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May 19, 2016 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama, news.

A car vs. tow truck accident is reported on Route 77 at Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Unknown injuries.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:57 p.m.: Emergency responders are told to stage in the area until law enforcement secures the scene. There is a possible disturbance in progress.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Law enforcement on scene reports Alabama fire and Mercy EMS can go back in service.

May 19, 2016 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Developmental Disabilities, steve hawley, news.

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Joshua Derrick speaks Thursday evening during a forum at GCC on how best to protect the rights of people with disabilities and how better to assist them in the communities where they live.

The forum was hosted by Assemblyman Steve Hawley and is part of a series of nine forums around the state conducted by the Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities.

The forum focused on improving ways to support the rights of people with developmental disabilities, expansion of community-based care programs, the effectiveness of current transition plans for people in sheltered workshops and identifying whether the input and desires of people with disabilities are being appropriately considered.

"Information gathered at the forum will help us to better serve the needs and choices of people with developmental disabilities," Hawley said. "For many, the transition process to a more integrated work setting has resulted in frustrations and disappointing changes in services and care programs. New York must do a better job of assessing and meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities."

Also attending the form were Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch and Assemblyman Bill Nojay.

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May 19, 2016 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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May 19, 2016 - 9:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, batavia kiwanis, news.

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Batavia High School's top academic seniors were honored today by the Batavia Kiwanis Club, and they were also congratulated by an unexpected guest at the meeting, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was in town for an event at Genesee Community College and stopped by the Kiwanis meeting after that event.

Hochul told the students that they've been fortunate to grow up in a community that has nurtured them and, unlike the era of her youth in WNY, provides more career opportunities at home. She encouraged them to get their college educations and then return home where they can not only better themselves and their families but their communities as well.

The top 10 students are Alexis Vasciannie, Ross Chua, Louis Leone, Sarah Wezel, Skylar Laesser, Noah Dobbertin, Andrea Gilebarto, Dharina Rathod, Samantha Cecere and Quinn Schrader.

Awards were also given out for vocal and instrumental achievement and citizenship.

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May 19, 2016 - 9:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, GCC, schools, education.

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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul attended a joint meeting this morning of leaders from three area community colleges, Genesee, Monroe and Finger Lakes, and encouraged them to find ways to work together cooperatively to help better prepare students to enter the modern workforce.

"I want to up the game," Hochul said. "I want to take it to a different level, and I cannot do it without all of you representing faculty, administration and students to say, 'you know what, we're buying into this vision.' It's going to force us to look beyond our own boundaries, just as the REDCs (regional economic development councils) forced us to say what's good for the other counties, what's good for the region, as opposed to just what's good for my little place on Earth here. That will be transformative. That is a whole new way of approaching community colleges."

The region is growing, Hochul said, new businesses are starting and coming in and they need a workforce trained for today's jobs. She encouraged the colleges to work with employers to develop curriculum and certification programs to get students job-ready, and rather do it in a competitive way, do it in a cooperative way.

May 19, 2016 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, news.
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     Scott Reed      Deborah Reed      Jonathan Reed

 

Three residents of a Log City Road home in Elba have been arrested by State Police following an investigation into a series of alleged sex crimes.

Three members of one family from Elba were arrested following a State Police investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and rape.

A father, mother and adult son were all charged.

The probe in the alleged crimes by Troop A's Bureau of Criminal Investigation began after State Police received a complaint in March.

Scott A. Reed, 50, of Log City Road, is accused of sexual abuse against a minor over a 10-year span. He is charged with course of sexual conduct, 2nd.

His wife, Deborah S. Reed, 51, of Log City Road, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She is accused of failure to provide adequate protection to other children in the home after learning of past abuse by Scott Reed.

Their son, Jonathan M. Reed, 22, is charged with several counts of second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child in the Town of Perry, and with second-degree rape, third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act in the Town of Lancaster.

Jonathan is accused of sexual contact with two teenage girls.

May 19, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news.

Amidst concerns that the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees tends to pass budgets before consulting with local legislators on how much the county can afford to contribute, the Public Services Committee yesterday tabled a resolution calling for a $50,000 increase in the county's share of college revenue.

The college is planning a $40.5 million budget for 2016/17, with the county's share totaling $2,586,374.

That's a $50,000 increase over this year's county share.

"It really bothers me that your board has set the budget, rather than come to us first and say, 'hey, look, how much can you afford to come in with," said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Legislature and a member of the Public Service Committee. "It bother's me that the board has determined how much we're spending before we even had a chance to look at it."

The county share is mandated by state law, and it can't be reduced below the prior year's share. College President Jim Sunser said if the Legislature reduced the county share by even $1 from the prior year, the college, by law, would be forced to cut tuitions.

"We'd lose 20 percent of our revenue and we'd be out of business," Sunser said.

The college has until July 1 to present its final budget to the SUNY administrators, giving the county time to consider further what it might want to approve and find out if legally whether the county can approve the county share without an increase now, but add more to the pot later in the year when it adopts its own 2017 budget.

One issue, Sunser noted during his initial presentation, because it's come up before, is that the college and the county budget calendars are out of sync. The college operates on an academic year and the county operates on a calendar year.

Sunser suggested the county adopt a five-year plan, knowing in advance that the plan is to increase the county share by $50,000 each year, but that plan can be modified annually if circumstances for the county or the college drastically change.

He also suggested, but it didn't seem to get any uptake from legislators, that the county approve this year's budget with no increase but with a plan to increase the share by $75,000 each of the next two years and than $50,000 in each of the following two years, thereby averaging an annual increase of $50,000 over five years.

One concern committee Chairman Bob Bausch raised is that the county is looking at a mandated pay increase for the district attorney of $27,705. The county is fighting the mandate, but if it loses, the resulting property tax increase, if approved, would push the county to the state's 2 percent cap limit. There would be no room for an additional $50,000 share to the college.

May 18, 2016 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, photos.

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A tree and gravel road behind County Building #2, off West Main Street Road, Batavia.

May 18, 2016 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Interagency Council, batavia, news.

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Master Gardener Jane Grehlinger talks about container gardening during the annual joint meeting of the Genesee County Interagency Council at the ARC Community Center in Batavia.

The meeting focused on a "green thumb" theme and included the planting and growing of herbs along with a local chef discussing cooking with herbs.

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May 18, 2016 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, United Way, Day of Caring, news.

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Hundreds of Genesee County residents spread out throughout the community today to provide volunteer labor for organizations during United Way's annual Day of Caring.

Above, staff from Graham's manufacturing plant flowers for an elderly resident in Batavia. The flowers and mulch were donated by Pudgie's and the Home Depot.

We also have pictures of employees of Tompkins Financial at the Batavia Peace Garden, members of Kiwanis and Leadership Genesee 2011 at the Youth Center and the Community Garden, and the Lions Club at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle fixing bikes for Genesee ARC.

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Group photo by Kevin Carlson, owner of Carlson Studio.

May 18, 2016 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in town of batavia, batavia, planning, land use, business.

From the Town of Batavia Planning Board's meeting last night:

  • Jeff Price met with the board to discuss his plans for two or three off-road truck events at the Genesee County Fairgrounds this year. Called Flex Rock 4x4, Price organized two events last year and he said they went very well. The first event wasn't well publicized and the turnout was mostly local drivers and truck owners, but by the time the second event rolled around, word had gotten out and drivers came from as far away as North Carolina. He said neighboring residents attended the first event to see what it was about and he hasn't received any complaints. He said the fair board is happy with his events. He asked the planning board for a letter approving the events, which the board will provide.
  • Chris Moiser, owner of Area 51, presented his plans for the 2016 season and received board support. He is planning races June 4-5, July 2-3, July 30-31, Sept. 3-4 and Nov. 13, with an MX race Oct. 29-30 and the Dirty Girl Mud Run on July 16.
  • Dale Banfield presented plans for outdoor concerts at the Waggin Wheel restaurant on Park Road. He's planning on hosting a couple of concerts featuring country bands and '80s classic rock. The concerts will be in a fenced-in area with proceeds from food sales going to local volunteer fire departments. Ticket sales would cover the cost of the bands. He said he's already spoken with representatives fo Batavia Downs and COR Development about parking and traffic and he said both are willing to work with him. He said he plans to have the venue entrance behind the Waggin Wheel, along the property line with Batavia Towne Center. A special use permit is required and a public hearing was set for June 21, by which time the board expects Banfield to have more details worked out.
  • The board approved a site plan review for Alpina Foods, which is planning a 3,360-square-foot expansion. No representatives of Alpina attended the meeting.
May 18, 2016 - 7:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, elba, Oakfield, Alabama, schools, education, news.

Here are Tuesday's available election results:

Batavia City Schools:
The Budget - $44,366,439 (increase of $1,258,066 or 2.92%: $0.00 increase in tax levy)

  • Yes - 407  (85.86%)
  • No - 67  (14.14%)

Student Ex-Officio Board Member (non-voting) 

  • Yes -  436  (92.57%
  • No - 35  (7.43%)

Board of Education positions: three positions, with top two votes terms are full term from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019 ,and the lowest vote is a partial term from May 17, 2016 to June 30, 2018 

  • Patrick Burk 385  (May 17, 2016 - June 30, 2018)
  • Peter Cecere - 427  (July 1, 2016  -June 30, 2019)
  • Karen Tomidy - 424   (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2019)

Elba Central Schools:

Proposition #1 - 2016/2017 Budget - $9,260,316  --   Passed  (129 Yes/38 No)

Proposition #2 - Purchase of one (1) 65 Passenger Bus   --  Passed  (130 Yes/39 No)

One Board of Education Seat, One Candidate: Michael Hare (142 Votes)

Oakfield-Alabama Central School District:

Proposition #1: Budget:  Yes:   293 / No:  44

Proposition #2: Buses:   Yes:  280 /  No:  52

Board Members:  

  • Jeff Hyde (Incumbent) 248
  • Matt Lamb, 170
May 18, 2016 - 6:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crisis hotline, Mental Health Association, batavia, Milestones.

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Holly Baxter was honored Tuesday during the Mental Health Association's annual luncheon at Terry Hills with the Constance E. Miller Award of Excellence for her work with the crisis hotline at the YWCA.

May 17, 2016 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Troop A, State Police, news, batavia.

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Members of the New York State Police, Troop A, honored their colleagues who died in the line of duty, serving their communities, in an annual memorial service at the Batavia Barracks.

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May 17, 2016 - 6:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barry Miller, bergen, fire services, news, Milestones.

Press release:

Barry G. Miller has been posthumously designated as a recipient of the New York State Senate Liberty Medal by State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.  

The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is awarded to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic or humanitarian acts on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers. He was tragically killed last September in an ambulance accident on his way to a fire call in the performance of his duties as an emergency responder.

“As a first responder, Barry acted with bravery in many emergency situations. He was dedicated, loyal and compassionate to his family and our community,” Ranzenhofer said. “Barry made the ultimate sacrifice while faithfully executing his responsibilities as an emergency responder. It is so fitting for the State Senate to pause in its deliberations today to honor him and his family with a Liberty Medal.”

Senator Ranzenhofer joined members of the Miller Family earlier in the day for the New York State EMS Memorial Commemorative Ceremony. During the special ceremony, Miller’s name was placed on the memorial in remembrance of his ultimate sacrifice, along with the names of other EMS personnel from across the state.

“Our family is completely honored and in awe of the honor presented to my son,” said Miller’s father, Tracy Miller.

Miller held the title of Chief of Emergency Medical Services in Bergen. For more than three decades, he was a member of the Bergen Fire Department. Miller was also a member of Leadership Genesee Class of 2008. He was the owner of Miller’s Millworks in Bergen and the Beaver River Lodge in the Adirondacks. He also worked for several years at Rochester Eye and Tissue Bank.

May 17, 2016 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, baseball, muck dogs, news.

Press release:

“Since the Red Wings took over operation of the Batavia Muckdogs in 2008 after the Muckdogs had endured  several years of financial hardship, there have been several serious out-of-town suitors, none which met our, or the Genesee County Baseball Club’s, criteria for selling.

"While we have made no secret of the fact that the team is for sale, we are not in a position to comment on the current status except to say that baseball will go on as expected in 2016. The Red Wings are very proud of the way we have operated the Batavia franchise and continue to enjoy extending our reach to Genesee County. We are looking forward to opening day in Batavia on June 22nd.”

May 17, 2016 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in James Pontillo, Stafford Odd Fellows Hall, Stafford, news.

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The Town of Stafford contracted with an engineer to inspect the old Odd Fellows Building this morning and owner James Pontillo feared the goal of the inspection was to find a reason to condemn the building.

If that was the goal, that wasn't the result.

Engineer Dennis Halstead looked over nearly every inch of the building and told Pontillo at the end that he didn't see evidence of slipshod work.

Pontillo has been working on a restoration project with the building since he assumed ownership in 2010. It's been a lot of work, and there is a lot of work still to do, and Pontillo feels like the town has tried to impede his progress every step of the way.

Last year, Pontillo and the town fought over a fence he built along his western property line. The case eventually went to court and Pontillo prevailed.

Today's tour started in the first-floor business units, where once, most recently, there was a tattoo parlor, and the former location of the Stafford Trading Post (which, back in the day, was the town's post office, general store and armory.

Pontillo explained that he has installed a firewall around the kitchen, where one didn't exist before.

In the basement, Halstead looked at the electrical paneling, which has all been replaced, and the new heating units, which Halstead said looked like good, quality work.

The third-floor apartments all looked clean and well maintained, with a new heating system. Pontillo improved the ingress/egress to one of the apartments by removing a portion of the stage riser that partially blocked the entrance, a remnant of the Odd Fellows Temple days. 

That apartment has a raised floor (the old stage) for its living room.

The third apartment is a studio and Pontillo has nearly completed refurbishing it, with new walls, new door frames, new kitchenette and a completely renovated bathroom.  

In this room, one of the town inspector's, Gene Sinclair, told a reporter that it looked like Pontillo was doing a good job with the renovations.

"If only he would get permits for his work first," he said.

When told about the remark later, Pontillo chuckled and said, "If only it were that easy."

At the end of the tour, Halstead told Pontillo some of what would be in his report. Even though the building has had businesses, including a food business, on the first floor, and apartments on the second floor, for generations, it still needs some fire-code-related improvements. Either there needs to be a two-hour burn barrier between the second and third floors or Pontillo needs to install sprinklers, perhaps only over the kitchen part.

Pontillo said he intends to install sprinklers in the stairwell leading to the second-floor apartments, as well (if he does, he may no longer need the fire escape on the west side of the building).  

There are no other major issues that immediately stand out, Halstead said, but his report will be a series of recommendations with options for Pontillo to consider. He recommended Pontillo go over that with his engineer and that the engineer draw up a plan, put his seal on it, and supply it to the town. Halstead said he would also be happy to talk with Pontillo's engineer.

Previously:

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May 17, 2016 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Summer in the City, batavia, downtown, business, news.

There will be no Elvis impersonator, no hot rods, no dunk booths, no kettle corn on Main Street in Batavia this August. 

Summer in the City is cancelled for 2016, and quite likely, in any future summers, according to Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District.

Oltramari is in her first year as BID director and since taking the position learned that city is clamping down on the BID's operational budget, restricting spending to just $55,000 a year.

In recent years, the BID has spent $120,000 on operations, but City Manager Jason Molino said the BID has been allocating more of its special tax levy to operations than state law allows.

The law allows only 20 percent of the city's levy on properties in the BID to go to an improvement district's operations, plus an additional levy to service any debt.

The BID took on nearly a million in bonds in 1999 to fund a series of upgrades to downtown, such as new street lamps, paving stones and landscape improvements. The BID's final $15,000 payment will be made this year.

While Molino's insistence this year that the BID follow the budgeting requirements of the General Municipal Law, a memo Molino prepared for next week's City Council meeting makes it clear that prior to Oltramari taking the director's job, he tried to bring the requirement to the attention of the BID.

"When reviewing prior records, budgets and the district plan, the BBID (Batavia Business Improvement District) has struggled to comply with the GML regarding oversight of assessment funds and consistency with the district plan," Molino tells council members in the four-page memo. "In addition, as recent as 2013 and 2015 the city has advised the BBID of both budget management concerns as well as compliance with the GML faults."

Dropping Summer in the City is the biggest change in the BID's budget, Oltramari said, but there will be other cuts, including cutting down the hours worked by her part-time assistant.  

There are other annual programs that the BID sponsors that will continue, Oltramari said, because they both make money and do a better job of promoting downtown businesses, including the Fall Wine Walk, Beertavia (in June) and Christmas in the City. All are self-funding, if not profitable, and help boost local business, but downtown merchants have long complained that Summer in the City took away parking while doing little to generate foot traffic into their stores. Oltramari said it generated very little revenue for the BID.

Even without Summer in the City, the BID can continue to work hard to promote downtown, Oltramari said, and seek out opportunities for "small victories" that in the long run can pay off big for the local business community.

May 17, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen.

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Members of the Bergen Fire Department were in Albany today with the Bergen ambulance for a statewide EMS memorial service. Barry Miller, killed in the line of duty in September, was honored at the service.

Photo submitted by Sean Downing.

May 17, 2016 - 8:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Airport, batavia, business.

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The County Legislature's Public Service Committee held its monthly meeting at the new terminal at the County Airport. Before the meeting, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens gave attendees a tour of the facility.

We'll have coverage of the meeting later today.

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