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April 20, 2016 - 4:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, batavia.

Jerry Riley III

Press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department, concluded as investigation into the illegal sales of narcotics from a Bank Street residence in the City of Batavia with the arrest of a Rochester man on Wednesday afternoon.

Jerry Riley III, 38, of Jay Street, Rochester is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, also a Class B felony.

He is already in custody at the Genesee County Jail from an incident that occurred in the city earlier this month and has now been charged with four additional felony charges this afternoon stemming from the sales of "crack" cocaine in the city in March.

Riley is in jail with $2,000 of additional bail.

For initial post on Riley, click here.

April 20, 2016 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Milestones.

Kaitlyn Logsdon, of Batavia, received an award at the 2016 James J. Whalen Academic Symposium at Ithaca College.

A total of 420 students participated by giving oral presentations or displaying posters and other creative works. Award winners were selected from a pool of 60 finalists.

Logsdon's presentation was entitled, "The Paradox of Sustainability and the Global Betterment Imperative."

April 20, 2016 - 1:54pm

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) has invited individuals from a number of local businesses and agencies to a “Lunch in the Dark” at the New York State School for the Blind (NYSSB) to learn how those with low vision or blindness can live and work successfully.

Taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday April 28th at the School, 2A Richmond Ave, west of State Street, in Batavia, the event challenges the participants to dine in low light conditions, with blindfolds available for those who want a “total experience."

After the meal, with the assistance of an ILGR staff person, they will have the chance to try out activities when blindfolded, such as traveling a course with the white cane, feeling Braille documents, and using adapted devices. Services of ILGR that may be useful to citizens who are visually impaired, such as the Medicaid Application Assistance Program, will be explored.  

A panel, including students and graduates from the State School for the Blind who have been gainfully employed, will take questions at the end of the event. A number of workplace accommodations for blind employees that cost the company little or nothing will be discussed.

The ticket price of $15 includes the meal, and some materials participants can take home.

Members of the public who have not been formally invited are welcome to attend, if they pre-register. For questions, or to RSVP, please call Donna Becker at 815-8501, ext. 411.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc., family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

April 20, 2016 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, landmark society, preservationism, batavia.
If you're interested in old buildings and young people, we hope you will join us from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, in the Gallery Room at the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia.
The Landmark Society of Genesee is hosting a talk by Derik Kane, CNUA, who will speak on the history and evolution of Buffalo's Young Preservationists (BYP) and how it has become a national model for the "New School" of preservation.

BYP members are not only concerned with the aesthetics and history of a building, but how it impacts the opportunities for livability, economic development, energy efficiency / sustainability, and social causes within the city.

The Senior Planner for Genesee County, Derik serves on the Board of Directors of the Landmark Society of Genesee County, and has been a core member of BYP since 2012. 
This event is free and open to the public. No need to RSVP.
April 20, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.


City residents are invited to City Hall today to share their ideas for the future of Batavia.

As an early-stage step toward devising a new comprehensive plan for Batavia, the city is hosting an open house today where residents can step through a series of questions and write out answers for their ideas on the challenges the city faces, how to address those issues and what their visions are for Batavia.

The open house lasts until 7 p.m.


April 20, 2016 - 11:37am
posted by Julia Ferrini in batavia, alexander, Attica, events.



The pride and joy of the man’s job now sits idle most days, his namesake lovingly wiping the dirt from her fenders as a myriad of emotions floated across his brow. Douglas Mess’s John Deere 4020 is built for heavy work, but could also be used for lighter duties, and as his son put it, “it’s the heart of any farm.”

Family and friends gathered at the Spring Farm Tuesday evening for the second annual Douglas Mess Memorial Tractor ride. April 19 marked the one year anniversary of the death of the 52-year-old farmer. As a way to remember the father, brother and friend, those who knew him best revved up their tractors and made the approximately six-mile trek – from the Spring Farm on Chaddock Road to Baskin Livestock on Creek Road – in celebration of a man’s life.

“Most days are fine,” said the eldest of three boys, Doug Mess. “I still have my off days.”

Since last April, the Mess’s farm in Attica had been off limits. Within the last few months, the boys have been able to go back. 

“We aren’t operating the farm right now,” Doug said. “The cows have been gone for almost a year and now we're just getting things cleaned up.”

“It’s still a shock,” said longtime family friend Dale Spring. “Our families grew up together. Our kids were in 4-H together. He was an awesome guy. He would help you no matter what. If he couldn't talk ya through it, he'd come down and help.”

Sixteen tractors in all and double the number of friends and family met to honor the man.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” Spring said. “Every morning, after he was done milking his cows he would drive by my farm...”

As a way to remember their employee, Bill Baskin and Susan Blackburn, Baskin’s wife, had a sign made dedicating their new truck shop to Douglas.

The gathering. The ride. It was a time to remember the man and not the incident surrounding his death.

See related: Murder of Douglas Mess a big loss for Baskin Livestock Attica woman charged with murder in missing man's death 






April 20, 2016 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in zombie properties, abandoned properties, batavia, news.


Pat O'Brien was a little surprised, but not shocked to learn yesterday that the house on Ross Street that he moved into Monday was the subject of a $841,500 fine by Batavia City Court for a long string of alleged code violations.

Before O'Brien bought the home, the city determined the responsible party for the property was HSBC Bank. The bank was allegedly issued a summons to appear in court to answer to the code violation charges, but reportedly, no representative of HSBC ever appeared.

When defendants fail to appear in court as directed, judges have the discretion to find the party guilty and after another demand to appear in court, in the defendant's absence, the judge can issue a sentence.

That's what Justice Durin Rogers did Friday against HSBC and another entity responsible for a local property that has allegedly failed to appear on the matter.

That defendant is Kaja Holdings 2, LLC, held responsible for 21 Hutchins St., Batavia. Kaja was found guilty in absentia of 1,092 violations of the city's property maintenance code.

HSBC was found guilty of 3,336 violations.

Rob Sherman, corporate communications for HSBC, did not respond to a voicemail left yesterday requesting comment.

Kaja Holdings did not respond to a request for comment. 

City Manager Jason Molino said the judgments against HSBC and Kaja are part of the city's ongoing, aggressive efforts to deal with so-called "zombie" homes -- homes that have been left abandoned and vacant for extended periods of time following a foreclosure.

"We going to push aggressively with non-responsive individuals with an interest in properties in hopes of getting people's attention and start getting them to respond," Molino said.

Molino said the city was only notified on Monday that the Ross Street property had been transferred to the new owners.

"We're pleased with the outcome," Molino said. "It's exactly what we like to see."

Whether HSBC will still be on the hook for the $841,500 fine, Molino said he didn't know. That will be up to Justice Rogers to decide.

As for Pat O'Brien, he said he's thrilled with the house and happy to become a Batavia resident.

He took a job in Henrietta in the fall and found the house on the house listed for sale on the Fannie Mae Web site. He worked with local real estate agent Chuck Flynn to complete the purchase.

He's had a new gas line installed (it was cut off at the street), new electrical installed and the city turned the water on two days ago, making the house livable once again.

"Even though it looks a little bit bad on the outside, surprisingly, it's not that bad on the inside," O'Brien said. "Structurally it's really sound."

O'Brien said he liked Batavia because it's a small, quaint community that seems to have a lot going for it. Workers who have come over to his house have had good things to say about Batavia, he said, that it's a community on the rise.

And commuting to Henrietta, he said, is no big deal.

"Back in Jersey, I actually had a longer commute, so the commute between Batavia and Henrietta doesn't bother me," he said. "It's all Thruway. It's under 45 minutes, which I don't think is that bad."

Molino said O'Brien will be given time to get the house in good shape once again, which O'Brien said he intends to do.

"If you look at the house, it's actually not as bad as you think because the top third has all been aluminum sided and so I only have to repaint the lower two-thirds of the home, so like I said, I think by the end of the summer it should be a gem on the street," O'Brien said.

Our news partner WBTA AM/FM contributed to this story.


21 Hutchins St., which is vacant and condemned.

April 19, 2016 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Scott Jay Seeley, 54, of Newstead Road, Akron, is charged with driving while intoxicated with a BAC greater than .08 percent, DWI, having a cracked windshield and an obstructed view. At 7:52 p.m. on April 18, on West Main Street in the Town of Batavia, Seeley was arrested following a traffic stop for vehicle equipment violation(s). After interviewing him and giving him field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed, he was arrested then released on appearance tickets for Town of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Malik Domonic Dietz, 21, of West 13th St., Manhattan, is charged with third-degree identity theft and petit larceny. Dietz allegedly used the victim's personal identification to gain access to an Internet site at 5 p.m. on April 8 from a location on Batavia-Stafford Townline Road. He was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on April 21. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Mazur.

April 19, 2016 - 3:00pm

5 Tips for first‐time home buyers: The home buying season is right around the corner and could be here even earlier with the mild winter we’ve had. Buying your first home can be exciting, but also stressful. While making a purchase like this, it is helpful to know what needs to be done beforehand. Here are five tips to get you started so you can hit the ground running:

1 – Check your credit report and score. Before applying for a mortgage, check your credit report and fix any errors. You’ll also want to check your credit score, which is a direct reflection of consistent payment history, current income and amounts owed on additional accounts. Improving and knowing where your credit score stands could potentially save you thousands of dollars throughout this process by getting you a lower interest rate. To get a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus, visit While your reports are free, there might be a nominal charge to obtain your score. 

2 – Get pre‐qualified and pre-approved. Understanding how much you can afford before you buy is important to a successful home buying experience. By becoming “prequalified,” you’ll first look at your overall financial situation and determine how much you can afford each month for your mortgage payment. From there, a mortgage representative can help you understand how much mortgage you could likely qualify for. Becoming “preapproved” requires more documentation information. While it is not a formal mortgage commitment, it does include loan terms and conditions that will help show sellers you’re a serious buyer. 

3 – Learn about loans. Each type of mortgage is different, so it is best to know which type of loan works best for you. The most common are Fixed‐Rate or Adjustable‐Rate mortgages. With Fixed‐Rate mortgages, principal plus interest payments remain the same for the life of the loan. With Adjustable‐ Rate mortgages, the interest rates can fluctuate after an initial period, causing the total monthly payment to change periodically. Another option to consider when selecting a mortgage is the term or length of the mortgage loan. The most common term is for 30 years but many mortgage lenders also make mortgage terms for 15 or 20 years available too. With shorter term options, the borrower can expect to pay off their mortgage sooner (and own the home outright) but will typically have a higher monthly mortgage payment. Understanding the different mortgage options and working with an experienced mortgage representative to find the right mortgage option for your own situation will help you feel as comfortable with your mortgage choice as you do in your new home. 

4 – Look for special programs. Some lenders offer programs that provide home buying assistance for qualified buyers. This can provide borrowers with grants or other incentives to make the home buying process more affordable. For borrowers who may not have the funds for a larger down payment and meet certain qualifications may find that an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan is the right option for them. The First Home Clubsm is a program sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, provides income eligible and approved participants who satisfy all conditions of the program a grant of up to $7,500 through a match of $4 for every $1 that is saved in a special savings account.

5 – Know your closing costs. Closing costs are charges and fees associated with closing of a real estate loan. These can range from 2‐6 percent of the purchase price of your home and can typically include loan processing fees, appraisal fees, credit report fees, mortgage insurance, hazard insurance, title insurance, recording fees, surveyor fees, and up‐front property taxes. Calculators are available to help you estimate these expenses up front to help you better budget for your closing.

Following simple steps like these will make the home buying process smoother and more enjoyable. For more tips and resources as you prepare to buy a home, just stop in any of our branches or visit us online at

Mary Blevins is the branch manager at the Batavia office of ESL Federal Credit Union. She oversees branch operations, including loan and shares, compliance policies and the management of branch personnel.​

April 18, 2016 - 8:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

A person out walking a dog heard a bang, like a door slamming, and then saw a white male dressed in black quickly leave a residence on Morton Avenue.

Batavia PD responded and the subject was located.

Officers were checking for unlocked vehicles and, if they found any, were asking residents to check and see if anything was missing.

The resident of the original complaint was not at home at the time and it's unknown if the subject dressed in black made entry.

April 18, 2016 - 4:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia, elba, corfu, Oakfield.

Kerry L. Norton, 33, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving while intoxicated, DWI -- Leandra's Law, and endangering the welfare of a minor. At 2:31 a.m. on April 16, Norton was arrested after being stopped for multiple traffic violations. Norton performed field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed. Officers discovered that two of his passengers were juveniles under age 16. Officers later discovered that Norton allegedly allowed the children to smoke marijuana in the vehicle while he was driving. He was jailed without bail and set to return to court today. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Eric Foels.

Deniz M. Pirincci, 59, Garden Drive, Batavia, is charged with owning an unlicensed dog and owning a dog running at large. At 9:32 p.m. on March 27, Pirincci's dog was running at large and allegedly attacked another dog that was being walked by its owner on Garden Drive. Following at investigation, he was issued at appearance ticket for April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Joseph A. Monte, 52, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with third-degree robbery, second-degree harassment, and criminal obstruction of breathing. He was arrested at 2:32 a.m. on April 17 after an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred a short time earlier on Walnut Street. He was jailed and set to be in court today. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Eric Foels.

Carlos Samol, 51, of Libersty Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree menacing. He was arrested after an incident at 8:07 p.m. on April 17 on Ellicott Street in which Samol allegedly menaced another person with what appeared to be a pistol. He was jailed on $5,000 bail and is to appear in City Court today. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay. In addition, he was charged with second-degree criminal contempt for allegedly riding in a car with another person in violation of a complete stay-away order of protection. On the latter charge, the case was handled by Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Mitchell Cowen.

Frank J. Finley Jr., 33, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. Finley was arrested following an investigation into a domestic incident in the city at 11:40 p.m. on April 9. He was due in court on April 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Riley J. Cole, 20, of Garibaldi Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with second-degree harassment. The charge stems from an incident on Walnut Street at 3:50 p.m. on April 8 wherein Cole allegedly struck an ARC staff member in the face. Cole is to appear in City Court Tuesday. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Zachary Vernon Seeley, 19, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested following an altercation at 3:11 p.m. on April 13 at 555 E. Main St. with another resident at that location. Seeley allegedly became upset with the other resident and punched a hole in a wall there, prior to allegedly shoving the other resident. He was jailed in lieu of $500 bail and was due in court on April 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Taheed M. Moffett, 31, of Turner Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal mischief -- $250 in damages, resisting arrest and second-degree obstruction of governmental administration. Moffett was arrested at 8:56 p.m. on April 19 on Pearl Street. The defendant was to appear in April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Scott D. Higgins, 35, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, with a BAC of .18 percent or more, DWI -- common law, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to use headlights, and operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver. At 2:22 a.m. on April 16, officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle without headlights on West Main Street at Burger King. Higgins was allegedly found to be operating the vehicle while intoxicated and he was subsequently arrested for DWI and issued tickets. He is scheduled to be in City Court on April 27. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk. Higgins was subsequently arrested at 1 p.m. on April 19 for failure to appear on a charge stemming from an incident on Aug. 12, 2014, on West Main Street.  He was jailed, then released after posting $200 bail. He is to appear in City Court on this matter Tuesday. The case was handled by Officer Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Perkins.

Christopher Michael Barone, 33, of Lawrence Avenue, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator. He was arrested at 7:59 p.m. on April 8 after a traffic stop on Main Street in Batavia. He was found to have a suspended driver's license (14 suspensions on four dates) and also had an active warrant out of the Town of Batavia for third-degree aggravated unlicensed operator. He was also allegedly found to possess cocaine. He was jailed on $1,000 bail and was to be in City Counrt on April 11. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Darryle Streeter.

Terry L. Travis Jr., 33, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with driving while intoxicated, first offense, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 3rd, refusal to take a breath test and illegal signal. He was arrested at 1:38 p.m. on March 25 and released with an appearance ticket for City Court on April 27. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Eric Foels.

Robin D. Dixon, 28, of Barbie Court, Rochester, is charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated -- common law, and driving the wrong direction on a one-way street. Dixon was arrested at 2:08 a.m. on April 9 after she was observed allegedly driving the wrong way on a portion of School Street, downtown. After a traffic stop, she was arrested for allegedly driving in an intoxicated condition. She is to be in court on April 20. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Brian V. Bisig, 29, of Transit Road, Elba, is charged with having insufficient tail lamps and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. At 9:47 p.m. on April 14, Bisig was stopped for having a defective tail lamp in the area of West Main and River streets. He was arrested and posted $200 bail and is to be in City Court on April 27. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp.

Johnney Lee Shannon, 57, of Creek Road, Batavia, is charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unattended motor vehicle. Shannon was arrested at 1:06 p.m. April 11 on West Main Street Road, Batavia, after allegedly leaving his vehicle running unattended in the parking lot of a local business. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on May 3. Subsequently, Shannon was arrested on a warrant out of Wyoming County. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Nathan S. Love, 23, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. He was arrested on a City of Batavia warrant that was issued after he failed to appear on a charge stemming from an incident on Feb. 27 on West Main Street, Batavia. He was jailed on $500 bail and was to be in City Court this afternoon. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Gregory F. Frieday, 31, of Osterhout Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief -- intent to damage property. He was arrested at 11:20 p.m. on April 9 and was issued an appearance ticket for court on May 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Eric Foels.

Timothy J. Wood Sr., 27, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested at 12:30 p.m. on April 3 following an investigation stemming from his allegedly threatening individuals. He was jailed on $1,000 bail and was to be in court on April 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Kyle Ratulowski, 20, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was arrested on two counts of petit larceny after attempting to pawn items he allegedly stole from unsecured vehicles overnight while in the City of Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to be in City Court on Tuesday. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis. Deputy Young from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office assisted in the investigation. The Sheriff's Office also had charges on Ratulowski for allegedly stealing items from unsecured vehicles in the Town of Batavia. He was jailed on those charges.

Kiha S. McNear, 18, of 1/2 Walnut St., Batavia, was arrested at 9:45 a.m. on April 11 after police responded to a report of a physical altercation in the parking lot of Tim Horton's. While police were interviewing multiple subjects, McNear became upset that poluce had stopped him and allegedly started using absive language and shouting obscenities and racial epithets toward police. He was subsequently arrested and issued an appearance ticket for city court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Sgt. Daniel Coffey. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Kasey J. Wagner, 34, of Fletcher Chapel Road, Shelby, is charged with failure to appear. Wagner was arrested on a warrant issued her failure to appear in court on a charge of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. Wagner was jailed on $250 bail and was due in court April 11.

Christina A. Cotter, 23, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Cotter was arrested on April 4 after violating a complete stay-away order of protection issued by City Court by allegedly sending several text messages to the protected party. Cotter was to be in court April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens.

Ralph A. Golding, 51, of Broadway, Alden, was arrested April 11 on a bench warrant out of City Court. The warrant was issued after Golding allegedly failed to pay a fine in relation to a conviction for petit larceny. The defendant was due in court April 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Kathryn F. Long, 21, of Harris Road, Le Roy was arrested on April 14th by the Le Roy Police Department and charged with petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor. Long was arrested following a complaint of an alleged larceny in progress from Tops Market located in the Village. Long allegedly took $5.89 worth of merchandise from Tops. She was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Le Roy Town Court on May 19.

Kenneth A. McJury, 52, of 1/2 Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. McJury was arrested following an investigated into a larceny at 5:57 p.m. April 6 at the Kwik Fill on Jackson Street. He was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Arick Perkins.

Tyler D. Price, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested at 1 p.m. on April 12 on a bench warrant. Price was released on an appearance ticket and was to be in City Court on April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.
April 18, 2016 - 1:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, volunteers for animals, feral cats, batavia.
We received this e-mail from Rich Pearson, treasurer of Volunteers for Animals, in regards to the story we published April 12 about trapping and treating Batavia's community cats.
I wish to clarify some of the points presented in your recent article on trapping and treating cats under the city's program. I am not sure how Ms. DiFante came to receive the information for this article but this is a completely inaccurate account of recent events. This implication of the article is that the City was involved in this operation.
Ms. DiFante presents this as proof that the city's program is actively working to control the community cat problem. This is not at all true. Two volunteers from Volunteers for Animals initiated the assessment of this particular situation and arranged for spaying/ neutering and vaccinating these cats. Ms. DiFante, Mr. Sheflin and Ms. Brade were not consulted or involved in this issue. There was no coordination requested from nor provided by the city.
The funds to pay for vetting these cats came from Volunteers for Animals  community spay/neuter efforts. VFA has been awarded a grant through the ASPCA to cover spay/neuter of pets belonging to low-income families and through a donation from an individual, VFA provides low-cost spay/neuter of pets belonging to families who don't qualify for the ASPCA grant but need some assistance with the cost of the surgery.
Almost all of the information given to you regarding this incident was incorrect, including the location and number of cats. It is correct that all of the cats were treated at State Street Animal Hospital.
The VFA is committed to the spay/neuter of pets and we have spent a great deal of time and effort and have committed volunteers who devote a great deal of personal time to this endeavor. While the city is attempting to use our results to show that they are doing something, the bottom line is that apparently the city has no grant writers who can apply for the grants ASPCA does have for spay/neuter of feral colonies. The VFA actively promotes spay neuter programs while the city flounders in discussions and releases inaccurate press releases.
For the original post, click here.
April 18, 2016 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia GOP, batavia, Adam Tabelski.

Press release:

The City’s Republicans have given incumbent Councilman Adam Tabelski their unanimous endorsement for the council-at-large seat that’s up for election this fall. Tabelski was appointed by City Council to succeed John Deleo who was elected to the County Legislature last fall.

“Adam was selected to fill Mr. Deleo’s term because of his past experience in government and he’s already proven that was the right decision,” said Committee Chair David Saleh. “He’s has done a great job representing the City’s residents and the Committee is excited to support his election to finish John’s term.”

Tabelski, 36, is an account manager at Wendel Engineering, and served several years as trustee and mayor in the Village of Medina before moving to Batavia early last year.

Tabelski said he’s honored to receive the Republican Committee’s support and looks forward to the campaign this summer and fall. “I enjoy public service and look forward to my election so I can continue my efforts to enhance our neighborhoods and make Batavia a better place to live and work.”

April 17, 2016 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Multiple law enforcement units, along with a helicopter and a K-9, are searching the Seven Springs Road area for a reported missing person.

We'll provide more information if it becomes available.

UPDATE 10:11 p.m.: The focus of the search, "a vulnerable adult female," has been located and is being returned home. "She is in good spirits and is refusing EMS," says a responder.

UPDATE 6:43 a.m.: The 76-year-old woman who was subject of the search lived on Haven Lane, according to the Sheriff's Office, which is where the search began at 8:15 p.m. The woman was locatec by a Batavia PD officer at 9:58 p.m. at an unspecified location and returned home safely. 

April 17, 2016 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.


More than 400 people turned out yesterday at Sacred Heart to help raise money to support Michael Tenebruso (above), who beat colon cancer four years ago and is now faced with stage IV lung cancer.

Tenebruso recently became a principal in the Buffalo school district and hasn't been in the job long enough to received extended paid leave, so friends are working to raise enough money to enable him to take time off work for treatments.

Yesterday's fundraiser included food, 130-basket chance auction and a live auction.

Those who wish to make a donation can send a check in Michael Tenebruso's name to Big Pauly's Pizza, 314 Ellicott St, Batavia, NY 14020.

Pictured below, Paul Bernardini, Michael Tenebruso and Jessica Radam. Bernardini and Radam helped organize the event.




April 16, 2016 - 3:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, waggin wheel.

Top photo, sister and brother Heidi Richmond and Dale Banfield by their unique new sign, made with love in Elba. Above, a sampling of fare offered at a private party Friday at the new restaurant.

Authentic Texas-style barbecue is what you'll find at a new restaurant that officially opens at 11 a.m. Monday at 8282 Park Road in Batavia. If you've never had it, you're in for a treat. If you've had a hankerin' for it based on past experience, here's your chance to enjoy anew.

The Waggin Wheel Restaurant & Lounge is located where the former 10-Cent Millionaire Tavern used to be. (Yes Waggin, not Wagon.) It's been freshly painted throughout, and the kitchen expanded and upgraded with new equipment.

Beef is the key menu item here, not pork. Sliced BBQ beef sandwiches on fresh kaiser rolls, "no Walmart buns." Dry-rubbed ribs. And for steaks, that means Angus beef, a premium, buttery smooth variety cooked over charcoal on specially made outdoor grills (crafted at Tri-County Welding in Batavia).

General Manager Dale Banfield, who runs the new eatery along with his sister, Heidi Richmond, compared Angus vs. regular beef to car buying.

"You can't go out and buy a Scion and think it's a Cadillac," he said. "You can't find Angus beef around here. It's the best there is. They're going to be amazed."

Premium meat properly cooked equals delicious.

"We're going for the quality," Banfield said.

Brisket was among the items sampled Friday at a private party to kick off the "soft opening" next week (starting at 11 a.m. Monday). It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, juicy and flavorful. It was smoked in a large two-door portable smoker on the premises (nothing artificial here).

Texans, of course, like their barbecue sauce red. At each table, diners can choose a style of homemade sauce to their liking -- Texas, St. Louis, South Carolina -- which are kept in small squirt bottles.

There will also be fresh Italian sausage smoked over cherrywood for just a touch of sweetness, and pork.

Smoked pork chops are sublime, according to Banfield.

Sides are Southern-style. That means slow-simmered beans, cornbread that tastes like cornbread and not cake, hot macaroni and cheese, and piquant cole slaw: "I don't like a sweet slaw," Banfield said earnestly. Plus, greens, corn on the cob, all as locally sourced as possible.

Fresh-cut Cajun fries, a tuna-macaroni salad, and a creamy potato salad with chunks of red and green bell pepper and onion were also menu items sampled yesterday.

"Y'all come on and line up," Banfield told the hungry crowd. "We're gonna be bringing out some steaks and brisket and wings..."

"Y'all?" someone piped up.

"Yea, y'all," he replied jokingly. "And if y'all don't like it -- there's 'the doh' or as they say in Texas, 'the der.' "

A big grand opening with lots of fanfare will take place sometime in the next couple of weeks.

They plan to offer live entertainment on weekends. Eventually, they want to have live outdoor music on the property, which has a huge open area on one side of the 2,800-square-foot restaurant.

Inside, the 43-foot loooong, curved bar has been redone with raw pallet wood thickly coated in shiny resin. The full-liquor license should be in place anyday now, but until then there's soda pop ("...and the dancin's free..."). Eight large flat-screen TVs hang on the walls. Seating consists of small tables, upholstered fold-up chairs and plastic red-and-white gingham tablecloths.

Kids will feel at home in the family-friendly atmosphere.

Banfield was in the restaurant business in the Lone Star State for years (Dallas) before relocating to the Empire State for a job in 2004; some family members live here, too.

He likes what he does for a living and missed it when he was away from it.

"I like meeting the people and seeing the smiles on their faces from (eating) good food," he said.

Lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. / Dinner 4 to 10 p.m. -- Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays. Off-site catering is available.

Phone is 201-7680. E-mail:   [email protected]

April 16, 2016 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.


Batavia PD is investigating something, but we can't get any information. We spotted city firefighters atop the roof of the former Santy's Tires building and found Deputy Chris Erion with K-9 Destro doing a search, but Officer Kevin DeFelice said he couldn't release any information. He said there would be a press release later.

There were also patrol vehicles at Jackson Street and Highland Avenue.

State Troopers were handling a separate, unrelated case, at the same time on Liberty Street.


April 16, 2016 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in PTSD, ptsd clinic, VA, veterans, batavia, news.


Service dogs play a vital role in helping veterans deal with medical issues, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But when the dogs stay with veterans at the PTSD clinic at the VA Center in Batavia, there hasn't been a place for them to relax, play and run, which service dogs need to do when they're not working.

Until recently, veterans who entered in-patient care at the clinic weren't allowed to bring their dogs, but now that they can; there needs to be facilities to accommodate the canines.

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association heard about the problem and raised more than $1,400 (mostly from their own members, but the Rotary Club and Home Depot also contributed) to build a dog run behind the clinic.

Today, that fenced-in dog run was built, giving the service dogs a place of their own when they're not working.

The work was made possible through the cooperation of the CVMA, led by Frank Grillo, of Buffalo, and Brian Stiller, Medical Center director for the WNY Medical Healthcare System.

While there have been a lot of complaints nationally about the VA, Grillo noted the VA in WNY seems pretty responsive to veterans and he praised Stiller for his cooperation.

"You hear a lot of people talking a lot of bad stuff about the VA, but then you get a guy who is a veteran himself leading a portion of the VA, and it's kind of inspirational to see somebody who cares actually stepping up and helping us do what we need to do to help our fellow veterans," Grillo said.

Stiller said he could help because the current secretary of the VA has said principles should come before rules.

"We can pull this off by having somebody who has a can-do attitude and this group of veterans," Stiller said. "This is something that has happened real quick and it shows how the community can come together and do a simple, real good thing right on time. It speaks volumes for the commitment and caring that is going on."



April 16, 2016 - 2:11pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia, batavia, news.


Batavia High School held its fourth annual Mr. Batavia Competition Friday evening. Twelve seniors participated in four categories – talent, swimsuit, lip sync and tux walk, with their efforts being scored by a four-member panel of judges.

Contestants were Alex Canty, Ross Chua (pictured above), Adonis Davis, Noah Dobbertin, Dwayne Fonda, Tyler Hale, Michael Hughes, Jake Kasmarek, Josh Kurtz, Zach Lee, Alex Mott and Trevor Sherwood.

Tuxedos provided by Charles Men's Shop, sunglasses by Reed Eye Associates, crew T-shirts by Extreme Streetwear, with additional support from Big Pauly’s Pizza.

The judges are pictured below, from left, are BSCD Board Member Shawna Murphy, Reed Eye Associates Dr. Kim Rosati, Batavia City Police Officer Pete Flanagan and Thompkins Insurance Agency VP Joe Teresi.

Nearly 700 people attended the event and proceeds set a new record high of $4,000. Second place was a tie between Mike Hughes, who donated to Habitat for Humanity, and Dwayne Fonda, who gave to the American Red Cross. They each will give 25 percent to their sponsors. Half (50 percent) goes to Autism Research on behalf of Ross Chua who won the event. All three winners received a $25 Amazon gift card.

For more photos: Steve Ognibene Photography










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