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July 30, 2015 - 5:15pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, business, BID.

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Tomorrow is Don Burkel's last day as the executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District.

Burkel just has to tidy up his desk before he passes the torch to incoming director Laurie Oltramari.

Burkel was the first director of the BID and has been leading the not-for-profit organization for almost 17 years. He has witnessed Downtown Batavia undergo many changes.

"When I started as the director, there was a variety of retail businesses in the city," Burkel said. "Now there are fewer businesses and properties are harder to fill with retail."

Although there has been a decline in the number of businesses, Burkel has overseen many positive changes as well. Some of his favorite projects include the transformation of buildings on Main Street and Jackson Street.

"I will miss working with the people of Downtown Batavia and seeing various projects completed," Burkel said.

Burkel believes people should focus on the positive aspects of Downtown Batavia and all of the potential small business opportunities it has to offer. In the future, he foresees development of the old Carr building and the construction of a boutique hotel. He also predicts more pop-up businesses will come to Downtown.

"I want to thank everyone Downtown for supporting me," Burkel said. "I know the BID's Board of Directors and committees will continue to further the vision for Downtown Batavia. I look forward to their accomplishments in the future and as I always say 'Shop Downtown!' "

To kick off his retirement, he is traveling to Maine with his wife to do some kayaking. He also plans to continue his photography and expand his collection.

July 30, 2015 - 5:12pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia.

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(Picture from Barclay Oudersluys's Facebook page.)

A 23-year-old Michigan man stopped in Batavia for a rest last night on his journey across the United States to raise money for charity.

Barclay Oudersluys is running to benefit the Hall STEPS Foundation, a runner-related organization that aims to fight global poverty. Currently he has raised about $8,000 for the foundation. His goal is $10,000. 

"The money will be used to build a well in a village in Mozambique that does not have easy access to clean water," Oudersluys said.

Oudersluys named his fundraiser Project Gump after his favorite movie "Forrest Gump." He based his route on the movie and started his marathon at the Santa Monica Pier in California on May 9. He plans to finish at the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Rockland, Maine, on Aug. 15.

By the end of the marathon, he will have ran 3,200 miles across 15 states in less than 100 days.

Oudersluys runs approximately 31 miles each day. He starts running at 6 a.m. and stops around noon. He has ran in all kinds of weather conditions including snow, thunderstorms and extreme heat. 

Finding a place to stay every night has been a challenge. His friends follow behind him in a minivan with water, food and his gear. 

So far, Oudersluys has ran through 12 states. He has about a quarter of the marathon left to finish.

"I have met a lot of cool people and seen many sites along the way," Oudersluys said. "Running is fun and relaxing for me."

After he completes the marathon, he has one week to rest up before he starts law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

July 30, 2015 - 4:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Lambert Park.

A 9-year-old-child is reportedly stuck in a swing set at Lambert Park, 100 Verona Ave. City firefighters just arrived on scene to extricate the child.

UPDATE 5:08 p.m.: The child is safely out of the swing now.

July 30, 2015 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kibbe Park, batavia, batavia bulldawgs, sports, football.

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Officials with the Batavia Bulldawgs, a youth football program with about 150 participants, were surprised recently to learn from city officials that they wouldn't have full use of Kibbe Park for practices, said John Reigle, Bulldawgs president.

Reigle said the four age-bracketed teams need a lot of space and a lot of parking for parents and coaches on practice days and only Kibbe Park provides enough space.

A newly formed men's softball league reserved the ball field at Kibbe, creating a scheduling conflict between the two uses.

City Manager Jason Molino said the city has seen an increase in the number of organized groups looking to use city parks over the past couple of years and that means the city needs to find a way to juggle the interests of all those groups.

"It's a new issue," Molino said. "It's not a bad issue. It's a good issue. There are multiple different organizations wanting to use the parks. In the past, the parks were available on a first-come, first-served basis, but as we get different organizations, football, softball, tennis, it creates conflicts. We need to figure out a way to get with all parties and work out a schedule."

Reigle said the Bulldawgs were a little caught off-guard by change in park use. For several years, going back at least 10 years if you include Batavia Youth Football, local youth football programs have used Kibbe Park for practice without reservations. Reigle said he wishes city officials had informed the Bulldawgs it needed to reserve the space for the first time before giving the time and space to another group.

This season, the Bulldawgs will practice where they play, at Lion's Park.

That's not an ideal situation because of limited parking in the area.

Riegle fears the increase in traffic four days a week will have a negative impact on residents on Wallace Street.

"On Saturday game days, as a courtesy to the neighbors, we put out cones in front of their front yards and driveways so people won't park there," Riegle said. "It's a small street and traffic flow in and out of the park is difficult."

Molino offered the team a city-owned field on Cedar Street, in front of the County Highway Department, but that field hasn't been used in years. At one time, before Batavia Sports Park, it was used for youth soccer. It hasn't been maintained since and Riegle said the ground is too hard and rutted now to be used safely for practice.

Which brings up another issue Molino said the city is facing as recreational sports use of the parks increases -- field prep and maintenance.

The city doesn't have a recreation department and doesn't have the resources to perform the kind of prep work that might be common for recreational leagues in other cities.

"In a way, this comes up at a good time," Molino said. "Our strategic plan outlines the need to do a recreational needs assessment. That can be done through the comprehensive planning process. We can look at what the needs are and develop that into the comprehensive plan so we know what these services cost and what it will take to fund them. It's a good public process that will help us understand the needs and demands on our parks."

Molino said he realizes Reigle isn't 100-percent satisfied with the outcome of their discussions about the situation, but both men are open to exploring the use of the field on Cedar Street for next season.

"The Bulldawgs are committed to continue providing a great program for the kids," Reigle said. "We'll make do with what's best for the safety of the kids."

July 30, 2015 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Red Cross, batavia.

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The American Red Cross is closing its Downtown Batavia location Aug. 15.

The office was used primarily for storage and meetings, said Joseph Bonafede, chief communications officer for the ARC in WNY. It has been staffed exclusively by volunteers since November.

The Red Cross is working with other community groups to provide meeting space in the future, Bonafede said. He doesn't anticipate any reduction of service for the residents of Genesee County.

Volunteer response to fires, disasters and other emergencies along with health and safety training, services for military members and blood services have always been performed by volunteers in the field, with no need for a local office, Bonafede said.

Wyoming County hasn't had an office for years, Bonafede said, and, as an example for maintaining a high level of service to local residents, Bonafede used the recent flooding in Warsaw.

"Our volunteers were able to have a shelter ready shortly after being contacted by local emergency officials," Bonafede said. "While the shelter didn’t end up being necessary, our volunteers met with several families that were affected, providing temporary housing for one person and making sure others had the help they needed. They also distributed clean-up kits in the days immediately following the floods, helping neighbors in their recovery process."

The closure is part of a reorganization by American Red Cross in WNY that will help it better service its clients, Bonafede said.

"The reorganization allows us to provide additional services to the community by eliminating duplicate back-end functions and making more efficient use of our donor dollars," he said.

July 30, 2015 - 3:00pm

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July 30, 2015 - 2:52pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, BID, Beertavia.

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(Laurie Oltramari, Derick Kane, Stephanie Crean, and Corey Wolcott)

The Ellicottville Brewing Company accepted its Beertavia plaque for its famous Blueberry Wheat Beer at Angotti's Beers of the World this morning.

The brewing company's Blueberry Wheat Beer won "2015 Western New York's Brew of the Year" for the best brew at the Beertavia event held on May 16, hosted by the Batavia Business Improvement District.

"It's fantastic to be receiving the award today," said Stephanie Crean, brewery sales representative. "Ellicottville Brewing Company is celebrating its 20-year anniversary and we have been making the Blueberry Wheat Beer for 15 years. The beer is one of our customers' favorites."

Corey Wolcott, manager at Angotti's Beers of the World, said the Blueberry Wheat Beer is a crowd favorite among the locals as well and sells out fast.

According to Laurie Oltramari, the incoming executive director of the BID, Beertavia was a huge success and she plans to make it an annual event. More than 14 craft brewers attended the event and two breweries are looking at spaces Downtown.

July 30, 2015 - 2:47pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Oakfield.

Two teens were arrested after they allegedly went through vehicles in the T.F. Brown's parking lot and stole items including change. A 17-year-old male from Batavia is charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. A 16-year-old male from Oakfield is charged with petit larceny, obstruction of governmental administration and conspiracy, 6th. The 16-year-old male is accused of leading Batavia Police on a bicycle pursuit and a brief foot pursuit after being advised that he was under arrest and refusing to adhere to verbal commands. Both subjects were put in the Genesee County Jail on $1,000 bail.

Kishonti D. Williams, 23, of Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Williams was allegedly found to be in possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia during an investigation into an unrelated incident on Pearl Street in Batavia.

Frank L. Morrison, 33, of South Byron Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and obstructed view following a traffic stop by officer Mitchell Cowen on Clinton Street in Batavia. Morrison was allegedly driving on a revoked non-driver ID with other active suspensions. He was held on bail in the Genesee County Jail.

Timothy A. Banks, 24, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with an open container. Banks was allegedly found in possession of an open container of alcohol on Summit Street. An hour later, Banks was arrested again for allegedly having an open container on Columbia Avenue. He was released on his own recognizance.

Cynthia Abounader, 64, of Knapp Road, Akron, is charged with petit larceny. Abounader allegedly stole $318 worth of grocery items from Tops Market in Batavia.

James E. Wroten, 48, of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th, following an alleged domestic incident.

July 30, 2015 - 1:34pm
Event Date and Time: 
August 1, 2015 -
7:30am to 9:00pm

19th Annual Charity Tournament - Ricky Palermo's Spinal Injury Research Golf & Dinner Extravaganza!

18 Hole Scramble with assigned tee times from 11:00 am to1:00 pm. Plus ­­— early morning tee times available (approximately 7:30 AM till 8:15 AM) 

4 person teams with 3 divisions: Mixed, Male, & Female 
Maximum 56 teams/224 Golfers
Lunch Included
Raffle Tickets
Lots of Prizes! 
Cocktails & Hors D’oeuvres at 5:00pm
Catered Dinner at 7:00pm 

July 30, 2015 - 8:00am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, GLOW Corporate Cup.

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More than 40 local businesses and 670 runners and walkers are already registered for the GLOW Corporate Cup on Aug. 6.

This year the Merrill Lynch team in Batavia, the premiere sponsor of the event, has been working hard to increase sponsorship and the number of runners. Joshua Dent, vice president and planning committee member, expects at least 100 more runners will sign up before the race. Businesses can form teams and register online for the race until the day of the Corporate Cup.

Runners will take their mark at 6 p.m. at Centennial Park to compete in the 5K race. The team with the lowest combined time will be awarded the GLOW Corporate Cup. First Niagara Bank's team won last year.

All the proceeds from the race go directly to GLOW YMCA, which serves the communities of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Last year, the Glow Corporate Cup raised $18,000 for the GLOW YMCA. The Merrill Lynch team hopes to exceed that amount this year.

"The GLOW YMCA was a natural fit to give back to because they provide fitness and health programs to the communities that we work and live in," Dent said.

The AfterGLOW, the county's largest office party, will immediately follow the race. To support runners, local businesses are invited to set up tents in the park and bring food to celebrate. The after-party is a social event where employees can mingle with other companies and enjoy music from a local band.

John Riter, senior financial advisor, first came up with the idea of hosting a Corporate Cup after attending the Corporate Challenge in Buffalo. Riter said he thought it would be a great way to build the community and introduced his vision to the team. The team has been working to plan and host the event ever since.

In the future, the team would like to encourage more local businesses from surrounding counties to participate in the Glow Corporate Cup. 

"The primary geographic location of the businesses participating right now is Genesee County," Dent said. "We really want to make it a regional event and we are working hard to promote it to surrounding counties."

Photo: Joshua Dent on Ellicott Avenue, at the point of the finish line for the GLOW Corporate Cup with the Cup. John Riter and Steve Tufts, co-organizers, were unavailable for a photo today. Photo by Howard Owens.

July 29, 2015 - 5:34pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, Oakfield.

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In addition to the dozens of women's shoes in Oakfield, shoes are nailed to utility poles on sections of Galloway Road and North Pembroke Road in Batavia. Much like the residents on Hutton Road, the Batavia residents said they have no idea where the shoes came from or what they mean. Whoever is responsible must have nailed all the shoes up around the same time because neighbors said they started noticing them about three weeks ago, too. I also found a sneaker and a slipper in Batavia that matched the ones in Oakfield.

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July 29, 2015 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in spray park, austin park, batavia.

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Colin Hart, all of 1-and-a-half years old, experienced the Spray Park in Austin Park on this hot day for the first time. He was a little unsure of the whole splashing water thing. He was with mom Jill.

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July 29, 2015 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in IAFF Local 896, batavia, Habitat for Humanity, City Fire.

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Today, off duty city firefighters, members of Local 896, are volunteering their time to help work on the Habitat for Humanity house on Oak Street.

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July 29, 2015 - 2:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, east pembroke, accidents.

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A tractor-trailer's load of cargo became detached from the cab and is blocking the roadway and leaking hydraulic fluid at the Cargill plant, located at 8849 Wortendyke Road, Batavia. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: A heavy wrecker is being called in to remove the vehicle.

UPDATE: There were no citations issued. The trailer came loose as a result of a mechanical failure, according to what we were told at the scene. A State Police commercial truck enforcement officer inspected and found no violations.

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July 29, 2015 - 12:49pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, Darien, east bethany, batavia.

Robert B. Hansen III, 52, of Colby Road, Darien, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Hansen is accused of making debit card purchases and cash withdrawals totaling $17,753 drawn on his mother's checking account.The purchases and cash withdrawals were made in 2013 between February and November. The alleged purchases were not made for the benefit of his mother who is living in a Medina nursing home.

Matthew M. Maniace, 32, of Fargo Road, East Bethany, is charged with: aggravated DWI with a child in the vehicle; DWAI drugs; criminal contempt, 1st; criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th; harassment, 2nd; endangering the welfare of a child; and unlawful imprisonment. The charges result from an investigation into an alleged domestic incident by Batavia Police. Maniace is accused of driving a motor vehicle in the City of Batavia while under the influence of drugs with a 5-year-old child in the vehicle. He was put in Genesee County Jail on $20,000 bail.

Richard G. Hafford, 37, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, following a reported physical altercation that happened on Maple Street. Hafford was put in Genesee County Jail on $1,000 bail.

Bobby L. Mobley, 30, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and menacing, 2nd, following an alleged disturbance that occurred on Hutchins Street on July 10. 

Kristine M. Smart, 39, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Smart allegedly stole $135 worth of merchandise from Kohl's Department Store in Batavia.

July 29, 2015 - 5:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A caller reports that there is something vibrating her apartment building. She cannot find the source.

A police officer is dispatched.

July 28, 2015 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Union Avenue, batavia, infrastructure.

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City crews are just finishing up water main repair work on Union Street. The leak location was just yards from a leak that occurred during the winter.

Water service was restored to the area about 2 p.m.

Union Avenue should reopen shortly.

July 28, 2015 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, batavia.

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Spike is missing.

The tortoise belongs to a local family who's owned him for 16 years. He escaped from their yard around 2 p.m., Friday. A neighbor on Summit Street, trying to be helpful, thought Spike was a turtle and took him to the Tonawanda Creek behind the courthouse and released him. It's possible two kids who were there fishing took him home.

Family friend Mike Hilchey is fielding tips on Spike's whereabouts. He can be reached at (585) 344-0931.

July 28, 2015 - 6:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia.

Press release:

There is a water main break on Union Street in front of Notre Dame High School, and a Water Department crew has responded to begin repairs. Water service on Union Street will be affected in this area, and water discoloration may be noticed in the surrounding areas. Union Street will be closed to traffic between Richmond Avenue and Soccio Street until repairs are complete.

July 27, 2015 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

An inexperienced jumpmaster has been blamed by Army investigators for the death of Sgt. Shaina Schmigel, the former Batavia resident who died in a training accident at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina on May 30, 2014.

The Army Times reports that the jumpmaster was performing his duties for the first time and was not current on his training.

The Times reports:

Schmigel’s equipment was misrouted so that, when exiting the plane, she became a “towed jumper.” While be being towed, the subsequent jumper exited the plane and Schmigel became entangled in his T-11 parachute. Schmigel reportedly died from fatal lacerations to the throat and a broken neck. The entire incident lasted three to four seconds, according to the report.

After Schmigel was hit by the second jumper, her body continued its decent with the parachute deployed properly. Nobody noticed anything was wrong until she was found unresponsive on the ground.

The information about the accident was obtained from the government through a Freedom of Information Request.

The jumpmaster, who was recommended for reassignment, also reportedly failed to attend a pre-jump briefing.

The investigators, however, found no criminal wrongdoing. The report contains a number of recommendations for improving paratrooper safety.

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