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September 21, 2016 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, GCC, news, cybersecurity.

Press release:

An FBI Special Agent will address issues of cybersecurity at a free public forum Thursday, Oct. 6, at Genesee Community College.

It will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Conable Technology Building / Room T102, located at 1 College Road, Batavia.

In an age of online convenience, security threats are always a looming possibility. Through Internet shopping, banking, social networking and mobile apps, we all have a cyber presence that needs to be protected.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. 

The Criminal Justice Club of Genesee Community College and members of the College's Computer Services Department, Computer Repair Club and GUSTO (Genesee Unites to Support Team Opportunities) are hosting this special guest speaker, a Supervisory Special Agent of the Buffalo Division's Cyber Squad. It brings together local, state and federal intelligence community experts to combat computer intrusions, viruses and other cyber threats.

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

The FBI leads the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism and espionage, computer and network intrusions, and major cyber fraud and identity theft. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, the FBI gathers and shares information and intelligence with public and private-sector partners worldwide.

September 21, 2016 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, batavia, news.


It's taken 26 years for sludge to build up to about a three-foot depth in one of the processing ponds at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, but that buildup has reduced the pond's capacity by about 50 percent, so it's time to have it removed.

A removal project is now underway that costs about $1.3 million and is being conducted by contractors who specialize in sludge removal.

The process involves pumping the water-logged sludge out of the pond, screening it for large objects -- shoes, bottles, rocks -- and then sending it through one of two centrifuges, which use gravitational force and a polymer to separate the sludge from the water. The water is pumped back into the pond and the sludge is sent up a conveyor belt and dumped into a truck before it is hauled to a landfill.

Initially, the original estimate for the project was eight weeks, but a second centrifuge was added and now the contractor is processing a truckful of sludge every 90 minutes, to fill at least eight trucks a day, reducing the project timeframe to about four weeks.

Jim Ficarella, superintendent of water & wastewater for the City of Batavia, provided a tour of the project yesterday.


The water that has been squeezed from the sludge just before being piped back to the pond.


There will be about 2,100 dry tons of sludge removed from the pond.




One of the two centrifuges being used.


The pipelines that draw sludge from the pond and return water to the pond.


The screening process for removing large items that have inadvertently fallen into the pond.


The pond with sludge that has floated to the surface and been pushed by the wind to the eastern shoreline.

Ficarella said they know they won't get 100 percent of the sludge out of the pond, but they'll get most of it.

This pond is the second stage of the process. By this point, the wastewater has been at the plant for about three months. The whole process, which includes passing the wastewater through several ponds and a series of wetlands ponds, takes about a year. The clean water is pumped into Tonawanda Creek. 

See our previous story: Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, one of city's hidden treasures


The plant remains a birder's paradise, with birders traveling, literally, from all over the world, to visit the plant.

September 21, 2016 - 1:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, corfu.

Holden W. Byer, 25, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: unlawful possession of marijuana; second-degree obstruction of government administration; resisting arrest; and criminal mischief in the fourth degree. He was arrested at 8:42 p.m. on Sept. 10 on East Main Street in Batavia following a "check-the-welfare" complaint. While being interviewed by police, Byer allegedly attempted to run from police and resisted arrest by pushing and punching police while thrashing about. He was taken to UMMC for a medical evaluation and while in the emergency room he allegedly caused damage to a wall by punching, kicking and slamming furniture into it. He was jailed on $1,000 bail and was due in City Court on Sept. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officers Jason Ivison, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Christopher J. Rockefeller, 35, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous instrument. He allegedly struck a female in the face with a fan at 9:45 p.m. on Sept. 17 on North Spruce Street. He was arrested, arraigned in City Court and jailed without bail. He was due in court Monday (Sept. 19). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Cirlio Martinez-Jose, 29, of Federal Road, Piffard, is charged with second-degree harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation. He was arrested at midnight on Sept. 18 following a domestic incident at an apartment on Maple Street in Batavia wherein he allegedly pushed and grabbed the victim by the neck and obstructed her breath. He was jailed on $2,500 cash bail or bond. He was due in City Court on Sept. 19. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk

Travis L. Bartz, 21, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and thrid-degree menacing. Bartz was arrested at 5:20 p.m. on Aug. 28 on Trumbull Parkway following a physical altercation in which he allegedly physically menaced and attempted to punch another male. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in City Court on Sept. 27. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Keanon S. Williams, 39, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested on Sept. 18 following an investigation into two incidents in Batavia wherein Williams allegedly violated an order of protection by contacting the protected party. The first incident occured at 4:38 p.m. on Sept. 1 on Harvester Avenue. The second incident occured at 2 p.m. on Sept. 7 on West Main Street. He was arraigned in City Court, then jailed in lieu of $2,500 bail. He was due in court Sept. 19. The cases were handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Kamre H. Green, 18, of Elm Street, Batavia, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; reckless driving; unauthorized use of a vehicle; unlicensed operator; and following too closely.  Green was arrested at 1:22 p.m. Sept. 13 on Oak Street after allegedly operating a motor vehicle, which he did not have permission to take or use, while intoxicated. Green struck a motor coach bus which was stopped in traffic after making an unsafe U-turn and traveling at an excessive speed, according to the police report. A small amount of marijuana was also allegedly found in the vehicle. Green was arraigned in City Court and jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail. He was due back in court on Sept. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey. 

Randall James Draper, 30, of Adeline Road, Rochester, is charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree; unlawful possession of marijuana; operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver; and operating a motor vehicle with an insufficient exhaust. Draper was arrested at 8:45 p.m. on Route 77 in the Town of Pembroke following a traffic stop. He was arraigned in Town of Pembroke Court and jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash bail. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer.

Bryan D. Bates, 37, of Mill Street, Batavia, was arrested Sept. 19 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court for failure to appear. He was arraigned in City Court then released. He is set to return on Sept. 22. The warrant stems from an unspecified incident which occurred at 1:47 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2014. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Tyler A. Stoddard, 21, of Meiser Road, Corfu, is charged with failure to appear. He was arrested this morning on a warrant out of Batavia City Court. He was issued an appearance ticket for City Court and released. The charge stems from an unspecified incident which occurred at 8:05 p.m. on July 16 at 300 Ellicott St. in Batavia. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

September 20, 2016 - 7:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, news, batavia, Mane Attraction.


Mary-Clare Stokes gets a strike of blue hair weaved into her own as part of Spirit Week at Genesee Community College and to honor the college's 50th anniversary.  Kassandra Bowen, of The Mane Attraction Salon & Spa, is performing the weave. Staff from Mane Attraction were in the Student Union this afternoon to provide the weaves to any students who wanted them. It was all Stokes' idea.


September 20, 2016 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in aquifer, batavia, DeWitt Recreation Area, news.

All summer, we've watched the water level drop at the lakes off Cedar Street, including DeWitt Recreation Area, where a land bridge that probably hasn't been seen since the 1970s re-emerged as WNY has suffered through a rare drought.

Yesterday, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told county legislators that the level has been dropping about a third of a foot every two weeks, but this afternoon we learned that trend may be reversing.

Jim Ficarella, superintendent of water & wastewater for the City of Batavia, said he took a new measurement of the aquifer this morning and found it has risen more than a third since his previous measurement.

The aquifer not only supplies some of the city's water, it also replenishes the lakes.

The aquifer level and the lake levels have dropped pretty much in unison, Ficarella said, but there may be a lag in replenishing the lakes as the aquifer comes back.

Of course, it will take more rain, and in the winter, more snow, for the levels to recover to pre-drought levels.

Meanwhile, the city and county have an ample water supply from the Monroe County Water Authority.

September 20, 2016 - 4:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, BHS, sports, news, Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame.

The inductees into the 15th annual Batavia Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame were announced this afternoon.

They are:

  • David Dedman (1989)
  • Karen Thomas Dupuis (1982)
  • Christopher Kane (1986)
  • John McGowan Jr. (1995)
  • Frank Pontillo (1991)
  • Susan Salvador Tresco (1986)

Biographical information about the honorees has not yet been released.

They will be honored at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility in Batavia on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Cost is $30 per person. Social hour begins at 5; dinner is at 6.

Tickets are available at the Athletic Directors Office at Batavia High School.

For more information, call 343-2480, ext. 2003.

This event is sponsored by the Batavia Coaches Association.

September 20, 2016 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in richmond library, batavia, Announcements, news.

Press release:

A free series of five classes on exploring your family history will be offered at Richmond Memorial Library on Tuesdays beginning Oct. 4.

Classes start at 6 p.m. and run weekly through Nov. 1.

Have you ever wondered about your ancestors -- who they were, where they came from, or what you have in common with them?

This is an excellent opportunity to start a geneology search and explore your family history.

Contact the library at 343-9550 to register.

September 20, 2016 - 3:00pm

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September 20, 2016 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Milestones.

Jessica Molins, of Batavia, graduated from Buffalo State with a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Administration.

Buffalo State offers bachelor's and master's degrees in the arts, education, natural sciences, social sciences, and professional studies.

Buffalo State is located in the heart of Buffalo's cultural corridor.

September 20, 2016 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia.

William Glenn Walters, 37, of Wolcott Street, Le Roy, is charged with disobeying a court mandate. Walters was arrested at 6:37 p.m. on Sept. 19 following a domestic incident on Warsaw Road in the Town of Le Roy. Walters allegedly violated a Family Court stay away order of protection. He was released on an appearance ticket returnable to Town of Le Roy Court on Oct. 17. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

Amber Meadows, 25, of Canandaigua, was arrested on Sept. 16 by SP Batavia Troopers on a warrant issued by the Town of Batavia Court for petit larceny. She is accused of stealing $638 worth of merchandise from the Target store in Batavia on Aug. 8. Meadows was arraigned in the Town of Batavia Court and released with a return court date. Troopers then turned Meadows over to the Ontario County Sheriffs Office where she was wanted on another warrant.

September 20, 2016 - 1:43pm

Press release:

This week is National Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 18-24). As part of the campaign, National Safety Check Saturday will be hosted by the City of Batavia Fire Department this Saturday, Sept. 24, at City of Batavia Fire Headquarters, located at 18 Evans St. in Batavia. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

Nationally Certified Technicians will be able to ensure your child passenger's seat is installed correctly and answer any questions caregivers may have regarding installation, selection and the use of car seats.

Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 through 12. Most tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) seriously injured or killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts or were wearing them incorrectly. Tweens are also more likely to get hurt in crashes when riding in the front seat. Many deaths and injuries could be prevented if children were properly secured in an appropriate child restraint.

Many parents and caregivers assume they know how to choose and use the correct child restraints for their children, but sadly these restraints are frequently used incorrectly. In fact, three out of every four children are riding at an increased risk of injury because their car seats are not being used correctly.

As always, technicians are available by calling Fire Headquarters at (585) 345-6375 to schedule an appointment.

September 20, 2016 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A caller reports a fight just breaking up on Highland Park, Batavia.

Eight to nine people were reportedly involved.

There is a report of a possible injury.

Police are responding.

One person who ran from the scene has been identified by a witness.

UPDATE 11:18 a.m.: Police transmissions have gone encrypted.

September 19, 2016 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia.

Tonight the family and friends of Kevin Woodhams (nee Kyeongseop Kim) will gather to share fond memories of his life at Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel on West Main Street Road in Batavia.

The 25-year-old native of Ulsan City, South Korea, only arrived in America in February and is said to have fallen in love with it instantly.

He was a stargazer who enjoyed watching the night sky. He liked our local parks and loved listening to music.

Kevin also was a shopper at Wegmans, an aficionado of Starbucks, a nosher at McDonald's. But he also enjoyed his favorite Korean cuisine (perhaps bulgogi or a hot stone bowl of bi bim bap)

He died unexpectedly on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5.

For his complete obituary, click here.

For previous coverage, click here.

September 19, 2016 - 1:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, business, Made in America store.

Press release:

Officials from Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) and the Made in America Store today announced their partnership to bring a Made in America Store to Batavia Downs. The grand opening of the new store and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the lobby of Batavia Downs on Park Road. A performance by Nashville Recording Artist Ricky Lee will follow the ceremony at the facility.

The Made in America Store, which started with just 50 products, today carries 7,000 products from more than 500 U.S. manufacturers, all 100-percent American made. The Store is headquartered in Elma, New York.

“We are proud to partner with Batavia Downs to bring our line of American-made products to the great people of Genesee County and the many tourists and visitors who’ve made this venue a world-class destination,” said Mark Andol, founder of the Made in America Store. “The people of this community are as patriotic as any you will find across the country. We are confident that this store will be one of our busiest and most successful locations.”

For Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation, the Made in America Store will be its first retail venture on the grounds of Batavia Downs.

“Over the years, we’ve had a multitude of opportunities to partner with entities from the retail sector at Batavia Downs,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president of WROTB. “In deciding to partner with MIA, the decision was not a difficult one; we both support American workers, jobs in this community, and American jobs across the country.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 29 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western OTB has generated over $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

“As a public benefit corporation, it is imperative that every decision we make is in the best interests of the 17 municipalities that encompass the corporation and share the revenue generated by the corporation,” Nolan said. “I can’t think of a retail collaboration that fits better into our mission than partnering with MIA.”

September 19, 2016 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in walmart, batavia, news.

A caller at Walmart reports a suspicious condition -- a man attempted to purchase numerous iPads from the store.

Apparently, the purchase did not go through for some reason.

The man left in a gray Chevy Tahoe with Georgia plates.

A deputy is responding.

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: The Tahoe is a rental.

September 18, 2016 - 3:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

A tree and unknown-type wires are reportedly down in the roadway, partially blocking, at 151 Ross St. City fire is responding.

September 17, 2016 - 3:53pm


It was on a Saturday in September 10 years ago that I first drove into Batavia.

I returned to that event today to sort of mark the anniversary.

It was through a calendar item in the Gardener's Journal 10 years ago that I saw something about a Master Gardeners' Gala at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in a placed called Batavia.

"Batavia can't be too far of a drive," I thought, while sitting in my hotel room in Fairport.  

I made the drive, and it was a bit more of a drive than I expected, but eventually, I found Batavia, and I found it charming.

I came out here looking for information on growing roses in Western New York (we were getting ready to move from Bakersfield, Calif.) and left charmed by this little city.

Little did I know then, that within two years, I would be starting an online news site for Genesee County and eventually moving here myself. But Billie and I are quite happy with that turn of events.

Thank you all for supporting our experiment in online-only news and embracing and accepting us as you have.

And yes, I've found it possible to quite successfully grow roses in Western New York.



September 17, 2016 - 3:00pm

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September 17, 2016 - 1:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

A tree has fallen onto a house at 37 Columbia Ave. City firefighters are responding.

UPDATE 1:31 p.m.: The house is bieng evacuated.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: A large limb broke off a tree on property on Manhattan Avenue, which runs parallel to Columbia Avenue. The broken branch spans the entire length of the Columbia Avenue house.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: The city's fourth platoon is called into headquarters.


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

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