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June 24, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, batavia, news.

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This is Jack. Jack is a brown and white Jack Russell terrier. Jack is missing.

He recently had medical treatment for an injury on his neck. He has a staple in his neck, so he wasn't wearing his collar when he went missing Wednesday. He also has two staples in his paw.

Jack is missing from the area of Oak Street and Montclair Avenue in Batavia.

If you can help, call Nathan Stoll at (585) 749-8525 or (585) 356-2965.

June 24, 2016 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, fire services, news.

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Information and photos submitted by Glenn Adams.

Yesterday morning, City fire along with a group of volunteers from other departments in the county, participated in water rescue training at DeWitt Recreation Area in Batavia.

The boat and motor and gear were purchased with a grant from Homeland Security.

The first two shots include Ryan Hendershott of the Bethany department and DJ Pollock.

CORRECTION: Only members of City fire participated. Hendershott is a city firefighter and a Bethany volunteer.

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June 24, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, batavia, City Schools.

There is an allocation of $2.1 million available for Batavia City Schools for technology upgrades, according to a state official who contacted The Batavian on Thursday about a previous story on local Smart Schools grants.

"As soon as the district is ready to submit a plan, the money is their for them," said Morris Peters, public information officer for New York State Division of the Budget.

Superintendent Chris Dailey confirmed the district intends to file a plan in the fall.

"There is no time limit on the money so it does not need to be spent immediately," Dailey said. "We plan to use the remainder to replace devices down the road (2-3 years) as part of our replacement cycle."

The district didn't receive an allocation as part of grant announcements in May, and Dailey said previously, the district decided not to file its plan prior to the June allocation deadline.

Instead, the district used current available funds for its immediate purchases, and made those purchases through BOCES.

Peters said the state had asked the city school district to make changes to its May plan submission, which is why there wasn't an allocation of grant money at that time.

CLARIFICATIONS: We need to include the fact that the district will be upgrading the security camera systems by the fall.

The district submitted its first plan March 29. Corrections were requested April 4 and submitted that same time. This district did not receive funding in May and a minor correction was requested for the next funding round in June. At that time, the district decided to go forward with its own funding and BOCES because the state committee would not meet in time for the district to move forward and meet its own Sept. 1 deadline for implementation.

"If they had met in late April/early May, we would have been OK for ordering," Dailey said. "They did not meet until after our last available date to meet our needs for the fall." 

June 23, 2016 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, news, downtown, business.

Members of the Batavia Improvement District were informed yesterday in a memo from Executive Director Laurie Oltramari, that the BID Board of Directors has voted to oppose a plan to change the rules for how the BID operates.

City Manager Jason Molino has proposed to City Council that the city adopt a district plan for the BID, which in the past has been drafted by the BID board and then approved by the council, and require that BID comply with the state's Freedom of Information Law and Open Meetings Law.

Oltramari said the BID has already turned in a budget for 2016 that is compliant with the state's General Municipal Law.  

The whole issue of the BID's budget is what precipitated the city's recent actions, but Oltramari told BID members that it was the responsibility of the city manager to ensure property owners in the Downtown tax district were charged the appropriate tax rate, not the BID's.

"The City wants to implement compliance of the debt limits within the General Municipal Law, something that has been known to the City Manager for several years," Oltramari said in her memo to members. "In addition, the City levied the 2016 assessment knowing that there was a compliance issue, collected the BID assessment, and is retained the funds without any authority to withhold funds that are due and owing to the BID."

BID members are people who either own property in the Downtown district or operate businesses in the district.

Oltramari invited BID members to visit her office at 200 E. Main St., Batavia, on Monday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to discuss these issues, or to make an appointment with her for a conversation.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the city's proposed changes at 7 p.m., Monday.

The proposal would also require the BID to comply with the state's open government law, but Oltramari said director's meetings are already transparent and open for its members.

"The BID board is opposed to the City of Batavia adopting a local law imposing such as it conflicts with state law and our meetings are already open to the BID membership," Oltramari said. "For the City to implement such is creating new law for the City of Batavia, setting new precedent within NY State and discriminating against a not-for-profit corporation."

June 23, 2016 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, muckdogs, batavia, news.

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At least it was a beautiful night for baseball at Dwyer Stadium on Wednesday, even if the play on the field was a bit ugly.

The Batavia Muckdogs dropped their 2016 home opener 11-1 to State College, falling to an 0-6 start. But fans shouldn't be too discouraged. Today's roster of youngsters has yet to be supplemented by Miami Marlin draft picks. The season should get progressively better, as they usually do under Muckdog's manager Angel Espada.

On a night that could, maybe, be the last home opener for one of the New York Penn-League's founding franchises (but that's true every year these days), the team tapped its rich history and its ties to the community by having Jerry Maley, a lifelong Batavia resident who made his professional debut with the local team in 1948, throw out the first pitch.

The Muckdogs try again tonight at Dwyer Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m. More good weather is expected.

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June 22, 2016 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, schools, education, oakfield-alabamp, news.

The Batavia City School District remains committed to providing students and staff the best technology to advance the district's educational goals, said Superintendent Chris Dailey, even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office decided to bypass the district technology grants as part of the governor's Smart Schools Bond Act.

The state is funding school districts throughout the state -- including Oakfield-Alabama, locally -- with a $2 billion bond for technology upgrades and Batavia did not receive funding in May.

The state just announced the release of another $43 million in funding for June, but BCSD did not apply, Dailey said, after being overlooked in May, deciding instead to use current available funds and make its purchases through BOCES to help reduce costs.

"Technology impacts all aspects of education and life," Dailey said. "We want our students to have the same access to the world as any of the more affluent NYS communities have. They will have access to the world and information like never before in Batavia. Technology will enhance the excellent education our staff provide our students. Our students will be better prepared to go into the world of work or college based on the commitment we are making."

Last month, the governor's office announced that O-A would receive $664,680 for its districtwide upgrades.

The school districts are planning increased Wi-Fi coverage at school facilities, laptops or tablet computers for all students, 3D printers, touchscreen monitors for classrooms and lesson materials.

No Genesee County school district was part of the June funding announcement. Another announcement of fund distribution is expected in July.

Previously:

June 22, 2016 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, batavia, muckdogs.

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David Kleinbach shared this picture of three youths doing what kids have done for generations at professional baseball games, peeking through holes in the fence to watch the game.

The Batavia Muckdogs open their home schedule tonight at Dwyer Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.

June 22, 2016 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, employment, business.

The unemployment rate for Genesee County fell to 3.8 percent in May, the lowest level for any monthly period since August, 2008.

The rate is a full percentage point lower than last May. 

The number of residents with jobs is 29,300, up from 29,100 from a year ago, while the number of participants in the labor force dropped from 30,600 a year ago to 30,400 this May.

As for the number of non-farm jobs in the county, we've gone from 23,700 to 23,800 from May last year to May this year.

The GLOW region unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, from 5.3 percent a year ago. It hasn't been lower in the region since August 2007, when it was 4.2 percent.

June 22, 2016 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, batavia, muckdogs, news.

Batavia has a rich baseball history, and Bill Kauffman and Bill Dougherty, each in their own way, have written about that history. Last year, Dougherty released "A View from the Bleachers: Batavia Baseball," and Kauffman, whose latest book is "Poetry Night at the Ballpark," has used Batavia baseball in his books and essays to frame his love for a life lived at human scale where neighbors rub shoulders and crack wise between pitches.

In anticipation of at least one more Batavia Muckdogs baseball season, we sat down in the stands at Dwyer Stadium with Bill and Bill to talk baseball, writing and life in Batavia.  

Baseball in Batavia, at least professional baseball, is listed on the endangered species list, soon to join the dodo bird and the passenger pigeon on the list of treasures lost to history. We know we have the 2016 season, and we are pretty sure there will be a 2017 season, but beyond that, the profiteers in the commissioner's office of Ben J. Hayes can't wait to yank the franchise away from the league's ancestral home. 

It's a myth that the Muckdogs lack sufficient local fan support. While Batavia ranks dead last in total attendance, it's actually one of the more stoutly supported teams in the league, ranking eighth in per-capita attendance, drawing a healthy 6 percent of the city's population on an average game night.

"Baseball is one of the things that gives Batavia its character, its flavor, its savor," Kauffman said. "It keeps us from drifting into the great American nothingness that has consumed so much of this country. This is the birthplace of the New York-Penn League, and the league, unfortunately, is on this crazy madcap expansion where it stretches now from Burlington, Vermont to Morgantown, West Virginia. It’s insane. It's driven transportation and lodging costs way up and makes it very hard for small market teams to survive. If Batavia lost its franchise, I think the league would lose its heart and soul."

It's debatable, of course, whether the league still has any heart or soul, having some time ago crassly moved its headquarters out of New York to St. Petersburg, Fla.

Writers love baseball for the same reason some sports fans have drifted to faster-paced contests. It's the lulls between pitches, between hitters and between innings, that give baseball its grace, making it a game for fans with active minds and a gift for gab.

"There’s a lot of room in between things in baseball and the things that fill up that room are to me what make it a real special experience," Kauffman said.

Minor league baseball is its own special treat, says Dougherty, especially at this level, short-season Single A, where even the most experienced player hasn't even played 100 games yet of professional ball and many, when they first walk onto Dwyer's lush infield, haven't seen their first professional pitch.

"They come here, and they're not too polished, but as the season goes on you notice a definite improvement in overall play," Dougherty said. "They know what to do and some of the plays you would actually say, ‘that’s a major league play.’ I appreciate the ambiance and seeing the players develop right before your eyes.”

The name of Kauffman's book comes from a somewhat historical, or perhaps, ignominious night in Batavia baseball lore, the night and when he and Club President Brian Paris decided that rather than playing canned music -- which they both hate -- between innings, they and a few others would read poems about baseball.

"You can already tell, this was a horrible idea," Kauffman said.

After the few innings, Paris asked the fans, music or poetry? The cry of the fans -- decidedly not fans of Charles Bukowski and Marianne Moore -- filled the air, "music."

They read more poetry.

"The fact that it didn’t go over well, it was a Batavia thing," Kauffman said. "If it was San Francisco, people would go, ‘oh, that’s cool,’ but Batavia is unselfconscious and I like that."

The Batavia Muckdogs open their home schedule tonight at Dwyer Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.

June 22, 2016 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, pets, animals, news.

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Jay is missing Ginger in the Village of Le Roy. Jay is offering a reward for Ginger's safe return. Ginger was last seen on Saturday. If you find Ginger, call Jay at (585) 820-7818.

June 21, 2016 - 7:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
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      James Pontillo

James D. Pontillo, 48, of Griswold Road, Byron, is charged with offering for file a false instrument, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, falsifying business records, 1st, and forgery, 2nd.

Pontillo, who is the recorded owner of nine pieces of property in the City of Batavia, is accused of falsely portraying himself as the owner of a multi-dwelling property in the city and of filing documents indicating he was the owner and of collecting benefits from the State of New York.

Following arraignment in City Court yesterday, Pontillo was released without bail.

Previously:

June 21, 2016 - 6:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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      Bradley J. Broadbent

A 36-year-old Hutchins Street resident with a long history local of drug-related arrests, most notoriously in 2012 when he got caught up in synthetic drug use, leading to bizarre behavior, has been arrested in two counties for allegedly selling heroin.

Bradley J. Broadbent is accused of selling heroin to a fellow inmate in the Genesee County Jail and of selling heroin to an agent of the Wyoming County Local Drug Task Force in Perry.

In Genesee County, Broadbent is facing charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and promoting prison contraband, 1st.

In Wyoming County, he is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the 4th and 5th degrees and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 4th and 5th degrees.

Also arrested with Broadbent in Batavia, following an investigation by the Local Drug Task Force, was Ryan M. Bobzin, 27, of West Bergen Road, Bergen. Bobzin is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. 

The transaction allegedly took place April 24 after both Broadbent and Bobzin were incarcerated on unrelated charges. Broadbent is accused of smuggling the heroin into the jail.

Both men were arraigned in City Court and Broadbent was ordered held on no bail and Bobzin was released on his own recognizance.

Broadbent was ordered held on $100,000 in Wyoming County, where he is currently incarcerated. 

In 2012, during the summer of bath salts in Batavia, Broadbent made the news for climbing on the roofs of houses on Hutchins Street after rampaging through a commercial building on Liberty Street.

Prior to his March 6, 2013 sentencing on convictions stemming from those events, Broadbent approached a reporter in the courtroom and talked about how he wanted to turn his life around and he apologized to the community for his behavior.

Later, during sentencing, he told Judge Robert C. Noonan, "I'm never going to be behind this table again, your honor."

He also told Noonan, "I've been in jail almost my whole life. I know with my record, saying I'm sincerely sorry is hard to take seriously, but I am sorry. This is the last time I'm ever going to be at this table, your honor, regardless of what you sentence me to."

Broadbent was convicted in a jury trial of misdemeanors and Noonan sentenced him to two one-year sentences to be served consecutively.

Noonan told Broadbent at the sentencing that he hoped he could turn his life around.

"You're a poster child for why bath salts had to be banned," Noonan said. "The evidence of your behavior in this trial was nothing short of bizarre, and not only in terms of what you did, but what you were able to do with almost superhuman feats while under the influence of those substances."

June 21, 2016 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien, news.

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Lots of twisted metal, but only a minor injury in an accident on Route 77 in Darien on Father's Day.

The driver of an empty milk truck was cited for allegedly following too closely.

That driver, Harold T. Scheg, 51, of Clarence, had a complaint of pain in his hand and arm, but was not taken to a hospital.

The other driver, James Tischendorf, was not injured.

According to an accident report prepared by Deputy Chris Parker, Scheg was northbound on Route 77 near O'Connor Road, following a truck and trailer driven by Tischendorf. Scheg initiated a passing maneuver because, according to the report, Tischendorf's vehicle was "moving slow." At that point, Tishendorf started a left turn into a driveway.

Scheg said he didn't see a turn signal. Tishendorf said he signaled. 

The accident was reported at 2:07 p.m.

Submitted photos.

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June 21, 2016 - 12:57pm

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Dancer and choreographer Shoulin Young has traveled the world, working and performing with the likes of Brittany Spears, Chris Brown, Jason Darulo and Justin Beiber. Monday, he was in Batavia, conducting classes with students at Kristen's Performing Arts Center on East Main Street.

"I love what she (Kristen) has going on here, especially for a small town like Batavia," said Young, who is originally from Rochester, but now lives in Tampa, Fla. "Any chance I get to come here and work with these kids, I love to do it. The kids always have great energy. I love every second of it."

Owner Kristen Drilling opened the studio 10 months ago and offers a wide range of classes in performing arts, including all styles of dance, theater, music and pageant training. Each summer, she tries to bring in an accomplished and well-known instructor to conduct classes for a day.

Students from the studio have won competitions in Niagara Falls and Rochester, which has drawn attention from choreographers such as Young, she said.

"They see a lot of talent through our girls," Drilling said. "They see we're from a small town, so when we have really talented girls go out and win first place over all these big cities, we get a lot of choreographers in our studio to see what our girls have."

Young said he sees the talent, but more importantly, he sees an enthusiasm for hip-hop that a lot of people might not expect from a small town.

"When you think of Batavia or smaller towns in Upstate New York, you don’t really think hip-hop, but the hip-hop talent specifically here is very, very impressive," Young said. "There are lots of kids who are very hungry for it and dance in general is something that younger kids really want and the style of hip-hop is just a music that they all love.  I’m very impressed with the dancers I see here."

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June 21, 2016 - 11:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news.

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Photos and info provided by Rob Radley.

To help offset the cancellation of the Stafford Carnival, an annual fundraiser for the Stafford Fire Department, local musician Bill Pitcher, organized a jamboree Sunday at the Stafford Fire Hall. Several bands played, the firefighters prepared a chicken BBQ, while the exempts prepared hamburgers and hot dogs.

Pictured are members of The Sky Cats. 

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June 21, 2016 - 8:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, accident.

A rollover accident, unknown injuries, is reported in the area of 6684 Alleghany Road, Alabama.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: A first responder reports, "this is not an ongoing rollover. They're already out of the vehicle and home."

UPDATE 8:53 a.m.: One minor injury reported.

June 20, 2016 - 9:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of Genesee County, including Batavia.

It is in effect until 10:15 p.m.

A large storm is heading toward the Southwestern portion of the county and is expected to come as far north as Batavia.

The storm is moving at 55 mph. 

Wind gusts of 60 mph are expected with possible quarter-size hail.

June 20, 2016 - 9:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Pavilion.

A Mercy Flight landing zone is being set up following the report of a motorcycle and deer collision in the area of 123 Transit Road, Pavilion.

Pavilion fire and Mercy EMS have responded.

June 20, 2016 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
      Kyle Ratulowski

A 20-year-old Batavia resident will get a second chance as the result of a plea deal stemming for a pair of alleged burglaries of a family member's home if he can successfully complete substance abuse treatment.

Kyle Robert Ratulowski entered guilty pleas today to burglary, 2nd, and grand larceny, 4th, with the understanding that if he successfully completes the program, he will be given a chance to withdraw his guilty plea on the burglary charge and receive a probationary sentence on the grand larceny charge.

Ratulowski is currently in county custody, held without bail, while awaiting a "bed-to-bed" transfer to a drug treatment facility.

A bed at the facility should open within a week.

Interim Judge Michael Pietruszka told Ratulowski that if he washed out of the program, he would be looking of a possible maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Ratulowski was arrested in April and accused of breaking into a home on Clinton Street, Batavia. He allegedly took a wallet containing a debit card. He told the court that he did not use the debit card. If there is a claim for restitution, Ratulowski will be required to pay it.

Sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

June 20, 2016 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, NY Farm Bureau, business.

Press release:

New York Farm Bureau seeks to intervene in the farm labor lawsuit filed against the State of New York and Governor Cuomo. The grassroots farm organization will file a motion today in State Supreme Court of Albany County to gain intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation. The NYCLUF seeks to create a constitutional right for farmworkers to collectively bargain. The ultimate goal of NYFB with today’s motion is for the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

NYFB is taking this major step to defend farmers, who feel they have been abandoned by the Governor and the New York Attorney General. Both leaders have made public statements supporting the lawsuit and refusing to defend state law, despite its importance to agriculture in New York State.

NYFB believes it has the right to intervene because the interest of its members will not be represented by the defendants – the Governor and Attorney General - and the ability of the organization’s members to continue to produce food for New York residents would be harmed in the event the plaintiffs prevail in this action.

The motion reads, “Farm Bureau is uniquely situated to represent the varied perspectives of its member farms and to zealously defend the constitutionality of the challenged farm labor exemption.”

Farm Bureau believes that the exemption of farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is constitutional, and that the exclusion of farmworkers from the State Labor Relations Act law is based on decades of rational public policy and legal precedent that will be outlined in NYFB’s motions to intervene and to dismiss.

New York Farm Bureau believes that the legal precedent is clear. This is not a question for the courts, and the NYCLUF is attempting to make an end-run around the legislature, which has not approved collective bargaining for farmworkers despite numerous opportunities.

“New York Farm Bureau has a century-long record of defending the state’s family farms, and today’s action is one of the most important in our long history. If we can’t count on our state leaders to do the right thing in this case, we are prepared to stand up for our members in court to protect their rights,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president.

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