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January 7, 2014 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Here's an idea of what near zero-visibility looks like at Main and Ellicott. Driving conditions are tough and for the most part, there isn't a lot of traffic on area roads.

James Koenig shoveling his drive on Summit Street.

Daniel Wilson shoveling his drive on Vine Street.

Holland Land Office Museum.

The old Firehouse on West Main.

The County Court House, which is closed today.

The back of St. Jerome's.

January 7, 2014 - 7:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

In addition to closures we reported yesterday, we've received notice of the following closures and cancellations:

  • Upstate Cardiology of WNY, Dr. Mishra's office will be closed today.
  • Lamb Family Medicine is closed today.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County offices will be closed today. All meetings scheduled for this evening have also been cancelled. Please stay inside, safe and warm. We will be available via e-mail for any questions/concerns.
  • The Alzheimer's Association, WNY Chapter, is CLOSED today (Tues. Jan 7). Those needing help can reach a trained professional for confidential guidance at 1.800.272.3900.
  • Le Roy Physical Therapy and Village Fitness in Le Roy will be CLOSED today.
  • Sports Plus Physical Therapy in Batavia will also be closed today.
  • From UMMC: A Travel Advisory is in effect, no unnecessary travel at this time. All non-patient care related departments are NOT to report for duty today. Specific departments are listed on the UMMC Web site at All patient care departments including Nursing, Emergency Department,  Lab, Radiology, Respiratory Therapy, Switchboard, Food Services, EKG/ECHO, Facilities Management and Environmental Services are to report as scheduled.
  • Dr. Basra's office will be closed Tuesday.
  • Pembroke Town Hall and Pembroke Town Court.
  • Bergen Town Hall & the Byron-Bergen Public Library.
  • Suzanne's School of Dance.
  • The Genesee County YMCA is open as of 8:30 AM but all classes are cancelled until noon.
  • Display Development is closed.
  • Hot Heads Salon in Le Roy is closed.
  • L&L Transmissions is closed.
  • Benny's Barber Shop
  • Batavia Youth Center
  • Oliver's Candies is closed for the day.
  • Settlers is closing at 10 a.m.
  • Jagged Edges Salon
  • Millennium Computers
  • Cain's Taekwondo is cancelling all evening classes
  • The Town of Batava Planning Board has cancelled it's meeting for tonight. The public hearing has been rescheduled for Jan. 21.
  • Dunn Tire
  • Batavia Animal Hospital
  • Salon VIP
  • Boy Scouts Batavia Service Center

UPDATE 11:53 a.m.: With travel ban in place, there's no point in updating closures further. Everything is close that isn't related to emergency services.

For more closures, visit WBTA's closure page. E-mail closures and cancellations to [email protected].

Also, the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory.

January 7, 2014 - 7:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

UPDATE 6:59 a.m.: A one-vehicle rollover with possible entrapment is reported on Fotch Road.

Also, a deputy is out on Route 77 near the Flying J dealing with double-parked semi-trucks that are blocking travel. At least three may be disabled. He's requested the parking lot of Pembroke High School be cleared of snow so the trucks can relocate to that location.

Numerous trucks are parked in the area of Texaco Town.

UPDATE 7:13 a.m.: The driver on Fotch Road is out of the vehicle. Route 77 at Flying J is partially cleared of parked trucks and is passable again.

UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: The Thruway is closed west of Exit 50.

UPDATE 9:26 a.m.: Route 20 westbound was closed by Pavilion Fire Police at Texaco Town and eastbound was shut down by Alexander Fire Police, in an effort to get some of the big rigs on that roadway. Regarding the Thruway, exits 60 and 61 are closed and traffic is advised to stay off exits 50-55. Traffic will be diverted to eastbound. To handle the congestion of tractor-trailers and get them off the roadways, the Thruway Authority plans to bring in trucks to plow the parking lot at Darien Lake Amusement Park and direct them to park in there. Also, the Thruway Authority has put out a warning about closed exits and is using traffic alert signs to communicate this to drivers. It's advised to avoid driving anywhere unless it's absolutely necessary.

January 6, 2014 - 6:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Your best best over the next day or two, according to county officials, is stay home.

Both Tim Yaeger, the county's emergency management coordinator, and Tim Hens, the county highway superintendent, made that point in conversations this evening about the anticipated weather conditions over the next 36 to 48 hours.

The Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory, advising residents to avoid unnecessary travel.  Some white-out conditions have already been reported in some parts of the county, according to the advisory.

The governor has declared a state of emergency for Western New York and is mobilizing additional resources to help the 11-county area.

The National Weather Service has upgraded the weather outlook to blizzard conditions with up to three feet of snow, driven by strong winds and the weather danger increased by frightfully cold temperatures.

"The best thing people can do is stay off the roads," Yaeger said. "Make sure you have supplies; be prepared to stay home for at least two days. If you do lose power, use caution, watch your generators to make sure the exhaust area is kept clear and be careful with candles. People need to understand that there will be a delayed response by fire and EMS and law enforcement. We just hope everybody is extra careful tonight and through tomorrow night."

Hens, who shares some of the responsibility for keeping the snow off of roadways in the county, also urged residents to stay home.

"It's going to be at least 24 or 36 hours, so I hope people have enough at home to stay put for a while," Hens said.

Drivers getting stuck can make it harder on plow truck drivers and impede their ability to keep the roads clear, which can be a challenge in storms of lesser strength.

County workers are ready to work full shifts over the course of the storm. For most winter weather events, there might be a break in plowing in the middle of the night, but Hens said the plan is for crews to plow all night long tonight.

Once a roadway gets lost to a snow drift, "it's hard to get it back," Hens said. "Snow drifts can get hard like concrete."

That said, if there are prolonged stretches of zero visibility, it can become too dangerous for the plow drivers to be out on the roads and crews may need to take a break.

"It's been a long time since we had a storm of this magnitude," Hens said. "I've been with the county for 15 years and we haven't had a blizzard, by definition, in those 15 years."

Yaeger said that from an emergency response standpoint, the county is ready, though at this point there is no emergency command post set up.

"We'll watch it hour-by-hour," Yaeger said.

Cuomo is also calling in extra resources for all of WNY. There will be 420 additional plow trucks brought in from the Southern Tier and Central New York and an additional 1,000 state personnel on hand to deal with the emergency. 

The Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation are preemptively closing some roadways, though none in Genesee County.

"We have experience with snow in Western New York, though this is something different," Cuomo said in a teleconference this evening. "It's snow, but it's also extraordinary arctic cold and winds that we think will make the storm extremely dangerous."

Cuomo encouraged residents to check on their neighbors, especially elderly neighbors, and ensure they have what they need to weather the storm.

"We'll get through this because we're New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "We take a tough situation and we handle it."

January 6, 2014 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, weather.

This post will stick to the top of the home page today and we will keep it as updated as we possibly can with weather-related incidents. Other news stories, if any, will continue to be published as normal, so scroll down. Also, scroll down for our post listing cancellations that we know about.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: A vehicle skidded down a steep embankment after exiting the westbound Route 490 at the Le Roy exit at Vallance Road. The female driver is said to be in and out of consciousness, possibly due to a medical issue. Le Roy fire and ambulance service are responding.

UPDATE 4:42 p.m. (by Howard): Photo of what it looked like downtown about 10 minutes ago.

UPDATE 5:38 p.m. (by Howard): A blizzard warning is effect until 6 a.m., Wednesday. Snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches tonight, 9 to 17 inches Tuesday and 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night. Gusts up to 45 mph with visibility near zero. Wind chill below 30 degrees. Numerous roadways will be covered throughout Tuesday. Up to four inches of snowfall per hour are possible at times in the heaviest bands of lake effect snow. High winds will create drifting and blowing snow. Whiteout conditions are expected at times.

UPDATE 6:09 p.m. (by Billie): Route 98 is shut down at Lockport and Oak Orchard roads because of a motor-vehicle accident, unknown injuries, at Quaker Hill and Lockport roads. Elba fire is on scene, Mercy medics arrived non-emergency.

UPDATE 7:55 p.m.: There are three cars off the roadway in the area of Daws Corners. One is unoccupied. Civilians are on scene trying to help and a tow is in route. A trooper is on scene.

UPDATE 8 p.m.: There's a report of a car off the road on Route 77 with an unconscious driver. Darien fire dispatched.

UPDATE 8:02 p.m.: Town of Batavia is responding to a report of a truck off the Thruway. Unknown injuries.

UPDATE 8:05 p.m.: A milk truck half full of milk has overturned on Route 20 near Roanoke Road. The driver is uninjured but is unable to get out of the vehicle. Another car is reported off the road, Route 77, Darien.

UPDATE 8:13 p.m.: Route 20 being closed at Texaco Town and at Pavilion Center Road. A chief says, "it's a complete whiteout up here."

UPDATE 8:18 p.m.: A truck is off the road, partially blocking Route 20 between Smithley and Attica roads.

UPDATE 8:21 p.m.: Photo above of West Main Street, Batavia, at 7:15 p.m.. A Pembroke chief reports a lot of trucks backed up on the westbound Thruway.

UPDATE 8:27 p.m.: To keep up with the latest news on cancellations and closings, click here. We just added a closing for Wyoming County: grand jury postponed for a day.

UPDATE 8:43 p.m.: There's a wrecker coming for the milk truck. Route 20 should reopen in about five minutes. A deputy just cleared a call and asked if there were more calls. "Yeah, a lot of them. One at 20 and Harlow, 20 and 77, though a wrecker's coming for that one."

UPDATE 8:52 p.m.: The tow for the milk truck is coming from Farmington. It has another truck to pump out first. Pavilion is clearing the scene until the tow arrives and Route 20 is being reopened until the tow arrives.

UPDATE 8:56 p.m.: The tow from Farmington is now NOT coming. The Pavilion chief asks if there's a local tow. A dispatcher is checking. The truck (or its cargo) weighs 84,000 pounds.

UPDATE 8:58 p.m.: Genesee County Emergency Services has requested that all volunteer fire departments man their halls with a crew for at least one engine through the next 24 hours.

UPDATE 9:02 p.m.: A Pembroke chief advises dispatchers that truckers are lining up, parked, on the east side of Route 77 near the Flying J.

UPDATE 9:13 p.m.: A truck is off the road in the area of 471 Route 5, partially blocking.

UPDATE 9:23 p.m.: No local tow for the milk truck. When the boss gets their the driver and the boss will talk it over. They may just leave the truck for now.

UPDATE 9:28 p.m.: The on-again-off-again local tow for the milk truck may be on again in about 20 minutes.

UPDATE 9:31 p.m.: A car is in a ditch off Route 20 near Route 63. Two occupants. No injuries reported.

UPDATE 9:49 p.m.: Pavilion fire dispatched to Burley Hill for traffic control because a truck is disabled and blocking multiple lanes.

UPDATE 9:51 p.m.: A trooper trying to find the car in the ditch off Route 20 reported "it's complete whiteout conditions out here." 

UPDATE 9:52 p.m.: The driver of the car says she sees an SUV nearby in a ditch with its four-ways on. The trooper now on scene reports four cars off the road. The dispatcher reports, "she's excited to see you." The trooper replies, "and I'm excited to see them, too."

UPDATE 9:55 p.m.: The trooper reports the car isn't really in the ditch, but there's a lot of snow and no visibility, so the driver is just staying put for now. They do have a baby on board. The trooper is checking on the other cars.

UPDATE 9:59 p.m.: The trooper is giving a woman driver a ride home and picking up the two women with a child. "They're not going anywhere fast."

UPDATE 10:14 p.m.: There's much less activity now. Unless circumstances change, we're suspending updates to this post. (Time to try get some sleep and be ready for tomorrow.)

UPDATE 10:45 p.m.: There's a water main break on Ross Street. Route 63 is reopened. 

UPDATE 10:48 p.m.: They can't offload the milk. It's not leaking. The owner is considering just leaving it until the weather clears. A GCSO supervisor says that's fine if it isn't a hazard. The deputy and owner are going to discuss it some more. There are now two heavy wreckers and a service truck in route to that location from a another call.

January 6, 2014 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia.

The way David Bellavia sees it, there's no real chance of going back to Fallujah, not that he and few of his fellow Iraq War veterans haven't mentioned the idea in conversation.

The news reports of al-Qaida-linked forces capturing Fallujah and Ramadi hasn't sat well with Bellavia, nor the families of those who lost loved ones in battles to secure those cities for Iraq's government, said the Batavia resident who was awarded a Silver Star for his role in liberating Fallujah from insurgents in 2004.

"It's a black eye for our foreign policy in the Middle East," Bellavia said. "It's the same group we backed in Syria and not a damn thing was said about it. The enemy in Iraq is the very force that has tried to overthrow Assad. It shows how absolutely difficult the Middle East has become. This administration has decided Iraq is not important. All of the focus is on Afghanistan, so as far as Iraq goes, it's a closed chapter and we move on. For the veterans of that war, it's a bitter pill to swallow."

Bellavia said he talks regularly with fellow veterans and he's also heard from three families who lost loved ones in Fallujah and nobody is happy about the turn of events. It does indeed cause some to ask "what did we fight for?" -- he thinks that's really the goal of al-Qaida.

Bellavia compared the fall of Fallujah to the fall of Saigon, saying Fallujah is his generation's Normandy. He said it was sacred ground.

"Fallujah has no tactical value to the enemy at all," Bellavia said. "It's nothing but a moral victory. If you want to take over Iraq, you capture Basra and Baghdad. Taking over Fallujah is nothing but a thumb in the eye to Americans."

What's particularly galling, Bellavia said, is the seeming willingness of Fallujah residents, who once welcomed the Americans, now supporting al-Qaida.

"Before last month, we believed people (in Fallujah) appreciated the sacrafice, but you can't say that now," Bellavia said, "especially when you hear the locals are taking al-Qaida in and housing them and helping them stand against the government. What do you say to that?"

Perhaps if the administration had more aggressively pursued a status of force agreement that allowed more air cover for government forces, al-Qaida wouldn't have felt emboldened to capture the cities of the Al Anbar Province.

As it is, it didn't take much for the Islamic radicals to capture territory Americans once fought so hard to free.

"You know there's a problem when you get a report that a city fell and there are only eight people dead," Bellavia said. "That means whoever was defending the city just left. They didn't want to risk their blood to defend the city."

One thing Bellavia doesn't see happening is U.S. troops returning to Fallujah.

"I don't think anybody wants boots on the ground," Bellavia said. 

Even with the change in circumstances, al-Qaida isn't in full control of the city. Sunni tribal forces are also asserting authority while the Shiite-led government of Iraq has seemingly abandoned its posts.

Eventually, Bellavia believes, Iraq will muster sufficient security forces to retake Fallujah. But then what? The Sunnis and the radicals will just want it back, and so on, with no end in sight.

But perhaps, Bellavia said, that's the enduring lesson of Iraq, with consequences for U.S. foreign policy throughout the region.

"We can't be there forever," Bellavia said. "Were we going to have permanent bases in Iraq like Germany or Japan? That's the tough lesson. If they choose not to fight, they choose not to fight. It doesn't make it easier for those who lost loved ones, but we can't go back. We're all now 10 years from the fight. We have families. We have children. Would we want our sons and daughters to go back to Iraq and finish the job we couldn't? Absolutely not. There's no way I would want my son to go through anything like I went through. We served our country, we did it with honor and an unflinching sense of duty, but we can't save the world if we are the only ones willing to die for the cause."

January 6, 2014 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in Stafford.

Route 5 will be shut down at Transit and Clipnock roads due to low-hanging wires in the roadway. Stafford Fire Police are responding, along with law enforcement. National Grid is in route. "We have a ton of cars up here we're trying to get turned around along with at least three tractor-trailers."

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: The line is either cable or phone, but National Grid has agreed to snip it so it can be removed from the roadway. The appropriate company will be notified of the action.

UPDATE 4 p.m.: Stafford Fire Police are back in service.

January 6, 2014 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in Deal of the Day.

Batavia Downs Grandstands Bar and Grille, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY: A full menu, salad bar and drinks in one of the region's most popular entertainment venues. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15. (Must be new or current Players Club member to redeem.)

Casa Del Taco, 234 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Mexican food lovers will delight in this new eatery that makes tacos and burritos "the way you want 'em" plus it offers other items like taco salads, burrito bowls, loaded nachos, churros, and chili. Choose from a variety of toppings, including jalapenos, black beans, cilantro and guacamole. There are also several varieties of salsa to select from, such as corn, mango, verde, and sweet Thai ranch. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday thru Saturday; closed Sunday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

T.F. Brown's, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." Stop in and check out our Jumbo Chicken Wings, Roast Beef on Weck and Friday night fish fry. The original family spaghetti sauce still adorns all of our Italian specialties. The other popular selections from our menu range from Super Salads, butcher cut Strip Loin and South of the Border items. We offer daily lunch and dinner specials as well as a full adult and children’s menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery & Bistro, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, NY. A retail and special-order bakery and cafe located in Downtown Batavia inside Seymour Place. Offering a wide variety of items such as cookies, filled cupcakes, quick breads, pies, breakfast pastries, daily. On Fridays, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery offers fresh artisan bread like baguettes, sourdough and rye starting at noon. The custom cakes are out of this world with 3D characters or gorgeous wedding cakes to suit any budget. For all your sweet treats, we have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Sammy Hill's, 7 Mill St., Le Roy, NY: This new restaurant has good, fresh food, including hand-pressed burgers, and a friendly atmosphere. Choose a house specialty burger or make your own with a variety of toppings, cheeses and sauces to select from. The menu also includes flatbread sliders, garbage plates, shredded beef or marinated chicken tacos, sandwiches like the Cuban, bruschetta chicken, or deep-fried pork loin. Friday fish fry -- battered, broiled or blackened. Dine in or take out. "Come Get Some!" Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Monday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Clor's Meat Market, Catering & BBQ, 4169 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's is under new ownership and now offers baked goods, pizza, wings, delivery service, and catering. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Daphne's Restaurant, 241 Swan St., (Off Rt. 63/Ellicott St.) Batavia, NY. Daphne's is destined to become a favorite for any who enjoy something special in a dining experience. Formerly the old St. Nick's Social Club, now unrecognizable to those who used to frequent the club, Daphne's provides you with a warm, inviting atmosphere and decor, which complements the array of wonderful dishes. We offer homemade seafood and pasta dishes, meatballs that are addicting as well as large salads, hot sandwiches & homemade potato chips. Fresh desserts are prepared in our own kitchen (tiramisu has been the top seller so far). We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Stretch your body and soul with yoga. This offer is for $20 off of a 10-class package. Not good with any other discounts or specials. Use before March 2014. We have a gift certificate for $20 off the retail value of $100. Not valid with any other discounts or specials.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15.

Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, 9 Main St., Le Roy, NY. The kind of downhome, laid-back and comfortable place that just feels right. Open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks, this eatery and bar features a variety of eats and drinks that are outstanding. Specializing in smoked meats -- each meat is dry rubbed with a proprietary mix of seasonings, then smoked slowly in their on-site smoker for maximum flavor and tenderness. With a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, combo platters and entrées, there's always plenty of choice for even picky eaters. Great food, frosty brews and some of the best folk around call the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew their favorite -- make it your favorite today! Don't forget to ask about our catering! We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Bohn's Restaurant, 5256 Clinton St., Batavia, NY: Fine dining in an atmosphere of casual elegance. Lunch and dinner, steak, prime rib and seafood. Ask about Bohn's catering services and banquet facility. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15.

Scooter's Restaurant in Le Roy, 140 W. Main Street Road (Route 5), Le Roy, NY: Come see us at Scooter's family restaurant with our friendly atmosphere and homestyle cooking! We offer classic American food with breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day. We also offer a full take-out menu anytime. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.


January 6, 2014 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Cancellations we know about:

  • Due to severe weather conditions, all Genesee County grand jurors summoned for Tuesday, January 7, 2014 are directed NOT to report as scheduled. Genesee County grand jury service has been postponed to Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Grand jurors summoned to appear must report to the Genesee County Courts Facility, Second Floor, One West Main Street, Batavia, New York on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. More information is available at the Genesee County Commissioner of Jurors Office at 585-344-2550 ext. 2296 or
  • Due to the winter storm expected to strike the Western New York region beginning the evening of January 6, 2014, the US Department of State’s Buffalo Passport Agency will be closed all day January 7, 2014. We expect to reopen to the public at 10AM on Wednesday, January 8.
  • American Legion Post 626 Oakfield-Alabama has cancelled its meeting.
  • The Alabama Fire Department has cancelled bingo for tonight.
  • 4-H activities for tonight have been cancelled.
  • The Village of Corfu budget meeting scheduled for tonight is cancelled.
  • The Haxon Library in Oakfield is closed. It will be closed tomorrow if school is cancelled.
  • The Chamber of Commerce Office will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday.
  • Batavia City Schools has cancelled it's board meeting.
  • City Schools have cancelled classes tomorrow.
  • The Rotary basketball tournament is postponed.
  • United Memorial has closed its URGENT CARE facility in Batavia early tonight due to the weather. The emergency room at 127 North Street is open.
  • Oakfield-Alabama Central Schools will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, January 7th including all afterschool and evening activities.
  • St. Joes is closed tomorrow.
  • The Alabama Town Hall will be closed Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  This includes the Town Clerk and Assessor offices and Court.
  • Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen requested we post the following announcement because of its importance and it might get overshadowed by other news: Due to severe weather conditions, all Wyoming County Grand Jurors summoned for Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. are to report on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Grand Jurors should report Wednesday to the Courthouse at 147 North Main Street, Warsaw, NY. If you have any questions, please contact the Wyoming County Commissioner of Jurors Office at 585‑786‑8756 or
  • Genesee County Chapter NYSARC Day Hab Programs and Workshop are closed Tuesday.
  • The Genesee County YMCA, 209 East Main St. will open at 8:30 AM, Tuesday, January 7, 2014.
  • From UMMC: ALL OUTPATIENT SERVICES, including URGENT CARE and OUTPATIENT SURGERY (same day surgery) will be closed, on Tuesday, January 7th due to weather. Employees of these areas should remain home unless notified by their leader to come in to work. The closure includes: Jerome Center Diagnostics; LeRoy Diagnostics; Pembroke Diagnostics, Outpatient Lab and Outpatient Medical Imaging at 127 North Street; the Wound Care Center; the Pain Center;Cardiology and Internal Medicine practice; Batavia Family Care; Tountas Family Care, LeRoy Care; Batavia Urgent Care; The Corporate Health Center; the Women's Care Centers in Medina and Batavia; the Cancer and Infusion Center; Surgical Associates Office for Drs. Froix, Zucchiatti and DiBenedetto; Cardiac Rehab; Outpatient Echo and EKG.

For a list of cancellations on WBTA's web site, click here.

If you have a cancellation, e-mail info to [email protected].

January 6, 2014 - 9:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Attica, crime, Le Roy.

Deborah A. Blackmar, 50, of Le Roy, Miranda A. Ralston, 27, of York, and Aaron M. Higgins, 33, of York, are all charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Ralston and Higgins are also charged with criminal possession of stolen property. State Police in Warsaw accuse the trio of stealing, on two separate occasions in December, merchandise from the Walmart in Warsaw. The items allegedly stolen include two flat-screen TVs, a Blue Ray disc player, a laptop computer and other items, with a total value of $1,500. Most of the items were allegedly recovered at a residence in York. The Sheriff's offices in Livingston and Genesee counties, along with Le Roy PD, assisted in the 10-day investigation, which culminated in the Dec. 28 arrest of the three suspects.

Donald E. Cameron Jr., 54, of 9200 York Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI and refusing to take breath test. Cameron was arrested after Le Roy PD was dispatched to McDonald's to check on the welfare of a woman. By the time, officers arrived, the woman had left McDonald's, but was located in a vehicle operated by Cameron. She was fine, but upon further investigation, officers determined that Cameron had allegedly been driving drunk.

Justin Samuel Fagan, 28, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd. This is an upgraded charge. Fagan was arrested and initially charged with third-degree assault on Dec. 29 following an alleged incident at the Blue Dog Saloon in Attica. The upgraded charge alleges serious physical injury to the victim.

Michael Christopher Schulz, 31, of Buffalo Street Road, Attica, was arrested on a Family Court warrant. Schulz was arrested by Attica PD on a Family Court warrant and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Schulz was jailed on $2,000 cash bail or $4,000 bond.

Troy Christian Shepard, 31, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Shepard is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

January 5, 2014 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The National Weather Service has upgraded the severity of the storm expected to hit Genesee County on Monday and Tuesday, issuing a prediction of up to two feet of snow over a nearly 48-hour period.

The wind chill factor will be as low as 30 degrees below zero.

The lake effect snow warning is in effect from 11 a.m., Monday to 6 a.m., Wednesday and the wind chill warning starts at 6 p.m., Monday and goes through 6 p.m., Tuesday.

The storm will start Monday with 1 to 3 inches of snow, 6 to 11 inches Monday night, 9 to 17 inches Tuesday and an inch or less Tuesday night.

The heaviest snow will be south of Route 20.

With winds of 20 to 30 mph, visibility will be less than a few hundred feet at times.

"Travel will become very difficult to near impossible, with snow covered roads and localized whiteout conditions due to heavy lake effect snow along with considerable blowing and driving snow," the weather service predicts, adding, "dangerously cold wind chills will pose a risk for frost bite and hypothermia for anyone outside for even very short periods of time. This is life-threatening cold for those not in shelter."

UPDATE 12:42 p.m.: The National Weather Service has added a high wind warning for 1 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday, with winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts up to 60 mph.

January 5, 2014 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A natural gas leak is reported at the Rite Aid at Lewiston and West Main Street roads Batavia.

The building is evacuated.

Town of Batavia fire is on scene.

National Fuel is in route.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: National Fuel is on scene.

UPDATE 11:28 a.m.: Town of Batavia in service. The scene is turned over to National Fuel.

January 4, 2014 - 8:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy.

A house fire is reported at 9284 Robbins Road. Le Roy Fire Department is responding along with a Le Roy ambulance and a ladder truck from Bergen.

UPDATE 8:15 p.m.:  A responder reports it's a kitchen stove fire.

UPDATE 8:18 p.m. (by Howard): A chief requests a thermal camera. "It may have gotten up into the ceiling," he says. The City of Batavia's Fast Team is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 8:22 p.m. (by Howard): Pavilion responding. Stafford requested to Le Roy's hall.

UPDATE 8:24 p.m.: Interior firefighter reports the fire is knocked down. Checking for extensions.

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January 4, 2014 - 8:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

An off-duty emergency dispatcher says he was apparently in the right place at the right time tonight when two men tried to pull off a heist of drills from Home Depot on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Nate Fix, who is also a Town of Batavia Fire 1st assistant chief and part of the private security detail at Darien Lake on concert nights, said his wife, Kayte, asked him to drive her up to Home Depot to get a knob for a kitchen cabinet at about 7:30 p.m.

While waiting, Fix called the dispatch center with a work-related question. While on the phone he noticed a man run from the big double glass doors of Home Depot carrying several drills.

"I knew something wasn't right because I could see the lights flashing of the alarms going off," Fix said. "The car started rolling before the guy even jumped in it."

Fix immediately informed dispatchers about what he just observed and deputies were immediately summoned to the area.

Fix followed the car and he figures the driver knew he was being followed when the sedan pulled into the parking lot of Office Max, so Fix drove into the car wash just down the road and waited and watched.

Soon, the white sedan zoomed past his location, he said, again heading south on Veterans, so Fix pulled out behind the sedan.

The car pulled into the B.J.'s parking lot and drove behind the building. Fix waited in the parking lot for the car to reemerge.

"The car races past me, races around Applebee's and then races toward Lewiston," Fix said.

By then, multiple patrol units had arrived on scene and blocked the intersection.

According to Fix, the car stopped and the passenger ran from the vehicle, throwing the drills to the ground.

After a short foot pursuit, the suspect was apprehended by a deputy in the area of Arena Parkway.

"I guess all those nights working security at Darien Lake paid off," Fix said. "I stayed calm, though I may have sounded excited on the phone, and reported what I saw and kept the suspect vehicle in sight."

The names of the suspects have not yet been released.

UPDATE 11:14 p.m.: Arrested was Steven Michael Merriam, 25, of South Main Street, Churchville. He is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. A search of the sedan uncovered other alleged stolen property from a Lowe's store in Amherst.

January 4, 2014 - 2:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident, elba.

A motor-vehicle accident with possible serious injuries is reported at 4167 Batavia Elba Town Line Road, west of Route 98. Elba Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics and Town of Batavia fire. Mercy Flight is on standby. Two ambulances are needed. "Car into tree, head injury," says responder on scene.

UPDATE 2:11 p.m.: It's determined to be in the Town of Batavia's fire district. Extrication will be needed. Traffic police are asked to shut down traffic at Pekin Road. State troopers and deputies are also on scene.

UPDATE 2:14 p.m.: The road will also be closed at Route 98.

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: Command calls for the helicopter in Buffalo to start flying to the Batavia hangar.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: Two helicopters -- one in Batavia and the other coming from Buffalo -- are both called to the scene.

UPDATE 2:27 p.m.: One patient has been extricated.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 has landed. The second patient has been extricated.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: Mercy Flight #7 has landed.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 is airborne and headed to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 2:51 p.m.: Mercy Flight #7 is airborne and also going to Strong.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: Howard at the scene was told the passanger vehicle was westbound on Batavia Elba Town Line Road when it hit a snow drift and the driver lost control of the car and it struck a tree. Authorities urge drivers to be aware that snow drifts are causing dangerous driving conditions on roads throughout the county and they should use extreme caution when driving.

UPDATE 3:06 p.m.: The injuries sustained by both patients are not considered to be life-threatening.

UPDATE 3:12 p.m.: Town of Batavia command is putting the assignment back in service and Elba Fire Police are opening the road.

UPDATE 4:46 p.m.: The driver of the vehicle was a 16-year-old female from Batavia (State Police are not releasing her name). The passenger was Ronald Filbert, 43, of Lockport. Both were taken to strong with non-life-threatening injuries. Both were conscious and alert at the time they were transported.

January 4, 2014 - 1:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, accidents.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported at 1013 Day Road, north of Sprague Road. The vehicle is on its side and the female driver is unable to get out. Alexander Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. The driver is on the phone with dispatch and says she has minor injuries, she just can't get out of her car.

UPDATE 1:29 p.m.: The vehicle is off the roadway in a ditch.

UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: The patient is out of the vehicle.

UPDATE 1:37 p.m.: Medical treatment is not necessary. Mercy is back in service. A tow is called. The guard rail is mangled.

UPDATE 1:39 p.m.: A water pipe was damaged in the accident and Monroe County Water Authority was notified and will send someone out there when able to do so. Meanwhile, water is leaking in the ditch.

UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: Alexander ambulance is taking the woman to UMMC. Athough she has no complaints of pain, the medic says "she's shaken up."

January 4, 2014 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Investigators are looking for the apparently smiling woman in this photograph from the Walmart in Albion. The woman allegedly used a stolen gift card to purchase a cake at the store.

The gift card was reported stolen at the Walmart in Batavia after the owner's purse disappeared from a shopping cart when it was left briefly unattended in the parking lot while the owner loaded her vehicle with her purchases.

The card was used in Albion at 12:56 p.m., Christmas Eve.

The purse was recovered along the side of the roadway on Route 63 just south of Medina.

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call Investigator Kris Kautz at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3571.

January 4, 2014 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons.
Jacquetta Simmons

Jacquetta Simmons need only serve one year in jail for punching a Walmart cashier on Christmas Eve, 2011, according to a ruling issued by the the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, NYS Supreme Court.

The court, in a unanimous decision, found that the five-year prison sentence handed down by Judge Robert C. Noonan on Nov. 14, 2012, was "unduly harsh and severe under the circumstances of this case."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he's disappointed in the decision.

"We felt Judge Noonan's sentence was appropriate," Friedman said. "I thought it was well reasoned. It may have happened before, but I don't recall a sentence of his being reversed in his 17 years of being a judge."

The ruling means Simmons, who became a mother to her first child shortly after an appellate judge stayed her sentence in 2012, is saved from serving any further state prison time. The one-year sentence, likely to be reduced to eight months on good behavior, will be served in a county jail.

That's disappointing, Friedman said, but most importantly, the court upheld the jury's conviction of Simmons.

Attorneys for Simmons argued to the court that the jury's verdict flew in the face of the evidence presented at trial. With a dissent from Justice Rose H. Sconiers, the court upheld the jury conviction.

The jury could reasonably conclude, ruled the majority upholding the conviction, that based on the testimony and video evidence presented, that Simmons did intentionally punch Grace Suozzi.

Sconiers wrote in her dissent that she didn't believe the evidence supported that conclusion, but rather the video supported the defense contention that somebody behind Simmons had grabbed her arm and that she swung away causing her to accidentally strike Suozzi.

Friedman said he was surprised by the dissent and found it baffling.

The Batavian has no means to contact attorneys for Simmons on a Saturday for comment.

In the majority on the conviction, and joining Sconiers in reducing the sentence, were justices Henry J. Scudder, John V. Centra, Stephen K. Lindley and Joseph D. Valentino.

The case is remitted to Noonan's court for formal sentencing. No date has been set yet for re-sentencing and Simmons remains free in the meantime.

The sentence reduction is a real disservice to the victim and her family and the community, Friedman said.

"Having gone through this and seeing the impact this had on Mrs. Suozzi, her family, a lot of people in the community who knew her and cared about her -- all of that is something that is lost in the appeal process," Friedman said. "It's one punch, but more than the physical harm is the emotional harm. It really affected her life as far as her ability to return to work and go out and about. She's a very nice lady and this sentence doesn't do her justice."

The Batavian first broke the story of the Simmons case in 2011. For a complete archive of our coverage, click here.


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Available November 1 is a one story large two bedroom apartment with plenty of off street parking in a great location. There is all new flooring and fresh paint. The apartment is at 8510 Seven Springs Road and is a lower apartment. The rent is $750 per month which includes heat, hot water, water, trash/sewer and there are laundry facilities on the grounds. You just have to pay for electric. It is already Pathstone / HUD approved and some pets are allowed. Call 585-343-3755 for a showing. Security Deposit is required

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