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March 15, 2018 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, Le Roy, notify.
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      Lance Mercado
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     Mitchell Freeman

Among the 11 people arrested on drug sales charges over the past few weeks in Wyoming County were two Genesee County residents, according to arrest reports released today by the Wyoming County Drug Task Force.

Mitchell Freeman, 29, of Quinlan Road, Le Roy, was arrested Feb. 17, and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 4th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Freeman is accused of selling buprenorphine in the Village of Attica in the fall. He was ordered held in the Wyoming County Jail.

Lance Mercado, 27, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 4th, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Mercado is accused of selling buprenorphine on two occasions in the fall in the Village of Attica. He was arrested Feb. 1 and jailed on $25,000 bail.

Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory J. Rudolph said the task for continues to seek several other suspects on drug indictment warrants and that his office will continue to do its part to help fight the current drug epidemic.

“The Wyoming County Drug Task Force continues to diligently investigate in the enforcement piece of this drug epidemic," Rudolph said in a press release. "Enforcement will not combat addictions and intense treatment is needed to tackle that difficulty, however, we as a law enforcement community are all committed to investigating and arresting drug dealers who prey and profit from those addictions.

"It is also our hope that taking drug dealers off the street contributes to the prevention piece of this epidemic, particularly with our youth. Stemming the opioid crisis is a multi-prong approach and the Wyoming County Drug Task Force is resolved in doing our part.”

March 15, 2018 - 11:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in columbia avenue, fire, news, batavia.

A fire at 20 Columbia Ave., Batavia, in the early morning of March 6, appears to have been caused by an electrical issue and was accidental, according to City Fire Chief Steve Napolitano. 

Several animals apparently lost their lives in the fire, though no people were hurt.

The house was owner-occupied by Peter and Marilyn Demmer and five people, including a newborn infant, were home at the time of the fire, which was reported at about 4:15 a.m.

Napolitano did not have a count of how many animals lived at the residence. Firefighters located four deceased pets. One dog escaped the fire.

The structure of the house is sound, Napolitano said, but the interior was a total loss. The ground floor sustained massive damage from heat, smoke and water and the second floor had extensive smoke and heat damage. The total loss estimate is $180,000 to $200,000.

"Firefighters were able to recover some personal items of value to the family," Napolitano said.

Napolitano said the residents were offered assistance by the Salvation Army and Red Cross but he is uncertain if they accepted or made other arrangements on their own.

March 15, 2018 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, news, batavia.

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County is facing major financial challenges, including problems of cash flow. The Board of Directors, working with newly appointed Executive Director Millie Tomidy-Pepper, who began Feb. 5, has retained an independent auditor to assist in determining the extent and causes of the problems.

They are also actively pursuing financing options and revenue-generation opportunities to enable the 150-year-old organization to continue its mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Details will be shared with the community as soon as they become available.

March 15, 2018 - 10:10am
posted by Steve Ognibene in entertainment, music, batavia, steve ognibene's blog.

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The trio performed their monthly jazz tunes last evening at a packed T.F. Brown's 214 Main St., Batavia. 

They perform once a month, traditionally on Thursdays, but decided to change it up because of the NCAA basketball. Here are a couple photos.

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March 14, 2018 - 8:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, batavia, news, education, reality check.

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Press release:

Why did you join Reality Check? That’s the question Reality Check coordinator Brittany Bozzer asks each student when they join the tobacco-free advocacy group and attend their first meeting.

There is simply no right or wrong answer. But it’s always inspiring to find out why our youth advocates join us and what it means to them to be a part of the group.

Here’s what Reality Check members from St. Joseph School in Batavia have to say:

Seventh-grader Maylee joined Reality Check so that she could make a difference to smokers.

“I want to learn about the dangers of tobacco and other products so that I can educate peers and those who smoke,” Maylee said.

 “I am anti-smoking smoking and think it is a bad habit or addiction for people to get involved with,” said James, also a seventh-grader, on why he got involved. “I also want to help out in the community.”

Amelia joined Reality Check to gain “knowledge, power, strength and confidence.”

And Paige joined to get “a good education on tobacco use and other drugs so that I can tell people about what I learned.”

Each young student has his or her own unique reason for joining, but there is one common thread. Each one has been affected by tobacco products in some way and they are choosing to help make a difference in their community.

What is Reality Check? Reality Check is a youth-based, adult-mentored, statewide youth program operated by the New York State Department of Health in Albany as well as Roswell Park Comprehensive Center.

The goal of Reality Check is to educate teens about the manipulative marketing practices used by the tobacco industry as well as to teach them how to advocate in the community for themselves and their peers. 

What do we do? Reality Check exposes the truths about tobacco marketing through point of sale and smoking in movies.

Through various activities led by youth, they are able to gather facts and statistics to show the reality that tobacco use among youth is very prevalent in their community and that it needs to be stopped. This tobacco is not exclusive to cigarette use; it also includes e-cigarettes and vaping as these also contain nicotine.

Most youth begin to get involved in Reality Check between seventh and eighth grades and continue on through high school, bringing awareness to the community and advocating for change!

March 14, 2018 - 7:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, business.

Press release: 

The New York State Senate’s one-house budget resolution– approved earlier today– establishes tax parity between the Batavia Downs and other gaming facilities across the state. The Senate Budget proposal increases the facility’s portion of net winnings to 42 percent.

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the Senate Budget Resolution levels the tax playing field for Batavia Downs. Decreasing the tax rate for the oldest nighttime harness track in the nation will ensure a fairer share of revenues are returned to taxpayers through our local governments. Now, the Genesee County racino will be more competitive with other gaming facilities. I will continue working to address this issue in the final budget.” 

In January, Senator Ranzenhofer introduced legislation (S7397) in the State Senate that would lower Batavia Down’s taxes paid to New York State by increasing the facility’s portion of net winnings from 35 percent to 41 percent. The Executive Budget proposes increasing net winnings to 37 percent.

March 14, 2018 - 11:38am
posted by James Burns in news, batavia, Batavia High School, #neveragain.

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Students of Batavia High School stepped outside and into the wind and the snow for 17 minutes today. They were there to express their concern for their safety and for a moment of silence for the 17 people that lost their lives in the mass shooting at Parkland HS in Florida.

The Batavia HS students all had slightly different views on how to stop mass school shootings including: gun control, more police, better mental health, less bullying, and students taking responsibility for their own safety. Certainly these feelings reflect the feelings of the rest of society.

Perhaps the wisdom of the crowd is pointing to the fact that not one single thing is responsible for these mass shootings and there are multiple causes that need to be addressed simultaneously.  

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Along with the varied solutions, all but one of the students interviewed felt that our political system has failed them. To address this issue there is a push for voter registration along with the protest.

Sydney Atchinson one of the students who helped with the organization of the protest said, “We are fed up with talking and politics (nothing is getting solved). Students will change politics by voicing their opinions and with votes.”

Students with pro gun signs stood in solidarity next to students with #neveragain signs. Despite not all pushing for the same solution, the students stood united to end the extreme violence in schools. This is very much a grassroots movement; there is not a leader of this walk out, just a collective understanding something needs to be done.

The student government body did not officially sanction this event but there are members who actively participated.

Not all students were involved the in walk out. Some stayed inside because they disagree with Woman’s March organization, others said they just don’t care enough. For some, it was just too cold to go outside.

A student made a point to tell me that they do understand the importance of the Second Amendment. They also do believe in the students' right to “live without fear and without being shot and massacred.” Living without fear and persecution, isn’t that one of the main reasons the Constitution was written? 

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March 13, 2018 - 3:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, education, news, batavia.

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Press release:

Jackson Primary’s Parents As Reading Partners (PARP) program was introduced with the traditional and always-entertaining play by staff for the students. This year’s theme is Wild About Reading and, in the opening performance, the students were confronted with a lot of confused behavior among the residents of Jackson Zoo.

With monkeys eating potato chips, giraffes roaring about their prowess at protecting the zoo while lions are playfully dancing nearby, and polar bears mistakenly caught in a warm exhibit area while elephants are freezing in theirs – there is a lot of craziness at the Zoo.

But there is hope! Between now and March 29, Jackson students can read with a partner at home for 15 minutes or more each day, and that will bring some facts – and order – back to the Zoo, helping the animals return to their proper foods, activities and habitats.

While this year’s goal is to restore order to the Zoo, the goal every year is to build excitement for and a love of reading that not only contributes to academic success but also enriches students’ (and their reading partners') lives immeasurably.

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March 13, 2018 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, news, notify, batavia, Batavia HS.

Students at Batavia High School will participate in a nationwide high school student protest tomorrow called March for Our Lives in response to mass shootings on school campuses, most notably the murder of 17 students Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla.

Students will stand outside the school for 17 minutes starting at 10 a.m. in honor of the 17 students killed in Parkland.

The school district is allowing the protest to go forward and has requested Batavia PD station a police officer at the school to ensure the safety of the students, Chief Shawn Heubusch told WBTA this morning.

"We’re there to support the school district in any need that they have," Heubusch said. "They’ve given them (the students) a chance to participate in this national walkout and we support them in any way we can. As far as it being right or wrong, I don’t have an opinion on that. I just want to make sure that the children remain safe."

Senior Sydney Atchinson has taken a leadership role in organizing the local protest and invited local media to cover it.

Joan Elizabeth Seamans, who recently dropped out of the Democratic primary for the NY-27 race, also sent out a press release notifying area media that the protest would be taking place at several WNY high schools and that it will be coupled with a voter registration drive, encouraging students who will be 18 by Nov. 6 to register to vote.

“I am very proud of our youth here in WNY and throughout the country who are ready to use their voices to fight for change. They have demonstrated a fierceness we haven’t seen in decades" said Seamans, founder of YVYV NY (Your Voice Your Vote NY). "It will be interesting to see how this new and energized voting block uses their passion to influence legislation."

Seamans said the event has been organized by Women's March Youth EMPOWER, an affiliate of the Women’s March.

Heubusch also discussed the issue of school resource officers in Batavia City Schools.

The discussions, he said, have been ongoing for many years, not just since the Feb. 14 shooting.

"We certainly hope we will eventually be able to supply a school resource officer to the district," Heubusch said. "Currently we are prevented from doing that by some fiscal limitations for not only the city but as well as the school district. Part of that ongoing discussion is to develop ways to be able to pay for these positions if they do come to fruition.

"We support the idea of having a school resource officer in our district, if not more than one. It’s just a matter of getting down to the brass tacks of paying for that position and funding it long term."

March 13, 2018 - 1:56pm

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Press release:

Tonight at the Richmond Memorial Library (19 Ross St., Batavia) from 7:30 to 8:30 "No Blarney" will be performing traditional Irish music with Rich Conroy and Don Bouchard.

This free program is sponsored by the library.

Then on Thursday the duo performs again at the Holland Land Office (131 W. Main St., Batavia) from 7-9 p.m.; cost is $5.

March 13, 2018 - 8:10am

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Head Coach Jim Fazio (far left) with Assistant Coach Mark Janes (far right) along with members of Batavia High School Girls Softball Team receive a check for $1,000 from owner Kathy Ferrara yesterday afternoon at Batavia's Original Pizzeria, Batavia. 

The girls did a great job promoting this event and in honor of International Womans Day on March 8th, Ferrara said she decided to match their fundraising efforts.

"I believe empowering women is important in our community and these young ladies represent a strong future, so I wanted to help them raise funds towards their trip," she said.

The team has been fundaising since December when they saw an opportunity to play ball in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and add games to their schedule in warmer weather.  

March 12, 2018 - 6:30pm


New Price Alert: 147 Pearl Street! The sun shines brighter on 147 Pearl Street! This home is a MUST SEE! Superbly maintained 3 bedroom, bath and a half home with not one ounce of anything to do! This home is no flip -- completely gutted and remodeled within the last 5 years beautifully done and tastefully decorated.

Roof full tear off 4 years ago, furnace 5 years -- Beautiful cherry cabinetry with granite countertops all stainless appliances to stay, plus washer/dryer! Nice formal dining/extra-large living room area with cozy gas fireplace – great for entertaining. Upstairs bath fully gutted with super convenient upstairs laundry area and three large bedrooms. All new carpeting throughout as well!

The outside features an extra wide drive and a double lot with a nice back deck...Inexpensive utilities and no flood insurance. What more do you want? Check it out!

Call Lynn Bezon today at Reliant Real Estate or click here for more information on this listing.

March 12, 2018 - 12:00pm

Hurry in before March Madness ends and join the YMCA team on the road to success! Stop in the Y and sign up for a membership. The faster you do the more you save!

The countdown is on for the biggest savings: If you come in Thursday-Saturday we will waive the entire joining fee for you. Every day after that you will receive a percentage off of the joining fee.

  • Thursday, March 15th -- 100% Joining fee waived
  • Friday, March 16th -- 100% Joining fee waived
  • Saturday, March 17th -- 100% Joining fee waived
  • Sunday, March 18th -- 50% Joining fee waived
  • Monday, March 19th --  25% Joining fee waived 

Save more with a teammate, bring someone into the Y with you and if they sign up for a new membership* we will waive their joining fee (based on day). Complete our membership referral form and you can receive one free month of membership! Stop in before the buzzer sounds to score on savings! (*Excludes membership upgrades)

March 12, 2018 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Stafford.

Keith E. Legge, 46, of South Main Street, Warsaw, aggravated harassment, 2nd. Legge is accused of sending numerous threats to multiple individuals via Facebook Messenger. He was arrested by deputies in Wyoming County on an arrest warrant and turned over to Batavia PD following an investigation. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed on bail.

Cynthia Lynne Wiseley, 55, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wiseley was charged after allegedly pushing a coworker at their place of employment on Barrville Road, Elba.

Scott David Beswick, 44, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and failure to stop at stop sign. Beswick was stopped at 4:33 a.m. Sunday on Ellicott Street Road, Bethany, by Deputy James Stack.

Maurice Darnell Powell Jr., 22, of Roslyn Street, Buffalo, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Powell allegedly entered a residence at College Village and stole property.

Mary Susan Bryant, 54, of Letchworth Avenue, Greece, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, and failure to notify DMV of address change. Bryant was stopped at 1:25 a.m. Sunday on Route 33, Stafford, by Deputy Mathew Clor.

Richard Dean McKague Jr., 27, of Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. McKague is accused of violating a court order by being the presence of the protected party.

Katty L. Jackson, 21, of Summer Street, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and obstructing governmental administration. Jackson is accused of striking a person during a disturbance on Central Avenue, Batavia, at 11:38 p.m. Thursday and then striking a police officer.

Abdikadir U. Sabtow, 28, of Buffalo, is charged with rape, 3rd. Sabtow is accused of raping a person who was unable to consent. The alleged crime was reported at 11:01 p.m. Tuesday in the Town of Batavia and was investigated by State Police. No further details released.

March 10, 2018 - 5:02pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, news, crime.

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Police are in active pursuit of a vehicle in the City of Batavia.

The vehicle's last reported position was north on Route 98.

The car traveled down East Avenue. It was also pursued on North Avenue and Washington Avenue.

We do not have information on how the chase started.

UPDATE 5:02 p.m.: Sheriff's deputies have joined the pursuit. The car is now southbound on Ellicott Street and allegedly running red lights. State police are now involved.

UPDATE 5:07 p.m.: A roadblock is being established.

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: The chase started with investigation of harassment charge. The driver of a pickup is in contact with the person that was allegedly harassed and said he was going to crash the truck.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: A subject has barricaded himself in home in Batavia Stafford. Police are talking to man through a locked door.

UPDATE 5:28 p.m.: The man who led the police on a high-speed chase up and down and around central Batavia is now in custody. Police have requested a medical transport so the man can be taken in to the hospital for mental evaluation.

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March 10, 2018 - 12:23pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, news, SCOPE.

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Bill Fox, chairman of the Gensesee County Chapter of Scope (https://scopeny.org), and Daniel Crane, a self-identified American patriot, organized a “Peaceful Rally” outside of Batavia City Hall to educate people about Federal Bill HR 5087 and other issues pertaining to their perceived “chipping away” at the Second Amendment.

Federal Bill HR 5087 proposes the ban of assault weapons as well as many different types of other rifles, pistols and shotguns that are semiautomatic.

Bill Fox contends that the government is going about protecting people the wrong way, that the real problem is the government missed all the red flags of Nicolas Cruz in the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting. The real cause of the shooting, according to Fox, as he repeated a few times is “our morality and our ethical way of living.”

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March 10, 2018 - 9:16am

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Photos from last evening's 27th annual Pasta Night fundraiser at John Kennedy Intermediate School, Batavia. Many local businesses contributed to raffles, door prizes and fun for all who attended. 

Principal Amanda Cook thanked all the supporters including teachers, parent volunteers, Batavia Middle School eighth-grade mentors and scouts from Troop 6006.

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