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February 16, 2018 - 4:46pm

Batavia's St. Paul Lutheran Church will cap off a week that has focused the nation's attention once again on the tragedy of mass shootings by hosting a special countywide training event tomorrow at its Washington Avenue church.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office was invited to present training in CRASE -- Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events. Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, congregation leaders will learn how to prepare and respond to an active shooter situation, should one occur at their respective houses of worship.

St. Paul Pastor Allen Werk, who has also served as the Sheriff's Office chaplain for about five years, attended national training in order to return to his community and in turn help train others. It is useful for schools, congregations and businesses alike -- open places that may be easily accessed by someone intending to harm people.

"This training affords congregation leaders the opportunity to come together to talk about ideas they may want to implement in their own churches should the unthinkable occur," Werk said in a press release. "We pray this will help all our churches be better prepared if the inconceivable happens."

CRASE Training addresses individual responses as well as group preparations. It has been developed in partnership with Texas State University and is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Werk says the cornerstones are ADD -- Avoid / Deny / Defend. Participants are taught to quickly recognize a threat and to take evasive action by getting away swiftly or rapidly taking steps to deny access to a shooter, then defending lives in any way necessary.

"The training teaches you what happens, what to expect in an active shooter situation," Werk said, adding that it is beneficial in getting larger groups to think about this, to be aware of the potential, and what steps to take in response.

For example, the leaders of a congregation may want to limit access to worship services to one or two entryways, effectively funneling the foot traffic. They may consider the benefit of having greeters and ushers who are trained to keep an eye on who's coming and going in the building throughout the service; noticing and greeting a person -- a signal they have been seen -- in itself could be a deterrent in some cases, the pastor noted.

Taking cues from how others are responding in a public space is important.

"If you see something that could be a danger -- step up -- make the congregation aware, help provide safety," Werk said.

Asked if certain individuals should be armed, like a security detail, to counter an active shooter, Werk said that is not part of CRASE Training; and although it's widely argued that "a good guy with a gun" is what you want to have when a bad guy is wielding a firearm, Werk said that is something the organization itself must decide.

"We are pleased to assist Pastor Werk in educating congregation leaders on the appropriate actions to take should an active shooter situation arise," said Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. in a press release.

Our news partner WBTA contributed to this story.

February 16, 2018 - 3:51pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Alternative Fuel Vehicles & New Technologies four-hour class was offered by the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services in conjunction with the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control on Feb. 12 at the Fire Training Center.

It was attended by 63 fire personnel from Genesee County and the surrounding area.

Information about the hazards of the new fuels such as methanol, compressed natural gas and electric power; as well as the pressures created within fuel cylinders was addressed in addition to safety information on other possible hazards related to alternative fuel vehicles. State Fire Instructor David Harrington also addressed the changing technology of the automobile. 

Genesee County participants included: 


Aron Kehlenbeck

Gary Patnode

William Schutt

Ryan Thompson

Todd Thompson         

Town of Batavia

Josh Boyle         

Daniel Coffey         

Paul Dibble         

Gary Diegelman         

Clayton Gorski

Stephen Kowalzyk

Scott Maloy

Ian Sanfratello

Tyler Stewart

Robert Tripp

Ray Zwolinski


Mitchell Bates         

Cyle Felski

Kristen Gaik

James Hale

Tyler Lang

Matthew Lenhard

Rob McNally

Steve Rodland

Lori Ann Santini

Brian Schollard

Daniel Smith

Jacob Stiles

Ben Trapani

Ray Zwolinski


Joe Marino

David McGreevy

Tim McGreevy

Brandon Scott

Mark Starczewski         


Jennifer Cardinali

Michael Heale

Tim Hoffarth

John Mudrzynski

Michael Pfendler

Michael Schad

Oliver Shuknecht

Megan Tabor

Nathan Tabor

George Underhill

Bob Zipfel         

Caitlin Zipfel

Conor Wilkes        


Rodney Bobo         

Samantha Call

Ken Collins

Ronald DeMena

Tim Eckdahl

Matt Hendershott

Randal Henning

Steve Johnson

Ashley Swatzenberg

February 16, 2018 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Crosby's, elba, batavia.

Submitted photos and information:
Crosby's celebrated the grand reopening of two convenience stores in Genesee County last week.
Above is a photo of the one for the Batavia location at 5267 Clinton Street Road. Pictured from left are: Jay Gsell, Genesee County manager; Brenda Thompson, Central West district leader; Gregory Post, Batavia Town supervisor; Pamela Kilgore, Batavia team leader; Patrick McKinney, representative from Congressman Chris Collins' office; Mickey Edwards, Byron-Bergen School superintendent; Stephen Hawley, New York State assemblyman; Ryan Young, Batavia deputy; Paul Quebral, president of the Reid Group; and Doug Galli, VP and general manager of Crosby’s.
Below is a photo taken at the reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony in Elba. That store is located at 64 S. Main St.

The people shown in the Elba photo above are, from left: Dan Okun, director of Sales and Merchandising; Keith Palmer, Elba superintendent; Gregory Walker, Elba undersheriff; Jay Gsell, Genesee County Manager; Brenda Thompson, Central West district leader; Patricia Seefeldt, Elba team leader; Melissa Clark, Elba team leader; Jay Grasso, representative from State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer’s office; Bob Bausch, Genesee County legislator -- District 2; Stephen Hawley, New York State assemblyman; Doug Galli, VP and general manager of Crosby’s; Patrick McKinney, representative from Congressman Chris Collins’ office; Paul Quebral, president of the Reid Group; Joseph M. Graff, Elba chief deputy; Darrin Barber, senior director of Operations.

About the Crosby's convenience stores in Genesee County

Both of these locations were existing structures acquired by Crosby’s in early 2017 that underwent remodels that included major cosmetic upgrades and a variety of customer-friendly amenities including fuel, a sub shop and multiple hot and cold beverage options.

At each location, customers can get a cup of Crosby’s signature 100-percent Arabica bean premium roast coffee for only 99 cents for a regular size. The Elba location will also feature f’real milkshakes; smoothies; and Crosby’s Arctic Express, which offers frozen carbonated beverages (Arctic Chill and Arctic Freeze) or frozen fountain sodas in more than 12,000 flavor combinations.

Each location also features an extensive take-out menu that includes fresh-baked pizza, made with Crosby’s own 100-percent whole-milk mozzarella, served whole or by-the-slice; fresh, made-to-order hot and cold subs prepared in an in-house Sub Shoppe; and fresh-baked cookies prepared on site. The Elba location will also have fried foods, including chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, pizza logs and more.

The stores will also offer a newly expanded selection of cold beverages, dairy and frozen foods, fresh fruit, competitively priced grocery items, tobacco products and other amenities including an ATM, prepaid wireless phone cards, gift cards, propane exchange and a variety of New York State Lottery games. Both locations will accept SNAP benefits.

The Batavia location recently upgraded the fuel facility and now offers Mobil fuel. The Elba location offers Mobil gas and diesel fuel. Both locations are also on the Plenti rewards program. See the store for further details.

Crosby’s, a division of the Reid Group, is headquartered in Lockport, NY. The company operates 87 Crosby’s convenience stores throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.

The Reid Group, founded in 1922, is a full-service independent motor fuel marketer providing a comprehensive range of products and services for retail motor fuel outlets and convenience stores. The Lockport-based company serves retail and commercial customers.

For more information, visit

February 16, 2018 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

An Erie County construction worker will spend weekends in the Genesee County Jail for the next four months, starting tonight, for defrauding a Batavia resident on a contracting job.

Matthew B. Hardesty, 24, of Blasdell, was originally charged with fourth-degree grand larceny. He was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge after paying restitution to the victim, who hired him to construct a fence at his residence on Narramore Drive.

According to court proceedings this morning, Hardesty is facing a similar complaint in Buffalo.

Before sentencing, Hardesty apologized for his actions and said it was the result of being a young and inexperienced businessman; that he had taken on a contract that was too big and had a payout too far in advance, and rather than notify customers of his difficulties, he didn't respond to their complaints.

After becoming embroiled in financial difficulties, Hardesty gave up his contracting business and went to work for another construction contractor.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman rarely responds to the statements defendants make at their sentencing, but this morning he stood up and said he was going to make a rare response.

"He's a scam artist," Friedman said. "He's trying to con the court now."  

Friedman said Hardesty already got a substantial break on his potential sentence by being allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and didn't deserve any further consideration because he was clearly trying to scam people.

Judge Charles Zambito agreed. He said considering the length that his victim had to go to in order to get his money back indicates Hardesty was trying to evade paying back the money. It was only after he was facing potential jail time that he made restitution.

"The message needs to be clear to the public that you can't do this kind of thing here," Zambito said. "When you start a business, you take on a responsibility. You take on a burden. You can't take people's hard-earned money and just walk away with it."

February 16, 2018 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, entertainment, news, batavia.


Two art shows opened at GO ART! on Thursday night -- "Where Do I Go From Here?" a ceramics exhibit by Shirley Nigro, and "The Kite Boy,"  an acrylic exhibit by Alex Segovia.

Nigro is the owner of Fire Up Ceramics on Ellicott Street in Batavia. 

Her ceramic work is nothing like most people might associate with the word -- figurines and knickknacks to scatter around the home. Her work is complex and imaginative but still leaning heavily on realism.

The exhibit is a good demonstration of how ceramics can be used to create art.

Segovia is originally from El Salvador and now resides in Avon. He started painting three years ago after watching a documentary about Vincent Van Gogh. His work reflects that post-impressionistic style, though he says he's moving more toward abstract expressionism. The bright colors recall Henri Matisse or fauvism.

Both shows run through April 7. 








February 15, 2018 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, alexander, batavia, news, notify.


Alexander volunteer firefighters along with the hazmat team for Genesee County Emergency Services and with the county's emergency management coordinators responded to a train derailment in the Town of Attica today.

The accident was in the area of Route 238 and reported at 4:05 p.m.

Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger said the accident was in a pretty inaccessible location in Wyoming County and because of that, an engine fire was being allowed to burn itself out. There was no hazmat concern other than the diesel fuel of the engine. The hazmat team set up booms to contain any potential fuel.

As a precaution, the City of Batavia was contacted to temporarily close the water intake from the Tonawanda Creek.

Eleven cars derailed along with two engines from the Norfolk Southern line.

Two crew members self-extricated and were transported to an area hospital. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Yaeger said.

Town of Batavia fire responded to Alexander's hall as a fill-in.

UPDATE 8:14 p.m. (By Billie): All Genesee County responders are clearing the scene. Federal, state and local officials involved at the scene will remain for now. Heavy equipment will be forthcoming to remove some train cars so that Route 238 and Main Road in Attica can be reopened. Train crossing sites should be reopened by 10 o'clock tonight. The diesel fuel is allowed to continue to burn.

UPDATE: Press release from the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office:

On Feb. 15,  at 4:03 p.m. hours, the Communications Division at the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call of a train derailment near the East Main Road intersection in the Town of Attica.

The Attica Fire Department responded to the scene. Attica Fire Chief Jay Myers reports, “two engines and approximately 10 railroad cars derailed of the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The railroad cars were carrying new cars as cargo.” 

Chief Myers also stated there were two railroad personnel on the engine who were injured. They were taken to Erie County Medical Center. 

“The lead engine is on fire and in coordination with the Norfolk Southern, the engine will remain burning, primarily due to the difficult location of the derailment,” Myers said. 

Wyoming County Emergency Services Director Anthony Santoro is on scene, coordinating efforts from the federal, state, local and railroad resources.

Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory Rudolph says “an initial investigation was conducted and we are turning over our investigation to the Norfolk South Railroad Police and the Federal Railroad Administration and a cause has not yet been determined.” 

Director Santoro says, “the mutual-aid resources that responded and assisted were the: Alexander Fire Department, Varysburg Fire Department, Bennington Fire Department, Wyoming County Emergency Services and Hazmat Team, Genesee County Emergency Services and Hazmat Team, the New York State Police, the Attica Fire Department and Wyoming Correctional Facility.” 

Norfolk Southern personnel are on scene and making efforts to clear the Route 238 and East Main Road intersections with an estimated time of 10 p.m. The long-term cleanup of the damaged engines and railcars will be days.

Photos: Reader submitted photos.


February 15, 2018 - 3:44pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in batavia, news, Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS.


This past summer, Batavia resident Mike Fiorella was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a fast-progressing neurodegenerative disease with no cure.

His stepdaughter, Colleen Kemp said everyone knows him because he was a “help to the golf pros” at Terry Hills in Batavia until his recent retirement.

“Everybody knows him and knows how active he was and what a great sense of humor he has,” Kemp said. “He’s a big jokester, and has kept that in him.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, slowly taking away the ability to walk, speak, swallow and eventually breathe.  

Kemp said Fiorella has progressed enough that he is losing his ability to walk and his speech has been effected.

The lifespan is usually one to three years after diagnosis.

“It’s a terrible disease,” Kemp said. “And there is no cure, so there is no hope. It’s not like cancer where you get chemo and possibly have a cure. There is no cure.”

Fiorella went to DENT Neurological Institute, in Buffalo, the only place at the time that had a new drug that came out, Radicava. Fiorella was one of the few approved to receive the drug. Radicava costs $149,000 a year, with insurance only covering part of the cost. He will need to be on the drug for the rest of his life, which will hopefully slow down the progression of the disease.

“They’re draining their savings account to get the drug,” Kemp said. “We’re asking all family and friends to help us raise these funds.”

Fiorella is currently using a walker, but Kemp said he will soon need an electric wheelchair, which will cost around $20,000.

“They already put a $5,000 ramp in the house,” Kemp said. “The next step is to get handicap bathrooms.”

Kemp said dealing with it mentally and knowing that he is going to pass away is bad enough, but adding the financial burden makes it so much worse.

“The cost with this disease is astronomical,” Kemp said. “The deterioration is so fast and you can’t just go to the hospital.”

Kemp started a Go Fund Me page located here to assist with the costs.

“There are so many different aspects and costs, and this is his life,” Kemp said. “It’s financially draining.”

February 15, 2018 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Route 63 Diner, batavia, news, business.


Bonnie Ames saw the empty restaurant building on Ellicott Street Road near Shepard Road and knew it was the place for her.

"I saw the building was empty and when I walked in it reminded me of a place when I was very little, and I said, 'oh, my God, I've got to do it.' "

Ames, with daughter Amy Goodenow, has opened the Route 63 Diner in Batavia. 

She said it's just a traditional diner with good American food.

She's undaunted by the fact four other restaurant owners have tried to make it at the same location in the past few years.

She said the reason she's optimistic is she's met a lot of wonderful people during her first four weeks in business and they all seem to appreciate a good home-cooked meal.

"They're wonderful," she said. "I feel that with the way they feel about the food, they are coming back. It's a great location. I think our attitude, and good food, is what's going to make it."

February 15, 2018 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire services, City Fire, batavia, news.


Christina Matrella demonstrates how to provide first aid to a baby who is choking for state fire officials who spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Batavia for a series of training classes.

The classes, which included a range of topics, including hazardous material, provides state officials with uniform training that they can use to better assist and support local fire departments.

There are more than 200 state fire officials now, said Deputy Chief Brian Benstead, and getting them all in one place at one time for training and meetings can be difficult, so the agency is trying regional meetings and Batavia was chosen as a location in Western New York this training session.

"This is primarily our safety training like anyone else goes through, just like any other fire department or police department goes through on a regular basis," Benstead said. "Ours is enhanced by the fact that this is how we make that connection to the local communities and how we support them."

About 20 fire officials were in Batavia for the two days, staying at local hotels and eating at local restaurants.

The training was held at Batavia's fire headquarters.

Chief Stefano Napolitano said he was proud the state chose Batavia for a meeting location.


February 15, 2018 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Thomas Jacob Wolcott, 33, no permanent address, Batavia, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, 3rd, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Wolcott is accused of taking and driving another person's vehicle without permission. Wolcott was also taken into custody on warrants from the State Police, Rochester PD, Ogden PD, and Gates PD. He was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Jeffrey D. Freeman, 37, of South Spruce Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Freeman was jailed on an unspecified amount of bail.

Julia B. Wescott, 35, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Wescott was stopped at 12:10 a.m. Saturday on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Nicole K. Casey, 30, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Casey is accused of shoplifting from Tops at 3:57 p.m., Feb. 7.

Tonya M. Ficarella, 31, Lovers Lane Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Ficarella is accused of shoplifting from Tops at 11:50 a.m., Feb. 7.

Stephanie G. Pelkey, 23, of Masse Place, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment of property, and unlawful imprisonment, 2nd. Pelkey is accused of restricting the movement of another person inside a residence, throwing property outside of the residence, and resisting arrest in the presence of a child. Pelkey was ordered held on $1,500 bail.

Aaron M. Mucher, 30, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Mucher is accused of making verbal threats against an employee at a local government office.

Joshua G. Bachorski, 35, of South Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Bachorski was arrested on a warrant. He is accused of taking stolen property to Pawn King in Batavia. He was arraigned and ordered held on bail.

February 15, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, sports, news, basketball, batavia, steve ognibene's blog.


Steven Gilebarto (pictured above) led the Blue Devils in the second half with 16 points to help his team win 51-48 over Greece Odyssey in their final regular season game last night at Batavia High School.

Senior point guard Naziyhar Pratt had five rebounds and three assists. Junior Antwan Odom had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Odyssey's DJ Billings and Jaden Hartsford both tallied 13 points on the night.

Batavia gets a first-round bye in the Section V Tournament and will play Saturday, Feb. 24th, time T.B.A. at home versus the winner of Honeoye Falls Lima and Vertus game.

For more photos, click here.






February 14, 2018 - 7:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify.

The Batavia City Council is poised to pass a budget with few changes from the one proposed by former City Manager Jason Molino a month ago, one with a 3-percent tax rate decrease for local property owners.

The sale of the County Nursing Home, putting that property back on the tax roles, along with several years of conservative budgeting practices by Molino, have helped the city hold the line on spending.

"I think it's trim," said Council President Eugene Jankowski following the council's second budget workshop last night. "I think it's well laid out and it does show a 3-percent decrease, thankfully, because the nursing home is on the tax rolls now. We haven't jumped forward because we have that nursing home. We haven't suddenly gone off on wild spending. We've kept it as trim as we can keep it."

The current city property tax rate is $9.27 per thousand. The proposed tax rate is $8.99. The $120,000 the nursing home as private property this fiscal year will add $120,000 to the tax roll. About half of the tax rate decrease, 13 cents, can be attributed to the nursing home property passing into private ownership.

Molino's budget process, which won the city awards, has allowed Batavia to build healthy reserves and establish a sound financial base for the city.

The biggest dilemma facing Interim City Manager Matt Worth is how to come up with $4,500 to improve the softball and baseball fields in the city's parks.

Michael Jamil, who has spearheaded the return of slow-pitch softball leagues to Kibbe Park, came to the council last week and asked for improvements to the playing field. Council members responded favorably to the request and have instructed Worth to figure out how to purchase new baseball soil, the necessary equipment and provide the manpower to get the job done.

At last night's meeting, Worth said he thinks there is enough money left over from 2017 to cover the costs without revising the 2018 proposed budget.

Councilwoman Kathy Briggs suggested using funds left over from Vibrant Batavia, but that would actually require adjusting the 2018 budget.

"If there’s surplus money in a reserve account, it would be easier to use that money this year to start ordering that stuff than to take it out of the 2018 budget," Jankowski said.

The talk of parks sparked Councilwoman Rosemary Christian to pitch one of her perennial requests: A spray park on the Southside.

"We need some stuff on the Southside," Christian said.

"I understand that," Jankowski responded, "and the ball field is a start."

"What does that have to do with little kids having a spray park?" Christian shot back.

"From the people I talked to, they're not really happy about taking on more debt to create another park and pay a water bill," Jankowski said.

He argued that the spray park in Austin Park serves all of the city's needs and it wasn't difficult to reach for people living on the Southside.

"It’s more than just a drive down the road if you’re a single mom and it’s 85 degrees," Councilwoman Patti Pacino said.

Jankowski said that building the spray park in Austin Park 14 or 15 years ago was one of the reasons the city wound up more than $3 million in debt a decade ago. He said he doesn't think people want to see the city go down that path again.

"I don't see support for a spray park," Jankowski said. "I just don't see it."

Christian said that's because he only talks to people their age.

Councilman Adam Tabelski suggested that the discussion of a water park should be reserved for work on a new parks master plan. The council quickly seemed to adopt that consensus.

Councilman John Canale then asked Christian if she was going to, again, have any last minute amendments or objections to any raises in the budget.

Christian said her only concern is that she thinks city police officers don't make enough money.

"I really don’t think they get enough money," Christian said. "I figure their lives are in danger every day they leave. Our fire department, OK. I don’t have a problem with it this year. I have a problem with management in this beautiful comfortable building while these guys (motioning to Police Chief Shawn Heubusch and Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano) here have to go out and freeze their asses off.

"They don’t know what is going to happen behind that door. They don't know what is happening down the road. They don’t know if they’re going to get shot, nothing, and I really don’t think they get enough money."

Canale pointed out that is really an issue for the collective bargaining process.

Jankowski said the feedback he's getting is city police officers are more concerned about the state of their deteriorating police station than they are about their pay.

"The main thing these guys want is a building," Jankowski said. "They’re not saying, 'I’m underpaid.' They’re saying 'we’re in a (horrible building) and this is a tool.' The building is their tool to do their jobs."

Christian said she is fine with the police getting a new headquarters.

Asked if she was going to vote for the budget, Christian, often a nay vote on budgets, said, "maybe."

"I've got my sidewalks," she said. "I’ve got my two roads to be resurfaced this year. I expect four next year."

The budget session included a report from Napolitano on his budget request, which represents an 11-percent decrease in spending.

The primary reason for the decrease, Napolitano said, is that the fire department is once again fully staffed and all members have completed training. That greatly reduces the amount of overtime paid out.

Council members took a keen interest in his request for a new leaf blower as part of the small-equipment budget request.

"The leaf blower is one small piece of safety equipment that has multiple functions at the fire station," Napolitano said. "What we do is we keep the apparatus floor clean, rather than using water in the wintertime to clean the apparatus floor. This helps really remove the fine-grained sand that comes in. You can broom the fire station floor down all you want but you can't really eliminate all the sand and debris (without a blower)."

The other key feature of the $3.6 million fire department budget is a request for five to seven new sets of turnout gear.

"We're on a replacement program for turnout gear," Napolitano said. "I'm looking to purchase between five and seven a year. Turnout gear has10-year NFPA scheduled life and rather than to purchase 36 sets all at one time at $3,000 dollars a set, I'm looking to stagger five to seven sets every year so this really isn't a large expense for the city."

As for the budget, the proposed tax rate will be the lowest its been since 2006, supporting a total expenditure of $24.3 million. That's a total spending increase of 1.9 percent, keeping the tax levy below that tax cap requirements.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget Feb. 26.

Meanwhile, the council continues to move ahead on the process of replacing Molino. Jankowski said eight or nine search firms have expressed interest in helping the council find a replacement. A committee is reviewing those applications and within the next week will interview what they consider the best two or three options. Jankowski said the goal is to have a recommendation for a search firm -- which will cost the city about $20,000 -- by the council meeting on Feb. 26.

February 14, 2018 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Stafford, news, notify.
       Linda Feeley

Linda C. Feeley, 59, of Hulberton Road, Holley, is charged with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identify theft, two counts of first-degree forgery, four counts of second-degree forgery, two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy, and four counts of fifth-degree conspiracy. Feeley is accused of participating in a fraudulent purchase of a vehicle at 4300 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, March 28. Feeley, along with her boyfriend David Gurgir and with Eric Holliday, a car salesman, allegedly conspired to complete paperwork to facilitate the transfer of a vehicle under a forged identity, namely, Feeley's mother. Gurgir and Holliday were previously arrested as a result of the investigation by Investigator Christopher Parker and Detective John Condidorio. UPDATE: We've clarified the charges against Holliday. He is charged with four counts of conspiracy 5th and two felony counts of conspiracy 4th. Gurgir is charged with is charged with two counts of conspiracy, 4th, and four counts of conspiracy, 5th. The alleged conspiracy began at a local car dealership. Investigators say the final transaction took place in the parking lot of a department store.

Jay Markle, 60, of Batavia, is charged with DWI, and Darlene Martaus, 58, of Batavia is charged with DWI. Markle was stopped at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday for allegedly speeding on Route 33 in Bergen by State Police. He reportedly failed a field sobriety test. He was processed at the Batavia barracks where he was allegedly found to have a BAC of .12 percent. Maurtaus arrived at the barracks at 12:33 a.m. Wednesday to pick up Markle and a trooper detected the odor of alcohol. Martaus allegedly failed a field sobriety test. She was also charged with aggravated unlicensed operation; 1st, driving without an interlock device, and other vehicle and traffic violations. Her BAC was allegedly .12 percent. She was arraigned and jailed.

Brandon C. Morgan, 24, of Pittsford, Samantha R. Smallidge, 23, of Rochester, and Kyle Z. Morgan, 21, of Rochester, are charged with criminal possession of marijuana, more than 16 ounces. Morgan, Smallidge, and Morgan were arrested by State Police at 9:38 p.m. Tuesday in the Town of Stafford. No further details released.

Thomas J. Wolcott, 33, of Batavia, and Ashlee E. Corter, 32, of Kent, are charged with petit larceny. Wolcott and Corter are accused of shoplifting in the Village of Oakfield at 2:10 p.m. on Nov. 7. They were arrested by State Police on Tuesday. No further details released.

February 13, 2018 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia, news.


Legendary local broadcaster Wayne H. Fuller, 70, was lain to rest today.

He died Friday.

Following a service at H.E. Turner Funeral Home, Fuller was loaded by his pallbearers into the cargo hold of a Trailways bus for transport to a cemetery in Bethany.

Fuller worked for 50 years as a dispatcher at Trailways. It was one of his final wishes that a Trailways bus carry him and people attending his funeral to the cemetery.

A graduate of Batavia High School in 1965, Fuller is best remembered for his work at WBTA both spinning records and broadcasting sporting events, as well as his decades-long work as a public address announcer at Batavia sporting events, including Batavia HS basketball and Batavia Muckdogs games.

For his full obituary, click here.

For our prior story about his passing, click here.




February 13, 2018 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in p.w. minor, batavia, news, notify.


Under new ownership, Batavia's oldest company is going to get lean.

That doesn't mean layoffs at P.W. Minor. Far from it. It means implementing a process of production that eliminates waste and increases productivity.

"Lean manufacturing is nothing fancy at all, but it is a set of fundamentals that if you follow them you know your production will go way up," said Hundley Elliotte, the new CEO of P.W. Minor. "It has been proven time and time again. It's not the solution to all problems but when you're in a challenging manufacturing environment and you have price pressures and cost pressures and all those kinds of things, lean is a very good way to root out waste and boost productivity."

Elliotte is a partner with Tidewater + Associates, the investment company that acquired P.W. Minor from Pete Zeliff earlier this month. Zeliff and then-partner Andrew Young saved P.W. Minor from certain closure in 2014. More than 100 jobs that were outsourced to China were returned to Batavia as a result and Zeliff instituted a program of equipment upgrades to the plant, including increasing automation.

Tidewater's acquisition of the company, Elliotte said, is just the next step in a process of growing the company, Elliotte said during an interview with The Batavian this morning.

There's no plan to cut the workforce, move the production out of Batavia, or do anything other than grow, Elliotte said.

"We felt like there was something powerful here in the fact that this company has been here for so long," Elliotte said. "I think you bring bad luck and find yourself in a bad spot when you break up something like that. It's almost like firing a legacy coach. You know when you watch it happen, whether it's Bobby Knight or Bear Bryant, or whomever, when they leave it's always a void. You know it's hard to pick up the momentum again."

The reception to the transition, which took place at the beginning of the month, seems to have been positive among employees, Elliotte said.

"We felt like the response was very positive and I think everyone knows this has been a journey and there's still some journey left," Elliotte said. "There's still choppy waters out there. We have to work hard. We have to get better. We hope to get better every day but I think I think everyone's bought into that.

It's only been a week since the lean manufacturing process was introduced and it hasn't spread yet throughout the entire organization but already there are charts on boards that provide employees with metrics to measure their performance.

Employees are also being trained on processes that will boost productivity.

An example shared by Elliotte was establishing a process for getting a machine ready for production before the next shift so when the shift starts, production can ramp up quickly.

"It's just about getting that discipline of how we operate and making clear who has responsibility for what and making sure that it's done, so that when the machine is supposed to be running you know it's running," Elliotte said.

The process of tracking and measurement helps motivate employees to meet goals, he said.

"Everybody wants to do a good job," he said.

To help keep these jobs in the United States, Empire State Development provided P.W. Minor with an incentive package and the Local Gateway Development Corp. provided the company with a loan. Zeliff said as part of the acquisition deal he is personally paying off the loan.

Tidewater was attracted to P.W. Minor as an acquisition target because it already fits the profile of the kind of companies the investors like in their portfolio -- sustainability and promoting U.S.-based jobs.

The welt constructed by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for P.W. Minor boots, for example, means they will last a long time. That's good for the environment, Elliotte said.

He would like to see the Batavia plant eventually become sustainability certified. It's what consumer surveys and buying preferences say a large portion of the market wants, Elliotte said, and financially there is little reason for a company like P.W. Minor not to pursue that course.

"I'm not necessarily a big environmentalist but we all care about the planet," Elliotte said. "There are other things we can do. You know course A is better than course B and you know each of them has the same kind of financial outcome; course A is much more sustainable so do that.

"It's something that people care about," Elliotte said. "It's not that it has to overwhelm the business, but if you can run the business that way, every day make yourself more environmentally sustainable, that's a good thing, right?"

He said Tidewater is also committed to creating and sustaining U.S.-based jobs.

"There's no reason for P.W. Minor to go away and just to make all those boots in China," Elliotte said. "I understand that it makes sense in certain situations where you have you know a lower price point shoes or things like that, but there's no reason not to make boots that retail at $250, $300, or $400 in the United States. That's kind of where we've drawn the line and are trying to do our part to keep those jobs here."

February 12, 2018 - 6:30pm

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February 12, 2018 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, notify, news, byron.
     Jason Giuliani

Jason M. Giuliani, 39, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and Ian K Leblanc-Chatt, 32, of Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, and moving from lane unsafely. Sgt. Colin Reagan and Deputy Amy Nowak, of the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office, initiated a traffic stop on Route 19 in the Village of Wyoming, at an unspecified time on Sunday. Giuliani was a passenger in the vehicle. During the investigation he was allegedly found in possession of 60 bags of heroin, leading to a felony charge related to the intent to sell narcotics. Leblanc-Chatt was allegedly under the influence of multiple narcotics while driving by a drug recognition expert. Giuliani was jailed on $25,000 bail. Leblanc-Chatt was released to a family member.

Nicholas John Stefaniak, 36, of Westview Drive, Perry, is charged with assault, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Stefaniak is accused of seriously injuring another person during an incident reported at 8:18 p.m. Thursday in Byron, and of damaging property of that person. Stefaniak was jailed on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.



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