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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.

 

August 30, 2015 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, football, sports.

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It's been a few years since the Pembroke Dragons have been a force in Genesee Region football, and nobody is predicting a championship title for the team in green, but coaches in the league are all saying pretty much the same thing: Don't take Pembroke for granted.

Legendary head coach Dick Diminuco is heading into his second full season leading the Dragons and that in itself is enough to tell other coaches that Pembroke will come in to each week's game ready to play, but GR coaches have also seen the Dragons in summer seven-on-sevens and combines. The Dragons have some talent, but most impressively, they have some size on the line, a fact Diminuco was eager to show off when a photographer showed up to a recent practice.

"We're not a great team yet," Diminuco said. "We're not going to win the state championship or anything like that, but we're going to be better. We're going to compete. Thank God, hopefully, we don't have any injuries because we're thin. We've got 25 kids."

The Dragons will be a mix of veterans and inexperience. There are seven returners starting on offense. There are also five sophomores who will be starting on offense or defense. With exception of tight end, all of the skill positions, including QB, will be staffed by young players.

Even the offensive/defensive line is a mix of veterans and neophytes.  The largest player on the squad, Dan Prichett, who is well over 6 foot tall and looks strong enough to flip Toyota Corollas, is inexperienced. The junior transfer never played football before.

"He's a wonderful boy, just raw," Diminuco said.

A year ago in pre-season camp, Diminuco clearly had his hands full.  His frustration was palpable.  This year, the energy is completely different.  Diminuco and the players were loose and having fun and lessons were being learned.

Last season, Diminuco, was plagued by discipline issues.  So far, everybody is showing up to every practice this year.

"These kids are good kids," Diminuco said. "They come here every day. They work hard. They're really a pleasure to work with, this group. I think they're getting used to me. Last year, we had some ups and downs, some battles, discipline, but this year, they've bought in. They've been good."

So what's Diminuco's prediction for 2015?

"Predictions? We're going to get better," Diminuco said. "We're going to be better. How's that for a prediction?"

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August 30, 2015 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, GLOW Ducks, batavia, football, youth sports, mighty mites.

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The GLOW Ducks youth football program opens its 2015 season today at Notre Dame's football field, and for the first time, it fielded a team of 5-,6- and 7-year-olds, who needed quite a bit instruction as the game progressed.

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August 30, 2015 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Stafford.

A Stafford resident who was charged with the care of a 2-year-old child in the Village of Le Roy has been accused of intentionally breaking that child's bones and then not seeking proper medical treatment for the child.

Le Roy PD began investigating the allegations in February after it was discovered the child had suffered multiple fractures to a leg and arm and had significant, "highly suspicious" bruises on its body.

Arrested was Christina Pahura, 28, of Main Road, Stafford. She's been charged with second-degree assault, a Class D felony, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The assault charge carries an enhancement because Pahura is over 18 years old and allegedly intentionally harmed a child under age 7.

Investigators allege that while a resident on School Street, Le Roy, Pahura intentionally caused physical injury to the child and then allowed the child to remain in a residential situation during a time when several additional bruises developed and a limp developed. Pahura was advised -- by whom is unstated -- to seek medical treatment for the child, but did not, which resulted in further bruising and an untreated leg fracture.

Pahura was released under supervision of Genesee Justice. 

August 30, 2015 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake performing arts center, darien lake.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday.  

Morgan Jensen, 20, of Gleason Circle, East Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Emily M. Campbell, 20, of Birch Run, Orchard Park, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after having been ejected and told not to return.

Calin C. Hotelling-Defrance, 22, of Durant Place, Fairport, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching CSC security officer.

Jacob M. Robinson, 18, of Dolores Drive, Greece, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

August 29, 2015 - 10:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

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The other night the neighborhood around Ganson and Maple in Batavia was hit by a series of thefts. This sign appeared on a tree on Ganson.

August 29, 2015 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Park.

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There was a birthday party at the Genesee County Park & Forest today. The park is now 100 years old.

The first series of pictures are of lumberjacks engaging in a competition to start a fire and generate enough heat to boil water. They are Mike Koers, originally from Alexander, John Dailey, Tim Benedict and Connor Slate. The group put on lumberjack competition demonstrations throughout the day.

The daylong event included guided hikes, information booths and crafts and games for children.

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August 29, 2015 - 10:00pm

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Hope Speechley stands among the hundreds of pieces of quality clothing available to anybody who needs it in the Pavilion Clothing Closet at Pavilion First Baptist Church, 10956 Lake Road (Route 19), Pavilion.

The closet, long run by Pavilion High School, moved starting today to the church.

Speechley said the closet will open at least monthly and people should watch local media outlets for announcements about openings, but Pavilion residents are also welcome to visit the closet by appointment. Speechley can be reached at (585) 493-1858.

The clothes are all donated by Pavilion residents and more donations of quality clothing items are welcome.

August 29, 2015 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

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A 28-year-old Batavia resident has been arrested and charged with murder in the 2nd degree in the death of her newborn infant.

The female infant had apparently been dead for three months when police responded to a call at 11:20 p.m. of a suspecious condition at 208 Liberty St.

A third party reportedly discovered the dead infant's body and called police, and when police arrived they confirmed the discovery of the body.

Being held in jail without bail is Christina M. Colantonio. She is scheduled to appear in court again at 1:30 p.m., Monday.  

Police are not releasing the cause of death because of the ongoing nature the investigation. Investigators believe the infant was killed a short time after birth, which police believe took place at Colantonio's residence, but are not saying if death was immediate, within hours or days.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said murder in the second degree means the accused is suspected of intentionally causing the death of another person, but he would not disclose what evidence exists to convince his office that Colantonio should be prosecuted on a murder 2nd charge.

"We have enough to come to the conclusion that the death was intentionally caused, but because of the fact that we do not have a final autopsy report and because the investigation is ongoing, we won't be indicating anything further at this time," Friedman said.

After the press conference, we spoke with a neighbor, who didn't want to disclose his name, and he said he was outside two nights ago when police and the coroner were at Colantonio's residence. He saw authorities bring a 48-quart ice chest out to the street, remove a small body and place it in a body bag.

Authorities have not disclosed where the infant's body's was in the house at the time of its discovery.

Another neighbor, David Zanghi, said Contantonio worked at Sport of Kings restaurant and described her as a quiet woman who kept to herself and never was involved in any kind of disturbance.  

"She seemed like a pretty nice girl," he said.

Contontonio lived in the apartment by herself, police said. She has two other children.

Authorities are not disclosing anything about the father of the baby.

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Det. Todd Crosett and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

August 29, 2015 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

The Batavia Police Department has scheduled a press conference for 5:30 p.m. to announce an arrest in the investigation into an infant death.

No further details have been released.

The Batavian will provide updates as soon as information is available.

UPDATE: The time of the press conference has been changed to 6:30 p.m. 

August 28, 2015 - 7:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba.

Officials in Elba -- the town, the village and the fire department -- think they've come up with a plan that would save taxpayer money and help all three agencies address some pressing needs, but at a meeting Thursday night at Elba Central School's auditorium, there was a good deal of negative feedback.

A frequent refrain, "this is just to benefit the fire department."

Officials are proposing a plan that would move town offices to the building currently occupied by village government offices and the fire department, creating a shared facility for both the village and town.

The current town hall would be converted into a new fire hall.

The town and village courts would continue with their plans to move to the new facility being built in Oakfield.

The total cost of the project, an estimated $900,000.

An alternative scenario is to leave the town and village governments in their current buildings, renovate those and build a brand-new fire hall. That plan would cost at least $2 million.

"The key point here is something needs to be done with the buildings for the town, the village and the fire department," said Village Mayor Scott Schular after the meeting. "We are trying to address those problems at a reasonable cost instead of getting buried in trying to do one thing at a time and then another and then another so we can keep the tax rate at a reasonable rate."

Jason Foote, an engineer with architectural firm Clark Patterson Lee, went through a slideshow presentation that laid out the needs, the plan and the alternatives.

The biggest deficiencies with the current building arrangement concern the fire hall. It was built at a time when fire trucks were smaller and more compact. Today's engines, which often must be built to meet state guidelines, are taller and longer. The current doorways on the truck bays are too small for a modern, unmodified truck. The bays are not deep enough for these trucks.

As a result, if Elba wants to buy a new truck, it has to be custom built at a cost of close to $200,000 or more per truck.

Also, when the Elba crews are out on a call, mutual aid companies are reluctant to fill in at Elba's hall, especially in winter, because their trucks won't fit in the bays.

The current hall also doesn't meet OSHA safety requirements, isn't compliant with ADA accessibilities rules, lacks adequate storage and has only a small meeting and training room.

The village hall lacks office space, a meeting room and a place for record storage. The bathrooms are not ADA compliant and lack storage for DPW equipment.

The town hall also has ADA issues and only offers access through the town clerk's office.

All of the buildings need basic repair and maintenance.

The plan officials would like to see the public support is not exactly perfect, they admit, but at least it addresses all of the issues in a cost-effective manner.

"Maybe (the proposal) doen't give everybody what they want, but it meets the needs for all three entities for next 30 years at a pretty cost-effective rate," said Town Supervisor A.J. Wormuth.

Building a new fire hall would require financing with a total estimated expense for principal and interest of $2.6 million and would take 30 years to pay off.

The cost of the consolidated plan broken down into its two main components:

  • Fire hall, total capital costs of $217,650, with an annual debt of $18,979 for 15 years;
  • Town/Village hall renovations, total capital cost of $232,350, with an annual debt payment of $20,090 per year for 15 years

The net cost to the village, $24,620 per year, with a projected increase of the tax rate by 99 cents per thousand of assessed value. A new fire hall would cost village residents at least $3.50 in additional taxes per thousand of assessed value.

The net cost for the town would be $24,308 per year, which would require a property tax rate increase of 23 cents per thousand, or an additional $23 a year on a $100,000 home.

Foote said the consolidation plan translates into costs that are two or three times lower than doing each project separately.

There was a lot of questioning of the plan primarily from two sectors, a couple of town highway employees and a homeowner with property adjacent to the town hall.

None quite came out and said they opposed the plan, but the tone was negative with an oft-repeated, "this sounds like a done deal."

One resident suggested officials should instead do something to build a senior housing complex in Elba. There were concerns raised about seniors on fixed incomes paying for anything, that young people aren't moving to Elba, and really, what officials should be doing is attracting a new big business to town.

One man said, "I'm not saying we shouldn't do it, but I'm concerned about what it's going to cost me."

There appeared to be objections among town highway employees because they would be displaced. While they would get a new cold storage building (where equipment is stored -- "cold storage" because the building is unheated in winter and not cooled in summer), it might be smaller than what they have now.

Foote wasn't surprised by the objections to the proposal.

"We've kind of heard rumors that there was maybe going to be a small contingent who are generally against it, but I think the overall idea was, 'we're looking to try and accomplish these tasks, renovate the village hall, the town hall and the fire department and be sensitive to taxpayer money,' " Foote said, adding, "Some don't want to spend any money and obviously that's a possibility. That can happen, but, again, that's not going to address any of the deficiencies at any of the buildings."

Both Schular and  Wormuth both said the town and village boards will need to consider the feedback so far and look at their options, whether to proceed with the plan, devise an alternative plan or drop the idea. Nothing is cast in stone, they said.

Though Wormuth acknowledged that what he heard at Thursday's meeting doesn't necessarily reflect the views of the wider Elba public, especially once the idea is fully explained.

 "When you talk with people out in the public one-on-one and explain it to them and give them the numbers, a lot of them say it makes a lot of sense because we're trying to be very cognizant in this project of our tax rates," Wormuth said.

Schular said he came away from the meeting feeling like there were a lot of mixed feelings expressed.

"There are a few people who understand and a few who don't understand," Schular said. "I guess we need to do a better job of trying to help those people who don't understand understand."

Schular said he realizes the proposal is a big step away from how business has always been done.

"I realize that the town has always been the town and the village has been the village and the fire department, the fire department, and it's been that way for years," Schular said. "Now the town and the village and the fire department are all talking and we're trying to come to a conclusion that will benefit everybody."

August 28, 2015 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BARNS, Bethany.

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For a long time, I wanted to take a picture of this barn, but for years, there was a yellow delivery truck parked in front of it that kind of didn't fit the ambiance. This summer, it was gone and the setting today seemed pretty nice.

August 28, 2015 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

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There was at least one car break-in in the Maple Street area of Batavia overnight, and among the items stolen was this backpack owned by Gunner Rapone.

Rapone was a standout in football and track and field with Batavia High School and starts college at SUNY Brockport this fall, where he'll compete in track and field.

This backpack has high sentimental value to Rapone. He received it for qualifying for the National High School Track Championship. The bag says "#ThatGuy" just above the zipper.

Rapone can be reached at [email protected].

August 28, 2015 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in emegency communications, emergency radios, 911.

The state will provide Genesee County with another $3 million to help improve its year-old $11 million emergency radio communications system, built and provisioned by RF Harris, of Rochester.

The grant will be used to fund a seventh microwave tower for the county, most likely somewhere in Le Roy, which reportedly has had some of the biggest communications black holes since the new radio system was put online.

The grant will also be used to complete interoperability connections with Monroe and Orleans counties, said County Manager Jay Gsell.

Interoperability is one of the primary goals of the Department of Homeland Security in pushing local jurisdictions to go to all-digital, Phase II, systems. With all local jurisdictions on the same radio systems, it's expected that agencies will be able to more efficiently and effectively communicate with each other in mutual aid emergencies.

It's also hoped that the upgrade will provide better local communications in a system that has been plagued by emergency responder complaints since its inception, though tweaks and incremental improvements over the past year seems to have resulted in fewer complaints.

The bulk of the $11 million spent on the system so far came from state, federal and communication industry grants, with a municipal bond covering nearly half of the expense.

"This is part of helping us complete the process of putting the best radio system out there for all of our emergency radio system users, whether it's police departments, fire departments, state patrol, highway departments, anybody who is on our radio system," Gsell said. "We're trying to make sure that almost anywhere they go in the county, they're going to have very good, strong consistent communications with our 800-MHz radios."

The $3 million is part of $50 million being awarded to local jurisdictions for emergency communications. Both Monroe and Livingston counties are receiving $3.5 million. Erie County is getting $1.2 million. There was no grant money announced for Wyoming County.

Our news partner WBTA AM/FM conducted the interview with Jay Gsell.

August 28, 2015 - 10:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A driver who said she fell asleep, leading to an accident Thursday afternoon on Assemblyman R. Steven Hawley Drive, Batavia, was cited for crossing the center line in a no-passing zone by Deputy Joseph Graff, who investigated the collision.

A. R. Jeering, 55, address redacted from report, was among three people injured in the three-car crash. She was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS with a complaint of pain.

She was driving a 2011 Chevrolet sedan.

Also injured were Kaeleigh S. Disalvo, 21, no address provided, driving a 2008 Buick sedan, and Eric J. Merritt, 26, address redacted, driving a 2008 Ford sedan. Both were transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS with complaints of pain.

Merritt's passenger, 29-year-old Gregory A. Merritt, was not transported to a hospital.

Jeering was driving up the hill on Hawley Drive, westbound, when her vehicle crossed the center line and struck the vehicle driven by Disalvo and then the one driven by Merritt.

(Initial Report)

August 28, 2015 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Batavia's List, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

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Visit Batavia's List and post your ad today!

Also: Sign up for our new daily e-mail newsletter. Get the day's headlines plus the latest marketplace posts delivered to your inbox every day at 5 p.m.

And: Like Batavia's List on Facebook.

August 27, 2015 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Bulldawgs, Batavia HS.

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The Batavia Blue Devils varsity football team hosted the Batavia Bulldawgs youth football program at Van Detta Stadium on Wednesday night.

(Photos submitted by John Reigle.)

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August 27, 2015 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, pets, animals.

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This kitten was found by staff on school grounds at Alexander Elementary School. It appears to have had recent surgery because of the purple dye on its fur. If it's your cat, contact the school.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: The owner has been located.

August 27, 2015 - 8:10am

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Members of Genesee County's rope rescue team trained at Indian Falls -- the site of many such real-life rescues over the years -- with a new rope system, called a Vortex.

The $25,000 system (including LED lighting) features a more sophisticated, and more effective and efficient, pulley system, making it easier to keep the ropes clear of obstructions and requiring less exertion of force to raise a patient lifter, making it easier for a medic to accompany the patient up the side of the cliff. 

Top photo: Christina Marinaccio and Jamie Call, the first team to descend and ascend with the new system. Marinaccio and Call are both city firefighters and volunteers (with Le Roy and Stafford, respectively).

To find out how you can do interesting things like this, help save lives and serve your community, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

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August 27, 2015 - 7:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, corfu.
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  Amanda Hagedorn

Amanda Rose Hagedorn, 25, of West Hazeltine Avenue, Kenmore, is charged with criminal contempt, obstructing governmental administration and attempted assault, 3rd. Hagedorn allegedly bit a deputy during her arraignment on a previous arrest and then again while being removed from the courtroom and placed in a patrol car.

Roseann Cooper, 46, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, harassment, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2n,d and failure to stop at stop sign. Cooper is accused of shoplifting from Dollar General. She allegedly shoved a store employee when confronted about the suspected shoplifting. Cooper left the location and a customer called 9-1-1. Cooper was located allegedly driving on Walnut Street.

Melinda T. Andrews, 42, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Andrews was allegedly involved in a domestic incident on Holland Avenue at 1:05 a.m., Sunday.

Scott Edward Yocina, 58, of Phelps Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana, 4th, and unlawful growing of marijuana. Yocina was charged related to the alleged discovery of a marijuana growing operation at 4:15 p.m., May 4.

Joseph Carl Jeffords, 24, of Ross Street, Batavia, is accused of a violation of probation. Jeffords was turned over to Batavia PD by authorities in Wayne County, where he was in custody on charges in their jurisdiction. He was jailed locally on $5,000 bail.

Lonnie J. Ford III, 44, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with open container. Ford is accused of possessing an open container of alcohol while in the pavilion at Austin Park.

Jeffery James Cervone, 47, no known address, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Cervone allegedly damaged and threw items around in a room at UMMC.

Stephen J. Konieczny, 37, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief. Konieczny allegedly threw a bottle of water at a vehicle causing damage.

Thomas Swineford, 61, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Swinford is accused of urinating on a tree in Austin Park. He was reported by a passerby.

Alex J. Ianita, 21, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful imprisonment, third-degree assault, petit larceny and second-degree robbery. Ianita was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 11:25 a.m., Aug. 16.

Timothy A. Banks, 24, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. Banks allegedly failed to appear on an open container charge. He was jailed on $100 bail or $200 bond.

Ellicott M. Hickman Jr., 24, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass in a city park (between dusk and sunrise). Hickman was allegedly in Williams Park at 5:08 a.m., Aug. 20.

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

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