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January 3, 2015 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Pavilion.

A one-car rollover accident is reported in the area of 7365 Telephone Road, Pavilion.

Injuries are reported.

Pavilion fire and Mercy EMS responding.

Roads are icy.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Apparently, minor injuries.


January 3, 2015 - 11:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

There is a freezing rain advisory in effect until 7 p.m. this evening.

Patches of ice should be expected on roadways and walking paths. Caution is advised, especially on bridges and overpasses.  

"Walking and driving could be therefore be difficult, but not impossible," advises the National Weather Service.

There is a high wind warning in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday. 

Winds from the southwest of 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph are expected.

Scattered power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult for high-profile vehicles.

January 2, 2015 - 7:04pm

The New Year's Eve party at City Centre to celebrate Batavia's centennial has given rise to a new point of contention between the city and the Mall Merchants Association.

While there is a long simmering dispute over who is responsible for a troubled roof and other repairs to the structure, and with a city-filed lawsuit pending over alleged unpaid rents, Mall Director Madeline Bialkwoski says you can now add "trespass" the the association's list of complaints.

Prior to Wednesday's event, Bialkowski sent a letter to City Manager Jason Molino that said as far as the association was concerned, using a portion of the mall concourse for a dance floor and photo studio was never authorized by the association.

"Therefore, we are once again letting you know that you do not have permission to use our insured and leased concoure space for your New Year's Eve Celebration and respectfully request that the City gate remains closed and locked," Bialkowski wrote to Molino.

Reached at his office this afternoon, Molino said, "We own the mall."

Asked if that isn't a bit like a landlord saying "I'm going to use your house for a party," Molino said there's a difference between a residential property and a commercial property. The city owns the space and therefore doesn't need the permission of the merchants to use it.

Bialkowkski said the association's big concern is over its insurance. She said the association's policy, like most mall policies the past few years, forbids the consumption of alcohol in the concourse.

"It voids our insurance," she said. She's concerned, she said, that now that the party has taken place, what the ramifications might be for the association's policy.

Molino said the city had insurance to cover the event.

"We had everything we needed in place," Molino said.

The event included a cash bar in the second floor community room and partygoers were free to carry drinks, if they wished, into the portion of the concourse being used for the party.

Bialkowski thinks the conflict could have been resolved if the organizers had been willing to put up signs and station one or two people in the stairway to ensure drinks were not carried down stairs.

"There justification is that they had insurance," Bialkowski said. "A million dollar policy with an additional insured is nothing in today's atmosphere."

Bialkowski said she first alerted Vibrant Batavia to the potential problem as far back as August and raised concerns then.

Leanna Di Risio, of Vibrant Batavia and a member of the Centennial Committee, wrote a letter to Bialkowski on Nov. 7 outlining celebration plans and requesting the mall association's support of the celebration.

The association's operating committee voted Dec. 4 to deny the committee permission for use of the space. (Dec. 4 is a late date for such a decision, Bialkowski admits, but said the committee couldn't meet in November because of travel and vacations of members).

The city has filed a suit against the merchants claiming the association owes more than $800,000 in back rent for the concourse.

As for the claim of trespass, Molino said, "The mall merchants are just being obstructionists."

Bialkowski said she realizes she could have called the police on the trespass complaint, but felt that would just be unfair to any officer who responded, putting the officer in awkward position.

"No one here wanted to ruin the event," Bialkowski said.

January 2, 2015 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports.

Press release:

Team New Era Baseball will hold tryouts for its 8- and 9-year-old rookie elite travel baseball program on Sunday Jan. 18th and Sunday Jan. 25th at 3 p.m. at New Era Park, Depew, 3950 Broadway, Erie county.

For more  information or to register for the tryout, visit <> or contact Rich Wozniak at New Era Park at 716-681-3001.

January 2, 2015 - 1:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mucklands.

The reader who submitted this photo called it "Elba Mucklands Snow Drift Art."

January 2, 2015 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pavilion, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center is pleased to welcome the Genesee County New Year’s Baby for 2015. Kynlee Lynne Holland, a baby girl, was born to Jonathon and Danielle Holland of Pavilion, NY on Thursday, January 1st at 1:25 a.m. at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. She was delivered by certified midwife, Kim Danser, CNM. Baby Kynlee weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19-inches long. She is the second daughter for the new parents. She has a sister, Makenna, age 6, waiting anxiously for her at home.

Both parents work in shipping and receiving. Mrs. Holland is employed at Walmart in Batavia, NY and Mr. Holland works for Quaker Muller Dairy in Batavia, NY.

As the New Year’s baby, Kynlee and her parents received a $200 gift card to Target, an engraved feeding spoon, books and a touchless thermometer from United Memorial Medical Center.

In 2014, there were 646 babies delivered at United Memorial.

January 2, 2015 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander.

In less than 24 hours, a Facebook page called Justice for Pepper, calling attention to a dog that was shot and killed in Alexander on New Year's Day, has garnered nearly 600 likes.

The description of the page says, "This afternoon, January 1st, our beloved dog Pepper was shot and killed by my dad's next door neighbor in Alexander NY. We are asking for your prayers."

Leah Gass, who created the page, said in a post that a deputy told the family there was nothing the police could do, but Gordon Dibble, chief deputy with the Sheriff's Office said the case is actively under investigation, but did not provide further information.

There is apparently video of the incident from the residence where the dog was shot, said Jen Gass, daughter-in-law of Pepper's owner, Greg Gass.

Jen was not at Greg's house when the shooting occurred, but rushed right over with the rest of the family when he called to tell them of the incident.

Jen said that apparently Pepper ran into the neighbor's yard in the Town of Alexander and before Greg could call her back or go get her, he heard gunshots and when he arrived within seconds, Pepper was already dead.

He dragged Pepper home.

"There was blood everywhere," Jen said. "It was awful, an awful thing that happened. She didn't deserve it."

In the cold of New Year's Day, the family helped Greg dig a hole in the frozen ground and bury Pepper.

"She was the sweetest little thing," Jen said. "She played with a little 5-year-old who pulled her ears and would play roughly, and Pepper never did anything about it. She played with other dogs and never had a problem. I know she's a big dog. She looks like a big dog and people can be intimidated, I guess, but she didn't have a mean bone in her body."

The person who shot Pepper apparently claimed Pepper was being aggressive, which is why the Gass family would really like to see the video from the surveillance camera.

"If anyone ever says anything to her like sit, stop, stay, she would lay down immediately," Jen said.

There may have been an incident the day before between Pepper, the neighbor and his two big dogs, but Jen was hesitant to discuss it since she wasn't at the house at the time.

"It was a terrible day for us," Jen said. "It was the first day of the New Year and Greg had to bury his dog. She was the sweetest thing. There was no way, shape or form that she was vicious."

The Batavian has not sought the neighbor's identity since he hasn't been charged with a crime.

January 2, 2015 - 8:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC.

Press release:

Thanks to two Rochester area donors, 20 children with disabilities served by Genesee ARC recently received new bicycles! 

The Park Avenue Bicycle Shop made the delivery to Genesee ARC’s Community Relations office in mid-December, giving staff just enough time to match bikes to recipients and deliver them in time for Christmas.

Howard and Michael Ouriel are the generous brothers behind the donation and said, “We just wanted to do something for the kids.”

ARC Director of Development Shelley Falitico, who helped deliver some of the bicycles, said all of the families are appreciative of the Ouriels’ generosity.

“We are so honored that Howard and Michael thought of Genesee ARC for this special holiday act of kindness,” Falitico said.

The Ouriel brothers’ support of Genesee ARC is unique in that they reside outside of Genesee County and do not have a family member served by the local nonprofit organization. 

“That’s what makes this so extraordinary,” Falitico said. “It’s a story we are so happy to share.”   

January 2, 2015 - 7:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Darien, Bethany.

Brandon P. Matteson, 18, of Dutton Road, Silver Springs, is charged with burglary, 3rd. Matteson is accused of stealing from a locked concessions stand in an Oakfield Park.

Gary D. Piazza, 59, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Piazza is accused of shoplifting from the gas station at 99 Jackson St., Batavia.

Michael B. Neth, 37, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Neth allegedly pushed another person to the ground. The alleged incident was reported at 11:15 p.m., Saturday. 

Steven R. Columbo, 28, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd. Columbo allegedly grabbed the arm of another person hard enough to cause dark bruising and substantial pain. The alleged incident was reported at 9:51 p.m., Wednesday.

A 16-year-old resident of Dellinger Avenue was charged with trespass. The youth was allegedly on property on Liberty Street without permission. Also charged with trespass at the same location was Destiny N. Green, 18, of Walnut Street, Batavia.

David Mobley Schmieder, 20, of Silver Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and moving from the lane unsafely. Schmieder was stopped at 2:37 a.m. Thursday on Erie Street, Darien, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

January 2, 2015 - 12:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, high school sports.

Athletics teach young people life lessons that carry well beyond the diamond, hardwood or gridiron. They learn about teamwork and that the best things in life are the result of cooperation; that success is achieved through hard work and preparation; that mere talent and ability aren't enough; that opponents are worthy of respect; that life has boundaries and expectations and rules; that you may not always win, but if you always give your best effort, you are a winner; that the pursuit of excellence is its own kind of satisfying accomplishment. Competition is thrilling, but winning is the goal, and a worthy life goal.

Our high school teams are a touchstone of our community. They provide us with a source of community pride, an opportunity to come together as a community and a chance to see the best of our future as a community. 

To me, it's a privilege to cover our young community athletes. Over the past seasons, our athletes have inspired me to aim even higher and work harder in all aspects of my career and life. I thank them for all they achieved and shared with us in 2014 and wish them the best for 2015 and encourage them to give their best effort and aim for championship performances. 

To purchase prints, click here.

January 1, 2015 - 10:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A vehicle that was apparently doing donuts in the parking lot has struck the Marshall's building on Veterans Memorial Drive and is attempting to leave.

The vehicle was last seen, possibly, attempting to leave the Clarion Hotel parking lot on Park Road.

It's described as a small, white SUV.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: A suspect vehicle has been stopped.

UPDATE 10:23 p.m.: A deputy reports a very small amount of damage to a pillar in front of the store, with skid marks leading up to it.

UPDATE 10:24 p.m.: Registration comes back to a residence in Holley.

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.: State Police confirms it believes it has the driver.

UPDATE 10:27 p.m.: A trooper is asking the deputy on scene to look for a license plate that may be missing off the vehicle. A female is in custody.

January 1, 2015 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, bergen.

One person is trapped in a car following a one-vehicle rollover accident in the area of 7394 Townline Road, Bergen.

Unknown injuries.

Bergen fire and Byron ambulance responding.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: Byron is transporting one to the hospital and Bergen fire is back in service.


January 1, 2015 - 2:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A travel advisory has been issued for the western portion of Genesee County.

Blowing and drifting snow are making vehicle travel hazardous. 

Previously: Difficult travel conditions reported in Alabama

January 1, 2015 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke.

The manager of the Econo Lodge on Route 77, Pembroke, would like to get the snow removed from his parking lot, but a truck is parked in the lot and the driver is refusing to move.

A deputy is being dispatched.

The manager is requesting that if the driver refuses to move, that law enforcement have the truck removed.

January 1, 2015 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, weather, Alabama.

Authorities in Alabama are requesting a travel advisory because of near zero visibility. 

Alabama fire is on scene of a single-car accident at Route 63 and Route 77 with wires down. A wire is on a vehicle.  No injuries are reported.

Traffic is being closed at Ledge Road and 77.

It sounds like there are other property damage accidents in the area.

There is an accident, perhaps Route 63 and 77, with seven people in the vehicle. No injuries.

Mercy EMS is responding to Route 63 and 77 because of the wire on the car.

Traffic is being closed at Phelps Road by Pembroke fire.

UPDATE 1:18 p.m.: Traffic is being slowed at Kearns Road, Pembroke.

UPDATE 1:18 p.m.: A car has struck a pole at Marble Road, wires down.  

UPDATE 1:29 p.m.: National Grid is on location.

January 1, 2015 - 12:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, bergen.

A motor-vehicle accident with a minor head injury is reported on North Lake Street and Bissell Road, Bergen.

Bergen fire and ambulance dispatched.

January 1, 2015 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

An accident with a minor injury is reported at Clinton Street and East Avenue, Batavia.

A person has a cut.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

January 1, 2015 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Here are the 25 most viewed stories on The Batavian of 2014:

It was another banner year in traffic to the site.

There were 6,153,368 visits to the site, up from 5,909,231 in 2013. We recorded 1,149,120 unique visitors to the site, up from 1,082,729 in 2013. And, there were 9,806,264 page views in 2014, compared to 9,794,627 the previous year.

The Batavian was once again the #1 online news source for Genesee County.




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

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