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August 12, 2016 - 11:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, news.

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Two people fled from a rollover accident on Route 77 near Bloomingdale Road on Friday afternoon, and while the woman was apprehended after a couple of hours, the man -- described as a black male -- continued to elude law enforcement and the volunteer firefighters enlisted to help cordon off the area. 

It was hot -- over 90 degrees -- and humid. After a short, dabbled rain, the sun blazed again on the deputies in their dark uniforms and the firefighters in their turnout gear, and they all continued the search.

Nobody was even sure if the man was still in the area. The woman said a friend had swung down Route 77 and picked him up. But deputies also didn't necessarily believe that tale.

And since he was known to be injured, suffering a facial cut in the accident, and because it was not a good day to be out in the sun losing blood, they searched, unsure why he fled, but certain if he didn't get a ride, he would need help.

The search was called off once, shortly after Erie County's Air One left the area, but then the weather shifted and the State Police helicopter was cleared to fly, so it headed toward Alabama and picked up Deputy Chris Parker (who used to be part of that unit) to continue the search.

By this time, Alabama Chief Gary Patnode was home, resting, as were most of the other firefighters, then Patnode's sister called. She had seen a man walking down Route 77 who matched the description of the man deputies were looking for.

Patnode hopped in his truck and headed south on Alleghany Road. He spotted the man and contacted dispatch, who notified patrols.

Sgt. Jason Saile, who had been part of the search the entire hot afternoon, pulled up behind the man first, got out of his SUV and as the man turned around, hands in the air, Saile put out his own hand, which held a bottle of water.

The man was later identified as Ralph F. Forte, of Rochester. Charges are pending against Forte.

The woman, Sabrina J. Brownell, of Little Genesee, is charged with DWI and is facing other possible charges. 

Brownell suffered minor injuries. Forte suffered cuts on his face from the accident and a possible dislocated arm. He was also suffering from heat exhaustion by the time he was located.

The incident began in Lockport with a report of a rolling domestic on Route 77, with the vehicle heading south. Then Genesee County dispatchers were informed of a rollover accident just north of Bloomingdale Road.

Civilians first on scene uprighted the vehicle and medics saw the two occupants flee, and they provided deputies with a description of the subjects.

When law enforcement arrived, they saw the subjects head into the wooded area just south of Bloomingdale and east of Route 77. A K-9 from Medina joined the search, and Air One from Erie County arrived about 40 minutes later.

During that part of the search, the woman appeared, apparently of her own accord, on a gravel road (a snowmobile trail when there's snow) and Patnode and Saile drove to her location. She was questioned and then provided medical treatment before being transported by Mercy EMS to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Then the search continued, including a time about 20 minutes later when the Air One pilot thought he had spotted the missing black male.

Some 30 minutes later, he still hadn't been located and Air One need to return to Erie County.

Just before a quarter to six, the State Police helicopter arrived on scene. At 6:10 p.m., the subject of the search was spotted on Route 77.

Saile handed him a bottle of water and then the man was allowed to sit in the shade of Saile's patrol vehicle. Medics arrived and provided first aid until a Mercy EMS ambulance arrived. The man was placed on a stretcher and put in the ambulance and transported to Strong.

Also assisting in the case are Deputy Andrew Hale, Deputy Michael Lute and Lt. Todd Draper, and the K-9 patrol with Medina PD.

(Initial report.)

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August 12, 2016 - 6:30pm

Saturday August 13 - 11am-1pm • 12 Church Street in Elba - A lot of house for the money and priced below assessment these owners are serious and priced it to sell!! A must see inside to appreciate. Updated roof, siding and windows. Extra family room, gas stove in living room. Galley style kitchen with laminate floors plus some with carpeting. Nice back yard, with recently landscaped front yard with new porch-just a great Village home!! Click here to view the complete listing for 12 Church Street in Elba.

Sunday August 14 - 11am-1pm • 14 Maple Avenue in Corfu​ - Beautiful home in heart of the Village! Super solid and updated thru out-windows, furnace and C/A, H2O tank, kitchen, baths, flooring, carpeting and painted thru out! This home is awesomely laid out starting with the super-sized back entranceway for the million shoes that clutter...to the huge walk in pantry/laundry area-two of the best rooms in the house!! Home also features large bright airy rooms that are so pretty. Outside has 1 full acre in the Village with great 2 car garage patio area also home has back wrap around porch area overlooking back patio-perfect entertaining spot! Must see!
Click here to view the complete listing for 14 Maple Avenue in Corfu. Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today at 585-344-4663!

August 12, 2016 - 4:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, crime, news.

Aaron W. Gillard, 28, of Bergen, was arrested at 2:26 p.m. on Aug. 7 in the Town of Covington after he allegedly crashed his car into a house on Wyoming Road. He subsequently allegedly failed field sobriety tests and deputies say they found more than an ounce of marijuana in the vehicle. He was transferred to Wyoming County Sheriff's Office where he refused a chemical test to determined his BAC. Gillard was found to be driving in violation of his conditional license and without a required ignition interlock device in his vehicle. Gillard had a previous conviction of DWI within the past five years. He is charged with: felony DWI; felony unlicensed operation in the first degree; operating without an interlock device; violating conditional license; moving from lane unsafely; and speed not reasonable and prudent. He was also charged with criminal possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. Gillard was arraigned in the Town of Covington Court and put in Wyoming County Jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. He is due back in court at a later date. Gillard's license was also suspended pending prosecution of this case, which was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies Bradley McGinnis and Mike Majtyka.

August 12, 2016 - 2:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, Alabama.

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A one-vehicle rollover is reported in the area of 7142 Alleghany Road, near the Bloomingdale Road intersection. Unknown injuries. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 4:16 p.m.: This is a "rolling domestic" incident which began in Lockport. The couple involved fled the scene and law enforcement is searching for them. Fire police have cordoned off the area and a K-9 unit from Medina PD is working to find the parties. A State Police helicopter cannot be deployed due to the possibility of thunderstorms.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: Law enforcement is looking for a black male, about 5'6", wearing an orange T-shirt and black shorts; but the white female, also about 5'6", wearing a pink floral dress, is now out talking with Alabama Fire Chief Gary Patnode -- the chief is in a gator and he and the female are about 100 yards from the roadway of Route 77.

UPDATE 4:28 p.m.: Patnode said both parties had blood on them and the male appeared to have a cut near his eye. The vehicle was found a little north of the Post Office here and had rolled over. Bystanders uprighted the vehicle and afterward the couple got out and ran through yards and into the woods. First responders staged in the area until law enforcement arrived. Patnode said the scene was confused and chaotic at first.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m.: The female, who was the driver, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy medics. The Erie County "Air One" Sheriff's helicopter was eventually allowed to be deployed. The investigation of the incident continues.

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: "We do not know why he fled the scene," said Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Saile. Alcohol has not been ruled out as a factor in the accident, Saile said, noting that a deputy is heading to Strong to interview the female driver. She told officers that the male "was picked up by a friend," but they are not certain of the truthfulness of the statement and are continuing to search for the male passenger for the time being. A perimeter was set up soon after first responders arrived and the couple fled the scene. The K-9 and helicopter are still deployed.

UPDATE 5:35 p.m.: Air 1 has left the scene; they will probably be stopping the search soon.

UPDATE 6:13 p.m.: Sheriff's deputies "believe" they are out with the suspect, who they found walking southbound on Route 77.

UPDATE 6:23 p.m.: A male is being detained and medics are treating his injuries. After Air One left the scene, the State Police helicopter flew to the scene for personnel reasons.

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August 12, 2016 - 1:43pm

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Police chiefs from throughout Western New York are in Batavia today for a golf tournament at Terry Hills.

The gathering of the Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police is a social event and networking opportunity, said Batavia PD's Chief Shawn Heubusch, who helped organize the tournament.

Pictured are Doug Richardson, Rob Ruffner, John Applebee, Bobby Lapidus, playing as a foursome, along with organizers Pete Hoffmeister, left, chief in Warsaw, Heubusch, second from right, and Pete Hoffmeister, far right, chief of Arcade.

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August 12, 2016 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, muckdogs, baseball, batavia, news, buffalo bills, Ray Bentley.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs today announced that former Buffalo Bills linebacker Ray Bentley will sign autographs at Dwyer Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 21st, when the Muckdogs battle the West Virginia Black Bears at 4:05 p.m.

Prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, Bentley will sign autographs from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Bentley will then sign again from 4:10 to 5 p.m.

Bentley is also the author of a series of children’s books about the characters Darby the Dinosaur and Bubba Gator. In addition to Bentley’s autograph signing, the first 150 kids 10 and under will also receive a free copy of the book “Darby’s Christmas Adventure.”

Bentley spent six seasons with the Bills (1986-1991), including two of the four historic consecutive Super Bowl appearances. After suffering an injury with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1992, Ray retired from professional football. Once retired, Ray became a radio show talk host in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., on WOOD 1340 AM, as well as a play by play announcer on FOX for the NFL. In 2000, he became the Head Coach and General Manager of the Buffalo Destroyers, an Arena Football League team. After resigning in 2003, he made his way back to the television screen, becoming a color analyst for ESPN college football games, the job he still holds today.

For tickets, call the Muckdogs box office at (585) 343-5454, ext. 1005.

August 12, 2016 - 12:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in pavilion clothes closet, Pavilion, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The Pavilion Clothing Closet has found a new home! It has moved from Pavilion High School to the Pavilion First Baptist Church, 10956 Lake Road (Route 19), Pavilion.

The Clothing Closet will be open for two consecutive Saturdays, Aug. 27 and Sept. 3, from 9 a.m. to noon, and by appointment. For an appointment, call Hope Speechley at 585-483-1858 or 584-3727. DO NOT leave a message; just try to call again.

The Pavilion Clothing Closet is a place where any Pavilion Central School student and their family can go to acquire gently used and sometimes “new” clothing, shoes and outerwear for FREE.

Very generous community members have and continue to donate to the Closet, these donations are very much appreciated!

There is an amazing abundance of clothing free for the taking. Please stop in to see what's available.

To donate, there is a green drop-off box at the front door of the church.

Additionally, we will continue to coordinate opening the Clothing Closet with the high school's Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Basket programs.

August 12, 2016 - 12:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, Le Roy, pembroke, Darien, bergen.

Brenda Carol Shryock, 49, of Oak Drive, Beech Island, S.C., is charged with second-degree harassment. She was arrested at 7:03 p.m. on Aug. 11 following an investigation into a domestic violence complaint in the Town of Le Roy. She allegedly punched a person. She was put in Genesee Cpounty Jail and is due in Le Roy Town Court on Thursday, Aug. 18. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl, assisted by Dpeuty Ryan DeLong.

Bonnie Marie Breissinger, 52, of County Line Road, Darien, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt and second-degree harassment. She was arrested at 4:27 p.m. on Aug. 4 on County Line Road in Darien for allegedly subjecting another person to physical contact in violation of a no-offensive-conduct court order. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Patricia Jean Kendall-Cargill, 51, of Swamp Road in Bergen is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. She was arrested at 6 p.m. on Aug. 7 on Swamp Road following an investigation into a violation of an order of protection. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Jason Saile.

A 17-year-old male who lives on Woodland Terrace in Cheektowaga is charged with trespass. The subject was arrested at 4:44 p.m. on Aug. 10 on Gilmore Road in Pembroke for allegedly trespassing on private property. He was issued an appearance ticket for Pembroke Town Court on Aug. 30. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Robert Henning, assisted by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

A 16-year-old male who lives on Lamarck Drive in Amherst is charged with trespass. The subject was arrested at 4:44 p.m. on Aug. 10 on Gilmore Road in Pembroke for allegedly trespassing on private property. He was issued an appearance ticket for Pembroke Town Court on Aug. 30. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Robert Henning, assisted by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

August 12, 2016 - 12:21pm

Press release from the American Red Cross:

The first ever Battle of the Badges Blood Drive in Genesee County, which took place Thursday, Aug. 11, between Mercy EMS, Batavia City Fire Deptartment, Town of Batavia Fire Department, State Troopers, Batavia City Police and the Sheriff’s Office initially ended in a TIE!

But after the tie, the American Red Cross turned to the votes of the wonderful volunteers, who donate their time and efforts at the blood drives throughout Genesee County, led by Jennie Starowitz (Bergen) and Sharon Frost (Le Roy).

All the departments received many votes. Votes came from all the donors who donated at the Annual Genesee County Community That Cares that is held every year at the Quality Inn & Palm Island Indoor Waterpark. There were many civilian donors and there were many first responders who donated as well from all departments from as far out as Jamestown. Donors also came from Genesee, Orleans, Monroe, Niagara and Erie counties.

The premiere 2016 Genesee County Battle of the Badges winner is the STATE POLICE. The Troopers, led by Major Nigrelli, edged out the Sheriff’s Office by two votes and Mercy EMS came in third place, just two votes behind the Sheriff’s Office. The City fire, Town fire and City Police all were represented and all ended up in a three-way tie.

But for now, the State Troopers have the bragging rights for the next year. 

Tompkins Financial sponsored this great event and the Quality Inn & Palm Island Indoor Waterpark hosted this blood drive that will end up helping hundreds in need of life-saving blood donations. Thank you to all first responders for all that they do every day on the front lines and to all of the wonderful citizens who came to donate, the volunteers, sponsors and host.

August 12, 2016 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, accident, news.

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A 67-year-old Holley man apparently suffered a medical emergency while driving through Le Roy at 4 a.m., Thursday, causing a series of accidents that led to a utility pole being knocked down and heavy damage to construction trailers at Wolcott Street School.

Douglas M. Howe was reportedly eastbound on East Main Street when he attempted a three-point turn in a 10-wheeler in the area of 57 E. Main St.

Le Roy PD reports that Howe drove the truck over the curb and broke some large branches off a tree in front of that residence.

He then proceeded west for a short distance and his truck went up over the curb in front of 44 E. Main St. The truck struck and snapped a utility pole and crashed into a cobblestone wall.

Howe then apparently backed the truck up and proceeded west on East Main Street. He then drove the truck up over the curb in front of Wolcott Street School. The truck continued south where it struck two construction trailers near the main entrance to the school. The trailers suffered heavy damage and were pushed into the school building, which suffered minor damage.

Howe was transported to UMMC by Le Roy Ambulance for treatment of minor injuries and medical evaluation.

No charges are anticipated at this time. 

Assisting at the scene was the Sheriff's Office and State Police and Le Roy Volunteer Fire Department.

Photos provided by Le Roy PD.

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August 12, 2016 - 7:07am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board.

Genesee County planners on Thursday gave a "thumbs up" to five sign permits in Batavia and two skilled trade shops in Pembroke, but did not look favorably upon John Rumble's request for an area variance to replace a 14- by 66-foot mobile home on his Kelsey Road property in the Town of Batavia with a new one of the same size.

In a 5-2 split decision, the panel voted for dissapproval, citing Town code that a one-family dwelling may be replaced with another mobile home only if it meets the minimum dimensional criteria of 20 feet in width. The majority were of the opinion that any deviation from Town regulations should be authorized by Town officials.

Rumble contended that because the dwelling was there for 29 years, his plan is one of "replacement not new construction." He said he is not putting in a new foundation.

"Now you're saying that I have to go with a double-wide," he said.

Since the Planning Board is a "recommending" board, Rumble can present his case to the Town of Batavia Zoning Board of Appeals.

Planning Board members Robert Bennett and Ginny Adams voted against the recommendation for disapproval.

In other action, planners:

-- Recommended approval of sign permits for Lawley Insurance, M&T Bank, Carter's Restaurant and Kati's Place Restaurant in the City, and for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center on Park Road in the Town.

-- Recommended approval with modifications for a pair of skilled trade shops in the Town of Pembroke -- a canoe and small boat shop operated by Randy Filter on Indian Falls Road and an online wholesale business of statues and lights and furniture refinishing along with the construction of a 2,400-square-foot storage building operated by Donald Barone on Lake Road.

The modifications include not using more than 2,000 square feet of the buildings for the trade shop, no retail sales, limitation of the size of the buildings' signs, no outdoor storage and no outdoor lighting that shines directly onto neighboring properties or nearby motorists.

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a site plan review request by Kay Muscarella to open a consignment store at the corner of Main and Indian Falls roads in Pembroke. Modifications to be made include lighting and sign requirements along with the applicant obtaining a driveway permit from the NYS Department of Transportation prior to final approval by the Town of Pembroke.

-- Gave high marks to Bergen Town and Village officials on the adoption of their updated Town/Village Joint Comprehensive Plan, a project that took two years to complete.

"This is a great undertaking," Adams said. "I'm very pleased with it."

August 11, 2016 - 8:55pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, wind/solar generator.

Cottonwood Dairy Farm owners Paul and Jason Tillotson are hoping for the best of both worlds by contracting with SkyWolf Wind Turbine Corp. for a hybrid wind/solar energy system to partially power their large agricultural operation at 10771 Cook Road in Pavilion.

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended approval of a special use permit and area variance for the Tillotsons to install two 32-foot high, 8.5 kilowatt towers. The panel ruled that since the towers are only 32 feet high, proposed setbacks from the public right-of-way of 555 and 564 feet, respectively, present no significant impact. The current requirement according to Town of Pavilion code is 1,000 feet from the right-of-way.

Planning Director Felipe Oltramari further reinforced the board's decision by stating that the Town of Pavilion would be wise to consider updating its code to base it on tower height instead of a set distance.

"The Town adopted its wind energy system awhile back. It was one of the earlier models, and their thinking was in line with large wind turbines -- 500-foot towers," he said.

The Tillotsons will now have to go before the Town of Pavilion Zoning Board to complete the preliminary process before the wind/solar system is constructed. Paul Tillotson said he's excited about the possibilities.

"It makes a lot of sense to be able to capture both (wind and solar energy)," he said, noting that he's looking to offset some of the significant expense of running a 1,000-acre, 300-cow dairy farm. "We know that the wind in our area is at 12 3/4 (mph) on average, which gives us a 'good' rating."

Gerald Brock, president and CEO of the Geneseo-based SkyWolf Wind Turbine Corp., said the hybrid system packs more power in a smaller package than traditional wind turbines.

"It's already been proven (that it works)," Brock said, mentioning that the system is supplying 80-90 percent of the total electricity of a house in Livonia.

In a press release, Jason Tillotson said his farm recently completed the purchase of five robotic milkers and an automated calf-feeding system, along with other precision agriculture equipment -- moves that allowed them to obtain organic certification. But with that, the Tillotsons' monthly electric energy usage drastically increased.

They said they expect substantial savings by locating the SkyWolf system towers on their farm.

"They're about a couple hundred feet from my house," Paul Tillotson said.

SkyWolf touts itself as designer, manufacturer and supplier of an innovative patented Solar Hybrid Diffused Augmented Wind Turbine (DWAT) that integrates solar and wind kinetic power into renewable electric energy in a single turbine.

In related action, the Planning Board recommended approval with modifications of a a special use permit and area variance request by Rebecca Hackett of 6359 Telephone Road, Pavilion, for a 153-foot high, 10-kilowatt wind energy system.

The modification stipulation stems from the fact that the proposed setback from the public right-of-way is 294 feet and the proposed setbacks from property lines are 247 and 252 feet -- all three much less than the required distance of 1,000 feet.

Planners are recommending that the applicant obtain a waiver from adjacent landowners before proceeding with the project.

August 11, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, 4-H.

Yuki and Katie at the Attica Rodeo.

Katie and Yuki ready to ride.

Submitted photos and press release:

A local Genesee County 4-H family is hosting a youth delegate from the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs (S4-H).

The Summer Inbound program brings international youth to the United States each summer to stay with a host family for four weeks. The Ewert family, of Batavia, applied to be a host family in May and was then matched with a youth delegate from Japan.

Doug and Nancy Ewert’s daughter Katie, is an active member of the Genesee County 4-H Horse Program and was paired up as a “host sibling” to Yuki Ishigaki from Hanesawa, Japan. Yuki arrived in Batavia the last week of July; the girls have become fast friends and have enjoyed several fun experiences together.

They have gone horseback riding, attended the Attica Rodeo, participated in the summer park recreation program and are planning to visit the Pike Fair and Niagara Falls. They are learning a lot about each other’s cultures, along with new ways to communicate.

S4-H is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Seattle. It works with 4-H Youth Development Programs in the United States and international partners around the world to conduct immersion and exchange programs. S4-H’s mission is “enhancing world understanding and global citizenship through high-quality 4-H international and cultural immersion and exchange programs for 4-H aged youth.” Since 1972, their exchanges have impacted nearly 50,000 youth and their families in 24 countries on six continents.

To learn more about S4-H visit: http://www.states4hexchange.org/  To learn more about Genesee Co. 4-H visit: http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development

August 11, 2016 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

UPDATED at 5:50 p.m.

While the cause of death has yet to be determined, two people who were found dead in the Batavia Cemetery (not St. Joe's as previously reported) were stuck by lightning, a medical examiner has determined.

The deceased are identified as Richard Garlock, 34, and Jenna Macleod, 32.

Batavia PD was dispatched to the cemetery at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, to check on two people who were found deceased in the cemetery.

Both Garlock and Macleod are people who are familiar to police, but investigators are not really sure why they might have been in a back corner of the Batavia Cemetery at 2:30 a.m. during a lightning storm.

"(They could have been there) to watch the storm roll in and they got hit by lightning," Det. Todd Crossett said. "It's probably that simple. It really could be. It was a spectacular storm. The lightning was just incredible."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has technology that 95 percent of the time can detect a lightning strike within 600 feet of the exact location where it contacted the ground. 

NOAA has confirmed a lightning strike in the area of the Batavia Cemetery during Wednesday morning's storm.

The Erie County ME determined Garlock and Macleod had injuries consistent with being struck by lightning. 

They were found under a large tree.

"A fence wasn’t too far away," Crossett said. "I’ve seen where fence gets struck, but there’s a root underground. It will travel through the root and pop up someplace else.  Underneath the tree, there are lots of roots that come to the surface, so the tree could have got struck, traveled down the tree, came up through a root and they got the electricity that way. It could have been that, or they could have taken a direct hit. With all that, I don’t think we’ll know how it actually happened. All we can say is, they did get hit with lightning."

There are no burn marks on the tree or other objects. There are also no signs of trauma, though the victims did have some injuries investigators came to believe were consistent with a lightning strike.

There is also no visible evidence, such as paraphernalia in the area, of drug use, though early in the investigation detectives did look into that possibility.

“Why else would you be in the back corner of the cemetery?" Crossett said. "Why is that? I can tell you the detectives who were there and the lead investigator who was there, we were completely open (to any possibility). We didn't rule anything out and we didn't rule anything in."

The cause of death is pending while the Erie County M.E. completes a toxicology report, which could take up to two months.

August 11, 2016 - 2:02pm

Nick Grasso is battling cancer and he's the honoree for the 2016 Genesee Cancer Assistance Golf and Bocce Tournament.

The first time Nick was diagnosed with cancer was soon after the birth of his daughter, Gia, in the fall of 2014. He had surgery to remove the growing "retroperitoneal cystic mass," which was found after testing following a visit to the doctor for abdominal pain.

Later, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Meanwhile, little Gia, while still an infant, was found to have two tiny holes in her heart and had to undergo open heart surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital.

It seemed a long time in coming, and sometimes touch-and-go, but on Memorial Day, 2015, dad and daughter enjoyed swimming for the first time together. They have a special bond.

For one thing, both are certifiably "Grasso Strong," the apt motto adopted by friends, family, neighbors, caregivers, supporters -- all those who've rallied around this fierce family of cancer-slayers and heart-menders, outfitted in T-shirts bearing this bragging right.

If you would like to help them and others like them, consider taking part in the upcoming golf and bocce tournament. The fun is a given. The goodwill is guaranteed. The time is worthwhile. The cost for this cause is priceless.

The fundraiser will be held at Batavia Country Club on Friday, Aug. 19. It is located at 7909 Batavia Byron Road in the Town of Batavia.

This is a four-person Scramble Tournament. While foursome registrations are encouraged, individual registrations are welcome. You will be asked to name your desired teammates at registration.

There will be hole-in-one-prizes on all Par 3 holes, as well as a putting contest. Mulligans (can be used anywhere EXCEPT Par 3 holes) and Skins available for purchase at the event.

Golf -- Entry fees are $95 per golfer and include: green fees, cart, lunch, dinner, T-shirt and prizes.

  • Registration opens at 10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch is at 11
  • Shotgun start -- noon
  • Dinner, awards, prizes, raffles immediately following golf

Bocce -- Entry fees are $50 per player and include: Lunch, dinner, T-shirt and prizes.

  • Registration opens at noon
  • Game starts at 1 p.m.
  • Dinner, awards, prizes, raffles immediately following game

For more information, contact Genesee Cancer Assistance at 345-0417. "Working Together to Make A Difference." Office hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or register via the nonprofit organization's website by clicking here.

August 11, 2016 - 1:03pm

Submitted photos of the Oakfield Fire Department Honor Guard and press release:

The Oakfield Fire Department Honor Guard is pleased to announce that it has received a very rare invitation to participate in honors training with the Marine Corps Honor Guard detail at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, Aug. 17, through Saturday, Aug. 20.

The OFD Honor Guard was formed and has been training since the fall of 2015, with the purpose of providing funeral honors to local firefighters, who may in the future, die in the line of duty. 

“A locally based fire department honor guard has been a passion of mine for many years,” said 2nd Assistant and Past Chief Randy McIntire.

Chief McIntire is a local funeral director and partner in H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home and Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home and brings knowledge of the funeral process to the team.

“My son, Lt. Jeffery McIntire and Chief Sean Downing, share my passion, and we have worked to bring the concept of the Honor Guard to a reality,” McIntire said.

The Oakfield Fire Department sponsored Honor Guard consists of both of the McIntires, 3rd Assistant and Past Chief Sean Downing, firefighters, Casey Arnold, Tyler Hamm and Nate Klos. These men are all members of the Oakfield Fire Department.

“As a 12-year Marine Corps veteran, I was able to make some inquiries to the Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington. D.C. Those contacts moved along the chain of command and the result was an invitation to train with the Marine Honors Detail,” Lt. McIntire said. 

The OFD Honor Guard will receive specialized training in precision maneuvering, military bearing and burial traditions as well as Color Guard procedures and practices. 

Our invitation was offered by General Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps and his staff. He has provided us with unprecedented access to those Marines who have dedicated themselves to providing honor and dignity to their fallen comrades.

The Honor Guard will return from Arlington National Cemetery with very unique training that will assist them in honoring our local firefighters should the need arise.

August 11, 2016 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Bowling, Mike Pettinella, thebatavian, news, business.

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For nearly a decade, local journalist and bowling expert Mike Pettinella has produced a bi-weekly bowling column for the local print newspaper, but on Sept. 1, Pettinella’s column moves into the 21st Century, going all digital.

Pettinella has agreed to move the column, Pin Points, to the region’s most popular source for online news, The Batavian.

With the reach of The Batavian, the Wyoming County Free Press and promotional help from WBTA AM/FM and the online-only news sites in Orleans and Livingston counties, Pettinella’s Pin Points will reach a bigger audience than ever.

“We’re honored that Mike has chosen The Batavian for his column’s new home,” said Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian. “Mike has a large and loyal following of bowling enthusiasts, so combine that with the popularity of The Batavian and it’s a move that is great for bowlers in the area and the sponsors who have long supported Pin Points.”

Pettinella is a Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame bowler and writer who has written professionally about the sport of bowling continuously since 1977, when he began employment as Sports Editor of The Batavia Daily News.

Bowling has been a major part of Pettinella’s career since 1992, when he took the managerial position at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. After an 11-year stint there, he was hired by the Empire State USBC Association as its manager in 2010, and continues to serve as association manager of the New York State USBC, a position he has held since 2011.

Earlier this month, Pettinella accepted the position as association manager of the Genesee Region USBC, which services league and tournament bowlers in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. He also covers local government in Genesee County and other local news for The Batavian.

His bowling columns have appeared in the Daily News and the Genesee Valley PennySaver, and he has also had articles published in several bowling publications, including Spares & Strikes and the CNY Striker. For the past nine years, his Pin Points column on The Bowling Page was a regular feature of The Batavia Daily News.

Pettinella has been involved in bowling since the late 1960s, and rolled a certified 300 game as a high school junior in 1971.

A former collegiate standout bowler, he has a high series of 816, has four Batavia Bowling Association/GRUSBC Senior Masters titles, and anchored the Turnbull Heating team to the NYS Open Championships title in 2010. Last season, he rolled two 300 games at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

Mike and his wife, Wendy, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren.

August 11, 2016 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Police are investigating the discovery yesterday afternoon of two bodies in the St. Joseph Batavia Cemetery in Batavia.

Sources say the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the cemetery and they had apparently died of a drug overdose.

The police are expected to release more details later today.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: While the investigation is ongoing, a lightning strike has not been ruled out as the cause of death. There was evidence at the scene to suggest that as a possibility. Investigators are waiting for more information from the medical examiner. 

UPDATE: Batavia has released information. New story here.

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

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