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association.

NPPA sponsors a monthly clip contest in its 11 regions. Genesee County is part of Region 2, which comprises all of New York, the eastern half of Canada and international members based overseas.

Owens won the award for his coverage of the Baskin Livestock fire in November.

The award for Owens was announced last week along with a third-place award in October in sports for Mark Gutman, staff photographer for the Daily News.

In 2013, Owens received a third-place award in March for general news coverage and third place in June for feature/multiple photos.

NPPA awards points throughout the year for photos chosen in first through fifth place (only first through third winners are publicly announced), as well as a single point for each entry.

For the year, Owens was awarded 154 points, good for 15th place in Region 2. Tops was Steven Russell of the The Toronto Star, with 1,132 points.

Gutman had 90 points and Nick Serrata, who freelances for the Daily News, as well as other publications, had 80 points.

Owens, Gutman and Serrata were the only photographers in WNY to place in the top 20.

March 10, 2014 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Darien.

A classic, fully restored Harley was lost, as well as a restored Jeep. Six residents lost their personal belongings. The apartment building at 1363 Broadway, Darien, was destroyed.

Sadly, a dog lost his life.

But no people were seriously hurt, or worse.

That bit of good fortunate is a credit, it seems, to the professionalism of two members of the Darien Volunteer Fire Department who lived in the apartment building.

Joshua Reeb and Paul Redden were home when the fire broke out sometime around 4:30 a.m.

Redden smashed through Reeb's door and woke his fellow volunteer. He said he smelled smoke. Reeb felt the door into the hallway. At that point, he said, his fire training kicked in.

"It was all fire training," Reeb said. "I knew right away from the smell and the heat it was a real one. It wasn't somebody burning something. It was real."

Reeb and Redden helped alert the other residents, including the landlord, who owned the building and had lived in the main apartment for 30 years. Reeb helped him down the second-floor fire escape.

"I knew I had to get out and I had to get out now," Reeb said.

The two volunteers then rushed to the Darien fire hall -- less than a half-mile away -- and got their trucks "ready to rock and roll."

"I knew I wasn't going to be able to fight this fire," Reeb said. "But I knew I could get to the hall, open the doors, get the truck ready and let other people take over."

It was pitch black coming out of the apartment onto the fire escape. Knowing the layout, staying calm, not trying to grab his belongings, and being aware of what was going on around him made all the difference, said the 22-year-old Reeb, who has been a volunteer for five years.

"The training just takes over," Reeb said. "There's no fear. It's just respect for the fire, knowing I've got to do this and I've got to do this. All of that training just kicks in. It didn't hit me until I saw the flames coming out of my bedroom window and then it took me to the ground."

The initial investigation indicates the fire originated in the basement garage where fumes from spilled gasoline may have ignited when a hot water heater kicked on.

The building was owned by Scott Gielow, a mechanic who had converted his basement into a garage where he restored the vehicles he loved -- Harleys and Jeeps. In addition to losing the restored vehicles, he had two Jeeps that were still projects.

The fire was reported at 4:35 a.m. and as soon as Darien Chief Jim Marino got on scene he called for a second alarm. Flames were shooting out of the back of the building.

Two residents suffered minor burns and were treated at the scene.

The century-old structure was balloon construction with no insulation. Aluminum siding helped contain the fire to the interior of the building, but the flames just shot up the walls, unhindered by the kind of blocks between floors used in more modern buildings.

New hot spots seemed to flare up faster than firefighters could pour water on other involved parts of the building.

"The nature of the fire, the wind, the balloon construction, where it started, just made it hard to attack," Marino said.

Marino said it sounded like Reeb and Redden did a good job of making sure everybody got out of the building safely.

"It could have been a lot worse," Marino said.

Responding departments included Darien, Alexander, City of Batavia (Fast Team), Town of Batavia, Corfu, Pembroke, Alden and Bennington. Marcy EMS and Darien Ambulance also responded and deputies were on scene.

The Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents.

UPDATE 4:52 p.m.: Darien has been dispatched for a possible rekindle of the fire. It's the second rekindle this afternoon.

UPDATE 4:54 p.m.: Per chief, all units can remain in quarters.

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: Darien and Corfu dispatched for a rekindle.

Joshua Reeb looks over the damage to the apartment building where he had been living.

To order prints of photos, click here.

March 10, 2014 - 3:30pm
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March 10, 2014 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Liberty Street.

A tractor-trailer has hit a pole in the aera of 29 Liberty St., Batavia.

No injuries are reported.

City fIre and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 1:03 p.m.: National Grid notified. No ETA.

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

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