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May 14, 2013 - 12:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, lt. eugene jankowski.

Former Batavia PD lieutenant Eugene Jankowski was honored Monday night by the Batavia City Council for his 34 years of service to the city.

Among Jankowski's many accomplishments was creating the Emergency Response Team (commonly referred to in other jurisdictions as SWAT).

Jankowski was forced to retire earlier this year when the lieutenant positions were eliminated from the Batavia police force.

Two weeks ago, the City GOP committee endorsed Jankowski for one of the three at-large council positions up for election in November.

May 13, 2013 - 11:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.
Here's WGRZ's report on the compensation paid to Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC.
May 13, 2013 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, east pembroke.

Two four-wheel ATVs have been stolen from a residence in East Pembroke and the owner is offering a cash reward for their return.

They belong to Parker Dean, who has been racing motocross and flat track on the local and national circuit for eight years. The theft comes at a particularly bad time -- the start of the season.

One is a blue 2001 Yamaha Raptor 660 with ITP Holeshot  front tires and ITP mud lite rear tires, DG front bumper, TCS front shocks with black PEP shock covers and carbon fiber hand guards.

The other ATV is green Suzuki Ltr 450 with a custom black and green Quadtech seat, gunmetal hinson clutch cover, Quadtech carbon fiber shock guards, 127 number plate.

The reward will be paid upon return of the quads and "conviction of the scum who sold them," according to the flyer we were sent.

Call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000 with any information that may assist in the investigation.

May 13, 2013 - 11:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, South Lyon Street.

The one-lane, metal-mesh bridge crossing the Tonawanda Creek at South Lyon Street was put in place in 1984 -- as a temporary bridge.

But Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told county legislators on Monday that it won't be replaced any time soon.

There's been a 40-percent cut in federal aid for roads and bridges and the South Lyon bridge replacement -- originally slated for 2014 -- had its funding slashed by the state.

The earliest it could be replaced is 2018.

Using grant money now to design a new bridge would start a 10-year clock on getting the bridge built, with no promise that it could be built by 2023. So, the design money for South Lyon needs to go to other projects, Hens said.

Those projects include the North Pembroke Road bridge, the Hopkins Road bridge and the Griswold Road bridge.

The current replacement cost for the South Lyon bridge is $1.7 million. The current bridge is known as a "Baily bridge," a design developed during World War II for pre-fab, easily installed bridges.

The bridge handles 2,500 cars a day and if it were simply closed, crossings at Oak Street and River Street, which already have heavy traffic, would take on the overflow.

(COR Development out of Syracuse was recently granted tax abatements by Genesee County Economic Development Center of $1.7 million for renovations at Batavia Towne Center.)

May 13, 2013 - 10:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, second-hand dealers.

A proposal to require pawn shops and precious metal dealers to make daily reports of items bought to local law enforcement cleared its first hurdle today.

The Public Service Committee set a public hearing for 7 p.m., June 12, which is required before a proposal can become law.

The 10 businesses local officials believe will be directly impacted by the proposed law will receive direct notification of the meeting.

Det. Sgt. Pat Corona and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster joined District Attorney Lawrence Friedman in presenting the proposal to the legislative committee.

The law covers any business that takes in metal of value -- whether it's a gold dealer or pawn shop handling gold and silver or a scrap dealer recycling iron and copper.

It doesn't cover second-hand dealers that don't buy and resell metal, though a pawn shop that buys gold would need to record and report all of its purchase transactions.

Pawn shops are already required to record the identity of sellers, but the new law would also require them to file a daily report with the Sheriff's Office.

"If we're given a description of somebody that we know is a thief and has recently turned in some gold rings and we can relate that to a recent crime, it's going to help us tremendously to recover the property," Brewster said.

Both Brewster and Corona said that over the years, as pawn brokers have come and gone, they've found some who are easy to work with and others who were quite clearly willing to take and dispose of stolen property quickly.

The law would help with those who seem to know they're buying stolen goods.

"We had a recent residential burglary and because we had a good relationship (with a local broker), we were able to quickly put a case together and make an arrest for burglary in the second degree," Corona said. "If we have a good relationship, fine, it works out, but it depends on who is running the establishment. I've had some experiences where the relationship wasn't that good. This would take that element out of it because there would be a requirement that you provide a report to the Sheriff's Office."

Friedman said the proposed law went though four drafts -- though no local shop owners were consulted during that process. It's designed to deal with very specific kinds of second-hand brokers.

Those business owners will be given their chance to chime in on the new law at the June 12 public hearing.

May 13, 2013 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, Seymore Place.

Tonisha Price has a growing little bakery business -- so much so that she needed to move Sweet Ecstasy out of her cramped shop in Stafford and find a space closer to her growing customer base in Batavia.

While going through the city's grant process, she had a meeting at Seymore Place, the former Batavia Club building at Main and Bank streets that is home to GO ART!

She'd already scouted several locations in Batavia, but immediately recognized Seymore Place as the perfect quaint locale for what she wanted to do -- expand her bakery business, but also provide a cozy setting for lunches and catered affairs.

"As we were going through the approval process, we ran across this place," Price said. "This wasn't our first choice, but once we saw it, we fell in love and here we are today."

Besides sweet treats, Sweet Ecstasy will offer grilled sandwiches, quiches and soup on a daily basis for lunch. Every Friday is "fresh bread Friday."

Price is also planning "supper clubs," where one night a month, there will be a special dinner served. The first one -- date to be announced -- will feature sushi.

The new location opened Friday and Price has already booked five special events that take advantage of the unique space at Seymore Place and she's looking to book more bridal showers, receptions, birthday parties, tea parties, office parties and other such events.

Sweet Ecstasy is also applying for a liquor license so they can serve wines and craft beers.

Photo: Price, Jean Robbins, and Tonisha's mother Carla Price, seated.

May 13, 2013 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Big Pauly's.

As promised, Paul Berardini opened his new pizza shop today, Big Pauly's. It's in the same location as the former Pauly's Pizza (314 Ellicott St., Batavia).

May 13, 2013 - 9:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in safety, motorcycles.

Meet Trooper Mike Niezgoda, who is part of the State Police motorcycle detail out of Clarence.

Trooper Niezgoda was nice enough to meet me one day out in Pembroke for a photo and an interview to coincide with Motorcycle Safety Month. It was a great interview. Unfortunately, my recorder failed me and the interview was lost.

We've tried to arrange a follow-up phone interview, but it hasn't quite come together.

But it's still an important public service message: Be careful out there.

Car drivers, be aware that you share the road with two-wheeled friends. 

One thing Niezgoda emphasized is "look twice." Most car-motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because drivers simply don't see the approaching motorcycle so they pull out into traffic, especially when making turns.

Drivers need to be careful about following too closely behind motorcycles. Hitting a bike from the rear can be fatal for the rider, even if the speeds would have resulted in just a fender-bender for cars.

For motorcycle riders -- get as much safety training as you can, wear DOT approved helmets, and be alert for drivers pulling into your path.

A couple of notes about Niezgoda and his bike. Trooper Niezgoda is also a Marine. He served a tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. He is passionate about motorcycles and rides a Harley in his off-time as well. The Harley he is riding was part of the factory output on Sept. 11, 2001. Harley-Davidson donated that run of bikes to NYPD and State Police.

May 13, 2013 - 8:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, bergen.

Chantal M. Lord, 32, of 82 Gilbert St., Le Roy, is charged with two counts of grand larceny, 4th, and two counts of petit larceny. Lord was charged following a Le Roy PD investigation into missing money from a relative's bank account. Lord is accused of using the relative's debit card on two separate occasions without permission to make withdrawals from the relative's bank account. Lord was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Joshua M. Banick, 22, of 3 McIntosh St., Liverpool, is charged with DWI, driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol, failure to keep right and unsafe backing. Banick allegedly had a near head-on collision with a Batavia PD patrol vehicle in the area of 509 East Main St., Batavia, at 1:40 a.m., Thursday. Banick then allegedly backed up and through the 7-11 parking lot and over a concrete parking space bumper, coming to rest on the sidewalk near the front entrance. Banick was transported back to College Village following his arrest.

Morgan B. Mikolajczyk, 19, of 328 S. Jackson St., Batavia, was arrested at Tim Horton's on a warrant for alleged failure to appear in City Court on an unreasonable noise charge.

Douglas G. Goodwin Jr., 22, of 130 Bank St., Batavia, turned himself in on an arrest warrant out of City Court related to an alleged parking violation for parking facing the wrong way.

Michael J. Carroll, 21, of 16 Harvester Ave., Batavia, was arrested by Monroe County Sheriff's and turned over to Batavia PD on a warrant out of City Court related to a charged of possession of alcohol under age 21.

Shaneeka R. Wroten, 20, of 16 Central Ave., rear, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Wroten was arrested on a warrant out of City Court related to the listed charges.

Samantha L. Tennity, 18, of 318 E. Main St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Tennity is accused of shoplifting from Dollar General.

Jeremy M. Denton, 27, of Brockport, is charged with felony DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, unreasonable speed, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving left of pavement markings and moving from lane unsafely. Denton was allegedly involved in a single-car accident at 1:23 a.m., Friday, on Route 19, Bergen. He allegedly fled the scene was was later located. The accident was investigated by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Jeffrey Louis Deats, 26, of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Deats is accused of making threatening phone calls to a woman.

Destiny S. Milroy, 16, of Le Roy, is charged with assault, 3rd. Milroy was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 8:28 a.m., May 1, in the Town of Le Roy. No further details released.

May 13, 2013 - 7:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway.

A fuel leak of approximately 50 gallons is reported at the Pembroke service area on the Thruway.

East Pembroke Fire Department is being dispatched.

May 13, 2013 - 6:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A two-car accident is reported on Lewiston Road at Gorton Road, Alabama.

A person is trapped in a vehicle and there is at least one injury.

One vehicle is on its side.

Mercy Flight is available if needed.

A passerby is stabilizing the person who is trapped and reports smelling fuel.

Oakfield is requested mutual aid with extrication equipment.

A deputy reports both vehicles leaking fuel but no source of ignition at this time.

Traffic is being shut down at Route 63 and Maple.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 6:44 a.m.: Mercy Flight 5 requested to the scene.

UPDATE 6:47 a.m.: A second Mercy ambulance requested to the scene.

UPDATE 6:52 a.m.: A medic on scene says Mercy Flight won't be necessary. Mercy Flight cancelled.

UPDATE 6:57 a.m.: Patient extricated.

UPDATE 8 a.m.: Alabama assignment back in service.

May 12, 2013 - 3:44pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in GCC, sports, lacrosse.

GARDEN CITY: No.2 Genesee Community College was unable to get by No.3 Nassau Community College in the NJCAA National Men’s Lacrosse Final Four Semifinals on Saturday afternoon, falling by a final score of 15-6 and bringing the Cougars’ season to an end.

Genesee got on the board first after Tyler Skowronski scored just over three-minutes in to give GCC a 1-0 lead. Nassau tied it three minutes later and then converted on the man-up with a goal at the 8:03 mark to take a 2-1 lead. The Lions scored two more times before the end of the opening period and led 4-1 after one.

Nassau upped its lead to 5-1 less than thirty-seconds into the second quarter and made it 6-1 at the 3:32 mark before the game was delayed nearly an hour due to weather.

After the restart, Nassau took advantage of another man-up situation and scored with eight-minutes remaining in the half to take a 7-1 lead. Genesee had a chance to cut into the deficit late in the second quarter, but could not capitalize on a three-man advantage. Nassau scored two more times before the end of the half and led 9-1 at the break.

Blake Hurt broke a nearly 27-minute scoring drought for GCC with a goal just 40-seconds into the second half to get the Cougars to within 9-2. Nassau answered quickly to make it 10-2 and then scored with a two-man advantage to increase its lead to 11-2. Hurt scored again for GCC with just over a minute left in the third and the Cougars trailed 11-3 going into the fourth quarter.

Nassau struck twice early in the fourth, including another goal with a two-man advantage, before Chris Rabung got a man-up goal for GCC to make it 14-4. Saxon Weil and Christian Reiller followed with a goal each for Genesee to get the Cougars to within 14-6, but Nassau finished the scoring with a goal at the 2:56 mark and ended GCC’s season with a nine-goal victory.

Brady Lawrence made 14 saves in net for GCC on the afternoon. Of GCC’s 27 shots, 15 were on net.

The Cougars were successful two out of eight times with the man advantage in the game and allowed five man-up goals to Nassau.

Genesee ends the season with a 15-3 overall record.

May 12, 2013 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

Temperatures late tonight through 8 a.m. could dip below 30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The freeze could damage crops and other sensitive vegetation.

The freeze watch covers most of WNY except Wyoming County, interior Southern Tier and along the Lake Ontario coast.

Also, a thunderstorm is moving across the region and could hit Genesee County later this afternoon.

Strong winds are expected to continue throughout the day.

May 12, 2013 - 2:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, Darien, Le Roy, Bethany, Stafford, accidents, bergen.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported on the eastbound Thruway at mile marker 382.1. Le Roy Fire and Ambulance Service is responding.

UPDATE 2:59 p.m.: Due to the lack of available ambulances, Bergen's ambulance is requested to the scene. An ambulance from Caledonia is also called. A person at the scene reports three people are injured.

UPDATE 3:02 p.m.: The availability of Mercy Flight is checked. Also, an ambulance from Henrietta is called in.

UPDATE 3:07 p.m.: A responder reports there are six patients. A second ambulance out of Henrietta is requested. Mercy Flight out of Buffalo is available.

UPDATE 3:09 p.m.: Apparently Byron was also called, because Byron is requesting Clarendon is asked to stand by in Byron's fire hall.

UPDATE 3:11 p.m.: A Mercy rig has become available and it is asked to stage at the Thruway entrance.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: Bergen is taking a patient to Rochester General Hospital. Stafford is asked to stand by in its own quarters.

UPDATE 3:22 p.m.: Bethany's ambulance is requested. A crew from Darien is asked to assemble in quarters.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: A patient is being taken to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 3:34 p.m.: A chief on scene reports five patients have been removed from a vehicle. Henrietta is taking a patient to Strong.

UPDATE 3:39 p.m.: Caledonia is taking a victim to Strong.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: Stafford is told to stand down from its standby in quarters.

UPDATE 3:48 p.m.: Le Roy fire is packing up and preparing to return to service and the State Troopers are in charge of the scene.

May 12, 2013 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in Deal of the Day.

Dave's Ice Cream, 3872 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, NY. Dave's offers only locally purchased products, including Perry's hard ice cream in a wide variety of yummy flavors, with a wonderful assortment of toppings and homemade waffle cones. Different soft-serve flavors are offered weekly. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

The Color Salon, 35 Center St., Batavia, NY: Our attention to detail, combined with the focus on precision haircutting techniques will ensure that your hair will be your best accessory when you leave The Color Salon. We offer all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, up-dos, as well as waxing services. We carry products such as KMS and Paul Mitchell. Now available: Bella Taylor purses! We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Greg'ry's Bakery, 13 N. Lake Road, Bergen, NY: The bakery offers a variety of the finest cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, breads, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and so much more. Each treat is made the same as it has been for decades and baked right here. Come in and sample some for yourself! We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, 9 Main St., Le Roy, NY. The kind of downhome, laid-back and comfortable place that just feels right. Open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks, this eatery and bar features a variety of eats and drinks that are outstanding. Specializing in smoked meats -- each meat is dry rubbed with a proprietary mix of seasonings, then smoked slowly in their on-site smoker for maximum flavor and tenderness. With a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, combo platters and entrées, there's always plenty of choice for even picky eaters. Great food, frosty brews and some of the best folk around call the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew their favorite -- make it your favorite today! Don't forget to ask about our catering! We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Salsa & Curry, 13 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: An authentic Mexican restaurant, offering all of your favorite dishes from enchiladas and burritos to tacos and fajitas, as well as daily Indian food specials. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY. A retail and special order bakery located in Stafford. Offering a wide variety of items such as cookies, filled cupcakes, quick breads, pies, breakfast pastries, daily. On Fridays, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery offers fresh artisan bread like baguettes, sourdough and rye starting at noon. The custom cakes are out of this world with 3D characters or gorgeous wedding cakes to suit any budget. For all your sweet treats, we have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Mane Attraction Salon and Spa99 Main St., Batavia, NY: offers "Affordable Luxury" in downtown Batavia. We pride ourselves in the great customer service we give to the entire family. Men, women and children are all welcome either by appointment or walk-in. We offer all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, facials, leg and back waxing, Shellac Polish System, manicures and pedicures. We are the only salon in Batavia that has an airplane chair for kids' cuts! Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun and good food are always on tap. Come try one of our many delicious burgers that we have to offer, as well as our HUGE Bomber Sandwich, homemade chicken fingers made to order, and the all-time favorite Dumpster Plate with many choices. We deliver. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Alabama Hotel, 1353 Lewiston Road, Basom, NY: A historic and legendary tavern and restaurant. The Alabama Hotel is famous for its fish fries, but also serves a variety of top-quality entrees, featuring Certified Angus Beef. Now with expanded hours. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Jagged Edges Salon, 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, NY: Jagged Edges Salon is a walk-in and appointment salon for men, women and children. It is a fun, welcoming salon that offers all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, treatments, and facial waxing. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

T.F. Brown's, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." Stop in and check out our Jumbo Chicken Wings, Roast Beef on Weck and Friday night fish fry. The original family spaghetti sauce still adorns all of our Italian specialties. The other popular selections from our menu range from Super Salads, butcher cut Strip Loin and South of the Border items. We offer daily lunch and dinner specials as well as a full adult and children’s menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Whether you need just the right gift or a memorial or just want to brighten your own home or workplace, The Enchanted Florist can put together just the right floral arrangement for you. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Daphne's Restaurant, 241 Swan St., (Off Rt. 63/Ellicott St.) Batavia, NY. Daphne's is destined to become a favorite for any who enjoy something special in a dining experience. Formerly the old St. Nick's Social Club, now unrecognizable to those who used to frequent the club, Daphne's provides you with a warm, inviting atmosphere and decor, which complements the array of wonderful dishes. We offer homemade seafood and pasta dishes, meatballs that are addicting as well as large salads, hot sandwiches & homemade potato chips. Fresh desserts are prepared in our own kitchen (tiramisu has been the top seller so far). We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY: Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985, plus wings, pasta and more. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

Bohn's Restaurant, 5256 Clinton St., Batavia, NY: Fine dining in an atmosphere of casual elegance. Lunch and dinner, steak, prime rib and seafood. Ask about Bohn's catering services and banquet facility. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

SOLD OUT

May 11, 2013 - 11:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom.

Deputies are heading to the area of Shanks Road and Sandhill Road, Basom, to check on reports of loud booms.

A dispatcher said there have been multiple calls and one as far away as Indian Falls Road.

About 20 or 30 minutes ago, a deputy checked on a report of a loud boom from a caller in the Indian Falls Road area and didn't find anything.

A dispatcher said one of the booms was audible while dispatchers were on the phone with a caller.

UPDATE 11:16 p.m.: Another caller has said, "It sounds like some kids having some fun."

UPDATE 11:25 p.m.: There's a large party on Shanks Road. Deputies going back in service.

May 11, 2013 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, Harvester Avenue.

Today was Women Build Day at the Habitant for Humanity project house on Harvester Avenue. More than 75 percent of the workers at the job site were women, part of a national week that recognizes women in the construction trades.

Work on the house began Wednesday with the Day of Caring.

Above, Kelly McCaffery, of Rochester, removes from debris from the house. Also pictured below, Charlotte Dickson (carrying wood out of the house) and Marsha (no last name given) from Wyoming, who was prying wood from the walls of the kitchen.

May 11, 2013 - 8:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, hlom.

Mrs. Richmond hosted a tea party at the Holland Land Office Museum today and dozens of local women attended.

Awards were given for the best hats.

Above, Dona LaValle, who won the award for best hat and ensemble.

Below, Anne Barone, most original, and Maryanne Arena, most elegant.


May 11, 2013 - 8:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park.

Darien Lake Theme Park is getting back to basics -- entertaining families and celebrating its Western New York roots.

Symbolic of that theme was the grand opening today of the 2013 season with a ceremony honoring Paul Snyder, the founder of Darien Lake Fun Country, which was primarily a campground until 1981, when Snyder opened an amusement park.

Snyder, now owner of Beaver Hollow in Java, said he wanted to create a family-oriented atmosphere and he's glad to see Darien's current owners, Herschend Family Entertainment, putting more emphasis on family rides and attractions.

"They've turned it back into a family-oriented resort," Snyder (top photo) said. "I think when Six Flags owned it, they made it kind of a hard-ride park for teenagers and young adults. It was different and harder and I think (the present ownership) has done of good job of turning it back into a family-oriented park. They've done a good job."

New this year is an area called Boardwalk, which features a renovated carousal and Blast Off, a brand new ride that General Manager Bob Montgomery called a "family thrill ride."  It simulates the feeling of "riding a rocket ship to the moon," generating four Gs of air-powered force.

Also new this year is an Anchor Bar food stand, which fits into a growing trend at Darien Lake to feature things that make WNY special. The original Anchor Bar in Buffalo, of course, is where buffalo wings were invented.

The park also serves two other WNY delicacies, Perry's ice cream and Sahlen's hot dogs.

Local music will also get a little extra attention this summer with local bands being invited in for a summer-long battle of the bands.

One of the upgrades to the carousal was decorating it with paintings of WNY scenes (two photographs by Howard Owens were turned into paintings for the carousel -- a picture of a barn in Stafford and a sunrise over Harlow Lake (pictures below).

All of Herschend's parks feature regional themes, Montgomery said, but it's also what the company's research showed people wanted as part of the Darien experience.

Even our Canadian visitors, they're coming to a different country and they wanted an experience that reflected that," Montgomery said. "That's why we began the relationship with Anchor Bar. That's going to be appreciated by our local visitors, but by the people that come from further away as well."

The park's light show has also been upgraded into a bigger laser and fireworks show called "Ignite the Night."

The creation of Broadwalk, installation of Blast Off and creation of "Ignite the Night" was a lot to take on over the off-season, Montgomery said, so the push toward more WNY touches is far from over. There's only so much that can be done during a single off-season.

"You'll see that more and more as we make our way around the park with renovations, bringing those things in," Montgomery said.

Snyder is clearly proud of what the park he started as become and said it's something Genesee County should treasure.

"Darien Lake is the largest privately owned attraction in the State of New York," Snyder said. "A lot of people don't know that, the fact that it employs thousands of young people every year and that employment probably helps keep those kids working and out of trouble -- there's just so many benefits that flow from the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars at this point, it's unique and special."

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