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April 25, 2017 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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We do not have any new information about the fire at this time.

UPDATE: Bob Tripp, 1st assistant chief for Town of Batavia, and scene commander yesterday, said the cause of the fire is still undetermined, but it appears to be electrical in nature. There was still electricity going to the barn complex and a portion of the barn has been damaged by the wind. That may have caused a line to short out and yesterday's wind fanned the sparks into flames.

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April 25, 2017 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A car into tree accident is reported in the area of 7681 Alleghany Road, Alabama.

The initial call was for possible entrapment and possible serious injury, but units have just been told they can respond non-emergency.

Traffic is shut down at MacAlpine Road and at Ledge Road and Route 77.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

Fire police from Pembroke and Indian Falls requested to assist with traffic.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: Indian Falls is back in service.

April 25, 2017 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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Here are a few photos from the fire this afternoon on Oak Orchard Road, Batavia.

The first two are by Frank Capuano. The others are reader submitted.

I was at the fire and will have photos posted later.

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April 25, 2017 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DePaul, Batavia Square Apartments, planning, zoning, news.

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A plan to build apartment complexes on East Main Street drew a full house to Monday's City Council meeting, but the project, aimed at people in vulnerable populations, got mixed reviews from the 23 speakers.

The City Council was being asked to move forward a resolution to rezone the properties at 661, 665 and 679 E. Main St. Most of the location is a former State Police barracks.

The area is currently part of an industrial zone. The council is being asked to consider rezoning it to Commercial, or C2.

This would allow the project from DePaul, known as Batavia Square Apartments, to move forward, but it would not mean the project is approved.

City Attorney George Van Nest reminded council members they were being asked to consider a rezoning proposal, not the actual project that inspires the consideration.

“You really need to center on the question, does this zoning change make sense, notwithstanding some of the considerations that may have been out there or questions about other uses or other studies that are not specifically germane to the question of zoning itself," Van Nest said. "The petition is for rezoning that is at the behest of the City Council legislatively.”

There was a public hearing on the rezoning issue, but comments during to hearing had to be just about the rezoning issue. Since many of the 23 speakers at the meeting wanted to talk about more than just zoning, they took to the podium during the public comments section of the council meeting.

About half of the speakers favored the project, and of those, about half worked, have worked for DePaul or were families that have benefitted from DePaul's services.

Opposition came from people concerned about adding more rental apartment units to the city and how that would impact the current population and private-property landlords. They also raised the issue the amount of taxes DePaul would be paying while the new apartments would lead to the use of city services, such as police and fire.

The council voted by a narrow 5-4 margin to move the resolution for the zoning change to its next business meeting.

"If it's to be believed that 50 percent of the residences in the City of Batavia are rentals, then the question is, why do we need more rentals?" Chuck Ruffino said.

He referenced a study being done on the county's housing stock, designed to help planners understand local housing needs. Ruffino said the council shouldn't move forward without more information.

"We really don’t have good information on which to make this decision, because once you make that decision, the agenda is set," he said. "You can’t take it away. It’s done. Thirty years, tax exempt."

Russ Romano raised concerns about the number of rentals already in the community, the need for the housing study to be completed, and the seeming shortage of housing for people in the workforce. He also questioned the wisdom of changing the zoning.

"I question the fact that you can make this change in zoning when it goes against the current zoning law of being zoned industrial," Romano said. "I think it's dangerous and in your comprehensive plan it has not changed."

John Gerace said he doesn't believe anybody in the community is against housing for people on disability or against veterans or seniors, but he did question the need for it now, especially housing that is tax-break subsidized.

He calculated that at $25 million for construction, each of the 80 units would be worth more than $300,000.

"I would like to live in a $325,000 apartment," Gerace said.

Since subsidized rents are available to many potential tenants, Gerace said he's concerned that current landlords will lose out.

"It will be a drain on the local economy, on local landlords who bought property and have been paying property taxes right along and have vacancies right now," Gerace said.

George Galliford said it would be unfair to local landlords to allow this project to move forward.

“It seems to me that it’s very unfair competition for landlords who have been conscientious, paid their taxes, done what they needed to do and are never ever given any kind of favor," Galliford said. "Thirty years is a long time. Those payments in lieu of taxes are to me are a joke. They should be much, much more than what they are. It’s unfair competition."

John Roach said he thought it was premature for the City to move forward with project approval. 

He said the current vacancy rate in the city is 7 percent and that 5 percent is considered ideal. He said the county is projected to lose 9 percent of its population in coming years.

Adding more apartment units will just put more financial pressure on existing landlords, he suggested, and if those properties move off the tax roles, "it will just put more pressure on the rest of us."

The DePaul project also had its defenders.

Stacy Falkowski (top photo), a Batavia resident, said life is getting harder for her elderly parents, especially now that her father has Parkinson's disease. She described the difficulties she and her mother have caring for her father in her parent's current commercial apartment.

She said her father has fallen more than once in the bathroom and they're lucky he hasn't been seriously hurt; no broken bones, but there has been blood to clean up.

“It’s pretty tough to deal with every single day of the month,” she said.

The planned DePaul housing complex, with its amenities for the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable adults, along with greater social opportunities, would be great for her parents.

Most of the people who would move there, she said, are already local residents and to counter the argument against the lower taxes paid by DePaul, she said our local older residents had earned this sort of amenity.

"These people are paying taxes, and they’ve lived in the City ofBataviaa for many years and paid a lot of taxes, school taxes, property taxes," Falkowski said.

Colleen Gillam, from Waterport, said her 25-year-old son currently lives in a DePaul apartment in Batavia and for the first time in his life, he's living on his own and doing very well. She said for people like her son, the kind of housing DePaul provides is hard to come by.

"I think with this coming into your community it will only benefit you and the families who live here and in the surrounding areas," she said.

Chris Syracuse, a longtime employee of DePaul said when DePaul comes into a community, they do so humbly and with an eye toward building a beautiful facility that the community will be proud to see.

"Never in 27 years have I ever had somebody say to me, ‘I regret DePaul coming into my community,' " Syracuse said.

After the council discussion and before the vote, City Manager Jason Molino addressed some of the issues raised during the meeting.

He said the area had been zoned industrial for 50 years. Before that, it was considered a business district, which is similar to today's commercial zone. Over the past half century, there has been no industrial activity in the area. The train tracks that would have supported industrial activity, and supported the Trojan tractor factory in the area, were removed in the 1960s or 1970s. Over the past 50 years it's been mixed commercial and residential with some light manufacturing.  

During that period, industrial growth in the city has taken place around Graham, Treadeasy, and O-AT-KA, and future industrial growth is more likely to take place in the greenfield developments outside of the city. The East Main Street area of the city isn't likely to attract any industrial development.

"It hasn’t happened in the past 50 years, and it’s not likely to occur in that specific area," he said.

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Mark Fuller, project developer.

April 24, 2017 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, batavia, news.

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The VA Hospital honored its volunteers today with a luncheon at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

The volunteers with the most hours, more than 1,750 were Phyllis Scharader, Robert J. Shepard, Douglas Titus and James Yoder. Pictured with three of the top volunteers above is Danielle Bergman, assistant medical director, on the right.

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The volunteers with at least 20 years of service were also honored, though not all could make it to the luncheon. The volunteers with at least 20 years are Helen Batchelor, center of the photo, with 31 years, Emerson Campbell, Joshua T. Dickens, Joseph Flynn, Joseph Guppenberger, 31 years, Robert Jurewicz, Lee Kauffman, Robert Mellody, Anthony Palmer, 32 years, Robert Radley, and John Scott, with 31 years.

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The Elks from Brockport made a $1,500 donation to the VA Center.

April 24, 2017 - 6:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in circus, garden brothers circus, batavia, Falleti Ice Arena, news.

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Garden Brothers Circus have brought to town clowns, jugglers, magicians, acrobats, stunt riders and everything else that goes with a professional, touring circus.

Including elephants.

This is the last tour that elephants will be included in the Garden Brothers Circus, so miss the show at 7:30 p.m. at Falleti Ice Arena and maybe you miss your last chance to see a circus with elephants.

These pictures are from the 4:30 p.m. performance today (no elephant pictures because I couldn't stick around until the end of the 90-minute show, but from what I saw, this is a circus well worth seeing).

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April 24, 2017 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

miller_mug_rob2017.jpgA Batavia resident who robbed a Subway restaurant on East Main Street in January and was tracked down by K-9 Destro will spend at least two years in state prison.

Ricky Miller II had previously entered a guilty plea to third-degree robbery.

Defense Attorney Jamie Welch sought an adjournment of the sentencing in Genesee County Court this afternoon to give Miller more time to complete $254 in restitution in order to avoid fees and surcharges.

Miller is expecting a tax-refund check the first week of May, so Welch asked for sentencing on May 8.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said it would cost the county more than $250 to house him in the local jail those additional days.

Judge Charles Zambito denied the request.

Miller can avoid some additional fees if he makes restitution before May 8. If he doesn't, then he must pay $25 per month until restitution is paid (Welch asked for $10 a month and Friedman countered $50 per month and Zambito went to with $25).

When asked to make a pre-sentence statement, Miller declined.

He was given two to four years in prison.

News partner WBTA contributed to this report.

April 24, 2017 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, batavia, alexander, Alabama.

Elizabeth Ann Hicks, 34, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Hicks was allegedly found in possession of a needle and syringe with Suboxone while being booked on an unrelated charge. She was jailed on $5,000 bail, $10,000 bond.

David Henry Luther, 56, of Cider Mill Court, Lancaster, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. Luther was charged following a "check the welfare" call on Bloomingdale Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, at 7:43 p.m. Sunday by Deputy Michael Lute.

Alicia Brandi Clark, 41, of Halstead Road, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful possession of marijuana, mobile phone use on highway and misuse of dealer plates. Clark was stopped at 4:35 p.m. Saturday on Lewiston Road, Batavia, by Deputy Michael Lute.

Timothy McCarthy, 47, of Alexander, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. McCarthy was stopped by State Police.

Shawn Matthew Szczcygiel, 39, of Tinkham Road, Darien, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, unsafe tires, and inadequate exhaust. Szczcygiel was stopped at 4:54 a.m. Saturday on Tinkham Road by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Hector Maximilliano Vidal, 22, of Eggert Road, Tonawanda, is charged with petit larceny and unlawful possession of marijuana. Vidal is accused of shoplifting at Kohl's.

Dustin W. Bogue, 35, no permanent address, is charged with trespass. Bogue allegedly entered property owned by another person after being advised to stay off the property. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Ashley N. Ziccardi, 24, of Brooklyn Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear.

Tiffany M. Brown, 25, of Maple Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Brown was arrested by Sheriff's deputies and turned over to Batavia PD on a City Court warrant.

Russell R. Miles, 48, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Miles allegedly violated an order of protection. He was allegedly found at the residence of the protected party in violation of the order. He is accused of violating the same order at least twice in five years. He was jailed without bail.

Brian J. Hawkins, 37, of Pries Avenue, Buffalo, was arrested on warrant for alleged failure to appear. He was taken into custody at the Erie County Holding Center on the warrant. He was jailed on $300 bail.

April 24, 2017 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that William Kent Inc. in Stafford will conduct an auction for items in vacant structures on the site of STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. The items to be auctioned are from 6758 Allegany Road; 6725 Crosby Road; and, 6840 Crosby Road. 

The auction will be held online from April 27 through May 2.  All items purchased must be removed from the properties by May 12.  The auction will precede asbestos removal and demolition of the structures.

The agreement between the GCEDC and William Kent Inc. states that the auction company will receive 10-percent commission of the sale of all items. William Kent Inc. also may deduct their fee from the gross sales receipts resulting from the sale of the items. The notice of the auction was published in The Batavia Daily News, Genesee Valley PennySaver (Oatka and Batavia editions) and the Lake Country PennySaver.

“There are items in the vacant structures that have some value and funds from the online auction will be used to mitigate costs associated with preparing the site for development,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president, GCEDC.

Since 1970, William Kent Inc. has conducted thousands of auctions across upstate New York from farm and commercial properties to estates and antiques.

For more information about the online auction please visit www.williamkentinc.com.

April 24, 2017 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Girl Scout Troop 42025, corfu, east pembroke, pembroke, news.

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Members of Girl Scout Troop 42025, from Corfu, set up a Little Free Library outside Seaman's Hardware in East Pembroke as part of their Earth Day project on Saturday. They stocked it with a large collection of children's and adult books they collected.

"We wanted to put a free library in our neighborhood with hopes that it will be used greatly!" said member Lilly Senko.

"Reading is so important to being a good learner, and when everyone can get free books to read, it will help them read more," said Hannah Beach.

Photos and info submitted by Julie Beach.

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April 24, 2017 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, batavia, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Bank of Castile is expanding its presence in Western New York, adding a new role to lead the further development of its commercial lending customer base in Erie and Niagara counties. The bank is also beginning a search for office space in the Buffalo area to support this expansion.

Adam Desmond, a banking industry veteran who is native to Buffalo, has been named Regional Market Leader for the Buffalo market. Desmond joined the company on April 3 and will lead the efforts to further grow the bank’s presence in the area.

“We are excited to have Adam lead our effort to significantly expand our growing presence in the Buffalo area,” said John McKenna, Tompkins Bank of Castile President & CEO. “He brings extensive banking experience, a deep network and knowledge of the Buffalo market to our team.”

Desmond joins Tompkins Bank of Castile with more than 15 years of financial services industry experience in Buffalo. In addition to his professional experience in Buffalo, Desmond was born and raised in the area and lives on Grand Island, N.Y., with his wife and children. He is active in the community, including serving as Vice Chairman of the board of the Buffalo chapter of Literacy New York. Desmond completed a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Finance at the University of Buffalo and an MBA with a concentration in Accounting at Canisius College.

As the company looks to establish an office location in the Buffalo market, there are plans to add additional team members to support banking, insurance and wealth management customers. Founded in 1869, Tompkins Bank of Castile has a tradition of providing long-term value for its clients in Western New York.

“As a community bank, we pride ourselves on our local decision-making, which allows us to help local businesses grow,” said McKenna. “Establishing an office in the Buffalo area will allow us to provide even better service to our growing customer base across all Tompkins businesses in Erie and Niagara counties.”  

April 24, 2017 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in VFW Post 1602, batavia, veterans, Sea Cadets, news.

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A contingent of Navy Sea Cadets volunteered their time Saturday to help clean the grounds of the VFW Hall on Edwards Street, Batavia. The exterior work comes after members recently completed interior renovations.

April 24, 2017 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, batavia, news.

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Yesterday, as Don Mengs was leaving the Country Max store on East Main Street, Batavia, an English bulldog pushed open the door of a van and charged his two German shepherd puppies.

One of the puppies, Roamer, slipped from his splitter and collar and ran south into the woods and area of the quarry behind the store. 

Batavia PD officers helped search the area for a length of time, including the area of the park on the other side of the lake. Mengs returned from 6 to 9 p.m. and searched the area with one of his older dogs but they could not find him.

Batavia PD is resuming the search this morning. 

Roamer is just over three months old, a black and tan German shepherd. He weighs 30 pounds and is 18 inches high. He responds to his name and sits and shakes quickly on command. He has a distinguishing Roman-helmet-looking mark on his snout with light-colored eyebrows.

If found, call Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350.

April 24, 2017 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertiserment.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
April 23, 2017 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Le Roy.

A car has reportedly hit a pedestrian in the area of 9429 South Street Road, Le Roy.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 11:19 a.m.: Mercy Flight 5 is on ground standby.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m.: Mercy Flight requested for in-air standby.

UPDATES (By Billie) 11:24 p.m.: Mercy Flight is canceled. Traffic is to be shut down at Harris Road and South Street Road.

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.: A female bicyclist was struck by a vehicle and is being transported to Strong Memorial Hospital. The accident is under investigation. Fire personnel have cleared the scene.

April 22, 2017 - 11:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield, news.

A one-car accident, unknown injuries, is reported in the area of 2776 Lockport Road, Oakfield.

A single caller reports hearing a noise and now hears a car horn.

Oakfield fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 11:15 p.m.: Traffic being shut down at Lewiston and Lockport roads.

UPDATE 11:17 p.m.: Mercy EMS can continue non-emergency. "It seems like we might have a sign off," reports a chief.

UPDATE Sunday, 8:03 a.m.: Dispatchers informed Alabama and Oakfield fire departments that residents west of this location are without water due to this accident.

UPDATE Sunday, 2:01 p.m.: It is reported that the water main has been fixed on Lockport Road and water service is restored.

April 22, 2017 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Police received reports of possible youths dropping bricks or throwing bricks from the train track overpass on Lehigh Avenue, Batavia.

Units responded and two individuals have been spotted and police are trying to catch them as they move along the train tracks.

Both are described as white males, one wearing a black sweatshirt and black pants and the other is wearing a red sweatshirt.

UPDATE 10:51 p.m.: There is debris in the roadway that needs to be cleaned up. Police are still searching for the two individuals.

April 22, 2017 - 7:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, batavia, news.

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The crowd at St. Joe's annual Mammoth Sale today was huge before I could there, I'm told, but even later in the afternoon, there were still a lot of great deals for shoppers.

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April 22, 2017 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Earth Day, DeWitt Recreation Area, environment, news.

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Volunteers of all ages came out to DeWitt Recreation Area in Batavia today -- Earth Day -- to help clean the park and participate in various learning activities.

One of the activities was an "emerald ash borer game," where several children were emerald ash borers, two were volunteers and one was a park ranger. The emerald ash borers had 10 seconds to lay their eggs in as many ash trees in a wooded area (represented by small, green disks). Then volunteers would identify infected trees and the park ranger would come along and replace the ash trees with another kind of tree. The game illustrated how much faster an infestation can spread than forest rangers can act to do anything about it.

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April 22, 2017 - 6:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in softball, sports, batavia, news.

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After running teams for a couple of years in Byron-Bergen, Stan Kaus and Matt Landers got to talking last year about getting more girls involved in fastpitch softball and bringing the teams back to Batavia.

"After last year we decided there are more girls in Batavia who want to play softball, so we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Are you sure you want to go bigger?’ and we said, ‘as long as the parents step up and help,' " Kaus said.

The response, Kaus said, "has been phenomenal."

The new Batavia Girls Fastpitch is incorporating as a nonprofit with an eight-person board. There are eight new coaches, 17 sponsors and so far 35 girls signed up.

There are two 12-and-under teams and for the first time a 10-U team. Next Tuesday, they will host a meeting to form at least one, and maybe two, 15-U teams, which will add another 12 to maybe more than 20 more girls participating.

"I think the word will get out," Kaus said. "I think a lot of girls felt their only choice for playing ball was Little League. I think if they can come out and watch softball and see fastpitch, I think it will be great."

The Stingers, as the teams are known, also have new uniforms.

"The fact that it's back and we're breathing new life into fastpitch softball is kind of exciting," Kaus said.

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