Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Site Sponsors

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.

February 2, 2013 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

Injuries are reported in an accident in the area of 1182 Ledge Road, Alabama.

A car has reportedly struck a tree.

Alabama Fire Department and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 11:44 a.m.: Alabama is back in service.

View Larger Map

February 1, 2013 - 4:16pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in Oakfield Alabama schools, teacher returns.

Sgt. Bill Snyder is happy to be back teaching eighth-grade social studies at Oakfield Alabama Middle School.

Today is his first day back in the classroom after a two-and-a half year deployment overseas in Kuwait.

"A lot of older kids are shocked to see me in hallways," Snyder says. "The younger kids are wondering who I am."

Snyder, who is with the National Guard, came home to Oakfield on Christmas Eve.

"It was a great present for my wife and kids."

He says he is looking forward to bringing his experiences from Afghanistan and Kuwait into the classroom.

"As a teacher any new experiences you have with different cultures and people can be brought back home and relayed to the kids. It brings a little realism to my classroom." 

Sgt. Snyder has been with the Oakfield Alabama Central Schools since 2000. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and returned one year later to teach part of the 2009-2010 school year.

In 2010, he was sent to Kuwait on second deployment.

"Kuwait was less hostile than (during) my first deployment to Afghanistan in 2008. They are more supportive of U.S. troops now."

This morning, in an assembly organized by Joe Jankowski, a counselor with the district, Sgt. Snyder was presented with a shadow box containing a flag and certificate along with a photo of Snyder and his fellow soldiers while they were stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The items were a gift to the Oakfield Alabama School District in 2009. Snyder had sent the flag that was flown over his base, the certificate, and photo after the district sent so many school supplies, clothing, and food packages overseas to the Afghan people near Snyder's base.

"I sent the flag and the certificate to honor the school district and the kids for supporting the military. A community in the United States helping another community around the world."

"He dedicated and sacrificed his own life to secure our freedom for our country and this assembly was just a way to show a little respect for him and his service," Jankowski says. "He has a presence about him, the kids see him as a positive role model which is what we need today. We are glad to have him back."


February 1, 2013 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

If Charlie Cook can do one thing as chairman of the board of the Genesee County Economic Development Center it is improve the public perception of the agency.

GCEDC claims 3,581 jobs creation commitments since 2003 spread over 349 economic development projects with a total capital investment of $835. In 2012, GCEDC was able to announce at least 300 new jobs at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and WNY STAMP’s regulatory approval promises thousands of more new jobs in the coming years, according to the agency.

Local residents should take pride in hosting an such aggressive, forward-thinking, job-creating industrial development agency, Cook believes.

Turning public opinion from one of skepticism over employee compensation into one of appreciation for its accomplishments won't be a quick or easy process, Cook said.

"Nobody questions the accomplishments of the EDC and how successful we've been over the past 10 years," Cook said. "It's just been huge, but it can be a short-lived success when you shoot yourself in the foot. Certainly this incentive compensation thing was a bad decision and that's been taken away, and that's good.

"I'm determined," he added, "to turn public perception into pride for what this agency does."

Like most entrepreneurs, Cook is an optimist. He's an engineer, so he is hardwired to solve problems. He's also one of Genesee County's most successful business leaders, so he knows what success looks like.

As a Genesee County native, born and raised in Bergen, Cook is a cheerleader for our region and its prosperity.

"The ultimate goal is to keep more of our graduates, our kids, in the area."

But it's not just job creation that motivates Cook to serve as a volunteer on the GCEDC board, it's about boosting the standard of living for us all.

"It's about the well being of our entire area, whether it's job creation or just an improved quality life, that's the real reason I'm on the board. Job creation is just one of the things that leads to that."

Cook has some experience in job growth.

Liberty Pumps was founded in 1965 by his uncle, Fred Cook. Charlie Cook took charge of the company in 1975 when it had only about a dozen employees. Today, Liberty Pumps employs 135 people in its 124,000-square-foot facility in Apple Tree Acres.

Gross annual revenue for Liberty Pumps is about $55 million.

Cook is proud that his company is one where people generally enjoy their work and share in the profits, when there are profits to share.

"We have a hard time here tolerating negative attitudes or an attitude that doesn’t lend itself to performance. It’s not so much me or the managers looking for it. It’s more the peers.

"If there’s somebody who is just not with the program, it’s best for us, obviously, but it’s also best for the employee to move on and go do something else. Fortunately, doesn’t happen too often, but when it does everybody ends up better for it. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a job you really don't like."

After high school, Cook moved to Missouri to study at Parks College of Aeronautical Technology of St. Louis University.

He went to work for McDonald Douglas at night.

"I had no money and I didn't want to take out a loan," he said.

After graduation, Cook moved to a day shift at McDonald Douglas, but was drafted into the Army a few months later.

He was trained as a radio teletype operator and of the 96 people in his school, 93 were sent to Vietnam. Cook was transferred to South Korea.

Cook served his 21 months and then returned to McDonald Douglas, but soon realized he preferred the lifestyle of rural Western New York, wanted to be near his family and didn't fit in with the corporate culture of a large company.

His uncle hired him as an engineer.

"The reality was, we only had seven employees in the company," Cook said. "We did everything. We would build pumps in the morning, in the afternoon, if I had a chance, I would do some design work or I'd go out on the road selling. We did whatever it took to get the job done."

New employees are much more specialized and it's easy to get pigeon-holed into a particular job, but it's still part of the company's culture to expose every employee to as many aspects of the business as possible.

It's also part of its culture to communicate what's going on with the company. The most important communication just might be about profits.

Cook has taken only one business course in his life, at Genesee Community College, and one of the memorable lessons the instructor tried to impart to the class was that a business owner takes all the risks, so the owner should reap all the rewards.

It's a philosophy he has never agreed with.

"I feel like the rewards should be shared with the people who got you there. Ever since the beginning, we've had a pretty aggressive and generous bonus program, profit sharing."

Innovation is also important to Liberty's success.

The sales and marketing departments are really good, he said, at listening to customers and coming up with new ideas, but Cook also subscribes to the notion -- shared by great entrepreneurs from Henry Ford through Steve Jobs -- that often customers doesn't know what they want until you show it to them.

"That's one of the secrets of our success -- coming up with products they just can't get from our competitors."

That's why Fred Cook's business caught on from the beginning.

Liberty was originally a spin-off of a Buffalo-based pump company and made only sump pumps.

But sales of sump pumps are vulnerable to weather conditions, so Fred needed to come up with a line of pumps that could be sold any time of year.

He designed a pump that was pre-installed in a basin and contractors liked it because it was easy to install.

Since then, Liberty Pumps has continued to refine products and expand its line of pumps -- sold to distributors who sell them to contractors.

As we toured the Liberty Pumps facility earlier this week, Charlie asked me not to take a picture of a pump casing because it hasn't been released on the market yet. He doesn't want to give competitors a sneak peek.

"Our competitors have always copied us and now it happens more frequently. Our challenge is to have the next generation already under way before that happens."

That innovative spirit is what makes Liberty Pumps a fun place to work, Cook said.

"It’s really dynamic and exciting. For a boring product like a pump, it’s amazing how interesting it can get if you really focus on innovation and things that aren’t out there currently."

In recent years, the growth of Liberty Pumps has been helped by the agency Cook now helps oversee -- GCEDC.

In 2000, the company moved from a 28,000-square-foot facility on Route 19 to a brand new building in a "shovel ready" business park built in Bergen by GCEDC.  Liberty received tax abatements to help with the move.

In 2008, the company expanded its Apple Tree Acres facility to its present 124,000-square-foot building, again receiving assistance from GCEDC.

In a comment on The Batavian last week, a reader questioned Cook's position as chairman of the board and a beneficiary of GCEDC benefits.

"I would like to invite him out here and show him how that money was invested," Cook said. "Is it sort of corporate welfare? It all depends on how a company uses that benefit. We reinvested that money. Would we have had the two build-outs without the investment, sure, but the fact is, we wouldn't have had the funding to put into product development to fill things up and do another one another eight years later."

Cook's term on the board ends in 2016, but before then, he anticipates more expansion for Liberty Pumps, and in that time he expects his company will again seek assistance from GCEDC.

By law, Cook will be unable to participate in any discussion, and he certainly won't be able to vote, on any proposal for GCEDC to help Liberty Pumps.

The same assistance Liberty Pumbs has received, Cook said, has helped dozens of other businesses in Genesee County.

The assistance helps level the playing field for company's like Liberty Pumps that are based in high-tax New York and must compete against companies based overseas or in lower-tax states.

If all GCEDC did was hand out tax breaks to businesses that promise jobs to the count, it might be controversial enough, but in January 2001, the Authorities Budget Office released a scathing report on bonuses paid to GCEDC employees, especially CEO Steve Hyde.

The public outcry has been at a near consistent high pitch since then and late last year, at the same time Cook was announced as the incoming chairman, the agency said the bonus program would be discontinued starting with the 2013 performance year.

Bonuses were still paid for 2012 because, Cook said at the time, the agency was contractually obligated to pay out bonuses earned by employees based on their performance during the year.

In all, for 2012, employees received $120,000 in bonuses.

In December, the board also announced a raise for Hyde from an annual $160,000 to $195,000. Hyde won't earn a bonus in 2012, but he will receive $10,000 in deferred compensation.

The other staff members, the board announced in December, would also receive raises. Those raises range from 8 to 12 percent.

Local residents continue to take issue with the compensation of employees because they question the announced job creation numbers of the EDC, but many people also object to the annual county government share paid to the agency each year.

For 2013, taxpayers will kick in $213,000 to help fund the agency's operations.

While Cook acknowledges the bonuses paid out previously were a mistake, he said the county's should continue partial funding for GCEDC.

"Looking at this last year, sure the EDC did extremely well and they did earn some money, but our commitments for reinvestment far exceed (that revenue)," Cook said. "I think it's appropriate that the county invest incrementally. There are going to be years where we don't have that kind of success and yet you want to maintain the caliber of staff that we have. I think there would be a danger, and it would be unfortunate, if we ask for substantially less from the county."

Cook acknowledged that all of the negative attention Steve Hyde seems to get over his compensation is a concern.  It's not come to the point yet, Cook said, that he feels the need to sit down and talk about it, but he understands that anybody can find their job less enjoyable if they face constant criticism from the public.

"How long can you really enjoy your occupation with the negative scrutiny? Certainly, scrutiny is not inappropriate for what he does. That's to be expected.  We're uncomfortable for the potential that he is uncomfortable to the point of being discouraged enough to the point of leaving."

Cook considers Hyde a bit of a superstar at what he does and wants to see him stick around.

"Without actually seeing all he does and knowing about his capabilities, it's difficult for people to understand that he would be hard to replace. It's not impossible. Anybody is replaceable, but even if you did, you would have to pay at least as much as what we're paying him to get that kind of talent. It's just a fact."

Over the next year or two, Cook hopes he can help refocus the public's attention on the agency's success and have people come to understand that Hyde and the rest of the staff are paid well because they do a really good job at creating employment and improving the quality of life in Genesee County.

"Any agency that can do what his agency has done and generate this many jobs in a rural county, especially in New York State, is pretty amazing," Cook said.

February 1, 2013 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in water, Bethany.

Town board members in Bethany need to hear from town residents on an important topic: Do you want public water?

Eric Wies, senior associate for Clark Patterson Lee, repeated that message several times last night at a public meeting in Bethany attended by nearly 100 residents.

The town board won't go forward with a public water project unless enough residents express interest because there's no point in going forward if property owners won't eventually sign a petition in support of creating a water district.

To that end, Wies (a water project consultant) said there are a number of factors property owners must consider, beginning with the fact their annual expected cost for public water could be as much as $1,600.

The final cost won't be determined until after the town board takes the next step toward setting up one or more water districts.

Wies explained in detail how water districts are formed and funded.

There is grant money available either from the state or federal government, but according to census data, the median household income in Bethany is $58,200.

That's much too high to even discuss the possibility of a state grant and a tad too high for a USDA Rural Development grant.

If there's sufficient interest from residents to take a closer look at public water, the town board will commission a third-party household income survey.

The responses will be kept confidential and the aggregate data shared with the town board.

If it shows that the actual median household income is less than $58,000, then the town would have a shot at a USDA grant.

Such a grant could lower the annual cost for residential water to $1,000 a year on average.

Bringing public water to Bethany involves creating one or more water districts.

Each water district would borrow the money necessary to connect to a water main from either the Monroe County Water Authority or the Town of Batavia's water supply and install water lines down each roadway in the district.

Part of the annual cost for each property owner is repayment of the loan, which will take 38 years to pay off.

"We're not spending our money. We're spending your money," said Supervisor Louis J. Gayton. "We don't want to spend your money if this is something you don't want."

The loan payoff follows the property, not the current property owner.

Some of the water cost for property owners, of course, is for the water itself. There will also be a charge, mandated by the county for new water districts, to help pay for the big water line that brings water from Monroe County to Genesee County. 

Bethany water customers will pay the surcharge -- 60 cents per 1,000 gallons of water -- whether the new district(s) goes with Monroe County water or Town of Batavia water.

Wies encouraged property owners to really examine the cost of their well water.  Well water costs include pumps (and pump replacements), electricity, replacing plumbing and fixtures regularly if the water is too hard, filtration, chlorination and water safety tests.

Some residents may find they're already spending as much as $1,600 a year on water, Wies said. They just don't realize it.

"This is a decision each of you will have to make yourselves," Wies said.

Public water will also mean fire hydrants in the town and more effective firefighting.

If residents decide to push forward with a water project, then Hyde and other residents (board members can't do it) will bring a petition around to each resident. The petition will have the property owner's name on it, the parcel number and the exact anticipated cost of water for the property owner.

If the owner signs the petition, it's like a yes vote. No signature, it's a no.

Property owners holding at least 50 percent of the assessed value of all property in the district must sign the petition, but as a practical matter, property owners with more than 70 or 80 percent of assessed value must support the formation of a water district.

At 50 percent, it's much easier for one owner who objects to block formation of the district.

If there's enough support for the district, then the town must appeal to the Comptroller's Office to approve the formation of the district. The Comptroller can veto the formation of the district where the annual cost of water exceeds $685.

The issue of public water reached this point largely because of the work of Carl Hyde, the champion for public water in Bethany.

At the end of the meeting, Hyde said he's done all he can do to get the issue to this point.

"Now it's up to you," he said. "This is your decision."

Top photo: Eric Wies. First inset, town attorney David DiMatteo. Third inset, Carl Hyde.

February 1, 2013 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement, The Batavian Club.

Naturally, I loved this e-mail I got from Mark Lewis, of the Mark Lewis State Farm Agency:

You really could charge for these (help wanted ads). I don't know another medium that delivers results locally like help wanted ads in The Batavian.

Yes, our help wanted ads work, and so do our "buy, sell and trade" ads. I know because Billie and I post ads ourselves and Mark isn't the first person to tell us about how well the ads work.

And they're free.

And it's my intention to keep it that way.

Our news is free, and I intend to keep it that way, too.

But that doesn't mean we don't need your assistance in helping The Batavian grow and become more sustainable.

We can't do all we could to provide you with the best news coverage possible without more help. We've pretty much grown as much as possible just with advertising.

Newspapers get by on advertising revenue and subscription revenue, but people don't want to pay for online news. Up until now that's left online news sites trying to survive on advertising alone.

I also personally believe that for a news outlet to be most effective it should reach the widest possible audience, and requiring somebody to buy a subscription (either for print or online) limits an audience for important public service news.

Rather than charge for a subscription, we're asking you to join The Batavian Club. Yes, we're asking you to pay some money to support The Batavian, but we're also giving you something of value back: Gift Certificates.

If I walked up to you on the street and said, "Here's $303 dollars, please give me $50," would you turn me down?

That's essentially the bargain here. We're asking you to support The Batavian for $50 a year (in our most popular membership tier) and giving you $303 in gift certificates to local businesses.

So help us help you, become a member of The Batavian Club.

Join before 5 p.m. today as an annual member (paying either on a recurring payment of $50 per year, or pay $60 for this year and we'll bill you again next year), and you'll receive a bonus gift from The Batavian: one of our gift certificates to a local restaurant worth either $20 or $25.

If you want to sign up for a monthly recurring payment of $5 per month through PayPal, join before noon today, and you'll also get a gift certificate. (Reminder, when you sign up for $5 per month, you're signing up for a one-year membership.)

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


February 1, 2013 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, Darien, Pavilion.

Steven Edward Rheinheimer, 18, of Beachwood Place, Cheektowaga, is charged with burglary, 3rd, and petit larceny. Rheinheimer is accused of entering a building in Darien and stealing property some time during the month of December. Rheinheimer allegedly returned to that location at a later date in December and stole property from outside of that building. He was arraigned and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Elijah J. Dawson, 18, of 20 North Spruce St., Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Dawson is accused of punching and knocking down another person while in the presence of a child. Dawson was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Troy D. Hubler, 42, of 7634 Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, failure to appear and unlicensed operation, 2nd. Hubler turned himself in on two warrants. He allegedly violated an order of protection and failed to appear on the unlicensed operation count. Hubler was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Alex S. Dumbleton, 19, of 121 Liberty St., Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, 2nd. Dumbleton is accused of punching a person under age 17 several times.

Derek F. McQueen, 25, of Akron, is charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child. McQueen was arrested by State Police in relation to an alleged incident reported at 1:04 p.m., Jan. 12. No further details were released. McQueen was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Bernard L. Evans, 42, Pavilion, is charged with criminal contempt and harassment, 2nd. Evans was arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported at 1:17 p.m., Sunday. No further details released. Evans was jailed on $2,500 bail.

February 1, 2013 - 7:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

Police have completed an investigation into a report of a shot being fired near a home on Keeney Road, Le Roy, on Jan. 11 and charged a resident of the street with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Howard Clarence Schultz, 54, was also charged with two counts of illegal discharge of a weapon within 500 feet of a residence.

Deputies and state troopers responded the night of Jan. 11 after a Keeney Road resident reported a shot fired near his home and even thought a person with a gun had been on his porch.

Keeney Road was closed by officers and there were some tense moments as they observed a person in a house who they believed had a gun.

After several minutes the man came out and the situation was resolved without further incident.

Initially, Schultz was arrested on a warrant out of the Town of Greece.

Schultz reportedly has a prior felony conviction and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

The two counts stem from the alleged Jan. 11 incident and from an allegation that Schultz possessed a firearm while hunting Dec. 5.

Schultz was issued an appearance ticket and is ordered to appear in Town of Le Roy Court on Feb. 19 for arraignment.

The incident and investigation were handled by Deputy Frank Bordonaro, Deputy Howard Butler, Deputy Joseph Graff, Deputy Eric Seppala, Sgt. Ron Meides, Trooper Holly Hanssel and Trooper Mark Catanzaro, Trooper Ryan Dulkiewicz and Environmental Conservation Officer Rick Rauscher.


Top Items on Batavia's List

Cockapoo puppies for sale

Cockapoo puppies for sale
Adorable cockapoo puppies will be ready for their new home November 2nd. We have 2 females and 1 male. tail dock, dew claws and first shots included. Please call 585-219-4396

Retail Store Clerk (Batavia)

Retail Store Clerk (Batavia) R & D Industries is looking for a retail sales associate for its outlet store. Part time to full time available. Store hours are Monday-Friday 10-6 and Sat 10-2. Must have good customer service skills, ability to operate unsupervised, and be able to pass a background check. We offer paid holidays, vacation, and 401K to full time employees. Starting at $8.75 through probationary period. Apply in person at 5272 Clinton St Rd. Batavia, NY 14020 BEFORE 3pm

Administrator, The Manor House

The Manor House seeks an individual to provide overall leadership to the operations of this senior living community. The facility accommodates senior adults living independently but is also state certified to provide medication and personal care services through the Enriched Housing Program. This individual will oversee the planning, staffing, direction and implementation of all programs and policies and will be responsible for the efficient and effective administration and execution of all facility business.

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.

Maintenance Mechanic & Electricians

We are looking for new team members for our manufacturing facility. Maintenance Mechanics (1) & Electricians (2). USG offers a complete benefit package upon date of hire, including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) investment plan, & cash balance retirement plan. For this event, we are offering a signing bonus of $500! We not only offer career advancement, we encourage it! Spend 30 minutes with us at our Recruiting Fair on Thursday, October 8th at Genesee Community College
, One College Rd., Room T-122 Batavia, NY.



Copyright © 2008-2014 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button