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September 28, 2016 - 8:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in ILGE, anger management, news, Announcements, batavia.

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) will be holding a series of FREE anger management workshops at its 113 Main St. office in Batavia, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 11th. Those who attend will be shown practical steps: to learn to manage anger; to stop violence and the threat of violence; to develop self-control over thoughts and actions; and to receive support and feedback from others in the workshops.

Pre-registration by Oct. 4 is required!

This workshop will be co-facilitated by Debra McKnight and Jim Strollo who bring experience and perspective to the endeavor. McKnight is a New York State certified Peer Specialist who has a degree in Human Services and holds a Mental Health First Aid Certificate. She is trained to provide help to people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. Strollo has a master's degree in Psychology and is a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). He has conducted the Impaired Driver Program in Wyoming County for the past 26 years. Strollo is retired from the NYS Department of Corrections after a career of 25 years in counseling inmates. Together, they will create a welcoming and supportive environment.

Among the specific topics to be addressed are: an overview of group anger management treatment; a conceptual framework for understanding the events and cues that can produce anger; helping group members develop a plan for controlling anger; how to change the aggression dycle; the A-B-C-D model of cognitive restructuring and thought stopping; alternatives for expressing anger through assertiveness training and the conflict resolution model; how past learning can Influence present behavior in family situations; reinforcing learned concepts; graduation and the awarding of Certificates of Completion.

Independent Living serves people with disabilities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Participants must attend all 12 workshops to earn their certificates.  You can receive more information, and sign up for the workshops, by contacting Jim Strollo at (585) 815-8501, ext. 410, or by email at [email protected].

September 28, 2016 - 8:36pm

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) will be holding a pair of focus groups on the concerns of LGBTQ individuals with disabilities.

Have your voice heard! This is a call for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) and living with a disability (i.e. physical, sensory, mental health, or co-occurring disability) to take part in a focus group and to be heard about current services, programs -- or lack of services -- to help define your needs as a person with a disability living in our communities.

Besides taking a step to have truly appropriate services considered, participants will receive a light meal on the day of the focus group. The first group will meet beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 17, for a maximum of two to three hours, at the ILGR office, 113 Main St., Suite 5, just west of Center Street, in Batavia.  Materials will be offered in accessible formats, if needed.

Space is limited to 20 people and the first LGBTQ individuals to apply will participate. Please register soon! The second focus group will be scheduled subsequent to the first as need be.

For more information, and to sign up, call Donna Becker, at (858) 815-8501, ext. 114, or email [email protected] with the subject line of “Focus Group." Please RSVP by Oct. 14. We look forward to your feedback to help us learn the services you are receiving and/or need.

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies offers an expanding array of inclusive and affirming services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

September 28, 2016 - 3:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

Craig None McKenzie Jr., 19, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 27 after he was allegedly caught stealing from a department store on Veterans Memorial Drive. He was released on an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on Oct. 27. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

Rahmel Hakeem Thompson, 18, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 27 after he was allegedly caught stealing from a department store on Veterans Memorial Drive. He was released on an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on Oct. 27. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

September 28, 2016 - 3:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in GOP, Genesee County Republican Party, batavia, news.
Press release:
 
A “soft” opening of the Genesee County Republican Political Headquarters will occur at noon on Thursday, Sept. 29th, followed by an official “Grand Opening” at 10 a.m. on Saturday Oct. 1st. The headquarters is located at 440 Ellicott St. in Batavia, formerly FoxProwl comics and collectibles store at the corner of Ellicott and Otis streets.
 
Genesee County Republican Chairman Dick Siebert and the following invited guests are scheduled to be at the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on Saturday:
 
Mary Slisz -- State Supreme Court Justice 
Chris Collins -- U.S. Congressman
Michael Ranzenhofer -- New York State Senator
Steve Hawley -- New York Assemblyman
Scott German -- Genesee County Treasurer
William Sheron -- Genesee County Undersheriff
Charles Zambito -- Genesee County Court Judge
Don Coleman -- Genesee County Coroner
Karen Lang -- Genesee County Coroner
 
September 28, 2016 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A 400 Towers resident admitted in County Court yesterday that he placed a live cat in his apartment's oven and baked it to death.

If the case had gone to trial 42-year-old Darren Annovi could have faced a maximum sentence of two years in county jail, but with the plea deal his sentence will be capped at five years probation and six months in jail.

He will be sentenced Nov. 29.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he believed there was strong evidence against Annovi and that is presumably why he agreed to plead guilty, but he wouldn't discuss any possible statements Annovi may have made and didn't know why Annovi killed the cat.

"I don't think there is any rational explanation for why (he did it)," Friedman said.

Wendy Castleman, with Volunteers for Animals, who assisted in the investigation by paying for the cat's autopsy, said outside of court that she thought Annovi should be barred from ever owning pets again.

Friedman said he recommended to her that she contact the probation department prior to Annovi's sentencing and suggest that as a sentencing option, but that any such prohibition of pet ownership could not extend beyond the term of Annovi's probation.

Typically, county jail sentences can't be longer than a year; otherwise. inmates are sent to a state prison, but the Ag and Market Law this case was prosecuted under allows for a two-year maximum county sentence.

Annovi is out on bail of $5,000 bail.

Our news partner, WBTA, provided information for this story.

September 27, 2016 - 3:00pm

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September 27, 2016 - 10:10am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, crime.

Dylan L. Snyder, 18, of Exchange Street, Attica, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested on Sept. 26 following an investigation into a physical altercation which occurred at 5:20 p.m. Aug. 28 on Trumbull Parkway, Batavia. Snyder allegedly punched another individual. He was issued an appearance ticket for Oct. 4 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Cheryl M. Lyons, 50, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second degree harassment -- physical contact. At 4:45 a.m. on Sept. 24 she was arrested after allegedly shoving another family member during a domestic incident. She was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance and was due in court on Sept. 26. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Eric Foels.

Jorge Rodriquez Martinez, 33, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. He was arrested at 1:32 a.m. on Sept. 20 after allegedly stealing a 30-pack of beer from a convenience store on East Main Street, Batavia. This allegedly occurred after he had been told he was not allowed on the property. Martinez was issued an appearance ticket this afternoon in City Court. He was subsequently transported and turned over to Gates PD on an outstanding warrant in their jurisdiction. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Darryle Streeter, assisted by Officer Eric Foels.

Stephen John Turkasz, 26, of Brookhaven Lane, Lancaster, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested at 8 p.m. on Sept. 23 after a domestic incident in which he allegedly kicked and damaged a small fence. He was taken to jail for prints and photographs and then issued a computer-generated appearance ticket for City Court on Oct. 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Patrick T. Vanbortle, 22, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear after an appearance ticket was issued. He was found hiding in his basement and arrested at 12:35 a.m. on Sept. 24 on a Batavia City Court arrest warrant for failure to appear after an appearance ticket was served upon him for a separate charge on Sept. 11. He was released on an appearance ticket per Judge Balbick via a phone call at 1:25 a.m. on Sept. 24. Vanbortle is scheduled to be in City Court this afternoon. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Eric Foels.

Richard E. Stafford, 75, of Orange Grove Drive, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. He was arrested at 1:29 p.m. on Sept 23 on a bench warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was released on his own recognizance and is due in City Court on Oct. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

September 27, 2016 - 8:35am

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To help expand and extend what Batavia City schools can offer students, a group of community supporters have come together to form the Batavia City School District Foundation, a nonprofit that will raise money within the community to assist with scholarships, grants for innovative classroom initiatives, sports and recognition awards for those who help city schools.

The foundation held its kickoff event last night at Carter's Restaurant.

"In the Batavia City School District, we do a very good job with the budget and the funds we have," said Leslie Johnson, foundation chair. "The tax base is slightly sluggish, but does that impede our progress? Fortunately, no, but it limits where we can go with that as far as what is required and a few steps beyond. We would like to go further."

During opening remarks, Superintendent Chris Dailey said among the opportunities he envisions is the ability for teachers to come up with innovative ideas or discover pieces of equipment that might be useful in the classroom and then, outside of the normal budget cycle, apply for grants to try out those ideas. If they work, then perhaps they can be incorporated into the next budget.

"We want to be on the cutting edge, not the bleeding edge when it comes to innovation," Dailey said. 

With a 95-percent graduation rate and many creative programs and demonstrated success in academics, arts, and athletics, the district is already among the best in the region, Daily said. The foundation and community support can help make it one of the best in the nation, he said.

The foundation will also provide scholarships for students who want to further their education and provide recognition awards for those who provide exceptional aid to the district in fulfilling its mission.

The idea for the foundation started with School Board Chairman Pat Burk many years ago, and he suggested Johnson to Dailey as a champion of the idea. Johnson, Dailey said, turned out to be the perfect choice because she had the vision and the ability to see it through. Dailey said staff member Bobbi Norton was also instrumental in organizing the foundation.

Jim Owen, Batavia's most popular substitute teacher, pictured above with Johnson, was also recognized as one of the honorary chairs because of his early financial support of the foundation.

Johnson said the desire to create a philanthropic foundation for the school district has little to do with constraints on revenue by the property tax cap or any sense of revenue shortage, but a real desire to help fund the gap between how good the district is and how good it can be, and just offer more opportunities for students to grow, learn and achieve.

"We hope to appeal to people who are already spending money philanthropic dollars elsewhere, and we're saying, 'keep it at home where it can really make a difference for these kids,' " Johnson said.

September 26, 2016 - 8:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson Street, batavia, news.

There have been two loud explosive sounds in the area of Jackson Street, with reports putting it near Central Avenue or more to the south.

Dispatchers have received several calls with a dispatcher noting, "several callers said it didn't sound like gunshots, but they weren't sure what it was."

The calls are coming in from multiple streets in that area.

UPDATE 8:07 p.m.: It was fireworks. One of our neighbors actually saw the fireworks over some houses in the Central Avenue area.

September 26, 2016 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, elba, Oakfield, batavia, byron, Alabama, Alexander..

Somebody is stealing batteries from large trucks, buses, and heavy equipment and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office is looking for the public's help in identifying the culprit.

These are known as Type 31 batteries. They retail for as much as $300 and have resale and recycling value.

Investigators say the series of thefts seem confined to Genesee County, particularly in Elba, Oakfield, Batavia, Byron, Alabama and Alexander.

The Sheriff's Office has received more than a dozen complaints of such thefts, which occur overnight.

Anyone with information that may pertain to the case can call (585) 343-5000.

September 26, 2016 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in DIsabled American Veterans, chapin, batavia, business, news.

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Press release:

The ninth Annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament was held on Aug. 13th at Terry Hills Golf Course with 204 golfers participating.  The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Transportation Group received $10,600 through funds raised from this year’s event.  The funds were raised with the support of businesses and individuals and have already been put to use as a down payment for a new vehicle for transporting disabled veterans to and from medical appointments.  

Next year’s event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 12. If anyone has any questions regarding the tournament or would like to recommend a deserving charity for next year please contact Norm Hubbard, tournament director 585-343-3140, ext. 3018, or email  [email protected], or contact Laurie Shepland, VP Human Resources 585-3140, ext. 3082 or email [email protected].

Statement from DAV:

DAV Chapter 166 is absolutely thankful to Chapin International for being chosen as the recipient of proceeds from the ninth Annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament. Special thanks go to Jim Campbell, Chapin CEO, Laurie Shepland, Chapin VP Human Resources, and to Norm Hubbard, as tournament director. Norm's tireless efforts made the tournament an absolute success. 

The DAV, comprised of volunteers, transports veterans from their homes in Genesee and Wyoming counties, to medical appointments at the VA facilities in Batavia and Buffalo. DAV Chapter 166 is totally responsible for obtaining donated funds, which in turn are used to purchase their vehicles for veteran transport.

Without our volunteer service, hundreds of veterans would be unable to get to their medical appointments.  The veterans we transport range in age from the mid-20s (Iraq and Afghanistan) to 96 years old (WWII). We at DAV Chapter 166 are so proud of our veterans, and to the service that they gave to our country.

Any questions and/or donations for the DAV Chapter 166 Van Fund can be directed to Doug Titus, Hospital Service coordinator, 222 Richmond Ave., Batavia NY 14020, or call at (585) 297-1170.

September 25, 2016 - 10:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, Batavia Downs, news.

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Several hundred people were at Batavia Downs on Saturday night for the Batavia Rotary Club's annual Octoberfest.

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September 24, 2016 - 6:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

A caller complains to dispatch that two pickup trucks -- a white one and a red one -- are doing donuts in the parking lot and ball fields at Batavia High School and, subsequently, at a nearby elementary school. City Police are responding.

September 24, 2016 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, batavia, news.

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When Thelma Starr Hettrick was born Sept. 28, 1906, telegrams were still the primary form of long-distance communication and you needed thorough training in chemistry to take a photograph. The only way to get the latest news, often a day old, was ink on paper.

She's survived to live in a world where your phone can take a newsworthy picture and have it seen by people all over the world within seconds.

At the Genesee County Nursing Home, members of her family gathered a few days before her actual birthday on Wednesday to celebrate Hettrick's long life. 

Hettrick, who first made news when she turned 100 at the Nursing Home, isn't communicative these days and tires easily, so beyond acknowledging some members of her family, she didn't talk about living to 110.

She will be, however, the fifth person alive in New York to reach the age of 110.

Hettrick was born and raised in Pavilion and, except for some college in New York City, has never lived outside of Genesee County.

Her grandfather was Noah Starr, one of the earliest farmers in the county, who bought his farmland from the Holland Land Office. The property was where Thelma was born and raised, in a farmhouse built by her father in 1890. Today, Randy and Cindy Starr farm that land (Randy and Cindy were planning on arriving at the birthday celebration a little later, so they weren't there for our pictures (see our previous story about the Starr farm)).

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September 24, 2016 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Walk to End Alzheimer's.

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At least 500 people turned out today for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's in Batavia.

Above, youth cheerleaders from Le Roy encourage walkers in front of Batavia Middle School on Ross Street.alzwalk2016.jpg

September 24, 2016 - 1:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, news.

Mercy medics are responding to DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street in the city for the report of a child with a fish hook accidentally caught in his/her mouth.

September 24, 2016 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A hit-and-run accident involving a black Jeep is reported on Dellinger Avenue.

The suspect vehicle was last seen northbound on Dellinger, turning right on Washington Avenue.

The vehicle reportedly sustained damage and is leaking fluid and has two children passengers. A partial plate was provided as well.

Police are responding and looking for the vehicle.

September 24, 2016 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, STEAM, stem, schools, education, news, batavia.

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Fourth-graders at John Kennedy School on Friday were introduced to the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art+Design, and Math) curriculum with science demonstrations, and some hands-on experiences, led by Batavia High School science teachers Nathan Korzelius (top photo) and Burton Howell. 

In these photos, Korzelius talks about the properties of lycopodium clavatum, a powder derived from a species of moss. As Korzelius demonstrated, the powder floats on water and if a person sticks his or her hand in, the powder keeps the hand dry. When the powder is concentrated near a flame, it will explode in a flash of flame and lights (side fact: lycoduium was used by early photographers as a flash powder).

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September 24, 2016 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Thomas Rocket Car, batavia, news.

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The Thomas Rocket Car is a family heirloom that is close to becoming a City of Batavia treasure, and the three children of the man who designed and conceived of the once-futuristic automobile think that's just how things should be.

“It’s great (that it’s coming back to Batavia)," said Gary Thomas, oldest son of the late Charles D. Thomas, "This is a Batavia car. It was conceived in Batavia. It was built in Batavia. It was driven around the town in Batavia for the first few years of its life."

Gary, now a resident of California, and sister Karen, of Hamburg, and brother Jeff, of Lockport, stopped Old World Body Shop, where owner Dick McClurg and a group of volunteers are in the midst of restoring the Rocket Car back to its 1938-era glory.

Charles Thomas designed the car and built it with the help of Norman Richardson, also a Batavia resident, in a shop at the corner of Main and Oak. Thomas dreamed of a car that would revolutionize the auto industry, with advanced safety features and a sleek design, but both General Motors and Chrysler passed on the design and war disrupted the auto industry, so the Thomas Rocket Car became another family sedan.

Thomas and Richardson completed the car in 1938 and Thomas didn't meet his wife until 1939 and Gary, the oldest, wasn't born until 1942, so the car was a well-established part of the children's lives in their early years, at least until mom put her foot down and told dad to get rid of it.

Karen told the story.

Their mother took the children to the grocery store in the car one day and when she needed to drive over railroad tracks, the car stalled.

Gary said he thinks the car stalled because the tracks were a bit higher than the road, causing the car to have to climb a 45-degree angle and his mother wasn't going quite fast enough, so the fuel drained from the carburetor and the Rocket Car sputtered and stopped. 

Mom yelled at the children to get out of the car fast. She feared a southbound train was coming.

A man came along and asked if she knew how to start the car if he pushed it. She did, so he pushed it off the tracks, the car rolled down the hill about 100 yards and mom popped the clutch and it started right up.

"After that," Karen recalled, "my mother said, 'that's it, get rid of the car. I'm not going to endanger my children. Get rid of the car,' and my father did get rid of the car after that, otherwise, we probably would have kept it."

There are a lot of family stories around the car, the siblings said.

"We rehearsed them all last night over chicken wings," Gary joked.

Like the time the family had to stop at Mercy Hospital, Karen said, and somehow the car got out of park (maybe the kids were messing with something they shouldn't have been messing with, she said) and somebody bumped the car and it started to roll toward the street.

"A nun hopped into the car and stopped it so it didn't go crashing into anything," Karen said, "but it went into the middle of the street and she just left it there."

Many of the memories involve other people's memories of the unique car.

"Dick Moore's favorite story (Moore is one of the people who helped get the ball rolling to save the car and donate it to the City) is the time he first saw the car on Main Street," Gary said. "My father had taken off the passenger rear wheel, so it was only on three wheels and my father was testing the stability of the car and drove it down Main Street and down and around and back and it never tipped it over so he pronounced it stable. But Dick Moore saw this car going by with three wheels on it and was immediately taken by it."

Jeff remembers the time he was meeting with an architect in Buffalo and the man found out about Jeff's roots in Batavia and asked, "Your dad isn't Charlie Thomas, is he?"

The man then recalled the Thomas Rocket Car.

"He said, 'I remember driving around in the Thomas Rocket Car,' " Jeff said. " 'I was in my 20s and we’d drive around Batavia, and we’d have our arms out the side of the car and people would look at us they would beep and stuff like that.'

"There’s a lot of people around who rode in it or remember it," Jeff added.

There's still a lot of restoration work to do on the car. By Thanksgiving, McClurg hopes to have the passenger side primed and then he can flip the car on its side and start working on the undercarriage. After that, more body work, painting, and interior restoration.

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