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October 5, 2017 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

Due to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s visit tomorrow at 1 p.m., Batavia City Hall offices will be closed at noon on Friday, Oct. 6.

Water/sewer and tax payments can be made in the drop box outside City Hall front doors.

October 5, 2017 - 2:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

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A two-car accident, unknown injuries, is reported at 336 Ellicott St., Batavia, at the corner of South Swan Street.

The cars are not blocking traffic.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE: Photo by Frank Capuano.

October 5, 2017 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bank Street, batavia, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the City of Batavia Water Department along with UMMC will be replacing valves on the main water line on Bank Street.

The water will be turned off on Bank Street from East Main Street to Washington Avenue.

Work will start at 5 p.m. Water service interruption will be kept to a minimum. This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

Bank Street will be closed to traffic from East Main Street to Washington Avenue.

October 5, 2017 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, batavia, news.

Eastern Town of Batavia needs a new polling place, one more convenient and suitable for citizens in those districts, but finding the right place has proven difficult, elections commissioners Dick Siebert and Lorie Longhany told the County's Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

"We’ve looked everyplace," Siebert said. "We’ve looked at churches, we’ve looked at everything out there and there’s nothing available."

Any location has to be not just available on election days, but accessible and with plenty of parking.

There was a location on Clinton Street Road, but it's no longer available.

"We've got a couple of options on the table that we're looking into," Longhany said. "We hope something will come to fruition soon. We need to find a place that is good for the public and good for us."

One option is the new Richard C. Call Arena at Genesee Community College.

In the past, GCC hasn't been a good option because the buildings weren't accessible for some residents.

The new arena is accessible and has plenty of parking.

County Manager Jay Gsell said he has an inquiry out to college officials to see if that location can be used.

October 5, 2017 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Boy Scouts, John Kennedy School, batavia, news.

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In a ceremony at John Kennedy School yesterday, a new memorial garden was dedicated as the culmination of an Eagle Scout project by Thomas Ognibene, Troop 6006.

"I wanted to do something to give back to the community and recognize all the people who have dedicated their time to give to the school," Thomas said.

When Thomas started his project in May, there were two trees planted behind the school to honor Mike Houseknecht and George and Maria Raines, both former gym teachers at the school.

Thomas added more plants, mulch and a stone border with an elevated area in the center of the memorial.

From planning through construction, Thomas put in more than 120 hours of time into the project. He was assisted in the construction by 19 scouts and parents.

Supporting the project were Batavia City School District, Scalia’s Landscape, Home Depot, Hansen Aggregates, Joe’s Awards and Trophies, Steve Ognibene Photography, Batavia’s Original, and Pudgie's Lawn and Garden.

Members of the Houseknecht and Raines families attended the ceremony.

"We’re so grateful and overwhelmed," said Maureen Pelletier, daughter of George and Maria, and who traveled to Batavia for the ceremony. "It’s just so much more than we ever expected."

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Maureen Pelletier

October 5, 2017 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, batavia, downtown, news.

Perhaps the third time is a charm.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after twice before scheduling announcements in Batavia and then quickly canceling the trip, has once again put Batavia on his schedule. 

Cuomo is expected to be at City Hall tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Members of the public who wish to attend are asked to RSVP.

The nature of the announcement has not been released, but Batavia is a candidate for a $10 million economic development grant and Cuomo has been traveling around the state in recent weeks announcing the grants in each of the 10 economic development regions. The winner for the Finger Lakes region has not yet been announced.

October 5, 2017 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, soccer.

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Press release:

The  No. 3 Genesee Community College men's soccer team took a 4-0 lead into the intermission before recording a 6-1 win over visiting Jamestown Community College Oct.4. The win was the Cougars' eighth in-a-row and left the team with a 9-2 record overall.

Philip Melo needed just a dozen minutes into the contest to notch the game's first two goals - the second of which was the official game winner.

Charlie Livesey then recorded three of his team-high six points on the team's next two goals for a 4-0 lead at the break. Livesey tallied once in each half, while earning assists on Ben Wattis' first-half goal and on Melo's game-winner to account for his impressive performance.

Rounding out the scoring was a second-half goal by Adam Price and an assist by Billy Murphy on the game's opening goal.

The Cougars out-shot the Jayhawks 29-6 overall, and 17-3 with shots on net. Leading the way in shots was Sam Hall with seven, while Melo added a half-dozen for the night.

Gaurav Cheema recorded two saves in the win, while the Cougars also held the edge in corner kicks, 9-2.

Genesee will travel to No. 4 Herkimer Oct. 7 with a 3 p.m. start. The Cougars leap-frogged over the Generals in the most recent National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association D-III Poll after Herkimer dropped a 3-2 game to Cayuga, a team the Cougars beat Sept. 20.

Photo: Curtis Kreutter/GCC

October 5, 2017 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, sports, soccer.

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Press release:

The No. 1 Genesee Community College women's soccer remained undefeated in National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association D-III play with a 2-0 victory over visiting Jamestown Community College Oct. 4, while improving to 9-1-1 overall.

The shutout victory was the team's seventh overall and fifth in its last seven games. Although the score was close, the statistics for the contest were not.

The Cougars out-shot the Jayhawks 37-4 overall, with 25 Cougar shots finding their way on net. Five Cougars accounted for 17 of those shots on net with Katline Cartwright leading the way with five. Sara Zakes, Miko Yamashita, Allison Duhow and Jayna Wright all registered three shots on net with the latter three finding the scoresheet.

Wright scored the game-winner about 30 minutes into the contest, while Duhow added an insurance marker five minutes into the second. Yamashita got an official assist on the second goal and set up the play on the first goal that came off a rebound.

The Cougars were just as dominant in the corner kick category holding an 11-0 edge, while Jaclyn Guzdek recorded one save for the shutout.

Genesee's next game may be their toughest the rest of the regular season as they travel to No. 3 Herkimer, Oct. 7 with a 1 p.m. start. The best margin of comparison between the two teams involves games with No. 9 Corning. Although both of those games ended 3-2, the Cougars rallied from 2-0 to win, while the Generals never held a lead in a loss to the Red Barons.

Photo by Curtis Kreutter/GCC

Currently, four of the nation's top-10 teams in NJCAA D-III hail from Region III with Genesee at No. 1, Erie No. 2, Herkimer No. 3, and Corning No. 9.

October 5, 2017 - 10:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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    Akeem Simmons

The conviction and 20-year prison term for Akeem Simmons, the then 23-year-old man who, with a partner, burglarized a home on Park Avenue, Batavia, in January 2014 will stand an appeals court has ruled.

An attorney for Simmons appealed both the conviction on a claim of an undisclosed deal with a witness and the sentence as too harsh.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, ruled against both motions.

Simmons and Nathaniel Davis burglarized the occupied home and Simmons was accused of carrying a gun during the commission of the crime. Davis testified against Simmons and after his testimony, Davis was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary.

At trial, Attorney Thomas Burns, representing Simmons, argued that it seemed clear to him that there was an undisclosed deal between Davis and the District Attorney's Office.

At trial Davis, under oath, denied there was any deal in exchange for his testimony. District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said no deal was made in order to get Davis to testify.

A request by Burns for a separate hearing was denied by Judge Robert C. Noonan.

The appellate judges found there was no evidence to support the claim of an undisclosed deal.

The judges also ruled that because of the prior criminal record of Simmons, which included two prior burglary convictions, the 20-year prison sentence was neither harsh nor severe.

October 5, 2017 - 9:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, notify, news.

A Batavia man is facing Federal charges for allegedly viewing child pornography while using a computer in the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia.

Robert Roy Richmond is being charged under a Federal statute that prohibits viewing child pornography that has been transmitted across state lines.

According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, FBI agent Jennifer Amo opened the investigation after the bureau was notified by Batavia PD in January of an investigation into a computer being used to view child pornography at the library.

The case started when a library employee who was working in the DVD section saw a man at a computer looking at a pornographic picture of a child in fishnet stockings.

As soon as the man left, the employee shut down the computer and put an out-of-order sign on it in order to preserve any potential evidence until police arrived.

Library employees told Amo that Richmond came to the library every morning and used a computer.

Richmond was identified as the suspected computer user because he had to input his library card number to access the system. He was also identified as a suspect by the employee through a photo lineup.

Another library employee told Amo that Richmond may have been coming into the library since 2014 to view adult pornography and had been confronted four or five times by the employee about it.

Upon questioning, Richmond allegedly admitted he's been viewing child pornography since 2009.

The FBI conducted a forensic examination of the computer and the affidavit contains a description of two the images allegedly found on the hard drive. Both are sexually explicit, of girls who are about 6 or 7 years old.

No information has been released yet on the status of the pending legal case.

October 5, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, accident.

A one-vehicle accident is reported in the area of Oak and Prospect, Batavia.

Unknown injuries.

The vehicle struck a sign.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:23 a.m.: Law enforcement on scene says no need for City fire to respond.

October 5, 2017 - 8:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Alabama, pembroke.

Anthony J. Nobile, 28, of New York Place, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Batavia PD was dispatched to 18 Evans St., Batavia, which is the City of Batavia Fire Hall, to investigate a complaint of a male subject who would not leave. Nobile was arrested and released on an appearance ticket.

Kiha Samuel McNear, 19, of Walnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. McNear was located by Officer Frank Klimjack and taken into custody. He was arraigned and jailed on $1,000 bail.

Tyrone N. Thigpen Sr., 40, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Thigpen allegedly violated a stay away order of protection at 7:50 a.m., Monday.

Jordan B. Abrams, 25, of Alabama, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Abrams was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 10:24 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Town of Alabama. No further details released.

Felicia A. Dumar, 27, of Byron, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Dumar was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 10:07 a.m. Tuesday on Swamp Road, Byron. No further details released.

Russell S. Almeter, 63, of East Aurora, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Almeter was stopped by State Police at 12:14 a.m. Wednesday on the Thruway exit ramp in Pembroke. He was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

October 5, 2017 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in city centre, batavia, news, business, mall merchants association.

Via our news partner, WBTA:

A trial date has been set in Erie County Supreme Court that would settle the dispute between Batavia City Hall and the City Centre Merchants Association.

WBTA has confirmed the two sides are scheduled for a bench trial on Oct. 20th before Erie County Supreme Court Justice Catherine Panepinto.

The basic dispute centers on responsibility for the mall’s continually leaking roof.

Last March the City Council approved an offer to the merchants that would have provided $650,000 dollars to repair the roof, silos and skylights over the concourse in return for the merchants dropping their lawsuit.

The merchants have never ratified the deal.

A member of the merchants association – who wished to remain anonymous – said the city has met all of the merchants’ requests but the association’s lawyers have advised against accepting the deal.

City Manager Jason Molino said the merchants are refusing to vote on the settlement terms that were negotiated last December. 

It is still possible the two sides could come to an out-of-court settlement by the Oct. 20 trial date.

October 5, 2017 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the home page).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual purchaser must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.

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October 4, 2017 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, news, notify.

If the current administration in the White House was successful in closing the southern border and deporting all migrant farm workers, it would be devastating to Upstate's economy according to a report prepared earlier this year by Farm Credit East.

Libby Eiholzer, a bilingual dairy specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, shared the finding of the report during a presentation Tuesday to the County Legislature's Human Services Committee.

"What they found was there are at least a thousand farmers in the state that are at a higher risk, that they are highly dependent on immigrant labor," Eiholzer said. "If they lost their employees they could potentially go out of business. It would reduce the ag production by over $1 billion. There would be 900,000 fewer acres in production. On-farm jobs would be reduced by 20,000 and then there would be another 23,000 fewer off-jobs in the industry. The total economic impact would be $7.2 billion."

Farmers are so dependent on immigrant labor that they feel caught between INS enforcement and farm labor advocacy groups, Eiholzer said. Both the agency and the labor groups, farmers fear, are a threat to their ability to stay in business. That makes them hesitant to raise their concerns publicly about immigrant labor or work with the advocacy groups to ensure farm workers receive adequate care and protection.

What Eiholzer and a colleague did earlier this year was convene a focus group of dairy farmers from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties in Batavia, which allowed farmers to speak out anonymously so Cornell could complete a study on the status of immigrant labor.

"This was the largest number of farms that we surveyed," Eilholzer said. "We also talked to 200 workers on those farms. What we found is that these farms, that are really representatives of other farms of similar size in the state, are very reliant on a Hispanic workforce. Seventy percent of the farms that we surveyed had at least half, if not all, of their workforce comprised of Hispanic individuals, and another quarter had a portion of their employees comprised of Hispanic individuals."

The farmers do all they can to ensure their workers have the proper documentation to allow them to work in this country, but they don't have the resources or the authority to dig too deeply. If they ask for paperwork beyond what they would as an Anglo worker, they risk accusations of discrimination.

"The only way to know the I-9 forms are not accurate is if the INS comes to your farm and does an I-9 audit and they tell you somebody is not allowed to work here," Eiholzer said. "Farmers do their due diligence to make sure people are eligible to work here but at the same time, you know that at least half of the immigrant farm workers here in the country (are undocumented)."

The full report (pdf) outlines what Eiholzer and researcher Thomas R. Maloney found.

Among the findings, it's very hard to find native-born New Yorkers to take manual labor farm jobs.

The managers also looked locally to recruit American workers through local high schools or BOCES programs, but with very little success. American workers often require a lot of social services support, which adds additional time and burden on the employer through additional paperwork requirements imposed by the social services programs and often resulting in a failed employment scenario.

Advocacy groups are pushing for higher wages, overtime pay, better housing conditions, and the right of workers to form labor unions. While farmers acknowledge there are things that could be done to make life better for workers, they don't feel the advocacy groups understand the farm business and are really out to destroy them. That distrust prevents them from bringing leaders from these groups to the farms to work with them on improving conditions.

From the report:

Their concern stems from their belief that these groups have an agenda to ultimately harm their farms, rather than actually to help farm workers. ... The advocacy groups have referred to farm employment practices as a form of “modern-day slavery,” which underscores the tone of animosity that these groups have toward the employers. 

Starting hourly pay for milkers is $9.34, with the highest rate going to $11.05. The highest rate for any Hispanic worker on average is $12.94. Farmers acknowledge, as a matter of being competitive for workers, the starting rate was low. Since the report was issued, the minimum wage rose to $9.70 and it will go over $10 an hour after the first of the year. Farmers have adjusted wages for all workers accordingly.

The farmers often provide free housing. They said the housing, especially group housing, is difficult and expensive to maintain, and this is an area where advocacy groups could actually help if they could be trusted to come onto dairy farms and not disrupt operations.

At the same time, if the state keeps increasing the minimum wage, and farmers are forced to pay overtime, and workers are allowed to form unions, housing is one area farmers could be forced to cut expenses, even charging rent to workers to offset higher labor costs.

Eighty percent of Hispanic dairy farm workers in the state receive free housing from their employers.

As financial pressures build on the farms, the result is to push some of the costs down to the employees. This phenomenon is commonly seen in other industry sectors when costs increase for the employer. This presents serious complications, as the Department of Labor has stringent compliance regulations regarding on-site housing for employees. There is a concern that employers may take advantage of their employees when there is a landlord/tenant relationship as part of employment. Focus group participants would prefer not to be in the landlord business. 

A change in overtime rules would also have a trickle-down effect that would hurt workers, the report found.

Their Hispanic workers who ask to work 60-70 hours per week and would seek other employment that would meet their income expectations. Those who do not leave likely will be upset, as their hours and overall pay will be cut drastically. These are the workers who most want to maximize their earnings but would end up earning less. Employers acknowledge that this move will force them to hire more people to work fewer hours or start to think about switching to robotic milking systems. 

The unpredictability of the Trump Administration on immigration and reports of greater enforcement and how these political factors have changed the perception of Hispanic workers in the communities where they live have caused fear and anxiety for farmers and workers.

This level of unpredictability is causing a sense of fear and nervousness for farm employers, workers, and the community at large. Interestingly, it was stated that the workers are not worried about crossing the border, but they are very concerned about being deported from Western New York. The most damaging and immediate impact of the recent Executive Order has been to instill a sense of fear in the community regarding these employees. Some Hispanic employees have stopped leaving the farm altogether since the order was announced. They will pay others to purchase their groceries for them, as they are afraid to be seen out in public. Farm employers are very concerned about the impact that this type of self-imposed isolation will have on their employees.

There is a perception among focus group participants that the Trump Administration is focused on jobs for Americans and does not comprehend the impact agriculture has on the U.S. economy. Agriculture is a $30 billion industry.

October 4, 2017 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, Darien.

Jessica Marie Forsyth, 32, of Thomas Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Forsyth is accused of stealing medication from a residence on Old Meadow Lane in Batavia.

Jeremy Aaron McCormick, 23, of East Avenue, Attica, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. McCormick was stopped at 6:56 a.m. Tuesday on Route 20, Darien, by Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer. McCormick was allegedly found in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

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October 4, 2017 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, schools, education, news.

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Photos and write-ups provided by Batavia City Schools.

In recognition of his friendly manner and willingness to help out his fellow classmates, Batavia Middle School student Andrew Jursted was presented with an Outstanding Student Award by Batavia City School District Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on Oct. 3.

He was nominated by Mr. Grillo, principal of Batavia Middle School, who wrote, “Andrew has helped with new students. He always has a smile on his face, and is a good role model. He offered to switch his locker to help another student be closer to his classes. He is a good friend and very helpful to his teachers.”

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In recognition of his valuable contribution to the administration, staff, and students of the District, Director of Health, Physical Education and Interscholastic Sports, Michael Bromley was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award by Batavia City School District Board Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on Oct. 3.

He was nominated by Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey, who wrote, “Year in and year out, Mr. Bromley oversees one of the most accomplished athletic programs for young women and men in Section V and New York State.  Batavia City School District teams are regularly recognized for academic success, athletic championships, and sportsmanship. Mr. Bromley has worked for the District for 18 years, lives in the community, and can be seen at multiple athletic events both in and out of our District. Mr. Bromley is a great example of Taking Care of BCSD!”

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In recognition of their valuable contribution to the students of the Batavia City School District and the Youth Bureau’s Parks ProgramSusan Presher, on behalf of herself and her summer staff, was presented with an Outstanding Staff Award by Batavia City School District Board Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Board meeting on Oct. 3.

They were nominated by Coordinator of Assessment and Instructional Services Julia Rogers, who wrote, “Mrs. Presher applied for the USDA Grant (National Summer Food Service Program) this summer and was awarded it. This grant fed children (under the age of 18) breakfast and/or lunch at the District’s Extended Year and TEAM Literacy Programs, and the Youth Bureau's Parks Program (held at Lions, Lambert, John Kennedy, Farrell, and Williams Parks, as well as at the Youth Bureau). The variety of food offered and the ease of accessibility garnered the appreciation of the parents and children, as well as the entire staff of these programs. Students were able to focus on reading and math during Extended Year and TEAM Literacy because they were not focused on being hungry.”

October 4, 2017 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation, batavia, Announcements.
tonybustimc.jpgPress release:

Anthony (Tony) Peca Jr. was born and raised in Batavia with five brothers and sisters. He is descended from Italian heritage on both sides of his family.

His mother’s family came from Rome and his father’s from Chieti. He attended Notre Dame High School, graduating in 1970. He was proud to be an All-Catholic wrestler, Class President, and Student Council President.

He has been happily married to Gerrie (Sandlin) Peca for the past 44 years and has three children Theresa (Peca) Pellegrino, Kelly Peca and Anthony Peca lll, along with seven, soon to be eight grandchildren.

Following college he worked with his father and brother at Batavia Turf Farms Inc. Since 2000 he has been Sales and Operations Manager at Reisdorf Oil and Propane.

He is a proud Italian-American.

The dinner is Oct. 11 at Terry Hills. Tickets are available at Ben's Appliance, V.J. Gautieri Construction or any board member.

October 4, 2017 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Announcements, GO ART!, arts.

Here is a list of current members of the GO ART! board of directors:

  • Tammy Hathaway (Genesee County) - President
  • Thomas Jennings Sr. (Orleans County) - Vice President
  • Brad Eddy (Genesee County) - Secretary
  • Jennifer Neroni-Trupo (Orleans County) - Treasurer
  • Shane Ashton (Genesee County)
  • Karen Crittenden (Genesee County)
  • Julia Garver (Genesee County)
  • Tracy Jennings (Orleans County)
  • Stuart McLean (Genesee County)
  • Patti Pacino (Genesee County)
  • Barbara Pierce (Genesee County)
  • Idris Salih (Orleans County)
  • Mark Scarborough (Orleans County)
  • Mary Jo Whitman (Genesee County)
October 4, 2017 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A two-accident is reported at 5070 Clinton Street Road, Batavia. 

Minor injuries. Cars are blocking.  

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS dispatched. 

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