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February 4, 2013 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy.

This week St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Le Roy kicks off a 12-week fund drive to raise money for building repairs and restoration.

Over the next three years, the ultimate goal is to raise $100,000 for the work that needs to be done.

The current building dates to 1872. Necessary repairs include a new boiler system, the repointing and sealing of some exterior stone walls of the church and the bell tower and repair of the protective frames on the church’s stained glass windows.

“A successful campaign will enable us to strengthen our church for its ministry now, and in the future,” says Robert Giacumo, campaign chair.

St. Mark’s ministry to the Le Roy community extends well beyond its beautiful worship space. The Sunshine Nursery School, a nonprofit preschool, has called St. Mark’s home for more than 20 years. The church building also provides meeting space for AA groups, scouting troops, community events, free musical concerts, and more.

St. Mark’s also actively supports the Le Roy Christian Community Project, the Backpack Club, Grace’s Kitchen, a free summer lunch program for children and teens at Mill Street Park, the Le Roy Food Pantry, and the Salvation Army.

You are always warmly invited to join in regular Sunday worship at 10:30 a.m.

Your gift of support, no matter the size, will help insure that St. Mark’s remains a vital place for worship and ministry to the wider community for years to come.

For more information regarding St. Mark’s Restoration and Capital Fund Campaign, please call the church office at 768-7200.

February 4, 2013 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, taxes, GCEDC.

A proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to curtail sales tax exemptions on new development and redevelopment projects could hurt such projects locally, according to City Manager Jason Molino and Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"Losing the ability to offer state portion of sales tax exemptions dilutes our financial assistance offerings at the local level," Hyde said. "That hurts since we remain the 49th most expensive state to do business in."

Nearly all projects that come to the Industrial Development Agency for assistance and the promise of job growth receive a sales tax exemption on building materials, plant expansion and/or new equipment.

The City of Batavia has been aggressively pursuing projects that redevelop commercial parts of the city -- called "brownfield redevelopment" -- and the loss of the sales tax exemption could be a setback for those plans.

While Molino is reserved in his judgement since the governor's budget is still in the early proposal phase, he said if the elimination of sales tax exemptions goes through, it won't be good for Batavia.

"I think it has the potential to negatively affect any economic development effort that would use sales tax exemptions as part of its model for development," Molino said.

Hyde said much of the redevelopment necessary in the city won't qualify for the state's "excelsior program," which provides tax credits for strategically targeted industries, so maintaining the sales tax exemption is critical.

"We can support some really exciting things developing in the city to the fullest extent possible," Hyde said.

The Buffalo News carried a story this morning about how the budget proposal will be a setback for redevelopment in Buffalo.

Hyde encouraged constituents to reach out to the governor's office and express concern about the proposal.

"This topic is important as community development projects will be negatively impacted considerably and those are the lifestyle projects important to our  residents," Hyde said.

February 4, 2013 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, bergen.

Shawn Robert Klineline, 30, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance not in original container. Klineline was stopped for alleged traffic violations at 12:59 a.m. Saturday by Deputy Patrick Reeves, and found allegedly in possession of a non-prescribed controlled substance not in its original container.

Jeffrey Russell Hamill, 34, of Attica, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding (76 in a 55 mph zone). Hamill was stopped at 1:43 a.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, for allegedly speeding by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Justin Michael Beverly, 23, of Creamery Road, Bergen, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving left of pavement markings in a no-passing zone. Beverly was stopped at 1:37 a.m. Saturday on Warboys Road, Byron, by Deputy Jason Saile.

Gary Wayne Wornowski, 30, of East Aurora, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right, possession/consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and inadequate muffler. Wornowski was stopped at 11:30 p.m., Jan. 1, on Route 5 in Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.  Wornowski was recently issued a summons to appear in Town of Pembroke Court at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 28.

Kathleen R. Cramer, 49, of 4 South Lyon St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Cramer is accused of shoplifting from Dollar General.

Kenneth W. Cook III, 19, of 108 Oak St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Cook was allegedly observed with a person he is ordered not to contact. Cook was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Melissa G. Betances, 31, of 180 1/2 Pearl St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Betances is accused of sending text messages to a person protected from contact by court order.

Booker T. Ricks III, 41, of 7 Chestnut St., Apt. 1, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Ricks is accused of violating a stay away order of protection.

February 4, 2013 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, steve hawley.

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) is promoting a pair of grant programs aimed at boosting dairy farming in New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the initiatives, which will double financial incentives for renewable bio-energy projects to reduce electricity costs and help dairy farmers develop plans for expansion and growth.

“Here in Western New York, farming is an integral part of our economy and our way of life,” Hawley said. “These grant programs will help our dairy farmers continue to provide top-notch products and create the jobs that our region relies on. I commend Governor Cuomo for stepping up to the plate for our dairy farmers and I encourage our local farmers to explore the benefits these grants can provide.”

The initiatives include:

  • The Anaerobic Digester Biogas-to-Electricity Program (ADG), which will double the maximum incentive amount from $1 million to up to $2 million per installation for farmers who install equipment on their farms that turns organic waste produced by cows into electricity;
  • and the Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP), which will provide grants and coordinate funding and technical programs to help farmers interested in expanding their operations or increasing their efficiency.
February 3, 2013 - 4:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

Batavia-based Grease Lightning, founded and operated by local residents Ben and Jackie Thompson in 2009 have just launched their most ambitious expansion to date as 11 new locations opened January 15th -- seven in suburban St. Louis, three in Indiana and one in Illinois.

This brings their total number of fast lube and repair shops to 40 in five states. Grease Lightning’s Batavia-based shops are Grease Lightning at 4003 W. Main St. and Castrol Premium Lube Express at 50 Liberty St.

Grease Lightning’s shops have owner/operators at the local level and the company is interested in finding prospective owners to help grow what has been for the last three years the fastest-growing independent chain of fast lube locations in the U.S.A. The company also has car and truck rental, towing and detail operations.

Interested parties who would like to own a location should contact Ben Thompson by calling 716-649-9374. You can find the company on the Web at

February 3, 2013 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Black smoke is reported coming from a Dumpster at the Quality Inn, 8200 Park Road, Batavia.

Town of Batavia fire responding.

A chief on scene confirms smoke from the Dumpster. It's about 50 feet from the building.

UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: Town of Batavia back in service.

View Larger Map

February 3, 2013 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

Deputy Brian Thompson said it felt a little like Hansel and Gretel on Route 63 this morning, but it wasn't bread crumbs he was following -- it was bits and pieces of a mangled car.

Orleans County Sheriff's deputies had arrested a man for allegedly driving drunk and his car was badly damaged from an apparent accident.

Thompson got the call about 8 a.m. to try to find the accident location, which authorities believed was somewhere between the Walmart in Batavia and Orleans County.

"That's a big area to search," Thompson said.

He started at the Orleans County line and headed south on Route 63. 

Besides car parts, Thompson said there was a long, large gouge in the roadway from the wheel assembly of the car, which had lost a front tire and rim in the accident.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office was first alerted to a possible intoxicated driver just before 5 a.m. when dispatchers received a report of a badly damaged red car heading north on Route 77.

The car was never located in Genesee County.

At 5:28 a.m., the Orleans County Sheriff's Office received a report of a red car heading north on Route 63 with sparks flying from under the car.

A short time later, an Orleans County deputy located a man walking in the Sanderson/Water Works area. Deputies later found the car, which was missing both front fenders, the front license plate and a tire and rim.

Thompson found the first evidence of an accident about a 10th of a mile inside Genesee County, where a car had struck a bridge, which is where the vehicle lost its right front tire.

Dispatchers then received a report from a resident on Judge Road that a mailbox had been knocked over. Thompson proceeded to that location and found more car parts, including what appears to be the missing license plate from the red 2001 Olds Alero located in Orleans County.

According to Thompson's accident report, the Alero was westbound on Judge Road and failed to keep right, crossing into and across the eastbound lane.

The Alero struck a mailbox at 1376 Judge Road.

The vehicle continued westbound, across the lawn of the residence and then struck and destroyed a concrete survey marker.

The car continued on to property at 1378 Judge Road, striking a tree stump and bush.

The driver is identified as 21-year-old Brandon M. Sponaugle, of Ridge Road, Medina.

An Orleans County dispatcher confirmed the driver of the car had been charged with DWI but had no further information available this morning.

Thompson's report indicates Sponaugle was allegedly driving on a suspended license. Additional charges are pending in Genesee County.

"I don't know how he made it as far as he did," Thompson said. "I'm glad no one was killed, that's for sure."

February 3, 2013 - 11:03am
posted by Alecia Kaus in accident, Darien.

Jeffrey Russell Hamill, 34, of Attica, was charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, and speeding after a traffic stop on Route 77 in Pembroke about 1:43 this morning.

A few hours later, Hamill crashed his vehicle on Route 238 in the Town of Darien and had to be transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester with a possible head injury.

According to Corfu Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schollard, Hamill called his girlfriend to give him a ride after being charged with DWI in Pembroke. After being processed on the charges by the the Genesee County Sheriff's Department, his girlfriend drove him to his vehicle. He proceeded to drive toward Attica and she followed him in her vehicle. 

About 4:40 a.m. Hamill's vehicle went off the road on Route 238 near Griswold Road in Darien. It went down a ravine, striking a tree before coming to rest. Side and front air bags were deployed.

Hamill was not seriously injured, but had an altered level of consciousness and a possible head injury.

Genesee County Sheriff's Office is investigating and charges are pending.

February 2, 2013 - 7:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, softball, Snow Ball.

Two longtime rivals, the teams representing "Genesee Hardware" and "Pino Vincenzo" returned to annual "Snow Ball" battle Saturday in Williams Park.

The two teams started a tradition of playing a winter softball game as youths, and didn't play a match for about 20 years before returning to the park last year.

To purchase prints, click here.

February 2, 2013 - 7:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, walmart.

Bullet holes from a single shot were found in the engine compartment today of a car that was parked at Walmart the night of Jan. 22.

State Police investigators have been looking into the incident ever since the report was filed on it that evening.

Today, Investigator Andre Dunlap received a call after a local mechanic spotted a hole in the transmission of a car.

That was an unexpected twist in the case that so far has not led to an arrest.

Multiple law enforcement sources have said there may gang affiliations involved with the shooter and possible target and the shooting may be related to a prior incident months ago in the City of Batavia.

Dunlap said the owner of the car noticed the vehicle was not running right and that when the weather turned cold, the car wouldn't heat up.

The driver took the vehicle to a mechanic who had worked on the car previously and he put antifreeze in the radiator. The radiator immediately began to leak, so he replaced it.

When the owner got the car back, after a few days, it still didn't seem to run right and then it stopped working altogether.

This morning, the mechanic put the car on a lift and that's when he noticed the bullet hole in the transmission. Fortunately, he still had the old radiator and upon closer inspection, he found a bullet hole in the radiator, too.

There was also a hole in the compressor for the air conditioner.

But a thorough search of the engine compartment failed to turn up the actual bullet, and Dunlap suspects it fell to the ground at Walmart after hitting the transmission.

The investigation into the shot fired at Walmart is ongoing and no further information is available at this time.

February 2, 2013 - 7:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

A 21-year-old Alabama man remains in jail, accused of rape, after he allegedly forced a woman he knew into sexual intercourse as his way to settle an argument.

The man is accused both of forced intercourse and forced sexual contact, according to State Police.

Matthew R. Smith, of Lewiston Road, is charged with rape in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree.

He was jailed on $10,000 bail and is scheduled to reappear in Alabama Town Court at 1 p.m., Feb. 7.

Smith has been ordered to have absolutely no contact with the woman.

February 2, 2013 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, Williams Park.

When I drove over to Williams Park this afternoon, I expected to find a group of grown men playing softball in 19-degree weather. I didn't expect find a football game.

Dozens of Batavia residents were in the park today for a six-team tournament sponsored by Ri-Dan's Brewery on West Main Street Road, Batavia. One of the players told me putting the tournament together was kind of a last minute thing and he thinks there will be more winter football in the park.

To purchase prints, click here.

UPDATE: Tony Ray sent the following info: "The team who won the flag football tournament: Team Game Over won the finals 28-14 going 4-0 on the day. Players are Tony Ray, Andre Kinder, Derek Kinder, Dale Buck, Travis Schultz, Ryan Gugel, Aaron Gugel, Jared Hyatt, Ramon Andino, Casey Busenbark, Chaz Weese."

Photo submitted by Tony Ray:

February 2, 2013 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

A tow-truck driver called to haul a damaged vehicle he was told had been involved in a deer accident helped the Sheriff's Office identify a driver allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident Dec. 30 in Bergen.

The driver had seen a post on The Batavian about the accident and the car he was asked to tow matched the description of the vehicle involved in the accident.

James Kavanagh, 24, of HIlton, was allegedly driving the car at the time of the accident. He was written tickets for misdemeanor leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, misdemeanor aggravated unlicensed operation, uninspected motor vehicle and failure to yield right of way.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona.

February 2, 2013 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

Raymond L. Leach Jr., who in August entered a guilty plea to criminal contempt is facing a new 16-account indictment for his alleged treatment of a local woman and his alleged sexual assault on an inmate at the Genesee County Jail.

Leach, 55, who was the subject of arrest reports in 2012 that listed his home address as both 29 Montclaire Ave., Batavia, and Munson Street in Le Roy, is accused of committing crimes in August (just five days after his conviction in county court) and November, 2012.

The Grand Jury of Genesee County indicted him on five counts of criminal contempt, 1st, a Class E felony, four counts of aggravated criminal contempt, a Class D felony, two counts of harassment, 2nd, a violation, and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, a Class B felony.

On Aug. 14, Leach allegedly called a woman and told her, "I will kill you if I find out otherwise." An order of protection had reportedly been issued prior to the call.

The alleged incident accounts for the first four charges in the indictment.

On Aug. 15, Leach allegedly had contact with the same woman, in violation of the order of protection.

On that same day, Leach allegedly either struck, shoved and kicked the woman, or threatened to physically attack her.

The alleged incidents of Aug. 15 account for seven counts of the indictment.

On Nov. 21, Leach allegedly forced a toothbrush up the anus of another inmate, causing physical injury to the person. The inmate was allegedly asleep at the time.

The alleged incident in the jail accounts for five charges on the indictment.

Our first arrest report on Leach was in 2008, when Leach was accused of making a threatening phone call.

February 2, 2013 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, budget.

Press release:

Please be advised that Batavia City Council will hold a budget work session on Monday, Feb. 4. It will begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Board Room on the second floor of the Batavia City Centre.

February 2, 2013 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in Special Olympics.

Press release:

"Color Me Rad" -- a nationally recognized human tie-dye spectacle and 5k run/walk -- is making Darien Lake one of its 64 tour stops this year on June 22. During the charity event, which will benefit the Special Olympics of New York, racers will dress all in white and run through the scenic grounds at Darien Lake while a "Color Bomb Squad" takes aim at runners’ shirts, faces, and hair with a rainbow array of colors.

Registration for the run/walk began on Friday at:

More than 5,000 lbs. of FDA-approved, colored cornstarch will be used during the event.  In addition to “Color Bomb Squad” volunteers spread along the 3.1-mile course, walkers and runners will also be able to toss their own bags of color into the air, creating an unforgettable display of color.

“We strive to partner with organizations and families to create special moments that their kids will share with their kids. There’s no doubt that this is going to be a colorful memory worth sharing,” said Bob Montgomery, vice president and general manager of Darien Lake.

Families and participants of all ages are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous race weekend activities, including a Friday evening all-you-can-eat pasta dinner with live entertainment for those staying the night, and Saturday post-race festivities in the amusement park. Accommodations packages are available for registered participants at

"Special Olympics New York is delighted to be the beneficiary of, and to partner with Darien Lake and Color Me Rad 5K for this tremendously fun event in June,” said Special Olympics of New York president and CEO Neal Johnson.

"Color Me Rad 5K is an energetic event for all, where the volunteers have just as much fun as the participants. Whether you register to run or volunteer for the race, you'll be helping Darien Lake and Color Me Rad 5K support more than 56,000 Special Olympics athletes across the state."

UPDATE: Our thanks to reader Thomas Taylor who left the correct link to register for the event in the comments section. The old link was replaced with the new, correct link in this story.

February 2, 2013 - 2:20pm

Press release:

Lake Plains Community Care Network, Inc., (LPCCN) is pleased to announce the receipt of a two-year Shared Services Learning Community grant from the Center for Sharing Public Health Services. This is a national initiative managed by the Kansas Health Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“When it comes to the health of our communities, we rely on strong public health systems,” said Patrick Libbey, the Center for Sharing Public Health Services co-director. “In recent years, cross-jurisdictional sharing has shown promise as a strategy that can help health departments carry out their mission, and maximize the impact and reach of limited resources.”

The purpose of this grant is to assist Genesee and Orleans county health departments in their efforts to pursue partial or full integration of their current public health services and explore the potential for either independent or joint accreditation.

Lake Plains, the lead agency, was chosen as a neutral and non-governmental resource along with the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions to provide technical and policy advice.

A Cross Jurisdictional Sharing (CJS) is a relationship with the intention of efficiently providing residents of both counties with essential public health services with a shared-leadership model.  It is believed this model will allow both counties to experience financial savings while enhancing service delivery.

“It is also hoped this process will provide the departments with a platform to share local findings and experiences with national, state and municipal public health agencies who also aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services amidst financial constraints,” said Kenneth Oakley, CEO of LPCCN.

The Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing Core Team will include Oakley, Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans county health departments, David Whitcroft, deputy director of Genesee and Orleans county health departments, and Donald Rowe, public health liaison and director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the University at Buffalo.

The Extended Team will also include Charles Nesbitt, Orleans County chief administrative officer, Jay Gsell, Genesee County manager, and up to two county Board of Health members from each county with others as appropriate.

“Our desires are clearly to maintain and where possible improve access to services while at the same time generating cost savings for both counties,” stated Mary Pat Hancock, chair, Genesee County Legislature.

The first year of the project will be a comprehensive assessment and feasibility analysis in order to determine the level of integration that would maximize the CJS relationship.

The final year of the project period would be dedicated to the implementation of the shared-leadership model based on assessment findings.

“We recognize that achieving the standards of the Public Health Accreditation Board would be the ideal way to be accountable to our residents, while improving effectiveness and performance. Therefore, we also aim to examine the feasibility of initiating the accreditation process,” said David Callard, chair, Orleans County Legislature.

Both health departments are looking forward to this opportunity that will be highly beneficial to residents.

“We look forward to sharing the lessons learned through our CJS relationship, as public health agencies across the country work to develop ways to structure high-quality service delivery in strained fiscal environments,” stated Pettit, director of Orleans and Genesee County Health Departments.

For information about the services provided by the Orleans County Health Department call 589-3278 or check out our Web site at: You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Our user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.

For the Genesee County Health Department call 344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit their Web site at Genesee County Health Department is also on Facebook at


February 2, 2013 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, accidents.

A car is well off the roadway and a utility pole is sheared off following an accident at the S-curve in the area of 611 Knapp Road. The vehicle has several occupants, but injuries, if any, are believed to be minor. There are guide wires, which are attached to the broken pole, across the roadway. Pembroke Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics.


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Gift Certificate Super Pack

Purchase this package of gift certificates to local businesses, a $140 value, for only $14.95, plus $1.45 shipping and handling. Santino's, $20 (value of gift certificate) Dave's Ice Cream, $10 Rose Bowl, $20 Alli's Cones and Dogs, $20 Woody's, $10 Smokin' Eagle, $20 Scooter's, $10 John & Mary's, $10 Byron Hotel, $10 Rancho Viejo, $10 That's a $140 value all for $14.95. Use the PayPal link below to make your purchase.

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

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