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September 18, 2014 - 8:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

There's a report of heavy smoke coming from a building at 401 Ellicott St., Batavia.

City fire dispatched.

A first responder reports smoke showing and smoke detector activated.

UPDATE 8:41 a.m.: Second platoon requested to the scene.

UPDATE 8:44 a.m.: A firefighter reports, "we can handle it with a water tank."

UPDATE 8:45 a.m.: Small contents fire in bedroom. Fire knocked down. Checking for extension. Ventilating ing the premises.

UPDATE 8:47 a.m.: Fire under control. No extension.

Photo submitted by Frank Capuano

September 17, 2014 - 7:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

A family-owned communication company that has provided phone service in Genesee County for more than 100 years is bringing true high-speed Internet to Batavia.

Empire Access, an affiliate of Empire Telephone, with a location in East Pembroke, is installing fiber optics throughout the city.

The network will be able to deliver business and residential service with download speeds of 100 megabits and upload speeds of 20 megabits.

Verizon DSL only offers a 10mb down and 1mb up service in Batavia and Time-Warner's top-end service locally is 30mb down.

Senior VP Jim Baase said the prices will be better, much better, too. That 100mb/20mb service will cost only $50 a month.

This is the sixth market Empire is introducing high speed Internet in, Baase said.

"We've had great success competing against companies like Time Warner and Verizon," Baase said.

Business customers can order high-speed Internet now from Empire, said local manager Tom Hare, and delivery is about 30 days out currently.

The first neighborhood to get residential service will be in the northeast quadrant of the city, Hare said, starting in about three our four months. The rest of the city should be covered within six months.

Empire is also offering phone service over the fiber network, as well as cable TV and security systems.

All of the regulatory hurdles at the state and federal levels have been cleared, Baase said, and Empire is just starting negotiations with the city for a cable franchise agreement.

As previously reported, the city is also in the midst of negotiating a new agreement with Comcast.

Empire Telephone is a third-generation, family-owned business based in Prattsburgh. For most of its history, it's been a rural telephone network in such places as East Pembroke, Pembroke and Indian Falls where it has some 700 telephone customers (that area is also scheduled to receive a fiber network service from Empire).

Baase said Empire decided to bring a fiber because it's an open market (Verizon has shown no interest in introducing FiOS here) and it will have a large enough customer base to support the network.

"It's a very attractive market for us," Baase said. "It's densely populated and we don't like to over build where there's FiOS. We don't like to go where there's already a company like ours."

On its marketing material, Empire Access bills itself as "The Local Company," and Empire will have an office in Batavia (while maintaining a switching station in East Pembroke, where the office was located). Baase said Empire will employ people locally and hire more and more people as its local network grows.

Another Empire advantage, Baase said, is when you call customer service your call is immediately routed to a real person, rather than a long telephone tree of button pushing.

Empire has plans to expand into other parts of the county, primarily along Route 5, once the Batavia network is built.

Interested business customers (not residential yet) can contact Tom Hare at (585) 813-9861 or [email protected]. (e-mail address corrected)

Top photo: High speed fiber-optic cable ready for installation in Batavia.

Tom Hare in Empire Telephone's current switching room in East Pembroke.

Empire Telephone's longtime facility in East Pembroke.

September 17, 2014 - 6:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

UR Medicine's James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute will soon introduce a full menu of cancer diagnosis and treatment services in Genesee County, anchored at 262 Bank St. in Batavia.

UR Medicine has agreed to purchase Batavia Radiation Oncology Associates, the longtime practice of cancer specialists Kevin J. Mudd, M.D., and Jan Dombrowski, M.D.

Once the deal is complete, Mudd will continue to see patients as a member of the University of Rochester Medical Center faculty. Staff within the practice will also become University of Rochester employees.

The purchase, which includes the practice and the building, requires approval by the New York State Department of Health to make the practice part of Wilmot’s parent hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital.

"Dr. Mudd is a skilled and experienced clinician who will make a wonderful addition to our regional team of physicians,” said Jonathan Friedberg, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute, a component of Strong Memorial Hospital. “His practice will form the hub for an expanded set of cancer services available right in Batavia.”

To further integrate care, Wilmot will renovate the building and introduce new medical oncology services, including chemotherapy and infusion services and will upgrade IT systems so that medical records and other information can be shared across Wilmot’s expanding network.

“This is part of our vision of bringing progressive cancer treatment directly into smaller communities throughout the region,” Friedberg said.

Mudd said "I have worked closely with the Wilmot Cancer Institute since coming to the region in 1996 and I look forward to continuing my practice as an integrated member of the University faculty."

The Wilmot Cancer Institute is the Finger Lakes Region’s leader for cancer care and research. As part of UR Medicine, Wilmot provides specialty cancer services at the University of Rochester Medical Center and at a network of satellite locations. Wilmot Cancer Institute is a component of Strong Memorial Hospital. The Institute also includes a team of scientists who investigate many aspects of cancer, with an emphasis on how best to provide precision cancer care.

September 17, 2014 - 2:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, health.

The first thing Jason Harasimowszi thought when he saw Cross Fit on TV a few years ago was, "that's too hard."

He thought, "there's no way I could do that."

But he gave it a try and found, yes, it is hard, but, he said, "I wanted to keep doing it and get good at it."

Three years ago, he took a Cross Fit course in Chicago and became a certified trainer.

"It's nice seeing people succeed," Harasimowszi said to explain why he likes training others in Cross Fit.

Recently, Harasimowszi opened his own Cross Fit gym, Cross Fit Silver Fox, inside the Harvester Center.

Cross Fit is designed to be a complete, functional work out, often using heavy weights and complex, compound exercises that work more than one muscle at a time.

"(Cross Fit) is going to help you outside in life," Harasimowszi. "If you pick up boxes off the ground, it's like you're doing a deadlift. If you put a box on a top shelf, obviously, you're pressing something overhead. Everything is transferable to your outside life."

Silver Fox is equipped with about $20,000 worth of racks, weights, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, rowing machines, parallel bars, tires, boxes and other training equipment.

Classes are: Monday through Friday at 5, 6 and 7 a.m., and 4, 5 and 6 p.m.; Saturdays at 7, 8 and 9 a.m.; and Sundays at 11 a.m.

To locate Silver Fox, go into the Harvester Center through the main entrance and then down the hallway straight back from the door. The gym is on the left.

September 17, 2014 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, land use, Big Tree Glen.

There's a very simple reason Rochester-based Conifer wants to build a middle-income apartment complex in Batavia now, John F. Caruso told the town's planning board Tuesday night.

"Batavia's hot," said the president of Passero Associates Engineering Architecture.

"It's hot," he said, "because of your smart growth plans, your STAMP Project, yogurt plants, lots of job growth. I'm happy we're the first to get in, but there will be more. Mark my words, this is a very good area."

Caruso made his remarks during a public hearing for Big Tree Glen, a 136-unit complex proposed for West Main Street Road that Conifer wants to build in three phases.

The Genesee County Planning Board disapproved the plan Thursday night, which means in order for the town's planning board to give it the nod, the vote will need to be a majority-plus-one.

Tuesday night, developers gave their presentation to the town's planning board and local residents -- including several in opposition -- shared their thoughts on the project.

The board won't take action on the proposal until its next meeting Sept. 30.

Caruso and Andrew Crossed, a VP with Conifer Realty, gave a very detailed presentation about the proposed complex, which Crossed called a "flagship design" for Conifer. The same basic concept has been built in several other New York communities, as well as in other states.

The project would be built in three phases with the first phase containing 56 units.

There would be one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom apartments, with monthly rents of $592, $717 and $900.

The market for the apartments are households with annual incomes of $25,000 to $45,000.

There would be no HUD, Section 8 or other rent subsidized apartments. Tenants would go through a thorough screening process, including a background check, income verification and reference check and would be required to sign leases that would clearly spell out residential expectations.

There would be two employees of Conifer on site full-time -- a residential manager and a residential maintenance supervisor.

"What we build, we own," Crossed said. "What we own, we manage."

All infrastructure -- roads, water and sewer -- would be owned and maintained by Conifer, meaning no expense for the town.

The property would generate about $75,000 local property tax.

While Conifer will apply for a state grant to help finance construction of each phase, it's a competitive process and Conifer goes into the project knowing they may not win. Either way, Conifer is not seeking any local tax abatements though the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The complex would include a clubhouse, which would contain the manager's office, community kitchen, fitness center and laundry.

Each unit would have its own storage unit.

"You won't see storage on patios like you do in some places," Caruso said.

Caruso said Conifer uses quality construction material and the design offers a variety of features and colors to add variety and avoid a cookie-cutter appearance.

The final plan will include a bus loop for school buses and possibly local mass transit.

There will be a total of 53 percent green space surrounding the apartments.

"We usually don't skimp on landscaping," Caruso said. "Landscaping really shows the project well when the project is constructed."

One local landlord who attended the meeting said afterward he supports the project.

"Batavia needs this," he said. "I get people in my office every day looking for something like this and it just doesn't exist."

The residents who live near the proposed development area were less pleased with the project.

The main objection from the six or so opponents was the increased potential for flooding and a belief that Route 5 already has too much traffic on it.

Larry Regal, who lives on the south side of West Main, next to the Tonawanda Creek, said there is a small drainage area that connects to the creek and when the water rises on the Tonawanda, the north side where the project is located floods.

He wonders where that water will go if the development is built and whether that will make his property more susceptible to flooding.

Other speakers shared that concern.

They also complained that it can be hard now to pull out onto Route 5 safely with the current traffic volume.

Caruso had said during his presentation that traffic studies show the two-lane road has a lot of available capacity for traffic.

The town has recently installed new sewer lines along Route 5 with the idea of attracting development to the area.

The area is zoned commercial and a variance would be required for apartments, but Caruso said apartments with no more than 80 cars per hour at peak times would generate less Route 5 traffic than just about any possible commercial development in the same location.

September 17, 2014 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Bethany, Stafford.

James Timon Saddler III, 33, no permanent address, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, forgery, 2nd, offering false instrument, 1st, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Saddler was reportedly stopped at 10:30 p.m. May 31 on Ellicott Street, Batavia, by Officer Jason Ivison. Saddler allegedly provided a name and date of birth other than his own and signed a consent to search form under the false name. Upon further investigation of the stop and a review of camera footage of the stop, Ivison determined that Saddler was the person stopped who allegedly provided a false identity. Saddler is currently an inmate in the Genesee County Jail being held on unrelated charges.

Jerry Tyrone Saddler, 38, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment ,2nd. Saddler is accused of hitting a woman several times during an argument, causing minor injuries.

Samuel Forrest Brown, 26, of River Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to dim headlamps. Brown was stopped at 11:51 p.m. Friday on Route 5, Stafford, by Deputy Chris Parker.

Douglas Scott Sprague, 47, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt,1st. Sprague was arrested on a warrant for allegedly violating an order of protection on June 2.

Michael Lee Milroy, 48, of McLernon Road, Bethany, is charged with assault, 3rd. Milroy was allegedly the driver of a vehicle at 7:45 p.m. Thursday that drove away from a residence while another person was leaning in the open passenger side door of the vehicle. Milroy is accused of striking that person with the door frame and rear tire, causing an injury to that person.

September 16, 2014 - 10:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Dunkin' Donuts.

There won't be Dunkin' Donut coffee addicts zipping into a new shop on West Main Street, Batavia, any time soon, it seems.

The City's planning board rejected a site plan for the propose fast food restaurant outright following a public hearing Tuesday.

Paul Viele, the board member who made the motion to reject the proposal, cited concerns over traffic and complaints from residents on Redfield Parkway and River Street.

The proposed location was a lot squeezed in between First Niagara Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

Jett Mehta, president of the Pittsford-based development company looking to build a second Dunkin' Donuts in Batavia, said his company had looked at several properties on both the west side and the east side of the city before settling on a location they felt had sufficient traffic to support the franchise.

Donut stores and drive-thru coffee shops  need high-traffic locations, Mehta explained.

"We don't generate traffic just because somebody decides they want to drive across town to get a cup of coffee," Mehta said. "They might, but we generally don't generate traffic. We capture traffic."

Kip Finley, an engineer on the project, said getting coffee and donuts is more a matter of "impulse purchases from people who are already right there."

Board members and public speakers expressed some skepticism about the "captured traffic" motif. 

"Tim Hortons is not captured traffic," John Roach said. "People go there to get a cup of coffee, so I can see a lot more than five or six cars getting in line."

Mehta and his team brought their proposal to the city a couple of weeks ago and planners asked that the alignment of the store be changed so as many 20 cars in queue.

The developers did, even though they are vehement that there will never be 20 cars in queue.  

"Our company operates 19 Dunkin Donuts with drive thrus," Mehta said. "We've never seen 20 cars in queue. Twenty cars in a drive-thru queue just never happens. It's not how the business is run."

When board members expressed concerns about the reconfigured site dumping traffic on River Street, Finley said that was a result of trying to accommodate the request to have space for 20 cars backed up in line.

"We're pretty flexible on those things," Finley said. "We now have two plans and both work pretty well."

Neighboring business owner Mike Barrett called the project "ill conceived."

He said there was a 400 gallon propane tank at the back of the property, an auto parts store in the neighboring shopping mall that certainly stores a lot of chemicals. He wondered if the Fire Department had signed off on the project with access to those buildings being restricted.

He also said the DEC required access to the Tonawanda Creek from that location for grass cutting operations.

Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall said City Fire had been consulted and Chief Jim Maxwell had signed off on the plans.

Redfield Parkway resident Jim Owen said he loves Dunkin' Donuts and doesn't made a section location in Batavia, just not that location.

"We're really getting overwhelmed with the traffic," Owen said. "If you try to get out on certain dates and certain hours, it's just brutal."

After the meeting, Mehta said he and his team will need to convene and decide with to continue pursuing a second Dunkin Donuts location in Batavia. 

Mike Mikolajczyk, owner of the current franchise and prospective owner of the second franchise, said during the meeting that the number one request he gets from current customers is a drive-thru location.

Asked about possible locations on the east side of the city, Mikolajczyk said it doesn't appear yet that East Main has the traffic volume to support a Dunkin' Donuts.

Photo: Steve Pum and Kip Finley.

September 16, 2014 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Landmark Society of Genesee County.

Landmark Articlem, by Howard Owens:

In the past, when Dr. Ronald Reed has expanded his practice, he's erected gleaming new buildings from the ground up.

But not in Batavia.

Reed Eye Associates has opened its sixth location and Reed selected a location with character and ambiance and a bit of history.

The brick building at 39 Washington Ave., across from Austin Park, was most recently the City Schools administration building, but when originally built in 1903 by Edward Dellinger, it was an elementary school.

Batavia's most prominent architectural firm of the time, Henry Homelius and Son, designed the building.

In remodeling the interior, Reed has kept to an art deco theme with a touch of modernism in keeping with the character of the building.

"I saw the building listed online and went to the site and looked at the building and liked it," Reed said. "I called Tony Mancuso, who had the listing, and he gave me a tour. I thought, 'this building needs a lot of work, but it has some great bones.' "

Refurbishing the building also uncovered a little history. One brickmason left behind a note found in the stairwell that said the best men laid the bricks. Another worker in 1939 put a note in a bottle, which was found in a wall, that said "if you're reading this note, it means by now we're all in hell." 

Then there was letter on YMCA letterhead and postmarked 1913, address to a young Myron Fincher. The apparently mimeographed letter speaks of a young man worthy of attention who exchanged a correspondence with Frank Crane, a Presbyterian minister and newspaper columnist. The letter references the enclosed newspaper column, but the column was not in the envelope.

Fincher was born in 1898 in Corfu and worked on the family farm. His fondness for animals brought him to Cornell University. He became an internationally prominent veterinarian. Early in his career he received the Borden Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. By the 1960s, he was working overseas in places such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Greece, Nigeria and Italy.

Reed said it was thrilling for these little bits of history to be found in his old building.
Reed's company purchased the property from the school district in 2012 for $500,000 and its 13,452-square-foot building. The renovations cost more than $1.5 million and helped put the property back on the tax roles. Reed Eye received $140,861 in tax incentives through Genesee County Economic Development Center for the project.

The expansion of the practice, which was founded in Bushnell's Basin (Pittsford) in 1978 has come, Reed said, as the practice attracted more and more patients. Each time an office would grow beyond its capacity, rather than expand that location, Reed looked at his patient list and figured out where he had a concentration of patients who were driving some distance to get to his office.

With more and more patients from Genesee County, particularly because of a partnership with Dr. Bill Lapple in Le Roy, Batavia seemed to be the natural choice for a sixth office complex.
Reed said there were simply no suitable sites for the office, which was one reason he considered the old school administration building.

The fact that it's large, with plenty of parking (and room for more), centrally located in the city and across the street from a park, where all advantages.

"The park helps give it a nice bucolic feel," Reed said.

In the redesign, as much of the old building was preserved as possible -- the arches, the worn stairway trampled by thousands of students over the years, and the old woodwork. There's even an old desk from the library that is being restored and will be a centerpiece of the entry hallway.

"I've had an interest for some time in historic preservation," Reed said. "We have a 100 year old house in East Rochester that we've been restoring. This seemed like the right thing to do."
The focus on historic preservation shouldn't imply that the practice isn't state of the art. Reed's optometrists, opthamologists and opticians (and even a facial plastic surgeon) have all new equipment to work with.

Read also believes in supporting the communities he does business in. He hires locally as much as possible, he said. Four key employees already with the Batavia office are longtime Batavia or Le Roy residents.

"When a patient walks in the door, they should recognize the people who work there as members of their community," Reed said. "I want to support the town because if the town supports me, it has to be mutual. We want to keep the dollars local."

September 15, 2014 - 3:00pm

Lewis & Lewis has transformed from a solo practice 70 years ago into one of Western New York’s largest combined workers’ compensation and personal injury firms. Lewis & Lewis’s transformation has been an exciting journey that has included the expansion to five offices, with 15 skilled attorneys who are passionate about putting their clients’ needs and rights at the forefront. For more information visit

September 15, 2014 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, park avenue.
Akeem Simmons Nathaniel Davis

Use a gun, go to prison.

Judge Robert C. Noonan applied that principle to 23-year-old Akeem Simmons today, handing down a 20-year prison term to the thrice convicted burglar.

"I can't think of any reason why you would bring a gun into a home invasion burglary other than kill somebody if you were caught," Noonan said. "I just can't think of any other reason."

Simmons was convicted Aug. 15 following a jury trial of first-degree burglary, criminal use of a firearm 1st, and conspiracy, 4th.

Noonan dismissed the firearm charge today because the burglary, 1st, conviction covers the use of a weapon in the crime, but Noonan still made it clear it was an important element of the crime.

Simmons and 18-year-old Nathaniel Davis were arrested Jan. 14 shortly after Batavia PD received a report of a burglary in progress at 28 Park Ave.

Davis was found with the handgun, but testimony at trial, Noonan noted, established that it was Simmons who brought the gun to the burglary and influenced Davis into joining him in break-in.

"It's very clear to me you were the moving force of a home-invasion burglary," Noonan said.

Simmons made no statement in court today.

As an adult, he has a prior burglary conviction in Monroe County, which counted as a predicate violent felony for the purpose of today's sentencing. He also has a prior burglary conviction that was given youthful offender status.

Before Noonan pronounced sentence, defense attorney Thomas Burns made a motion for a delay in sentencing because he suspects an undisclosed deal between the District Attorney and Davis for the testimony Davis provided at trial.

"I think it would be completely unfair to my client that any kind of wink-wink agreement between the prosecution and his attorney would be done in such a fashion," Burns said.

Noonan asked if he had any evidence of an agreement and Burns said the point of holding a hearing on his motion prior to sentencing would be aimed at uncovering any evidence.

The fact that Davis entered a guilty plea after the trial to a lesser burglary charge, Burns said, and after Noonan's plea cut off date, certainly suggests a backroom deal.

"I don't know how this is meted out without having princple players describe under oath what took place," Burns said. "I don't think that's unreasonable."

Noonan said his plea cutoff dates are not anything in statute, but used exclusively to help the court manage its calendar, and given the fact that Davis "implicated himself 100 percent" during the Simmons trial, it warranted giving him another shot at a plea deal.

Without evidence of a rights violation, Noonan wouldn't delay sentencing today and said Burns is always free to make a motion later if he uncovers any evidence of an undisclosed, inappropriate deal for the testimony of Davis.

September 15, 2014 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, Le Roy, Bethany, Stafford, corfu.

Joseph Allen Hogan, 46, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with four counts of petit larceny and five counts of falsifying business records. Hogan is accused of altering weight slips at Ed Arnold Scrap in order to receive overpayment on scrap. Hogan was jailed without bail.

Christopher M. Colantonio, 35, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and forgery, 2nd. Colantonio was arrested on a warrant for allegedly stealing checks from a woman he knew, forging them and cashing them at a local bank. Colantonio was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Thomas E. Hensel, 31, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of burglar tools. Hensel was allegedly found in possession of a full set of lock picks at a location on Pearl Street at 10:25 p.m. Saturday.

Anya R. Rambuski, 44, of Birchwood Drive, Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired. Rambuski was stopped at 11:58 p.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Linda L. Fagan, 65, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Fagan allegedly got rid of several instruments and other property owned by her brother.

Robert J. Propst, 34, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Propst was allegedly involved in a domestic incident in which he grabbed the shirt of the victim, threw her phone and was yelling at her in the presence of children. Propst was jailed on $2,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and criminal contempt, 2nd. The youth allegedly threatened another person, violating an order of protection.

Paul M. Gelardo, 29, of Fargo Road, Stafford, is charged with petit larceny. Gelardo allegedly stole a bicycle from T.F. Brown's.

A pair 17-year-olds from Buffalo are charged with petit larceny. The two youths are accused of stealing money from their employer at the time, Darien Lake Theme Park.

Jeffrey John Farrell, 27, of West Avenue, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Farrell allegedly stole $433.74 in merchandise from Walmart.

Kimberly Ann Pietrzykowski, 26, of Old Telephone Road, Bethany, is charged with petit larceny. Pietrzykowski is accused of stealing $204.90 in groceries from Walmart. The shopping cart of groceries was recovered in the parking lot of Home Depot.

Bradley J. Barnard, 19, of Byron, is charged with petit larceny. Barnard is accused of taking a carbonated beverage and placing it in his backpack while in the cafeteria at GCC. Surveillance video was used to confirm the alleged theft.

Kyle B. Sovocool, 21, of Le Roy, is charged with promoting sexual performance of a child less than 17 years old, possession of sexual performance by a child and criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Sovocool was arrested as the result of a State Police investigation stemming from a Jan. 22 complaint. Sovocool was jailed on an unspecified bail. No further details released.

September 15, 2014 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Wednesday, Sept. 17, Thursday, Sept. 18, and Friday, Sept. 19, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, in the general area south of East Main Street and east Jackson Street. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored.

September 15, 2014 - 10:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.
O'Neil Llewellyn Thomas Webb

A second man has been arrested in an alleged attempt to cash forged checks at a Le Roy bank last week, and investigators say the scheme is part of a larger forgery ring based in out of state.

Le Roy PD, as part of a joint investigation with Batavia PD, has arrested 40-year-old O'Neil O. Llewellyn, of Hudson Street, Syracuse.

It's alleged that Llewellyn entered the bank knowingly in possession of a forged check with the intent to cash the check.

He is charged with one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, a Class D felony.

Further charges are pending in Batavia.

Last week, Le Roy PD arrested Thomas A. Webb, 54, of Syracuse, and charged him with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd.

Webb was arrested after a bank employee called about two people in the bank trying to cash forged checks. Webb was apprehended at the scene while the second person fled.

Le Roy investigators say it appears that an out-of-state forgery ring went to Syracuse and recruited area residents to cash forged checks. The recruits were then driven around New York to various bank locations, where they attempted to cash the forged checks. 

Each recruit received a small percentage of the value of a successfully cashed check.

Llewellyn was ordered held on $10,000 bail.

September 14, 2014 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, high school sports.

The Blue Devils squad that took to Woodward Field on Saturday night put on a brand of football that hasn't been seen from the bleachers of Van Detta Stadium in many years.

Dominating on offense, defense and special teams, Batavia crushed Wellsville 57-20, to the point that third-year Head Coach Brennan Briggs was almost apologetic to Lions' leader Wayne Stonemetz.

"I don't love being in this situation because I've never been on the side where we're up so big," Briggs said. "It was great because we got to get everybody in the game, but at the same time you don't want to try and run that score up, because I totally believe in being a first-class guy and I don't want to send the wrong message that we tried doing anything like that."

By the 4th quarter, however, it was almost as if the Blue Devils could do nothing but score, notching TDs after a kickoff miscue by the Lions, then scoring on a kickoff return by Anthony Gallo and finally scoring with seconds left while trying to run out the clock with the second-team offense.

Where did this motivation to dominate come from? Briggs blames Livonia, who last week beat Batavia 16-13, scoring with just seconds left in the game.

"I think it brought us closer," Briggs said. "We showed Livingston County that we can play with the best in Livingston County because they were saying Livonia was the best team. I think our kids saw OK, we lost in the last second, but we hung with them. That loss really cut them deep. They realized, this about the team and we can battle with some of the best."

Briggs called the win a team effort and several players did contribute throughout the night.

Dom Mogavero gained 108 yards and scored three TDs on 10 carries. Ahdeosun added two more TDs, gaining 64 yards on 11 carries. Anthony Gallo's two TDs came on a 55-yard kickoff return and a 45-yard reception.

QB Greg Mruczek tossed the ball for 66 yards and one touchdown.

On defense, Trevor Rittersback had 11 tackles, including one for a safety, and James Cryer had 7.5 tackles and an interception.

"I love this team. I really do," Briggs said. "They're about as strong as they're going to get together as a unit. This is one of the closest-knit teams I've seen in quite some time."

The community saw something from the Blue Devils that should encourage them to pack the stands in 2014, coaches told the players after the game. 

Asked what the community can expect this year, Briggs said, "I want them to know these are tough kids. They work hard every day. They grind it day in and day out. There aren't many of them, but they've bought into this system. They're a disciplined group of kids and they're here to have fun and play football."

Next up, Hornell in Hornell, which leaves little time to savor the victory.

"We've got to turn the page and be ready for Hornell next week, because Hornell is not going to care what we did this week," Briggs said. "It's one game. Yes it's good for the kids and I'm happy for them, but we need to turn the page."

Briggs is chomping at the bit for a little bit of revenge.

Two years ago, the last time the two teams met, Batavia managed to take an eventual championship team into a 14-14 tie at the half, but Hornell pulled away in the second half for a 30-14 win.

"It left a sour taste in my mouth and I just want to go down there and hopefully show them that, hey, we can go out there and we can smashmouth it with ya and we can get the ball out to our athletes," Briggs said.

Top photo: Dominick Mogavero dives into the end zone in the first quarter.

James Cryer snags an interception.

Wellsville punter Josh Cline breaks free of Batavia's Trenton McGraw while still in his own end zone. While pinned deep in their own territory, Wellsville faked a fourth-down punt and Cline gained about 70 yards on his run, setting up a Wellsville touchdown.

Richy Ewell scores for Wellsville.

Noah Dobbertin blocks a pass from Brett Migliore.

Batavia running back Ahdeosun Aiken with positive yardage.

Dominick Mogavero cuts toward the endzone on another score.

Block That Punt: And that's exactly what the Blue Devils defense did for a touchdown.

Ahdeosun Aiken scores.

Anthony Gallo scores on a kickoff return.

To purchase prints and ensure you have copies of these pictures for years to come,click here.

September 13, 2014 - 8:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire, Stafford.

A possible chimney fire is reported on Horseshoe Lake Road. Stafford and Town of Batavia fire departments are responding.

UPDATE 8:14 p.m.: Le Roy Fire Police are requested to shut down Horseshoe Lake Road at Prole Road.

September 13, 2014 - 9:43am

Bidding on Brighter Future Gala & Auction tonight at 5:30 at the Forum at Genesee Community College.

Join us for live, silent and basket auctions, appetizer, entree and dessert stations! Emcee of the evening events is Hiram Kasten. Entertainment provided by M.A.C. Auctions by Harris Wilcox, Inc..
Tickets are $50/per person or $400 per table of 10.
This event is to support the Kiwanis Club of Batavia's efforts to purchase a new home for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.
September 12, 2014 - 3:00pm

Are you looking for a dentist? Dr. Michael Kubiniec has provided Western New Yorkers with quality dentistry for 27 years. Our office features high technology dental equipment and an enthusiastic team that takes the time to answer all your questions. The field of dentistry has changed rapidly over the last few decades, and Dr. Mike has kept up. We provide Cerec One-Day crowns and restorations, Guided Implantology, and every modern advance in preventive dentistry.
Our caring staff will guide you through making your first appointment, meeting our team, touring the office, and receiving your dental care. Dr. Mike is an “unrestricted provide,” which means we can discuss and recommend the most appropriate treatment option(s) for every patient, free of any insurance company rules or limits.
Every patient at our office receives Dr. Mike’s cell phone number, which they can use anytime they have a problem or even just a question.
Dr. Michael Kubiniec is located at 180 Washington Ave. in Batavia. Call 585-343-5865, visit us online at or Like Us on Facebook, to stay up to date on the latest dental topics.
September 12, 2014 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, west main street road.

A proposal to build as many as 136 apartment units on West Main Street Road was rejected Thursday by the Genesee County Planning Board on a 5-3 vote.

Planners expressed concern about increased traffic on West Main, school bus access, the use of tax credits for construction, and the potential to draw residents from existing landlords in the City of Batavia.

Andrew Crossed, in the dark suit, a VP with Conifer Realty in Rochester, said the proposed apartments would be marketed to people earning from $24,000 to $45,000 a year and no Section 8 housing would be included.

The state grants sought for the project would be part of a workforce development program, and while the grants might help make rents lower, the project is not dependent on the grants, he said.

Crossed and Civil Engineer Jess Sudol (in blue shirt) both said their own market studies and independent market studies show there is a tremendous unmet demand in Batavia for middle-income apartments.

Crossed said Conifer has built this same project in Canandaigua, other parts of New York, and in other states.

"It's our flagship product," he said.

The development includes such amenities as a weight room, laundry, recreation area and is about 50-percent green space.

The proposed location, on nearly 22 acres, is approximately across the street from Genesee Feeds Pudgies, creating a bit of a horseshoe around Scooter's Restaurant and not far from Kiwanis Park (which is on the opposite side of the street).

The area is zoned commercial, not residential, which was also one of the issues of concern for board members.

The rejection doesn't necessarily kill the project. The Town of Batavia's planning board could still approve it with a majority-plus-one vote, but Crossed said there would be a company meeting before Conifer decides whether to proceed with development.

"I can't say at this time," he said.

September 12, 2014 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, West Main Street, Dunkin' Donuts.

County planners took a dim view of a new Dunkin' Donuts location on West Main Street, on a sliver of a lot between First Niagara Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

After raising doubts about traffic flow, parking, parking for neighboring businesses, signage, building color and design, a motion to approve the project failed 3-5.

There was no follow-up motion to disapprove the project, which is a little more favorable to developer Kip Finley (pictured above). A disapproving vote would have required the City of Batavia Planning Board to approve the plans by a majority plus one. With no recommendation from the county, only a simple majority vote is required for approval.

Still, Finley wasn't happy as he left the meeting.

"Unfortunately, county planning talks about reusing property and building where there's development and not forcing development out into green areas, except they don't vote that way," Finally said. "Fairly disappointed."

Finley acknowledged there's a lot of traffic at the proposed location, but "that's where we put stores."

Planners were concerned that traffic would back up onto the street.

The City had already asked for a lot configuration so that as many as 20 cars could queue up in line, but Finley said that if a Dunkin Donuts store ever had as many as seven cars waiting in line, it would mean the store was a poorly run location.

He said store managers strive to keep traffic moving quickly because many customers won't even stop if they see a few cars already in line.

Planning staff expressed concern about signs in front of the building because of the potential visual impact on Redfield Parkway, which is designated "culturally significant" street by the Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional NYS DOT.

The problem for the proposed Dunkin' Donuts location, Finley said is that with the bank and its trees on the east side and Barrett's on the west side, signs on the sides of building won't have much visibility.

He also said the sign needs to be internally lit to have any meaningful impact on drawing in visitors who might be passing through and are unfamiliar with the area.

September 12, 2014 - 12:00pm

Don't forget to purchase your tickets for 13th Annual Batavia Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner to be held on September 27, 2014. The dinner will be at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility. Social hour begins at 5pm with dinner at 6pm.
The following individuals will be inducted:
  • John J. "Jackie" Kelley 1954
  • Thomas Hoitink 1965
  • John Buckley 1972
  • Patrick Fricano 1980
  • Dr. Allyson (Shirtz) Howe 1990
  • Jaime (Callahan) Hulbig 1998
  • Maria (Spiotta) Dentino 1999
Tickets are available at the Athletic Director's office, located at Batavia High School. For more information, please call (585) 343-2480 Ext. 2003.
This event is sponsored by Batavia Coaches Association.




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