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January 28, 2013 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The National Weather Service reports that precipitation has changed from snow to freezing rain, making untreated roads especially slick.

More reports are coming in of cars off the roadway and a school bus having a hard time getting up Molasses Hill Road, Bethany.

Ice accumulations of several hundredths of an inch up to a tenth of an inch are expected before temperatures rise above freezing.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 1 p.m.

The weather service warns, "use extreme caution as road conditions may deteriorate rapidly and become icy with little warning."

January 28, 2013 - 7:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

An electrical fire is reported at Denny's Restaurant, 364 W. Main St., Batavia.

City fire is responding.

UPDATE 7:43 a.m.: City fire on scene, nothing showing. National Grid requested to the scene.

UPDATE 7:45 a.m.: City command: "We still have fire box, we're going to need them here as quick as they can." National Grid's been advised.

UPDATE 7:51 a.m.: Health Department requested to the scene.

UPDATE 7:59 a.m.: National Grid on scene.

UPDATE 8:11 a.m.: City code enforcement requested to the scene.

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January 28, 2013 - 7:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement, The Batavian Club.

Here's our latest offer for new members who sign up immediately ...

In addition to the benefits of supporting The Batavian and getting $298 in gift certificates to local businesses:

  • One lucky person will get a $25 gift card to City Slickers and a $20 gift certificate for Alabama Hotel. You must be the very next person to sign up for an annual membership on a recurring payment basis through PayPal (button below). Membership on this plan is $50.
  • One person who, using PayPal to sign up for a monthly membership on a recurring payment, will receive a $20 Alabama Hotel gift certificate. Note, if you're not the first you'll still get $298 in gift certificates to local businesses, and the expectation/request is that you remain a member for at least one year.
  • Two people who sign up for any annual membership plan will receive a $20 gift certificate for the Alabama Hotel (one each to each new member). If you plan to pay by credit card or check, e-mail at [email protected] If we receive your payment using the form below by Tuesday's postal mail (or you call in your credit card on Monday) we'll reserve the gift certificate for you. (Please note on your membership form which gift certificate you believe you qualified for.)

NOTE: I'll do my best to update this post in a timely manner to indicate which special offer(s) are sold out.

This is a bonus benefit on top of the $298 in gift certificates that can be used any time in the next year that each member will receive and the voucher for two free general admission tickets to a Batavia Muckdogs game (excluding July 3).

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


January 27, 2013 - 5:26pm
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, Genesee County Park, Snowshoeing.

Thankfully a few inches of snow had fallen the previous evening. It was Saturday afternoon and just enough snow to get the gist of snowshoeing. That's park volunteer Charlie Augrom out front, our trail leader for the day.

Before donning snowshoes and hitting the trails, our group was given a brief and informative talk on the history and how-to of snowshoeing by Charlie and Judy Spring. That's Judy pictured above with an older-style Michigan snowshoe.

Here Judy displays a modified version of the Michigan snowshoe. Both styles were forerunners of todays lightweight models.

A modern snowshoe, lightweight and user-friendly.

Just prior to heading out, Charlie assembles the group.

A bit tentative at first, the group is off to a good start.

With each step confidence is gained. A broad smile is an early indicator of a good time.

A trail through the hardwoods.

George Squires, in the background, is a park volunteer and district manager for Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District. Here he gives an on-the-spot talk regarding the park's spruce forest. 

While the rest of the group continues on through towering Norway spruce, George makes sure all trekkers are accounted for. 

This pair certainly seem to be enjoying themselves.

The trail leads between snow-covered spruce boughs.

Evergreens on the left, hardwoods on the right -- we're in the home stretch...

The 90-minute hike proved to be exhilarating, invigorating and informative. In addition to the above mentioned people, I'd like to express our thanks to park volunteers Mary Jane Pearce and Peggy Grayson who accompanied our group.

Snowshoes can be rented at the Genesee County Park Interpretive Center and they can be reached 585-344-1122.

January 27, 2013 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A motor-vehicle accident with unknown injuries is reported in front of Godwin Pumps, located at 8039 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), and West Saile Drive. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: A responder on scene says "traffic's a mess" and calls for back up for traffic control. She also calls for medics to expedite and says she has two people injured, one of whom "is about to pass out." Two flatbed tows are called ASAP, both are blocking the roadway.

UPDATE 1:54 p.m.: One vehicle is on the west shoulder of the road, the other is in the middle of the road. State Police have southbound Route 98 shut down and Fire Police are going to shut down westbound West Saile Drive. "Looks like everybody's out" says a responder of the vehicles' occupants.

UPDATE 1:58 p.m.: A second Mercy rig is called, emergency mode.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: One person is being transported to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 2:29 p.m.: A 5-year-old boy is the patient being taken to Strong, reportedly for simply evaluation. It is possible his mother, the driver, is being transported there as well, but that was not confirmed. The two people in the other vehicle were taken to UMMC, one is a female and the other is a 21-year-old male. The roadways are reopened and the Town of Batavia Fire Department is back in service.

UPDATE (by Howard): According to Trooper Frank Velletta, the silver vehicle, driven by a woman from Medina, was pulled over to the side of the road for some reason and then pulled out into traffic to execute a U-turn. The silver car was T-boned by the SUV. 

January 27, 2013 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Batavia PD has requested city fire to respond to the Jackson Street side of the Verizon building, 22 Center St., for possible smoke coming from the building.

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: Broken water line on the roof.

UPDATE 1:10 p.m.: A Verizon rep has arrived to secure the building and the city assignment is back in service.

UPDATE: There was concern about how long it would take for a Verizon rep to respond so a DPW crew repaired the leak. The water was spraying onto the former Mortellaro building.

January 27, 2013 - 2:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Fire Department.

Bill Wood, a former chief of the Le Roy Volunteer Fire Department has been a firefighter for the past year and his dedication to the department, his willingness to teach younger members and respond to numerous calls earned him the Firefighter of the Year award at the department's annual installation and awards dinner on Saturday evening.

His brother, Tom Wood, is chief for 2013. Dale Ehrhart is 1st assistant chief and Tim Hogle is 2nd assistant chief. Josh Pfendler is business president and Laurie Bater is president of the auxiliary. Bill Seeley is chairman of the fire commissioners.

For this dinner, we tried something a little different for photos. Often when I attend these dinners, getting good pictures of the chiefs and the winners proves difficult because of poor lighting or poor backgrounds (for pictures), so last week I purchased a backdrop stand and a nice cotton U.S. flag. It seems to have worked out pretty well tonight and I intend to bring this set up to any future similar events I'm asked to attend.

For those who attended and wish to purchase pictures, there is a link in the upper right of the slide show below, or click here.

January 27, 2013 - 1:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, Tonawanda Creek, swan.

A reader alerted us Saturday that she had seen a swan on the Tonawanda Creek earlier behind Settler's. Sure enough, we found this big white bird hanging out with the geese.

January 27, 2013 - 1:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, pembroke, hockey.

Claire Pfalzer describes her husband Andrew as "hockey crazy." For the past six years, he's had his own ice rink next to their home on Sliker Road in Pembroke.

Last year, it was cold enough to use the rink for only five or six days all winter.

This year's cold snap was well timed to allow the Pfalzers to invite all of their friends over for a daylong skate on Andrew's birthday. Andrew even has lights installed above the rink so the sun going down doesn't mean the end of hockey.

To purchase prints: These photos along with some others from the ice rink today (along with other Saturday photos) are in this gallery (click here).

January 27, 2013 - 1:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, festivals, winterfest.

Saturday, the Village of Corfu celebrated its annual Winterfest with music, hockey, magic, clowns and food.

Above, Paul "Sebar" Schuler fashions a balloon butterfly for 3-year-old Sydney, with her mother, Laura Corbitt, of Corfu.

Deputy Brian Thompson provided demonstrations of his K-9 work with "Pharaoh."

Aaron Wilkins, of Corfu, brought several of his snakes for visitors to see.

Joanne Furer and Ben, 10, of Pittsford, make a "bobble head" video.

To purchase prints: These photos along with some others from Corfu today (along with other Saturday photos) are in this gallery (click here).

January 26, 2013 - 10:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, Stafford.

An overloaded fireplace is reportedly "leaking fire" at 9767 Roanoke Road, Stafford.

Stafford fire is responding. York fire is responding, and also filling in for Le Roy at Le Roy's fire hall, as well as any other available Le Roy personnel (Le Roy held its annual awards and installation dinner tonight).

UPDATE 10:54 p.m.: Chief on scene reports fire contained to the fire box.

UPDATE 11:05 p.m.: Fire is out. Ventilating.

UPDATE 11:36 p.m.: Stafford and York back in service. York returning to Le Roy's hall for standby duty.

January 26, 2013 - 9:54pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team made a late charge on the road at Mercyhurst North East on Saturday afternoon, but came up short in their fourth conference loss of the season.

Both teams played at an even pace until late in the first half when Mercyhurst turned an 18-18 tie into a 30-24 lead with a pair of three-point baskets and a trio of layups on the offensive end. The Saints took a 43-39 lead into the break.

In the second half, Joe Gray turned a missed shot into a tip-in basket and tied the game at 54 with 14 minutes left in the game. The Saints responded with a 16-6 run and took a ten-point, 70-60 lead with eight minutes remaining. Mercyhurst upped their lead to as many as 14 with five minutes to go, but the Cougars battled back.

Malik Brown hit a jump shot with under three minutes to play to cut the lead down to nine, and after forcing a couple of Mercyhurst turnovers, Donte Meredith got the Cougars to within five with a layup with under a minute to play. GCC then forced another turnover and capitalized with a Voughn Boler layup to make it a three-point game with less than 30 seconds to go. After a pair of made free-throws by the home team, Brown stepped into a top of the key three-pointer and cut the lead down to two with under five seconds remaining. Unable to come away with a steal, GCC was forced to put the Saints at the line where they converted on both free-throws to put the game out of reach. Mercyhurst went on to win, 91-87.

Meredith led the way for Genesee with 19 points, Boler added 15, Gray and E.J. Blackwell each finished with 14 points and Terryl Coombs grabbed ten rebounds.

The loss evens Genesee's overall season record to 11-11 and the Cougars are now 2-4 in conference play. They will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Monroe Community College.

A second half scoring drought proved costly for the Genesee Community College women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon, as the Lady Cougars fell on the road at Mercyhurst North East, 83-47.

Genesee began the afternoon with a 10-4 run to start the game. Becky James scored four quick points to spark the hot start, but Mercyhurst responded with an 11-0 run to take the lead. GCC hung around in the first half and trailed by five, 37-32 at the half.

Genesee began the second half by going on a ten-minute scoreless drought. During that time, the Lady Saints went on a 23-0 run to take a 60-32 lead and put the game out of reach.

Dashawna Jenifer led the way for Genesee with 15 points. She also collected 16 rebounds. Nanase Akagami added nine points and James finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

Genesee falls to 1-16 on the year and 0-6 in conference play. They will travel to Monroe Community College on Thursday night for their next contest.

January 26, 2013 - 6:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A transformer is reportedly on fire and electrical wires are arcing at 11 Pine Hollow Drive. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 6:58 p.m.: The chief says Engine 24 can return in service and he asks that National Grid be contacted. The pole number is 5201 and there is presently "nothing showing" and the residences of 10 and 11 Pine Hollow Drive have no power outage.

UPDATE 7:03 p.m.: The Town of Batavia assignment is back in service. National Grid was notified but provided no ETA.

January 26, 2013 - 2:14pm
posted by Jennifer Keys in architecture, Le Roy, Wiss Hotel.

As I did with the Pool controversy two years ago I plan to put up an informational blog about the Wiss Hotel controversy. As I was typing it, though, I was reminded that I have always been an old building person and that most of you do not know me on a personal level, so I thought I would give you some background to lay the foundation.


I grew up in Canandaigua. My family lived in ½ of a house across from the Army Depot until I was nine. It was a great house with a lot of turns and character. There was even a cast iron claw-foot tub! The full size attic was truly amazing. The only access was through the raised panel door in my parents’ bedroom. I loved playing up there. My best friend down the street had an attic I loved even more. I am pretty sure our attic was bigger, but her attic was accessed through their bathroom. That was so cool! I remember as a small child comparing house features. Our stair case had about three steps up to a landing where you turned to go straight up to the second floor. Their staircase went straight up to a slight curve near the top. They even had a laundry-shoot that went from the second floor to the basement. Our friend around the corner lived in a “mansion”. It was an Italianate with a cupola, TWO interior staircases, a side porch and a barn in the City. The first time I visited there I decided I would live in a house with two interior stair cases. The ceilings were so high and the bedrooms were huge.


When I was nine my parents bought their house. I spent my childhood imagining how I could build a second stair case and turn the one stair case around because it does not make sense the way it is. There is an attic room at the top of the stairs on the second floor. Throughout my life I have imagined it as a bathroom, bedroom, home office, play room, you name it.


My dad grew up in a house where his family was only the second family to ever live there. I loved to go to my grandparents’ house to play. They had TWO front doors off of the front porch. There was a name plate on one of the doors that covered the key hole. It had the names of the people who built the house engraved on it. The best part, though, was their basement. My grandpa had finished it into an amazing work shop and food pantry. You could get to the basement from either the kitchen or the exterior “loading” doors as I called them.


As an adult my husband and I have lived in apartment complexes (I hated them, they were so cookie cutter and there were too many rules), an apartment in an old house, and have owned two Victorians. I loved it when we moved to the apartment in the old house. There was plate rail in the dining room. I have spent the last 18 years scouring the countryside for plate rail for both of my subsequent dining rooms. The butler’s pantry was probably my favorite part of that apartment, though. The land lord allowed us to work on the apartment in exchange for rent reduction. That place was gorgeous when we left.


My husband and I purchased our first house when I was 26. It was an 1880 Queen Anne in Rochester. We renovated every single room-4 rooms down stairs, 2 bathrooms, and 4 bedrooms upstairs. We took it down to the studs in every room except four that were already done by the previous owner. We tore out all of the carpets and redid every floor in the house, sanding some, installing new ones as well. We also painted the outside. When we were finished there were eight different colors on the outside bringing out every single exterior detail that was left on it.


Our current house in Le Roy is an 1884 East Lake where we have removed the remaining carpets, renovated two bathrooms, restored the plumbing to two that were not working properly, renovated the kitchen, the laundry/mudroom, and two bedrooms including the floors in the bedrooms (the others were already done). This past weekend we restored a window door and opened up a door-way that had been covered over by a previous owner decades ago and started in on the gigantic living room (with a lot of help from my brother).


I distinctly remember as a child falling in love with old architecture. Second Empire with its Mansard roofs is my absolute favorite and always has been. Brick or clapboard (no vinyl), it does not matter; I adore Second Empire. I also adore Gothic architecture with all of its angles and points. Both are a visual feast. Queen Anne is amazing, as well, with all of its curves and stained glass and turnings. Gingerbread details are a feast to behold. I do like classic Italianate structures as well with their cornices and cupolas. In truth East Lake is not my favorite, but I do not dislike it. It is a little too square for my personal preference, but I have come to adore this house. In fact as I sit here and type I wonder if the chimney next to me is encased in drywall. When we get to this room I am totally going to expose the brick!


Victorian architecture, as you can tell, is my favorite, but I also adore earlier architecture. My husband’s college roommate grew up in houses built in the 16 and 1700’s. They were equally as beautiful with their gigantic cooking fire places and low ceilings to keep the heat in. My love of old buildings goes as far as being able to identify who were the wealthy builders based on the windows.


Old houses and old buildings have such stories to tell. You can see the renovations, the additions, the changes, even the people who have been there. This amazing house we currently live in has two interior staircases. There is a small second story addition that houses the second one which was the “servants’ staircase, along with their bedroom and their kitchen/bathroom. There is something in the basement below the original farmhouse sink that makes me think it was originally a cistern. Last weekend I found what I believe to be the original screen doors for the front of the house. I cannot wait to get them up so everyone can see our gorgeous East Lake front doors. The best part of all of this is that our children (7 and 10) love it when we start working on the house. They want to tear down the other two walls that clearly are not original. I have never pictured myself living in a new or modern house. I was always meant to live in an old house.


I remember as a kid driving through Le Roy on the way to see my cousins in Pembroke. I always loved Le Roy’s main street. It reminded me of home, but smaller, with all of its old houses and old business district. In truth, I never really understood Batavia’s main street. I am sorry to say that as it sounds so harsh, but it is the truth. As a kid my parents drove us around the entire east coast. I remember liking places like Geneva, Le Roy, Naples, villages in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and Virginia.


I think this is a good place to end for now. I hope you have enjoyed the foundation of our story. Within the next few days I will post the next installment.

January 26, 2013 - 1:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy, Stafford, bergen.

A large structure fire is reported at 8251 W. Bergen Road. It's next to a garage. Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding along with mutual aid from Bergen. Pavilion and Stafford fire departments are requested to send an engine to stand by in Le Roy's fire hall. The location is on the curve between Randall and Selden roads.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: Fire police are requested to shut down that portion of West Bergen Road.

UPDATE 1:57 p.m.: Pavilion is now requested to stand by in its own quarters.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Pavilion is called to the scene in emergency mode. A thermal imaging camera will be used to check for heat in the garage.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.: EMTs are asked to check the well-being of a volunteer firefighter.

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: A deputy is requested to the scene, possibly to deal with bystanders. Earlier, command asked that they told to back away from the scene. When Bergen is through with its task, the crew can go back in service.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: The fire is out and they are breaking down their equipment and preparing to go back in service.

January 26, 2013 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in guns, Gary Maha, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

From Sheriff Gary Maha:

I have been receiving numerous inquiries in reference to what is the New York State Sheriffs' position with regard to the NY SAFE Act.

Fifty-two of the 58 Sheriffs met during our annual winter conference last week in Albany, NY, and discussed this legislation at length. There are a number of provisions in the law that the Sheriffs find to be helpful to law enforcement and to our citizens. However, there are also a number of provisions which cause us concern, and which we think should be revisited by the Governor and State Legislature. The Sheriffs of New York State are willing to work with the Governor and State Legislature as revisions and additions to the NY SAFE Act are considered.

Attached is the position statement of the New York State Sheriffs with regard to the NY SAFE Act. This position statement was sent to the Governor and State Legislative leaders.

Click here to read the position statement (PDF).

January 26, 2013 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, Andrew Cuomo, pensions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a program that would help local governments save on near-term pension costs, potentially relieving local administrations of a major budgeting challenge, but both County Manager Jay Gsell and City Manager Jason Molino are reacting to the news with some caution.

Molino said until he can fully study the budget bill, assuming this provision even moves forward, he can't really comment on it.

He isn't yet ready to agree with the governor that the city will realize $3.1 million in pension savings over the next five years.

In a press release yesterday, Cuomo isn't promising local governments that they will completely avoid the pension expense, just some relief from near-term pension cost instability.

From the press release:

Under the plan, localities are given the option for a stable pension contribution rate that significantly reduces near-term payments but still keeps the pension systems fully funded over the long term. Local governments which opt in would avoid significant volatility in contribution rates and be better able to plan for the future. Though the locality receives short-term relief, because the contribution rate remains fixed, the total amount paid into the fund by the locality would not be diminished over the life of agreement, thereby maintaining the fiscal stability of the pension fund.

While over the next five years, Genesee County could receive a $11.5 million benefit over five years under the plan, Gsell is also keeping the proposal at arm's length.

Here's his e-mail response:

On the surface it is intriguing, but there are concerns as to the back-end balloon escalators in 10 to 25 years and what Comptroller Dinapoli will do every 5 years to "protect" the retirement system dollars is a major note of caution. This could be the NYS version of the Titanic iceberg, only it involves our budgets and employees retirement assets. Once the full details and not just the second-floor spin are revealed we will look at our pay-as-you-go options.

A year ago, Albany enacted a Tier VI retirement plan, which covers only new hires by government agencies. The plan will supposedly greatly reduce local government pension costs, but not for decades from now. What Cuomo is proposing now is to shift those savings so local governments can realize some benefit from Tier VI in the near term.

In the press release, Cuomo hails the plan as a major step toward helping local governments.

"The difficult financial pressures facing localities are well-known here in Albany, and my administration from day one has been committed to helping local governments meet their budgetary obligations as well as continue to provide critical services to their residents," Governor Cuomo said. "While the Tier VI reforms were a major step toward helping local governments deal with the pension crisis, we understand that more help is needed. For this reason, the Executive Budget proposed the Stable Rate option to offer local governments and schools a bridge to the long-term savings of Tier VI, as well as greater predictability."

January 25, 2013 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, GCEDC, solar energy.

Arista Power and the Genesee County Economic Development Center will be having FREE educational workshops on solar energy and how the Solarize Genesee program works.

Solar energy, the installation process, financing, and a variety of other topics regarding solar energy will be covered.

The workshops are open to all of the community. Solarize Genesee is a new community solar program that is offering solar buyers a discount by bulk purchasing as a community. The more solar systems that are purchased, the more the cost will go down for everyone!

The education workshop schedule follows:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
  • Thursday, Feb. 7, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
  • Monday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at Batavia Town Hall
  • Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
January 25, 2013 - 4:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones.

Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha was reelected vice chair of the Executive Committee of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association on Wednesday at its 79th Annual Winter Training Conference. New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy swore in Sheriff Maha.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association, Inc., is a not-for-profit corporation, formed in 1934, for the purpose of assisting Sheriffs in the efficient and effective delivery of Sheriffs’ services to the public. It comprises all of the elected and appointed Sheriffs of New York State.




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

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