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October 11, 2014 - 1:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Cemetery, events, Ghost Walk.

Press release:

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18th, the Batavia Cemetery Association will host a candlelight guided ghost walk through the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue in Batavia. The tours will feature the famous and infamous movers and shakers who shaped and influenced the City of Batavia.

The guided tour will bring guests to meet men and women of Batavia who, for various reasons, held great power and exerted great influence in their day, were victims of tragic events, or both.

Some of the ghosts who will tell their stories on the tour are: Philemon Tracy, one of the few Confederate officers buried in the North; Ruth, the unknown victim of a horrendous murder; Joseph Ellicott, a man of great power and great flaws; and William Morgan, the man who disappeared and was allegedly murdered before he could reveal the secrets of the Masons.

Tours begin at 7 p.m. and run every 15 minutes until 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes refreshments. Tickets are available at the gate the day of the event at Historic Batavia Cemetery, Harvester Avenue, Batavia. Reservations are suggested. Proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the cemetery. For more information, or to make reservations, contact 343-0248.

Join us for some spooky fun!

October 11, 2014 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, high school sports.

Alexander 17, Pembroke, 6. Pembroke held close through the first 24 minutes of football, trailing by only a point, 7-6 at the half. Trojans running back Jacob Wozniak gained 208 yards on 28 plays and scored a TD. Tristan Aldinger had 10 carries for 24 yds and a TD. Kicker Zach Shilvock was perfect again on PATs at 2 for 2 and he hit a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter after having missed a 48-yard fielder earlier in the game. Defensively, Alexander had two interceptions, one by Cody Trzecieski and one Aldinger. Derrick Busch led the Trojans in tackles with seven and a sack.  Dustin Schmeider had seven tackles and one fumble recovery. Wozniak had six tackles and a sack. 

Oakfield-Alabama 54, Holley, 19. Alan Catt was eight for 12 and 230 yards passing, connecting on three TDs for Oakfield-Alabama. Ryan Emery rushed six times for 137 yards and two TDs. Reice Woodward had five receptions for 168 yards and three TDs. Jake Velletta had eight tackles and a sack, Casey Arnold, seven tackles, Woodward an interception and Sal Schwable returned a fumble recovery 60 yards for a touchdown.

Elba/Byron-Bergen 16, Cardinal O'Hara, 7. In the first varsity football came ever played on the campus of Byron-Bergen, the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers benefitted from the 94 yards rushing of Steele Truax, who also had 15 tackles and a sack.

Batavia 52, Wayland-Cohocton, 0. On homecoming night, the Blue Devils trounced Wayland-Cohocton. Greg Mruczek was  nine for 10 for 124 yds and two touchdowns. He also carried one in for a score. Anthony Gallo had 145 all-purpose yards and two TDs. Ahdeosun Aiken rushed nine times for, 66 yards and a TD. Dominick Mogavero had six carries for 105 yards and two TDs. Jarrett Laskett scored a TD as part of a three-reception night for 18 yards. Trevor Rittersback had seven tackles.

Photos by Rick Franclemont. For more, click here.

October 11, 2014 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, high school sports, Le Roy.

Early in the second quarter, down 14-0, Bishop Kearney faced fourth down with 30 to go on the Le Roy 33.

The obvious play is to settle for a field goal attempt, but that's not the way of the Kings. Rather, QB Todd LaRocca drops back, fires a bullet and hits Ardell Brown in full stride at the 10. Brown glides into the end zone.

Even without a successful two-point conversion, the score, the entire touchdown drive, in fact, was enough to make Oatkan Knight supporters nervous.

A 14-6 lead is nothing against a team that is fearless about throwing the ball and has athletes who can score from anywhere on the field.

Brown would remind everybody of that again when he returned the opening half kickoff for a touchdown, making the score 22-12.

Even if you liked Le Roy's chances against Bishop Kearney, 22-12 still didn't feel safe.

Head Coach Brian Moran stuck with the game plan -- grind the clock away with a relentless ground attack and bend, but don't break, on defense.

In the end, Le Roy remained undefeated, moving to 6-0, and the previous undefeated Kings dropped to 5-1. The final score, 29-20.

It was the fewest points the Knights have scored in a game this season, and the most points the team has given up.

The win also secured Moran's 199th career victory.

"That's a good football team, and when you start getting towards the end of the year, you want to play good football teams, because you want to see where you are and I really thought our kids did a good job today," Moran said.

The win over a good football team was a big confidence boost for the Knights, running back Tom Kelso said.

"We've actually proven that we're a good team this year," Kelso said. "In order to be the best, you've got to beat the best, and that's one of the best teams out there right there."

Early on, it was easy to see how Moran planned to win this football game. He kept the ball on the ground on seven of the first eight plays, and of the 12 plays of the opening drive, only one (an incomplete pass) failed to gain yards.

That drive gave Le Roy a 7-0 lead and took 7:15 off the clock.

The Kings tried to strike back quickly. Brown darted for a 25-yard gain on a running play and LaRocca snapped off a 20-yard pass, and within four plays and a little more than a minute off the clock, the Kings were inside the red zone.

It would be the first of four times in the game where the Kings found themselves in the red zone, but failed to score.

"Like I told our guys, when you get in the red zone, it's about hunger and who wants it more," said Bishop Kearney Head Coach Eddie Long. "It's about hunger and manning up and beating the next man. They put a lot of pressure on you. They blitz you from a lot of different angles. They disguise their coverages. You can tell that they work hard and they practice a lot on their schemes. And they're a physical team. At the end of the day, they man up, they beat you and they want it."

LaRocca is a tough quarterback to beat. He gets rid of the ball fast, throws accurately and throws long. For most of the night, Le Roy went with only a three-man front, which meant LaRocca faced little pressure, but even when he managed to hit an open receiver, Le Roy's backfield swarmed on the ball carrier and limited positive yardage.

This made it hard for the Kings to sustain a drive.

"I thought our defensive coordinator, Andy (Andrew Paladino), did a great job, rotating back and going to a three-man front, and putting us in a situation were we had some extra secondary help," Moran said. "That really proved crucial for us today."

For all the ball-control offense, there was still McMullen to McQuillen in the playbook.

Le Roy's first TD came when Mike McMullen, facing a fourth down, hits Mike McQuillen on the five, after McQuillen bobbed and faked Brown to give himself space and an open lane for a score.

Near the end of the half, the Knights found themselves in another fourth down situation close to the end zone after a long drive. A penalty dropped them back five yards, making it fourth-and-nine.

McMullen dropped a lob over McQuillen's right shoulder, where only he can catch it. McQuillen's so fast, there's nobody between him and the end zone. The 39-yard pass play gives Le Roy a 22-12 lead.

In a manner of speaking, one of the most crucial moments in the game came on the extra points for this touchdown. Le Roy's point-after attempt failed, but there was a penalty on the play, giving the Knights another chance from the one-yard line.

Tom Kelso dove over the white line for two points, two very important points, as it turned out.

At the close of the game, after a TD for Bishop Kearney set the score up at 29-20, and then the Kings recovered an onside kick with 1:20 left on the clock, Le Roy's nine-point lead was still seemed reasonably secure. A seven-point lead would have been precarious in this situation and even eight points would have been a nail biter.

Coach Long, having seen Le Roy up close now, thinks the Knights are the team to beat this year in Section V Class C.

"First and foremost, they're so disciplined, so well coached," Long said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes. From what I've seen, they've put a couple of wrinkles into their offense that's going to make them tougher. In the past, you could just key in on their run and put eight, nine in the box, but they spread it out a little bit more, which opens up their run and you have to worry about their pass. They're well coached, they're disciplined, they play hard. You have to beat them. They're not going to beat themselves."

Le Roy's offensive stats:

Mike McMullen, 6 for 11, 95 yards, 2 TDs.
Tom Kelso, 21 rushes, 89 yards, one reception, 28 yards
Nick Egeling, 19 rushes 74 yards, 1 TD
Jon Pierce, 7 rushes, 33 yards
Ryan McQuillen, 4 rushes 35 yards, 1 TD, 3 receptions, 57 yards, 2 TDs

On defense:

Jake Henry, 6 tackles and a sack
Tom Kelso, 6 tackles
Mike McMullen, 5 tackles
Nick Egeling, 4 tackles
Reed Kacur, 4 tackles
Ryan McQuillen, 2 tackles and an interception

Bishop Kearney had 383 yards total offense, with only 68 of those yards coming on the round. LaRocca was 19 for 38 passing for 315 yards and one TD. Brown had nine receptions for 151 yards. Jalen Long had seven receptions for 110 yards. Dahmir Pross rushed for 27 yards and a TD on 11 carries.

Top photo: McQuillen with a reception for Le Roy's first TD of the game.

Brown with a touchdown reception on a fourth-30 play in the second quarter.

Bishop Kearney QB Todd LaRocca

Tom Kelso with the ball.

McQuillen ready for a McMullen pass to drop into his hands for a 39-yard TD reception.

Brown with the ball starting his run for a touchdown to open the second half.

Brown scoring to open the second half.

McMullen handing off to Kelso.

To purchase prints, click here.

October 11, 2014 - 6:30am

Classic Batavia home on awesome street and super location! This grand and solid 4/5 bedroom home has something for everyone-curb appeal galore, spacious layout, beautiful hardwood floors and woodwork, wide and stately staircase, kitchen with pantry, and two great enclosed back porches overlooking pretty and private backyard. Although home is grand with 2600+ sq ft. its actually quite homey! With full walkup attic, nooks and crannies, and full wall of built-in drawers and linen cupboards there is no lack of storage! This is a real charmer and home that makes memories! NOW $149,900! Call today for your private showing 585-344-HOME

October 10, 2014 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, bergen.

When I was out there today, I liked this early-fall-day scene I spotted across the road from Byron-Bergen School.

BTW: Byron-Bergen is hosting a first-ever Friday night football game tonight. It's a big local football night. Batavia HS has its homecoming and the 5-0 Le Roy team meets 5-0 Bishop Kearney in a homecoming game. (I'll be in Le Roy).

October 10, 2014 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, byron-bergen, WNY Tech Academy.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and John Jakubowski, a workforce development consultant for Genesee County Economic Development Center, spoke to students at the WNY Tech Academy at Byron-Bergen High School this afternoon.

Hawley spoke about how he works in Albany to help get legislation passed and drum up support for projects such as the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and WNY STAMP.

Cooperation and relationship building is a big part of the job, he said.

"Communication is the key to getting anything done," Hawley said. "It doesn't matter whether it's texting, whether it's e-mailing, whether it's on the phone, but the best sort of communication is what we're doing here today, looking at each other, eyeball-to-eyeball. You know who I am now. I know who you guys are."

Jakubowski, a retired educator, told students about how he uses his expertise to create job-training programs so the companies coming into the Ag Park and STAMP have a local workforce of job-ready applicants when they open their doors.

October 10, 2014 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

Press release:

The New York Office of the Attorney General has awarded the Batavia Police Department with grant funds from the Community Overdose Prevention Program enabling select first responders from both the fire and police department to receive naloxone kits and training for administering the life-saving medication.

Also known as Narcan, naloxone is a medication administered by nasal spray to an individual who has overdosed on opioids (synthetic substances that mimic the narcotic effect of opium, from which heroin is derived). Naloxone works by temporarily reversing the effects of the opioid, whether illicit or prescription, allowing the individual to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing.

The kits cost approximately $60 each, and Batavia has received a grant of $720 to purchase kits for 12 first responders.

In addition, the Community Overdose Prevention Program has dedicated $5 million in funds seized as crime proceeds from joint federal and state criminal investigations to fund the purchase of a naloxone kit for every sworn officer in the state that might encounter an acute opioid overdose in the line of duty.

While City of Batavia first responders have received the commitment from the Attorney General’s Office, the kits still need to be ordered and training needs to take place. Each kit consists of a zip bag or pouch containing: two vials of naloxone; two mucosal atomization devices for nasal administration; one pair of latex gloves; and a booklet on the use of naloxone.

Training on the use of the naloxone will be conducted by the City of Batavia Fire Department.

“We are fortunate to have had a number of individuals trained to both administer naloxone and train others to administer the drug,” said City of Batavia Fire Chief Jim Maxwell. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Batavia police to offer a service that has already seen more than 1,000 successful overdose reversals in New York State.”

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose, and nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers. When prescription medication is no longer available, individuals often turn to illicit drugs, such as heroin.

“While we are certainly not seeing the use of heroin at the epidemic proportions of many communities, heroin and other opioids are here in Batavia,” said City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch. “A key deterrent to opioid use, as with all drugs, is education and relentless attention.

“It’s difficult to keep up with trends among teens,” adds Heubusch, “but the ever-expanding choices among the synthetic drug market are something parents must pay attention to.”

According to Heubusch, one of the current top choices among teens is the drug "Cloud 9," an opioid that can be purchased over the Internet and looks just like an over-the-counter bottle of eye drops.

Batavia High School Principal Scott Wilson supports Chief Heubusch’s assessment of the strong need to educate the public on the constantly changing drug trends and ways to maintain vigilance. Wilson is holding a community roundtable designed to educate the community and provide information about the many resources available for both prevention and rehabilitation. The roundtable event, entitled “Community Awareness: Vaporizers, E-cigarettes and Their Use,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 in the Batavia High School Library.

“From a school administrator’s position, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and claim to be diligent about monitoring our kids’ activities and behaviors,” says Wilson, emphasizing that the school district wants to make sure all community members are armed with the most updated and accurate information available.

“I’ve had well-meaning parents share with me that they’ve purchased a vaporizer for their child, because they believe it’s safer than cigarettes,” Wilson said. “What parents don’t know is that the synthetic drugs that go into these vaporizers are very different. These drugs are not regulated and users face sometimes dire, unintended consequences.”

The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) will bring samples of legally purchased -- but uncontrolled -- opioids to the roundtable and review the most effective preventative measures. The Batavia Police, Genesee County Sheriff and City of Batavia Fire Department will also be on hand to share information and answer questions.

“We’ve seen an increase in opiate addictions in both Genesee and Orleans counties; Providing our City police and fire professionals with the naloxone kits will save lives," said Pamela LaGrou, GCASA Communications/Development director, who has seen giant steps taken to respond to this increase all over the state.

LaGrou also places a strong emphasis on education: “heroin and other opioid drugs are easy accessible, relatively inexpensive and can be highly addictive.” LaGrou recommends the Web site as one of the best sites available for public education. Links to that site can also be found at GCASA’s Web site at

October 10, 2014 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Karen Soccio Anthony Sgroi

Karen L. Soccio, 52, of Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and Anthony P. Sgroi, 49, of Warsaw, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, possession of a controlled substance not in original container and possession of untaxed cigarettes. State Police report that a trooper putting gas in his patrol vehicle observed an individual on Park Road who was handling a small quantity of pills. Upon investigation, the trooper determined the pills were tramadol, a controlled substance. Sgroi was placed in custody and was allegedly found to possess clonazepam, also a controlled substance, and about 1,000 un-stamped cigarettes. With further investigation, Soccio was found to be Sgroi's alleged supplier. Sgroi was jailed on $5,000 bail. No word on Soccio's bail or if she was released.

Lawrence G. Merritt, 52, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Merritt is accused of taking a bicycle that was on display in the store and attempting to exchange the un-purchased bike at the service desk for cash, using a receipt from an earlier bike purchase.

Lawrence Charles Vanocker, 45, of East Street, Gainsville, is charged with petit larceny. Vanocker is accused of stealing $183.87 in merchandise from Walmart.

October 10, 2014 - 2:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Another business in Batavia has reported a force-entry burglary, but since the business was closed a few days, the owner can't say whether it happened last night or the same night as four other area businesses were broken into.

Travis Farewell, owner of Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe on Jackson Street, confirmed that a burglar broke open his register and stole cash. He also said the Habitat for Humanity donation box was broken and all of the money in it was stolen.

Det. Todd Crossett confirmed a crime report was taken, but said no other businesses have come forward.

Yesterday, we reported that Salvania's, just a few doors down from Sweet Pea's, was broken into and cash was taken. Three other businesses in the city also showed signs of forced entry, but nothing was reported stolen.

Anybody with information that may be useful to the investigation can contact Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

October 10, 2014 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department and other law enforcement agencies throughout the county, have been receiving reports of unlocked vehicles being entered and property being taken. These incidents have occurred over the last several months.

We would like to remind citizens to secure their vehicle’s, and other valuable property, at all times to help prevent these types of larcenies from occurring.

Citizens with information pertaining to these incidents which have occurred in the City of Batavia, are asked to contact the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350. Information can also be provided by calling the Batavia Police Confidential Tip Line at 585-345-6370 or by accessing the Batavia Police Department’s Web site and making use of the Suspicious Activity reporting link.

October 10, 2014 - 11:02am
posted by Paul Draper III in music, entertainment, lineup, weekend.

October 10, 2014 - 9:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Bethany, land use.

It ain't nothin' but a party, Frank Stanton told the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday evening in his second attempt to win approval for a special-use permit to host mudding events on his seven-acre property in Bethany.

"This is not a business," Stanton said. "It's a party. It's just a bunch of people getting together and having fun. That's all it is."

Planners recommended disapproval of his permit and didn't offer much encouragement for him to try again.

After a meeting two weeks ago, where planners were much more receptive to his proposal but told Stanton he needed a more formal plan before they could approve it, a pair of nearby Bethany residents wrote the planning board and raised objections to these mudding events.

Robert Reyes and Elaine Shell contend Stanton operates his mudding events as a business.

There's a Facebook page with 700 likes. The events are listed on at least two mudding event Web sites. They suggest it's not just friends showing up to run their trucks in the mud.

"Whether it's a trick of acoustics, with him being in a 'dip', we don't know, but the noise level at and in our home is awful," the couple wrote. "Most of the trucks running are modified with high revving engines, have no mufflers, and are extremely loud."

While Stanton tried to assure planners that there are never more than a couple hundred people at a time on his property at 9832 Bethany Center Road, Reyes and Shell argued that as many as 400 people might be on the property at one time and are concerned that Stanton wants the events to grow even bigger.

Stanton said they can't get any bigger because he'll never be able to buy adjoining property since it's currently owned by a large and successful dairy operation. He said he doesn't make any money off the events. There are no prizes, no awards, nothing that would make these commercial events.

"This will probably fizzle out in five or six years as my kids get bigger and things change," Stanton said.

The vote recommending disapproval was 6-0.

October 10, 2014 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy.

Developers want to bring both a Tim Horton's and a Dunkin' Donuts to Le Roy, and at locations that are so close to each other even E.J. Manuel could accurately toss a football from one drive-thru to the other and hit his intended target.

But that isn't what bothered Genesee County Planning Board members about the proposed Tim Horton's location.

They were concerned about traffic congestion caused by the restaurant drive-thru being so close to gas pumps already on the Mother Goose store property.

While Dunkin' Donuts -- which was only making a sign modification to its previously approved site plan -- got an easy, unanimous approval, the developer of the proposed Tim Horton's walked out of the meeting with no recommendation from the board.

That's better than a recommended disapproval, which raises the bar for the Town of Le Roy Planning Board approval. A no recommendation means the Tim Horton's plan can be approved by the town on a simple majority vote, instead of a majority-plus-one vote.

JFJ Holdings, of North Andover, Ma., is planning to build a Dunkin' Donuts at 125 W. Main St., which is across the street from the Yellow Goose Market and Gas Station.

The market is owned by Dave Tufts, who wants to add a Tim Horton's drive-thru to the west end of his building. Cars would enter from the north and exit to the south.

And at the south end of his property are gas pumps, and that is what concerns planners.

One or two cars queued up for gas could potentially block the drive-thru exit, plus there would be pedestrian traffic going in and out of the store.

Tufts and Dan Blamowski, with Tim Horton's, tried to assure planners that there would be no traffic congestion, but the argument wasn't persuasive enough.

On a night when the planning board was short a couple of members, the 4-2 vote for approval of the plan was one vote shy of the necessary five for approval.

October 10, 2014 - 8:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, entertainment, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Country star John Michael Montgomery plays Frost Ridge tomorrow night.

Montgomery's gig is one of two originally scheduled for the summer that were moved to October as a result of a pair of lawsuits pending against Frost Ridge.

At the beginning of the concert season, Judge Robert C. Noonan barred live music shows at the venue, but as legal manuvuers played out, Noonan lifted his order pending further proceedings.

The case is still pending, the shows will go on.

Jason Michael Carroll headlines Oct. 25.

For more information visit

October 10, 2014 - 8:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A hit-and-run driver damaged a sign at First Niagara Bank at 2:46 p.m., Sept. 26, and Batavia PD is asking for the public's help in identifying the driver.

The car reportedly sped through the ATM lane at the First Niagara branch on Court Street and struck a bank sign and continued without stopping.

The gold Chevrolet Impala likely sustained damage to the driver-side front fender.  

The driver is described as an older female.

If you have information that may assist in the investigation, contact Officer James DeFreze at (585) 345-6350.

October 10, 2014 - 4:20am
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, accidents.

A rollover accident is reported on the eastbound Thruway at mile marker 382.4. Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding.

UPDATE 5:22 a.m.: Le Roy medics have just arrived at Strong Memorial Hospital with one patient.

October 9, 2014 - 7:30pm

Classic Batavia home on awesome street and super location! This grand and solid 4/5 bedroom home has something for everyone -- curb appeal galore, spacious layout, beautiful hardwood floors and woodwork, wide and stately staircase, kitchen with pantry, and two great enclosed back porches overlooking pretty and private backyard.Although home is grand with 2600+ sq ft. it's actually quite homey! With full walkup attic, nooks and crannies, and full wall of built-in drawers and linen cupboards there is no lack of storage! This is a real charmer and home that makes memories! NOW $149,900! Call today for your private showing 585-344-HOME!

October 9, 2014 - 7:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library, batavia chess club.

The Batavia Chess Club has attracted 45 members since Kevin Larsen started it about a year ago, but onyl a handful show up any given night of matches, Larson said.

The club meets at the Richmond Memorial Library every Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and new members are always welcome. They'll even teach you how to play chess if you don't know how.

Larsen (on the right, second photo) funded the game boards and time clocks out of his own pocket. There are  no dues for membership in the club.

For more about the club, visit

Previously: Batavia man and library present 'Batavia Community Chess Club'




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