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April 27, 2013 - 4:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A tractor-trailer has jackknifed on Lewiston Road, near the Thruway. Traffic is completely blocked in both directions. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding non-emergency. The roadway will be shut down at Route 63 and Galloway Road.

April 27, 2013 - 4:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in east pembroke, accidents.

The Emergency Dispatch Center has received a couple of calls reporting a big balloon of some sort crashed into the trees off Pratt Road, east of Powers Road, by the Thruway, and in the woods.

The contraption is hung up in the trees. It's unknown if occupied. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding, along with Mercy medics as a precaution. Mercy Flight is also put on standby.

A responder on scene said he saw the balloon come down pretty fast and it looked liked a "roll of toilet paper coming down."

UPDATE 4:24 p.m.: Witnesses at the scene say no one is in the thing, which is said to be a weather balloon. East Pembroke and medics are put back in service.

UPDATE 4:29 p.m.: The weather service in Buffalo told dispatchers these types of balloons are put up every 12 hours, every day. This one apparently fell short due to a lack of wind. The white object seen falling from it is thought to be its instrument box. Responders say they haven't located it and think it might be in the swamp. If it's found it will be sent back to Buffalo. The weather service doesn't want the damaged balloon back, just the instrument box.

UPDATE Monday, April 29: This wasn't a weather balloon after all. It is a "crop blanket" from a nearby farm. The farmer told authorities that he had put it over his crop on Friday and on Saturday half of it tore off and blew away. Intact, the crop blanket measured 250 feet by 50 feet.

April 27, 2013 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

Two cars and a motorcycle have crashed at 649 Bloomingdale Road, Basom. There are injuries and at least one person has serious injuries. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding and Mercy Flight is on notice.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: Mercy Flight is called to the scene. Akron Fire Police are called to shut down traffic at Bloomingdale and Sand Hill roads. People are trapped. Extraction equipment needed. Three ambulances are called. Indian Falls rescue called, too.

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.: A second helicopter called to the scene. Bloomingdale at Poodry Road is shut down. Paw Smokes is to be the landing zone.

UPDATE 3:29 p.m.: One patient has been extracted.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: The second helicopter has an 11-minute ETA.

UPDATE 3:34 p.m.: Pembroke was called as well and is now on scene.

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: Six Several people were trapped. Only one still needs to be extracted.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: All patients have been extricated.

UPDATE 4:01 p.m.: All patients requiring transport to hospitals are en route. The helicopters and medicshave left the scene. One patient was taken to Lockport, three to Erie County Medical Center, and one to "Children's Hospital."

UPDATE 4:08 p.m.: The Pembroke and Indian Falls assignment is back in service.

UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: Earlier, an official at the scene told Howard it appears that a small white sedan was traveling eastbound on Bloomingdale Road and a motorcyclist was traveling behind it. A minivan was headed westbound. For unknown reasons, the white sedan crossed the center line and hit the minivan head on. The motorcycle got tangled up in the crash and the rider had to lay his bike down. The driver and front passenger of the white sedan were transported via the Mercy Flight helicopters. A third occupant, who was riding in the sedan's back seat, was transported via ambulance. The motorcyclist and the driver of the minivan were also taken to hospitals in ambulances.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Alabama is back in service. The road is being reopened.

April 27, 2013 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, volunteer firefighters.

The Elba Volunteer Fire Department was among the local departments holding open houses today, both to let the community learn more about the departments and to recruit more volunteers.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, visit

April 27, 2013 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Andrew Cuomo, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

I'm seeing quite a few anti-Cuomo, anti-SAFE Act signs around Genesee County this spring. This one is in Elba.

April 27, 2013 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, religion, Stan's Harley-Davidson, faith.

Local members of the Christian Motorcycle Association served up a pulled pork feast at Stan's Harley-Davidson today as a fundraiser for the group's various ministries.

Among the CMA's efforts is supporting overseas ministers, including buying them motorcycles for transportation (or horses or boats if that works better where they live). The group also supports a film project to spread the gospel through movies in remote parts of the world. The CMA also travels to the major motorcycle rallies and hands out water and other necessities as a way to open the door to sharing about Jesus.

April 27, 2013 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GO ART!, NY-27, chris collins.

Rep. Chris Collins was at Seymore Place today to announce the winners of the annual congressional art contest. Students from throughout the NY-27 submitted artworks, which were displayed at Go ART! and judged by local artists.

The winner, above with Collins, was Mitchell R. Krumm, of Clarence High School. Second place, bottom photo, was Judith Brennan, also of Clarence.

The awards were presented by Collins and Diana Kasten (second photo with Collins), a member of the GO ART! Board of Directors.

April 27, 2013 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

When the forsythia bloom, you know for sure it's spring.

And it's another beautiful day in Genesee County.

April 27, 2013 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Det. John Condidorio, Le Roy PD, accepts a bag of unneeded prescription medications from a local resident as part of National Drug Take-Back Day.

While old prescription drugs can be dropped off at law enforcement locations throughout the county any time of the year, today is the day local officers are set up especially to collect drugs that might otherwise wind up in the wrong hands or pollute the waste stream.

There are locations for drop off until 2 p.m. at the Le Roy Village Hall, Batavia PD and Pembroke Town Highway (Route 77 and Route 5).

April 27, 2013 - 10:23am
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, east pembroke, accidents.

A two-car, head-on collision is reported in the area of 8419 Indian Falls Road, north of Pratt Road. Mercy Flight out of Batavia is apprised and available. East Pembroke Fire Department and two Mercy Medic units are responding.

UPDATE 10:24 a.m.: A responder on scene reports the vehicles are well off the roadway, not blocking, and the occupants claim no injuries. Medics will continue in order to evaluate.

April 27, 2013 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

At this week's village board meeting, Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers encouraged everybody to come out for the annual Little League parade. He said it doesn't get more Americana than a bunch of young ball players parading down Main Street.

He's right.

April 27, 2013 - 8:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

We are pretty close to getting the new ad server running properly. There are some details to clear up today to make sure all the ads are displaying properly, but the main work is done.

This virus crisis was very stressful and I want to thank all of the readers and local business owners who were so patient and understanding over the past week. We didn't get a single angry phone call or e-mail; nobody accosted me in the street. Everywhere I went people were more curious than upset with the situation. Billie and Lisa and I are very thankful for that understanding response.

Added bonus: We now know we are using a more secure ad server, but here's a benefit I didn't anticipate -- the new ad server seems to be much, much faster. At least for me, even on my iPhone, the site seems to download much faster than it did with the previous ad server. I hope you're noticing a difference, too.

The other thing Billie and Lisa and I are very thankful for is the "Spirit of Downtown" award we received yesterday from the Downtown Improvement District. We're feeling very honored to be recognized by the BID for our work with The Batavian.

And thank you to Dan Fischer of WBTA for his kind words during yesterday's presentation.

As I said yesterday, we feel very fortunate to have been so warmly accepted by the people of Genesee County in just a few short years (The Batavian's fifth-year anniversary is Wednesday). Thank you all -- readers and local business owners -- for your support of The Batavian.

April 27, 2013 - 4:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, oakfield-alabama.

Information and photos submitted by Chuck Flynn.

Students at Oakfield-Alabama Middle-High School turned out to the gymnasium Friday for a "Going Bald for Bucks" event that raised more than $9,000 for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. More than 30 people participated.

April 27, 2013 - 4:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Photos and information submitted by Theresa Asmus.

Pastor Jim Renfrew speaks at the Peace Garden during the annual Crime Victims Rights Week walk in Batavia. The event also included a keynote address from Jean Cianfrini and an awards ceremony recognizing Ann Finch with the Crime Victims Service Award and Genesee County Sheriff's Department Youth Officer John Dehm with the Community Advocacy Award.

Below, Jean Cianfrini and Sue Gagne carry a Crime Victims Right's Week banner during the walk.

April 26, 2013 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Big Pauly's.

With a new name and a new logo, Paul Berardini is just about back in the pizza business.

Berardini unveiled the new look on Facebook last night.

It's been three months since Pauly's Pizza closed, but after lining up his brother as his new business partner, securing the lease for the Ellicott Street restaurant, as well as getting new equipment, Berardini anticipates opening the doors on Big Pauly's May 13.

"I'm happy to get back to making pizza in my hometown," Berardini said. "This is where I'm from and this is where I want to do business."

Pauly's ran into a little trouble with its expansion into Clarence and Berardini's partner needed to pull out. 

At the same time, Berardini had some health issues to deal with. He said he's healthy now and ready to start tossing pizza dough again.

The menu will change only slightly, with some items that didn't sell that well getting trimmed, but all of the recipes, the sauce, the dough, the wings and the chicken fingers will all be the same.

And many of Berardini's employees will return, he said.

The new shop's phone number will be (585) 343-BIGP.

There's also a new Facebook page for Big Pauly's. Click Here.

April 26, 2013 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID.

The Business Improvement Distirct held its annual luncheon this afternoon and honored three local businesses with "Spirit of Downtown" awards and two volunteers who have contributed greatly to the betterment of the BID and downtown.

Receiving Spirit of Downtown Awards were DelPlato & Casey Law Offices, Michael DelPlato and Peter Casey; Howard Owens, The Batavian; and, Harry Wortzman, Wortzman Furniture. The volunteer awards were given to Michael Marsh, of Edward Jones Investment, and James Isacc (pictured above), of Crossroads Abstract.

DelPlato and Casey were honored for their active participation in the BID.The Batavian was honored for the support the online-news publication gives to local businesses and downtown. Wortzman was honored for a long history of community contributions and support of downtown.

The event was emceed by WBTA's Dan Fischer. The guest speaker was Patrick Finan, founder of the Block Club in Buffalo, who spoke about the importance of shopping locally to the health and vibrancy of a local community.

Peter Casey

Harry Wortzman

April 26, 2013 - 2:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime.

A landlord-tenant dispute is reported on East Main Street and city police are now on scene. The argument between the two parties got quite loud. The tenant called dispatchers and accused the landlord of entering the residence without permission and removing drug paraphernalia.

April 26, 2013 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Current booking photo Sex offender registry

A registered Level 3 sex offender and former Batavia resident has been charged with a course of sexual conduct with children.

The charges follow an investigation involving Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office, Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Middleport PD and the FBI, and additional charges may be coming in other jurisdictions.

Sean M. Vickers, 44, of 117 Andes St., Geneva, was arraigned in City Court on counts of a course of sexual conduct against a child, 1st, and sodomy, 1st, both Class B felonies. A warrant was issued in Niagara County on two counts of a course sexual conduct against a child, 1st.

He was jailed in Genesee County jail on $500,000 bail.

The acts in Batavia are alleged to have occurred between 1999 and 2002 at a location on Maple Street. 

Chief Shawn Heubusch said Batavia PD received a complaint about Vickers in 2004 and detectives conducted an investigation, but there was insufficient evidence to sustain a charge.

Vickers is registered as a Level 3 sex offender based on a non-NYS conviction.

The investigation leading up to yesterday's arrest of Vickers started after the Niagara County Sheriff's Office contacted Batavia PD with information related to alleged offenses that may have occurred in Batavia, Heubusch said.

The investigation into Vickers is ongoing and anybody with information that might assist investigators are asked to call (585) 343-5000.

April 26, 2013 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BARNS.

A barn on the Batavia side of Batavia Elba Townline Road, near Route 98. 

It's a beautiful day.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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