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January 10, 2016 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A car has hit a utility pole on Liberty Street. 

The street is unpassable because of a possible power line down in the roadway.

City fire is responding.

Also, unrelated, a low-hanging wire, unknown type, is reported on Batavia Elba Townline Road between State Street Road and Norton Road. Town of Batavia fire is responding.

UPDATE 4:33 p.m.: A car did NOT hit a utility pole on Liberty Street. A car snagged a utility line, either phone or data. Firefighters cut the line and are back in service.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls are dispatched to Remsen Road, between Akron Road and Knapp Road, for low hanging wires. Unknown type of wires.

UPDATE 5:07 p.m.: It's a Time Warner line reports a chief. It will be cut. All units to remain in quarters. 

January 10, 2016 - 6:51am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

City fire crews are at a house on Clinton Street where they just extinguished a "a big porch fire." They are checking for extensions. A second platoon was asked to report to fire headquarters. Didn't hear the exact address. 

UPDATE 7:13 a.m.: Code enforcement requested to the scene. 

UPDATE 8:11 a.m.: Clinton Street assignment back in service. Estimated $2,500 damage. The cause was an overheated light fixture.

January 9, 2016 - 7:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, crime, batavia.


A pedestrian was reportedly struck by a black pickup truck at the intersection of Bank and Main streets in Downtown Batavia a few minutes ago. The truck then reportedly went into the JC Penney parking lot at the mall before leaving there and turning left onto Washington Avenue. City fire, police and medics are responding.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m.: The pickup driver did not flee the scene, rather drove to a safe location nearby. A Mercy medic happened to get on scene soonest and said the patient was transported to a hospital before a determination was made as to medical condition.

UPDATE Sunday morning: The pedestrian succumbed to his injuries. The victim is identified as Joseph W. Ogozaly, 58, of Batavia. Following the accident, the patient was transported by Mercy EMS to a Mercy Flight landing zone and transported to Strong Memorial Hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. The investigation is ongoing and no charges against the driver have been placed at this time.

January 9, 2016 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Batavia HS, batavia, Notre Dame.


You can always count on a Dave Pero-coached Notre Dame team to provide opponents with a test, and that's what the Batavia Lady Blue Devils got Friday night in the finale of the Batavia Rotary Club Tournament at Genesee Community College, just when, perhaps, they needed it the most.

The contest was their first without Maddy McCulley, who had her high school career cut short with a knee injury Wednesday one game removed from scoring her 1,000th career point.

The team will carry on without McCulley, but the question that needed to be answered is would her teammates would pick up the slack?

They did.

Four players finished in double figures in scoring and Batavia beat Notre Dame 60-44.

The score may look lopsided, but the game wasn't. Notre Dame fought every minute, battling through Batavia's relentless press, finding ways to the basket at times, but also surrendering a few too many possessions.

The Irish finished the first half only five down and pulled within a point of the lead early in the third quarter. 

"When something like happens, what happened with Maddy, again my condolences, I feel terrible about it," Pero said. "I feel terrible about what happened to her, but they stepped up. The injury set her down, but the team, you could see it, they stepped up. Good teams do that and they're a good team."

Freshman Ryann Stefaniak scored 16, Tiara Filbert and Sam Cecere each had 13, and Taylor Stefaniak hit for 12.

It's the first time the Stefaniak sisters were both in double figures for the game, and that bodes well for the rest of the Lady Devils' season.

"We talked about in practice yesterday," Hein said. "I said 'Look, we're still a good basketball team; obviously, we're not the same team. We have to find a new identity as far as who is going to be doing some of those other things. Bottom line is, Maddy takes about 20 shots in a game. We can't all just look at Tiera and now expect her to shoot 40 of them.' "

Newly minted starter Elyse Snow will take up some of the slack, and Cecere will get a few more looks, but Taylor and Ryann need to add from 10 to 12 shots per game between them, Hein said.

"I turned to the two Stefaniak girls and said, 'Listen, it's really on you two,' " Hein said.

Taylor said she and Ryann are ready and she's proud of how they pulled through Friday.

"I feel like we both stepped up really well tonight," Taylor said. "(Ryann) stepped up her game a lot tonight, which we've needed her to do the whole season, but it helped a lot tonight. I think she did great."

Ryann was all over the court, tipping passes on defense, joining in double teams on ballhandlers, finding open lanes on offense and crashing the glass on rebounds, getting a couple of key putback baskets.

"Ryann is skinny as a rail," Hein said. "In most cases, I  think she's got a turtle shell on her back; she seems so slow at certain points and times. But on the offensive end, she's always kind of in the right spot. She's slashing, rebound here, rebound there. It was exciting to watch."

Filbert, the tournament's MVP, is still the leader of the team, and the shooter defenses will work hardest to stop, as Notre Dame did Friday, but Filbert is unruffled by the change in circumstances.

"I'm going to keep playing my game," Filbert said. "We all came in level-headed. We knew we had a goal we wanted to accomplish and we were able to do that. Losing Maddy is going to be a big adjustment because she helped us out tremendously on and off the court. But I know she's going to be there on the sideline and we know we have the players who are going to step up and help us out."

For Notre Dame, Becca Krenzer scored 15, Margaret Sutherland, 10, and Calli McCulley, eight.

Before the game, during introductions, Calli presented her cousin Maddy with a bouquet of flowers.

Pero said he was very proud of how his girls played, especially Sutherland, who is starting to come into her own as a scorer and floor leader, and considered the game a great learning lesson for the team, which won't see any opponents with Batavia's talent or depth in the rest of the GR or Class D.

"It was a good experience," Pero said. "We're not going to see teams this good where we're going."












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January 8, 2016 - 11:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Funeral Services for Michael R. Houseknecht, a successful local businessman and devoted father, will be at 10 a.m., Tuesday, at St. Joseph’s Church, 303 E. Main St., Batavia.

The 38-year-old Houseknecht passed away unexpectedly early Thursday morning.

He leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Jennifer Anne Thornton Houseknecht, and the daughters he cherished, Meghan Elizabeth and Ella Grace.

Most recently, Houseknecht opened the House O' Laundry on West Main Street in Batavia. He also owned Statewide Machinery. He formerly owned Loose Ends Vending.

A 1995 graduate of Batavia High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in business from SUNY Brockport in 1999.

He is also survived by his mother Sheila Mitchell, of Batavia, and his father and stepmother Ralph (Buddy) Houseknecht Jr. and Katy Gorton Houseknecht, of Perry, as well as his paternal grandparents, Ralph and Agnes Houseknecht Sr., of Stafford.

Friends may call on Monday from 2 to 8 p.m. at the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, 403 E. Main St., Batavia.

For his full obituary, click here.

Photo: File photo from the opening in November of House O' Laundry. Micheal Houseknecht with daughter Ella.

January 8, 2016 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education.


Parents and other community members were invited to the library of Batavia High School last night to learn about how the City School District has been implementing technology in the classroom.

District officials shared how technology is being used and how they would like to improve the use of technology with the help of money from the Smart School Bond Act. The district is applying for $2.1 million in state grant money to upgrade the district's technology infrastructure and purchase technology equipment. 

It's an increase in attention on technology that the district has been preparing to implement for a couple of years, Superintendent Chris Dailey said.

One goal is to provide each high school student and eventually, students at the lower grades, with smart devices that connect to the Internet at school. Part of the money from the state will be used to improve the wi-fi infrastructure to support that level of always-on connectivity. 

"Go on any college campus right now, walk into a classroom or lecture hall, there's no pen and paper anymore," Daily said. "It's all utilizing a device. When you're going into most industries now, people are using these kinds of things. We're trying to put those kinds of devices into the hands of our students at a younger age so they're natives to it versus visiting the technology."

Whether a student comes out of high school bound for college or going straight into a career, the future belongs to those with the technology skills needed to compete in the digital age.

"This doesn't replace the instruction that's going on," Daily said. "We want to prepare students for the world that we don't know will exist in a couple of years, with jobs that are evolving as we speak at things like the STAMP project, or you look at what's going on in the incubators in the Rochester and Buffalo area with new businesses evolving all the time at the unviersities. We want to put our kids at an advantage so that when they come out they can walk into those jobs with some skills that other kinds may not have in our region."

Top photo: Mason Battaglia shows off a 3D printer. One of the things he was able to do with the printer was solve a problem for the marching band. The drummers needed glow-in-the-dark mallets, so Mason used the 3D printer to make them.



January 8, 2016 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
     Jason Armstrong

A Batavia man has been indicted by a Genesee County Grand Jury on a count of criminal sexual act in the first degree.

Jason A. Armstrong Sr., is accused of anally raping a woman at a residence on South Main Street, Batavia, sometime between Nov. 6 and 10.

Armstrong was also indicted on counts of assault in the second degree for allegedly causing physical injury.

He's also indicted on a count of third-degree assault for allegedly causing physical injury to another person on or about Dec. 5 while at the same address as the alleged rape.

On or about Dec. 22, Armstrong allegedly tried to strangle another person, leading to a charge of second-degree strangulation. That incident also led to a charge of assault, 2nd.

January 8, 2016 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, bergen, corfu.
   Justine McWethy

Justine D. McWethy, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 2nd. McWethy is accused of stealing $80,000 from a business at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. McWethy was arrested on a warrant after being found to be a passenger in a car stopped by a Batavia PD patrol. The alleged theft was reported Nov. 11. McWethy was also arrested by Deputy Joseph Corona on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. On that arrest, she was jailed on $500 bail or $1,000 bond. On the grand larceny charge, she was jailed without bail.

Alfred A. Panepinto, 59, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to stop for stop sign. Panepinto was stopped at 10:48 p.m. Jan. 2 on Ellicott Avenue by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Lonnie J. Ford III, 44, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine stemming from a loitering charge. He was jailed on $125 bail.

Coretta M. Pitts, 47, of Williams Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Pitts allegedly entered a residence in violation of a complete stay away order. She was jailed on $1,000 bail. 

Vincent Allen Sanfratello, 49, of Gibson Street, Bergen, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine. Sanfratello was jailed without bail.

Joshua David Schultz, 32, of Maple Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and insufficient tail lamps. Schultz was stopped on Drake Street, Oakfield, at 5:48 p.m. Tuesday by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Jonathan Patrick Little, 25, of Boyce Road, Corfu, is charged with petit larceny. Little is accused of stealing from Kmart on Wednesday.

January 8, 2016 - 10:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A driver was cited for alleged failure to yield Thursday following an afternoon accident on Route 63 at Galloway Road that sent three people to UMMC with minor injuries.

Lisa Marie Wilson, 25, of Springville, who was among those reportedly injured, was cited for allegedly making a right turn from Galloway to Route 63 with another car approaching that had the right of way.

The accident was reported 2:47 p.m. and Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responded.

Also injured were Michele A. Fox, 48, and Brandi L. Baker, 24, both passengers in Wilson's 2013 Hyundai sedan. 

The other driver, Truman W. Johnson, 63, of Medina, wasn't injured.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Eric Meyer.

January 7, 2016 - 3:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in Care & Crisis Helpline, batavia.

Press release:

BATAVIA – Mary’s drug addiction has cost her everything: her family, her friends, her job and, she fears, her life. She has been in and out of therapy, support groups and abstinence from cocaine. Feeling frustrated and very much alone with no options left, Mary called the Care & Crisis Helpline.

She talked about her dilemma of not being able to stay clean while her addiction was killing her. A trained Helpline listener quietly took it all in and offered the support and referrals that Mary needed.

This is no fictional tale. Mary’s call was one of more than 7,300 that the Helpline received since it began a year ago. As of midnight Jan. 1, the service has fielded calls from depressed, lonely, distressed, frustrated or otherwise unhappy people with a desperate need to talk about their troubles. And for the last year someone has been on the other end of the line 24 hours a day.

“We have continuously updated our knowledge about what’s going on in Genesee County to be able to help people no matter what their concern is,” Helpline Manager Holly Baxter said. “From autism and heroin use to cancer, family issues and broken relationships, Helpline staff really is here for anyone with any type of crisis.”

According to Baxter, there are many stories that are all too real for those struggling through the myriad of ills that plague society. Without the patient support of a trained listener, those people could have ended up in worse shape, or dead. There was the caller who was upset because he broke his sobriety on Christmas after a 14-month abstinence. After doing so well he decided to stop going to support group meetings and counseling. The listener talked about the importance of staying with treatment and encouraged him to call whenever he felt like drinking.

Another caller was still arguing with her husband while she was on the phone. She was upset that he stayed too long at a friend’s house while she was home sick with their kids. The listener calmed the caller down to the point where she felt she could resume her discussion with her husband. Another caller had completely different family issues. She has suffered from low self-esteem and depression ever since her father abused her as a child. Her parents are divorced and her dad, who lives out of state, has wanted her to visit. She talked over options with the listener to identify what is best for her life.

The stories are many and varied. The issues are real. And Helpline staff has been in place now every day, even on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. The Care & Crisis Helpline supplements coverage for other local agencies including Genesee County Mental Health after-hours calls, Stop DWI, Genesee County’s Medicaid Fraud Line and YWCA’s Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services program.

The Helpline took 7,353 calls last year, including 3,929 for Genesee County Mental Health crisis, 382 that were suicide related, 466 domestic violence crisis calls and 1,555 for crisis information and referrals. Those numbers reflect the instances that someone in need received the support he or she was seeking.

Contracts are still available to agencies, organizations and businesses, Baxter said.

“To serve as a safety net for people in crisis in Genesee County and the surrounding area,” she said. “We have a fully trained staff, a toll-free number and access to more than 220 dialects and languages. The Helpline ensures that you have somebody available 24/7.”

For more information, call (585) 344-4400 or (844) 345-4400, or go to for a live Chat option.

January 7, 2016 - 2:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported at Galloway Road and Lewiston Road. Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. Law enforcement is on scene. Fire police are requested to shut down eastbound traffic at Galloway and Kelsey roads.

January 7, 2016 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Batavia HS, batavia, Notre Dame.


Norte Dame beat Attica 45-30 and Batavia topped Cal-Mum 50-31 to set the stage for a rematch of last year's exciting final in the annual Batavia Rotary Club Tournament at Genesee Community College.

Perhaps the big news of the night was an injury to Batavia's Madison McCulley (#42), a key part of the Lady Devils' talented starting five. McCulley was honored before the game for just achieving her 1,000th career point. Shortly before the end of the third period, she fell to the floor coming off a layup crying in pain. She was carried to the locker room and came out later with her knee wrapped in an ice pack. She had a medical exam today, but those exam results are not yet available.












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January 6, 2016 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Notre Dame, oakfield-alabama, sports, football.


Batavia's Dom Mogavero has been named first team in Class B to New York's All-State football team as a linebacker.

Fellow Blue Devil Greg Mruczek was named to the second team at QB. Ryan Hogan made second team as an offensive end. 

In Class D, honorable mentions went to Allen Chatt, Oakfield-Alabama, at defensive back and C.J. Suozzi, Notre Dame, at punter.

January 6, 2016 - 3:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in hazardous materials, mercury, batavia.

Mercury leaking from a wall-mounted blood-pressure monitor cuff at a doctor's office on Summit Street in the city has prompted a portion of the building to be evacuated, and the air and heating system has been shut off.

The equipment breakage occurred within the past 45 minutes and city firefighters responded to medical suites at 229 Summit St.

Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger said even a pea-size amount of exposed mercury creates an airborne hazard, which is why the air and heating system was shut off.

County Emergency Services is on scene and working to determine how to proceed with the situation.

January 6, 2016 - 1:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A CO2 detector was activated at 22 Tracy Ave. in the city and ill affects are reported by occupants in the lower apartment. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

January 6, 2016 - 1:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, City Schools.

Press release:

The Batavia City School District will host a Technology Night beginning at 6:30 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, at Batavia High School (260 State St.). Parents and the community are invited to see highlights of what students and staff are doing in the District with technology and to hear more about our plans for technology upgrades as they are developing in our Smart School Investment Plan.

Passage of New York State’s Smart School Bond Act in November 2014 provided the District with an opportunity to receive $2.1 million to invest in our students’ future. To take advantage of this opportunity, the District must develop and submit a Smart School Investment Plan (SSIP) for State approval. This plan for District-wide technology upgrades is being developed with input from staff, students, and the community.

Community members are encouraged to attend this meeting to hear about and review the emerging plans for the near future.

January 6, 2016 - 12:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

An apartment building at 17 Wood St. in the city was just evacuated due to the smell of natural gas. When city fire crews arrived they reportedly found a person on the front porch smoking a cigarette.

January 6, 2016 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke, corfu, Pavilion.
   Joseph Platten
   James Soccio
   Joseph Gaudio
   Jennifer Maychoss
   Nicholas Patterson
   Edward White

The Sheriff's Office announced the following arrests as a result of investigations conducted by the Local Drug Task Force.

Joseph M. Platten, 32, of Warren Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Platten allegedly sold a quantity of a controlled substance to an agent of the Drug Task Force while in the City of Batavia. Platten was jailed without bail.

James R. Soccio, 34, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 4th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Soccio allegedly sold a quantity of methadone to an agent of the Drug Task force while in the City of Batavia. He was jailed without bail.

Joseph C. Gaudio, 35, of Telephone Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd. Gaudio allegedly sold a quantity of cocaine to an agent of the Drug Task Force. He was jailed without bail.

Jennifer S. Maychoss, 41, of Snipery Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th.  Maychoss allegedly sold cocaine and pills containing a controlled substance to agents of the Drug Task Force in the Town of Batavia and in Pembroke. She was arraigned in Pembroke Town Court and released on her own recognizance and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed on $5,000 bail.

Nicholas E. Patterson, 21, of Kilian Road, Pembroke, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Patterson allegedly sold a quantity of pills containing a controlled substance to agents of the Drug Task Force in the Town of Batavia and in Pembroke. He was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Edward Jordan White, 20, of Michigan Street, Lockport, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. White's vehicle was stopped Dec. 30 by members of the Local Drug Task Force for allegedly operating on a suspended license. White was accused of possessing crack cocaine and marijuana. He is also accused of aggravated unlicensed operation. He was also arrested on a warrant out of Genesee County Court for alleged violation of probation. White is alleged to have sold a quantity of heroin and crack cocaine to an agent of the Drug Task Force on another date while in the City of Batavia. White was jailed without bail.















January 5, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Lisa Ace in Sponsored Post, advertisement, YMCA, membership, batavia, ny.

YMCA Waives Join Fee to Jump Start your January! Are you ready to shed those extra holiday pounds? Looking for a fresh start in 2016? Has cabin fever already started setting in? Join the Y during our membership campaign and save! Between 12/26/15 and 1/9/16 we will waive the full joining fee on any membership category.

New to the Y and not sure if you are ready to commit? Try the Y 5 times between 12/26 and 1/9/16 for just $15. If you decide to join during that same time frame we will take the $15 you paid off of your first month’s membership dues.

YMCA Membership entitles you and your loved ones the chance to become part of an organization that believes in and promotes active and healthy lifestyles, progressive skill development, fair play, family, and character development. The YMCA is not just another gym. When you join the Y, you join a family and what’s more you join a place where people are looking for changes to their overall health. The Genesee County YMCA offers a wide array of programs and services to meet the interests and needs of the entire family from memberships for youth, college students, families and seniors. From swimming lessons and sports, to childcare and summer camping, there is truly something for everyone at the Genesee County YMCA.

If you feel like you cannot afford a YMCA membership, it is the policy of the YMCA that no one is turned away due to an inability to pay. Financial assistance for membership and programs is available through the annual Strong Communities Campaign. The application process is easy and confidential. Please call or visit our member service desk to obtain an application.

For more information on membership or programs offered at the Genesee County YMCA, please call (585)344­-1664 or log on to our Web site at

January 5, 2016 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.


idsuspectjan52015_02.pngBatavia PD is requesting the public's assistance in identifying a man accused of stealing money from the Plaza Spirits Liquor Store, 563 E. Main St., Batavia, at about 5 p.m., Sept. 21.

The suspect is described as a black male, 50 to 60 years old, 5'10" or 5'11" and 250 to 300 lbs.

Police believe the man created a distraction and then while the store clerk wasn't looking, removed cash from the register. He then left in the red SUV shown in the picture below.

The suspect may be involved in similar larcenies outside of Genesee County. 

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation are asked to call Det. Eric Hill at (585) 345-6373.





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