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November 1, 2016 - 6:23pm
posted by Robert Henry Jr. in batavia, Rancho Viejo, Day of the Dead, news.

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The owner and employees of Rancho Viejo are dressed up in celebration of The Day of the Dead, the holiday in which families pay respect and remember their family and friends who have passed away.

Guillermo Leon, owner of Rancho Viejo, says that the tradition is not one of grieving, but rather one of celebration.

"Its a very special day in Mexico where everybody goes and celebrates with their dead families. If they used to like tequila, they bring them tequila or their favorite foods. They'll have a big party."

The restaurant is running deals through Nov.  2, including 15 percent off for anyone who comes in costume, and many drink specials.

November 1, 2016 - 1:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, batavia, Oakfield.

Karl R. Samuelson, 62, of Albion Road, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Samuelson was arrested at 5:27 p.m. on Oct. 27 on Lewiston Road in Batavia after he allegedly stole a bottle of liquour from Mr. Wine & Liquor in Tops Plaza. He was released with an appearance ticket for City Court on Nov. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

A 16-year-old who lives on Liberty Street in Batavia is charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly engaging in a physical altercation with another student at Batavia High School at 3 p.m. on Oct. 28. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket for Nov. 8 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

Miracle Angel Patterson, 25, no permanent address, of Rochester, was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court on Oct. 30 after being located in Rochester on an unrelated incident. Patterson is charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property stemming from an incident on Jan. 26, 2015 on Park Road Road, Batavia. Patterson was arraigned and held in Genesee County Jail without bail. Patterson was due in City Court on Oct. 31. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Joseph M. Marsceill, 31, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on Oct. 31 on a bench warrant out of Batavia Town Court. He was advised to appear in Batavia City Court at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 and was subsequently arraigned and put in Genesee County Jail on $350 bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Richard E. Stafford, 76, of Orange Grove Drive, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear in court regarding an unspecified incident on May 9 on East Main Street, Batavia. Stafford was arrested Oct. 31 on a warrant out of Batavia Town Court after being released from UMMC. He was arraigned in City Court then put in Genesee County Jail on $500 bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Ryan R. Hernandez, 19, of Albion Road, Oakfield, is charged with failure to appear on a bench warrant. During an unrelated investigation, Hernandez was located inside a residence on Walnut Street in the City of Batavia. He was subsequently arrested, posted cash bail, and was released from custody. He is scheduled to be in City Court on Nov. 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

November 1, 2016 - 9:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Imagination Station, Halloween, batavia, news.

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The parents, children and teachers at Imagination Station celebrated Halloween together yesterday afternoon.

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November 1, 2016 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, youth sports, Notre Dame, batavia, news.

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As many 50 young girls, grades 2 through 8, have just completed the new Fall Ball Training Camp run by Tom McCulley and Otis Thomas in the renovated Notre Dame High School Gym.

The camp was offered to girls attending either St. Joe's or Batavia City Schools.

"There’s not really a whole lot going on for girls this age," said McCulley, who takes over from Dave Pero as head coach at Notre Dame this season. "We thought this would be a way to get them ready for the upcoming season no matter where they may be playing."

The camp is designed to get the girls in basketball shape for the season, drill them in fundamentals and help them learn how to focus, follow directions and participate as a team member.  

McCulley said this training will help the girls as they move up to higher levels. It's a lot harder for a coach to work with an incoming freshman, say, who hasn't had this kind of experience.

The camp ran for five weeks.

This was the first year for the camp and given its success, McCulley expects it to become an annual event.

"The girls love it," McCulley said. "They’re excited about it. They show up every week, so obviously, they want to do it. It gives them a chance to compete and to learn how to compete, learn how to prepare and stay focused and take direction, so when they do get up to the higher levels, at least they have a foundation to build upon."

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October 31, 2016 - 4:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, batavia.

From our news partner WBTA:

At around 1:30 p.m. today, Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy medics were called to 4975 West Ag Park Drive for a reported motor vehicle accident with entrapment and the vehicle on fire.

The accident is said to have occurred at the bend behind the County Maintenance Building.  

The female victim reportedly made it out of the vehicle with the assistance of two passersby, however the truck was into the woods and on fire at last report.  

Mercy Flight was requested.

UPDATE 9:17 p.m.: Tim Hens shared this on social media:

Crazy afternoon. Sitting in my office when I hear a police call on the scanner for a single vehicle off the road with entrapment and on fire literally 1500 ft from my office.

Jumped in my car and responded with a few guys from the shop... Christopher J Klein, Rob Barone, Mike Nicolucci and Tyler Lang. Showed up to a fully engulfed vehicle. Tried to extinguish with a few small fire extinguishers with no luck. We were beside ourselves thinking there was someone inside, but two earlier passers-by luckily got there before us and managed to drag the woman to safety into the woods. They had to pry the passenger door open with the cab on fire and yank her out! Truly heroic whoever they were! Tyler Lang did an awesome job keeping the woman stabilized until police and Mercy Flight got there.

Life changes in a second. So glad she is alive.

October 31, 2016 - 2:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, batavia, news, Announcements.

Press release:

Genesee Community College is pleased to announce an expansion of its annual schedule of events for veterans at the Batavia Campus Center. Veterans of all ages, active duty, reserve or separated veterans, along with their families and friends are invited to GCC for special opportunities on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10-11.

"We look forward to the opportunity to showcase the many offerings and opportunities we have here at GCC for veterans," Marie Giardino, program director of Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) said. "While these special events are planned around Veterans Day, our services continue throughout the year at all of our campus locations."

On Thursday, Nov. 10, from 1:45 – 3:45 p.m. in the College Forum, the Batavia campus will host a Veterans Career and Community Fair, giving veterans the opportunity to meet with potential employers and interact with numerous community agencies that offer an array of helpful services. Veterans can interact with regional service providers in higher education, vocational training, healthcare, housing and transportation. Among the organizations that will be present (subject to change):

• Veterans One-Stop Center of WNY Inc.

• Rochester Regional Health

• Bonduelle USA Inc.

• Five Star Bank

• U.S. Customs and Border Protection

• ATB Staffing Services

• National Tractor Trailer School

• NY Army National Guard

• Navient/Pioneer Credit Recovery 

• ConServe

• Darien Lake Amusement Park

• Fidelis Care New York

• United Memorial Medical Center

Veterans should plan on bringing their resumes, a copy of their DD214 forms, and if they are looking for employment -- "dress to impress!"

Prior to the Career and Community Fair from 1 – 1:45 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to listen to Purple Heart recipient Benjamin Randle Jr., director of Veterans Affairs at D'Youville College, who will speak about the life changing educational opportunities. Randle is a Vietnam War Veteran and his talk will occur in room T102 in the Conable Technology Building.

The annual Veterans Day "Faculty Connect" Open House in Batavia is scheduled from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, and it's the biggest recruitment event of the year at GCC.

Visitors have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with professors and instructors at the Academic Fair which runs from 9 to 9:45 a.m., and gain inside knowledge about GCC's many majors and long-term career projections. The admissions, financial aid and advisement staff are available to answer questions, and visitors can enjoy complete tours of the Batavia campus, College Village and the College's Nursing labs, as well as the dedicated Veterans Lounge. Those looking for a comprehensive review of the academics, admissions and the overall GCC experience should register for this event! Go towww.genesee.edu/OpenHouse or call 866-CALL-GCC.

After the Open House, a series of special Veterans Day events adds to the day, honoring the brave men and women who have defended our country. Tim Palmer, a  Navy veteran, GCC adjunct history instructor and recent SUNY Chancellor Award recipient will serve as keynote speaker for this year's event. Veterans from all eras will be recognized with the Wall of Honor photo display; a rotating photo show of veterans related to any and all GCC students, faculty and staff; a thank you board will be available and open for all to sign; and motivating music, literary readings and refreshments rounds out the day.

For a complete listing of GCC's Spring 2017 course schedule featuring hundreds of courses, go to http://www.genesee.edu/courses/schedule/

October 31, 2016 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Queen of the Arts, batavia, arts, GO ART!, news.

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Adults interested in trying out different kinds of art projects, different mediums, different techniques now have an outlet through Queen of the Arts, a new arts class business started by Jill Pettigrew.

Pettigrew moved to Batavia two years ago after being an art teacher (she has a master's degree in painting) at the public schools in Erie, Pa., and she missed teaching.

She thought adult art classes would help fill a need in the community. 

"I think it's really important for adults to have a creative outlet," Pettigrew said.

Classes are on Friday evenings at GO ART! and are $25 per session, which includes all supplies. Students are welcome to bring wine, snacks and other beverages.  

For more information, visit the Queen of the Arts page on the GO ART! website.

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October 31, 2016 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs Hotel, Hart Hotels, batavia, business, news.

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If Batavia is a ring that holds a precious gem, that diamond is now the new Batavia Downs Hotel, said Hart Hotels Sales Manager Shane Draman during a tour Friday of the new facility with the hotel's General Manager Richard Likus.

Both were brimming with pride as they showed off the hotel's amenities, boasting of the subtle details that they believe will earn a four-diamond rating from AAA.

"We’re a destination now," Litkus said. "We have a racetrack. We have a casino. We have four beautiful restaurants in the casino that do room service to our rooms. It’s not like we’re a hub where people are passing through. This is where people are going to come and spend a weekend or spend their anniversaries or spend the holidays. It’s going to be something special."

The finer points include free Wi-Fi, refrigerators and Keurigs with Tim Horton's coffee in all 84 rooms, 310 thread-count sheets and goose-down pillows, hardwood floors and open-air drawer racks (both are more sanitary than carpet and wooden drawers), and spacious rooms with a turn-down service between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. (which includes a small piece of chocolate left on your pillow).

"People won’t remember what you said," Draman noted. "People won’t remember what you did. People will always remember how you treat them. I think when you take a look at that, how we treat people, the little nuances that are here, the little special things, people pick up on."

There are 40 rooms in the hotel with king-size beds, 40 with double queens and four two-room suites that have a wine cooler the size of a mini-fridge, a refrigerator and sink area with a dining table. There is also a balcony overlooking the racetrack.

Hart Hotels already operates four four-diamond hotels in Watkins Glen, Clayton, Thousand Islands, and Portland, Maine,

Key members of Batavia's new staff were sent to these locations to train.

"Our goal is to be the leading hotel in Batavia and the surrounding area," Litkus said.

The hotel has already hosted several guests, including a convention of 300 members of Rotary clubs from throughout the state and Draman said the feedback so far has been as great as they had hoped. He said people use words like "wow," and "fantastic," when describing the hotel.

From the outside of the hotel, you would never guess how spacious the hotel is, an observation made by several guests, Draman said.

"We've received emails were people have said it's the best hotel they've stayed at," Draman said.

The ribbon cutting for the new hotel will be at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, and Thurman Thomas will be on hand for the ceremony. He was a professional football player, a running back, who spent most of his National Football League career with the Buffalo Bills. 

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October 31, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, water department.

Press release:

City of Batavia water department began repairing a water main break on Chandler Avenue this morning. Street will be shut down during repairs from North Street to Bank Street. Chandler Avenue may experience an interruption of water service.

We will keep water service interruption to a minimum. This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

October 31, 2016 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Summit Street, infrastructure, batavia, news.

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With paving underway today, the $2.5 million reconstruction project for Summit Street is near completion for the major portion of the work. There are still trees to plant and other finishing touches that need to be done; crews could wrap the major work up today.

October 31, 2016 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fall, weather, batavia, news.

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There are still patches left of fall color, such as along the Tonawanda Creek behind the County Courthouse.

October 31, 2016 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Marlet HolmesA Level 3 sex offender facing a possible life sentence on his latest charges alleged sexual conduct with a child won't get a chance to make bail, Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka ruled in Genesee County Court this morning.

Pietruszka cited the five felony convictions, including two violent felonies, and five prior violations of terms of probation when ordering Marlek E. Holmes, 42, of Batavia, held without bail.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman requested a no-bail status because if convicted of the two Class A felonies in the last indictment -- predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child -- Holmes could be sent to prison for the rest of his life.

In all, Holmes is charged with 11 counts related to alleged sex crimes between 2010 and 2015, plus there are also charges still pending stemming from two prior incidents where Holmes allegedly failed to register his correct street address as a registered sex offender.

His attorney will have until Dec 16 to file any motions in the case, and a hearing on any motions was scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Jan. 11.

October 31, 2016 - 2:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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A chemical fire is reported at Summit Lubricants, 4080 Pearl Street Road, Batavia.

The caller reports he is the only employee working and he is out of the building.

Town of Batavia fire dispatched.

UPDATE 2:35 a.m.: A chief reports a working fire at the rear of the building. Another chief asks, "what is it?" "Charcoal, he's telling me," the second chief replies.

UPDATE 2:37 a.m.: All available manpower requested to the scene.

UPDATE 2:47 a.m.: The fire is in a silo on the outside of the building. The chief is unsure if it's made its way into the interior of the building. Oakfield requested to fill in at Station 1, Stafford to fill in at Station 2.

UPDATE 3:20 a.m.: A firefighter needs treated for smoke inhalation. On scene, firefighters say fire contained to silo detached from the building, but it was popping pretty good. There is quite a bit of charcoal in the silo. Firefighters will attempt to remove it to get the fire out. 

UPDATE 3:27 a.m.: Firefighters have open the top and are putting water on the fire from the top. The firefighter treated by Mercy should be fine.

UPDATE 3:49 a.m.: Employees in nearby facilities should shelter in place and turn off HVAC systems.

UPDATE 4:18 a.m.: Fire is out. Chief informs dispatchers, "It was not a chemical fire." It was just a charcoal fire. If there are complaints of odor in the area, "that's all it is," says the chief.

UPDATE 7:45 a.m.: Town of Batavia fire cleared this scene just before 6 a.m. Now they're called back for another alarm. A chief on scene reports, "nothing showing."

UPDATE 7:51 a.m.: Investigating, all units can remain in quarters at this time.

UPDATE 7:55 a.m.: Alarm is unfounded.

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October 30, 2016 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in abate, baggerween, batavia, news.

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More than 100 children turned out last night for "Baggerween," a free trick-or-treat event in the parking lot behind City Slickers, sponsored by ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education).

Participating bikers loaded up their saddle bags with candy for children in costume.

Photos provided by Jason Franklin.

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October 30, 2016 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS, news.

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Things seemed to be going Livonia's way in the first half of the Class B Section V semifinal game in Rochester yesterday afternoon.

The Bulldogs controlled the ball for much of the first two quarters while the Batavia offense sputtered, with the team getting its only points in the half on a 71-yard kickoff return by Chandler Baker.

Livonia led the Blue Devils 14-8, but this is Batavia on the field. Head Coach Brennan Briggs preaches "relentless football." Toughness is a given, and when the Blue Devils took possession to open the first half the determination to play tough was apparent.

Batavia scored on their opening drive, followed by a fumble recovery on Livonia's first possession, and the Bulldogs never got back in the game.

It's almost as if you could watch Livonia's fight fade with each passing down.

"Livingston County is great football and they’re tough kids, but I do believe at the end of the day, we’ve got one of the toughest football teams going and these guys pride themselves on it," Briggs said. "When we sniff a little bit of weakness, we’re going to go after it and we’re going to keep going and we’re not going to stop."

The Bulldogs seemed to game plan well to counter the ground threat of sophomore Ray Leach, who was held to only 28 yards on 15 carries for the game, so in the second half, Briggs switched things up a bit, letting QB Jerry Reinhart use his arms and legs more.

Reinhart finished with 73 rushing yards on 13 carries. He was also 7-14 passing for 121 yards and a TD.

His favorite target was Leach, who had four catches for 73 yards, including a 23-yarder for a TD.

“You get number 34 in space and he’s deadly," Briggs said. "Our quarterback can get the ball to him and get him in space where they can’t bottle everything up and then somebody has to make a play on Ray Leach in space and that’s pretty difficult to do.”

Leach was also a factor on defense coming up with big play after big play, including snuffing out a Livonia drive with an interception in the end zone.

"He likes to hit," Briggs said. "He likes to bring the stick. He gets fired up. He did a good job doing his 1/11th and he was locked down to defend one of their best receivers. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of this football team."

The defensive dominance by the Blue Devils in the second half was a team effort, with contributions from Reinhart, Chandler Baker, J'Zon Richardson and Anthony Ray.

The defensive line stiffened in the second half, doing a better job of bottling up Brody Metcalf, Matt Hyde and John Smith on the ground, pushing back the O-line and harassing Metcalf more consistently when he dropped back to pass.

“To be honest, that’s not scheme," Briggs said while discussing some of the second-half defensive adjustments. "That’s our guys deciding that they’re really going to start to take over."

It's almost as if Batavia could smell blood in the water after that first fumble (there were two in the second half (three actually, but the refs gave the ball to Livonia)).

Briggs said his team knows how to sniff out another team's weakness and exploit it. Reinhart agreed.

"If you keep pounding somebody’s weakness, they’re going to slow down, no matter who it is," Reinhart said.

Batavia won 31-20 after Livonia scored a TD in the final second of play (see last picture in slideshow).

The Blue Devils now have a chance to three-peat as sectional champions. This is a very different team from the one that took home the trophy each of the past two seasons and Briggs said this year's squad has had a bit of a chip on its shoulder because of comparisons.

"These guys have their identity now," Briggs said. "A lot of people talk about that we graduated 16, 17 players and Batavia wasn’t going to be there, but here we are and we’re still going to keep that chip on our shoulders."

Reinhart said that identity is built around the team's motto, "relentless."

"That’s what is says on the back of al our T-shirts: relentless, and that’s how we play football," Reinhart said. "We hit these guys and we don’t stop until the game’s over."

Next Saturday at 3 p.m., Batavia will be back in Rochester to face Hornell for the Section V Class B championship. Hornell has been out of the post-season picture the past couple of years but comes into the final, like Batavia, undefeated for 2016. Yesterday, the Red Raiders beat Palmyra-Macedon 49-29.

Top photo: Codie Dioguardi scores on Batavia's opening second-half drive.

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To purchase prints of photos, click here.

October 30, 2016 - 6:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Batavia Police have been dispatched to the McDonald's on East Main Street for a report of a vehicle that struck the building sometime between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m.

No indication how the caller came up with that time.

Part of a taillight was left at the scene.

October 29, 2016 - 4:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, news, batavia, health, Announcements.

Press release:

Kiwanis Club of Batavia is sponsoring an AMBA (Annual Multiphasic Blood Analysis) Wellness Program on Saturday, Nov. 5.

AMBA is a blood analysis program that screens for coronary disease, kidney disease, anemia, liver disease, and diabetes – all for $40.

The program will occur from 6 to 10 a.m. at the YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia.

Please call 1-800-234-8888 to schedule an appointment.

Personal physician authorization is required, so please have your physician’s name and address available when making your appointment.

For more information, please contact Mike Rimmer at:    [email protected]

October 29, 2016 - 4:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in Summit Street, news, infrastructure, batavia.

The $2.5 million Summit Street reconstruction project that started this summer in the heart of the city is winding down and Matt Worth, the city's Department of Public Works superintendent, says he expects everything to be completed week's end.

By contract, the work has to be "substantially done" by the end of the month, that's Monday. 

Worth said putting down the black top will technically substantially complete the project. Though that task is "a little weather-dependant, the forecast looks like that will be happening Monday."

Next is the completing the landscaping.

Thirty trees were removed because they conflicted with installation of curbs and sidewalks, or they were in a deteriorated condition. Sixty-two new trees are being planted. Worth added that this is an ideal time to plant the trees, according to the nursery they are working with, and it's apparently good to wait for the trees to become dormant for the season before planting them.

Grass seeding has been completed on the east side, and the finishing touch to the landscaping-- grass seeding on the west side -- will be done by Friday.

Also, crosswalks and stop bars will need to be painted on the fresh asphalt.

"We're really looking to bundle this up, so by the end of next week, I believe those things will have occurred," Worth said.

The Rochester engineering firm of Erdman Anthony has been supervising independent contract companies on this locally administered federal-aid project.

Workers removed the old road, put in new storm, sewer and drainage systems, and paved the road. Federal and state funds covered all but about $100,000 of the cost, with the city responsible for the rest.

The city also funded a $350,000 project to install new water main on Summit Street.

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

For previous coverage about the city's infrastructure projects this year, click here.

October 29, 2016 - 7:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A pedestrian has been struck by a vehicle on North Bennett Heights Road, Town of Batavia. That's off State Street Road.

The patient is conscious and talking, according to the caller.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:51 a.m.: Town of Batavia fire back in service.

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