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July 8, 2015 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in brownfield opportunity area, batavia, downtown, business.

Press release: 

Less than a century ago, Batavia’s downtown was bustling with industry, where innovators relocated from New York City to mass produce farm implements to World War II incendiary bombs. These factories employed thousands of workers and took advantage of easy transportation, the railroad and nearby markets. But, the bygone era left a wake of deteriorating buildings, vacant lots and ground contaminants within City limits, a.k.a brownfield sites. Today, City leadership proclaims robust performance-based tax incentives available for the taking to return these underutilized or abandoned locations into vibrant mixed-use places.

In April, the New York Department of State (DOS) officially designated Batavia’s central corridor a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) listing five strategic redevelopment sites. On a parallel track, the City’s local development corporation encouraged Councilmembers to adopt real property tax exemptions and they chased other tax credits to motivate real estate investment. Bold incentives are now in place.

“We could stand by and let these properties continue to decay the neighborhood or do something about it,” City Manager Jason Molino said.

Do something about it, they have. The City has worked to increase its bond rating to A1, turned a multimillion dollar deficit into a balanced budget with capital reserves and secured more than $5,000,000 in grants to improve existing industrial areas, upgrade infrastructure and study the longtime stagnant community.

A Community Improvement Plan was released in 2012 emphasizing an upgrade in housing stock followed by local adoption of real property tax exemptions that offer 12-year tax-bill discounts for converting non-residential buildings into mixed-use spaces. Shortly after, a sizeable $265,000 New York State Department of State BOA grant enabled local activists to grease the skids even further.

“It took four years but, the grant allowed us to hire a consulting team and organize a local Steering Committee to define market opportunities, investigate the ground and write a plan to move our central business corridor into the 21st century,” Molino said. “We know our small city can offer the conveniences and experiences of a larger city, but at an affordable price.”

The challenge was to determine if the real estate community would invest in the area. Now, the market reports and community confidence suggest they will.

The expert-led and community-inspired BOA plan was formally adopted by City Council in June 2014 and handed off to the City’s local development corporation to implement. The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) immediately retained Harris Beach PLLC, a known deal-maker in the State to guide the efforts.

“It’s funny how the BOA designation appears like a badge of honor,” said Julie Pacatte, BDC coordinator. "It reads like a proclamation from DOS. In truth, it’s bittersweet. Sad we have these blighted areas but happy it sanctions bonus tax credits rewarding investment.”

Gaining access to that tax credit program is a whole different process, according to Pacatte.

The BDC Board authorized cash reserves to extend environmental investigation and to hire Harris Beach and LaBella Associates to prepare the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application. DEC serves as the gatekeeper to request access to the State tax credit program.

“It is a 643-page document enumerating data with compelling narrative to justify access to the program,” Pacatte said. “The BDC Board is clearly determined to advance the BOA plan.”

Unfortunately, their ambitious goal to go to market last year was stalled by expanded data collection, typical land assembly delays and uncertainty with the BCP as it under-went reform during the State’s budget process. Nevertheless, advocates still believe Batavia remains milestones ahead of other communities.

“The BDC’s approach is aggressive and recommended,” said Bob Murray, partner, Harris Beach PLLC. “To enter the BCP prior to marketing the property assures a preferred developer significant refundable NYS tax credits potentially worth up to 64 percent of total costs incurred for remediation, site preparation and new capital expended on that parcel. Not many communities are as proactive and committed.”

The BDC has released its first request for proposals addressing “Ellicott Station” a four-acre downtown redevelopment area that has confirmed acceptance to the BCP. The proposals are due next month, by Aug. 12.

“It was a no-brainer to spend the time and money necessary to line up these credits,” said Ray Chaya, BDC Board president. “No longer do we need to stand by to wait for investors, we are bringing the ROI to them.” 

For more information, visit the BDC Web site.

July 8, 2015 - 12:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, batavia.

A bicyclist has been struck by a vehicle on Trumbull Parkway. The person is conscious and alert and injuries are believed to be minor. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 12:51 p.m. A man with leg pain is being taken to UMMC. The medic says the patient was "bumped by a truck."

July 7, 2015 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, corfu.

A Rochester-area man who authorities have identified as a member of the Hell's Angels and whose criminal activity gives him ties to Genesee County entered a guilty plea in Federal District Court yesterday to being an accessory after the fact to an assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.

Timothy M. Stone, 35, of Gates, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.

Stone first made news locally as part of a five-man operation caught by deputies allegedly stealing scrap metal from Ed Arnold Scrap Processors in Corfu.

He is identified by authorities as an associate of James Henry McAuley Jr. (aka "Mitch"), reputedly a Hell's Angels leader. McAuley was reportedly married to Donna L. Boon (aka Donna L. McAuley). Boon, of Batavia, was originally identified as a suspect in a meth ring headed by Donald G. Vanelli, reportedly a one-time president of the Road Agents Motorcycle Club. Vanelli is currently in federal prison as a result of his arrest in a joint FBI and Local Drug Task Force investigation into the meth trade in and around Batavia in July 2009.

Stone's guilty plea stems from his participation in an assault at Spenders Bar, in Rochester, on May 31, 2006. A patron was assaulted with a baseball bat. Federal authorities say Stone was aware that Spenders had video surveillance equipment and that the assault was recorded and stored on a computer. In the early morning hours of June 2, 20016, Stone forcibly removed the hard drive and took it from the bar. He later destroyed the hard drive and baseball bat in order to hinder the police investigation. 

In all, 10 members of the Hell's Angels were indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for WNY. Members and associates were charged with a variety of crimes, including drug trafficking, racketeering and accessory offenses. To date, two other defendants – Richard E. Riedman and Paul Griffin – have been convicted of narcotics conspiracy charges. McAuley, Robert W. Moran Jr., and Gina Tata have charges pending stemming from the alleged assault at Spenders Bar.

Prosecution of the scrap metal heist was handled by federal authorities and the defendants were convicted.

July 7, 2015 - 12:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A pea combine accident is reported in the area of 7736 Oak Orchard Road, Batavia. 

The 60,000-pound machine has rolled over in a ditch and is resting against a utility pole. 

No injuries reported. 

Town of Batavia fire responding.

July 6, 2015 - 6:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, batavia, youth sports.

Area youngsters who enjoy basketball are encouraged to sign up for the Batavia Junior Blue Devils Basketball camp, which starts Aug. 10.

The five-afternoon camp at Batavia Middle School is open to boys and girls grades 3-8.

The cost is $60 per player, which includes a camp T-shirt.

Participants are asked to bring their own basketball every day.

Coach Jim Fazio, Junior Blue Devil's youth director, will lead the camp and coaches will include current and former Blue Devils players.

The camp focuses on offensive fundamentals such as shooting, passing and dribbling, as well as sportsmanship, fair play and safety. There will be daily contests and full court games.

For more information and to sign up, download the registration form (pdf).

July 6, 2015 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia bulldawgs, youth sports, sports, batavia.

Press release:

The Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program will hold its 5th Annual Extreme Youth Football and Cheer Camp. This year’s camp cosponsored by Extreme Streetwear will be held at GCC Fields this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 9-11.

Walk-up registration still available. Cost for the camp is only $30.

Campers will receive quality instruction from USA Football certified coaches, a camp T-shirt, and lunch at the end of camp on Saturday July 12th.

Camp on Thursday and Friday will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. with check-in at 3:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon with check-in at 8:30.

The camp is open to ALL athletes no matter what league affiliation between the ages of 5 to 13 years old by Dec. 1st. Birth certificate is required.

Camp training is stationed-based -- campers are divided by age and experience level so each athlete receives the right level of instruction and support. The Bulldawgs staff and volunteers will teach techniques, skills, and appreciation for all football positions and cheerleading in a fun positive way!

For more information, please contact League Commissioner Barry Warner-585-217-1213; Cheer Director Kinu Fortes 585-813-3219; or by e-mail at [email protected]

July 6, 2015 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
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Eric Flowers

Among the charges 27-year-old Eric J. Flowers is facing is resisting arrest. Once he was subdued by troopers, medics were called to the scene, and his head was bandaged, but he insisted he wasn't injured and refused all further medical treatment, according to Troop A spokesman James O'Callaghan.

A trooper attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Flowers on Seven Springs Road on Tuesday for alleged vehicle and traffic violations, including non-transparent side windows, an unsafe turn and no turn signal.

According to State Police, Flowers, a resident of Batavia, did not stop his vehicle for more than a mile, then he pulled into a driveway and fled into a wooded area. 

Troopers chased Flowers on foot and deployed a Taser to help with his apprehension.  

No members of law enforcement -- deputies assisted at the scene -- were injured in the incident.

Besides the suspicion that Flowers was driving drunk (he refused all BAC tests), he was also allegedly found in possession of items with marijuana and heroin residue in his vehicle.

Flowers is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operator, resisting arrest, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, assault 2nd, with intent to cause injury to a police officer, side windows non-transparent and unsafe turn.

He was jailed without bail.

July 6, 2015 - 1:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A student at Genesee Community College says she's lost in some woods near the Batavia campus. Sheriff's deputies are en route to try and locate her. She walked to the 48 Express Deli (8204 Park Road) and ambled into some woods on her way back to campus and became disoriented. Her phone is said to be plotting in the area around Scalia's Landscape (8106 State Street Road).

UPDATE 1:59 p.m.: The student was located.

July 6, 2015 - 11:36am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Grand Jury, indictments, batavia.

Jacob J. Camerera is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony, for allegedly violating an order of protection on Feb. 15 in the City of Batavia. It is alleged that Camerera struck, shoved, kicked or otherwise subjected the victim to physical contact or attempted or threatened to do so. In count two, he is accused of first-degree criminal contempt by violating an order of protection by physically menacing, intentionally placing or attempting to place a legally protected person in reasonable fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury by rapidly drving a motor vehicle in close proximity to that person. In count three, Camerera is accused of the crime of second-degree reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly engaging in conduct which created a substantial risk of serious physical injury to the protected person by drving a motor vehicle in close proximity to that person.

Jerry T. Saddler Jr. is indicted for the crime of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 16, 2014, in the City of Batavia, Saddler violated an order of protection. He is accused of striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting the victim to physical contact or threatening to do so.

Michael F. O'Neill is indicted for the crime of criving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on April 19 in the City of Batavia he drove a 2003 Volkswagen on Oak Street while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, he is accused of driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more at the time of the incident. In count three, he is accused of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation for allegedly operating a motor vehicle that day when he knew or had reason to know his driver's license was suspended, revoked or otherwise lawfully withdrawn. In count four, he is accused of the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.

Shane P. Buyck is indicted for the crime of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on May 25 he knowingly entered or remained unlawfully in a building on North Bergen Road, Town of Bergen, with the intent to commit a crime therein.

July 6, 2015 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, corfu, batavia, Le Roy.

Robert P. Nowak, 58 of Pembroke, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Nowak's wife reportedly called 9-1-1 during a domestic dispute Saturday. State Police responded and Nowak allegedly locked the doors and refused to come out. Troopers set up a perimeter with the assistance  of the Sheriff's deputies and Corfu PD. Nowak was taken into custody without any injuries. State Police said alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Kenneth M. Gray, 23, no permanent address, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Gray was allegedly in possession of a vehicle reported stolen in the City of Batavia on June 29. Le Roy PD observed the vehicle being operated in the village and initiated a traffic stop. 

Bradley W. Achman, 19, of Elma, is charged with trespassing. Achman allegedly entered private property to gain access to a concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Lonnie Ford III, 44, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with loitering. Officers Kevin DeFelice and Marc Lawrence were on Hutchins Street investigating an incident when Ford was observed walking down the middle of the street toward the officers. According to Police, Ford's actions (the actions are not specified in the press release) prevented the officers from exercising their duties. Ford was issued an appearance ticket.

Steven F. Marra, 22, of Gabbey Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and inadequate headlamps. Marra was stopped at 2:52 a.m. on State Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

July 6, 2015 - 10:02am
posted by Maureen Estabrooks in batavia.
2015 Farmers’ Market Coupon Distribution at OFA - 2 Bank St:  Tuesday July 14 : 9 am to 11:00 am  Wednesday July 15 : 1 pm to 4 pm  Monday July 20: 1 pm to 4pm  Thursday July 23: 9am-11am 1) You must be age 60 or older. Please bring ID. 2) You must bring proof of your monthly household income to receive coupons. 3) If you are 60 or older and reside in public/subsidized housing, you qualify regardless of income, but please bring proof of address to qualify. One $20 coupon book, per household per year, is allowed. We must give books directly to you. Coupons will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, until they are gone. Questions – Call 343-1611 2015 Income Guidelines *** Household of 1 = $ 1815/mo Household of 2 = $ 2456/mo Household of 3 = $ 3098/mo This program is made possible through funds from the NY State Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Older Americans Act, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the generous support of the Genesee County Legislature. For individuals with disabilities or language interpretation needs, requests for reasonable accommodations should be made with at least five days’ notice. .
July 5, 2015 - 10:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, picnic in the park, cenntennial park, batavia.

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Doug Fancher, of Basom, and his 3-year-old grandson Callum, of Batavia, play shadow baseball under the giant flag at GO ART!'s annual Picnic in the Park in Centennial Park on Saturday.

Fancher said Callum is obsessed with baseball. At the Muckdogs' game the other night, he peppered his grandpa with questions about the game. He loves the Yankees and also thinks the Pirates are pretty cool.

Here are more pictures from Saturday...

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July 5, 2015 - 5:53am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia.

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A rollover accident is reported at 138 Pearl St. The driver and a passenger are both out of the vehicle. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE: There was no passenger. The driver is apparently not injured. The accident is under investigation.

UPDATE 6:58 a.m.: City fire back in service.

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July 4, 2015 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, 5K, batavia, sports.

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Nick Guarino won this morning's Kiwanis Club 5K with a time of 16:20. The first-place woman runner was Kimberly Mills with a time of 19:56.

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July 3, 2015 - 6:05pm
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, Ramble, music, entertainment.

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Paul Draper is used to being a musician for the Ramble, a musical event hosted in Batavia, but this year, he’s experiencing the event from another angle. Bill McDonald and the rest of the Ramble Posse have decided to pass the organizational and promotional torch on to Draper. He couldn’t be more excited.

“When Bill asked if I would like to be involved with the Batavia Ramble, my answer was, ‘yes. 100 percent,’ ” Draper said. “I’m the lucky one to take the hand-off.”

This year, Draper worked on filling the band rosters, organizing information and he even created a Facebook group.

“Batavia Ramble Facebook group is a local hub for all things Ramble,” he said. “In the group, you can find the band lineups, schedules for each stage as well as pictures from previous years.”

 Next year, he’s taking the lead on the event.

“This year was a lot of fun learning how everything runs and getting hands on,” he said. “I am also very much looking forward to next year where I'll be putting my PD3 twist on things and bringing the event to the next level.”

The first Ramble was held 10 years ago by the original Ramble Posse members Bill Pitcher, Mike Murray and McDonald. The Ramble aims to unite and reunite musicians and artists who have called Batavia and the surrounding areas home. The day is full of music, friendship and art.

This free event takes place Downtown on Sunday in Jackson Square and on Center Street. For the first time, three stages will be set up featuring musicians who live locally as well as those who are coming back to play the Ramble. Music starts at 11 a.m. and concludes around 9:30 p.m.

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Paul Draper, Jim Starkweather, Bill Pitcher, Tom Trescott, Mike Murray, Wally Kowalik, Kevin Mayler and Bill McDonald.

July 3, 2015 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in New York Craft Malt, batavia, business, Beer, agriculture.

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The effort to bring back malting to Upstate New York is a multi-year process.

Working with Cornell University, Ted and Patty Hawley, owners of New York Craft Malt on Bank Street Road, Batavia, are in their third year of running trials of malting grain in Genesee County Farm fields.

There's a plot on Hawley-owned farmland off Bank Street Road and another on Porter Farms, plus the Hawleys have some grain growing on other local farms.

The trial involves 34 varieties of barley, plus wheat and oats.

"We've got to look at all aspects of it, and it's a hard go," Hawley said. "Cornell won't really give their recommendation for four or five years."

The challenges in Western New York have to do primarily with weather -- the year-to-year variances, but more importantly the overall amount of moisture in ground and air.

Malting grains are highly susceptible to fungal diseases, so what researchers want to find are those varieties that grow well in this climate and stay health without sprouting two quickly (once the grain head sprouts, it can no longer be malted).

"Our region is very finicky," Hawley said.

The process involves two key sets of analyses.

First, researchers want to determine how well a variety grows locally, or its agronomics for a farmer. It's important to determine the quality and quantity of the protein, how it germinates and its yield (more yield, more profit per acre).

Second, the grain needs to be malted. The test isn't about taste or any subjective measurement. Researchers are looking at protein, enzymes and how well it malts.

Brewers are looking for good, locally grown grains because the farm brewery law requires locally produced, craft beers to contain a certain percentage of local agriculture product.

But Hawley said local brewers and growers are also looking to produce an interest among consumers to seek out totally local beers. They are working together on a marketing plan that would provide bars with a "Local" tap that would only be attached to kegs of locally brewed beer that uses only locally grown ingredients.

"I think once the consumer wants it, brewers are going to have to give it to them and then I think it's going to grow," Hawley said.

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A two-row variety and a six-row variety.

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July 3, 2015 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bike trail, biking, batavia, Ellicott Street Trail, Ellicott Street.

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Marie doesn't hold back when asked about biking in Batavia.

"It sucks," she said during a brief conversation outside of City Centre.

"I lived in New York City and I felt safer riding there than I do in Batavia," said Marie, who didn't want to give her full name (and Marie is her middle name), because she feared friends wouldn't like her talking poorly about their hometown.

Marie's opinion of the bikeability of Batavia is not universal, but in our conversation she struck a common theme among local bike riders we spoke to over the past few days. There's a lot of displeasure with state of things and a recognition that with a little effort, Batavia could become more bike friendly.

Tony Mancuso, perhaps Batavia's most ubiquitous bike rider when the days are warm and dry, said he certainly can't describe Batavia as a great place to tool about on two, self-powered wheels.

"I ride my bike around town constantly," Mancuso said. "The people are friendly, but Batavia is not bike friendly."

By that, Mancuso means the roadways aren't set up well for bike riders, there are no bike racks and there aren't enough bicyclists to help raise the awareness of car drivers.

"There are few places in Western New York that you would call bike friendly," Mancuso said.

It's not like Western cities such as San Diego and Denver, or even Nashville, where most streets are shared by cars and bikes with little conflict.

John Roche, owner of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, and obviously an avid rider himself, thinks the idea of sharing the roadway with bike riders is a common complaint of bikers.

"So many people yell at bike riders to get out of the road, but that's where they're supposed to be," Roche said.

Marie said she's been hit by a car in Batavia.

Another rider who said her name is Krystal, but didn't want to give her full name, said Batavia is just all right for bike riders.

She rides to-and-from work every day, she said, up and down West Main Street. 

"Drivers don't pay attention and they hit somebody and just don't care," Krystal said. "I've heard of several bike accidents."

Marie and Krystal both believe Batavia should be bike friendly because so many people locally don't ride just because it's fun or to get fit, but because it's an economic necessity. They can't afford cars, but still want to work and be able to get there quickly and safely.

But not everybody thinks Batavia is hostile to bike riders.

Kevin DeFelice, who rides professionally as a police officer and personally as an enthusiast, said he's never really encountered any problems while peddle-pushing around the city.

"I bike a lot professionally and personally and I'd say it's a bicycle-friendly city," DeFelice said.

He's including in that assessment recent efforts to provide bike helmets to local children and a clinic he will help with to teach bicycle safety to local children.

Yes, however, DeFelice, like many other riders, would like to see more dedicated bike lanes and bike racks.

It's dedicated infrastructure that separates Batavia from more bike-friendly environs, such as Denver and New York City, or even the Akron-Clarence area of Erie County.

More pavement markings signaling it's OK for bikes to be on the road would help send the right message, local bikers said. Bike racks would encourage more people to use bikes for going to and from work, shopping or out for dining. Bike trails would help riders cover greater distances safely and in comfort.

"You basically have to reward people who are making the trip on a bike instead of a car," said Felipe Oltramari, the county's planning director. "A lot of times it seems like you're not rewarding riders by not providing the proper facilities."

Yes, there's Ellicott Street, with its designated bike lanes, but not too many riders take that route. It's more common to see riders on the sidewalks, which is illegal in Batavia, than on the asphalt.

Many riders said they just don't feel safe in those bike lanes. Vehicle traffic is constant, the flow is heavy and big trucks rumbling by gives most riders a sense of insecurity.

DeFelice said he gets that, but he said he feels perfectly comfortable on Ellicott Street.

"Of course, I ride with the police department and I'm pretty visible, so I don't have a problem with it," DeFelice said.

Oltramari, who often rides from his home in the city to his office in County Building #2 on West Main Street Road, said just making the ride regularly has helped his comfort level riding alongside fast-moving, truck-intensive traffic on Route 5. He's gotten used to it and so feels safer.

With Ellicott Street, Oltramari said increased usage would improve the viability of the bike lanes, but there are other things the DOT could do to help that along.

More physical separation between bike and driving lanes would help, he said. There are small plastic markings available that could provide more of a visual separation. He said he's also seen in other communities where the bike lane is placed between parking and the sidewalk so that parked cars become a protective barrier for riders.

Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for the city, suggested the bike lane be painted a solid color, such as green, from beginning to end. That would provide a visual reminder to watch for bike riders and respect their space.

There's also a sense that Ellicott Street is a bike route to no where. It doesn't connect to anything -- no trails, not other paths.

"The DOT has of late jumped on the idea of complete transportation corridors," Oltramari said. "That is providing for all uses, vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, but that doesn't always address the comfort level of everybody as if they had their own space. The large number of trucks doesn't take into account the comfort level of the rider or even the walker. When we did our walking tour, the truck traffic was pretty loud and you couldn't hear the person walking next to you."

There is sometimes a misconception locally that the DOT reconfigured Ellicott Street to add the bike lanes. That is not really accurate, said Lori Maher, regional spokeswoman for the DOT. It's true only to the extent that the DOT is in fact now trying to provide for driving, biking and walking along the transportation corridors it owns, but there was a more primary goal for Ellicott Street than bikes, she said.

"We decided to go from four lanes to three, including the middle-turn lane, primarily to provide better left-turn access for the driveways along Ellicott Street," Maher said. "You're less likely to get rear-ended in a turn lane and you're less likely to hold up other traffic, and if you're turning, you can likely turn sooner because you're waiting on one lane of traffic instead of two."

The reconfiguration made room for bike lanes, given the existing width of the roadway, Maher said, so given the DOT's overall transportation goals, it made sense to add them.

"Whenever we go into a highway project, we look to see if bike and pedestrian needs are being met," Maher said.

Even with the skeptics decrying the value of the Ellicott Street bike lanes, Oltramari sees them as an overall benefit to the city and part of a long-term play to improve Batavia's bikeability.

"I think it's a good thing for the DOT to put in," Oltramari said. "You have to start somewhere. It just seems silly to have it and have it go nowhere, but as it builds from there, it will make more sense. You hear a lot of arguments that we don't need a bike lane here or we don't need a bike lane there because nobody rides bikes, but it's a chicken-and-egg thing. You can't use that argument because maybe people would ride more if there were more facilities for riders."

The proposed Ellicott Trail could transform Ellicott Street from the bike route to nowhere to one that is part of an interconnected network of bike paths.

"The Ellicott Trail could draw more retail and recreational traffic into the heart of the city," Pacatte said. "Being bike-friendly expands the quality of life opportunities in the city, it goes along with our walkability initiative, it's an alternative form of transportation to and from work, it reduces our carbon footprint, addresses our urban growth efforts and means we're not just dependent on vehicle traffic. It's part of our friendlier city initiative."

The proposed trail, which has already been approved for $1 million in federal grants, will begin at Pearl Street in Batavia and extend east to Seven Springs Road in the Town of Batavia. The trail will be between 4.3 and 4.6 miles long and 10-feet wide.

Batavia could become a very bike-friendly city, Oltramari said.

"Luckily, there are a lot of things that overlap," Oltramari said. "The city has good bones for a really good bike infrastructure. There's a grid-style layout, so you don't have a lot streets that end in cul-de-sacs, and it's fairly flat. From east to west, there are plenty of nice streets, such as Richmond and North streets, and when the Ellicott Trail gets built, there will be a nice southside east-west way to get across the city."

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A lack of bike racks in the city means bikers must find whatever secure object they can to chain a bike two while parked.

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West Main Street Road has broad shoulders, but no visual clues for drivers to be on the lookout for bicyclists.

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In the Village of Akron, an old railroad line has been converted into a bike trail. The trail connects to trails in other communities and the Erie County network of trails is growing. It's a system Genesee County's own proposed trail system could eventually connect with.

July 3, 2015 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, batavia, Centennial Park, GO ART!, July 4.

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Big plans abound here for the Fourth of July weekend.

The Muckdogs kick things off at 7 p.m. with a game against Mahoning Valley. There will be a fireworks show after the game, and with the Muckdogs on the road tomorrow, that serves as your local Independence Day weekend pyrotechnics.

On the calendar tomorrow morning is the Kiwanis 5K, with a start time of 9 a.m. at Centennial Park. There's also a chance of rain in the morning, potentially the one blemish on the weekend weather.

In the afternoon, GO ART! hosts its annual Picnic in the Park at Centennial Park.

Sunday, it's time once again to ramble on down to Jackson Square (and School Street and Center Street) for the annual Ramble Music and Arts Fest.

July 2, 2015 - 3:56pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, bergen, public market, UMMC, Foodlink.

United Memorial Medical Center is partnering with Foodlink and New York Fresh Connect Farmers' Markets to offer fresh produce to Genesee County residents on wheels.

The produce truck will make two stops in the county every Monday. The first stop will be from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Gillam Grant Community Center in Bergen. The second stop will be from 11:15 a.m. to noon in the United Memorial Jerome Center parking lot in Batavia. The market will run through mid-September. 

The goal of the market is to make fresh fruits and vegetables easily accessible to the community at affordable prices. Cash, debit, EBT and WIC will be accepted as forms of payment. For every $5 SNAP purchase, people will receive a $2 bonus.

July 2, 2015 - 3:53pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Le Roy, pembroke.

A 17-year-old female from Batavia is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. She allegedly possessed a quantity of crack cocaine and numerous items associated with the use of the drug. The incident happened on Lake Street in Le Roy. During the investigation by Deputy Joseph Corona, it was found that she had two active warrants out of the City of Batavia and was turned over to Batavia Police.

David W. King Jr., 34, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and endangering the welfare of a child. King allegedly choked a female acquaintance in the presence of her three children inside an apartment on State Street. He was put in Genesee County Jail on $2,000 bail.

Dustin J. Wilmet, 25, of Batavia, was arrested on three separate warrants issued by the Batavia City Court. The first warrant is for a DWI charge from 2014 that Wilmet allegedly failed to appear for. The second warrant is for petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property charges after he was accused of possessing property that had been reported stolen from an apartment on Franklin Street, Batavia. The third warrant is for criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, and petit larceny charges after he allegedly stole and cashed forged checks. He was put in Genesee County Jail without bail.

Stephen M. Esposito, 25, of Folsomdale Road, Cowlesville, was arrested on a bench warrant issued by the Batavia City Court. Esposito allegedly failed to appear for a ticket for aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. He was put in Genesee County Jail on $1,000 bail.

Taylor L. Finnin, 22, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Finnin allegedly stole a $100 cash from a coworker. The alleged incident happened on Commerce Drive in Batavia.

Rachel S. Brockenshire, 29, of Lear Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Brockenshire is accused of stealing property from Dollar General in Batavia. 

Karen L. Cooper, 49, of North Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and failure to dim high beams following an incident on Lake Street in Le Roy. Cooper is accused of possessing a quantity of crack cocaine and numerous items associated with the use of the drug.

Kevin J. Palmer, 34, of Canandaigua Road, Walworth, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The incident happened on Alleghany Road in Pembroke.

Jonathan M. Wulfert, 42, of Lake Road, Ontario, Canada, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and driver's view obstructed after Deputy Kevin McCarthy pulled him over on Route 77 in Pembroke for an equipment violation.

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