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July 15, 2016 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) authorized a public hearing for Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, at the agency’s July 14 board meeting. The hearing is required as the company is seeking incentives over $100,000.

Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, plans to expand beyond its West Seneca location and build a second site on State Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will involve construction of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and service center that will create 30 new full-time jobs. The new location will be built along the New York State thruway near the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership campus.

The company is seeking approval for $437,652 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment will total approximately $4.35 million.

“This is a significant investment being made in our community that will create new jobs and help continue the economic growth of our region,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC Board of Directors.

July 15, 2016 - 7:00am

FRIDAY, JULY 15TH • Today's Events • Community Day & Thrill Night. Kids ride special - $5 wrist bands 1-4pm.

  • All Day Matt Episcopo (Roving the Fairgrounds)
  • 9am - ECYSS - Showmanship Clinic (Old Draft Horse Barn)
  • 10am - 4H Horse Show Western Classes  (Horse Ring)
  • 11am - Exhibit Halls & Buildings Open
  • 11am - 4H Beef Show (Show Ring)
  • 12pm - 4H Livestock Skillathon (TBA)
  • 12pm - ECYSS - Fitting Clinic (Old Draft Barn)
  • 1pm  - Open Class Beef Show ( Show Ring)
  • 1pm - 4H Sheep 7 Goat Obstacle Course Contest (TBA)
  • 1-8pm - Mr. Scribbles (Entertainment Ring)
  • 1-11pm - Midway Opens (Amusement Arena)
  • 3pm - 4H Sheep Trimming & Blocking Contest (4H Sheep Barn)
  • 4pm - ECYSS - Showmanship (Old Draft Horse Barn)
  • 5:30pm - 4H Tractor Driving Contest - Via Pre-Registration (Kennedy Building)
  • 6pm - NIOGA Jr. Showmanship (Show Ring)
  • 7pm - COUNTY FAIR GRAND DEMOLITION DERBY (GRANDSTAND)
  • 7:30pm - ECYSS - Judging Clinic (Old Draft Horse Barn)
  • 7:30-11:30pm - Under the Gun - Band (Entertainment Tent)
  • 10pm - Exhibit Halls & Buildings Close

This schedule is tentative and is subject to change at any time.

July 14, 2016 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

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Here are a few photos from Thursday at the Genesee County Fair. We'll have more photos and a story about the 4-H Livestock Auction sometime Friday afternoon.

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July 14, 2016 - 6:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Suzanne Corona.

Suzanne Corona was sentenced to one and a half years in state prison this afternoon and one year post-release supervision by Genesee County Court Acting Judge Michael F. Pietruszka.

The determinant sentence was given for her guilty plea last year to one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

She admitted selling one suboxone pill for $60 to an undercover drug agent.

Although Corona has a record of petty, albeit some sensational, crimes dating back to 2010, the suboxone sale was her first felony offense.

She could have avoided prison entirely had she been able to successfully complete probation, given in lieu of incarceration, in that case.

But in April she admitted lacing her coffee with the liqueur Amaretto. In exchange for her admission of the probation violation, Judge Pietruszka allowed her to continue probation without any additional penalty.

A week later, she tested postive for alcohol again and was sent to jail for the weekend. On April 25, she was back in court and the judge released her to the custody of an inpatient rehab facility for a month after signing a court order for the medical care. Upon release, she was in court for a bail review hearing and the judge determined that despite the stay in rehab, she was in violation of her probation and she was ordered back to jail.

Today, she smiled wanly at her husband in the gallery when she was led into the courtroom by a bailiff. Wearing navy blue scrubs and canvas slip-on shoes, chained at the waist and handcuffed, she stood with regal posture next to her attorney, Brian Degnan.

"Miss Corona has a lengthy criminal history -- both in this court and in local courts," said Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell (standing in for ADA William Zickl). "She has shown a lack of ability to comply with the conditions of her probation."

Attorney Degnan said his client successfully completed the month-long rehab program and that authorities recommend she be placed in a halfway house, a sober living facility, but she and her spouse cannot afford the $900-per-month cost of that option. He acknowleged her failure to comply with probation and said she intends to take classes to improve her mental health and well being.

"She has issues she needs to work on," Degnan said.

Degnan disputed Zickl's characterization of his client's criminal past, specifically the claim that she "has a lengthy criminal history in this court."

The judge asked Corona if she had anything to say on her own behalf. She did.

"I would like to apologize to you for not being able to complete my probation," she said clearly and sincerely, adding that she intends to take as many classes as she can to improve herself.

Then, choking back tears, she said "I apologize to my family for being so selfish and not realizing how much hurt I have caused them. My family has suffered and now they'll suffer because I won't be here."

With that, the matter was concluded. Her husband told her that he loved her; she waved awkwardly to him with one of her manacled hands and was led away.

July 14, 2016 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pokemon Go, batavia, news, Peace Garden.

The folks who arranged the creation of the Batavia Peace Garden have a request of Pokemon trainers congregating there in droves -- please do them one simple favor: Pick up after yourselves.

Carol Grasso called WBTA today to pass that message along.

She stopped by the garden and spoke to three people who had biked there from Hilton, and she thought it was great and hopes people who come to the garden are having a good time, but she wants everyone to enjoy it.

"I guess there are some rare Pokemon there," she told WBTA.

She said she was told there will be a "rally" there Saturday and she hopes people will respect the garden and keep it clean.

“We work very hard on the Peace Garden and it is a beautiful spot and we’re just trying to encourage anybody who is looking for these Pokemon to at least put their trash in the trash can," She said. "We do have trash cans in the garden and we will clean them out every day and try to make them empty so there shouldn’t be any trashing going on.” 

She concluded her interview by noting that she was driving by right at that moment and there were about 15 people there playing the game.

"I hope they enjoy the garden, but take your trash with you or put it in the garbage cans," she said. "Thanks everybody. Have fun with the Pokemon."

Previously: Even in Batavia, Pokemon are everywhere

July 14, 2016 - 5:00pm

Here's your chance to own one of the more unique homes with some interesting history on Batavia's Main Street! Talk about solid, this home isn't going anywhere. This home is stone sided with slate roofing and marble window sills, and that is just some of the interesting traits to this 2/3 bedroom home. The rooms are all very large with living room having unique rounded bump out and pretty fireplace to extra large and wide upstairs with 2 big bedrooms. The one large upper bedroom with rounded bumped out area with windows that give a great aerial view of Main St. This is a pretty cool home!! Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today or click here to view the listing!

July 14, 2016 - 12:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, news, bicycle safety.

Submitted photo and press release:

The City of Batavia Police along with the City of Batavia Fire Deptartment conducted a Bicycle Safety Program at Lambert Park on Wednesday. It is located at 100 Verona Ave.

Several children had their bikes inspected and licensed. Children were also instructed in the proper use of bikes on the roadway. Free helmets were supplied courtesy of the Batavia Lions Club and a New York State Grant supplied via the City of Batavia Fire Department.

July 14, 2016 - 12:20pm

Pictured at the ribbon-cutting ceremony are, back from left: Mark Niederpruem, Warehouse manager; Dan Wolf, chairman of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.; Dave Nutting, VIP Structures; Front from left: Paul Battaglia, chairman of Genesee County Economic Development Center; Bill Schreiber, CEO; Michael Patterson, CFO; Larry Webster, CEO Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.; and John Gould, chairman of O-AT-KA.

Submitted photos and press release:

O-AT-KA Milk Products is pleased to announce that it held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly expanded warehousing storage and material handling facility in Batavia on July 11.

In attendance were O-AT-KA’s and Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s Board of Directors; key vendors and contractors for the project; banking representatives; local business leaders and invited guests.

“Project Rubicon affords O-AT-KA the opportunity to address three key focus points of our business; namely, employee safety, product quality and operational efficiencies," said Michael Patterson, O-AT-KA’s chief financial officer. "The viability of the project was supported via our strong relationships with the community, the municipalities and our key vendors and stakeholders."

O-AT-KA’s commitment to innovation is demonstrated within the expansion which added over 235,000 square feet to its Batavia plant. A second phase of the project has been initiated to capture efficiencies and optimize material handling equipment and processes. The new facility and equipment phase of the project allows the company to meet increasing customer demand, improve global competitiveness and allow for future growth of production capabilities. The project will significantly improve upon O-AT-KA’s already high standards of safety and quality.

“The implementation of Rubicon will advance our ability to serve customers, significantly improve our competitive position and is testimony to the vision and commitment of our farmer owners,” said Chief Executive Officer Bill Schreiber.

Founded in 1959, O-AT-KA is a manufacturer and co-packer of dairy-based products and ready-to-drink shelf stable beverages and is one of Genesee County’s largest employers. It is located at the corner of Cedar and Ellicott streets.

July 14, 2016 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, street repairs, news.

Press release from the city Department of Public Works:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be repairing a broken water main on Washington Avenue today. There will be a water service interruption for residents on Washington Avenue from Lewis Avenue to State Street and Willow Street. Other residents in the area may experience low water pressure or discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.

July 14, 2016 - 11:52am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Bethany, Pavilion.

Floyd William Howell, 45, of Transit Road, Bethany, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. At 7:04 a.m. on July 12, Howell was arrested on Sparks Road in Pavilion for allegedly taking a vehicle and using it without the owner's consent. He was arraigned in Pavilion Town Court and released on his own recognizance. He is to appear in Pavilion Town Court again on Sept. 6. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl, assisted by Deputy Eric Seppala.

Ward Edward Royse, 41, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of petit larceny. At 6 p.m. on July 12, Royse was arrested following the investigation into a pair of larcenies at Kmart. It is alleged that Royse stole several items from the store on June 26 and then again on July 4. He was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on July 18. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Hale.

Jakob Matthew Bishop, 18, of West Oak Orchard Street, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Bishop was arrested on the charge following an investigation into a suspicious activity call at 8:45 p.m. on July 13. Bishop was in the midway of the Genesee County Fairgrounds at the time of his arrest. He was issued an appearance ticket for Aug. 4 in Town of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy James Diehl.

July 14, 2016 - 10:35am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, accidents.

A car vs. bicycle accident with injuries is reported at 500 E. Main St., in front of the pizza restaurant. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 10:44 a.m.: The bicyclist was transported to UMMC with a complaint of arm pain. He will be issued a citation. A police officer at the scene said the bicyclist was riding eastbound on the sidewalk and proceeded to cross Harvester Avenue as a pickup truck, also eastbound on East Main Street, with the right-of-way was attempting to make a right turn onto East Main Street Harvester. The truck driver said he tried to stop in time to avoid striking the bicyclist but was unable to do so.

July 14, 2016 - 7:00am

Thursday, July 14th • Today's Events • Veterans Day at the Fair

  • All Day Matt Episcopo (Roving the Fairgrounds)
  • 8:30am - Horse Show Ring Closed for Set Up
  • 9am - 4H Dairy Show (Show Ring)
  • 9am - Regional Tunis/Open Sheep Show (Old Draft Horse Barn)
  • 9am - 4H Horses in Place 
  • 10am - 4H Horse Show. English Classes (Horse Ring)
  • 11am - Exhibit Halls & Buildings Open
  • 2pm - 4H Goat & Sheep Bowl (Merton Building)
  • 2-8pm - Mr. Scribbles (Entertainment Tent)
  • 5-10pm - Midway Opens (Amusement Area)
  • 5:30-7pm - 4H Market Animal Auction Buyers Dinner (Kennedy Bldg)
  • 6:30pm - Genesee Speedway SPECIAL STOCK CAR RACES (Grandstand)
  • 7pm - Genesee’s Got Talent Showcase (Entertainment Tent)
  • Following Talent Show - Karaoke (Entertainment Tent)
  • 7pm - 4H Market Animal Auction (Show Ring)
  • 10pm - Exhibit Halls & Buildings Close.

This schedule is tentative and is subject to change at any time.

July 13, 2016 - 3:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

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A person has reportedly been stabbed at the traffic roundabout on Oak Street in the City. Batavia PD responding.

UPDATE 4:03 p.m.: No stabbing, no crime. Batavia Police Sgt. Chris Camp says when officers arrived on scene and found a bloody person, who jumped out of his car and flagged them down, they initially believed he was a stabbing victim. Upon investigation, it was revealed that there had been a dispute nearby on Walnut Street and a man punched out a window at his own house, and got cut up as a result. That's why he was bloodied when police found him at the roundabout.

July 13, 2016 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, Harvester Center.

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A grass fire is reported behind 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, which is the Harvester Center.

City fire is responding.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: There is a report of flames coming through the roof of U.S. Chrome. There is black smoke in the area.

UPDATE(s)(By Billie) 2:19 p.m.: The fire may be in a building or buildings behind GCASA; possibly 21-22 Masse Place. The city's first platoon is called to stand by in fire headquarters.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: The fire is out. It did not get inside a structure. It was contained to grassy brush behind buildings on Masse Place.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: Tony Strollo, who works at Pinnacle Manufacturing Co. on Harvester Avenue, said he saw a grass fire about 12 square feet, and 12-feet high, approaching the building and he and plant manager Kelly Boyle used fire extinguishers to try and keep the blaze from reaching the building. "It was a big wall of fire," Strollo said. They went through seven extinguishers, keeping the flames at bay until the city fire crew could knock it down.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Pinnacle CEO Diana Kastenbaum said she's concerned about first responders' ability to access the area, which is overgrown with weeds, grass and shrubs. "I saw police had come down Main Street first and then I saw the fire trucks at the corner because they couldn't get in here. Nobody can really get to it. This area should be cleared. I just think this is very bad. You can see how dry the grass is and how hot it is today." She called the property owner posthaste and aims to get him to clear the brush and haul it away in the interest of public safety.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Chief at the scene, Capt. Craig Williams, says the initial investigation indicates sparks from Pinnacle Manufacturing Company's molten aluminum shop flew out open windows onto the grass, igniting the blaze.

UPDATE 5 p.m. (by Howard): Workers were able to see out the open windows and there were no people in the area, so cigarettes are not suspected. 

Because of the molten metal, firefighters had to be careful to keep water away from the building, setting up their lines to push the fire away from the structure. If water hits the molten aluminum it could potentially cause an explosion. Williams said firefighters were already well aware of that danger at this location. Williams said flames were at least 12 feet in the air and just a foot from the building when crews arrived.  

The biggest difficulty in fighting the fire was finding it. One truck went down Harvester and the other down Swan. Once they located the exact location, they were able to quickly put it out without damage to the structure. 

Code Enforcement Officer Ron Panek said the city will be looking at a possible code violation issue because of weeds exceeding 10 inches in height within 100 feet of the building. Kastenbaum said she has already placed a call to the property's owner raising her concerns.

The fire was in a pile of organic debris covering a mound of dirt. It covered about a 30 by 30 area, Williams said. 

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July 13, 2016 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, crime, batavia, news.
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     Darren Annovi

Darren Annovi, the 42-year-old resident of 400 Towers in Batavia, who is accused of placing his live cat in an oven and baking it to death, must undergo a forensic mental health evaluation, Judge Robert Balbick ruled today at Annovi's arraignment in City Court.

A key issue at the arraignment was whether to release Annovi on bail or on his own recognizance. Typically, a person with no criminal record and a high score on the bail evaluation would be a sure bet to be released without bail, and since state guidelines don't take into account the nature of the criminal charge, but Balbick was concerned about the last sentence in the bail evaluation.

He said that it indicated Annovi might a danger to the community. 

That assessment reportedly came from corrections officers at the jail and Assistant Public Defender Lisa Kroemer suggested that since they weren't trained mental health professionals, maybe that shouldn't weigh heavily in the bail hearing.

She thought an evaluation by a professional would be appropriate.

Bail is supposed to be based on the likelihood the defendant will appear for his next court date, but Balbick said he thought it reasonable to consider Annovi's mental health state since that, too, could be a factor in whether he would appear as ordered.

Annovi is charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Bail was set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

He is scheduled to next appear in City Court at 9:30 a.m., July 21.

Previously: 400 Towers resident jailed without bail for allegedly killing his cat by burning it alive in hot oven

July 13, 2016 - 11:52am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, health, business.

Press release:

The city of Batavia is proud to announce national recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. The City is one of 154 "companies" across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. This is the first year Batavia has won the award.

With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.

The City of Batavia reached full participation with all its collective bargaining units in 2014 and currently realizes a 97 percent participation rate among all eligible employees and spouses.

“Our Wellness Initiative has been part of the City’s strategic plan since 2013,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “We’ve seen outstanding results in a very short amount of time, and this translates to healthier City employees and dependent spouses and fewer dollars spent on healthcare costs.”

Participating City employees and their spouses are measured against an Interactive Health Index (IHI) designed to help members understand where they stand for future risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes. The index is composed of five modifiable risk factors: smoking, glucose, blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol – all potential causes of serious health problems.

“Our wellness program is all about cost avoidance,” said Dawn Fairbanks, Human Resources specialist. "The unhealthiest of medical plan members cost an annual average of $21,766 per person, while the healthiest plan members cost only $310 per person.

"Our goal is to help each member identify their base line and introduce them to resources to help them improve on those numbers – essentially moving them from unhealthy towards healthy.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Last year, 86 City employees and spouses were asked to improve scores related to the IHI, and one year later, 51 of those have improved scores, while 25 have remained the same and only 10 have regressed.

Interactive Health’s workplace wellness programs transform companies and their employees by helping people understand how they can improve their health. Beginning with a thorough health evaluation to identify risk, individuals learn more about their health status through: rapid outreach by health coaches, connection to personal physicians and other resources, and a personalized course of action.

In addition, members who engage with the Interactive Health member website during their program have a 12-percent higher rate of achievement of personal health goals than those who do not take advantage of the online tools.

July 13, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, city fire department, news.

Pictured from left are: Chief Dan Herberger, Lt. Greg Ireland, Firefighter Mark Holley, Firefighter Sean Huggins, Firefighter Matt Morasco, Firefighter Ryan Clair, Firefighter David Pollock, Firefighter Matt Pillsbury, and Capt. Robert Fix II.

Press release:

City of Batavia Fire Department held its inaugural swearing-in ceremony on July 7th at fire headquarters. Interim Chief Dan Herberger delivered the oath office that evening to the six newest firefighters and two newly promoted fire officers.

The firefighters' range of hire is from May 2015 to April 2016 and the officers were promoted in June 2015.

Members being sworn-in also had their badge pinned by a family member or Chief Herberger.

Firefighters would like to thank all special guests who attended and especially family members for being so supportive.

Special guests in attendance were Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Councilman Brooks Hawley, City Manager Jason Molino, Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, Public Works Director Matt Worth, and Fire Department Chaplain Kenneth Comer.

July 13, 2016 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, batavia, news, agriculture.

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To purchase prints, click here.

July 13, 2016 - 7:00am

WEDNESDAY, JULY 13TH Today's Events • Children’s Day - 4H Family Night. “Kids Ride Special $5 Wrist Bands 12-3pm

  • All Day Matt Episcopo (Roving the Fairgrounds)
  • 9am - 4H Goat Show (Show Ring)
  • 10am - 4H Poultry Show (Merton Building)
  • 11am - Exhibit Halls & Buildings Open
  • 12pm-3pm - Midway Opens for Special Kid’s Day $5 Ride Wrist Bands (Amusement Area)
  • 12pm - Children’s Activities (Exhibition Building)
  • 1:30pm - 4H Breeding Sheep Show (Show Ring)
  • 2-4pm -  Balloon Animal Demonstration (Exhibition Building)
  • 2-8pm - Mr. Scribbles (Entertainment Tent)
  • 3pm - Small Fry Tractor Pull (Exhibition Building)
  • 4:30pm - 4H Goat & Sheep Costume Contest (Show Ring
  • 5pm - Car Show (W. of Ent. Tent)
  • 5-10pm - Midway Re-opens (Amusement Area)
  • 6pm - 4H Open Swine Breeds & Showmanship (Show Ring)
  • 6pm - North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series & Draft Farm Class (Horse Arena)
  • 6:30pm - 4H Rabbit Show (Merton Building)
  • 7pm - Fair Queen Crowning (Entertainment Tent Stage)
  • 10pm - Exhibit Halls & Buildings Close.

This schedule is tentative and is subject to change at any time.

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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