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June 28, 2012 - 5:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Le Roy, accidents.

A car crashed into a bridge on the eastbound Thruway at mile marker 389 or at 384.3. There are believed to be injuries but there are conflicting reports as to the location. Town of Batavia and Le Roy fire units are responding along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 5:38 p.m.: The location is determined to be mile marker 384.6 eastbound. Traffic is starting to back up. One car is blocking the driving lane. "It's the bridge over the creek."

UPDATE 5:41 p.m.: This is in Le Roy's fire district. Town of Batavia is returning to service. A fireman on scene says the driver is just shaken up but there are no serious injuries. A medic will evaluate her.

June 28, 2012 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, Salvation Army.

Press release:

The Salvation Army would like to invite the community to its free annual Summer Block Party to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 5. The location is 529 E. Main St. (across from Tulley's Restaurant).

There will be games, hot dogs, snow cones, dodge ball, basketball and prizes. Parents will also be able to sign up their children for the Summer Super Sparks program.

For more information contact: Major Patty at 343-6284 or email at [email protected]

June 28, 2012 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Frank Kulikowski has been planning and preparing to open his own design studio since 2008.

The Batavia native graduated from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2005, worked in the design field with other companies, designed and patented a product that's sold on QVC and then returned to Batavia with the idea of taking all he's learned and opening his own business.

Kulikowski did that this week when he opened Frankly Design at the corner of Ellicott Street and Otis Street. (His shop is right behind Foxprowl Collectables and Affliction Ink -- decades ago, the building was the location of Ellicott Street Manor, a restaurant owned by Kulikowski's grandfather.)

Frankly Design's services include logo creation, complete design services for business branding and marketing, laser engraving and product design.

Laser engraving and product design are two areas in which Kulikowski believes he can carve out a unique niche in Batavia.

Kulikowski said he can engrave any sort of wood, glass or other hard surface with logos or messages of personal interest -- such as a headstone for a deceased pet or a cutting board as a custom anniversary or wedding present, or companies and sports organizations might need glass or acrylic awards.

Fans of QVC might recognize Kulikowski's most successful product design project. In 2008, Kulikowski came up with the Tilt-Pot. It's a pot with a pivoting strainer. The design gives cooks an easy way to boil food, such as pasta, and then drain the water without losing any food or getting scalded.

There's no other product design studio in Batavia, Kulikowski said, and he has the background and knowledge to help a product idea get from a concept to a design on paper and finally a prototype that can be shown to companies that might build or market the product.

"I like taking products and making something that’s never been made before," Kulikowski said. "It’s like, ‘Why don’t they make it this way?’ and then take it to the next step, make a prototype, pitch it to companies."

Kulikowski's new business is located at 440 Ellicott St., Batavia, and his phone number is (585) 343-6336.

June 28, 2012 - 7:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Sheriff's Office.

Eric Olson retires from the Sheriff's Office tomorrow. Rather than The Batavian writing an article as we might otherwise do, he asked that we publish this photo of him with his son and this letter to the community:

Out with the old and in with the new…

My career with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office began in August of 1975. I was hired as a dispatcher. Seven months later I was sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff and was assigned to the jail. In August of 1978 I was assigned to the road patrol. In August of 1984, twenty-seven years ago, I was appointed to my current position as the Warrant Officer.

The Warrant Officer position was originally created and funded through the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Service and named S.W.E.E.P. (Special Warrant Enhancement Enforcement Program) The goal of the program was to provide funds and resources to law enforcement agencies throughout New York State to aggressively pursue wanted individuals on outstanding warrants. Although the S.W.E.E.P. funding was terminated in March of 1988, the Sheriff's Office determined that the results merited local funding, and the program has been continued to this day.

Serving as the Warrant Officer for the Genesee County Sheriff's Office has been a most rewarding experience. In time, though, I began considering retirement. My son, however, had thoughts of entering law enforcement. I determined that I would not end my career until he was well into his. Ryan has been a New York State Trooper for 5 years now assigned to Painted Post (Corning). I hope that our shared conversations have been useful to him, that they have given him insights into the field that he would otherwise not have had access to. In this sense, then, my work has been for both my community as well as my son.

My retirement plans, such as they are, consist of only two goals: to remain healthy and spend more time with my family. My wife, Judy, my daughter and son-in-law Melissa and Jason Armbrewster and their son, my grandson, Evan, and my son Ryan and his new bride, Kelley, can expect to see a great deal more of me in the immediate future.

June 28, 2012 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Batavia Downs officials have announced the names of the five students selected by their high schools to participate in the 2012 college scholarship race.

They are: Lindsay Hilburger -- Notre Dame of Batavia; Sonia Nevinger -- Alexander; Jessica Levins -- Batavia; Jamie Marshall -- Elba; and Leanne King -- Pembroke.

The race will be held on Sept. 15, between the fifth and sixth live harness races at Batavia Downs. Approximate post time for the scholarship race is 7:45 p.m.

A total of $7,500 in college scholarship funds will be given to each high school student in the dash for cash. The race will be conducted at one mile -- two laps around Batavia Downs' historic half-mile oval.

“We're thrilled to provide additional scholarship funds to area high school students,” said Todd Haight, general manager of Batavia Downs. “This coincides with the contributions made daily by Batavia Downs Casino to the New York state lottery for education.”

All students are required to practice at least five times during the month of August with the driver/trainer they will be teamed up with. This exposes the student to the full equine experience associated with the racing industry.

Scholarship breakdowns are as follows: $3,000 to the winner; $2,000 for second; $1,200 for third; $800 for fourth; and $500 for fifth. Scholarships are not equine specific and can be used for any higher education.

The event is a partnership of Batavia Downs Casino, Buffalo Raceway, Harness Horse Breeders of New York and the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association.

The 66th season at America’s oldest lighted harness track gets under way on July 23 with a new post time of 6:25 p.m.

June 28, 2012 - 6:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) has released its Summer 2012 line-up for the “Friday Night in the Square” Jackson Square concerts. For more than 12 years, the BID has provided free concerts downtown to make our community a fun and active place to play. 

The "Friday Night in the Square" concert series begins June 29 and ends Aug. 31. Time is 7 to 9 p.m. The square is located in the alleyway of Jackson or Center streets. Bring your own seating. Food and refreshments will be available for sale. If it's raining, venue changes to Batavia City Centre, inside the mall.

The following is the concert schedule for “Friday Night in the Square”:

Friday, June 29 --  Penny Whiskey (Celtic/Folk)
Friday, July 6 – Bonnie & Collide ( R & B)
Friday, July 13  -- Skiffle Minstrels (Country/Cajun)
Friday, July 20  – Ghost Riders (Country)
Friday, July 27 -- 78 RPM (Big Band)
Friday, Aug. 3 – Kelly’s Old Timers (Country)
Friday, Aug. 10 – OHMS Band (Rock)
Friday, Aug. 17 – John Cole Blues Band (Blues)
Friday, Aug. 24 --  Jack Civiletto “Sinatra” (Sinatra)
Friday, Aug. 31  – Craig Wilkins (Country)

***Also, the Ramble Music & Art Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, at Jackson Square.

For more information contact the BID office at 585-344-0900 or visit our Web site at Be sure to like us on our Facebook page – Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District -- so that you can keep up with events and updates.

June 27, 2012 - 6:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons.

In Genesee County Court today, attorney Earl Key, representing Jacquetta Simmons, the 26-year-old Batavia resident accused of punching a 70-year-old Walmart employee on Christmas Eve, asked Judge Robert C. Noonan a series of specific questions about how juries are selected in his courtroom.

Key was there with co-counsel Ann Nichols and Simmons for a hearing on motions filed by the defense and as things were wrapping up, Key wanted to be sure he understood Noonan's ground rules.

The information will be important because outside of court after the hearing, Key told reporters, "I definitely intend to go to trial."

From the time Key was first retained to represent Simmons, he's said there's more to the case than has been reported in the media.

Asked to elaborate, especially in context of having now reviewed video surveillance tapes from Dec. 24, Key's only example of misinformation was that it's been reported that the victim, Walmart employee Grace Suozzi, was near the front door working as a greeter. She was actually working as a cashier that day.

Asked if the tape showed anything else, such as whether Souzzi grabbed the bag from Simmons, Key said, "I'll let that come out at trial."

Today's hearing was scheduled to cover a series of motions filed by Key, including a challenge to the constitutionality of a section of New York law that makes it a felony for a younger person to hit somebody over age 65.

This motion was supposed to be heard a week ago, but the Attorney General's Office was not notified of the challenge as required by law.

The AG's office has now been notified, but the letter did not include notice of today's scheduled hearing, so Noonan set another date, July 16, for the hearing.

Noonan said if history is any indication, the AG's office will not send a representative to the hearing, but rather write the court and inform Noonan that it opposes the challenge but reserves the right to appeal if Noonan finds the law unconstitutional.

This is at least the second time the law has been challenged by a defense attorney. The first time was in Queens, and that attorney lost his motion, but Key said he's raising two additional matters not addressed by the previous attorney.

While he declined to elaborate on the differences, Key said the main issue he is challenging is the vague language of the statute.

"It's vague in meaning and unclear," Key said. "It’s unclear if our client had to know if the alleged victim was 65 years of age. That’s the real question here."

If there is a trial, jury selection will begin Aug. 20 in county court.

The July 16 hearing will also be the last opportunity for Simmons to accept any possible or potential plea offer. If no plea agreement is reached before Simmons leaves court July 16, she will either go to trial or have to accept an unconditional plea.

June 27, 2012 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Stafford, Batavia FD.

Jamie Call is living the dream. After 23 years as a volunteer with the Stafford Fire Department, Call now wears the uniform of the City of Batavia Fire Department.

Call, at 41, was the second oldest member of his Utica Fire Academy class, which graduated Friday.

Call's first day on his new job was Monday.

Yes, there aren't many 41-year-old rookies in full-time, paid fire departments, acknowledged Jim Maxwell, Batavia's chief, but Maxwell said age isn't a criteria in the hiring process.

"We were very impressed during the interview process," Maxwell said. "He did very well in the oral interviews.He did very well on the physical agility test we put everybody through.

"Age?," Maxwell added, "He’s the one who had to determine that. We’re not going to discriminate by age. He’s still young enough where he’ll get his years in and go through the state retirement system, so more power to him."

Call said becoming a full-time firefighter has been a lifelong dream, but something he didn't really get serious about until a year ago.

"The fire service has meant a lot over the years and coming here it means a lot more," Call said. "I like helping people and this is the perfect job to be in that situation."

Maxwell said Call's 23 years with Stafford will be an asset to the department in two ways. First, Call has acquired some leadership skills and Call might have some different ideas on how to do things that he's picked up from the neighboring department.

"I think we’ll benefit from some of that seasoned leadership on some of the younger candidates we’ve hired over the last year," Maxwell said.

"Because we’re such a small organization I encourage people to be able to think outside of the box," Maxwell added. "If he’s bringing a different perspective from 23 years at Stafford, bringing some of that thought process here, maybe do things differently or more efficiently, then we welcome it."

Call said his biggest concern at age 41 was getting through the physical aspects of testing and training, but he found he was able to handle it all just fine.

Maxwell said all city fire candidates must complete, as part of the application process, the same physical agility course that the state requires academy graduates. It's eight different stations that must be completed in 10 minutes 20 seconds.

"It’s physically challenging," Maxwell said. "I went through it after the candidates did last week and I was, ah, I was whipped.”

Candidates also interview with a panel of six people and are required to write two essays, one on integrity and one on work ethic.

The department is looking for leaders, Maxwell said, because firefighters aren't just responsible for the safety of the community and their colleagues, they are also ambassadors for the department.

"Even though we catch people at their worst time, we need to leave them feeling good about the service we provide to them," Maxwell said.

Currently, there are 12 more candidates competing for the next opening in the department, including several more local volunteers, Maxwell said.

Call said his family (pictured above in a photo supplied by Maxwell: wife Stephanie, daughter Samantha, and son Nicholas) has been proud and supportive of his career change. He suggested we take a look at a drawing his son placed on Call's Facebook wall (reposted below with permission) to see an example of the support he's gotten.

June 27, 2012 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

John A. Cabrera Jr., 22, with no permanent address, is charged with criminal mischief, petit larceny and conspiracy; Rosemary R. Waters, 26, with no permanent address, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy. Cabrera and Waters are accused of teaming up on a larceny at Tops Friendly Market at 7:30 p.m., Monday, when Cabrera allegedly used a rock to smash a window of a parked car and steal a purse from the front passenger seat.

Robert VanDyne, 30, of 46 South St., Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and two counts of criminal mischief, 4th. VanDyne is accused of being involved in a domestic dispute early Sunday morning in which he allegedly grabbed a female's wrist and twisted a mobile phone out of her hand and then broke the phone, preventing the woman from calling 9-1-1.

Bradley Michael Crandall, 44, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or higher and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Crandall is accused of driving drunk in the Tops parking lot in Le Roy at 7:03 p.m., Tuesday, when he allegedly struck a parked vehicle and then moved his car to another parking space.

June 26, 2012 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD, Shawn Heubusch.

Genesee County's top cop, Sheriff Gary Maha, said Batavia's new chief of police, Shawn Heubusch, should be given a chance to show what he can do before being criticized publicly.

Heubusch has been on the job for only about a week and City Council President Tim Buckley, a retired city police officer, publicly questioned Heubusch's qualifications. Today, however, Buckley struck a different tone.

"I wish the chief the best of luck in the world and I hope he's successful," Buckley said. "That's from the bottom of my heart."

Maha had a part in the interview process and said he certainly welcomes Heubusch to the local law enforcement community and has pledged his assistance to Heubusch whenever he requests it.

"Chief Heubusch was on the Police Chief Civil Service eligible list so he is certainly qualified in that sense," Maha said in a written statement. "I say give the guy a chance and don't criticize him right from the beginning as the new Police Chief."

Buckley said, "Well, I guess that was directed at me and I think it's a fair statement."

"I may have spoken too quickly," Buckley added. "I might have more emotion about it than anything, having been in the department for 23 years."

There were three people in the department Buckley said he thought were qualified to do the job, but reiterated that he wishes the best for Heubusch.

Sources say Buckley's initial remarks were discussed in a closed door session among city council members on Monday night.

After the meeting, council members Jim Russell and Patti Pacino said Heubusch was vetted by a "highly qualified" selection committee and they support City Manager Jason Molino's decision.

"We told him to go pick someone," Russell said. "He went and picked someone, so now it’s not time to say, ‘no not that one.’ He did what he was supposed to do.  I really don’t have a problem with it."

Pacino said she believed the majority of the council feels the same way.

Councilman Kris Doeringer was unable to attend Monday's meeting and wasn't part of the closed door discussion, but he agreed that hiring Heubusch was Molino's decision and he backed it.

"Past councils voted to let Jason hire the chief," Doeringer said. "I have my confidence in him that he's hiring the right person. I don't see any problem with his hire at all, so I'm more on the side of supporting Jason and that he hired the right person."

The hiring process for chief of police is governed both by New York's civil service law and the city charter. Candidates must be qualified -- which includes taking an exam and having prior experience at a supervisory level -- and under the city charter, the final decision rests with the city manager.

As part of this process, Molino created an interview committee, which consisted of some city staff members and local community leaders, such as Maha, Bank of Castile CEO Jim Fulmer and business educator Barb Shine.

The interview committee is not required either under civil service law nor the city's charter.

Each candidate was given a phone interview and those that made it to the next round were interviewed in person, then they were brought in to see how they react to various scenarios. The candidates had 15 minutes to review a scenario and then answer a series of questions.

The candidates who continued through the process were then given a series of lengthy written scenarios and allowed 48 hours to submit written responses.

After the interview process, the interview committee took several hours over several meetings to review the candidates. 

He said Heubusch was a "consensus pick."

"It's not just me making a decision in a vacuum," Molino said. "It's a thorough review process."

Molino said he's confident about the committee's selection.

"I think Chief Heubusch is an excellent leader with great character and I look forward to working with him during these exciting times," Molino said.

Monday was Heubusch's first chance to meet city council members and members of the local media. After the meeting he chatted with reporters and said he was excited by the opportunity to serve Batavia.

"It’s a great city," Heubusch said. "The department has great resources, mainly the men. They’re the best resource the department has."

Heubusch comes from a family with deep roots in Wyoming County, where he was raised and graduated from high school (Warsaw) in 1993.

He said he knows Genesee County well because as his family was growing up, Batavia was the place to shop and do things.

"This is where we traveled to do our business," Heubusch said.

In 1997, he graduated from Rural Police Training Institute at Genesee Community College and soon after went to work for the Village of Warsaw PD for seven years before being promoted to assistant chief in 2004.

With the new job, Heubusch, who has three children ages 20, 10 and 7, saw his base salary jump from more than $55,000 in Warsaw to $70,000 in Batavia.

When asked about Buckley's comments questioning his qualifications, Heubusch said, "I don’t have any comment on this issue. This is a matter for the council to take up."

Asked if he was qualified, he said of course he is qualified.

"I wouldn’t have applied for the position if I didn't think I was qualified," he said.

Councilman Jim Russell said the best way for all of us to find out if he's qualified is to see how he does on the job.

Russell said if it was him coming into a new position under these circumstances, he would want to prove his critics wrong.

"This is an opportunity to see his character," Russell said.

"The people are going to have to make their own decisions and how they feel about the new chief by what he does," Russell added. "I think I don’t want to influence that one way or the other. I want them to see if he’s a good chief, and we’ll know it. If he’s a bad chief, we’ll know that, too."

June 26, 2012 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Stafford.

Jacob Anthony Gilmore, 26, of Alleghany Road, Darien, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and moving from lane unsafely. Deputy Kevin McCarthy responded to a complaint at 3:57 a.m., Thursday, to a report of a vehicle in a ditch at 2180 Bennett Road, Darien, and following an investigation placed Gilmore in custody for allegedly driving drunk. Gilmore was jailed on $500 bail.

David B. Bruise Jr., 39, of Knapp Road, Akron, is charged with petit larceny and harassment, 2nd. Bruise is accused of shoplifting from Kmart. When Bruise left the store, he allegedly pushed an employee who tried to stop him from leaving. Bruise was located in the parking lot of Target and taken into custody.

Rosemary Renee Waters, 26, of Roosevelt Drive, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, criminal trespass, 3rd, and false impersonation. Waters is accused of shoplifting at Kmart. When confronted by Kmart security and a Sheriff's deputy, Waters allegedly fled on foot. After a short pursuit, Waters was taken into custody. Waters was allegedly banned from Kmart because of a previous shoplifting complaint. While being processed on the arrest, Waters allegedly provided Deputy Howard Carlson with a false name and false date of birth.

Kyle William Nash, 24, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Nash is accused of arguing with another person, pushing that person to the floor and holding that person down for a period of time. The alleged incident occurred within close proximity to a 2-week-old infant.

June 25, 2012 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, Pavilion, Alabama.

Timothy P. Brown, 37, of 10 Hutchins Place, rear, is charged with stalking, 4th. Brown is accused of repeatedly contacting a former friend after being told to stop contacting that person. Brown was allegedly texting the former friend after the former friend asked him to stop and after he was warned by police to have no further contact.

Maxwell Raymond Pfendler, 20, of South Lake Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and unlawful possession of marijuana. Pfendler was stopped at 7:55 p.m. Saturday on Route 63, Batavia, for allegedly speeding by Deputy Matthew Butler.

Wayne H. Austin, 37, of Ivison Road, Byron, is charged with reckless endangerment, 2nd. Austin is accused of purposefully swerving his vehicle in the roadway at another vehicle.

Linda K. Garrettson, 55, of Wynanskill, is charged with possession or sale of unstamped cigarettes and possession and transport of 10,000 or more unstamped cigarettes; James A. Lapi, 60, of Palatine Bridge, is charged with possession and transport of 10,000 or more unstamped cigarettes. Garrettson and Lapi were arrested by State Police. Garrettson was taken into custody at the State Police Barracks in Batavia at 1:21 p.m. Friday, and Lapi was arrested on Bloomingdale Road at 10:15 a.m., Friday. Lapi was jailed on $700 bail.

June 23, 2012 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Dewitt Park, DeWitt Recreation Area.

It's a beautiful day, I'm at Dewitt (for the fishing derby), and I have my camera -- naturally, I'm going to take pictures of whatever seems interesting.

BTW: I highly recommend a visit to Dewitt. Paul Osborn, the county's parks supervisor, is doing a great job of creating trails, lookouts and rest stops around the lake. Dewitt is becoming one of Batavia's great assets.

June 23, 2012 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Dewitt Park, DeWitt Recreation Area.

More than 50 kids turned out to the Dewitt Recreational Area this morning for a perfect day of fishing in the first ever "Fishers of Men" fishing derby.

The event was organized by Kevin Lawson, a retired officer of the Department of Environmental Conservation, who said he wanted to do something to get children into the outdoors.

"One thing I knew on the job is kids are getting out doors less and less," Lawson said, adding that Dewitt is a great resource in the county that a lot of people don’t even know about.

Participants competed for prizes based on their age group for longest fish and first fish caught.

The event was sponsored by Batavia Assembly of God Church, Royal Rangers, Care-A-Van Ministries, New York Conservation Officers Association, Batavia Marine, Walmart, Kmart, Paul Osborn, Genesee County, Joe Reisdorf and Hunter's Landing.

I didn't get IDs on everybody in our pictures, but above, Joshua, 10, casts his line out; the next two shots down, Pastor Dan Schmidt and his son, Garrett, 7.

June 23, 2012 - 1:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A motorcycle accident is reported at 248 State St. The elderly rider is still in the street but said to have only minor injuries. City fire and Mercy EMS are responding. The location is between Douglas and Denio streets.

UPDATE 1:12 p.m.: City fire is back in service. EMS is transporting a 63-year-old male to UMMC.

June 23, 2012 - 12:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Fill the Boot, IAFF Local 896.

Batavia firefighters, members of IAFF Local 896, set a new record Friday for their annual "Fill the Boot" campaign.

According to Greg Ireland, Local 896 president, area residents drove through downtown today and donated $7,562.

Photos submitted by Frank Capuano.

June 23, 2012 - 12:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Union Street.

City fire investigators have yet to release the cause of a fire early Friday evening that broke out in a home on Union Street, but the current resident of the home described how the fire may have started accidentally.

Doug Veltz, who has lived at 1 Union St. for many years but was moving out after Terry Platt recently acquired the property, was trying to nap, he said, when he smelled smoke.

At first, he said, he thought the smoke was being blown into his room through a fan in the window, but then he thought that maybe he should play it safe and investigate.

As I was coming down the stairs, I could smell it," Veltz said. "It was coming from my house. I got to the kitchen and there was flame coming from the burner on the stove. There was a glass candle sitting on the burner on the stove. It was just set there. The candle wasn’t lit. Before I went to sleep, I must have bumped a dial, a knob on the stove."

Veltz said his first instinct was to blow on the flame.

"In one big breath, I blew it out," he said.

He then turned to get some water and as soon as he turned his back, he heard the burner flame back up and this time, the flame was two feet high.

There was a winter coat there and I was going to try and smother it," Veltz said. "It went up in flames and at that point, I realized it was beyond my control. I screamed for my dog. He came downstairs. Luckily, I had my phone with me and I dialed 9-1-1."

Fire Chief Jim Maxwell said the department won't have information to release from its investigation until Sunday at the earliest.

Veltz said he had moved only a small portion of his belongings, including collectable items and all the photos of his children, which he had just placed in a tub in the dining room.

The back of the house was badly damaged, but Platt said he believes the structure remains solid and he plans to renovate the interior and eventually sell the house.

Maxwell said a quick response -- even though Engine 12 was at Dwyer Stadium for fireworks night -- helped save the structure.

All platoons from city fire were called to the scene and Town of Batavia's Fast Team also responded. Alexander fire was on standby at the city's fire hall.

Mercy EMS and Batavia PD also responded.

June 22, 2012 - 9:53pm
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, Announcements, Ride To Recovery, bike safety.

Every Thursday evening this summer at Austin Park, from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM during the Care-A-Van Ministries Community cookout, Ride to Recovery  a local ministry is providing free bicycle repairs and tune ups for kids. Richard Ohlson, founder of the ministry shared with us that on the first week at the park he and his volunteers fixed 6 bikes that had no brakes.

Ride to Recovery is a non profit organization that aims to share the love of Jesus Christ with todays  youth using mountain bikes as a tool. They have many events throughout the year including a yearly camp in August for the kids. The majority of kids attend camp on scholarships provided by private donations to the ministry.

If you are handy with bikes and would like to volunteer for this outreach with Rich and his team  give Rich a call at 585-993-2180.

June 22, 2012 - 9:11pm
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, Picnic, Care-A-Van Ministries.

Every Thursday evening until September 20th, Care-A-Van Ministries is hosting a free cookout picnic for the community at Austin Park.  This past Thursday 305 folks were served dinner. Local churches and agencies are encouraged to participate. One of the churches to participate this past week was the Batavia First United Methodist church and they hosted a mini game carnival for the children which included the children receiving tickets which they could turn in for prizes.  Salvation Army gave away free shoes to the families. Local pastors are participating with giiving short messages as well as the Care-A-Van Band who provides delightful music for the crowd. Be sure to stop by from 5:00-7:00 PM any Thursday.


The volunteers  of Batavia First United Methodist church

Children enjoying the water park

Chris Koneski volunteer from First United Methodist Church

Children turning their free tickets in for prizes

This little fellow earned lots of free tickets playing the games

Major Bob and Stephan from Salavation Army fitted families with shoes

Care-A-Van band members

The public is encouraged to particpate , here is Clarence with his harmonica

Those Care-Van burgers are yummy!

June 22, 2012 - 7:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime.

A man called dispatch roughly a half hour ago and reported that he had been attacked on Hutchins Place in the city earlier today, and the next thing he knew he "woke up at his mother's" on State Street. Police are investigating.


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