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November 5, 2015 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, batavia, My-T Acres.


On the road back to Batavia after a trip to Lockport for a story, I spotted this cabbage harvester working on MY-T Acres Farm off Lewiston Road, Batavia.

November 5, 2015 - 8:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Brewing Company, downtown, batavia, business, freshLAB, bdc.


Matt Gray remembers the old J.J. Newberry's Downtown, with its creaky floors, dusty inventory and a lunch counter he would saddle up to next to his grandmother to enjoy a hot dog.

Now he owns that building, but his ambition far exceeds nostalgia. It's about revitalization and doing his part to bring vibrancy and economic growth back to his community.

Gray, along with partners Jon Mager and Matthew Boyd, will be the owners of the anchor tenant in an ambitious project backed by the Batavia Development Corp., Genesee County Economic Development Corporation, and Rural Development/USDA to help aspiring restaurant owners get a start in Downtown.

The partners are creating Batavia Brewing Company, a new microbrewery at 109 Main St., Batavia.

The location will also be known as freshLAB, a restaurant incubator where entrepreneurs with great ideas for unique menu items sourced mostly with local and regional ingredients can see if they can turn their food concepts into thriving businesses.

Mager said the ambition for the project is rooted in the fact that he and Gray grew up in Batavia, are businessmen in this community, are raising families here and want to see their community thrive.

"We wholeheartedly believe Batavia is a great place to live, work, play and raise a family," Mager said. "By joining the ranks of the many great places to eat and drink Downtown, we hope to be part of a complete and full resurgence and revitalization that is attracting people back to Downtown."

Gray said they picked a downtown location because that would generate the greatest economic impact, both for other restaurant and bar owners and for themselves.

"There were a lot of other pluses on a lot of other sites, including parking, but (what) it came down to, is we believe in the clustering effect," Gray said. "There are so many good restaurants and so much good nightlife already down in this area. Adding more to it is only going to make each one of us healthier. By going off on our own, we're going to have to fight uphill to trying to get people to come to us." 

Mager and Gray, who got his start in food business ownership with Matty's Pizzeria and currently own's Alex's Place along with restaurants in Southern states, first started talking about opening a brewery in 2013. In 2013, Mager completed training with the American Brewers Guild. 

At the same time, Julie Pacatte and the BDC board were looking at all this data saying too much restaurant and bar spending by local residents -- some $12 million -- was being spent outside of Batavia. People wanted more food choices locally. And there were a number of people who would come to the BDC for assistance in starting restaurants, but just didn't have the wherewith all to pull it off. So this incubator idea, which has been successful in other markets, started forming.

Pacatte heard about Mager and Gray's ambitions and recognized the possibility of a partnership.

"We want those dollars to say here," Pacatte said. "We want a reason for people to be eating and drinking in Downtown Batavia, more reason to do that. We want to offer a product that really ties our commerce, our downtown businesses to our agriculture community."

In a survey, the vast majority of respondents said they want healthier food choices in Batavia, they want more ethnic food (Millennials especially, marketing data shows, go for Far Eastern cuisines and spicier choices), and diners want more seafood.

"We're hoping that in this concept and in this project, that we're able to draw some of the folks in who can create some of those plates and meals and sandwiches or salads, that will be able to invent those kinds of meals and lunches and dinners and breakfasts here in Batavia," Pacatte said.

Rural Development is kicking in more than $67,000 in grants to provide equipment and furnishings for the "dining hall" element of the facility, that will be a shared space between the brewery and the food vendors. 

Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, praised Gray and Mager for their foresight and willingness to take a risk, as entrepreneurs, to start a new business concept in their own community that will help their own community. Batavia is on the rebound, Hyde said.

"We have the innovation economy in our community now, higher-paying jobs, bigger-paying jobs, so our kids (can) stay here, come back home, and guess what, it makes this place a great place live, work and play and opportunities like this are going to make this happen even more," Hyde said. "It's really a great way to shine up the apple here in the city."

He said Mager and Gray are visionaries.

"It's so rewarding to us to have our local guys step up to the plate, invest in their community, and do what they're good at, 'cause this isn't new news for these guys," Hyde said. "This is right in their wheelhouse and they'll make it a great success."

November 5, 2015 - 7:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, volleyball, Notre Dame, Le Roy.


Down two matches to nil, and down on points midway through the third set, Le Roy rallied in its Class C Section V semifinal volleyball match against Notre Dame to pull out a 3-2 victory and advance to the next round.

The sets went 25-23, Norte Dame, 25-21, 23-25, 15-25 and 21-25.

Photos by David Boyce.









November 4, 2015 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in County History Department, history.

There are a lot of people passionate about local history, and more and more are getting clued into what the Genesee County History Department has to offer, according to Michael Eula, the county historian.

Visits and phone calls to the county's history department have increased to 1,243 so far this year, up from 1,181 a year ago. There are 1,812 volunteer and student projects connected with the department, an increase on last year's count of 1,761. There were 163 requests for genealogies and local history projects, a significant increase over last year's total of 86.

There has also been an increase in donations of artifacts to the department, Eula said. There have been 22 donations so far this year, compared to a total of 15 the year before.

Eula attributes some of the increased interest in the department to a Web site with more information about what's available, but Eula said since becoming director he's made it a point to make the department more visible. He's had booths and displays at numerous community events.

"We encountered a number of people at the Genesee County Fair, for example, who didn't know the department existed and now we're seeing them here because they became interested in coming to see the library and what we have," Eula said.

A few nights ago, Eula spoke to the WNY Geneology Association at its meeting in Buffalo and gave an overview of what Genesee County has to offer searchers and those kinds of events help generate more use of the department's collection, and for genealogy, and more fees for the department.

The artifact donations range from newspapers and family mementos to souvenir Batavia Muckdogs' programs.

"The donations give people more material to work with," Eula said. "This is a very rich county in terms of its history and the number of people who are very passionate about understanding the local history and how it connects to national, wider developments."

November 4, 2015 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Elections.

From our news partner, WBTA:

Election results from at least two Batavia City Council ward races will have to wait until next week to be declared final. Results from Ward 3 and Ward 4 are too close to call until absentee ballots are counted, according to GOP Election Commissioner Richard Siebert.

Unofficial results released by the Board of Elections late last night revealed:

Ward 3

  • John Canale 111
  • Richard Richmond 94

Ward 4

  • Alfred McGinnis 161
  • Pier Cipollone 131

This morning Siebert said absentee ballots in both Ward 3 and Ward 4 could change the preliminary outcomes.

In Ward 3, there were 50 absentees ballots issued, 23 have been returned so far.

In Ward 4, 72 absentees ballots were issued and 33 have been returned.

It is possible, Siebert said, that when absentee ballots are counted next week, the final numbers could declare a different winner.

Only 17 votes separate John Canale from Richard Richmond, and 30 votes separate Pier Cipollone from Alfred McGinnis.

Siebert said all absentees ballots must be post marked by Nov. 2 and must be received by the Board of Elections by Nov. 10.

The third City Council contested race was in Ward 2. The unofficial returns reported last night were:
Ward 2 

  • Patti Pacino 133
  • Lisa Whitehead 80
November 4, 2015 - 5:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motorcyclist has reportedly suffered injuries after colliding with a deer in the area of 1424 Judge Road, Alabama.

Alabama fire is on scene and the rider is reportedly alert and conscious with a non-life-threatening injury.

Mercy EMS is also responding.

November 3, 2015 - 11:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections.


Incumbent City Councilman Pierluigi Cipollone, standing, and County Legislator Ed DeJaneiro work their phones while at Batavia's Original on Tuesday night trying to determine the outcome of the day's election.

Cipollone was challenged by Alfred L. McGinnis, who ended up beating Cipollone by 30 votes, 161-131 in Ward 4.

The Democrats gathered at Batavia's Original to await election results, while the Republicans were at City Slickers and the Libertarians were at Larry's Steakhouse.

All results are from the County Board of Elections and are currently considered unofficial.


Michael T. Cianfrini, interim county clerk, won the seat outright in an unopposed election with 5,128 votes.


Patti Pacino, in the pink, running for reelection in the 2nd Ward, beat Lisa Whitehead, 133 to 80.


Members of the Libertarian Party at Larry's.


Lisa Whitehead lost the Ward 2 election to incumbent Patti Pacino.


Incumbent John Canale held onto his Ward 3 seat, beating challenger Richard Richmond 111-94.


Cipollone at Batavia's Original.

In other notable races,

  • Peter Yasses beat Gerald Heins 202 to 172 for the supervisor seat in the Town of Byron.
  • Gary Graber held onto his town justice job in Darien, with 333 votes, beating back challenges from Michelle M. Krzemien, 242, Jennifer R. Nunnery , 200, and Wade A. Schwab, 109.
  • In the Town of Le Roy, Steve Barbeau retained his supervisor post with 884 votes to 647 for Robert Scott.
  • John R.  Duyssen was the clear winner in the Town of Le Roy race with 1,039 votes. Coming in second in the vote-for-two election was John J.  Armitage, with 817 votes. James D. Barsaloux IV received 604 votes and Justin Caccamise picked up 520.
  • Local property owner James D. Pontillo has been pretty unhappy with the treatment he's received from Town of Stafford officials, but that didn't translate into a victory in the town's race for supervisor, where incumbent Robert Clement won 327 to 78.
  • Robert A. Penepent has only a two-point margin over Brenda J. Mancuso in the Town of Stafford race for town justice, 334-332.
  • In the town board race, there were four candidates and the top vote-getters were Donald L. Mullen, 268, and Robert F. Pacer, 183. Edward A. Ferris had 154 and Anthony J. Prinz had 133.
November 3, 2015 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Brewing Company, batavia, downtown, business, freshLAB.


Aspiring restaurant owners are going to get a unique opportunity to start their own businesses in a Downtown Batavia location that will be anchored by a new microbrewery, economic development officials will announce tomorrow.

A press conference is scheduled at 109 Main St., Batavia, at 3:45 p.m. to announce plans for freshLAB and the Batavia Brewing Company.

The freshLAB concept is borrowed from other successful restaurant incubators in larger markets, such as Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles. 

Batavia Brewing will be owned by a current local restaurant owner. Attempts to reach that owner to confirm his participation have been unsuccessful.

The announcement from officials of the press conference, however, makes clear a brewery is part of the plan (the logo included with the announcement is at the top of this post).

The concept of the restaurant incubator will be fully explained tomorrow, but Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for Batavia Development Corp. said the idea grew out of what the BDC board has observed for a number of years. The board had to turn down several requests to provide low-interest loans to proposed restaurants because of either undercapitalization or inexperienced aspiring owners.

With the incubator concept, aspiring restaurant owners can get started with a smaller initial investment and there will be advisors available to help them plan their concept, get up and running, manage the operations and hopefully, eventually, expand into a bigger, stand-alone location.

"Opening a restaurant is a big undertaking," Pacatte said, "60 percent fail within the first two to three years. This will provide those owners with a more affordable space and more coaching and guidance."

The location, 109 Main St., is the former Newberry's building. Most recently it was the location of T-Shirts Etc. and the Red Cross. It was previously the location of Main Street Coffee. Previous owner Ken Mistler has sold the building. The new owner will be announced tomorrow.

Also participating in the press conference is the Rural Development division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA will provide grant assistance for the restaurant incubator.

Part of the concept of the incubator is that aspiring restaurant owners must source most of their ingredients from farms from throughout the WNY region. The restaurant/food station concepts must also be unique to Batavia. The menu needs to be a different concept with offerings that vary from what's available in restaurants currently.

Part of the driver for creating the incubator is marketing surveys that show a lot of the entertainment and dining dollars spent by Batavia residents is flowing out of the county. Economic development officials hope to create a stronger cluster of restaurants in Batavia to help keep more of those dollars in the local community.

November 3, 2015 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy central schools, transgender, education, schools.

A conservative Christian group based in Arizona has issued a press release challenging the Le Roy Central School District for its handling of a reportedly transgender student and the student's access to locker rooms and restrooms. In a separate letter to the district and released by Alliance Defending Freedom, the advocacy group states that some male students are uncomfortable sharing facilities with a female student who identifies as male, but gives no indication that ADF actually represents any local residents.

The press release invites any district parents concerned about the issue to commence legal proceedings against the district. The district has not issued a statement in response to the press release from ADF.

Press release (links within the press release are to third-party sites):

Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Friday to the Le Roy Central School District Board of Education that asks it to reverse a recent decision by district staff to allow students to use locker rooms and restrooms of the opposite sex. The letter provides a suggested policy that addresses the school district’s concerns about discrimination without allowing the sharing of restrooms.

The ADF letter explains that no federal law requires public schools to allow boys into girls’ restrooms or girls into boys’ restrooms. In fact, as the letter notes, the district could be exposing itself to legal liability for violating students’ right to bodily privacy.

“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Letting boys into girls’ locker rooms and restrooms is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”

In December 2014, ADF sent public school districts nationwide a similar letter that it has now provided to Le Roy Central School District. All of the ADF letters cite pertinent legal precedent, including court rulings that support the ability of public schools to limit restrooms to members of the same sex for privacy and safety reasons without violating Title IX, a federal law concerning sex discrimination in public school programs and activities.

“Allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms would seriously endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, prejudice religious students’ free exercise rights, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning,” the ADF letter to Le Roy Central School District explains.

“ADF’s policy allows schools to accommodate students with unique privacy needs, including transgender students, while also protecting other students’ privacy and free exercise rights, and parents’ right to educate their children.”

The ADF letter also offers to evaluate the situation and potentially offer free legal assistance if anyone files a lawsuit against the recommended policy.

“Schools can accommodate a small number of students that have different needs without compromising the rights of other children and their parents,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting – like a bathroom or a locker room – with a child of the opposite sex.”

November 3, 2015 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elecctions.


It's Election Day in Genesee County. There are competitive races in the City of Batavia as well as the towns throughout the county. For a complete list of offices with candidates, click here. Be sure to get out and vote.

November 2, 2015 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, pembroke, Le Roy, elba, Oakfield.
mug_bald_nov22015.jpg mug_kingsleynvo22015.jpg
Jeffrey Bald Ted Kingsley

Jeffrey D. Bald, 33, of 30 Craigie St., Le Roy, and Ted E. Kingsley, 43, of 61 Myrtle St., #7, Le Roy, are charged with two counts each of second-degree burglary and one count each of petit larceny and attempted petit larceny. Bald and Kingsley were arrested after Village of Le Roy PD received a complaint from a neighbor of suspicious persons inside and then leaving a residence on Myrtle Street. Bald was allegedly located by a patrol walking nearby carrying a duffle bag of property. Kingsley was later determined to also be involved in the alleged burglary and was arrested. Bald and Kingsley are also suspects in a prior burglary of the same residence two days earlier. Kingsley was jailed on $15,000 bail and Bald on $25,000.

Sara A. Howard, 20, of 8486 W. Bergen Road, lot #15, Le Roy, was arrested on a pair of warrants. The first was out of the Town of Le Roy for an alleged theft of money and an iPhone from an acquaintance in the Village of Le Roy. The second was on a charge of petit larceny out of Rochester. Howard was arraigned and issued an appearance ticket on the local charge and then turned over to Rochester PD.

Amy M. Kaplun, 20, of 31 Gilbert St., Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Kaplun allegedly stole money from a Village of Le Roy business while employed there.

Habib Kassim Abdullah Nasser, 34, of East Ferry Street, Buffalo, is charged with evading cigarette tax on 10,000 or more cigarettes and speeding. Nasser was stopped 1:34 a.m. on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona. He as allegedly found in possession of 12,000 untaxed cigarettes.

Jessica L. Ford, 24, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Ford was allegedly found driving a vehicle with a passenger whom she is barred from contacting by a complete stay away order. Ford was jailed without bail.

Glenn H. Quintern, 56, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd. Quintern allegedly stabbed a woman in the leg with a pair of scissors at about 11 p.m. Friday.

William Edward Bissette, 53, of Gibson Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Bissette was stopped at 4:47 p.m. Saturday on South Main Street, Oakfield, by Deputy Joseph Corona, following a complaint of an altercation between two people at the 7-Eleven in Oakfield.

Dillon Lee James Farley, 23, of Ridge Road, Elba, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and failure to keep right. Farley was arrested by Deputy Joseph Loftus following a report of an accident at 2:40 a.m. Saturday on Ridge Road, Elba.

Melanie Mary Matesz, 50, of Schurr Road, Akron, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. Matesz allegedly used a vehicle owned by another person for several days without knowledge or consent of the owner. Matesz was also charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, for allegedly being at a residence she was barred from visiting.

Jordan J. Hardy, 26, of Sunset Parkway, Oakfield, is charged with sex offender failure to report a change of address. Hardy, a registered sex offender, allegedly failed to report a change of address. He was jailed without bail.

November 2, 2015 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, Pavilion.


Reggie, on the left, a 3-year-old Rottweiler, and Zoe, a 5-year-old Austrailian shepard, have been missing in the Asbury Road and Route 20 area of Pavilion since yesterday afternoon. Owner Crystal Geitner thinks they may have ran off into the woods chasing a deer. 

If you can assist in locating them, call Jaret (716) 474-1881 or Crystal (716) 560-3644.    

November 1, 2015 - 8:26am


Here's just a few shots of Halloween 2015 on Lincoln Avenue, Washington Avenue and Ellicott Avenue.








November 1, 2015 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports.


If a number of photos in this post seem to feature a bit too much of the Bath, well that was pretty much the story of the game Saturday as the Le Roy Oatkan Knights dropped a Class C sectional playoff game to Bath 44-0.

Josh Laurie was held 105 yards passing and Nick Egeling gained only 15 yards on the ground.

For four quarters, it was pretty much all Bath, with the Rams amassing 353 yards of total offense.

Reed Kacur had three receptions for 28 yards and Ryan Boyce, two for 37 yards.











November 1, 2015 - 7:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, Batavia HS.


The way Greg Mruczek sees it, the challenge Hornell gave Batavia in the first quarter of Saturday's sectional semi-final for Class B gives a Blue Devils team that has faced little adversity all season long a taste of how tough advancing in the post season will get.

Mruczek and his teammates adjusted and ended up smashing the Red Raiders 43-7.

Four second-quarter touchdown passes from Mruczek sealed the deal. He hit Anthony Gallo on a 16-yard route, Ray Leach on 46 yards, Ryan Hogan on 24 yards and Malachi Chenault on 41 yards.

"We had to pick up some blitzes in that first quarter," Mruczek said. "We definately had some adversity, but we definately fought through the adversity. We definately got a feel for playing in a close game and that's definately going to happen in the finals."

In the finals, Batavia will face Livonia, and while that's a 6-3 team (compared to Batavia's 9-0 record), they scored 70 points yesterday against Penn Yan, who ran up 60 points.

The diversity of receivers Mruczek called upon for those four second-quarter TDs demonstrates the array of weapons any defense must try to counter when playing Batavia, and the ability to strike quickly from anywhere on the field gives the team a lot of confidence, said Dom Mogavero.

"We a dynamic team," Mogavero said. "Every single person on this team can play football, the twos, the threes, everyone on the depth chart can play football and we all know we're really talented atheletes.

"We stick together as a family. The only stat that matters to us is wins and losses."

Mruczek was coming off a stretch over two games where he was 19-20 passing, including a 10-10 performance last week, with his only prior missed pass a throwaway under pressure two weeks ago. Those blitzes of Hornel had Mruczek a little off balance in the first quarter and he gave up a rare interception.

Still, he went on for a 12 for 25 performance for 303 yards and four TDs.

Batavia's other two touchdowns came on runs of 56 yards by Leach and 47 yards by Caleb Burdett.

 Mogavero had 77 yards on seven carries and Ray Leach rushed for 79 yards on five carries for the Blue Devils.

Gallo caught four passes for 126 yards.

In additional to his TD reception, Hogan had two interceptions. His steller performance came less than a week after his father's death.

"He's a gamer," Mruczek said. "He's got a lot of heart. I love that kid. He works hard every day."

Malachi Chenault said the team was there for Hogan throughout the week.

"He's a tough player," Chenault said. "We knew his situation and we just tried holding him up as much as we can and be as supportive as possible, that's all."

Defensively, Danny Williams had 10 tackles (two for loss) and Trent McGraw had eight tackles (two for loss) for the Blue Devils.

Top photo: Leach celebrates his second quater TD, which came off a tipped pass (second photo).



Hogan with one of this two interceptions.


Gallo with a TD reception.


Leach on a run play.




Leach on defense.


Gallo with a reception.


Mruczek with a second quarter pass


Williams buries Hornell's Trenton Smith.

To purchase prints of photos by Howard Owens, click here.

Jim Burns was also at the game and took photos:

November 1, 2015 - 4:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

A tree fire has been reported in the Byron Mobiehome Park, 6162 Swamp Road, Byron, Lot #42. 

Byron and South Byron fire dispatched. 

October 31, 2015 - 8:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Law enforcement is being dispatched to West Main Street, Batavia, in the area of Dave's Ice Cream, to check out a report of cars with Texas plates drag racing, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph.

October 31, 2015 - 8:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield.

An ATV vs. car accident is reported in the area of 41 S. Main St., Oakfield.

An injury is reported.

South Main is being closed at Coe and at Pearl.

Oakfield fire on scene. Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:27 p.m.: The suspect, who was driving the ATV, fled on foot to a wooded area off Pearl Street. A deputy is out with him and will use his flashlight to direct medics to his location.

UPDATE 9:23 p.m.: Road is open. Oakfield back in service.

October 31, 2015 - 8:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, entertainment, arts, Halloween.




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