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March 21, 2012 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.

State Police have confirmed, according to WBTA, that the bodies of two men found floating in the Genesee River were that of David and Michael King.

The King brothers, from Oakfield, had been missing since Feb. 19 when they apparently tried to cross I-390 at a spot, unbeknownst to them, that was nearly 100 feet over the Genesee River.

March 21, 2012 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy, Stafford.

Stafford Fire Department is extinguishing an apparent controlled burn at 6505 Prentice Road, Le Roy.

A first responder reported, "It looks like somebody went to lunch," and reported finding a can of oil, matches and a rake.

The call came in as a grass fire. First responders reported finding a hedgerow fire.

A chief informs dispatch that the homeowner has been advised of the open burn law.

UPDATE 1:29 p.m.: A chief tells dispatch, "The homeowner is arguing with us that agriculture is exempt from burning laws." The fire is out except for a couple of smoldering spots. Stafford is back in service.


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March 21, 2012 - 12:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Letter from Jerry A. Kozlowski, 2012 chairman, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors:

As you so clearly realize, these have been very turbulent times for small business owners across our great nation. Our small business community has been forced to endure a continual stream of new regulations and taxes that hinder prosperity and growth. Combine these obstacles with unending interference to the basic principle that has made American business exceptional, the concept of free enterprise, and we find ourselves in a very difficult business environment.

You the small business owner of Genesee County continue to be the ongoing hope for a brighter future. You the small business owner of Genesee County employ our husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and families and friends. You the small business owner of Genesee County are the true entrepreneurial spirit that will light our way towards future prosperity.

Being a small business owner in these trying times is a downright difficult challenge. You already knew that. But did you know you’re not in this fight alone?

That is why the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce exists. We’re here to help you, the small business owner, make your way through the ever-complicated maze of roadblocks that stand between you and future success. Your county chamber serves as a centralized location to represent your cause, as well as a combined voice that is far louder and more powerful than your's alone.

Our mission simply states:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce leads in the pursuit of creating an environment for business success, which will enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Genesee County.

But we honestly can’t accomplish this extremely important responsibility alone. We need your help! To our current chamber members, I thank you.  We need your continued support to fight the good fight. We also need you to help us enlist the small businesses who aren’t current members to join our ranks. We need you to be loyal ambassadors of your chamber of commerce, so we may truly help each other prosper…together.

To the businesses that are not current members of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, won’t you please consider joining us? As you know, there is power and great strength in armies with large numbers.  And as you also know, armies of voters are who Albany and Washington listen to.

Let me end by taking this opportunity to publically thank each and every business member, staff member and volunteer that make up our Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. Best wishes for a successful and prosperous 2012!

March 21, 2012 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, weather.

It's hard to argue that spring is here. After all, Mother Nature has given her stamp of approval with blooms in abundance.

Above, the magnolia tree at the Holland Land Office Museum is starting starting to produce some color.

There's no surer sign that spring is here than the forsythia in bloom. It's time to prune your rose bushes.

A field of crocus have sprung up in front of a house on Oak Street.

March 21, 2012 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, pembroke.

It's Kicks Butt Day and members of the Pembroke Intermediate School SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) protested at their school against the marketing tactics of Big Tobacco wherein cigarette companies deliberately target teens as potential customers.

Photos submitted by Aaron Brown.

March 20, 2012 - 11:35pm

A plan for Ken Mistler to remodel the patio of the former South Beach Restaurant on Main Street received glowing reviews and eventual approval from members of the city's Design Review Committee on Tuesday.

The board opened its meeting with a field trip to South Beach were Mistler explained the concept.

Mistler intends to enclose the patio, but use retractable glass panels (something like a garage door made of glass panes) so that he can operate the patio as a bar, dining room and music venue 12 months out of the year.

"We'll close the windows for weather or when it's windy," Mistler said.

The concept has already received a positive recommendation from the Genesee County Planning Board and once the Design Review Committee approves his final plans in 30 days, Mistler will be able to proceed with construction.

Mistler is planning a Southwestern/Western theme with urban flair for the new restaurant and bar. It will be called City Slickers.

While the restaurant continues to cater parties in the basement bar and dining area, Mistler is completely remodeling the inside of the bar and dining area (the new custom-built wooden bars are stunning).

He expects to open City Slickers around the third week of April.

Photo below: Mistler holds a picture of the former Kiwanis Park that was west of South Beach from before Mistler remodeled it to the present patio.

March 20, 2012 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Batavia Down.

I think every picture I've seen of the Batavia Downs sign so far has been from the more straight-on position north of the track. Recently, I've been experimenting with angles more to the south.

March 20, 2012 - 11:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Tonawanda Creek.

Taken this evening off West Main Street, almost behind the Lambert's store.

March 20, 2012 - 10:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, recreation, Tonawanda Creek.

This summer, the Town of Batavia will build a small boat launch -- for canoes and kayaks -- behind Kiwanis Park, giving visitors and local residents a way to easily access the Tonawanda Creek between the city and East Pembroke.

There was a time -- in the early 20th Century -- when the Tonawanda in Batavia was more favored by local residents seeking recreation.

Officials with the town and the Soil and Water Conservation District hope the boat launch is just one more piece in place toward transforming the small river into a recreational asset again.

"We definitely want to encourage recreational use," said George Squires, conservation district manager. "Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, taking a look at nature -- there's a whole lot of things going on along the creek that people probably won't see if they aren't paddling along the creek somewhere."

The boat launch is being paid for with a $6,000 grant secured by the conversation district.

The town is supplying the design and engineering work.

Tom Lichtenthal, assistant town engineer and highway superintendent, said it will take two months to complete the permits.

Squires said he's hoping for a July 4th opening.

The launch will be constructed along an inlet stream that runs between Kiwanis Park and the former location of the Batavia Motel (acquired by the Town of Batavia).

Lichtenthal explained that there will be a path from the parking lot down to the water and a stone launch for the boats.

Only small boats will be allowed to use the launch. If the boat needs to be hauled by a trailer, it's too big.

While it's not part of the plan, Lichtenthal said he dreams of the day there might be funding to create a walking path -- or paving for bikes, too -- from River Street in the city to East Pembroke.

Some time in the middle part of the 20th Century, the creek apparently lost some of its appeal for recreational use.

Squires suspects property owners who adjoin the publicly owned waterway and creek banks restricted access.

Or it could have been the dredging of the creek, making its banks steeper and therefore harder to access.

Lictenthal -- and Squires says it was a problem -- suspects foul water from the previous wastewater plant kept people away.

Twenty years ago, the city -- with cooperation from the town -- installed a lagoon-style wastewater plant, meaning the water from the sewer plant is much, much cleaner by the time it's piped to the creek.

"We can point to a definite improvement in the creek," Squires said. "The water quality wasn't as good before the city upgraded the sewage system and that deterred some people from thinking of doing things on the creek. Now, the creek is in pretty good shape."

The access, Lichtenthal explained, will help return a "natural element" to the creek and hopefully be inviting enough for people to make good use of the launch.

The new boat launch will give people access to the creek from the dam behind the courthouse (if people want to paddle upstream and then drift back to the launch), down to the falls in East Pembroke (and people will need to paddle upstream to get back to the launch).

At some point, town officials would like to provide a second launch downstream in East Pembroke so boaters can travel downstream and not worry about getting back to the launch upstream.

There's also a launch behind Kibbe Park in the city -- that Lichtenthal said is hard to access and use -- but because of the falls behind the courthouse, it won't be possible for boaters to start in the city and end at the town's new launch.

Photo from the book "Batavia," by Barbara Ann Toal. In 1910, two brothers built three boats capable of carrying recreational passengers on the Tonawanda Creek. The Bluebelle, above, was destroyed in a flood in 1922.


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March 20, 2012 - 9:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, corfu.

Election results  from the Village of Corfu (vote for two):

Trustee: (2) Years – Democrat   – Arthur Ianni, 30                 
Trustee: (2) Years – Republican – Kenneth Lauer, 29                                
Trustee: (2) Years – Republican – Michael Tost (write in), 17

We've not received reports from the other villages. Jeremy Yasses has posted on Facebook that he won seat in the Village of Oakfield by 35 votes.

UPDATE: Lorie Longhany reports the winners in Le Roy: Greg Rogers, mayor; and, trustees Jim Bonacquisti and Mike Tucci.

March 20, 2012 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.

Two bodies have been found in the Genesee River near the Elmwood Avenue bridge, reports WHAM13.

The bodies were found about a mile apart.

Officials have said they will not "speculate" as to whether the bodies are of David and Michael King, of Oakfield, who disappeared the night of Feb. 19 after apparently trying to cross the I-390 on foot at a spot above the Genesee River.

Previously: State Police still searching for brothers who may have mistakenly jumped into Genesee River

March 20, 2012 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen.

An abandoned car with Mexican license plates drew the attention of local law enforcement this morning, with members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force responding, assisted by K-9 "Pharoah."

The car was thoroughly searched by hand and by "Pharoah," and no contraband nor other signs of illegal activity were found, said Sgt. Steve Mullen.

Through conversations with the U.S. Border Patrol, investigators were able to piece together that the car was purchased in Mexico by a Canadian citizen, who drove it to the Peace Bridge crossing. Canadian Customs, however, for an unknown reason, wouldn't let the man bring the car into his native country.

The man apparently made some statement to officials that he intended to ditch the car.

The car was towed and if it's not claimed, the tow company will likely sell it for scrap in order to recover tow and storage costs.

March 20, 2012 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, missing children.

Police are looking for a 14-year-old boy described as a willful runaway and believed to be in Batavia.

The youth is identified as Timothy Vail. He was last seen wearing a black uniform. He has visible cuts and scrapes on his left forearm.

Timothy has green eyes and blond hair and is 5'1", 128 lbs.

Anybody with information, contact Genesee County Dispatch at 345-6350.

UPDATE: Timothy has been located and is safe.

March 20, 2012 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 40-year-old Batavia resident is facing multiple tax fraud, grand larceny and forgery charges following a joint investigation by the State Police and the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Heidi L. Schollard, of 161 Bank St., is being held on $25,000 bail.

Schollard is accused of stealing money from two elderly women whom she cared for and filing false tax returns.  Schollard also allegedly received NYS benefits while employed.

The charges include two counts of criminal tax fraud, 3rd, two counts of grand larceny, 3rd, one count of grand larceny, 4th, 13 counts of offering a false instrument for filing, five counts of forgery and 10 counts of falsifying business records.

March 20, 2012 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, mock trials.

A team other than Batavia High School has a chance to win the 2012 Mock Trial Competition for the Genesee area, and following a quarter-final round Monday night, four teams are left, including two from Genesee County.

Those remaining are Pembroke, Notre Dame, Attica and Warsaw. They will compete at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Warsaw County Courthouse.

It's the first time in the nine-year history of the competition that Batavia won't be among the semi-finalists.

In fact, the team that wins this year will be the first team in nine years not from Batavia to win.

The Blue Devils failed to even make the quarter finals.

A first-time quarterfinalist, however, was Pavilion, which had never won a trial before this year.

Pavilion has two new coaches -- Thomas A. Burns, a Batavia-based attorney, and Assistant District Attorney William Zickl Kevin T. Finnell.

The 2012 case involves an assault at a nightclub. The victim and the suspect were known to each other prior to the night of the attack. The victim bumped into the alleged attacker and spilled his/her drink. The suspect gave, according to witnesses, "a look that could kill." The victim was struck on the back of the head. The victim did not see the face of his/her attacker, but he/she believes he/she recognized the voice of the attacker singing a rap song about hitting a person on the head with a crowbar. The arresting officer is an admittedly rogue cop who works alone and uses his/her own investigative techniques. The cop previously Tasered and arrested the suspect on a case that was thrown out and for which the cop was disciplined and denied a promotion.

It's apparently a tough case for the prosecuting teams to win.

In mock trials, however, points are awarded on a number of factors and it's possible for the prosecution to lose the case but win on points, or conversely, the defense can lose the case and win on points.

The photos are of the Pavilion and Notre Dame teams.

Pavilion Team members: Joshua Yunke, Mackenzie Grasso, Tiffani Bragg, Hannah Smart, Gabrielle Henry, Heather Stefan, Austin Wolcott, Alexis Boundry and Sara Thompson.

Notre Dame team members: Meghan Zickl, Anneliese Aliasso, Andrew Fischer, Matthew Sausher, Kendra Wall, John Lapple, Ariana Aliasso, Rosalie Mortellaro, Jake Krajewski, Brittany Perzia, Caleb Nellis, James Spear, Anna Arner, Natalie Mouton, Katie Fischer, Andrew Cheverie and Rosemary Fulmerfeld.

Judges in the pictures are Eric, Adams, Jerry Ader and Micahel Mohun. Also judging during the quarter finals was William Zickl.

The finals will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Genesee County Courthouse with Judge Robert C. Noonan on the bench.

If you're unable to view the slide show, click here. To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

March 20, 2012 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

2012 March Madness 8TH Grade Champions
 
White team standing from left to right: Greg Mruczeck, Mike Rose, Matt Roach, Coach Alex Brasky, Xavier Green, Nashiem Harris, Coach Cam McDonald
Kneeling from Left to Right. Andrew Mruczek, Alex Candy, Tyler Prospero, Adonis Davis.

2012 Rochester Bash Tourney 8th Grade Champions
 
Blue team standing from left to right: Xavier Green, Terrell Mapes, Coach Alex Brasky, Jacob Schrider, Greg Mruczeck, Nashiem Harris
Kneeling from Left to Right. Mike Rose, Alex Candy, Tyler Prospero, Adonis Davis. Andrew Mruczek

Info and photos submitted by Joseph Prospero.

March 20, 2012 - 8:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

Press release:

Anupa Seth, MD recently joined United Memorial’s primary care practice, Batavia Family Care Center. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and completed a Fellowship in Pain Management at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Seth is a graduate of Sawai Man Signh Medical College in Jaipur, India. She completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at Unity Health System in Rochester and was an Anesthesia Fellow at Strong Hospital.
 
Dr. Seth resides in Rochester with her family. She is a volunteer and member of the Jain Society; has traveled extensively in the U.S. and India and visited Nepal, France, and the UK.
 
She is accepting new patients at Batavia Family Care, which is located within the Jerome Center at 16 Bank Street, Batavia. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid are accepted. Please call (585)344-4800 for an appointment.
 
United Memorial has been working with Dr. Seth on plans for a future Pain Management Clinic

March 20, 2012 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District has awarded two more façade improvement grants to downtown businesses. The recipients were Francis Marchese, owner of 238 Ellicott St., and Brian and Beth Kemp, owners of T-Shirts Etc., 111 Main St.  

Both businesses received matching grants for improvements to their facades. Marchese received $1,550 for installing new windows and frames at his Ellicott Street property. The Kemps were awarded $447.66 for signage that brings back some nostalgia by mimicking the old J.J. Newberry-type letters. These funds were awarded based upon the Business Improvement District’s design guidelines  

The B.I.D. Design Committee has now awarded 78 matching grants totaling over $319,933 in funds to revitalize businesses within the district.  Currently, there are two more projects that have been approved and should be completed within the next two months.

The Business Improvement District façade improvement program was established in 1998 to provide economic assistance to property owners and tenants for exterior improvements to their buildings. It has contributed to the renewed vitality of downtown by providing economic assistance and preserving the character of its structures. 

According to Don Burkel, B.I.D. downtown manager, these improvements demonstrate a long-term commitment by these business owners to downtown and  positive steps for its future.  When you consider that 78 businesses have reinvested in total project costs of over $2,626,600 in the district, that’s pretty impressive.

Find out more about why it would benefit you to set up shop in Downtown Batavia. Contact Don Burkel, B.I.D. downtown manager, at (585) 344-0900 or visit www.downtownbataviany.com.

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

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