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February 11, 2016 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

That snowstorm that may be heading our way, the National Weather Service isn't backing down on the prediction, but they did push back the estimated time of its arrival.

And they added a wind chill watch.

The storm is now expected between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m., tomorrow.

It may bring accumulations of 7 to 14 inches.

The wind chill watch is for late tonight through Sunday morning.

Winds from the west at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph late Friday and Friday night.

Visibility less than a quarter of a mile at times.

Temperatures could drop to zero at times with a wind chill value of 30 below.

Travel conditions could be hazardous. 

The forecast confidence remains at medium.

February 11, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Today, Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, announced a $1.5 million capital investment that will be used to build a new extreme water ride – the RipCurl Racer. Upon the approval of an incentive package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and building permit completion, the park will begin construction on the new water ride, with plans to be fully operational for the water park’s 2016 opening on May 21.

The RipCurl Racer Experience:

42 feet above the pool, six mat-riding competitors launch themselves headfirst into side-by-side tunnels and rocket through the twisting tunnels before accelerating into separate racing lanes.

Riders drop and slide down the home stretch, enjoying speed, compression and zero-gravity moments as they blast into a high-velocity finish.

“Bringing in RipCurl Racer, the third new thrill ride to join the park’s lineup over the past year, is really exciting for us,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager at Darien Lake. “The continued growth and expansion at Darien Lake is a testament to our dedication to providing guests with the best entertainment value in the region.”

“As one of the premier tourism destinations in Western New York, Darien Lake once again is investing in Genesee County,” said Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull. “It’s been proven in the past that adding new ride attractions increases the number of visitors to the park and we’re expecting the new RipCurl Racer will do the same. And that’s good not only for Darien Lake but for Genesee County as a whole.”

Paying for itself in just two visits, Darien Lake’s 2016 season pass is a greater value than ever before!

The park is open May 7 to Sept. 25 and welcomes overnight guests in a wide range of accommodations – from a full-service hotel and modern cabins to rental RVs and campsites. For more information or to order season passes, visit www.DarienLake.com.

February 11, 2016 - 3:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy, news.

A two-car accident has been reported on South Street Road, Le Roy, in front of Le Roy High School.

Unknown injuries.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy Ambulance responding.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: Apparently, no injuries.

February 11, 2016 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

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With blueprints spread out in front of him on a long table, the city's director of public works, Matt Worth, walked a group of Washington Avenue residents through plans for an upgrade to the sewer system along their street this summer.

The impact on residents during construction should be minimal, Worth said, but, hey, it's a construction project.

"It's going to be a busy summer," Worth said. "I'd like to tell you it's not going to be disruptive, but I'd be kinda kiddin' ya. It's going to be noisy and loud and (with) bumps and things like that, but hopefully, when it's all said and done, the end product is going to be very good."

When it's done, residents will have a new sewer line, many will have new water service hookups and the street from Ross Street to Ellicott Avenue will be completely repaved.

The entire project will cost about $1.4 million and is part of the city's capital project, paid for with rate increases, to improve the water and sewer system, which in many parts of the city is buckling under the strain of age.

Once started, the project will take four months to complete.

During construction, residents along Washington should always have sewer service, Worth said.

The contractor will work to keep disruptions to a minimum. If a driveway is blocked, it will only be for a day and the contractor will provide advance notice. The sidewalk will be kept clear and walkable and a engineer will be on site at all times to ensure the project goes smoothly.

"Construction projects like this are dirty," Worth said. "They create dust. If it rains, they create mud. There are bumps and bruises and stuff, however, the contractor is expected to require to maintain the project in a safe manner."

Residents shouldn't need to worry about driving into a big hole, Worth said.

Where the sewer line crosses a connect from a residence to a water main, the connection from the main to the shutoff valve (by the property line at the sidewalk) will be replaced.

Which raised a question from a resident about replacing the water line to the house. Worth said if the line is galvanized, it might be best to replace it with copper pipe. The galvinized pipe isn't a health issue, Worth said, but the circumference of the pipe could be greatly constricted, reducing water pressure. 

"Quite often, the homeowner does use this as an opportunity to change the pipe all the way to the house," Worth said. "You would hire a plumber to do that."

The project might also uncover problems with sewer connection, such as damaged clay tile or roots growing through the line. If workers discover anything like that when connecting the new line to the homeowner's line, they will let the homeowner know.

"If (the line) is cast iron and has worked as a sewer it's likely to continue to work as a sewer," Worth said.

Washington Towers won't be affected by the project because all of their connections are on State Street.

The doctors' offices along Washington all share common sewer and water lines, so there is only one connection to deal with.

Water service should not be affected, unless the connection line needs to be replaced, in which case the homeowner will be given advance notice, water will be shut off for only a few hours during the day, and there should be no water discoloration.

"However, there's going to be large excavation equipment digging adjacent to where all this is and unfortunately sometimes bad things happen," Worth said "If there is a water main break or a significant event, yes you could very well see conditions like that."

The contractor will reseed the parkway, but the quality of the grass will really depend on the attention and care given to it by the homeowner.

"If the homeowner is there and waters it every other day, you're going to have grass and it's going to stabilize and it's not going to be a headache for you," Worth said.

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February 11, 2016 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron, bergen, batavia, pembroke.

Jaime Vega Tinuco, 26, of Walkers Corners Road, Byron, is charged with stalking, 4th, and endangering the welfare of a child. Tinuco allegedly showed up at the residence of a 16-year-old female after being told numerous times to cease contact. Bail was set at 2,500.

Woodrow Horseman, 39, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass and endangering the welfare of a child. Horseman allegedly refused to leave the residence of another person. Horseman was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Kyle B. Smith, 27, of Knox Road, East Aurora, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding and failure to signal. Smith was stopped at 12:36 a.m. Saturday on Richmond Avenue, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

A 17-year-old resident of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. The youth is accused of menacing a 14-year-old with a realistic looking BB gun.

Amber L. Ostrander, 25, of West Main Street, Fillmore, was arrested on a warrant. Ostrander was arrested by the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office and turned over to Batavia PD. She posted $500 bail and was released.

Martin F. Jones, 44, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Jones allegedly stole two cans of beer valued at $2.67 from Southside Deli. Jones was jailed on $2,000 bail or $4,000 bond.

Nicole Georgantopoulous Belluccio, 35, of Juliane Drive, Rochester, is charged with possession and transport of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes and obstructed plates. Belluccio was stopped at 12:47 p.m. Wednesday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Belluccio was allegedly found in possession of 6,400 untaxed cigarettes.

Jimmy Ray Wenzel, 29, of Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Wenzel was allegedly in contact with a person in violation of an order of protection. Wenzel has a prior criminal contempt conviction within the past five years.

Amy Lynette Cliff, 44, of West Main Street, Byron, is charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol, refusal to take prescreen test and speeding. Cliff was stopped at 9:35 p.m. Tuesday on Parkview Drive, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

February 10, 2016 - 10:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

As much as six inches of snow is expected from a storm that may be headed toward Genesee County and could hit sometime between late Thursday night through Friday evening.

The National Weather Service has issued a lake effect snow watch.

Winds will be from the west at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph with visibility as low as a quarter of a mile at times.

Travel conditions could be hazardous with blowing and driving snow.

The forecast confidence is medium. 

"There is still some uncertainty in the location and intensity of a band which is expected to develop late Thursday night and Friday," the weather service stated in its alert.

February 10, 2016 - 10:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A car-deer rollover accident is reported on Powers Road near Pratt Road.

Minor injuries are reported.

East Pembroke and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 10:57 p.m.: Assignment back in service. 

February 10, 2016 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, Bergen Fire, Barry Miller, news.

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By this time tomorrow, the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department will have a brand-new ambulance in service.

It's a big moment for the department. 

The 2016 Ford Rescue replaces the ambulance involved in the crash Sept. 23 that took the life of Barry Miller.

"It’s a wonderful moment for us," said Julie Donofrio, of the Bergen Rescue Squad. "We all do this to give back to the community. We, of course, wish Barry was here, but this was a push from the whole department and something Barry would be proud of. It's also something the whole community can be proud of."

Donofrio said the whole community has been so supportive of the department and that enhances the meaning of the moment.

"It means the world to us to have this ambulance on the road representing Bergen," she said. "For the department, for the community, to help provide (for) all the people of the community that we provide service to, it's a wonderful feeling."

The new rig is fully outfitted with the latest rescue technology, including touch screen systems to monitor patients and also has state-of-the-art safety equipment, from the brush grill and light bars to the interior accommodations for responders and patients.

The department has been using a loaner the past several months and Donofrio said the plan is for volunteers to arrive at the department and transfer equipment from that ambulance to this new one in the morning and then put the new rig in service.

 

February 10, 2016 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in warming center, batavia, news.

The Warming Center is open tonight from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for women and children in need of shelter at the United Methodist Church, Lewiston Road, Batavia.

For assistance, call (585) 993-6371.

There will be pickups at both McDonald's locations in Batavia.

Light meals will be served.

February 10, 2016 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after President Obama released his budget for Fiscal Year 2017.

“President Obama has proposed a liberal wish list instead of a budget,” Congressman Collins said. “The president’s spending proposal shows how out of touch he is with fiscal reality and the priorities our country needs to address. His proposal fails to enact meaningful entitlement reforms while raising taxes on hardworking families, increasing our nation’s deficit, and never balancing.

“The president’s proposed oil tax will increase the cost of gasoline by 24 cents a gallon and cripple already struggling families and businesses. Western New Yorkers need pro-growth policies that will jump-start stagnant wages and increase economic opportunities for the middle class. Unfortunately, President Obama still harbors the flawed belief that we can spend our way to economic growth. House Republicans are working on a budget that balances and provides the pro-growth solutions Western New York needs to get back on track.”

February 10, 2016 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey, batavia, Batavia Ramparts.

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From Jeffery Whitcombe:

The Batavia Ramparts Squirt Tier 3 team participated in the Empire States Winter Games last weekend (Feb. 4th thru 7th, 2016) in Lake Placid. The Squirt Ramparts were the only team representing the Western Region of New York State. The Team ended up winning a bronze medal ending up in third place for the weekend. The Team is made up 9- and 10-year-olds from the Batavia area. They are:

Mason Cook
Chase Cummings
Cooper Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton
Noah Hudson
Alex Johnson
Brady Johnson
Jamison Motyka
Brenna Munn
Carter Prinzi
Noah Whitcombe
Mac Wormley

Kevin Hamilton- Head Coach
Jeff Whitcombe - Assistant Coach
Dan Hudson - Assistant Coach
Fred Hamilton- Assistant Coach
Bob Johnson- Manager

February 10, 2016 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Park Road, Batavia Downs, batavia, business, news.

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Members of the Batavia City Council are ready to raise a ruckus about a proposal for the Town of Batavia to sell a portion of Park Road to Batavia Downs, leading to a closure of the road to thru traffic.

About a dozen Redfield Parkway residents attended Tuesday's council meeting to express their concern about the potential for increased traffic on their residential street if Park Road is closed.

"Redfield will become the new Park Road," is the battle cry.

But that won't necessarily be the case, said Mike Nolan, COO of Western OTB. A traffic study commissioned by Batavia Downs indicates there will be minimal impact on city streets, Nolan said.

"We've been working on this for a year," Nolan said. "We've met with all the stakeholders, the business owners on Park Road, the Sheriff's Office, the fire department and we're trying to mitigate the impact in every way. This wasn't just something thought up a month ago."

City Manager Jason Molino worried that the traffic study doesn't really address the impacts on parallel streets, such as Redfield, Bogue, Union, all the way down to Oak Street.

A couple of weeks ago, Park Road was closed on an emergency basis because of construction work related to the new hotel at Batavia Downs and traffic backed up on Redfield. 

Nelson Baker (top photo) and other speakers expressed concern that the congestion represents Redfield's future if Park is closed.

Maybe, maybe not, Molino said.

"Obviously, people are concerned with that closure that is going to be the type of traffic congestion that could take place," Molino said. "That has some merit to it. On the flip side, it was an emergency and that is going to cause traffic to congest because nobody has time to plan on getting around it. If the closure is well known ahead of time, then people have time to plan. With one incident, it's hard to judge, but it certainly raises awareness and puts focus on it."

That congestion was a one-time event and the traffic study indicates people will find alternatives, more sensible routes, if Park is permanently closed, Nolan said.

The main issue for Batavia Downs, Nolan said, is one of pedestrian safety.

When the racetrack was first built in 1940, the kind of high-volume entertainment center Batavia Downs has become wasn't envisioned, so building it right on Park Road wasn't an issue.

Last year, more than a million people visited Batavia Downs, creating two million pedestrian crossings on Park Road, and Batavia Downs is just going to continue to grow, Nolan said. 

"This is all about trying to solve a big problem, and that's public safety," Nolan said. "That is what the town and Batavia Downs are addressing."

The City Council will take up the issue at its next conference meeting to discuss drafting a letter to the Town Board opposing the plan and maybe directing a council member to personally carrying the city's concerns to the town.

The decision is entirely within the hands of the Town of Batavia. All the city can do is share concern and monitor the issue.

"We as a city are going to be affected and we don't have a say in this, so I would encourage everybody in the city to speak out to the town as well," said Councilman John Canale. "I'm not sure how much of an effect that is going to have on the decision, but it's frustrating because it's going to have a negative effect on city streets."

February 10, 2016 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia.

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Fifth Ward Councilwoman Kathy Briggs presented Dan Fischer, co-owner with Debbie Fischer of WBTA AM/FM, with a resolution Tuesday night from the Batavia City Council in recognition of the radio station's 75th anniversary.

February 10, 2016 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, veterans, batavia.

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Samuel C. Norris, 91, of Batavia, formerly of Alexander, was lain to rest Tuesday with full military honors.

Norris, a past assistant chief of the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department, served with Canada in World War II. His unit landed on Juno Beach, France, on D-Day.

He was born Dec. 30, 1924 in Welland, Ontario, Canada.

For full obituary, click here.

Photos by Laura Friend.

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February 10, 2016 - 9:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, accident.

An accident with possible injuries is reported in the westbound lane of the Thruway in the area of mile marker 384.

Le Roy fire and Le Roy ambulance along with Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:37 a.m.: A first responder reports a pickup truck with severe damage to the passenger side. There's a semi-truck involved, too. No word on injuries.  

UPDATE 9:42 a.m.: Landing zone being set up on the Thruway for Mercy Flight. The Thruway will be closed for the landing. Once the helicopter has left, firefighters will clean up the roadway of accident debris and then open one lane.

UPDATE 10 a.m.: Mercy Flight is in the air. One lane being reopened. Mercy Flight is headed to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 10:11 a.m.: Both lanes open. State Police and Thruway Authority responsible for traffic. Le Roy fire back in service.

February 9, 2016 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, cheerleading, Notre Dame.

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Press release:

On Wednesday, February 3, the Notre Dame Varsity Cheerleaders took first place for Division II in the Genesee Region League Competition, hosted at Byron-Bergen High School. The 14-girl squad, coached by Megan McNally, competed against Elba, Kendall, Wheatland-Chili, and Lyndonville high schools.

It had been five years since ND Cheerleading last earned the Genesee Region League Title, and was an experience the entire team had been working toward. This goal was especially strong for senior captains Cindy Skalny and Shelby McGinnis. “This has been a dream come true for Shelby and me,” said Skalny, who has competed in four GR competitions to date.  “This win was a combination of all of our hard work and we did it!”

After coming off a less-successful competition at Victor the week before, the squad improved their routine score by over 20 points to solidify the League title. Their hard work is far from over though, as the team prepares for the Section V Competition held at RIT on February 27.

Scores:

Division I: Byron-Bergen 91.45, Attica 86.6, Holley 86.3, Pembroke 79.6, Alexander 67.5, Oakfield-Alabama 66.3

Division II: Notre Dame 81.15, Kendall 73, Wheatland Chili 66.8, Elba 66.25, Lyndonville 33.5

February 9, 2016 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, byron, Darien, Oakfield.

Adam M. Kruetz, 27, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with strangulation, 2nd, petit larceny and criminal mischief, 4th. Kruetz allegedly grabbed the throat of another person at 10:20 a.m. Sunday at 5 Ross St., Batavia, and caused that person to nearly lose consciousness, then stole property and broke an item belonging to that person. Kruetz was jailed without bail.

Elizabeth A. Wortman, 28, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driver's view obstructed. A witness reported a vehicle driving erratically on Lake Street Road, Le Roy, on Monday. A Le Roy PD patrol stopped Wortman's vehicle on Lake Street and Wortman was allegedly found to be intoxicated.

Michael J. Elmore, 25, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal impersonation. Elmore was located in the parking lot of 305 E. Main St., Batavia, and Elmore allegedly provided false identification to a Batavia police officer in an attempt to avoid arrest on a warrant.

Joseph A. Auricchio, 25, of Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Auricchio was allegedly found in possession of a needle at 4:53 p.m. Monday at a location on South Main Street, Batavia.

Brant Gordon Matthews, 21, of Maple Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Matthews allegedly showed up to a probation meeting at 2:08 p.m. Monday with marijuana in his pocket.

Tyler D. Price, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to meet conditions of sentencing.

Todd Patrick Galen, 53, of Merrill Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Galen allegedly violated a court order by failing to comply with animal control regulations.

Tyler J. Penepent, 21, of Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. He allegedly stole a car lighting bar worth $12.96 from WalMart. 

Kristen E. Dwyer, 23, of Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Dwyer was stopped on Judge Road by State Police for an alleged expired registration. She was allegedly found in possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana in a baggie, a glass pipe containing burnt marijuana and a multicolored glass pipe containing burnt marijuana residue.

February 8, 2016 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Vernon Avenue, batavia.

Batavia PD is asked to check on a loud rooster on Vernon Avenue, Batavia.

The caller wishes to remain anonymous at this time.

The rooster is believed to belong to a resident on Vernon Avenue.

February 8, 2016 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Oakfield.

An East Rochester man, whom federal authorities say has ties to the Hells Angels, has associates in Genesee County and was arrested in 2009 in Corfu as part of reported scrap metal heist, has been sentenced to 12 months in federal prison on a racketeering charge.

Timothy M. Stone, 36, was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to an assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity.

Stone was convicted of participating in a May 31, 2006 baseball bat attack on a male patron at Spenders Bar in Rochester. Surveillance cameras recorded the attack and the video was stored on a computer hard drive. Stone forcibly removed the hard drive and took the hard drive from the bar and later destroyed the hard drive and the baseball bat used in the attack.

The case is part of a larger investigation that stretches from Monterey, Calif., to Oakfield, with Oakfield residents James H. McAuley Jr. and Donna Boon being charged, along with others, of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.  

Gordon L. Montgomery, of Batavia, has already been convicted on the charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 3.

Robert W. Moran Jr., of Rochester, and Gina Tata, of Rochester, are charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity; and McAuley is charged with conspiracy.

A jury trial for Richard W. Mar, of Monterey, McAuley, Moran, Boon, Jeffrey A. Tyler, of Rochester, and Tata, is scheduled to begin March 7.

Some of the prior related stories:

February 8, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, sports.

High school student-athletes interested in playing sports in college are invited to a discussion tonight in the library of Batavia High School starting at 6:30 p.m. The workshop is open to student-athletes grades eight through 12 and their parents and will provide information on NCAA rules and requirements, eligibility, scholarships and recruiting. Kelly Cruttenden, an associate athletic director at University at Buffalo, will lead the discussion.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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