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April 23, 2015 - 8:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, austin park, weather.

Austin Park is a long way from Florida, especially when just two weeks ago, when Cheri Pitcher was there, it was 90 degrees.

"I was surprised how cold it was this morning," Pitcher said while braving the cold and dusting of snow to take her dog for a walk.

It was 28 degrees this morning.

April 22, 2015 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, alexander, Le Roy.

Jason P. Andrews, 38, of Lake Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Andrews is accused of selling an unspecified controlled substance in the form of pills to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force. Andrews was arrested at his residence, arraigned and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Jonathon Grant Browne, 22, of Leighton Avenue, Rochester, is charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes, unlawful possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, speeding and driving a vehicle without stop lights. Browne was stopped at 4:08 p.m. Tuesday on Main Street, Oakfield, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

A 17-year-old youth, residence not specified, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. The youth was arrested in Alexander by State Police. No further details released.

Jenna L. Josephite, 26, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and Dillon M. Brito, 23, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Josephite and Brito were arrested and charged by State Police at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on Route 5, Town of Batavia. No further details released.

Grand Jury Report:

Veronica Garcia is indicted on a count of felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or higher, two counts of driving drunk with a child less than 15 years of age in the vehicle and endangering the welfare of a child. Garcia is accused of driving drunk Dec. 19 on Route 98, Alexander, with two children in the vehicle. She allegedly has a prior DWI conviction from February, 2011, in the City of Batavia.

April 22, 2015 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Oakfield.

Timothy Burch sent in this picture from this morning of a funeral procession in Oakfield for Alan H. Myers, who died at the age of 88.

According to his obituary, he led a heck of a life:

At age 11, he worked for adult wages on the Elba muck. He delivered newspapers by bicycle, set bowling pins, and in the winter, ran a muskrat trap line. He served during World War II with the Marine Corps and was awarded medals for marksmanship. He was stationed in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

After an honorable military discharge, he was employed by U.S. Gypsum for 11 years and survived severe injuries from a mine tunnel collapse. He farmed and ran a chicken egg business.

He was trained as a draftsman with the aid available from the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, eventually retiring from Eastman Kodak Co. as a master draftsman engineer in 1989.

Al Myers was an exceptional craftsman in home repair and antique restorations and a gifted landscaper. His land and home were his passion. An avid naturalist and protector of wildlife, Al was also a marble shooter, game player, chess player, hunter, lover of dogs, cats, and the comedy duo Laurel & Hardy. He was a renowned billiards player, friend of Native Americans, and a Civil War enthusiast. He helped found the 44th NY Volunteer Civil War Regiment and was instrumental in the development of the North South Skirmish Association, where he won many marksmanship medals in antique firearms competitions.

April 22, 2015 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, elba, byron, missing pets.

Hank is missing. Hank is 6 months old and escaped from home on Transit Road in Elba/Byron two days ago. If found, or with other helpful information, call (585) 297-0088 or (585) 490-3335. A reward is offered for Hank's return.

April 22, 2015 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs, employment.

Genesee County's unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 to 6.0 percent from last March to this March, according to the latest data from the NYS Department of Labor.

At the same time, the total number of local residents who are employed, and the total number of local residents who are unemployed, both declined.

There are now 27,500 people with jobs in the county, according to the data, compared to 27,700 in March 2014.

There are 1,800 people listed as unemployed, compared to 2,000 a year ago.

The total number of non-farm jobs in the county rose from 22,000 to 22,100. 

The number of non-farm jobs in March 2015 increased from the previous month by 200.

The total number of manufacturing jobs has remained steady during the time period at 3,000. Goods-producing jobs have held steady at 3,800.

The national unemployment rate is 5.6 percent and the state's is 5.8.

In the Rochester area, the rate is 5.5 percent, and in Buffalo, 5.9.

The rate in Orleans County, 7.2, Livingston, 5.5, and Wyoming, 7.4.

 

April 22, 2015 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

YWCA’s Women of Distinction Committee is excited to have chosen a slate of exceptional recipients for this year’s Women of Distinction Awards, Chairwoman Colleen Raponi says.

Each one of them represents true integrity in supporting this community with advocacy, equal rights, diversity, sustainability and peace.

They are Maryanne Arena for Racial Justice; Eve Hens for Economic Empowerment; Heather Cummings for Military/Veteran; Kathy Panepento for Peace; Theresa Asmus-Roth for Advocacy/Civic Engagement; and Lawley Genesee Insurance and Risk Management for Corporate Social Responsibility.

“We are thrilled to introduce these recipients, many of which the community may already know, and to shine a light on their talents, passions and efforts to better us all,” Raponi said. “They are all proof that truly outstanding citizens are amongst us every day often working behind the scenes to improve the world one piece at a time.”

Maryanne Arena is the director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College. She may not always choose the more popular “glitzy and glamorous” productions for the college’s Forum Players, but her work always encourages students to dig deeper and explore the unpopular, such as empowerment and racism issues.

Maryanne supports diversity in her initiatives, philosophies and programs, nominator Cathy DeBellis said, and continually proves her commitment to racial justice and support of YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

“I applaud Maryanne for encouraging her students to develop their own work and for giving them the opportunity for their voices to be heard by others,” DeBellis said. “Maryanne believes that it is her social responsibility to encourage her students to grow, not just as students and performers but as responsible individuals in our society.”

Theresa Asmus-Roth began her work as a Genesee County rape crisis coordinator in 2001 before being promoted to supervisor of the entire GLOW region of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. She has been a “tireless advocate” for victims of sexual assaults in her roles as direct service provider, community educator, victim advocate and coordinator/supervisor of services.

“Theresa has demonstrated her ability to positively impact our local community as well as to influence regional and statewide causes,” nominator Anne Bezon said.

Asmus-Roth has served as: coordinator on the Genesee County Crime Victims’ Rights Week planning committee; president of Western New York Coalition for Crime Victims; board member of the state Office of Victim Services; and president of Batavia Kiwanis Club. She was a recipient of the 2012 state Mental Health Association Volunteer of the Year Award and 2014 Kiwanis Club’s Criminal Justice Award and is president of Genesee County Inter-Agency Council.

Lawley Genesee Insurance and Risk Management has continually fostered empowerment and advancement to the women in its workforce. As a part of Lawley Service, Managing Branch Partner William Fritts has been a “tremendous source of encouragement and support, and has created an awesome environment for employees to develop and grow,” according to an agency staff member. Employees are given that extra nudge to continue their education and certifications, and are supported with tuition cost, expenses, and personal time to develop their credentials. Women are also given the opportunity to fill nontraditional roles and have a strong leadership voice. Lawley Genesee is a vibrant member of the community and truly promotes social consciousness and awareness with its multiple team efforts to support governing boards, not-for-profits and various charities.

If you look up the definition of peace in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Kathy Panepento next to it. For the past 17 years, Kathy, a founder of Crossroads House, has taken the mission of comfort care from a vision to an organization that has helped more than 400 area residents make the final journey from this world to the next.

With a knowledge of palliative care, a compassionate heart and a passion for giving people both comfort and control in their last days, Kathy has eased the transition for so many, Crossroads House Executive Director Jeff Allen said.

“As a society we are blessed with an abundance of resources on how to birth and nurture our newborns yet there are precious few resources on how to nurture and usher out our dying,” Allen said. “Meeting all the needs of a dying person requires a person to be doctor, nurse, pastor, counselor, caretaker, aide, cook and custodian. In addition to fulfilling all those roles in some way or another, Kathy has trained hundreds of volunteers over the years to carry on the mission of comfort care.”

Eve Hens has earned the Economic Empowerment Award for her efforts to empower women and girls as a leader of Business Education Alliance. This year BEA offered a Girls’ Engineering Exploration Day so that young women could learn more about the field of engineering, specifically focusing on the skills, education and work habits of successful engineers.

“It was an amazing experience to see girls solving complex problems while working in teams and being proud of their abilities and aptitude,” said her nominator Alexander Middle/High School Principal Shannon Whitcombe. “Eve should be commended for her efforts to empower women and girls to reach for and achieve their goals.”

Whitcombe has also been impressed with Heather Cummings, who she thinks deserves the Military/Veteran Award for her work as an active member of the Air Force Reserves and superintendent of the Air Force Chaplain’s Office. Heather is on call 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to provide support and assistance for veterans in need. She recently worked with the family of an Air Force veteran who passed away, leaving the family devastated from the loss. Heather and her colleagues provided family members with the support they needed to get through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“This is just one example of many that represents her commitment to her military family,” Whitcombe said. “Heather gives 100 percent to everything that she does. She will do whatever it takes to ensure that our veterans have the support they need and the respect they deserve.”

The awards will be presented during the 2015 Women of Distinction Awards Gala June 13 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. Hosted by William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, awards are to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Stuart Steiner Theatre, to be followed by an elegant grazing station dinner at 6:30 in the Forum.

Tickets are $40 and include program, dinner, entertainment and entry to win a door prize. Tables of 10 for $350 and special sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

April 22, 2015 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, media, Bill Brown.

Press release:

The legacy of the late William F. Brown Jr., noted Batavia author, broadcaster and journalist, will live on through a scholarship established by The Jerome Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that distributes funds to benefit United Memorial Medical Center and other health-related purposes.

The William F. Brown Jr. Memorial Scholarship, an annual $1,000 grant, will be awarded to a deserving high school senior residing in and graduating from a school in Genesee County whose intention is to pursue at least a four-year degree in the fields of Journalism, Communications, or Public Relations (in print, radio, television or digital media).

Brown, who died on Nov. 29, 2014 at the age of 91, was the former owner and president of WBTA Radio, a longtime correspondent for The Buffalo News and a frequent contributor to The Batavia Daily News.

An expert on Genesee County history, he wrote numerous books and articles on notable people and events, including the unsolved Linden murders, Batavia Downs, Redfield Parkway and the Mancuso family.

He also was president of the board of directors of the former St. Jerome Hospital and a charter member and trustee emeritus of The Jerome Foundation.

“Bill Brown contributed greatly to the quality of life in Genesee County through his writing, and as a member of numerous community and civic organizations,” said Justin Calarco-Smith, board president of The Jerome Foundation. “He enriched our lives and we hope to be able to continue that spirit of giving with this scholarship that honors his memory.”

A committee of directors from the foundation will judge the scholarship applicants based upon academic merit, creative accomplishment, community service and leadership.

Applications are available at guidance offices at the nine Genesee County high schools or by contacting Martha Spinnegan, administrative assistant for The Jerome Foundation, at [email protected].

The completed application must be mailed to The Jerome Foundation, P.O. Box 249, Batavia, NY, 14020, and postmarked by May 8 to be considered.

April 22, 2015 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today blasted Assembly Majority members for holding legislation he sponsored in the Committee on Higher Education rather than bringing it to the floor for a vote. In 2009, Hawley introduced Assembly Bill 3093, which seeks to provide free college tuition and expenses for dependent family members of military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Assembly Majority has never allowed this bill to leave committee and come before the entire house for a vote.  

“I am discouraged by today’s committee vote,” Hawley said. “As a veteran, I know the personal and financial struggles of children who lose their parents in the line of duty. This legislation would lift some of the financial burden that comes with attending college and allow military families more freedom in pursuing their educational aspirations. We owe it to those who have paid the ultimate price to assist their loved ones in any way we can. It is disappointing that Assembly Majority members do not feel the same urgency to support those who sacrificed their lives for us.”

Hawley is a veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. He has consistently and thoroughly advocated for veterans during his time in the Assembly and currently serves as Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

April 21, 2015 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, IAFF Local 896, City Fire.

Press release:

For the third year, in a row City of Batavia Firefighters IAFF Local 896 will be raising funds to provide children in the City of Batavia with brand-new 100-percent American-made winter coats.

Firefighters partnered with the national non-for-profit Operation Warm in 2013 and held the first ever successful Operation Warm coat campaign in New York State associated with the International Association of Firefighters. Since 2013 City firefighters have distributed more than 125 brand new 100-percent American-made winter coats.

For the second year in a row, Local 896 will be raffling off a N6A Sam Houston leather helmet along with four other prizes. All proceeds will benefit the 2015 Firefighters for Operation Warm campaign with a goal of 200 coats for local children. Drawing held Saturday Sept. 5.

City of Batavia Firefighters IAFF Local 896 would like to thank everyone who has supported this great cause over the last two years. For more information please contact Adam Palumbo at [email protected] or visit www.operationwarm.org/batavia

April 21, 2015 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

The former owner of the Batavia Nursing Home is facing a new federal charge after being indicted on a count of bankruptcy fraud by a federal grand jury.

Marc Korn, 58 and a resident of Amherst, is accused of making false statements under oath during a bankruptcy proceeding concerning the ownership of safe deposit boxes. He is also accused of failing to disclose life insurance policies transferred to another person and concealing assets from creditors.

Korn was already under federal indictment on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and failure to pay employment taxes, as well as making false statements to law enforcement.

That indictment was issued in 2011, at a time when Korn was under fire for reportedly failing to pay his Batavia employees.

All told, Korn is facing as much as 30 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines or both.

He's scheduled to go to trial on the first set of charges May 20.

April 21, 2015 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, Darien.

Otto Charles Reinhardt, 48, of Clarence Center Road, Clarence, is charged with disruption of a religious service, criminal mischief, 4th, harassment, 2nd, trespass, assault, 3rd, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Reinhardt allegedly disrupted a religious service at 2:54 p.m. Sunday at 282 Broadway Road, Darien, and punched several people. He allegedly damaged personal property. He had allegedly been previously barred from the property. At 12:03 a.m. Sunday, at another location on Broadway Road, Darien, Reinhardt allegedly violated an order of protection out of Erie County Family Court. He was also charged with trespass related to that incident. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Joseph Christopher Downs, 43, of Knowlesville Road, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and moving from lane unsafely. Downs was arrested following the report of a single-vehicle accident at 8:10 p.m. April 12 on Fox Road, Oakfield. The accident was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

April 21, 2015 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on legislative leaders and Gov. Cuomo to bring a bill to the Assembly floor for a vote that would strip pension and retirement benefits from corrupt lawmakers. Hawley said this is an issue he and the Assembly Minority Conference have been fighting for the past several years and it is finally time to get tough on ethics reform.  

“As a taxpayer of this state, I am appalled at the amount of money our pension system has given over the past couple of decades to lawmakers and officials convicted of crimes,” Hawley said. “In my view, this has nothing to do with party or position in government; it is commonsense legislation that we need to put the people’s faith back into our government. I have been a sponsor of this legislation for years, because each day we sit idly by is another day we have failed the taxpayers of New York State. I am calling on legislative leaders and members of the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee, where this bill is currently being held, to bring this bill to the Assembly floor for a vote.”

Hawley’s comments come after it was reported by The Journal News that 14 former lawmakers and officials convicted of crimes are being paid a total of about $531,000 per year by the state’s pension system. Over the past 15 years, about $4 million has been paid out in pension benefits to ex-lawmakers and officials convicted of various crimes.

April 21, 2015 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC, bergen, dan ireland.
Dan Ireland riding the shuttle from St. Jerome's to UMMC on a recent morning.
Jeremy Cosimeno and Dan Ireland share a cup of coffee and a laugh in the UMMC cafeteria before starting a recent workday.

From early in his career, there were people who saw something in Dan Ireland and encouraged him along his path from orderly to president of his hometown hospital.

While perhaps not a tale ripped from the pages of Horatio Alger, Ireland does stand out in an era when young people are indoctrinated to believe they must escape their smalltown roots to make something of themselves.

Ireland was born in Batavia, attended Batavia High School and started his collegiate career at Genesee Community College. While still in college, he landed a job at St. Jerome's Hospital, and outside of a brief stint with a hospital in Rochester, he has spent his entire career with St. Jerome's, Genesee Memorial or UMMC, rising from entry-level to top executive over the course of 26 years.

The climb to the pinnacle is something Dave Shaffer saw coming. He told Ireland where he was going, but Ireland didn't buy it.

Ireland said the two good friends laugh about it to this day.

"He said to me one day, 'You're going to run this hospital someday,' " Ireland said. "I said, 'No, I don't think that's ever going to happen.' He reminded me about it when I was appointed, but I never had that vision."

Ireland started out in college with the intention of going into information technology, but as a volunteer with Town of Batavia Fire Department, he was exposed to patient care. 

"Those were the days when paramedics were just coming into departments," Ireland said. "You got them in the ambulance and raced to the hospital as quickly as possible and we actually did very little out in the field for patients. As I saw more of that developing, it piqued my interest -- how do I care for patients?"

Ireland decided to become a nurse, switched majors at GCC and took a job at St. Jerome's, transferring a year later to Genesee Memorial.

Back when Batavia had a skating rink, Skate 98, Dan Ireland was a champion rollerskate performer.

"I think he's a lot like me," Shaffer said. "He's easy going. He treats people like he wants to be treated. I don't have a problem with people like that.

"I never had a doubt my prediction wouldn't come true," Shaffer added.

In those early days, Gloria Stevens also saw something in Ireland that set him apart.

She met him while working at St. Jerome's and he was working on an ambulance.

"He was always smiling, always friendly," Stevens recalled. "He always seemed to be in a good mood every time I'd see him and he just seemed like a really nice young man."

Her daughter, Amy, had also taken note of Ireland and mentioned him to her mother.

"I think she thought he was cute," Stevens said.

One evening Stevens asked Ireland if he was dating anybody.

He wasn't.

So Gloria took it upon herself to ask him on a date on behalf of her daughter, to a family wedding.

Amy and Dan have been married 22 years and have three children, Rebekah, 18, Brian, 15, and Kelly, 12.

Ireland's made a great son-in-law and father to her grandchildren, Stevens said.

"It's probably one of the best decisions I ever made," Stevens said.

Dan and Amy quickly became a team, pushing each other through their studies and making sure they got better at their jobs.

The hospital bosses noticed.

It wasn't long after Ireland became a nurse that he became a supervisor in the emergency room.

Ireland began to develop mentors who helped guide his career. Dr. Diane London was one who always made time for him, he said. She would answer any question and provide guidance on patient care.

"She was a fantastic person," Ireland said. "You could walk into ER any time and sit next to her and ask her question. That was learning clinically, that was building my knowledge -- 'What happened? What happened with this patient?' She would make time for you no matter what."

By 1997, computers were starting to work their way into patient care and suddenly Ireland's duel experience in IT and nursing opened a new opportunity for him.

The idea of using computers to help improve patient care captured Ireland's imagination and the hospital needed somebody with both a medical background and IT training.

"All of the sudden, this new idea of helping people with computers and, wow, we're going into this new era of documentation and clinical results and getting things to bedside quicker, and I sat back and realized, 'I can do the best of both worlds,' " Ireland said. " 'I can make this happen. I can teach nurses how to do it and still be a nurse and still use that clinical experience.' "

Not that bringing the nursing staff into the Digital Era was always a smooth transition.

Ireland recalled one nurse who was very upset with him.

"She was livid," he said. "She said, 'You've taken my time with patients from here to here and I'm spending all this time on the computer. It's a horrible thing.' "

About three months later, Ireland said, she was upset for a different reason. The system went off-line for maintenance.

"I got a phone call from her and she said, 'Why did you take my computer system away from me? It's been perfect,' " Ireland recalled.

He added, "It was a validation that the transition of technology really made a difference."

In 2001, Ireland took a position with the University of Rochester that he thought would advance his IT background, but within six months, Charlie Kenney, then CEO of the Batavia hospital, wanted him back.

The hospital needed somebody to do some high-level analytics, tracking population trends, and after a couple of meetings, Ireland realized this was a good job for him.

In 2003, he was promoted to director of Quality Management and created a case management program.

At this point, Karen Peters became one of his mentors.

When she passed in 2005, then CEO Mark Schoell appointed him to her former job, VP of Clinical Services.

Ireland lost two mentors, London and Peters, and gained a new one in Schoell.

"I was quite happy working for her (Peters) as director of Quality Management and suddenly she was gone," Ireland said. "She was a key part of my development. When you lose mentors, you miss them, but then you've got to find your own way."

Under Schoell, Ireland began to move up the executive ladder, taking on bigger titles and the greater responsibilities that went with them. He was VP of Support Services and then COO.  

He oversaw multiple departments and services, and supervised remodeling the Jerome Center and addition of the new surgical wing, including securing financing.

Schoell was a great mentor, Ireland said, giving him a job, even a big job, and letting him do it with minimal interference, but always there for guidence and to answer questions.

While Schoell may have been grooming an eventual successor, that wasn't necessarily Ireland's ambition.

"The ambition was doing a project and doing it successfully," Ireland said. "It was getting a project and saying 'How do I get it done? What do I need to know about that?' So that's where the ambition kicked in. I have this desire to do the right things and to get them done. Sometimes that's a lot of extra work you put in to make that happen. I think that's where the ambition was, but not for the position."

As Ireland moved into higher-profile roles, he became more interested in learning about leadership. He has his favorite books on leadership, his favorite speakers, he's attended seminars and workshops, and he's also found serving on community boards a great way to observe and learn about leaders.

The Bergen resident is on the Gillam-Grant Community Center Board and the Byron-Bergen Central School District Board of Education. He's also been through Leadership Genesee.

"Sitting on boards has helped educate myself," Ireland said. "Sitting on the school board, especially, you learn a lot about the different ways people lead. (Byron-Bergen schools Superintendent) Casey Kosiorek is a phenomenal leader. I've learned a lot just by watching him, how he interacts with his staff. I've transferred some that in how I do things."

From all appearances, Dan Ireland, the guy who rose through the ranks and was mentored by so many people in his home community, has been embraced as a leader by the UMMC staff. 

Ireland makes it a point to be accessible to as many of the hospitals more than 700 employees as possible. He often rides the shuttle from the St. Jerome's parking lot -- where employees are encouraged to park -- and frequently takes his meals in the cafeteria. He also regularly visits all of the departments of the hospital. It's impossible for him to know everybody's name, but Colleen Flynn, director of public relations for UMMC, offered during an interview in his office that to those who have worked with Ireland, his presidency seems like a natural fit. 

"I think we all saw leadership potential in him," Flynn said. "I don't think there is a single employee, manager, director in the organization who was surprised when Dan was named president. It was a natural progression."

Now that he's the leader, the mentor himself, and the guy from his own community leading one of the most important institutions in that community, Ireland takes seriously the responsibility to ensure UMMC delivers quality care.

He's also well aware that isn't the reputation UMMC necessarily enjoys locally.

Sitting in his president's office, when asked about the issue, he talked about it at length.

"We can't expect the people of Genesee County to just look at the hospital and say 'That's the hospital,' " Ireland said. "We have to work to earn the trust of every member of the community because that's what they expect. They expect us to continuously improve, so we have to continue to improve.

"There have been people who have had less than a desirable experience with the hospital. They've come here and sometimes it's been bad for people. You have to understand the human form. People don't forget easily and some people forgive and forget easier, and others don't. We will always run into people who say, 'I'll never go back to that hospital because this happened to me.' What I ask people is 'Are we different today than we were yesterday?' We have the ability to change. If we've done something wrong, and they tell us, we'll work to create change to make it better. We're in a human world, so we will not always do exactly what we want to do."

Yes, staff members have bad days, but personal bad days shouldn't translate into bad experiences for patients and their families, said Ireland, who reads every patient experience report and when he comes across a negative review, he doesn't see it as just a rant. 

"We don't see it as an angry or dissatisfied patient," Ireland said. "We see it as an opportunity for us to make a change and hopefully keep that from happening again and to make it better."

It's not just an issue of UMMC looking good or making more money. Quality customer care and a solid reputation with the local community are about providing advantageous health care.

"I don't just want to see the numbers get better," Ireland said. "When sombody sayd they don't want to go to United Memorial, that usually means they have to travel further for health care in a lot of cases and that's not good for them. That's not healthy, especially if they're ill. That's not a good experience. Either way, it's about their health. It's not necessarily about us having good scores up on the wall. It's about the fact that when patients have a good experience here, they're getting good health care and hopefully improving health."

The Ireland Family (photo submitted by Dan Ireland). Dan Ireland might be one of the only hospital presidents in the nation who rises early in the morning to feed the family's goats (22 of them, along with three sheep and a half dozen chickens and rabbits). The family farm started four or five years ago when his son said he wanted a horse. "I said, 'Horses are a lot of responsibility' and I said, 'Tell you what, I'll get you a goat. If you raise that goat all by yourself for a year, I'll get you a horse.' " The Irelands still don't have a horse, but their livestock has become a hobby for the whole family and led to involvement in 4-H.

April 20, 2015 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Frost Ridge Campground.

Whether Frost Ridge Campground can continue hosting live music concerts is a matter for the Town of Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals to decide, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled today.

In an order issued this afternoon, Noonan said that the ZBA has sole authority to make the decision, and insofar as a prior finding by the ZBA that concerts were a prior, non-conforming use was legally flawed, it's still up to the ZBA, not the courts, to make the determination.

The failure of the ZBA to properly issue public notice of a hearing on concerts at Frost Ridge on Sept. 25, 2013, does not affect their underlying authority to make the determination, Noonan said.

In short, Noonan recommends that Frost Ridge make a proper application, but with or without the application, the ZBA must hold a properly noticed public hearing and reach a properly recorded decision.

It's only after that process has been correctly executed that a court can weigh evidence and determine whether a plaintiff has any basis to overturn the decision, according to Noonan's ruling.

The autumn of 2013 finding by the ZBA has been a key point of contention in the pair of lawsuits filed by the Town of Le Roy and the Cleere/Collins family against Frost Ridge.

Board members reportedly reached a unanimous decision favoring live music at Frost Ridge, finding the use was grandfathered in because live music and amplified music at the recreational area pre-dated the creation of a residential-agricultural zone in that part of Le Roy.

The Cleere/Collins attorney sought to get the ZBA decision voided and foreclosed, bringing the campground's concert series "Jam at the Ridge" to an end.

Noonan wrote that case law establishes that a court must stay its hand until the proper agency has applied its expertise to the salient questions of the regulatory scheme.

That hasn't happened yet in the case of Frost Ridge.

Noonan's decision leaves the future of live music up to a ZBA board that has shown prior support for live, amplified music at Frost Ridge.

Pending a final ZBA determination, Noonan's modified order -- limiting but allowing concerts at Frost Ridge -- remains in effect, unless the Cleere and Collins families deposit $225,000 into an escrow account to protect the Frost Ridge owners against damages should they eventually succeed in the legal proceedings.

April 20, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, p w minor, kathy hochul.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made a pair of stops in Genesee County today, including a tour of p.w. minor led by owners Andrew Young and Peter Zeliff. 

The shoe manufacturing company recently received a boost from the governor's office to help move 100 jobs from China back to Batavia.

Hochul also spoke this morning at Genesee County Criminal Justice Day at Genesee Community College.

Photos submitted by p.w. minor.

April 19, 2015 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in history, Wiard Plow.

Photos from Albert Kurek. He isn't sure where the photos were taken. There's a sign that says "Wiard Plows" and a "Le Roy Plows" sign. The men are NYS Troopers and the photos are from 1921, Kurek said.

April 18, 2015 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, synthetic drugs, bath salts, The 420 Emporium.

The man federal authorities identified as the owner of the former 420 Emporium that was a source of synthetic drugs in Batavia will serve 30 months in prison and forfeit $771,109 dollars in seized money.

Charles Fitzgerald was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Friday.

He had previously entered a guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

The 420 Emporium, which was located at 400 Ellicott St., was the locus of synthetic drug dealing in Batavia for a period in the summer of 2012. Bath salts and synthetic marijuana appeared to be at the root of bizarre behavior by some users and the cause of seizures and other medical conditions that landed people in the emergency room at UMMC.

In July, 2012, local and federal authorities raided the 420 Emporium as part of a nationwide operation to crack down on synthetic drug trafficking.

The home of Fitzgerald in Greece, which he shared with co-defendant Amber Snover, was also raided, where authorities seized boxes of drugs as well as a bag full of cash.

Snover has also entered a guilty plea and will be sentenced June 23 in U.S. District Court.

April 18, 2015 - 6:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

Jordan Fluker was named 2015 Mr. Batavia in the third annual competition at Batavia High School on Friday night.

Proceeds from the event -- $3,000 this year, a new record -- goes to the charity of Fluker's choice, which was Genesee Cancer Assistance.

The 11 contestants were Bryce Rogers, Andrew Maniace, Samir Jain, Dylan Beckman, Brandon Smart, Josh Franks, Adam Taylor, Eric DiLaura, Nick Bauer, Jordan Fluker and Ben Demare.

Tuxedos for the event were provided by Charles Men's Shop and Reed Eye Associations donated sunglasses to the 11 young men.

The competition included a talent show, swimsuits, and question-and-answer and the tuxedo walk. 

To purchase prints, click here.

April 17, 2015 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Police officers are sorting things out and trying to determine whether a crime was actually committed earlier today in what was initially reported as a robbery at the Dollar General store on East Main Street, Batavia.

A robbery was reported at 11:20 and police received a description of a suspect and a suspect vehicle. 

Within minutes, the vehicle was stopped and three people inside were detained and questioned and subsequently released.

"The investigation is ongoing," said Sgt. Dan Coffey. "There's no question that these individuals were the ones involved in the incident, if that's what you're asking. They were definitely at the store. They were definitely involved in the incident. We're working to determine whether a crime occured."

Coffey said there were things said in the store and police are trying to determine if anything happened that constitutes a crime.

No merchandise nor money were taken from the store.

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