Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Howard B. Owens's blog

April 29, 2016 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Oakfield, news.

A diesel fuel spill has been located along Route 63 that stretches across both sides of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road.

Oakfield fire is on scene and a Town of Batavia chief is responding.

The Oakfield chief is asking that traffic in the area be slowed by fire police because of the spill.

April 29, 2016 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Vinyl Record Revival, business, batavia, downtown, news.

recordstoreapril292016.jpg

The sale of vinyl records has reached its highest level in 28 years and Batavia resident Richard Mistretta is betting that trend continues.

His own research and experience tells him vinyl, once considered a relic of history, has achieved its own kind of staying power.

"Last year, I first had a thought of opening a brick and mortar store," Mistretta said. "I wasn't sure what I'd be selling, but I started selling online and I noticed albums were selling well. I was selling a lot of vinyl, so with my online business, I switched over to exclusively selling vinyl and the sales numbers continued to go up."

Tomorrow he opens Vinyl Record Revival at 220 E. Main St., Batavia.

He's spent the past couple of weeks building bins for records, CDs, reel-to-reel, and he even has a couple of boxes of 8-track tapes, but vinyl is clearly where the action is. It attracts collectors of all ages these days.

"The big age group right now is young people, teenagers are getting into it," Mistretta said. "I've been hearing about it from a lot of people. They find it fascinating. They find it is something interesting to collect, and, also, the sound is different. That's the big thing, but, also, it's tangible. You can hold it, you can look at it, the artwork; it's easy to read. When something is digital, you don't get all that."

Clearly, vinyl records can't beat digital, especially in the age of cloud storage and streaming services, for convenience, but beside of the tactile and aesthetic appeal, most connoisseurs tip in favor of vinyl for the superior audio performance of analog, which doesn't suffer from the loss of dynamic range found in compressed sound files.

It might be surprising, but as Mistretta noted, when teenagers take an interest in The Beatles, they seek out vinyl, some becoming die-hard collectors.

That works out well for Mistretta, who is a lifelong fan of The Beatles and is stocking a full range of Beatles records, books and memorabilia. 

But the Beatles aren't the only hot seller from previous generations. There's also The Who, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and, Mistretta noted, even before he died, he couldn't keep Prince in stock. When he put Prince records up for sale online, they would often be gone within hours.

Record stores in WNY are now few and far between, so he's hoping to draw clientele from throughout the GLOW region as well as Rochester and Buffalo. One of his goals is to get to know his customers, know what they're looking for and work with his wholesalers to find it for them.

Mistretta is 60 and recently retired after 20 years at the University of Rochester. He lived in Rochester when he met his wife, Michelle, and fell in love with her and fell in love with her hometown, Batavia. He's lived here for three years.

When he decided vinyl would be the speciality of his retail store, he started buying boxes and boxes of records, including one large collection from a seller in Pennsylvania. He said he's found some real gems among these big collections.

"The poor UPS drivers," he said. "Those poor delivery people probably have sore backs from carrying in boxes."

He's found the type of customers range from young to old, from those looking for just specific artists, to those who buy everything in a genre and those who are more interested in album covers or just exploring.

He has set up several listening stations in the store so customers can sample before they buy.

Right now, the store is strictly used records, tapes and CDs, but with most top current recording artists releasing their albums on vinyl again, he is hoping to find the right distributor so he can carry new inventory as well.

He also sees a need to supply area audiophiles with turntables, receivers and speakers.

"Manufacturers are starting to get back into making a nice receiver, making a nice phonograph and the big speakers, because everything did switch over to something that was more portable," Mistretta said.

Store hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. He's not settled yet on what his Saturday hours will be, but he will be closed Sundays and Mondays.

recordstoreapril292016-2.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-3.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-4.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-5.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-6.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-7.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-9.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-10.jpg

recordstoreapril292016-11.jpg

April 29, 2016 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ladder 15, batavia, City Fire, news.

newladder15_april292016.jpg

City firefighters got a first look at their new ladder truck today as it stopped by the fire hall on its trip to Hamburg, where it will receive final setup before being ready to go into service.

After that setup and training for fire crews, it will go into service, about a month from now.

The truck is a dealer's demo built in early 2015 and cost the city $912,000.

newladder15_april292016-2.jpg

newladder15_april292016-3.jpg

newladder15_april292016-4.jpg

newladder15_april292016-5.jpg

April 29, 2016 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander Central School, alaxander, news, schools, education.

alexanderrecordapril292016.jpg

Students at Alexander Central School tried to break three world records today, securing their own legacy in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The effort was the culmination of a class assignment from Miss Colleen McNamara for her fifth-grade class. The students researched potential world records and wrote essays on why their records should be attempted.

The records attempted were the most people doing sit-ups simultaneously, the longest pop-n-lock arm wave and the most high-fives in one minute.

These photos are from the sit-up attempt. We don't yet have the results of the attempts.

alexanderrecordapril292016-2.jpg

alexanderrecordapril292016-3.jpg

alexanderrecordapril292016-4.jpg

alexanderrecordapril292016-5.jpg

alexanderrecordapril292016-6.jpg

alexanderrecordapril292016-7.jpg

April 29, 2016 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in criminal justice awards, Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

lawdaydinnerapril282016.jpg

Sheriff Gary Maha was honored for his 49 years in local law enforcement at the annual Criminal Justice Awards dinners sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia and held at Batavia Country Club.

For details on the awards, click here.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-2.jpg

Batavia Police Officer James M. DeFreze, nominated by the YWCA (Director Jeanne Walton, who is also this year's president of the Kiwanis, in the background) for his work with victims of domestic violence.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-3.jpg

State Police investigators Ronald Wilson and Michael Sims were honored for their work on a four-county burglary investigation. Also pictured, in the middle, Lt. Martin McKee, who presented the award.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-4.jpg

Chaplain Allen A. Werk, was honored for his countless hours of volunteer service to local law enforcement and the families he is sometimes called on to serve through the Sheriff's Office.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-5.jpg

Sarah Palermo received an Exceptional Service Award from GCASA for her volunteer work on the DWI Victims' Impact Panel.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-6.jpg

David Saleh was honored for his years of volunteer coaching with mock trial teams.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-7.jpg

The keynote speech was delivered by Thomas A. Belein, chairman of the NYS Commission of Corrections.

lawdaydinnerapril282016-8.jpg

Attorney Ben Bonarigo, president of the Genesee County Bar Association, was emcee.

lawdaydinnerapril282016ll.jpg

The Pembroke Mock Trial Team, which won this year's competition.

April 29, 2016 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in criminal justice awards, batavia kiwanis, batavia, news.

Press release:

Kiwanis Club President Jeanne Walton and Genesee County Bar Association Benjamin Bonarigo, Sr. announced the awards during an annual dinner held at Batavia Country Club on Thursday, April 28, 2016.  The speaker at the dinner was Hon. Thomas A. Belein, Chairman of the New York State Commission of Correction.

 

Kiwanis Criminal Justice Award

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

THE 2016 AWARD RECIPIENTS ARE:

Sheriff Gary T. Maha, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Gary T. Maha has been a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office for over 49 years.  He started his law enforcement career as a dispatcher for the New York State Police in 1966 and became a Deputy Sheriff in 1967.  He was promoted to a Senior Investigator on July 16, 1969, and then promoted to Chief Deputy on June 4, 1977.  In 1988, he became Sheriff of Genesee County and has been ever since.  Sheriff Maha is very disciplined, beyond reproach, has served well as the commander in chief of a quasi-military organization, has adapted well to five decades of technological and other advancements in law enforcement and has been actively involved in his community as a member of the Kiwanis Club, serving as the Club President, a member of the Board of Directors and a pancake maker at the annual Pancake Days, along with many other projects.  He has earned the respect of his employees, the other professionals he works with in the Criminal justice System, his colleagues throughout NYS and the citizens of Genesee County.  Sheriff Maha was nominated for this award by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

 

Police Officer James M. DeFreze, City of Batavia Police Department
Police Officer James M. DeFreze has been a member of the City of Batavia Police Department since 2010.  He serves as a Field Training Officer and Crisis negotiator while remaining very active with all of the department’s community events.  This past December, Officer DeFreze spearheaded and helped organize the department’s first ever Shop-with-a-Cop Event in conjunction with Wal-Mart of Batavia.  The event was a huge success and reached every school district in the county.  Officer DeFreze has gone above and beyond routine assistance to
not only respond to victims of domestic violence but to make them comfortable and secure with the way in which he treats them.  Officer DeFreze has demonstrated a depth of knowledge and understanding of the very dynamics of domestic violence.  This has enabled him to appropriately respond to each victim’s fragile emotions with amazing sensitivity, tact and patience.  His concern for domestic violence victims is unsurpassed.  Police Officer DeFreze was nominated for this award by Justina Garner, YWCA Program Manager for Domestic Violence, and Holly Baxter, YWCA Program Manager – Care & Crisis Helpline. 

 

Investigators Ronald W. Wilson and Michael D. Sims, New York State Police

In August of 2015, the State Police BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigations) adopted a burglary investigation in the Town of Darien.  Throughout the following weeks, additional burglaries were reported to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office as well as the New York State Police.  Investigators Wilson and Sims worked diligently on all of the complaints in an effort to connect them and identify the perpetrators through evidence, interviews, and the sharing of intelligence with their counterparts at the Sheriff’s Office.  Similar daytime residential burglaries were occurring in Erie and Niagara Counties.  Wilson and Sims met with representatives of the agencies involved and together they formulated a plan to monitor and eventually arrest the suspects.  In October, four suspects were arrested and charged with more than 30 residential burglaries spanning four counties in Western New York.  Two of the defendants were additionally charged for their confession to an armed robbery that occurred earlier in the year.  Investigators Ronald W. Wilson and Michael D. Sims were nominated for this award by Major Steven A. Nigrelli, Troop Commander, Troop A.

Chaplain Allen A. Werk, Genesee County Sheriff’s Offic

Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award

The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Pembroke High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2016 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament.  The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen”, Mr. Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death nine years ago.  The Pembroke High School team members honored at the dinner include:  Alison Reiner, Kilian Lewis, Matthew Reeb, Sophia Zwolinski, Samuel Lang, Kassandra Sanner, Seth Librock, Tyler Wood, Johnathon Doud, Bethany Zwolinski, Eli Fox and Coach Paul L. Schuler, Jr.  Coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program, Kristie DeFreze, and Genesee County Bar Association President Benjamin Bonarigo, Sr. presented the award.

 

Genesee County Bar Association SPECIAL PRESENTATION

David Saleh

Attorney Mary Ann Wiater made a special presentation to David Saleh on behalf of the Genesee County Bar Association.  Mr. Saleh has been a mock trial coach at Pembroke since the high school first started to compete.  The success of a high school team many times is determined by attorney coaches who dedicate valuable time, spending innumerable evening hours and countless weekends to assist the team of students.  The students of Pembroke high school are very fortunate to have had the dedication from David who is one of the finest advocates in the legal profession.  He coached his children when they attended high school, and even though his children have long since graduated, David continues to coach.  David believes in the Mock Trial program and in the value it provides to the students of Pembroke.  Because of David, Pembroke has never been without an attorney coach, and under his tutelage, Pembroke has made it to the regional competition twice. 

Genesee/Orleans Council on Substance Abuse (GCASA) Award

Exceptional Service Award – Sarah Palermo

Sheila Harding, Prevention Educator/VIP Coordinator for GCASA, presented the Exceptional Service Award to Sarah Palermo.  Sarah attends almost every monthly DWI/Victim Impact Panel as a member where she shares her experiences and personal story of her daughter being a victim of a drunk driving crash.  Sarah not only speaks on the Genesee County Panel but on other surrounding county panels.  She demonstrates respect and genuine kindness towards GCASA staff and the offenders who attend the panel.  Sarah is always willing to volunteer her time to speak for the panel, and speakers like her are the true reason why our DWI/Victim Impact Panel makes an impact in our community.  

April 29, 2016 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Joe Gerace, charity, Genesee Cancer Assistance.

spegdinnerapril282016.jpg

There was a record turnout last night for Joe Gerace's annual Spaghetti Dinner.

The dinner, which was held at Stafford Fire Hall, was a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance.

For the first time, Gerace wasn't able to make the sauce himself, since he's in cancer treatment himself.

Previously: 'I'm not the only guy who has cancer,' says Joe Gerace as he plans to attend his annual dinner to support others

spegdinnerapril282016-2.jpg

spegdinnerapril282016-3.jpg

spegdinnerapril282016-4.jpg

spegdinnerapril282016-5.jpg

April 29, 2016 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, batavia.

gccgroundbreakingapril282016.jpg

Officials from throughout Genesee County were at Genesee Community College yesterday afternoon to join in a celebration of the college's continued growth -- groundbreaking for the Student Success Center and Event Center.

The Student Success Center will provide a sleek new entrance to the Campus and the Event Center will be the area’s largest indoor event arena with 25,000 square feet of open multipurpose floor space.

One man was instrumental in envisioning the expense and is being memorialized in the Event Center.

GCC’s President Jim Sunser unveiled the Event Center's official title, in honor of a man he was proud to call his friend, Richard C. Call.  

"The Board of Trustees has also given me the great privilege of announcing that at the boards May meeting the Trustees' intent to dedicate the Event Center to Dick Call and forever inscribe his name above the doors to this wonderful new building that's helping to create our future. The Richard C. Call Arena will be a tribute to the remarkable legacy of a man that has given so much to our college and community. And as we look ahead to the future the Richard C. Call Arena will symbolize the strength of our community and the power that we all have to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Craig Yunker, chairman for the GCC Foundation "Creating Our Future Together" Campaign, tied the entire endeavor together with a childhood memory of GCC’s foundation.  

“Fifty years ago I was 15; I remember my parents talking about this at the dinner table and going out and joining some other people in trying to get this referendum passed, and some of those people are here tonight.”

The celebration was as much about the community’s collaboration as it was about the facilities themselves. The college was asked to match $5 million of State funds and with many generous donations by local supporters it surpassed that amount raising $5.4 million.

Work on both facilities is expected to be complete sometime around July of 2017.

Our news partner, WBTA contributed to this story.

gccgroundbreakingapril282016-2.jpg

gccgroundbreakingapril282016-3.jpg

GCC President Jim Sunser.

gccgroundbreakingapril282016-4.jpg

Retired, longtime GCC President Stuart Steiner in the middle, then Craig Yunker and GC Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini.

gccgroundbreakingapril282016-5.jpg

Diane D. Torcello, chair of the College's Board of Trustees.

gccgroundbreakingapril282016-6.jpg

Eunice A. Lewin, SUNY trustee.

gccgroundbreakingapril282016-7.jpg

Craig Yunker, chair of the GCC Foundation's Creating Our Future Together Campaign.

April 28, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emily Helenbrook, Genesee Chorale, batavia, arts, entertainment, music, news.

choraleapril282016.jpg

Press release:

The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones, is excited to offer a performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29th, in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia. 

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Jones, director of the large, talented community chorus based in Batavia. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata composed by Orff and based on a collection of 24 medieval poems. You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna,” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981, John Boorman film, "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

Orff’s Carmina Burana is based on 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection Carmina Burana, a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

The Chorale will consist be accompanied by several three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show, From the Top, recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. Clayton has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills' home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s Coffee Cantata at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" in several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequoit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performance will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site, www.GeneseeChorale.com, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

The Genesee Chorale is directed by Ric Jones, owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he also serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. Jones is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings including Bach's St. Matthew's "Passion," Charpentier's "Midnight Mass for Christmas," the Mozart and Brahms requiems, and several masses by composers such as Schubert and Mozart. Additionally, the Chorale has performed "Die Fledermaus," Mendelssohn's "Elijah," Handel's "Solomon," Haydn's "Creation," Vivaldi's "Magnificat," and Vaughan William’s "Hodie."

This concert is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

April 28, 2016 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, news.

The call started with "two cows and a horse" in the road at Stubb Road and Route 19, Pavilion, but now deputies are informed there are "several animals" in the road at that location.

Dispatchers are trying to contact a farmer in the area.

Deputies are responding.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: One of the owners of the property has been located and "he's working on a plan." Earlier, a deputy told dispatch, "we also have a bull to deal with."

April 28, 2016 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

buzzin_bistro_1.jpg

Press release:

The halls at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School were full of colorful and imaginative artwork and pottery, and the cafeteria was filled with music as hundreds of community members, parents, teachers and students got their creative buzz on. The school’s third-annual Buzzin’ Bistro event showcased a wide range of talent and drew a huge, enthusiastic crowd on April 22.

The Buzzin’ Bistro began with the opening of the District Art Show, which featured visual arts from the elementary and jr./sr. high schools. Participating art teachers Melissa Coniglio, Sandy Auer and Justine Fritz displayed the best work from their classes in a variety of media, including several exceptional student portfolios.

The main event, however, was the music. The Buzzin’ Bistro is an opportunity for students from grades five through 12 to perform with each other in front of a community audience. They are also able to sing and play as equals alongside their music teachers and talented musicians from the Bergen community. This year, guest artist Johnny Cummings, talented songwriter and Byron-Bergen alumnus (2000), and his band entertained and inspired the young artists.

The musical portion of the evening began with the fifth- and sixth-grade Jazz Band and Jazz Choir, directed by teachers Robert Lancia and Karen Tischer, with impressive solos from students Cameron Carlson and Angel Heick. Teacher Kevin Bleiler directed both the jr. and sr. high jazz bands in several numbers that had the younger members of the audience on their feet dancing. The Singing Silhouettes, a select group of high school chorus members, led by teacher Laurence Tallman, swung a wonderful version of the classic “In the Mood.”

Students took a breather to let staff members Amanda Cook, Alyson Tardy, Amber Taylor-Burns, Jodie Vandelay and Megan Wahl, along with community musicians Steve Keenan, Chris DeValder and Bob Wilkins, join the music department to perform a few numbers. Johnny Cummings and his band, Something Else, followed with a showstopping 30-minute set that had all the students up and dancing. The evening concluded with a rendition of “Twist and Shout” involving the jr. high band, sr. high band and community members.

Buzzin’ Bistro was sponsored and supported by the Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, Todd Sloat from T.S. Lighting, LLC, Ralph Marsocci from McCullagh Coffee Roasters, Ralph & Rosie’s Delicatessen, and Greg’ry’s Bakery.

buzzin_bistro_2.jpg

buzzin_bistro_3.jpg

buzzin_bistro_4.jpg

April 27, 2016 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, fire, news.

From Patrick S. Privatera, president of Le Roy Physical Therapy:

I'm writing to give you an update on our incident this morning. There was a small electrical fire which was sparked by a bird which had built a nest inside an outdoor electrical box housing our service connections. Humphrey Electric is on scene currently making repairs, but Le Roy PT, Village Fitness, and Dollar General will be closed the rest of the day until power can be restored.

We expect to reopen by mid-morning tomorrow. Despite the inconvenience, there were no injuries and things could have been much worse. We're very grateful to Le Roy, Stafford, Pavilion, and Bergen‎ Fire Depts and the Le Roy Police Deptartment for their assistance.  

Previously: Smoke coming from back room at Le Roy's Dollar General store

April 27, 2016 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Jacquetta Simmons.

simmonscourtapril27206.jpg

After being among Batavia's wanted for 18 months, Jacquetta Simmons, 30, appeared in court today following her arrest in Rochester last night, to answer to a charge of harassment 2nd.

Simmons, out of jail on $300 bail, asked for an adjournment of her case because on short notice, her attorney, Ann Nichols, could not appear in Batavia today.

The case was docked for May 25. 

In the meantime, Judge Durin Rogers issued an order of protection, which Simmons signed, barring her from any contact with the alleged victim in the harassment case, a 54-year-old woman.

Simmons was allegedly in an altercation of some sort with the woman back in October during a meeting at the YWCA. A couple of weeks later, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Simmons on the harassment charge. The warrant was reported by local and regional media in January.

The former Batavia resident gained international notoriety after punching a 70-year-old Walmart cashier on Christmas Eve, 2011. In August, 2012, Simmons was found guilty of assault in the second degree by a jury and later sentenced to five years in state prison. The sentence was later ruled too harsh by an appeals court and Simmons was resentenced to one year in jail.

Also in City Court today, 54-year-old Darlene M. Callan, charged with arson, 3rd, for allegedly starting a fire inside her home Monday at 189 South Main St., Batavia. Callan is being held on $25,000 bail and her attorney asked for her to be released under supervision given her lack of criminal record and ties to the community. Citing a low score on a bail review worksheet and concerns over recent substance use issues, Rogers declined to reduce the bail.

April 27, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A person was reportedly outside his vehicle at John Kennedy School when another vehicle struck it, causing the man's vehicle to strike him.

The man reportedly suffered a minor injury.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

April 27, 2016 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, crime, batavia, news.

southmainfireapril272016b.jpg

callan_darleneapril2016.jpg

    Darlene M. Callan

A 54-year-old South Main Street woman has been charged with arson in the third degree for allegedly setting a fire in a bedroom of her home around 5 p.m., Monday.

The bedroom had fire and smoke damage but city firefighters were able to put the blaze out before it spread.

Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger said that the actual cause of the fire cannot be released yet because it's still under investigation. 

City fire was dispatched after a woman ran to a neighbor's house and said her bedroom was on fire.

After an investigation, it was determined the only person at home at 189 S. Main St. was Darlene M. Callan and police say evidence indicates she started the fire.

Several subjects at the scene were interviewed, police say.

Callan was held on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

The investigation was conducted by Officer Jamie Givens, Sgt. Dan Coffey, Det. Kevin Czora and Capt. Craig Williams.

southmainfireapril272016-2.jpg

April 27, 2016 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jacquetta Simmons, crime, batavia, news.
 Jacquetta Simmons

More than a year after a warrant was first issued for her arrest, Jacquetta Bernadine Simmons, who first made international news after punching a Walmart cashier on Christmas Eve in 2011, is back in custody.

Simmons was picked up by Rochester PD last night and turned over to Batavia PD on a warrant for an alleged incident at a church meeting in Batavia in October, 2014.

The warrant was issued Oct. 20, 2014, but information wasn't released until January. 

Simmons, 30, allegedly made some sort of physical contact with a 54-year-old woman.

She is charged with second-degree harassment.

The meeting reportedly involved church members at a business meeting being held at the YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

Simmons was convicted in August 2012 of assaulting a 70-year-old cashier at Walmart and later sentenced to five years in prison, but that sentence was later overturned on appeals and she was given a year in jail. She was also ordered to pay restitution, which became the subject of several court appearances as she appealed the amount and sought modifications to the payment plan.

Simmons, held on $300 bail, is scheduled to appear in City Court at 1 p.m. today to answer to the harassment charge.

April 27, 2016 - 7:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway, pembroke.

A rollover accident is reported on the Thruway, westbound lane, near mile marker 402.4, Pembroke.

There is a person unable to get out of the vehicle, but uninjured.

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 7:19 a.m.: There are two vehicles involved. Two people involved. Both uninjured, up and walking around.

UPDATE 7:41 a.m.: A second accident is reported in the westbound lane, about 100 yards west of Exit 48. Initially, no Mercy EMS unit was available to respond, so Darien was going to be dispatched, but a Mercy unit cleared another call and is now responding. Both patients at the first accident were sign-offs, so now that ambulance is available. Pembroke and Indian Falls are also handling the second accident.

UPDATE 7:49 a.m.: Make that 100 yards east of the interchange (probably our mistake). Responders haven't located the accident, but a dispatcher says that a trooper is out with the accident and there was airbag deployment.

UPDATE 8 a.m.: Responding units were on location almost immediately after last update.

UPDATE 8:05 a.m.: All patients at second accident will be sign-offs.

April 26, 2016 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Joe Gerace, Genesee Cancer Assistance, batavia, news, charity.

Throughout his life, Joe Gerace has helped so many people in our community, and now it's our turn to help him, but he doesn't look at it that way.

"I'm a little humble," Gerace said. "I'm humble because I'm not looking for somebody to pay me back. I've done everything from my heart, and, yeah, now it is payback time, but I'm not looking for it that way. I'm not that way."

Gerace was diagnosed earlier this month with lung cancer and bone cancer, at the same time, he also suffered a broken femur. He's currently staying at the State Veterans Home but plans on attending his annual spaghetti dinner Thursday in Stafford, which is a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance, a local organization he's worked tirelessly for since 1995.

"I'm looking forward to going to my spaghetti dinner Thursday," Gerace said. "I'm not going to get to put my hands in the sauce. I'd like to, but they all know what to do. I gave them all instructions."

He thinks just being there is important, not for him, but for others who need the support.

"I did it for 20 years and I want to be there to root other people on," said Gerace, who is 80. "I'm not the only guy who has cancer. There's a lot of people out there. I don't want no one to feel sorry for me because I'm going to fight this. I'm going to fight it."

Gerace has been deeply involved in our community for decades. He was the first person selected for the Italian-American of the Year Award at Batavia Downs in 2008. That year he was also Humanitarian of the Year for United Memorial Medical Center and the Jerome Foundation. In 2006, he was named City of Batavia Volunteer of the Year and Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Genessean of the Year in 1993 and was honored for his community service by the Paolo Busti Foundation Scholarship Committee.

He has long been active in Rotary and Knights of Columbus. He's a former president of the Batavia Youth Bureau, co-chair of the Genesee County Cancer Society's Festival of Hope and a director of the Genesee County Baseball Club (co-owners of the Batavia Muckdogs).

"I've got the urge to help," said Gerace, who served in the Army from 1957-59. "I call myself a public servant for Christ. I'm not a very religious guy, but I believe in God."

For two decades he's devoted a lot of time and effort helping people afflicted with cancer, but he never had it himself until now.

"It's so easy to tell somebody, you're going to be OK," Gerace said. "Well, you know, you experience it and then you'll know what they're going through. It's not only the cancer. It's the treatments. It knocks the heck out of you. It makes you tired. I want to go faster, but they slow me down, my wife slows me down all the time."

Gerace has received hundreds of get-well cards and countless bouquets of flowers over the past couple of weeks. He knows hundreds of people are praying for him and he says his own prayer every time he goes into treatment. 

"I say, 'dear God, those people prayed for me. Please answer their prayers.' "

He vows to beat cancer.

He said the other day he was doing a little religious reading and came across the story of a woman who got cancer and asked, "why me?"

She told people, "I have the Big C."

"Another gentleman wrote a letter," Gerace said, "and wrote her back and said, 'It's OK to have the Big C. The Big C is Christ and Christ is bigger than cancer.'

"That's what keeps me going," Gerace added. "I'm going to have a fight and I'm going to win. I will win. I've got a lot of spirit."

The dinner Thursday is from 4 to 7 p.m. Gerace vows he'll be there for at least some of the time. It's at the Stafford Fire Hall. Adults $10 (includes a 50/50 raffle ticket), children $5. Takeouts available.

April 26, 2016 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Vibrant Batavia, batavia, news, business.

Whether Vibrant Batavia gets funded in 2016-17 depends on how a resolution passed a year ago by the City Council is interpreted by the City Council this year, and that decision will wait for another meeting, this year's City Council decided last night.

A year ago, the council made 2016-17 funding contingent on Vibrant Batavia securing $15,000 from another funding source, but the available language of the resolution seems unclear whether Vibrant Batavia must already have that funding in place or if the group of volunteers must have a plan in place for raising the money before the end of the fiscal year.

City Manager Jason Molino wasn't at the meeting last night and council members would like to hear from him and to review the minutes from a year ago to help with the interpretation of the resolution.

That said, it's a resolution, so it isn't binding. If there are five votes against Vibrant Batavia, the meaning of the resolution could be moot.

When Council President Eugene Jankowski asked council members to vote on a motion to request more information from Molino, four members -- Rosemary Christian, Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis and Paul Viele -- all voted against even getting more information before making a decision.

Councilman Brooks Hawley was not at Monday's meeting, but it's not clear that other council members would support Vibrant Batavia if came down to a binding vote.

McGinnis likened Vibrant Batavia to socialism. He thinks the government shouldn't take the initiative on what private citizens should do.

Rosemary Christian said she was promised years ago that a spray park would be built on the Southside and she wonders whatever happened to that idea, and there are sidewalks that need repaired and police cameras that should be purchased.

"We need other things more than we need Vibrant Batavia, no ifs, ands and buts about it," she said.

Jankowski said everybody agrees that Vibrant Batavia has done good work over the past three years.

"There's no debate about it," Jankowski said. "The debate is on how to fund it. That's where the split is."

While the motion failed on the 4-4 vote, it really only takes one council member to request an item be placed on a conference agenda (it takes majority approval to place an item on a business agenda), so the council will be able to take up the issue again at the next conference meeting that Molino is able to attend.

April 26, 2016 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

councilwardsapril252016.jpg

The Batavia City Council handed out its annual awards at last night's meeting.

Above, Debbie and Dan Fischer, owners of WBTA, receive the Business of the Year Award from Councilman Adam Tabelski.

For more on the awards, click here.

councilwardsapril252016-2.jpg

Don and Pam Hirons, Homeowners of the Year, with Councilwoman Patti Pacino.

councilwardsapril252016-3.jpg

Tonya Passamonte and Adam Steadman, Homeowners of the Year.

Employee of the Year, Officer Chad Richards, and Volunteer of the Year, Larry Barnes, were unable to attend the meeting.

Pages

Calendar

S M T W T F S
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button