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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Press release:

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

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

Statement from DAV:

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

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

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

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

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


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







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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Police are responding and looking for the vehicle.

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


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

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





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


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

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

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

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

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

Karen told the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man then recalled the Thomas Rocket Car.

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

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

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




September 24, 2016 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, veterans, batavia, news, sports, hunting.


Photo and story by Alex Feig, with our news partner, WBTA.

Operation Injured Soldiers was hosting military veterans for the beginning of geese-hunting season at the Wounded Warrior House in Orleans County from Wednesday through Sunday this week.

OIS as it’s called by volunteers, began its presence in the Batavia area around six years ago when veteran Edward Spence got together with several other vets in the area, one of which was Floyd “Skip” Hulburt.

“Ed Spence and I and a fellow veteran, we had talked about establishing OIS in New York, and once it was established Ed Spence just took off with it.”

Skip had just gotten back from another successful hunt but his focus was on a fellow soldier, “My main focus was Jack who is a Vietnam veteran. This is his first time waterfowl hunting so I wanted to get him into it and see how he likes it, and that's a lot of why I do this. I'm not as bad (off) as some of these guys. I'm pretty mobile still.”

Jack Olson, a Vietnam vet, lives just down the road from the Warrior House and was very grateful for the opportunity.

Olson said “I had a good time, I enjoyed it.  Great people, great guides, great veterans I was with.  All good, all good, nothing bad I can say.”

Olson. like many veterans. is not just receiving help but is providing for others like himself.

“I think more people should get involved in veterans organizations and volunteering at the Batavia VA," Olson said. "I am myself a volunteer at the VA and it's a very rewarding experience and there's always stuff to do. Somebody will find something for you to do at the VA.”

For more information on Operation Injured Soldiers, you can visit or message Edward Spence on Facebook.

September 23, 2016 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A two-car accident is reported at Ellicott Street and Court Street, Batavia.

Unknown injuries.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

September 23, 2016 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Stafford, Darien, news.

Christopher James Borsella, 23, of Beaver Street, Thorold, Ontario, Canada, is charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated -- with a BAC of .18 percent or higher. On Sept. 23, Borsella was arrested following a driving complaint at 11:46 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Darien Lake Theme Park, 9993 Alleghany Road, Darien. Borsella allegedly was driving in the parking lot and almost struck several pedestrians. He was issued an appearance ticket for Darien Town Court on Oct. 18. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Saile.

Joseph R. Powell,  29, of Rochester,  was arrested by State Troopers in Batavia for driving while intoxicated following a traffic stop on Route 33 in the Town of Batavia. He allegedy crossed the pavement markings into oncoming traffic. Powell was transported to the Batavia barracks where he allegedly submitted to a positive breath test resulting in a BAC of .10-percent. Powell was processed for DWI and released with traffic tickets returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on a later date.

Thomas Joseph Gravanda Jr., 23, of Holley Street, Brockport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speed in excess of 55 MPH. Following a traffic stop at 8 a.m. on Sept. 22 on Clinton Street Road, Stafford, Gravanda was found to allegedly be in possession of marijuana. He was arrested for that and also cited for speeding. He is due in Stafford Town Court on Oct. 20. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer.

September 22, 2016 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A single-car accident is reported on Clinton Street Road across from College View Drive, across from the entrance of Terry Hills.

One male occupant is injured.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

September 22, 2016 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Thurway, batavia, news, accident.


A motorcyclist reportedly fell off of his bike in the westbound lane of the Thruway in the area of mile marker 394.9.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS responding.

Mercy Flight out of Batavia on ground standby.

UPDATE 5:13 p.m.: Town of Batavia fire requested to the scene for a possible landing zone.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: Fire police are going to shut the westbound Thruway down to accommodate Mercy Flight #7, which is called to the scene. Mercy medics are called also.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m.: Town of Batavia is back in service. Two patients are being transported by Mercy EMS to UMMC.

September 22, 2016 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

Daniel A. Carnes, 69, of Story Road, Dansville, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested at 3:32 p.m. on Aug. 8 after he allegedly damaged a car intentionally by scratching it in the Batavia Downs parking lot, causing in excess of $2,000 worth of damage. The alleged incident stems from a dispute over a parking spot. He was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court and is due there at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Erion.

Bonnie Louise Cortright, 29, of Summit Street, Batavia, was arrested on Sept. 20 on a bench warrant for failure to appear after she was located hiding in an attic under a rug. She was arraigned in City Court and jailed in lieu of $100,000. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Eric M. Smith, 30, of Iroquois Road, Caledonia, was turned over to Batavia PD by Gates PD and arrested on bench warrants from Batavia City Court. He was jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail or $40,000 bond. The warrants stem from an unspecified incident at 1:30 p.m. at 207 Ross St. in Batavia. Smith was due in City Court today (Sept. 22). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Daniel Harold Mooney Jr., 30, of Cone Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 3:37 p.m. on Sept. 21 on Veterans Memorial Drive following an incident wherein Mooney allegedly stole merchandise from a local retail store. He is due in Batavia Town Court on Sept. 27. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

Nathen Edward Donald Brege, 24, of South Main Street, Batavia, was taken into custody while incarcerated at the Orleans County Jail on a bench warrant issued by Batavia City Court. After consulting with the judge, Brege was issued an appearance ticket and is due back in court Sept. 28. The warrant stems from an unspecified incident on April 5 on West Main Street in Batavia. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Arick Perkins.

September 22, 2016 - 3:13pm

The Landmark Society of Genesee County has announced the honorees for this year's annual Preservation Awards.

They will be feted at a dinner and awards ceremony starting a 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy, located at the corner of routes 5 and 19.

The honorees are:

  • The First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy -- 7 Clay St., Le Roy
  • Gregg and Debbie McAllister -- 21 Ross St., Batavia
  • David and Robyn Tufts -- 438 E. Main St., Batavia
  • Garth and Amy Swanson -- 6209 Main Road, Stafford
  • Chris and Michelle Krtanik -- 4835 Linden Road, East Bethany
  • Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant -- 1227 Gilmore Road, Corfu

Cost for the dinner is $18 per person. Please RSVP by Oct. 7 to: [email protected] or by phoning 585-757-2455.

September 22, 2016 - 3:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Mental Health Association, batavia, news.

Press release:

After 16 plus years, Sue Gagne is leaving the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Genesee and Orleans Counties. The search process for the new executive director has begun. Michele Sformo, assistant executive director, will serve as interim executive director.

Gagne began her career at the MHA in a part-time support position. After several promotions over the years, she was named executive director in 2013. Gagne is only the third executive director to serve the organization since its founding in 1993.

“We’ve had three extraordinary executive directors over the course of our history,” said Russell Cornman, board president. “All have had a deep, shared commitment to our mission and, at the same time, each has brought their own unique skill set and passion to the position.”

Incorporated 23 years ago, the MHA was started by a dedicated group of volunteers, led by Constance E. Miller. Their vision was to provide support services for those suffering from mental illness in Genesee County and, after years of planning, the Social Club opened in a small space on Main Street in Batavia. Dorothy Wentland was the agency’s first executive director, and those who walked through the door in those early years were welcomed by both their peers and a small but caring staff.

In the intervening years, the MHA expanded both its space and its services to include transportation, outreach and community education, advocacy and services to individuals diagnosed as mentally ill and chemically addicted. And in 1995, under the leadership of its second executive director, Millie Tomidy-Pepper (herself a 20-year employee of the MHA), the MHA received funding to start a peer-to-peer Warm Line. The Warm Line is a model in New York State, and the MHA of Genesee and Orleans Counties remains one of only a few MHA’s statewide to provide this service.

Ever responsive to the growing and changing needs of its consumers and the community, in 2015 the MHA launched the Visions of Hope Recovery Center, a peer-directed program designed to help individuals with mental health challenges reach their full potential through support and encouragement. And, in the Fall of 2015, the Mental Health Association of Genesee County joined forces with Orleans County to become the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties. Office and program sites are now in both Batavia and Albion.

Go to for information.

September 22, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dogs, animals, volunteers for animals, pets, crime, batavia, news.

Lily has been granted clemency, at least for now.

Public Defender Jerry Ader, attorney David Fitch, representing the city, and City Court Judge Durin Rogers held meetings over the past two days and came to an agreement that will spare Lily her life, potentially, while the conviction of Duty Caswell for harboring a vicious dog will stand.

As part of the agreement, Ader withdraws his motion challenging Caswell's conviction and will file a new motion to vacate the sentence. That should happen in about two weeks.

In the meantime, Fitch must find a dog behavioral specialist who can certify that Lily is redeemable.

Rogers issued an order in May to have Lily put down as a vicious dog because of an incident on Hutchins Place on March 7 where she bit a 13-year-old boy.

She didn't help her case when she bit the Sheriff's K-9 deputy.

But folks at the Animal Shelter believe Lily is worth saving and rallied to her cause. They secured space for her with the Kramer Foundation, which specializes in rehabilitating dogs declared vicious and slated for euthanasia. 

Previous: Lily's fate hangs in the balance as City Court judge set to hear appeal tomorrow


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