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November 24, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, elba, news, agriculture, Torrey Farms.

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Photos from the fire that broke out about 7:30 a.m., today, at Big O Farms, a property of Torrey Farms, where onions are processed.

We'll have more coverage later. Initial coverage, here.

Give thanks for our volunteer firefighters.

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November 24, 2016 - 7:33am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, elba.

A barn fire is reported at 5520 N. Byron Road. Elba and Byron fire departments are responding. "It is believed to be 'The Big O', which is the onion growing company's name. Smoke is seen coming from the structure.

UPDATE 7:35 a.m.: This is a confirmed, working barn fire. Town of Batavia Fire Department is called to stand by in Elba's fire hall. Bergen, Oakfield and Stafford are also called to the scene.

UPDATE 7:39 a.m.: This has gone to a third alarm. Alabama, Alexander, Bethany and East Pembroke fire departments are also called to the scene, along with the Town of Batavia's ladder truck.

UPDATE 8:05 a.m.: South Byron Fire Police are called to shut down traffic at North Byron and Transit roads. Churchville is asked to fill in at Bergen's fire hall.

UPDATE 8:17 a.m.: Alexander, Darien, Pembroke and Indian Falls are asked to have crews stand by in their respective fire halls in case needed. Two tankers out of Brockport are requested to the fire.

UPDATE 8:48 a.m.: National Grid is on scene. Barre is responding. Attica is asked to fill in at Alexander.

UPDATE 9:12 a.m.: "We have rolling flames," says a firefighter.

UPDATE(S) 10:49 a.m. (by Howard): When I left the scene 20 minutes ago, the fire was still burning. Fire crews are likely to be on scene all day.  I'm going to start working on my pictures and head out later for follow up.

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: This story from 2013 contains some shots of onion processing in this building.

UPDATE 12:23 p.m.: Le Roy's rescue engine is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 12:32 p.m.: Pavilion being requested to fill in at Le Roy's hall. (CORRECTION: Pavilion asked to stage in their own hall to cover Stafford and Le Roy)

UPDATE 1:36 p.m.: A man just showed up with "a bunch of Thanksgiving dinners" for the firefighters.

UPDATE 1:42 p.m.: Le Roy returning.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m.: Alexander is returning.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: Several other departments have been released, including all of the out-of-county departments

UPDATE: More coverage here.

UPDATE 4:59 p.m.: Town of Batavia's Ladder 25 is back in service.

November 23, 2016 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Grand Jury, batavia, elba, news.

James D. Pontillo is indicted on four counts of falsifying business records, 1st, and one count of grand larceny, 4th. Pontillo is accused of filing false business records with Pathstone related to Section 8 housing by filing a false information sheet, a request for tenancy approval, owner responsibility form and lead paint disclosure form. In the course of these filings, he's accused of defrauding the agency of more than $1,000.

Michael J. Jarmuz II, is indicted on a count of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, aggravated unlicensed operation, criminal impersonation, 2nd, four counts of forgery, 2nd, forgery, 3rd, and two counts of offering a false instrument for filing. Jamuz is accused of driving while under the influence in the Town of Elba on Aug. 13. He was allegedly driving while his privilege was suspended. He allegedly provided a false identity when stopped and provided a false identity when submitting to a blood sample, a fingerprint record and a patient record at UMMC.

November 22, 2016 - 9:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, elba.

A car vs. deer accident is reported in the area of 7373 Pekin Road, Elba.

Injuries are reported. 

Elba fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:19 p.m.: A Mercy medic first on scene reports minor injuries. All responders can come in non-emergency.

November 10, 2016 - 3:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Boy Scouts, elba, Troop 6017, news.

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The Boy Scouts of Troop 6017 in Elba hosted a dinner Sunday honoring veterans and first responders.

This was the third year the scouts served up spaghetti at the Fire Hall.

Submitted by Aidan McClurg.

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October 27, 2016 - 8:53am
posted by Billie Owens in politics, crime, news, elba.

A resident at 21 Main St. in the Village of Elba reports the larceny of political signs from his front lawn. Sheriff's deputies are responding to the complaint.

October 23, 2016 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba, news.

A car in the area of 5117 N. Byron Road, Elba, has rolled over after reportedly striking a deer, but the caller reports no injuries.

Elba fire dispatched, and as a precaution, Mercy EMS dispatched.

October 19, 2016 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, news.

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Investigators have spent the day trying to track down new leads that might help them discover who was involved in yesterday's robbery of the M&T Bank branch in Elba.

The robbery was reported at 2:35 p.m. yesterday and seems to have involved two men dressed in masks, gloves and hoodies who fled in a stolen car before switching cars about a block away from the bank.

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster said a team of investigators spent the day canvassing the area looking for witnesses or images from surveillance cameras that might assist in developing leads.

Investigator Joseph Graff told our news partner 13WHAM that investigators are also checking with costume shops to see if any connection can be made between the masks and gloves the suspects were wearing and a recent purchase.

Brewster said the Sheriff's Office is conferring with the FBI and law enforcement in Monroe County.

The initial getaway car was stolen from a car dealership in Rochester and had a stolen plate on the rear of the car.

Anybody who might have information that can assist in the investigation can call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000.

Photo released this afternoon of the second suspect.

October 18, 2016 - 7:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, elba.

Submitted photos and press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

At approximately 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center (9-1-1) received a report from a teller at Elba M&T Bank, 7133 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98), Elba, that the bank had been robbed.

A description of a vehicle involved in the robbery was given to dispatchers and patrols from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police responded.

The bank teller observed the get-away car and license plate number and reported it to dispatch, along with a discription of the two robbers. The car was described as a silver Dodge Stratus, which traveled northbound on Route 98 upon leaving the bank.

The two suspects were wearing face masks, gloves and dark-colored hoodies. The get-away car was located approximately 1/10th of a mile north of the bank and it looked like the suspects got into another vehicle and fled.

Investigation revealed that the silver Dodge Stratus was stolen from the Spencerport area and the license plates were stolen from the City of Rochester.

The amount of money stolen is unknown, but it is believed to be not substantial.

Investigation is continuing by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, New York State Police and FBI.

For more information, contact Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, (585) 345-3000, ext. 3503.

October 18, 2016 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, elba, news.

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A bank robbery is reported at the M&T Bank on Route 98 in Elba. Elba High School is on lockdown. The suspect vehicle left heading northbound on Route 98. Sheriff's deputies are responding.

UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: In a field north of the bank, money is strewn about. The area is cordoned off. Some of the currency is bunched in a packet, streaked with dye.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: No one is injured. The bank is located at 7133 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98).

UPDATE 3:23 p.m.: There are at least two suspects, both of whom were completely covered up and wearing ski masks and gloves. One person matching an eyewitness's description has been spotted walking along a road in Bergen -- a male wearing a gray sweatshirt and dark pants.

UPDATE 3:43 p.m.: The school is no longer on lockdown.

UPDATE 3:56 p.m.: The man spotted walking in Bergen was found to have no connection to this crime.

UPDATE 3:59 p.m.: According to Sheriff's Gary Maha, the call came into dispatch at 2:35 this afternoon of a robbery at M&T Bank. State Police and Sherifffs deputies responded and spoke with the tellers, who "were very good" at providing law enforcement with details about the suspect vehicle, including the plate, and a description of the two suspects at the scene. The vehicle was reported stolen in Rochester. The men both wore hooded sweatshirts, gloves and carried black handguns. They "appeared very nervous" and verbally demanded money and handed tellers bags for them to put it in. One suspect is described as black and the race of the other is uncertain. They left with some money, some of which was ruined by the dye packets, and some was left scattered on the ground. They fled north on Route 98 a short distance, then ditched the vehicle. Whether they were picked up by someone else or had another vehicle parked in the vicinity is unknown at this time. Maha said they ought to have photos to release later today. Investigators are poring over the bank's video and still pictures. They are going to process the abandoned vehicle for clues. Maha said this was the same bank that was robbed in 2009 and the tellers handled it as well as can be expected. "They are shook up, as you would be if someone pointed a gun at you, I'm sure," Maha said. "Fortunately, nobody got hurt. That's the main thing."

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October 18, 2016 - 2:30pm

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $55,000 in state funding to establish a new joint agriculture education program for Oakfield-Alabama Central and Elba Central School districts.

The mission of the new program is to encourage more high school students to explore agriculture and consider a career in the industry.

“This important program will serve as another tool for educators to cultivate student development and success, and I am proud to have been able to jump start this new program," Ranzenhofer said. "Now, our students will have better opportunities to learn more about agriculture and be inspired to start a career in the industry."

The start-up funding will cover equipment, field trip expenses, instructional resources and materials, and instructional salaries. Enrolled students, in grades nine through 12, will experience classroom instruction, hands-on projects and opportunities to visit local businesses with a connection to the agriculture industry. The program will be administered by and located at the Oakfield-Alabama School District.

“We appreciate the support of Senator Ranzenhofer in this new program. Our students are surrounded by agriculture and now have the opportunity to learn about the careers of the industry. We hope the program will motivate some of our graduates to remain in the area as well,” said Oakfield-Alabama Superintendent Mark A. Alexander.

Agriculture and its related industries are the number one economic driver for Genesee County and New York State, and industry demand for a properly trained workforce is greater than ever. According to the Land O' Lakes Foundation, food production in the next 50 years will need to be higher than the prior 500 years.

Senator Ranzenhofer’s office received letters of support from the local agriculture industry, including: Cornell University Cooperative Extension Genesee County; Lamb Farms Inc.; CY Farms LLC; East Pembroke Grange; Wayne E. Phelps Ent. Inc.; Offhaus Farms Inc.; and Z&M Ag and Turf.

The Oakfield-Alabama Board of Education will publicly recognize Senator Ranzenhofer for his efforts to establish the new program during tonight’s board meeting.

October 17, 2016 - 1:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in elba, Announcements, news, music, genesee valley wind ensemble.

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble will perform its Autumn Concert "First & Final Steps" beginning at 4 p.m. in the Elba Central School Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 13.

The school is located at 57 S. Main St.

The purpose of the ensemble is to serve and provide the Greater Genesee Valley audience with new and familiar live music, to serve its membership with the opportunity to perform challenging wind ensemble literature and to create the opportunity for the conductor and musicians to grow their collective musical talents.

Admission is:

  • $25 -- Family Deal -- for immediate family and children defined a mother and/or father and up to four children
  • $10 -- Adult
  • $8 -- Senior (55+) & Veteran
  • $5 -- Student with ID
  • Free -- Children age 5 and younger

Also, printed on the back of the tickets will be a coupon for Chap's Elba Diner, which can only be used immediately following the concert for 10 percent off their bill.

To contact the ensemble, email    [email protected] 

The concert will feature these works:

"A Movement for Rosa" by Mark Camphouse

"Music for a Darkened Theatre" by Danny Elfman

"Over the Rainbow" by E.Y. Harburg & Harold Arlen

"Commando March" by Samuel Barber

"A Fifties Time Capsule" -- arrangements by Paul Jennings

"Chorale and Shaker Dance" by John Zdechlik

"Library of Congress March" by John Philip Sousa

"Star Trek: Into Darkness" -- arrangements by Michael Brown

October 15, 2016 - 11:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oakfield-alabama, elba.

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Oakfield-Alabama/Elba ruined an otherwise perfect homecoming night for Notre Dame to end the season by scoring 16 fourth quarter points to seal a 22-6 win.

It was the first win of the season for OA/Elba, so both teams finish the year at 1-6.

QB Reice Woodward was only 1-7 passing for one yard, but he gained 149 yards on the ground on 14 carries and scored twice. Tucker Bezon rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries.

For the Irish, Brendan Klotzbach was 10-16 passing for 107 yards.

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To purchase prints, click here.

October 15, 2016 - 3:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, elba, news.

A caller to dispatch reports three girls about 8 years old are walking westbound on West Avenue in Elba and they are allegedly taking other people's mail and carrying it with them.

UPDATE 3:12 p.m.: The caller "is concerned that they are going to be injured," perhaps due to their proximity to oncoming traffic.

UPDATED 5:25 p.m., Oct. 16: Here's the email we received from a parent; we withheld the name.

Please post an update on news of the trio of Elba girls stealing mail.  

I'm one of the fathers of the three girls that were delivering the mail in Elba on Saturday. I just wanted to leave a note saying that my daughter and I went door to door and apologized for the action. I realize the person who called it in to the sheriff thought they were stealing the mail but they were delivering it to the front door of each home trying to be helpful. I have discussed it with my daughter and she knows the consequences of her actions.
October 10, 2016 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, Oakfield, byron, elba.

On Oct. 1-2, Barry Flansburg, Albion Future Farmers of America Alumni president, joined others throughout the region to help determine how they could better support agricultural education and their local FFA chapters. Flansburg is an assessor for the communities of Oakfield/Byron/Elba.

The National FFA Alumni Organization recently hosted a regional development conference in Rochester, which delivered professional, personal and alumni program development to local and state members. In addition, the conference was a time for alumni members to network and share local visions of innovation with other alumni chapters and state associations.

"As alumni, it is our responsibility to serve as a source of relief for our agriculture educators as well as attract new volunteers and supporters to help our FFA programs," said National FFA Alumni Executive Director Josh Rusk. "Our hope is that the regional development conferences will give alumni the tools and support they need to be successful in that endeavor."

This conference was one of six to be held this year. The other locations for the conferences include Oklahoma City, Okla., Burbank, Wash., Ankeny, Iowa, Oxford, Ohio, and Atlanta.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 629,367 student members who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

October 3, 2016 - 4:30pm
The annual Roast Beef Supper to benefit the Historical Society of Elba will be held this Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Elba Firemen's Rec Hall on Route 98 at the corner of Route 262 (7143 Oak Orchard Road, Elba).
 
Takeouts available starting at 4:30; serving begins at 5. Basket raffles starts at 6.
 
Cost is $9.50 adults, ages 5 to 12, $4.50, and 5 and under FREE.
 
Call for reservations -- June R. at 585-757-2791.
October 3, 2016 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, education, elba, byron, bergen, Oakfield, Alabama, Announcements.

Press release:

For students, the junior and senior years of high school are filled with many critical decisions about the future. The College and Career Counseling Center at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School is working hard to make preparing for life-beyond-school easier for students and their families.

This is the second year for the school’s dedicated Center, led by counselor Rob Kaercher. The Center is busy in the fall with a full schedule of visits and special presentations from a wide range of regional and national two- and four-year colleges, trade schools, and military branches.

(A Financial Aid Night is scheduled at 6:30 on Oct. 20 to help families from Byron-Bergen, Elba, and Oakfield-Alabama with the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.It will be held in the Byron-Bergen High School auditorium.)

Jr./Sr. High School Principal Patrick McGee said, "Our goal is to provide a wide variety of opportunities for our students in the areas of college and/or career. I feel we are ahead of the curve in this area as our students now have a daily chance to identify a pathway and gain a much better sense of what their post-secondary plans will be."

Students at the school not only have access to extensive in-person and online resources in the Center; they also get invaluable hands-on, one-to-one guidance from college-and-career expert Kaercher.

“This is a small school, and I can really get to know our kids as individuals,” Kaercher said. “I start as early as possible with them, so they have more options. I can help them find educational and career directions that match up with their interests and values.

"I enjoy working with them and their parents on financial aid, exploring scholarships, and completing their college applications. The commitment our district has to this initiative is extraordinary—kids at B-B can have a similar support experience to what they might find at a private school or with a paid independent college counselor.”

The College and Career Center has greatly expanded its services this year:

  • Instant Admissions Week is being offered Nov. 7-10. Participating colleges include Erie Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College, Monroe Community College, Niagara Community College, The College at Brockport, and SUNY Alfred State. “It is an exciting opportunity for kids to present themselves, have a short interview, and potentially get an on-the-spot decision from that college,” Kaercher said.
  • Students will be ready for that interview thanks to another innovation the Center offers: virtual interviews with online avatars. The district’s teachers use an interactive professional development tool called Mursion, which employs practice with avatars to improve teaching technique. The Center has adjusted and expanded the program for students to use to develop better interviewing skills.
  • The Naviance Family Connection, which was introduced to seniors last year, is now available to juniors, too. The online program helps students inventory their interests, research careers, search for colleges, create resumes, and submit applications. "Our current focus has been working with upperclassmen,” Kaercher said. “But as the Center continues to become established, more opportunities, including Naviance, will be available to junior high school students."
  • The Center has also increased its college and industry visits this year. “We have found these to be very important,” Kaercher said. “Students have the chance to make connections directly with the actual decision makers, the admissions counselors and company human resources directors.”

“This can be a difficult and confusing time if you are trying to navigate it all by yourself,” Kaercher said. “We want to help make the process much easier. We are reaching out to parents and families—we hope they will contact the Jr./Sr. High School office to get more information.”

October 3, 2016 - 3:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in elba, Announcements, news, walk to school day.

Press release:

The Wellness Committee at Elba Central School is sponsoring its second annual Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 5th. About 100 students from Elba Central School will join schools from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day.

Parents, teachers and community members will join them. They will gather at 7 a.m. at the Elba Baptist Church, located at 31 S. Main St., Elba. Upon arrival to the school cafeteria at about 7:20 a.m., there will be special activities associated with the walk.

Genesee County's Safety Officer, Tim Wescott, will give a talk to the students. There will be a healthy light snack that has been donated by Harrington’s Produce, Yancey's Fancy Cheese, Alpina Yogurt, and Post Farms. Every student participant will be allowed to enter a drawing to win a backpack full of school supplies. They will also be given a one-day pass to the YMCA. Thank you to our sponsors!

Walk to School Day raises awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling. It emphasizes the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment. This event builds connections between families, schools and the community.

The Wellness Committee at Elba Central School organizes events such as this to promote health and wellness among our staff, students and community through healthy events.

For additional local information, please contact Jennifer at [email protected], 757-9967

For additional information, please visit these websites:

Walk to School Day in the USA:    www.walkbiketoschool.org              

National Center for Safe Routes to School:    www.saferoutesinfo.org

September 28, 2016 - 1:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, Alabama, elba, volleyball, news, sports, charity, breast cancer.

Mark your calendars for the Dig Pink Game on Oct. 6 when Oakfield-Alabama and Elba high school volleyball players compete again Wheatland-Chili to benefit The Side-Out Foundation.

The JV matchup starts at 5 p.m. and the varsity game begins at 6:30. They will take place inside the Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School Gymnasium, located at 7001 Lewiston Road in Oakfield.

There will be 50/50 raffles, refreshments, raffles items and a serving contest.

This is the sixth year of the Dig Pink Game and to date more than $7,000 has been raised locally for the nonprofit foundation, whose mission is to enhance breast cancer research and awareness.

September 26, 2016 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, elba, Oakfield, batavia, byron, Alabama, Alexander..

Somebody is stealing batteries from large trucks, buses, and heavy equipment and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office is looking for the public's help in identifying the culprit.

These are known as Type 31 batteries. They retail for as much as $300 and have resale and recycling value.

Investigators say the series of thefts seem confined to Genesee County, particularly in Elba, Oakfield, Batavia, Byron, Alabama and Alexander.

The Sheriff's Office has received more than a dozen complaints of such thefts, which occur overnight.

Anyone with information that may pertain to the case can call (585) 343-5000.

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

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