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December 8, 2015 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education.


Press release:

The third-annual Reading Celebration at Byron-Bergen Elementary School got off to rollicking start with a farmyard-themed event on Nov. 20. Students were in the mood, wearing straw cowboy hats, overalls, and bandannas. Teachers dressed as cows, pigs, and singing farmhands hit the stage to build excitement for the challenge ahead: reading 25,000 books (almost 50 per student) before the end of the school year.

Students have consistently surpassed their reading goals since the challenge began in 2013; last year beating their target of 20,000 books by almost 4,000.

“Reading really is fun. We want kids to enjoy it and develop the reading habit now while they are young,” said Principal Brian Meister. “The motivation this year is the promise of a very special farm-themed reward in June. We’ll make all their hard work pay off in an event to remember.”

The assembly kicked off with Byron-Bergen parent Alyson Tardy, her backup teacher/singers and the student population singing and dancing to “Read a Book” — a special version of Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off.” Then Assistant Principal Amanda Cook played the starring role in a skit based on “Little Pig Joins the Band,” a favorite children’s book by David Hyde Costello.

Things got even more boisterous with an enthusiastic gameshow version of Pictionary, with students trying to guess which favorite books were being represented by teacher-drawn pictures. The festive atmosphere continued with a colorful quartet of Book Fairies (more enthusiastic teachers) who awarded a free book to one child from each class. 

Top photo: Reading is fun at Byron-Bergen Elementary School and a new book makes the day complete for student Mace Tyson.


Byron-Bergen Elementary School teachers perform “Read a Book,” with a little help from the audience of young readers. 


Assistant Principal Amanda Cook puts on a pig nose to lead the band and advance the celebration of reading at Byron-Bergen Elementary.


The Byron-Bergen Book Fairies made sure that outstanding representatives from each class got their very own new book.


Byron-Bergen student Gianni Ferrara is already well on the way to making sure the goal of reading 25,000 books is reached.

December 8, 2015 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in H.E. Turner Funeral Homes, batavia.


H.E. Turner & Co., along with Bohm-Calarco-Smith and Burdett & Sanford, held their annual candlelight rememberance service at Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia on Monday evening.








December 8, 2015 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.
    Lawrence Liles

A 58-year-old Warsaw resident is accused of leaving a cross in the lawn of a house in Le Roy with the message "RIP" written on it as part of an ongoing pattern of unwanted contact with the person who lives there.

Lawrence D. Liles, of 4400 Sage Road, Warsaw, is accused of "intentionally and for no legitimate purpose engaging in a course of conduct directed at the victim(s) while knowing or reasonably should have known that such conduct would cause material harm to the mental or emotional health of the victims and where the conduct constituted following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with the victim(s), their family or third party."

He is charged with stalking, 4th.

The alleged conduct began around April 18 and continued until the cross incident at 6:30 a.m., Dec. 1.

He was arrested by Le Roy PD, arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and jailed on $500 bail.

December 7, 2015 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, bergen, Le Roy.

Emily J. Walker, 22, of North Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 3rd. Walker allegedly presented a forged doctor's note to a former employer on Nov. 20.

Thomas O. Hart, 64, of Grafton Street, Rochester, is charged with DWI and failure to stop at stop sign. Hart was involved in a single-car accident at 6:39 p.m., Saturday, on West Sweden Road, Bergen. The accident was investigated by Deputy Chad Minuto.

Joseph R. Dux, 27, of Linwood Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and failure to keep right. Dux was stopped by Le Roy PD on Wolcott Road at 1:40 a.m., Friday.

Nathen Edward Donald Brege, 23, of South Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on an aggravated unlicensed operation charge.

Heather M. Ace, 24, of State Street Road, Batavia, was arrested for alleged failure to appear and aggravated unlicensed operation.

Timothy J. Corke II, 28, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Corke is accused of shoplifting at Tops market.

Dustin V. Gothard, 27, of Wolcottsville Road, Akron, was arrested on a warrant. Gothard was located by State Police in Lockport and arrested on a warrant out of City Court stemming from an alleged incident in December 2014. Gothard posted $100 cash bail and was released.

Richard Levins, 58, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with deteriorated roof covering. Levins turned himself on a warrant, posted bail and was released.

Ian C. Lawlis, 35, of Central Avenue, was arrested on a warrant stemming from an overnight parking charge. Lawlis posted $100 bail and was released.

James A. Hancock, 46, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with robbery, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, strangulation, 2nd, aggravated criminal contempt and assault, 3rd. The charged stem from an alleged domestic incident Dec. 1. Hancock was arrested on a warrant at an address on Lewiston Road by officers from Batavia PD and deputies from the Sheriff's Office. He was jailed without bail.

Bethani M. Dibble, 23, of Prospect Avenue, Batavia, is charged with attempted petit larceny. Dibble was arrested after an investigation into a shoplifting complaint at Tops market.

Marlek E. Holmes, 41, no permenant address, is charged with harassment, 2nd, endangering the welfare of a child, and failure to report address change. Holmes was arrested on Dec. 2 on charges stemming from an alleged incident Nov. 8 on Central Avenue. Holmes was spotted on Wood Street by a resident who contacted police. Holmes was located inside a residence with the assistance of Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 Destro and was taken into custody without incident. He was jailed without bail.

Rylie A. Day, 25, of Wyndham Road, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Day was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation on May 29.

John C. Orlowski, 18, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Batavia PD responded to a residence on Spruce Street at 6:26 p.m., Wednesday, on an unrelated investigation. Orlowski was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Ronald L. Worthington, 45, of Buell Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. He turned himself in and was released on $100 bail.

Elizabeth A. Hicks, 32, of Read Road, Batavia, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Hicks was allegedly found in possession of a hypodermic instrument during an arrest on an unrelated charge.

Jason P. Wickson, 34, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, criminal contempt, 2nd, aggravated family offense and criminal mischief, 4th. Wickson was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 7:59 p.m., Wednesday, on Cedar Street, Batavia. Wickson was jailed without bail.

December 6, 2015 - 10:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba.


The Elba Betterment Committee hosted its annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration last night in the village park.

Photos submitted by Kimberly Ball.



December 6, 2015 - 7:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported at 1770 Indian Falls Road. 

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS responding. 

UPDATE 7:51 a.m.: This was originally reported as minor injury, but a crew is requested to assemble to set up a possible landing zone for Mercy Flight. 

UPDATE 8 a.m.: Mercy Flight not required. 

December 5, 2015 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy.


Norman D. "Don" Ball, a Vietnam Veteran who was shot and killed early Tuesday morning while he slept in his bed, was buried in the cemetery in Stafford today following a service at the Falcone Funeral Home in Le Roy.

Ball's neighbor on Selden Road, Le Roy, Kyle Johnson, is being held on a charge of second-degree murder.

Johnson is also charged with arson for allegedly setting his own house on fire shortly after the shooting, at 3:50 a.m., and with reckless endangerment for allegedly firing at firefighters and a police officer when they arrived at the blaze.

For previous coverage, click here.


December 5, 2015 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is investigating a telemarketing scam where an “Officer” claiming to be a member of a Police Department in the Dominican Republic has your relative (actual relative name used) in custody. The “Officer” explains your relative is in trouble and needs court costs, legal fees, fines and hospital bills paid, before they are released from a Dominican Republic Jail or allowed to leave the country. The “Officer” then has your inconsolable “relative” placed on the phone to beg for your assistance. The “Officer” advises the only way they accept payment for the debt is with iTunes Gift Cards over the phone.

The Batavia Police Department would like to remind the community during this holiday season to be mindful of this or similar telemarketing scams. Anyone who suspects they have been contacted by this or similar “Officers” are encouraged to file a report at or contact the NYS Attorney General’s Office to make a report.

December 5, 2015 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, GSO, arts, music, batavia.


Yunn-Shan Ma will conduct the Genesee Symphony Orchestra at 4 p.m., Sunday, through a program that includes holiday music and performances by the Oakfield-Alabama School Chorus, directed by Danielle Mileham, and Lars Kirvan on cello.

The program includes Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture, Dvorak's Silent Woods, Hayden's Cello Concerto No. 1, Rimsky-Korsakov's Selections from the Snow Maiden Suite and the Polar Express Suite, among other numbers.

Ma is one of four guest conductors this season under consideration for a permanent position as conductor of the GSO.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, $10 for seniors and family packages are available for $35. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at











December 5, 2015 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Christmas in the City.








To purchase prints, click here.

December 5, 2015 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy Fire, fire service, Le Roy.


The membership of the Le Roy Volunteer Fire Department elected Tim Hogle as the department's new chief in a vote Thursday evening.

Hogle has moved up the ranks incrementally over the past several years from lieutenant, to captain and through the chief ranks, most recently serving as first assistant, to become chief.

"It's been a lot of hard work, a lot of training, a lot of state classes, a lot of man hours here at the fire hall and in fire service," said Hogle (pictured, left). 

He said becoming chief is a chance "to give back to the community, lead the guys and follow in the right path of the chiefs before me. "

Tom Wood, on the right, who has one prior term as chief, said the membership supported Hogle for the position because of his hard work.

"I think he's done a pretty good job throughout his career and as assistant chief and as an upcoming officer as a captain and lieutenant," Wood said.

December 4, 2015 - 10:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Centennial.


Residents gathered in Austin Park this evening for an aerial photo of them forming the number 100 on the ground while they held flashlights. The photo was arranged by the Centennial Committee to help wrap up a year marking the 100th anniversary of Batavia's incorporation as a city. The photo was taken with the assistance of City fire, using the department's ladder truck.

We'll have more photos from Christmas in the City later.

December 4, 2015 - 12:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, crime, Le Roy.
    Kyle Johnson

A court appearance for Kyle Johnson, charged with murder in the death of Le Roy resident Norman D. "Don" Ball, has been postponed until January, at the request of his defense attorney.

Johnson was scheduled to appear in Town of Le Roy Court at 2 p.m.

Johnson is accused of entering the residence of Ball at 3:50 a.m., Tuesday, and shooting Ball in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun while Ball slept. Johnson then allegedly walked back to his own house on Selden Road and set it on fire. He allegedly shot at firefighters and a police officer when they arrived on scene at the fire at 4:15 a.m.

There was then a four-hour standoff with local law enforcement before Johnson surrendered.

He is charged with murder in the second degree, arson and reckless endangerment.

For prior coverage, click here.

December 4, 2015 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy, business.

The current Zoning Board of Appeals in Le Roy will conduct a hearing on an application by Frostridge Campground for live music concerts by Dec. 18, Interim Supreme Court Judge Mark Grisanti ruled this morning, and any further interference by the Town of Le Roy board will constitute contempt of court.

Almost as soon as the case was called and the five attorneys from the two opposing camps were standing at their tables, Grisanti expressed dismay that even though Judge Robert C. Noonan ordered such a hearing seven months ago it still hasn't taken place.

Reid Whiting, attorney for the Town of Le Roy, blamed Frostridge and the ZBA for the delay.

"Frostridge has been sitting on its hands for seven months and for some reason the ZBA did not give proper public notice," Whiting said.

David Roach, attorney for Frostridge, clearly couldn't believe what he was hearing.

The delay was certainly the fault of the town board, Roach said, first by firing the original ZBA attorney, throwing the process into confusion, then by rewriting the ZBA's public notice so that it no longer reflected the true nature of the hearing.

"We come here with clean hands," Roach said.

After months of delay, there was an election in November, and Supervisor Steve Barbeau retained his seat. At its first meeting after the election, the town board decided to end its inter-municipal agreement with the Village of Le Roy for a joint ZBA and scheduled a public hearing to disband the ZBA and appoint a new, town-only zoning board.

Grisanti ordered the town not to conduct that meeting as scheduled Dec. 10.

"I know what's going to happen (if they meet)," Grisanti said. "I can see the town putting up some other kind of roadblock."

Grisanti also ordered Jeff Steinbrenner, who is the code enforcement officer, but also ZBA's secretary, to help ensure the notice of the meeting is sent out properly.

In the notice originally drafted by the ZBA, the notice said the hearing would be about whether live music concerts constituted an allowable non-conforming use. Somebody with the town changed the language of the notice to say the hearing was about "permissible use," which after court today, Roach explained, are diametrically opposite issues.

Frostridge has always maintained that under the code as it exists, operating a concert venue is not a permissible use, which is why they are seeking a variance as a prior (meaning similar activity took place before the current zoning law was passed) non-conforming use.

The current ZBA previously determined the concerts were a prior non-conforming use, but Noonan ruled the meeting where that decision took place was conducted without proper public notice, which is why he ordered a new public meeting.

That failure of proper public notice is one reason the current board needs to be disbanded, Whiting argued in court. The board failed to do its job properly.

He argued, also, that the issue isn't whether the concerts are a prior non-conforming use, but whether they are permissible.

Roach countered that Whiting was getting into the merits of the issue, which is a matter for the ZBA to decide and not a subject of the motions being considered by Grisanti.

David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell have owned Frostridge since 2008 and began holding concerts in the campground's natural amphitheater in 2012. The campground has been known by various names since 1957 and was once a popular local skiing location. Prior owners, and before the current zoning law making the area Residential/Agriculture, reportedly had both live music and amplified recorded music.

More than a year ago, neighboring families, the Cleeres and Collins, both related to the original campground owners, filed a lawsuit in parallel with the Town of Le Roy alleging impermissible and uncorrected violations of the zoning laws, both in the composition of the campground and the series of live music concerts hosted there.

After the hearing, Roach said one issue Grisanti didn't get into that he wished had come out was the claim by the town that the town is facing budget constraints and the ZBA is running up costs by hiring outside counsel (James Wujcik represents the ZBA now).

“If you’ve got a budget problem, town, don’t sue my client," Roach said. "You already have the Cleeres suing my client for you. They filed a town law 268 action. They stepped into the shoes of the town to enforce the zoning code. The town, filing its own lawsuit, is merely redundant and it is a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money.”

For prior coverage, click here.

December 4, 2015 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.


Main Street in Le Roy is being closed to traffic because of a suspicious package on the sidewalk between L.B. Grand and the hardware store.

The package has been there since yesterday.

Fire police were just dispatched to Main and Route 19 to block traffic.

UPDATE 11:43 a.m.: Reporter Ray Coniglio was on scene. It was box of golf pencils. A state police bomb tech happened to be the area and the package was examined and determined to be harmless. The road is being reopened.

UPDATE 12:07 p.m.: Picture added. Also, this from Ray:

Le Roy Det. John Condidorio said passersby told police the box had been on the sidewalk since Thursday.

“Given the current situation of things we took the precautions we needed to,” Condidorio said “I contacted the bomb tech unit (and) luckily he was right in the area at the time. He stopped by, X-rayed the picture — and it turns out to be some pencils.”

“Better safe than sorry.”

Condidorio loaded the box into his car. If they can find out who owns the pencils, the police will deliver them.
December 4, 2015 - 5:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, accident.

A person may have suffered a leg injury in a motor-vehicle accident in the area of 215 Bloomingdale Road, Alabama.

The car reportedly struck a tree.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

December 3, 2015 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, infrastructure, NY-27.

Press release:

“Investing in America’s infrastructure will help grow our economy and improve the day-to-day lives of Western New Yorkers,” Congressman Chris Collins said. “This bipartisan legislation makes tremendous strides in modernizing America’s transportation policy, supports good-paying jobs, and implements vital reforms to jumpstart infrastructure projects in our region.”

Several key provisions of the legislation will benefit Western New York. The bill:

· Provides certainty to states and local governments by funding highway projects for five years;

· Exempts dairy trucks from certain federal trucking weight limits, allowing them to efficiently transport their products;

· Streamlines existing regulatory requirements for transportation projects, increasing efficiency and expediting the process;

· Funds the 5340 High Density States program, which guarantees New York’s mass transit agencies access to the funding they need;

· Reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank, protecting more than 3,700 jobs in Western New York and 25 exporting small businesses in New York’s 27th District; and

· Converts the current Surface Transportation Program (STP) to a block grant program, which will provide states and local governments more flexibility in their transportation spending. Fifty percent of the program’s funding is specifically targeted toward local governments and that grows by 5 percent over the five-year span of the bill.

Full text of the legislation can be read here.

December 3, 2015 - 11:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, Basom.

Wendy S. Pritchard, 39, of MacArthur Drive, Batavia, is charged with false reporting an incident and providing a false written statement. Pritchard is accused of falsely reporting that a check written to her landlord was stolen and cashed without her permission.

Ajia R. Hasenauer, 22, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Hasenauer was arrested by Le Roy police after a check by a probation officer of her residence allegedly uncovered a quantity of pregabalin, a controlled substance.

Brenda L. Babcock, 31, of West Ave, Brockport, was arrested on a warrant by Le Roy PD. Babcock was wanted in connection with a 2008 charge of issuing a bad check. 

Michael J. Elmore, 24, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Elmore was arrested following an investigation into a trespassing complaint at 6:06 a.m. Monday at an address on Summit Street, Batavia.

Ela Arana, 37, of Chapin Street, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Arana was allegedly observed by Batavia Downs video surveillance staff stealing a phone. Also charged with petit larceny, Luz E. Ramos, 54, of Chapin Street, Rochester.

Jae-Quele M. Tomlin, 21, of East Delavan Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with trespass and harassment, 2nd. Tomlin was arrested following a complaint of a disturbance at Billy Goats, 345 W. Main St., Batavia, at 11 p.m. Friday. Also arrested, Amber D. Blackshear, 21, of East Delavan Avenue, Buffalo, who was charged with assault, 3rd. Blackshear allegedly hit and injured a bouncer. Also arrested, Winston Ashton Lockhart, 20, no permanent address, who was charged with second-degree harassment and trespass.

Barbara Lynn Burns, 51, of Westwind Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI and refusal to take breath test. Burns was arrested by Deputy James Diehl following a report of a property damage accident at 9:39 p.m. Tuesday at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

Larson Zane Sundown, 18, of Meadville Road, Basom, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, moving from lane unsafely, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to stop for a red light on a right turn and driving left of pavement markings. Sundown as stopped by Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello on Lewiston Road, Batavia, at 11:53 p.m. Nov. 25.

December 3, 2015 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.
   Glenn Morton

Most notably, perhaps, Glenn R. Morton was a Genesee County Judge, but in matters of public service, he was so much more than that.

Morton was a former county legislator, a former Genesee Community College trustee and a member of the GCC Foundation Board of Directors, as well as a former supervisor in the Town of Batavia. He was also active in the Lions Club and on the board of the YMCA.

The 81-year-old Morton passed away Tuesday.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m., Dec. 8, at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.

Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Co. is handling arrangements.

For Morton's full obituary, click here.

December 3, 2015 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, agriculture, business.

Press release:

The year 2016 marks the 177th anniversary of the Genesee County Fair! 

The Genesee County Agricultural Society is pleased to announce that the 2016 Genesee County Fair will be held on July 12th – 16th. Please note that the Fair dates have changed by one week to allow the Agricultural Society to secure a top of the line midway and entertainment. This date change will enable the Fair to continue to grow into the future. 

Preparations have already begun in the planning of the 177th Genesee County Fair. The Agricultural Society welcomes the return of Midway Rides of Utica as the midway ride provider for 2016. This year, once again, admission to the Fair is only $5 per carload. Several of the popular Grandstand events will be returning this year, including the Demolition Derby, ESP Tractor Pulls & Stock Car Racing. Other returning events include the Genesee County Fair Talent Show, The Grand Parade, a classic/antique auto & farm equipment show, small fry tractor pull, 4-H livestock auction, 4-H animal exhibits and the Fair Queen Pageant.

For a complete listing of events during fair week, visit  HYPERLINK "" 

These are just some of the events happening during the 177th fair. With your help, the Agricultural Society hopes to make 2016 a memorable year for the fair by adding new and exciting events. The board of directors would like to extend a personal invitation to become a volunteer, exhibitor or a sponsor of the fair. Volunteers are needed not only during fair week, but also the weeks before and the week after the fair. Many hands make light work!

Becoming an exhibitor or a sponsor of the fair is a great way to promote your business to thousands of fairgoers that live and work in Genesee County and visit the fair every year. If you are interested in volunteering, exhibiting or becoming a sponsor of the fair, go to  HYPERLINK "" to download all of the forms and for contact information.

The Agricultural Society would like to make the 177th fair special. In order for this to happen, your help is needed! The Genesee County Agricultural Society would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the Genesee County Fair over the years!




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