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March 13, 2016 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, news, Pavilion.

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Doug Yeomans took this picture. It's of the metal dragon sculpture on Transit Road in Bethany, Pavilion sunrise, yesterday morning.

CORRECTION: A reader, admittedly being nitpicky, wrote to say this dragon actually sits on the Pavilion side of Transit Road, not the Bethany side.

 

March 12, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tax liens, Bontrager's, batavia, business.

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Properties there were foreclosed on by either the city or county in the past year for failure to pay property taxes were auctioned off today at Bontrager's.

We'll post the results of the auction once they are available to us.

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(UPDATED 7:30 p.m.): Here are partial results from today's auction. They are for county-owned properties and do not include city-owned parcels. Those figures were not available today.

Note that the selling prices are listed along with the approximate amount of taxes and penalties owed. ***However, included in the amount DUE is interest, but that needs to be removed, as it was not earned. So the final amounts DUE are not available today, but they will be less than shown below.

GENESEE COUNTY PROPERTIES

PARCEL #1:       SELLING PRICE: $450               ***DUE: $768

Town of Batavia: Shepard Road (corner w/Batavia Bethany Townline Road), .62-acre lot, Tax Map No. 20.-2-30

 

PARCEL #2:     SELLING PRICE: $4,750            ***DUE: $5,650

Town of Batavia:  7697 Lewiston Road, .5-acre lot w/ commercial building,Tax Map No. 3.-1-6.112

 

PARCEL #3:      SELLING PRICE: $6,000            ***DUE: $3,150

Town of Pavilion: 10179 South Street Road, .78-acre lot w/burnt mobile home,Tax Map No. 6.-1-10.12

                                   

PARCEL #4:     SELLING PRICE: $5,000         ***DUE: $2,400

Town of Pembroke: Cleveland Road, 1-acre lot, Tax Map No. 16.-1-12.2

 

PARCEL #5:     SELLING PRICE: $650              ***DUE: $655

Town of Stafford: East Bethany -- Le Roy Road, 1.1-acre lot, Tax Map No.12.-1-46  

 

PARCEL #6:      SELLING PRICE: $33,000         ***DUE: $12,338

Town of Stafford: 8476 Route 237, single-family residence, .41-acre lot, Tax Map No. 7.-1-54

 

PARCEL #7:      SELLING PRICE: $28,000        ***DUE: $20,107

Village of Le Roy: 31 Mill St., storage/distribution, .27-acre lot, Tax Map No. 7.-2-1.1

   

PARCEL #8:      SELLING PRICE: $24,500         ***DUE: $15,660

Village of Le Roy:  63 Church St., single-family residence, .29-acre lot , Tax Map No.  6.-1-47

March 12, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 4-H, Tractor Safety, batavia, news.

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Students participating in the 4-H Club's annual tractor safety course were tested today on their hands-on knowledge at Empire Tractor.

Above, Christian Gerold steers through an obstacle course, and below, Tim Zipfel attached a combine to the back of a tractor while instructor Tim Adams scores his effort. Zipfel passed.

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March 11, 2016 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, news, sports.

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Press release:

On March 4, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Hospital received a check for $1,277 to help combat head and neck cancer. The money was raised by the Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School’s girls’ soccer team. The team, led by Coach Wayne Hill, hosted a fundraising event in October. This is the second year the team has focused their efforts on head and neck cancer. Teammate Karson Richenberg’s mother, Toni, has throat cancer.

Many local businesses supported the school’s fundraiser, including Sloat Tire Shop in Batavia, Fullerino’s Pizzeria, and NAPA Auto Parts in Bergen. They donated products and services to fill baskets that were raffled during halftime at one of the team’s games.

“We are very grateful to the many individuals and businesses in the community who donated,” said Jr./Sr. High School Interim Principal Patrick McGee. “We are so proud that our students are learning that they have the power to drive change in the world and give back to their community.”

The Byron-Bergen girls’ soccer team is no stranger to fundraising to beat cancer. Earlier years’ efforts supported breast cancer awareness. The girls' soccer team plans to expand their endeavors next year by encouraging additional athletic teams to participate.

Photo: Representatives from the Byron-Bergen girls’ soccer team presented a check for $1,277 to the doctors and medical team at Strong Hospital’s Wilmot Cancer Center. Center, holding check, is junior Karson Richenberg. Then (l-r) Toni Richenberg, junior Olivia Audsley, senior Alex Rosse, Interim Principal Patrick McGee and (far right) Coach Wayne Hill.

March 11, 2016 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, news.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP DWI coordinator Matthew Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on March 17th and will end on March 20th. St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving due to the number of drivers on the road. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across the board effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths.

Undersheriff William Sheron reminds us: “Don’t count on the luck of the Irish, arrange for a designated driver.”

The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association and funded by local STOP-DWI programs as well as the STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This partnership has allowed local programs to significantly increase their enforcement and public awareness efforts. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

March 11, 2016 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Darien Lake Theme Park is enhancing its popular in-park laser show Ignite the Night with the addition of full-color laser beams, extra pyrotechnics, an all-new soundtrack and radio frequency-driven LED color wands that enable guests to “glow with the show.” This advanced technology brings an exciting new element to a long-standing park tradition.

The new handheld color wands are integrated with the show, flashing and glowing a kaleidoscope of colors throughout the performance. Guests can purchase color wands for $8 and have a souvenir of their family-fun experience for long after the show concludes.

Ignite the Night has been part of Darien Lake’s free family entertainment since 1992. The show started with simple green and yellow lasers, which were New Age at the time. The show has seen several enhancements over the years, including a 3D laser show introduced in 1995 and the addition of a 100-foot-wide water screen and hydro-cannon blasters in 2013.

From its humble beginnings to today’s fully modernized production, the show has paid tribute to our American heritage, and still to this day “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood closes every show with a blast of fireworks.

“Our Ignite the Night laser show is the perfect way to end a fun-filled day with us,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “Families gather at the lawn on a warm night and look to the sky for a spectacular and magical experience.”

Ignite the Night, presented by Tops Friendly Markets, takes place every evening at 10:10 on the lawn at the Lakeside Amphitheater from May 20th to Sept. 4th. For a full list of special park events click here.

March 11, 2016 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Duty E. Caswell, 24, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with dog at large. Caswell's canine was allegedly involved in a series of biting incidents at 3:01 p.m., Monday. The dog reportedly broke loose from its chain and attacked an individual in front of its residence on Hutchins Place. The dog then ran down the street and attacked another person near State Street. Both people suffered injuries. Police believe the dog also bit a neighbor's dog. The dog was seized by police and taken to the Animal Shelter. The same dog was allegedly involved in a biting incident in late January. (Previous report)

Bonnie L. Cortright, 28, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Cortright is accused of stealing 28 handcrafted items from the artisan shop at the YWCA.

Nicholas F. DiFillippo II, 50, of Kingsbury Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test and speeding. DiFillippo was stopped at 12:36 a.m., March 4, on West Main Street by Officer Eric Foels.

Bailey Loren Gavenda, 19, of Shepard Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Gavenda is accused of stealing $77.46 in clothing from Kohl's Department Store.

March 10, 2016 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, IAFF Local 896.

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A group of city firefighters will climb 38 floors, 800 steps, in Buffalo on March 12 to help raise funds for the American Lung Association.

The effort is part of the Fight for Air Climb and takes place at the HSBC Tower.

Firefighers have an increased risk for lung disease, including lung cancer, from the exposure to gases, chemicals and smoke in the line of duty. Funds will be used for research, education and patient programs to assist firefighters.

The Fight for Air Climb has so far raised $114,000 and Batavia Local 896 has raised $1,372.

To donate, visit fightforairclimb.org and enter Batavia L896 in search.

Pictured are Jerry Yoder, Adam Palumbo, Christine Marinaccio and Zack Gowanlock.

March 10, 2016 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
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    Jason Armstrong

The attorney for a Batavia man accused of rape is troubled by the wide range of potential dates for the alleged attack and would like District Attorney Lawrence Friedman to try and get the woman making the accusation to try and come closer to an exact date.

Establishing a more accurate date would enable attorney Clark Zimmermann to determine if his client has alibis for the time of the alleged rape.

Jason A. Armstrong Sr., is accused of anally raping a woman at a residence on South Main Street, Batavia, sometime between Nov. 6 and 10.

Zimmermann said it was good that the indictment was able to specify the alleged attack happened between 8 and 9 p.m. on whichever day it occurred, but Nov. 6 to Nov. 10 is rather wide range to accept without more effort to narrow it down.

"I would think an adult as the complainant is, would be able to further specify or narrow the time frame," Zimmermann told Judge Michael F. Pietruszka. "Right now we have five possible days between 8 and 9 that this event could have occurred."

Friedman said he is certainly willing to cooperate in working with the alleged victim in narrowing the time frame down, but given the fact that the complaint wasn't made until the end of December, the amount of time that had passed before she was interviewed, made it difficult for her to recall the exact date.

"While I would like to provide a precise date or more precise date, I'm simply unable to do that at this time," Friedman said.

Zimmermann said he would expect the woman would have some ability to use work records or other life records to help her recall and narrow the time frame. He said the woman was working some jobs off the books in November and perhaps knowing when and where she worked would help. He indicated he uncovered some of that information through is own investigations and offered to provide that information to Friedman.

Friedman said he would accept the information and attempt to use it to help the woman come up with a more precise time frame.

Armstrong was indicted by a grand jury on counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree and assault in the second degree for allegedly causing physical injury.

He's also indicted on a count of third-degree assault for allegedly causing physical injury to another person on or about Dec. 5 while at the same address, on South Main Street, as the alleged rape.

Zimmermann said he was still gathering evidence that might assist Armstrong in establishing alibis in both cases, including recorded phone messages left by one of the alleged victims.

Friedman objected that he had not yet received the evidence, despite filing a motion to receive it, and Zimmermann said that given the fact no trial date has been established yet, he still had time to gather the details and provide them in a timely manner.

"I certainly don't intend to sandbag him and I hope he doesn't do the same to me," Zimmermann said. "I think I've provided ample notice and if he disagrees, that's why we have you, Judge."

The case was set for another appearance on March 25, giving both sides more time to prepare their cases. At that time, if no plea deal is reached, Pietruszka will establish a plea cutoff date before setting a trial date.

March 10, 2016 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news.

There is a natural gas leak reported at Le Roy Junior/Senior High School.

Le Roy fire is on scene. Stafford, Bergen and Pavilion dispatched mutual aid.

About 20 minutes ago, Le Roy fire was dispatched to the school for a pull station alarm.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: Town of Batavia fire requested to fill in at Le Roy's fire hall. Pavilion, which was standing by, now called to the school, located at 9300 South Street Road, Le Roy.

March 9, 2016 - 9:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, news.

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An ambulance has been dispatched to Bank Street and Alva Place for the male victim of a stabbing.

Police are on scene. 

No further information available at this time.

UPDATE 9:55 p.m.: The stabbing victim was approached by two males at the 7-11 store parking lot on East Main Street and "asked to purchase something" but police would not specify what that was. When the victim pulled out some money, he was stabbed in the shoulder and the money was taken. The suspects fled north on Elm Street, but that is not a certainty; the victim is not from the area. The suspects are described as a light-skinned male and a dark-skinned male, both wearing hoodies, one of which was dark and one of which was gray, but the victim could not specify which person wore what color. The victim attemped to drive to the hospital, but ended up at Bank Street and Alva Place, where he found a police officer and flagged him down.

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March 9, 2016 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, batavia, news.

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Students from eight area high schools were at Genesee Community College today to show off their sales and marketing skills in a virtual trade fair sponsored by the Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) program.

The students applied skills they learned in their classrooms to try and convince others to buy their products using virtual credit cards. Students were required to interact with potential buyers by making pitches, showing off catalogs and demonstrating their products. The transactions were recorded and receipts deposited in virtual bank accounts. Students are judged on sales skills and sales results. The top three businesses were to receive awards.

Particpating schools were Batavia, Dansville, Elba, Le Roy (two teams), Livonia, Notre Dame and there was a team from Wyoming County.

Also coming up are the annual Tech Wars, which is March 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.

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March 9, 2016 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Oakfield.

Jason E. Hammond, 34, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speed not reasonable and moving from lane unsafely. Hammond was arrested following a single-vehicle accident at 2:24 a.m. Sunday on Liberty Street, Batavia. Hammond's vehicle hit a utility pole and flipped over. The accident was investigated by Officer Felicia DeGroot. Hammond was ordered held without bail. (Previous coverage).

Victoria M. Fleck, 22, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing. Fleck was arrested following a reported domestic incident at 11:45 p.m., Sunday. Fleck was held on $750 bail.

Timothy J. Becker, 51, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Becker was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 11:30 p.m., Saturday.

Matthew Joseph Engert, 24, of Geddes Street, Holley, is charged with aggravated harassment. 2nd. Engert was arrested on a warrant stemming from a criminal complaint reported at 11:22 p.m., Nov. 2. No further details released. Engert was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Donald Robert Rock, 58, of Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and driving left of pavement markings. Rock was stopped at 11:29 p.m. Friday on Kelsey Road, Batavia, by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Jason William Penny, 31, of Maple Lane, Susquehanna, Pa., is charged with petit larceny. Penny is accused of shoplifting at Target.

March 8, 2016 - 6:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, arts, entertainment, theater, news.

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The Alexander High School Drama Club presents "Big Fish: A Musical" this weekend.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students, pre-sale, and $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students at the door. Children 5 and under can attend for free.

Photos are from yesterday's rehearsal.

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March 8, 2016 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YMCA, UMMC, batavia, business, news.

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Last fall, the folks at the YMCA were looking at remodeling their aging facility on East Main Street. Time has taken its toll and what started out as a project that might need a few hundred thousand dollars soon ballooned into a $3 million estimate.

At that price, Executive Director Rob Walker said, maybe it was time for the Y to look for a partner. 

YMCAs in other communities found ready partners in local hospitals, so Walker, in his job for a little over a year, called Dan Ireland, CEO of United Memorial Medical Center, also in his job for a little over a year, and asked for a meeting.

It was a meeting of the minds.

Ireland was already thinking it would make a lot of sense for the hospital to partner in the Y. The missions align and the two nonprofit organizations share property lines.

The logical conclusion, build a new building that would meet the needs of both the Y and UMMC.  

The hospital owns property on three sides of the way, including the location of Cary Hall and the vacant lot (formerly the Elks Lodge) next to it. It would make a lot of sense, Walker and Ireland surmised, to build something new on that land and take the current Y building down.

A task force was formed, chaired by Mark Schoell, the retired CEO of UMMC, and including people such as City Manager Jason Molino, County Manager Jay Gsell, economic development coordinator Julie Pacatte and business leaders such as John Riter, of Merrill Lynch.

The planning process took another step forward today with a community forum, consisting of about 80 invited community leaders from throughout Genesee County, at City Church's Generation Center on Center Street.

Walker is quick to point out that the Y and UMMC are in the very early stages of the process, just pre-planning, but he and Ireland are pretty clearly enthusiastic about the idea.

"The level of cooperation and spirit of collaboration between the Y and the hospital has been fun, enjoyable and something that is going to be transformative," Walker said.

It's a great opportunity improve the level of health and well-being services for the people of Genesee County, Ireland said.

"Cary Hall is aging and needs work," Ireland said. "The Y is aged and needs work. We have a tremendous plot of land with parking and those buildings; we could really do a lot if we collectively come out with the right thing. The benefit to the hospital is new space so we can offer greater service.

This morning's forum was facilitated by Mary Ellen and Rick Peterson, both from the national YMCA office.  

The 80 or so participants were assigned groups of five or six people with a facilitator who helped guide the discussion and wrote group thoughts and ideas on white sheets of paper. The groups were asked to take about 12 minutes on each of five questions, such as what challenges the community faces, how those challenges can best be met, what can be done locally to help families, and how can personal well-being issues be addressed.

All of those sheets of paper -- dozens and dozens of them -- were gathered up after the meeting and the task force will now review them and use them to produce a report by May or June on how the Y and UMMC can best meet community needs and what should go into a joint facility to meet those needs.

"We can't just take the Y in Rochester or the Y in Buffalo and take a cookie cutter and drop it in Batavia," Walker said. "All the stuff that is in this room right now, on the walls, this is what we're going to take and make spaces to meet those needs. We don't know what it's going to look like, but it's going to be pretty."

Walker said the task force will also be able to draw on needs assessments completed by other area agencies over the past few years, such as the Office for the Aging, Health Department, school district and United Way.

The applause line of the morning came from one gentleman sitting at the back of the room who pointed out the participants were all white, and mostly close in age. He suggested there needs to be some needs assessments from a group with greater diversity and representing a broader range of community members.

Both Walker and Ireland said the gentleman's comment was right on target and that there were people invited who could bring greater diversity, but they didn't show, so there will be some follow up with them.  

"We recognize the need to strengthen the task force so there is an equal representation," Ireland said.

Walker was clearly energized by the morning's discussion and believes if all of these plans come together into a real project, it will transform Downtown, transform Batavia and, in fact, all of Genesee County.

"Today was pretty inspirational for me," Walker said. "The minds, the passion here for Batavia; it's a proud community. We have tremendous potential to make this projection transformational and make Batavia a destination city."

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March 8, 2016 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chamber Awards, chamber of commerce, business.

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Saturday, the Genesee County Chamber of Comemrce held its annual awards banquet at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

Pictured are award recipients, back row: Jay Gsell, Tracy Miller, Pete Zeliff, Matt Ryan, Jeff Post, John Post and Rob Walker; front row: Pamela McCarthy, Loretta Miller, Susie Boyce, Meg Ryan and Shelley Falitico.

Photo courtesy the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
Photo by Mark Gutman/
Daily News.

For coverage of the award winners:

March 8, 2016 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in trees. oak street, National Grid, batavia.

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Contractors for National Grid are busy this week along Oak Street removing trees that have become increasingly misshapen over the years by trimming meant to keep utility lines clear of obstructions. The trees will be replaced by species that aren't expected to interfer with the utility lines.

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