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Howard B. Owens's blog

November 9, 2008 - 9:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, help.

The following links are designed to help you better understand how things work on The Batavian.

 

May 26, 2015 - 6:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

“As a public official, I have sworn to protect the citizens of my district and taxpayers of New York State by honoring my office and embracing integrity, openness and transparency in my role as an elected leader. It is repugnant to have taxpayers fund the pensions and retirement benefits for public officials convicted of corruption and other felonies related to their official duties. It is morally and professionally irresponsible to ask the residents, whom we have betrayed and stolen from, to line the pockets of public officials who have used their power and social status for personal gain. We are public servants and our focus should be on improving the public’s faith in government and serving our constituents to the best of our abilities.

“The Assembly Minority Conference has led the charge on stripping corrupt public officials of their state pension and retirement benefits. I sponsor bipartisan legislation, A.4643-A, that would accomplish these goals. We were told by the Assembly Majority and Gov. Cuomo that a pension forfeiture bill would be voted upon during budget night this year. To the surprise of many, no such bill reached the Assembly floor for a vote for unknown reasons and we are still waiting on this initiative to pass. With only 12 session days left, and overwhelming support from across the aisle and the governor’s office, I cannot imagine why this bill has not reached the legislature for a vote. This common-sense measure is way past due and cannot wait until next January for action. I will continue to push this measure to do what is right for the people of New York State.” 

May 26, 2015 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, corfu, pembroke, Alabama, bergen, Darien.

Shane P. Buyck, 26, of North Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with burglary, 2nd. At 6:21 p.m. Monday, deputies and troopers were dispatched to a residence on North Bergen Road after the homeowner returned home to find an intruder in his house. The intruder fled on foot, leaving a car in the driveway. The registration reportedly came back to Shane P. Buyck, a resident of North Bergen Road. Buyck was located in a wooded area near the house by Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 "Destro" while lying in thick brush. Buyck was identified as the alleged intruder. He was jailed without bail.

Tonya M. Doell, 45, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with open container in public. Doell was allegedly in possession of an open container at 577 East Main St., Batavia, (Family Dollar). Doell reportedly refused to identify herself to police because of her probation status.

Matthew P. Parker, 25, of Eagle Street, Medina, is charged with trespass. Parker was arrested following an investigation into reports of vehicles being broken into in the City of Batavia on Sunday Morning. He was located in the parking lot of UMMC at 4:30 a.m. and jailed without bail.

Matthew C. Payne, 33, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with illegal disposal of items. Payne is accused of illegally dumping trash into a trash container owned by the Batavia Housing Authority at 193 S. Main St., Batavia.

Susan R. Fabretti, 52, of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with petit larceny. Fabretti is accused of shoplifting at Tops Market. 

A 17-year-old, name and residence withheld by Batavia PD, is charged with harassment, 2nd. The youth is accused of striking a female several times after a verbal argument escalated.

Angela Irene, 45, of South Gravel Road, Medina, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to stop at at stop sign. Irene was stopped at 1:41 a.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Alabama, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Alan James White, 18, of South Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, driving while ability impaired by alcohol and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Deputy Chad Cummings along with Mercy EMS were dispatched at 7:51 a.m. Sunday to Dublin Road, Bergen, for a report of an unresponsive male behind the wheel of a stopped car on the road. White was treated and released at the scene by medics. He was allegedly found in possession of a switchblade knife.

Sandra Lynn Fry, 43, of Sunset Park, Oakfield, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Fry allegedly violated a complete stay away order of protection.

Jason Scott Stanley, 22, of Judge Road, Alabama, is charged with DWI on an ATV, unlawful operation of an ATV on private property, unregistered ATV and driving an ATV without insurance. Stanley was arrested following an investigation into an ATV accident on Hutton Road, Oakfield, at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Mark David Heidenreich, 25, of Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Heidenreich allegedly violated a complete stay away order of protection by placing phone calls to the protected person.

Samantha Rose Docteur, 24, of Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and facilitating aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 2nd. Docteur was arrested following a traffic stop on South Main Street, Oakfield, at 11:55 a.m. Saturday by Deputy Michael Lute. She was allegedly in possession of marijuana, a grinder and smoking paraphernalia.

Andrew Michael Boyce, 20, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana and no seatbelt. Boyce was stopped at 4:18 p.m. Friday on Judge Road, Alabama, by Deputy Chris Parker, for allegedly driving without wearing a seatbelt.

A 17-year-old resident of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with second-degree harassment and criminal mischief, 4th. The youth allegedly threatened another person and damaged property of that person. He was jailed on $250 bail.

Matthew Brian Starowitz, 26, of Whitney Mill Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Starowitz was charged at 2:22 a.m. May 19 on Bank Street Road, by Deputy Chris Erion.

Nicholas Anthony Lord, 19, of North Division Street, Buffalo, is charged with criminal mischief. Lord allegedly damaged another person's property during a dispute.

Matthew J. Pasternak, 25, of Amherst, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Pasternak was stopped by a trooper on Route 77, Corfu, for allegedly speeding. He was allegedly found in possession of five grams of marijuana after the trooper said he detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. The search also allegedly led to the discovery of a multicolored smoking pipe with marijuana residue.

May 26, 2015 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Key Club, batavia, Memorial Day.

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Here's a picture that came in over the weekend that we didn't get to: Members of St. Joe's Key Club placed flags on the graves of VFW members buried at St. Joseph and Grandview cemeteries. 

May 26, 2015 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in indian falls, pembroke, history, civil war, Memorial Day.

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On a cloud-shrouded Memorial Day afternoon in Indian Falls, the folds in the fabric of history were visible in a short service that honored one of Pembroke's own fallen Civil War soldiers.

A headstone for Conrad Litt, a German immigrant who probably joined the Army so his family could have 100 acres of land after the war, was dedicated in a service conducted by members of Colonel John B. Weber Camp No. 44 and the Weber Guard, Sons of Veterans Reserve.

The spot chosen for the marker is next to those of his parents and other family members in the Old Indian Falls Cemetery. The location is at the rise of the hill in the southwest corner of the graveyard. There's an opening in the tree line that overlooks a lush valley. 

Clifford Anderson, one of the Litt Family ancestors, who now lives in West Seneca, purchased the headstone from the Veteran's Administration. He likes the idea that Conrad Litt's grave overlooks that idyllic valley that will become a national veterans cemetery.

"His spirit will look out over his fellow soldiers here, on this hill," Anderson said.

Conrad Litt enlisted in the 100th New York Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Brigade, Company C., on October 24, 1861 as a private. The 2nd Brigade was known as the “Eagle Brigade,” which was sponsored by the Buffalo Board of Trade.

Litt participated in the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, where more than half of his regiment was killed or wounded.

The Pembroke resident died in action July 18, 1863 during the Union’s night assault on Fort Wagner, Morris Island, S.C., when he was struck in the breast and died instantly.

The Second Battle for Fort Wagner was dramatized in the movie "Glory," which is about the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first military regiment in the Army comprised entirely of African-Americans, mostly freed slaves. The 54th led the nighttime charge on Fort Wagner, suffering heavy casualties, and though Fort Wagner never fell, the manner in which the men acquitted themselves led to more freed slaves being allowed to enlist. These black regiments were a significant factor, President Lincoln felt, in the Union winning the war.

Buffalo native John B. Weber enlisted in the Army Aug. 1, 1861 as a private and quickly rose through the ranks, attaining colonel before his 21st birthday. His first command, granted September 19, 1863, two months after the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, was the 89th Regiment, designated "18th Infantry, Corps d'Afrique." It was a regiment of freed slaves. Weber turned down a command of 44th Regiment to lead the 89th. He resigned later after his men were reassigned to another outfit and promised replacements, more freed slaves, were not available. He returned to Buffalo and eventually was elected to Congress.

Litt's remains were never recovered for a proper burial, as the fighting at Fort Wagner continued for another month by laying siege to take control of the rebel-held fort and battery, which was the key to entering Charleston Harbor and the Union reclaiming of Ft. Sumter, where the first shot of the War Between the States opened formal hostilities in 1861. 

Anderson learned of Litt and the cemetery where his family was buried while researching his family tree. In the process, he came across a book containing 25 of Litt's letters home. The book, which also contains the Civil War letters of Litt's childhood friend, also of Pembroke and fellow soldier, Sidney Lake, "I Take My Pen in My Hand."

"I came across these letters he wrote and I wept reading them," Anderson said. "I'm a vet myself and I would like to do him an honor, at least put a marker here for him. His body is not here, but I feel like his spirit has come home now."

The dedication ceremony comes 150 years after what some historians consider the first Memorial Day, organized in Charleston, S.C., May 1, 1865, by a group of freed slaves to honor the Union soldiers who helped secure their emancipation. The first nationally recognized Decoration Day was May 30, 1868. The date was supposedly chosen because it would be a time when flowers in all parts of the nation would be in bloom and the graves of fallen soldiers were to be decorated with flowers.

Flowers decorated Litt's marker yesterday.

For Michael Erb, who belongs to three Civil War reenactment groups, including the Weber group, and is himself a military veteran, taking part in services that honor the Civil War dead is important because the Civil War is a critical turning point in the nation's history.

"The Civil War was America's biggest war," Erb said. "It changed our country forever, you know. We were kind of a disunified country, different states going different ways, and all the sudden after the war, we were all one nation. Oliver Wendell Holmes said it was a terrible war, many people and soldiers died in that war, but look at what we got from it. We're a better country afterward. We're a unified country. Today, we're the only Superpower. It's a time in history that our whole country should remember."

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May 26, 2015 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.

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Adam Bielski submitted these photos of Memorial Day events in Oakfield.

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May 25, 2015 - 10:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.

An ATV accident is reported in the area of 7394 Hutton Road, Oakfield.  

A teenage female reportedly suffered a head injury. A person will meet a fire chief roadside and escort him to the accident location.

Mercy Flight out of Olean is on in-air standby with a 40-minute ETA, weather permitting. 

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Mercy Flight 5 now available, 20-minute ETA.

UPDATE 12:32 a.m.: A responder subsequently told Howard, on scene at another incident -- the explosion/fire on Read Road, Town of Pembroke, that the girl was transported primarily as a precaution and that she didn't suffer severe injuries.

 

May 25, 2015 - 7:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Memorial Day, batavia.

The video is comprised of photos from the Memorial Day ceremonies at the VA, Upton Monument and the War Memorial at St. Jerome's. Audio provided by WBTA, our news partner.

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More photos in the slide show. To purchase prints, click here.

May 25, 2015 - 6:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen.

A resident on North Bergen Road reports that he came home to find an intruder in his residence, and the intruder fled, leaving behind a vehicle parked in the driveway.

The husband followed the intruder and spoke with him. The alleged intruder said his car broke down and he went into the residence for some reason.

The plates on the vehicle come back to a Bergen resident who is on parole for burglary, 2nd.

A deputy is responding. The intruder is on foot on North Bergen Road, eastbound. He's a white male, 5'11", 200 pounds in shorts and a T-shirt.

May 25, 2015 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Police have been dispatched to Jackson School to investigate a report of a child in diapers with no adult to be seen in the area.

UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: The child was scooped up by a family member before a patrol arrived. Case closed.

May 24, 2015 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Conservative Party, batavia.

Press release:

The Conservative Party of Genesee County has made the following endorsements:

Paul Viele (Republican) -- 1st Ward
Lisa Whitehead (Libertarian) -- 2nd Ward
Richard Richmond (Republican) -- 3rd Ward
Al McGinnis (Conservative) -- 4th Ward
Kathy Briggs (Democrat) -- 5th Ward
 
Paul Viele and Richard Richmond will running Republican primaries elections against the incumbents.
 
We had no request from the 6th Ward.

May 24, 2015 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, The Batavian Club, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

When we recently upgraded the software for The Batavian, the ability for users to edit comments disappeared.

That was one of a few bugs that crept up with the upgrade that we've been working through.

We've always had the ability for users to edit their own comments. An option rarely available on news Web sites. I know it's a popular feature, but it's also a feature that has been abused by a few people looking to not just correct spelling and grammar, but alter the history of what they've written. For that reason, I've sometimes wanted to limit the ability of people to edit comments particularly the here-and-there, occasional commenter, which are the ones most likely to remove a comment or substantially alter its meaning.

Also, all this software support is expensive. The Batavian needs the support of readers, and not just advertisers, to really thrive.

When it came time to get comment editing back again, I decided we're going to have a change in policy: Comment editing will only be available to those who have paid to join The Batavian Club.

The Batavian Club helps us pay the bills. We need your support. In exchange, membership more than pays for itself with the $300 in gift certificates to local businesses you receive. If you love The Batavian and love saving money, there's really no reason not to join.  

So, join today!

(BTW: If you're a member and can't edit comments, send me an e-mail, [email protected] I may not have properly tagged your user account.)

UPDATE: We also just launched a new search function on the site.  It's faster and offers some additional features to help return better results.  I forgot to mention earlier as well, we also upgraded the thumbs up/thumbs down in response to reader request.  Instead of an aggregate result of positive or negative votes, you see the total of how many ups and how many downs each comment gets. 

Use this button to set up a recurring annual payment of $50 (a discount for subscribing on an annual basis):

Use this button to make a single-year payment of $60:

May 24, 2015 - 12:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire.

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A city resident turned to the Fire Department this morning for help rescuing a cat whose curiosity, or insatiable appetite, got the better of him and perhaps cost him one of his nine lives. The cat stuck his head in a can and couldn't get unstuck. Engine 15 responded at 7:58 a.m. and firefighters used handheld cutting tools to peel the can open and extricate the feline.

The cat is fine.

Photos and information submitted by Lt. Bob Fix, Batavia FD.

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May 24, 2015 - 8:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flyball, sports, dogs, animals, pets, batavia.

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It's an adrenaline rush to see one of his border collies racing through four jumps, grabbing a tennis ball and streaking back to him, said Hamburg resident Peter Russell, who was in Batavia on Saturday to compete in a biannual flyball competition at the Fairgrounds.

Flyball is a dog-racing sport. Teams are comprised of four dogs and four handlers. Each dog runs down a track, jumping over four hurdles, hitting a platform at the end of the track, which releases a tennis ball, and then the dog runs back through the hurdles with the ball. The race is a relay, so once the first dog returns, the next dog runs the next leg.

The sport was created in California in the late 1960s and has grown to international proportions.  

Russell is a member of the Buffalo Wings Flyball Team, which has won national championships.

More than 15 teams competed yesterday, with dogs and owners traveling to Batavia from throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada.

The exhibition hall at the fairgrounds on Saturday was a cacophony of yelps and yaps and a whir of flashing fur.

"I think people enjoy the sport because of how quick it is," Russell said. "Races come down to hundredths of a second."

It's also a social sport, said Cindy Henderson, a resident of Massachusetts and regional director for the North American Flyball Association.

"You're with four different people," Henderson said. "That's what's fun about it. You're working with a whole team of people. It's not like other sports where you're just one handler working with a dog. You're a team."

Each member of the team has a specific role. The lead dog needs to have stamina since false starts can mean multiple trips down the track before there's a legal start. There are the middle leg dogs who need to be fast and agile, and then there's the anchor dog, who ideally loves to race and has the competitive drive to overtake another dog if the team has fallen behind. There also needs to be a height dog. The height dog is the smallest dog on the team. The shorter the dog, the lower the hurdles for the team.

Russell and his wife own 13 border collies. Four of them are retired and nine of them race. They're also breeders.

Border collies are particularly well suited to the sport, Russell said.

"It gives them a job to do," he said. "Border collies are bred to herd sheep, so they need a job to do. Their job is to go get the ball and come back to you and tug on their toy. In essence, that's their job for the day. It gives them some mind stimulation, because it's a difficult sport to learn and master and it gives them the physical stimulation because they're running over four jumps, hitting a box, coming back, tugging on the tug when they get back to you."

Alissa Schwab, of Amherst, owns a Jack Russell terrier, the height dog for the Buffalo Wings.

"I got started because obedience training wasn't enough for Jack Russell terriers," Schwab said. "The Buffalo wings needed a fast height dog and they came to training and spotted him and he was hired."

She's been racing for seven years now and now owns three Jack Russells.

"It's great for my dogs," she said. "They look forward to it. The community of people from our region is just fantastic and the racing is good."

The owners enjoy the race. The dogs enjoy pleasing their masters and getting a treat at the end of the run, usually a tug on a rope, but maybe something a little more tasty.

"They like to be rewarded for doing things they love," Schwab said. "You're part of the reward. They want to come back to you."

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May 23, 2015 - 10:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Memorial Day, veterans.

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Dozens and dozens of families passed through the St. Joseph Cemetery today to place flowers on the graves of loved ones who served in the military. Above, Adam Figlow adjusts a flag on the veterans marker for the grave of his grandfather Anthony LaFarnara, who served in the Army during World War II, while his son Noah looks on. Below, Adam with is father, Tony.

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May 23, 2015 - 10:27pm

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Laurie Napoleone speaks during the Awareness Ceremony on the second day of the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Baseball Tournment.  The tournament has grown to a three-day event spread out over every available baseball field in Batavia.

The foundation has provided more than $170,000 in assistance to families with children dealing with medical issues. The foundation has also purchased a new scoreboard for the ball field at Williams Park, has donated more than $48,000 to pediatric cancer research and has pledged $50,000 to the Golisano Children's Hospital.

Michael Napoleone succumbed to Burkitts Lymphoma/Leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer, in 2006. Mark and Laurie Napoleone formed the foundation in response to the outpouring of support their family received from the community after Michael was diagnosed.

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Genesee Pride AAU boys and girls basketball donated $350 players raised for the foundation.

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The family of Kenny Hazlett. Hazlett was a longtime umpire and dedicated volunteer for the tournment who passed away. A sign on the backstop of the Little League field honoring his memory was unveiled during the ceremony.

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David Pero speaking about Hazlett.

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Unveiling the sign.

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Chase Bordonaro received a Spirit of Michael Napoleone Award, along with Tony Piazza and Griffin Dellapenna (pictured below).

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Veterans in attendance were invited to stand along the first base line during the playing of the National Anthem

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May 23, 2015 - 10:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, batavia, Vibrant Batavia.

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Mary Valle and Paula Miller were at the Oak Street roundabout this morning planting flowers. The project is sponsored by Vibrant Batavia.

May 22, 2015 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in world war i, war, history.

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All of these local names, Dewey Sackett, Charles Votrie, James Hannah, Lee Kingdon, Willis Peck, Glenn Loomis, Florence Carney, John Arneth and many more. All young lives cut short in the War to End All Wars.

That was nearly 100 years ago. We may see their names on gravestones, or memorial markers or on honor rolls, but we know only the names. We don't know where they lived, where they worked, who they loved, what they dreamed or how they died.

They're war dead. That's what we know. So we honor them.

Former Le Roy resident Terry Krautwurst thought we should know more. We may read the names, but we shouldn't forget the people, so he has given us, residents of Genesee County, a gift -- a gift of remembrance.

For the past six years, Krautwurst has researched the war dead of Genesee County from World War I. He combed through newspaper articles and federal archives in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., in an attempt to identify all of the World War I men and women from Genesee County who died while serving their country.

He's compiled biographies, complete with military service records, detailing those lives, lifted from newspapers and death records, concerning 78 people who died during the war while in uniform.

That's a longer honor roll than probably anybody ever really knew about.

It was discrepancies in honor rolls that prompted Kautwurst's research in the first place.

"In 2009, while researching the World War I career of my grandfather, Stanley Crocker, of Le Roy, I noticed that the number of names on honor roll lists of Genesee County war dead that had been published in area newspapers varied," Krautwurst said. "They varied not just in number, from 52 to 61, but also the names themselves varied."

Untangling the mystery of the lists became a passion for Krautwurst.

"It seemed only right and proper to set the record straight," Krautwurst said. "I decided to research and resolve the discrepancies and produce an updated and maybe more accurate list. I figured it would take me a few weeks."

Krauthwurst donated the research of his six-year-long research project to the Genesee County History Department last week.

"Terry has performed an invaluable service to the county," said Michael Eula, director of the history department. "This is a tremendous resource and I doubt it's going to be seen in many other counties around the country regarding the first World War."

The deeper Krautwurst dug, the more discrepancies he found, including misspelled names, incorrect dates, hometowns and military assignments.

He kept detailed files on each of the war dead and his records, and the stories he tells of each person, fills eight volumes that will be available to the public at the history department in County Building #2.

"This provides a wealth of primary source information to first and foremost family members who still may be still wondering what happened generations ago and researchers looking at the local impact of the first World War, so this is an incredibly rich and valuable addition to the county archives," Eula said.

Krautwurst photocopied more than 1,200 military documents, which in some cases, include eyewitness accounts of a soldier's death and letters from a fallen soldier's parents.

"Sometimes, when I opened a soldier's file, I found his dog tags, which I photographed," Krauthwurst said.

Flipping through the pages and reading Krautwurst's articles, you learn family histories, the schools that soldiers attended, where they worked before getting drafted or enlisting, what they did in their spare time and, importantly, how and where they died.

Some died in the fields of France or the hills of Italy. Some died in combat, others hours and days later after their mangled bodies were borne on a stretcher to some field hospital. Some died from disease and some died in accidents.

"What has caught my eye is the playing out locally of what historians have talked about for a long time regarding the first World War," Eula said. "For example, a number of deaths were not the result in combat. Somebody gets killed in an auto accident when they're training someplace in the country. It shows the complexity of the moment."

The archive, Krautwurst hopes, will help us know better the people behind the names who sacrificed everything in a war often remembered for its brutality and how it reshaped society.

"These people who gave so much were right on the edge of forgotten," Krautwurst said. "I just didn't want that to happen."

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County Historian Michael Eula with the eight volume of World War I war dead compiled by Terry Krautwurst.

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May 22, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

As part of the 2015 agency performance goals, the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced the first of a series of outreach meetings to engage local taxing jurisdictions throughout the County about the various activities and programs and incentives offered by the GCEDC. 

On Tuesday, May 26, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde will make a presentation at a joint meeting of the Town and Village of Bergen at the Bergen Town Hall on 10 Hunter St. in Bergen at 6:30 p.m. 

Among the topics for discussion will include development and business recruitment and expansion activities at the Apple Tree Acres. Among the businesses that currently operate out of Apple Tree Acres include Liberty Pumps, Leonard Bus Co. and Ad Tech. Hyde also will provide information about how payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) impact the tax base among other topics.

“As part of the 2015 goals the GCEDC Board of Directors identified at the beginning of this year, we will enhance our outreach efforts to taxing jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout Genesee County about our economic development activities,” Hyde said. “We are always striving to increase outreach to the stakeholders we serve and identity new ways in which we can expand the quality of our economic development programs and incentives.”

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